This is part 2 in my series about dairy: why to enjoy it or avoid it.
Most people, (including a lot of doctors, unfortunately), have big concerns with not having dairy (cow's milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, etc), because they're afraid we won't get enough calcium.
The milk industry has done an a-mazing job of convincing us all that it's the only way to get the calcium we need. I think "Got milk?" has to be one of the best food marketing campaigns of all time. We've been told it's the key to us + our children growing up with "big strong bones."
Dairy is one way to get calcium; but it's certainly not the only way.
And it turns out, calcium on it's own is not assurance to have strong bones and avoid osteoporosis. There was a Harvard School of Public Health study done with 80,000 women ages 30-55 over 12 years. They found no evidence that women who ate 1-3 servings daily of milk/cheese/yogurt reduced their risk of hip fractures (a standard measure of osteoporosis). And the women that had more than 3 servings also had no lower risk. This doesn't mean you don't need it at all, but it does mean that there's more to the bone-story than just calcium.
The study found that vitamin D is important in preventing fractures, and it also helps calcium absorption. Non-dairy ways to get this essential vitamin are with fortified almond/soy/rice milks, mushrooms, the sun in the summer and supplements. (This is the one I take.)
So back to the initial topic at hand - calcium. There a ton of non-animal-based foods to get it, including: kale, broccoli, edamame, sesame seeds, almonds, bok choy, collards, white beans, cauliflower and butternut squash. And there's more, but these are the highest - so many options + delicious ways to use 'em...
So don't let anyone calcium-guilt you into drinking milk!
PS. Did you get my 7 creamy non-dairy recipes cheat sheet yet? I'm giving you a different recipe for every day of the week, or one for the next 7 weeks ;) It includes high calcium foods like butternut squash, almonds and cauliflower!