I think this is the word of my....lifetime? I swear it's all I hear.
"Oh my gosh. You don't drink milk? Your bones are gonna turn to dust!"
Aaaaand I resist the urge to roll my eyes and possibly stick out my tongue in a childishly petulant manner.
Everyone these days (everyone as in women) seem to be so preoccupied with getting enough calcium so when they get older, there bones don't crumble away. Remember when I mentioned the dreaded misconceptions that are fed to us day in and day out? Well this is one of them. Dairy will not guarantee healthy bones and teeth. I grew up with lots of dairy yet I have problems with my teeth.
The simple truth is: this paranoia is only getting the milk people paid and is not making healthy strong bones. Best example of how we don't need dairy. In Africa and Asia, dairy intake is extremely low, in some places unheard of. North America and Europe consume the most dairy compared to the rest of the world. Who do you think has higher rates of osteoporosis? If you guessed North America and Europe you're right.
Osteoporosis is virtually non existent in most parts of the world where dairy consumption is very low. So, you do the math.
Now I don't discount the need for calcium. It is an important part of our daily nutrition, but just like every other health fad, in the end, we all find out too much is just as bad as nothing at all.
Being pregnant definitely asks for more diligence when it comes to calcium. What ever you don't take in, the baby will suck it out of you until it needs no more, possibly leaving you with not enough.
Great ways to increase your calcium intake the green way.
- Eat lots of dark greens. They are a great source of plant based calcium.
- Drink calcium fortified beverages such as soy, rice, almond, or coconut milk. Be careful with soy milk. A lot of processed and pre-prepared foods have a lot of soy product in them. Too much soy isn't good for the thyroid. My fave alternative is rice milk for hot or warm uses. Coconut and and almond milk I find are better when left cold. Variety is good. I always have one of each in my fridge. If you don't like the taste of these milks, try them in vanilla, it makes a world of a difference but still allows the milk to be versatile.
- Avoid!!! Caffeine. A lot of people are worried about putting calcium into their body, when they really should be worried about keeping it in. Caffeine is the worst for making your blood acidic. So to balance your pH levels, your body will actually leach the calcium from your bones. So now, you have that coffee you had in the morning and the baby taking calcium from you. Talk about a double whammy for your bones. Avoid chocolate (reduce it at least, who can avoid it while pregnant?), cut down/eliminate your coffee and caffeinated teas intake, and stop drinking pop (soda) such as Coke and Pepsi. There's really nothing good in there for you. Gingerale is your best friend if you can't let go of the bubbly. If you rely on coffee to get you going, try other natural alternatives such as; eating an apple in the morning, washing your face with an invigorating face wash, lukewarm showers, eating a proper breakfast, or going to bed earlier and waking up earlier to give yourself enough time to work your way out of bed.
- Find a natural (non synthetic), plant based supplement. Natural food stores should carry this in their supplement section. I use a German brand called Salus by Salus-Haus. They have many good, natural products. I use their Calcium Magnesium, with Zinc and Vitamin D Liquid Formula. It tastes OK. It looks gross but it's sweet as it's derived mostly from fruit extracts. It can be a little pricey (where I get it from, a 500ml bottle costs around $47.00 at 30ml dose/day) but it's worth it. It's as close as you can get to actually getting the calcium from real foods, just more efficiently. And it's Kosher too!!
I find that these four ways to get your calcium is more than enough. I meet my daily required intake values, and maybe even more on some days. If you decide to take a supplement, don't use it to replace eating real food. Supplements are meant to help fill in what's missing, not replace it. Also, always take it with food, your body will absorb the supplements better that way.
***Remember, always consult your primary care provide and/or a nutritionist before taking any supplements other than ones that are specifically made for pregnancy. I am not a nutritionist or doctor. This is what I do based on the information from my own personal research and the information my nutritionist and midwife have given me. Every one is different. I put the ideas out there so you can ask the questions.