Tag Archives: plant based diet

Where Do You Get Your Calcium?

We have been trained since childhood that dairy products are good strong bones and teeth, in other word they are our best source for getting calcium.  But it turns out that the Dairy Industry has been the source of almost all of this information!  Let’s look at some facts as reported in The China Study.

  • Casein, which makes up 87% of cow’s milk protein, promotes all stages of the cancer process”
  • “Plant protein did not promote cancer cell growth, even at higher levels of intake”
  • “Milk has been linked to Type I diabetes, prostate cancer, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases…casein, the main protein in dairy foods has been shown to experimentally promote cancer and increase blood cholesterol and atherosclerotic plaque”

And interestingly,


Given the research linking dairy products with heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and autoimmune diseases, I have decided to look for other, plant-based sources of calcium!

First of all, how much calcium do we need?  The recommended daily allowance for calcium is 1,000 mg for adults 19-50 and men over 50, and 1,200 mg/day for women over 50.

Vegetables, Nuts and Seeds, Grains, Legumes and Beans, and Fruit are great sources of calcium.  And, green vegetables also have calcium absorption rates of over 50 percent, compared with about 32 percent for milk. (3)

VEGETABLES (per cup)
Bok Choy 330 mg
Bean sprouts 320 mg
Collard greens (cooked) 260 mg
Spinach (cooked) 250 mg
Turnip greens (cooked) 200 mg
Kale 180 mg
Mustard greens (cooked) 100 mg
Swiss chard (cooked) 100 mg
Seaweek (Wakame) 120 mg
Okra 130 mg
Broccoli 45 mg
Fennel 45 mg
Artichoke 55 mg
Celery 40 mg
Leeks 44 mg
Almonds 1/4 cup 95 mg
Tahini 1 Tbsp 65 mg
Sesame seeds 1Tbsp 63 mg
Brazil nuts 1/4 cup 55 mg
Hazelnuts 1/4 cup 55 mg
Almond Butter 1 Tbsp 43 mg
Cereals (calcium fortified, 1/2 cup) 250-500 mg
Quinoa, cooked, 1 cup 80 mg
Brown Rice, cooked, 1 cup 50 mg
Soy beans, cooked, 1 cup 200 mg
Tempeh, 1 cup 150 mg
White beans, cooked, 1 cup 140 mg
Tofu, 4 oz 120 mg
Navy beans, cooked, 1 cup 110 mg
Chickpeas, cooked 1 cup 80 mg
Pinto beans, cooked 1 cup 75 mg
FRUIT (per cup)
Rhubarb 350 mg
Figs, dried 300 mg
Apricot, dried 75 mg
Prunes 75 mg
Orange 70 mg
Kiwi 60 mg
Blackberries 40 mg
Blackstrap molasses, 1 Tbsp 135 mg

Lastly, it is important to look at factors that leach calcium from our bones: (3)

  • Animal Proteins
  • Salt
  • Caffeine
  • Refined Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Vitamin A supplements
  • Nicotine
  • Aluminum containing antacids
  • Antibiotics, steroids, thyroid hormone drugs



Weight Lies!

Haha, this is a good one!  Yes, I have been guilt of rounding down when I gave my weight to DMV.  I figured that my license was good for 5 years, and so I’d use the weight that I planned to be in 5 years (always less than I currently was!)

The funny thing is, having gone to a diet that is almost 100% plant-based, eliminating meat, dairy and almost all refined sugar, I have achieved that goal weight.

More on Eating Vegan

In  my previous post I stated that reading, The China Study “changed my life”.  Perhaps you think this is a bit of an exaggeration.  Let me explain…

The book clearly outlines how consuming animal protein (meat and dairy products) leads to higher levels of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, autoimmune diseases and more.  The research makes it clear that ALL animal protein has this effect.  It is not just an indictment of fatty red meat.   Lean meat, chicken, turkey, fish, milk, cheese, eggs, you name it — all animal protein!

It isn’t just the fat and cholesterol in animal products that is dangerous to us, but rather the proteins themselves.  This is why the study that was done to test the effects of dietary fat on cancer, The Nurses Study, showed that dietary fat had NO relationship to the incidence of breast cancer.  The nurses in the study, while they reduced their fat intake,  all consumed a diet  high in animal protein.

And look at the population around us.  As we are obsessed with exercise and low-fat foods, we are getting bigger and unhealthier day by day!

What sort of diets do not contribute to these killing diseases?  Plant based diets–Vegan diets.  Research has shown that populations that eat a more plant-based diet (Thailand, Japan, the Philippines) have the lowest incidence of cancer than those who eat a more meat based diet (Netherlands, UK, Canada, and the US).

And so, based on this information and a lot more from the China Study, I have totally changed my diet to be near vegan.  I cut out all dairy products, including cream in my coffee and ice cream!  I cut out all red meat, I only have a small portion of organic chicken about twice a month., and I do still occasionally eat fish (about once a week).

Having  made these changes in my diet I have found that I have more energy, my skin is healthier, I haven’t gotten even so much as a cold, my running has improved greatly, and I lost 10 pounds!  So, yes, the information in The China Study  has changed my life!

But, How Do You Get Your Protein???

This quip is sooo true.  I have been eating a vegan (or near vegan) diet for a few months now.  I don’t talk about it, or make a big deal about what I am or am not eating, but occasionally someone will notice that I am not eating meat and they’ll say,

“But how do you get your protein???”   So I’d like to share some information with you about protein.

First off – How Much Protein Do I Need?

The US Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.  To determine your weight in kilograms   Divide your weight in pounds and divide by 2.2 — For example:

130 pounds = 59 kg, daily requirement = 49 x .8 = 47 grams of protein

150 pounds = 68 kg, daily requirement = 68 x .8 = 55 grams of protein

200 pounds = 91 kg, daily requirement = 91 x .8 = 73 grams of protein

Another way to look at this is approximately 10-15% of our total calories should be protein – that’s it!

Next – How Do I Get Protein in my Diet?

We don’t actually consume protein.  Protein is made up of amino acids.  There are 21 amino acids.  Our bodies can synthesize 12 of these, but 9 can only be gotten through food and are therefore known as essential amino acids.  These essential amino acids are:

histidine,  isoleucine,  leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, valine, tryptophan and threonine,

How Do I Get Enough Protein if I Don’t Eat Meat or Dairy?

We have been led to believe that we only get our protein from meat products — beef, chicken, milk and eggs.  That simply is not true.  All plant based foods contain varying quantities of  amino acids, the building blocks of protein.  Meat sources (beef, chicken, fish, dairy) are said to be “complete” proteins, meaning they provide all 9 amino acids.  However there are also non-meat complete proteins as well, namely soy and quinoa (keen-wa).

However, eating a variety of plant-based foods provides all the essential amino acids our body needs.  It is not necessary to consume them all together (as originally thought).  Nor is it necessary to eat complementary proteins all in one meal.  Our bodies store up the amino acids and call on them as needed to build proteins.

Excellent Plant Based Protein Sources:

Seeds and Nuts

Pumpkin Seeds, Roasted Almonds, Pistachio Nuts, and Cashews


Lentil Beans, Navy Beans, Black Eyed Peas, Soybeans and Peas


Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Spinach


Avocado, Dates, Guava, Passion Fruit, Pomegranate


Quinoa, Whole Wheat Pasta, Brown Rice, Oats

For more information on our bodies protein needs,  and eating a plant-based diet, check out No Meat Athlete


Plant Based Diet and Joining a CSA

I have been eating a lot of vegetables lately.  I am following my own advise that I’ve been sharing in this blog and eating mostly a plant-based diet.

My objective is to eat for health, avoiding meat (except the occasional organic free range chicken and/or grass-fed beef), cutting out dairy products, and eliminating processed sugar as much as possible .

It really isn’t so hard when your motivation is avoiding diseases such as cancer,  heart disease, stroke and diabetes.  I have lost 8 pounds since February and even more important — I feel great!

To make sure I’m getting fresh, organic vegetables, I joined a CSA this summer.  CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  It is a way to share in the harvest of a local farm.  You pay the annual fee up front, giving the farmer needed cash for seeds, fertilizer, etc, and then each week throughout the summer, you get a box of fresh vegetables and fruits.

I’d like to thank Heron Pond Farm for letting me be a part of their community.  This week I got a pound of potatoes, a pound of snap peas, a bunch of beets, a bag of spinach, a head of lettuce, 2 tomatoes and a quart of strawberries — yum!  I eat fresh vegetables all week.

Whatever is left at the end of the week goes into my juicer!

photo by Julie Schneider of Heron Pond Farm