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I homeschool and have a health ministry for friends, family, and health lovers world-wide. I'm totally into all-natural and avoid chemicals, food additives, etc. even in my cosmetics. I am working toward eating Vegan, Organic, and raw as much as possible (my family too). I'm married, and have two small kids and two grown step kids. Optimal Health - God's Way ".....and the fruit thereof shall be for meat (FOOD), and the leaf for MEDICINE." Ezekiel 47:12 KJV

Friday, February 11, 2011

Are You Getting Enough Calcium?

by Robin the Green Smoothie Girl

I’m constantly asked, “How do you get enough protein?” on my family’s plant-based diet. This is usually followed closely by, “How do you get enough calcium?” So, are YOU getting enough calcium?

Perhaps the proof is in the (dairy free, of course) pudding. I am 40 years old and have bone density in the highest percentage category—comparable to a 20-yr. old. My diet has been less than 5 percent animal protein my entire life. I have never drunk a glass of cow milk. (And according to blood and metabolic typing, as well as according to my ethnic origins, I’m a “protein type.” While we do vary somewhat, individually, in our nutritional needs, before you become a “nutritional typing” adherent, remember that these are interesting but new, fairly untested fads in nutrition propagated by a charismatic few.)

Americans have been falsely educated into thinking they won’t get enough protein if they don’t eat meat. In the 1900’s, it was thought that people needed 120 grams of protein daily. In this century, nutritionists recommended about 80 grams a day. Newer research shows we need only about 25 grams.

A clinical study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association compared amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) in the diets of meat eaters, vegetarians, and vegans. They used a high standard that would cover the needs of pregnant women and growing children. All three diets provided MORE than enough protein, by double or more!

Other studies document that Americans are getting 150% to 400% more protein than they need. You can certainly eat plenty of dairy products (high in calcium) and have a calcium deficiency. How else are we the highest dairy-consuming nation in the world (by double the next-highest country) and also have the highest rate of osteoporosis? Fully half of us over the age of 60 get osteoporosis—and I believe that this already high number will grow dramatically as our soda-drinking youth age. The massive amount of animal protein we eat causes such an acidic state in the body that calcium from the bones is robbed in order to bring the blood and tissues into alkaline balance.

I seem to keep having conversations with powerlifter friends about this topic. I can be pretty persuasive, but getting competitive weight lifters to consider eating less meat and more plant food is like trying to tell a Catholic priest to quit going to Mass. What powerlifters do to build up huge pecs, lats, biceps and triceps muscles might win competitions, but it also accelerates aging, as well as disease risk. This week my friend Roy (who maxes the bench press with 455 lbs.) told me he’s on a 60% protein diet. While he’s thinking of his upcoming competition and fearing the ungodly carbohydrate, I’m thinking of the massive enzyme-draining load on his body.

Telling most moms that they don’t need cow’s milk for calcium is like telling them to send their kids out to shovel the snow naked.

Are you getting enough calcium? Logic begs the question: where does the cow get HER calcium? She gets it from green foods (and ALL the plant food groups, actually)—rich in highly bioavailable calcium. Being in the sun increases your calcium absorption with the help of Vitamin D. Plant sources are 50-60% bioavailable to humans, compared to cow milk bioavailability of about 30%. Eat too much animal protein (and milk), and your body loses calcium. Eat too much salt and you’ve got the second-biggest cause of calcium loss. (Most meat dishes are also high in salt.)

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, director of the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University (former senior advisor to the American Institute for Cancer Research), says this about his research, the biggest and most longitudinal nutrition study in history:

“There is a strong correlation between dietary protein intake and cancer of the breast, prostate, pancreas, and colon. The culprit in many of the most prevalent and deadly diseases of our time, according to this study, is none other than the very thing most of us have been taught to hold virtually sacred—animal protein. People who derive 70% of their protein from animal products have major health difficultires compared to people who derive just 5% of their protein from animal sources. They have 17 times the death rate from heart disease and the women are 5 times more likely to die of breast cancer. In conclusion, animal protein is at the core of many chronic diseases.”

Are you getting enough calcium? You will if you eat plenty of greens, and a diet rich in seeds, nuts, and produce. Consider that along with the protein and calcium in animal sources usually comes synthetic hormones, steroids, antibiotics, pesticide chemicals, bacteria, and sometimes saturated fat.


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