Today's Email Monday topic: what to do if you're worried about calcium.
This is a common concern on a Real Food plan that excludes all processed junk. Why? Because most conventional dairy - the dairy many of us were raised on - is just another processed food.
Most conventional dairy products are skimmed, de-fatted, reconstituted, supplemented with cheap substitutes for the natural nutrients lost in processing (that's what "vitamin D milk" is), and further homogenized and pasteurized. All this processing strips fat-soluble vitamins and heat-sensitive nutrients away.
Even worse, most conventional dairy is from confinement operations, where cows are given sub-therapeutic antibiotics and fed inappropriate feed. For many years (certainly for most of my childhood), the use of artificial growth promoters was common.
Perhaps dairy allergies are rampant because of the extensive processing modern dairy undergoes. Perhaps it's because the cows are fed the wrong feed, and we're only as healthy as the foods that ouranimal foods eat.
Maybe it's because our immune systems are so low thanks to modern nutrition dogma that we can't fight constant insults from the poor-quality food we're told to eat every darn day by so-called "nutrition authorities." Whatever the reason, modern dairy ain't all it's cracked up to be.
Yes, healthy cultures across the world thrived using dairy for many, many generations. Many still do. But it's not the same dairy. The animals weren't fed the same feed, they weren't raised the same way, and their milk certainly was not skimmed, defatted and reconstituted.
And yet we're told that we NEED this junk to get our calcium! (I talk about the bogus "Got Milk" campaign in Eat the Yolks, too. Remember that one?)
Yes, milk is an amazing source of calcium. But when it comes to modern milk, that's just a little too much baggage for me. Plus, as we'll discuss, it's not even all that available to the body compared to other sources.
So what to do, then, if you're worried about getting enough calcium, but you DON'T want to buy in to the modern dairy industry?
First of all, don't panic. All you need to do if you're worried about calcium is to know the facts.
Yep, that's it. Just know the facts. They'll put your mind at ease and they'll help you make great decisions.
There are some great dietary sources of calcium out there that don't involve modern milk; there are some awesome nutrients to focus on that your body needs WITH calcium to make it work better in your body; and there are some incredible FACTS about how your body actually uses calcium that'll put your mind at ease.
Dietary sources of calcium that are just as good as milk (which contains 276mg calcium per cup)
Cooked collard greens: 266mg/cup
Cooked spinach: 245mg/cup
Bone broth: varies by batch, but is an excellent source of calcium and complementary nutrients
Nutrients to focus on that work WITH calcium in your body (you'll find all of 'em in real food):
Note: these nutrients are found naturally in full-fat, unprocessed (including raw) milk from animals raised properly on pasture. Unfortunately, they're processed out of, or not naturally present in, conventional milk.