People who don't eat dairy are instantly judged by people who do consume a lot of dairy as missing vital minerals such as calcium. Rightly so, without knowledge it is easy for people to quickly jump to conclusions.
However I will share with you the top 8 ways to get calcium into your diet without dairy.
1. Almonds - whether is in the form of almond milk, almonds themselves, almond butter, ground almonds, there are a wide range of plant-based products that contain almonds that will give you a good amount of calcium per serving. Even if you aren't the biggest almond fan I am sure you may like one type of product above. I love almond milk and is my go to milk in coffee, sauces, risottos, salad dressings and on my cereal.
2. Butternut squash - one of my FAVE veggies, you can roast, boil or steam it and add it to lots of different dishes. It is very much like sweet potato.
3. Broccoli - I am a big fan of broccoli, I love it steamed! I also love it with my roast with dairy free cheese sauce over the top. Broccoli is a great all rounder - it has one of the highest levels of protein for a veggie too as well as so many antioxidants and calcium. Definitely add as much broccoli as you can to your diet.
4. Chia Seeds - again you may not LOVE the taste of them but they are very adaptable. You can top smoothie bowls, porridge and cereal with them or add them into pancake mixes, muffin mixes - the list goes on. They are amazing for antioxidants and protein as well.
5. Figs - I love figs when they are in season. In the summer I could eat them all day!
6. Leafy greens - it is always good to add some extra greens to your dish, whether its spinach, cabbage, Swiss chard as they are full of nutritious goodies and so easy to steam or sauté.
7. Kale - make kale chips, add it to salads, add it to stir fry's and risottos. Again so adaptable and SO nutritionally rich.
8. Plant-based milk - whether that's a soy based milk, hazelnut, almond, coconut ( there are so many choices out there now ) they are all great for calcium and packed with vitamins like B6, VITAMIN A AND B12. Try and purchased from the Alpro range as they do add the vitamins in not all plant-based milks have these added extras.
You may think that the above are 'boring', 'healthy' ingredients - where is the cheese, the butter, the full fat milk. I agree that they are healthy, however I disagree that they are boring!
Nutritionally they offer you more than 'cheese' etc do and you can cook, prepare and purchase the above in so many different ways like you can with cheese, that allows you to find an option you like or prefer and can use to enable you to get the levels of calcium you need.
Recommended calcium levels:
Teens 14-18yrs need 1,300mg
Adults 19-50yrs need 1,000mg
Adult Men 51-70 need 1,00mg
Adult Women 51-70 need 1,200mg
To give you a rough idea:
8oz of broccoli contains 200mg
8oz of kale contains 180mg
8oz of Bok Choy contains 160mg
2 dried figs contain 65mg
It is easily 'do-able' just 5 servings worth of rich nutritious plant-based alternatives is what you need.
Again there are many products now like natural yeast, dairy-free cheese sauce, allergy-free gravies, plant-based milks, tofu and many more that add in extra calcium.
So if you are worried about calcium levels but want to adapt more of a plant-based diet. Don't worry. If you are sensible and read up you will see how many different sources you can get it from.
So many people react badly with dairy and for the sake of giving up cheese and adding in more dairy-free cheese, more greens yes may not be what you truly want and you may miss cheese at first but is it worth the sickness, stomach cramps and much more?
Wouldn't you rather feel better on a plant-based and still achieving the recommended vitamin and mineral levels.
Explore the facts for yourselves and try the products and adapting to a more plant-based way of eating.
Let me know if you feel better and how you get on!
Thank you for reading,
Love and Peace