Why is Calcium important?
“Calcium is an essential nutrient as all living cells require calcium to remain viable; calcium is also required for a number of specific roles in the body.” (British Nutrition Foundation, 2005)
Not only is Calcium important for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth, but it also plays a role in muscle and nerve function, clotting blood and keeping your heart beating regularly. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, with the majority of it being found in the bone.
The RDA of calcium for adults in the UK is 700 mg/day, and the NHS suggests that “you should be able to get all the calcium you need by eating a varied and balanced diet.”
Sources of calcium
Many of us have been brought up in a world where milk and dairy products have been marketed as the best source of calcium. Whilst this could be true, there are a number of other foods which provide a sufficient amount of calcium.
We love this chart from Mind Body Green outlining some of the best sources of plant based calcium, check it out!
We particularly like these meal inspirations…
Why not try a bowl of Nairn’s Gluten Free Muesli with Chi Coconut Milk for a calcium packed breakfast?
Or this awesome Kale Salad with Edamame Beans and Tahini for a nutritional lunch or dinner? (Recipe below)
3 -4 cups raw kale, finely chopped
1/2-1 apple, chopped
1/4 cup craisins (or more to taste)
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
1/4-1/2 cup carrot, grated (I chopped mine in the food processor)
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped (or sliced thin)
1/2 cup edamame beans (can also use garbanzo beans-optional)
1/4 cup mixed sprouts (of choice-optional-I used clover)
1/3 cup tahini (well stirred)
1/3 cup water (more or less depending on how thin you want your dressing)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (may add a little more to taste)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2-3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon honey (more or less to taste, may use other sweeteners)
1 Place all the chopped and grated veggies, nuts, and sprouts in a large bowl. Add the edamame beans and/or garbanzo beans, if using.
2 Place tahini, water(start with less water and add more to get to desired consistency), lemon juice, garlic, salt and honey in food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. This makes about 1 cup.
3 Add desired amount of dressing to salad and toss to mix.
Dairy Free Eating
Have you recently discovered that you are lactose intolerant? Do you want to give up dairy for a healthier lifestyle? Are you wondering how on earth you’re going to live without chocolate and ice cream? Well don’t worry; we’ve got you covered with our “Guide to Dairy Free Eating.”
Becoming a “dairy free eater” may sound like the hardest thing in the world, but in 2014, there are plenty of options out there for people who cannot consume dairy, or who have decided to avoid it for health and ethical reasons.
Luckily, most supermarkets now carry a range of “free from” foods, which cater for both gluten and dairy-free diets. Although these “free from” sections are still quite small, it is a step in the right direction for dairy free eaters.
The best place to stock up on dairy free essentials is at stores like Planet Organic, Wholefoods or your local health food shop. They will usually carry a much wider range of “free from” foods, and will always have well-trained staff on hand to help with any queries you may have. There are also a number of great, online stores that offer a huge range of healthy brands, delivered right to your door. We particularly like Nature’s Healthbox (http://www.natureshealthbox.co.uk)
So, what should you add to your basket? Here’s some delicious, dairy free brands that we highly recommend:
For the chocoholics out there, Conscious Chocolate’s range of handmade, raw chocolate bars are to die for. Sweetened with agave nectar, and using only cacao butter and coconut butter to create a soft, creamy texture, these bars are heaven for the dairy free eater/vegan. (http://www.consciouschocolate.co.uk/)
For those of you that can’t live without the creamy, loveliness of ice cream and yoghurt, look no further than Coyo. Their gorgeous coconut-based (yay!) products contain zero dairy, and no added sugar! Bonus. (http://www.coyo.co.uk/)
Cheese lovers will be happy to know that Vegusto create a range of dairy free/vegan friendly “cheeses” made from a variety of “no-moo” ingredients, including nuts. (http://vegusto.co.uk)
Attention gym bunnies, beware of the ingredients in your protein powders, as a lot of them tend to contain milk/dairy! For a nutritious alternative, try Purple Balance’s Raw Protein Powders. (http://www.purplebalance.co.uk/)
And then there’s us! Here at Chi, we offer two, gorgeous, dairy free products; Espresso Coconut Milk & Chocolate Coconut Milk. Millie Mackintosh recently expressed her love for our Espresso drink, telling her Instagram followers that it was her latest “addiction.” It must be good! (http://www.chilondon.com/chi-products/)Chi will be launching a brand new, dairy free product very soon. Watch this space!
If you’re worried that you might be lactose intolerant, or allergic to dairy, check your symptoms here: https://www.nhs.uk/symptomcheckers/pages/symptoms.aspx and speak to your GP as soon as possible.