But Where Do You Get Your CALCIUM??

“So you don’t eat dairy? But where do you get your calcium??”

This is one of the most common questions I’m asked about my diet. No, I don’t consume any dairy products. And no, I’m not at all worried about getting enough calcium. Why? Let me explain.

It is a complete fallacy that milk and other dairy products are the best and/or only source of calcium. The U.S, along with multiple other developed countries, have been brainwashed into believing that if you want strong bones, you must drink milk. According to the new American food pyramid for 2014, you should consume 3 cups of dairy per day. HA! (About 75% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant…so why is dairy so high on the food pyramid? Doesn’t make sense.)

There are many whole-food sources of calcium that most people are unaware of, kale being the best example. Just 1/2 cup of kale has 205mg of calcium, compared to only 150mg in 1/2 cup of milk. For a comparison of other food choices and their calcium levels, see the chart below.

 

Source: Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D. - thepaleomom.com

Source: Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D. – thepaleomom.com

 

Clearly, many vegetables and leafy greens are great sources of calcium. Almonds and salmon are good choices as well, and they also contain healthy fats and other great nutrients. To strengthen my argument, let’s take a look at absorbability, shall we?

In this study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, they compared the absorbability of calcium in kale and in milk. The results showed that the calcium in kale was more easily absorbed and had better bioavailability than the calcium in milk (by about 10%). So when you eat kale, you are not only ingesting more calcium, but you are also absorbing a higher percentage of it as well.

The bottom line: if you’re looking to increase your calcium consumption, eat more kale! For an easy snack, try out my recipe for Crunchy Kale Chips. They are tasty and great for you!

 

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Sources:

http://www.thepaleomom.com/2013/09/why-dont-i-need-to-worry-about-calcium-2.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/daily/graphics/diet_042005.html

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/04/03/over-75-of-earths-population-is-lactose-intolerant-for-a-reason-dairy-is-harmful/

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/51/4/656.full.pdf+html

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Crunchy Kale Chips

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Crunchy. Salty. Healthy? Healthy is not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of chips, but not all chips are created equal. This is especially true with kale chips. These crispy littleĀ bits of goodness offer a variety of nutrients (iron, potassium, and Vitamin A, just to name a few) and are very low in calories. Although there are some great brands out there that can be found in grocery stores, nothing beats making them yourself at home for a fraction of the cost.

While walking through a farmer’s market this week, I saw one vendor with tons of fresh organic kale for only $2 a bunch. That’s much cheaper than normal, at least where I tend to shop. So I figured I’d pick some up and finally make these kale chips…I’d been wanting to see what all the fuss was about.

Man, oh, man! These chips pleasantly surprised me…maybe just a little bit too much. I ate the entire batch in less than 24 hours…oops! At least this was a guilt-free snack packed with tons of good stuff. On to the recipe!

Crunchy Kale Chips

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 tbsp. avocado oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika (or your favorite seasoning…cayenne is yummy too!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash and THOROUGHLY DRY kale. (This recipe will not work if your kale is wet)
  3. Cut kale into 1-2 inch pieces, cutting the leaf away from the stem. Discard stems, put them in your compost pile, or save them for a salad.
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine kale with oil and toss with fingertips until kale is evenly coated.
  5. On a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, lay kale out flat making sure there is space between each piece.
  6. Bake for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn! They cook up quickly.
  7. Once you remove chips from oven, sprinkle with salt and your seasoning of choice.
  8. Enjoy!