It's Email Monday! *happy dance*
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Hey there, Email Monday family!

Here's what you might have missed on the blog last week: Balanced Bites Podcast #142 (tackling almond flour, natural hair dye, cast iron skillets, kids & fruit) and my post on one of the healthiest foods out there (and the sad myths surrounding it): Liver - health food or toxic dump?
 
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 our animal 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.

(I talk about this at length in my book, Eat the Yolks.)

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
  • Sardines: 568mg/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.
  • Fat-soluble vitamin A: often considered a calcium antagonist, it actually works WITH vitamin D (a great source: fermented cod liver oil/butter oil blend, which also contains vitamins D and K2)
  • Fat-soluble vitamin D: helps the body to absorb calcium
  • Fat-soluble vitamin K2: tells the body where to put calcium 
  • Magnesium: required for the movement of calcium within the body.
Thanks to Chris Masterjohn for bringing the important role of fat-soluble vitamins to light!

And finally, the FACTS about how your body uses calcium to put your mind at ease:

Get the full rundown here (I'm rounding out a pretty long Email Monday, and don't want to risk losin' ya). In summary:
  • It's not about quantity. It's about quality and co-factors.
  • Hormonal and blood sugar balance is critical for calcium sufficiency.
  • How you hydrate (read: electrolytes) regulate calcium utilization
  • Whether you medicate can affect bone health
  • How well you digest can affect calcium absorption
  • The other nutrients you get can affect calcium utilization (see above!)
  • The fatty acid content of your diet can change how the body uses calcium
  • The type of exercise you do can affect your bone health as much as how much calcium you take in.
See? Calcium balance, calcium retention, and how the body uses calcium is about much more than just how much calcium you get - and whether you get it from highly-processed conventional milk. 

If you're hungry for more myth-busting, check out my book Eat the Yolks!

Have you worried about calcium? Feel better, worse, more confused - or just hungry for some milk and cookies? Let me know your thoughts on the Facebook page!

Thanks for reading & subscribing!


Eat those yolks!
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