Free To Be Dairy Free
In my last post I proclaimed my love of yogurt to you: discussing its health benefits, sneaky food additives, convenience and every delicious quality in between. I had all sorts of fun ideas running through my head for this next post, however I truly feel I would be doing you a disservice by not telling you that we can all live extremely healthy lives by choosing to go dairy free.
If you’re like me you grew up with a father who said “finish your milk or you’re not leaving this table!” and a mother who gagged at the sight and smell of the substance, yet still served it like she brushed her teeth with it – every. single. night. And I don’t think i have to dispel any mysterious reasoning why our loving parents insist we drink our milk…
There are many people who have eliminated dairy from their diets for different reasons: some simply hate the taste, others suffer from health complications such as over production of mucus and found that by eliminating dairy their health problems significantly improved, and of course there are those whose bodies just plain reject it. Hello Lactaid.
In attempt to spare you from the boring and confusing biochemistry behind how the lactose enzyme is broken down in our body and why some people are ‘lactose intolerant’ I will tell you this: lactose is a complicated enzyme to break down in our bodies and it’s not uncommon for people to develop lactose intolerance as they age. So, if you feel like, as you get older, milk, yogurt and everything in between is just not delicious, you’re not alone. But you do need to make sure you’re getting your calcium from other sources.
Calcium is critical to our health and longevity. Calcium supports bone growth (seriously important for the kiddos) and increases bone mass. Without adequate calcium in our blood our body dips into the stores in our bones. This means brittle bones. And, unless you’re looking forward to a hip break or stress fracture in your ankle when you hit the “older adult” category, then keep the intake up. This mineral goes beyond bone health, however. It’s necessary for your cardiovascular health, muscle maintenance, hormones, blood clotting, nerve function and for our teeth! Lucky for you, because the importance of this mineral is so widely acknowledged, many food companies have fortified their products to give you an extra boost of calcium while enjoying things like cereal, and orange juice.
Start the fight against osteoporosis and keep yourself healthy by adding these calcium-rich foods into your diet:
- Calcium- fortified soy milk
- Soy products: Firm tofu, tempeh
- Almond milk, Almond yogurt.
- Calcium fortified cereal
- Calcium-fortified Orange Juice
- Seafood (especially those canned with bones like sardines!)
- Leafy Greens, including Collard (packed with calcium!), Kale,
Turnip, & Chinese cabbage
Yes these have no dairy. And yes they are beyond delicious. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!