Friday, March 9, 2012

Vegan Eating and Calcium

My health insurer wants me to voluntarily disclose health information with the perk of halving my monthly contributions. Well. You could also say if I don’t disclose I pay twice as much as I did so far. One of the items requested was “which supplements do you take? how many milligrams?” This is how it all started.

I have been taking calcium and vitamin D supplements for a few years, but I never quite checked how many milligrams do I actually take? When I checked to type in the number I realize the supplement that I take (a calcium magnesium citrate) actually only has 200mg per tablet so I would have to take 5 over the course of the day. Say, what? (I only take one in the morning. But it is also a fact that you can only take so much at a time because the body cannot process higher amounts and will just discard it, so taking them in regular in intervals is key). I started to investigate calcium rich foods, and it looks like dairy products are on the top of the list. But with mostly vegan eating, I have to resort to the greens and almonds and beans, which only have about a fourth of the calcium amounts (e.g. 1 serving of kale has about 80mg of calcium, but daily recommendations are 1,000 mg). That is a lot of kale to eat. 

I immediately ate a Greek yogurt.

But Greek yogurt, although it has much higher amounts of protein and lower sugar than regular yogurt, it has less calcium than regular yogurt (200mg instead of 300mg per 6oz). This morning I researched some more (Harvard public health, the only ones who do not make dairy as required food group), and it looks like non-dairy milk can be fortified with calcium (as can orange juice etc) and that might be sufficient. I checked my Silk almond milk in my fridge, and ta-ta, it is actually fortified. The stats are very good: 35 kcal per cup, and that one cup deliver 45% of the daily required value for calcium. No dairy necessary. 

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So, I mixed a cup of almond milk, 1/2 banana and 1 TB of chia seeds. Goodness in a glass. Calcium I mean. And potassium. 

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