Tagged with 'vegan'

Is Being Dairy-Free Healthy?

Dairy-free
If you are new to being dairy-free, it can take a period of getting used to. Luckily, dairy-free milk, butter, cheese, ice cream, and yogurt options are popping up at supermarkets and health food stores faster than ever. Many dairy-free products are frequently touted as the healthier alternative, but does omitting dairy truly make it healthy? Perhaps you are thinking to yourself, why go dairy-free in the first place? Many nutritionists and naturopaths recommend removing dairy from the diet to reduce inflammation, health the gut and heal acne. While going dairy-free is generally more accepted today, is it healthy? Can You Obtain All Your Required Nutrients Without Consuming Dairy? One of the most common concerns around going dairy-free is the topic of calcium. After all, we grew up being recommended to eat 1-2 servings of dairy a day (per Canada’s food guide) in order to have adequate protein and calcium levels. But the truth is, with proper planning, it is certainly possible get enough protein from other foods. The same applies to calcium. Calcium is an essential mineral needed for proper muscle contraction, strong bones, healthy heartbeats and signaling between brain cells. It is not a nutrient we can easily forget about! Many people associate calcium with cow’s milk – so can relying on plant-based milks prevent you from getting the nutrients you need? The short answer is yes! Other Than from Dairy, Where Can I Get My Calcium? Although many boxed plant-based milks do not contain high levels of calcium, there are some plant-based foods that provide a good and comparable source of calcium. These include 3 main categories: leafy greens, nuts and seeds, as well as beans. If you are vegan, consider prioritizing your meals around these foods. Vegetables like spinach, bok choy, kale and broccoli are high in calcium. If you are plant-based, make sure to also keep lots of almonds, sesame seeds, navy beans and red kidney beans in your pantry. These foods are particularly high in calcium. With these foods in your regular rotation, getting enough calcium as a vegan supplement can be a breeze. Here are some quick vegan-friendly calcium staples to get you started: NOW Raw Almonds 454g Organic Traditions Black Sesame Seeds 454g Eden Navy Beans 822g Inari Dried Kidney Beans 500g If you are concerned about your calcium levels as a vegan, there are many plant-based calcium supplements that you may want to consider: Garden of Life Plant Calcium 90 tablets Platinum Naturals Coral Calcium 90 capsules Living Without Dairy With the numerous dairy-free products and supplements, it is possible to be healthy and nourished. Vegans need to strategically plan their meals and snacks so they are getting all their nutrients, but it can be done. If you are at risk of osteoporosis or osteopenia, you may want to speak with your healthcare practitioner to determine the best recommendation for you. Author Grace Tien is a dietetics and holistic nutrition grad. She creates sustainable, delicious meal plans to help clients with their health goals. Grace specializes in nutrition for healthy periods, you can find out more at @gracetien.ca on Instagram.