Making the switch to dairy free is not as easy as just avoiding dairy. Just as with any restrictive diet, you have to make sure that you still get enough nutrients. One of my major concerns is that I'm not getting enough calcium. I had a hard time shaking the image of my bones and teeth crumbling because I don't get enough calcium. So, that prompted me to do some reading, and I was surprised to find out just how much our bodies need calcium! We need calcium not only for strong bones and teeth, but also for proper vascular, muscle, and nerve function as well as proper hormone secretion. GREAT! Now my bones are going to crumble and my blood vessels, muscles, and hormones aren't going to work right too! Oh, and if you're like me and enjoy soda... it kinda works against you because it actually leeches calcium from your bones. Ugh! Well I found out that the
average woman needs 1,000 mg of calcium a day according to the National Institute of Health (NIH). Most people get that through dairy products. So, where do you get it when you can't have dairy? The best way to get any kind of nutrient is through the food you eat, and there are plenty of non dairy foods that have calcium. Spine Health and the National Institute of Health (see above link) have some suggestions. Vegetables like broccoli, kale, collard greens, and okra are good sources as are foods like tofu, and fortified cereals and juices. You may want to consider a supplement if you are not getting enough calcium from the foods you eat. While Calcium carbonate might be easier to find and cost less, it relies on stomach acid to be absorbed, so it's better to take with food. Calcium citrate is easily absorbed and may be a better option for people with inflammatory bowel disease or absorption disorders (NIH). Seeing as how I don't care for kale, greens, or okra... I'm probably going to need a supplement. Vitamin aisle, here I come!