30 May 2016

How much calcium does a vegetarian need?

Please God
don't let them ever change their tins
Since we're not vegan, we're probably ok as far as calcium is concerned. I hope we are.  But one can never tell.

To be honest, Sonshine could live almost exclusively on pot noodles which satisfy our veggie requirements, but nutritionally you'd be better off chewing-down on the
plastic fork.

We eat quite a lot of dairy in our veggie quest - mozzarella, cheddar, yoghurt, cream, creme fraiche, fancy cheese, milk ... I love it all.

But how much should we be having?  I suspect that we might be having too much in the way of dairy, because I have barely lost a pound in weight since I started this about two months ago.

The NHS website says adults need 700mg of calcium a day.

Too much is reckoned to be about 1500mg of calcium per day and can lead to stomach problems and the squitters ( I can't spell dihorreah)

Not enough and you can get rickets and osteoporosis.  I remember when I was small, out shopping with my mother in darkest Airdrie in the 1970s, seeing bandy-legged elderly folks who had suffered rickets when they were young.  Probably the fault of war time restrictions. Or lack of sunlight.  It really WAS 'darkest' Airdrie.

I'm less worried about being bandy-legged than I am about turning into one of these frail bird-like old ladies who snap like twigs.  I have a fair ol' coating of fat, so am hoping that osteoporosis passes me by.

Am not taking any chances though ....

Good sources of calcium are:

* Dairy
* Leafy greens like spinach.  Eating spinach has the unfortunate side effect of making my teeth feel that they are in someone else's mouth.

Also, I am delighted to note that Lyle & Sons Treacle has 205mg of calcium in 100g of the stuff.  100g of spinach has 99mg.  Full fat milk has 113mg.

I know what I'd rather scarf down :-)


  1. Cultures that do not include dairy have lower rates of osteoporosis and hip fractures than those that do. For example, Okinawans have a hip fracture rate half that of North Americans. The best thing you can do to increase bone density is weight bearing exercise.

    Thirty-four out of every 100,000 Okinawans lives to be over 100, and enjoy lower heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis rates than Western nations.

    Okinawans have a diet that is very high in carbs, soy and white rice, and low in protein and fat.The average citizen consumes at least seven servings of vegetables daily, and an equal number of grains (in the form of noodles, bread, and rice - many of them whole grains). Add to this two to four servings of fruit, plus tofu and other forms of soy, green tea, seaweed, and fish rich in omega-3s (three times weekly). Sweet potatoes, bean sprouts, onions, and green peppers are prominent in the diet. Vegetables, grains, and fruits make up 72% of the diet by weight. Soy and seaweed provide another 14%. Meat, poultry, and eggs account for just 3% of the diet, fish about 11%. The emphasis is on dark green vegetables rich in calcium (Okinawans, like other Japanese, don't eat dairy).

    For more information, just google 'Okinawan diet and health' or something similar.

    All this to say -- if you eat a diet that is high in vegetables and fruits, moderate in grains and carbs such as rice and noodles, with some protein and fats, and you get a reasonable amount of weight bearing exercise, you are going to be very much better off than a sedentary person who eats the typical western diet.

    It's kind of funny that people on the western diet never seem to worry about getting the 'right' amount of nutrients (and in fact they often are not!) but when they bring their diet more into natural balance (though different to the standard western diet) they start to worry. Should have been worried before, now things are lining up right! :D

    1. EXERCISE??!?!?!??!!? All joking aside, you are absolutely right - it is only since we 'turned' that I realised that our diet as omnivores was probably not ticking all the boxes :-/ Sonshine had blood tests today, so hopefully we will find out by the end of the week where he is deficient <3

  2. Kale and Swiss Chard are good substitutes. Try Kale chips baked in the oven with Olive Oil. Not sure if Poppeye would be too happy:)

    1. Just toss them in olive oil and pop in the oven? Sounds interesting!