Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Hidden Truth about Calcium!

Who needs a calcium supplement when you can get it from food! No, not from dairy ... but from plant based whole foods!

Learning about which foods have significant levels of calcium is crucial especially if you are concerened about your bones or current calcium intake levels. Unfortunately, I hate to break the news to you, but the Calcium that you think you are getting from a glass of milk, a cup of "low fat" yogurt or slice of cheese is not being absorbed into your body in a usable or beneficial form. In fact it is doing quite the opposite.

The truth is, dairy (especially commercially processed dairy) is extremely acidic to the body and especially to the bones. So when you consume any form of processed dairy, it is actually stripping calcium away from your bones rather than building on to it. So most individuals in North America, predominantly women could be responsible for thier own weakening bone conditions as a result of overconsuming commercial dairy. But not to fret, this can be taken care of and quite possibly reversed.

All you have to do is start consuming adequate amounts of Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium. These sources which come from plant based foods, are extremely bioavailable to the body and they taste great too!

So get your daily dose of greens in (chard, kale, beet greens, collards, broccoli and bok choy). You can steam them, blanch them, saute them, add them to soups, salads or grain dishes--you can even hide them in a smoothie. Consume nuts and seeds such as sesame seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds, all great sources of calcium, iron, protein and essential fatty acids. Other hidden but rich sources of calcium include tempeh, avocado, parsley, figs, carob, beans and legumes, salmon and quinoa.
So do what you will, but you can avoid taking expensive supplements and consuming commercial dairy and simply get your calcium from nature. Your body and your taste buds will thank you!


Parsley and Scallion "Butter" with Steamed Greens
This recipe is inspired by Anne Gentry owner of Real Food Daily (Vegan Restaurant in Los Angeles)


1 bunch of greens such as kale, beet greens, collards, swiss chard, bok choy or spinach

1 ½ cup fresh scallions, chopped
1/2 cup tahini
1/3 cup fresh parsley
3 tbsp lemon juice (1 lemon)
1 tablespoons umeboshi paste
1 teaspoons minced peeled fresh garlic


Steam greens and rinse with cold water to maintain brightness.
Combine all ingredients of "butter" in a food processor and blend until creamy and smooth.
Transfer the spread to a small bowl.
Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and allow flavors to blend and the spread will become slightly firm.

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