So, Where do I get my calcium? That’s a question that many clients ask me when considering the possibility of eliminating dairy from their diets.
The simplest way to answer that is with another question. Where do cows get all their calcium from? Do they drink milk? No, they eat lots of grass and greens! Unfortunately over the years, we’ve forgotten that calcium comes from other sources than cows’ milk. Some excellent sources include beets, broccoli, collards, kale, kidney beans, parsley, sesame seeds, almonds, brazil nuts, salmon or sardines with bones and especially sea vegetables.
There’s also a few other things to consider. When mammals are weaned, their body stops producing the enzymes required to digest milk – one of these enzymes is called Lactase. Lactase is used to break down Lactose, the carbohydrate in milk. About 90% of Japanese, Chinese, Mediterraneans, African Americans and Jews have this issue. In North America, 25% of Caucasians are lactose intolerant (Colbin, 1986).
It’s also not enough to consume foods high in calcium; the body has to be able to utilize it properly as well. There are several types of foods in our diet besides cows’ milk that affect calcium balance.