Some foods you THINK are good for you, but they aren’t!

I think we all know to lay off the Crisco, use less added fats to meals, and steer clear of processed foods as much as we can, but there are some foods that are touted (and erroneously labeled) as “healthy” that really aren’t all that good for you!  Have you fallen victim to any of these?

1. Juice:

Fruit juice, even if made from real fruit and not from concentrate, is full of sugar, and you are losing many of the vitamins and almost all of the fiber from the fruit which is one of the best parts for you.  If you make your own juice, you are all set, but almost all store-bought juices are not good for you.

2. Fish:

So, please do not get me wrong, I LOVE fish and the omega 3’s, 6’s, and 9’s that you get from fish are so great for you, the problem, just like when buying meat, is the source of the fish. When fish are farmed, there are heavy loads of antibiotics added to the water that they live in because so many fish are corralled in the farms, so to keep them healthy in less than optimal settings, they pump in antibiotics to keep them healthy, but we end up ingesting them when we eat the meat of the fish! Make sure to get wild fish and fish that are low in mercury.

3. Gluten-free:

If you have a gluten allergy, gluten-free snacks, breads, etc are the best thing that has ever happened to you, because you can finally purchase gluten-free staples for your diet which is awesome! For those of us who can tolerate gluten, make sure to read those labels; the gluten-free snacks may be highly processed and have lots of extra sugars to make it up for the lack of gluten in the products.

4. Granola/Granola Bars:

Not all granola is bad for you, but many of the commercial granolas have extra sugar and fats added, along with chocolate and other candies to make them taste yummier, whereas that all offsets the whole grain goodness and oats that is the basis of all granola. Make sure to read the labels and see what is added besides the whole grains, and see if any dried fruits have sugar-coating.  The best bet? Make your own!

veggie chips

5. Veggie Chips:

People tend to eat veggie chips thinking that they are eating a much better snack than regular potato chips, but unfortunately most of the brands of veggie chips that were tested were found to have a primarily potato base with small amounts of vegetable powder added as a supplement. I guess they are better for you than potato chips but they are not much better for you and they will certainly not help to loosen your belt loops at all!

6. Muffins

I have always said that muffins are just breakfast cake treats.  Even if you get a high fiber, all wheat/whole grain muffin, it is fiber/grains added to cake batter.  They may taste yummy and seem to good to be healthy, because they are! They are not low in fat or calories and you are better off grabbing some fruit, a smoothie, or oatmeal to start your day  rather than munching on a muffin.

7. Yogurt covered dried fruits:

Yogurt covered raisins are so yummy because the “yogurt” is actually dried milk with added fats and sugars to make them tasty. So, while you may be getting some nutrition from the dried fruit itself, that thick coat of yogurt more than offsets all of the goodness of this snack.  You are better suited just having some dried (or fresh) fruits, and adding them to your favorite yogurt, it won’t taste the same, but your body will appreciate the nutrition!

8. Vitamin/nutrient beverages: 

They are filled with sugars! Yes they do have essential vitamins and nutrients added, but the sugars added are pretty significant and that adds loads of calories to your day.  If you do really want one of these beverages, cut it with water to a 50/50 mixture and you will still be getting some sweet and some of the vitamins/nutrients but with way fewer calories and with more water!

Really the key is to read labels, not the packaging, and don’t be fooled by new trends! And follow that golden rule that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is; so stick to foods on labels you can pronounce and actually know what they are, it usually means the foods are less processed and better for you!

Yours in Good Health



Eat for Exercise: Nutrition is the key to success

It is kind of true “you are what you eat” especially when it comes to pushing yourself with exercise. I have many people that have joined me on the exercise challenges in the past few months, and I made comments about certain workout days being rougher due to poor diet the day before and that always brought on a slew of questions wanting me to clarify further, so I thought I would! Plus, it is crucial to eat correctly when pushing yourself physically, so that your body can work optimally, otherwise you put yourself at risk for overtraining and getting hurt or sick.

What should I focus on?

There are a few different schools of thought, and it does truly depend on your goals of working out.  For example, if you are looking to build large amounts of muscle, you will need to significantly increase your protein intake (lean proteins).  But, if you are someone who is doing a workout challenge, and the goal is to tone up and perhaps slim down, you want to focus more on endurance, so that your body is able to keep up the intensity with exercise, and you aren’t starving all of the time, but you are eating clean and healthy to maybe lose a few extra pounds.

You should start your day out right, whether you eat breakfast or drink it (in smoothie form) you really should include oatmeal: it is a complex carbohydrate that is full of fiber, so it is slow for your body to digest, and it helps keep your blood sugar at a steady level, so you don’t get a sugar crash, and it will help keep up your stamina for the day. So either eat oatmeal in the morning with some fruit OR add it to your smoothie. Smoothies are great because you can get your calcium from dairy, carbs from oatmeal, and your daily fruits all in one meal!

Oats, Flax, and Chia (all parts of my morning smoothie)

Oats, Flax, and Chia (all parts of my morning smoothie)

For a snack, eat either nuts or peanut butter, almond butter, etc to boost protein and despite a high fat content, it is good for you because it gives you the energy you need, satiates your hunger, and also gives you that boost of protein power. I like to eat peanut butter on celery or carrots to get my vitamins and nutrients from the vegetables and also get that extra bit of protein. You can also make a trail mix with dried fruits and nuts to boost your energy and get in some endurance boosting proteins.

Your lunch and dinners should consist of vegetables and lean proteins. Honestly, for people on the go, the Bolthouse Farms Protein shakes are a great alternative (the salted caramel latte is my FAVORITE), and what I normally drink for lunch; at work I rarely have time for a sit down meal so they help me to get my protein and a bunch of nutrients on the go!

The vegetables that help to boost your stamina are: red beets (I really don’t like them, but they have been shown to increase your muscle stamina), spinach (filled with fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and  calcium), green cabbage (filled with phytonutrients that fight off free radicals and help heal damage), watercress (full of Vitamin A, B, C, Iron, magnesium, and calcium), and pumpkin (has anti-inflammatory effects to soothe those hard worked muscles and fiber filled). But truly, as long as you get your favorite veggies in, and they aren’t laden with butter (use extra virgin olive oil instead), your body will be happy.

Lean proteins should also be included in your diet: fish (shellfish and regular swimming fish), chicken, quinoa, chia seeds, and beans. If you are looking to boost muscle mass, you can always eat your proteins atop a protein, like eating some black beans, and maybe using the alternative of a bed of quinoa instead of rice.

You should be getting carbohydrates from your veggies, remembering that the more colorful your plate, the more vitamins and nutrients you are getting, which is good for you! And, of course you can eat breads, but make sure that they are whole grains and eat veggies with your carbs (think toast with some avocado atop it for breakfast!)

The cleaner your diet, with more protein the night before your hard workouts, along with your 2 liters of water throughout the day, your body will feel strong, you will feel good about yourself, and you will have the stamina and endurance to get through your hard workouts. Eating things that are high in fats will not make you feel good, and your workouts will reflect that….that being said, everyone has a cheat day on their diet, just make sure to use those cheats sparingly and your body will thank you!!

P.S. Don’t forget to join the June Exercise Challenge on Facebook!

Yours in Good Health


Are you a part of the Clean Plate Club?

Growing up, I remember sitting at the kitchen table and staring at a plate of goulash, trying to mentally will it to go away….but my mother telling me I couldn’t leave the table without cleaning my plate because there were some children who didn’t have food. Ugh. I remember thinking, they wouldn’t want the goulash! But, when there were foods that I liked, I was in the “Clean Plate Club” in no time flat (I am a ridiculously fast eater for some reason.) But despite us not wanting to waste food, this may be a bad thing to teach children; it can cause some bad habits later on.

How can it be bad?

A few studies have been done recently to look at how often parents these days are actually pushing this “clean plate club” idea on kids, and the journal Adolescent found that 2/3rds of parents actually still push this idea on their adolescent and teenage children. When you encourage your children to eat based on how much you offer them, and teach them to eat ALL of the food, they learn to eat what is in front of them, and not to eat based on what their body is feeling and needing, or on satiety.  As portions seem to get bigger and bigger, and children are just eating what’s given to them, they are consuming more and more fat and calories than necessary.  They will consume more than their bodies need, and tend to gain weight over time. While they are growing quickly and hormones are changing, it doesn’t always take effect immediately, but it will lead to bad habits as an adult too. Also, the study (which looked at around 2200 children and 3500 parents) found that parents of overweight children, despite encouraging the clean plate club earlier on in life, started encouraging less food consumption (possibly under eat), while children that were skinnier were still being encouraged to eat large amounts (possibly overeat).  The Center for Disease Control has found that in the past 3 decades, childhood obesity has increased by 2 fold and adolescent obesity has tripled, and in 2010 alone 1/3 of all children were noted as obese.

healthy foodsIt is really important to teach portion sizes, but also healthy eating, and proper eating: fill your house with healthy foods and snacks, let them make the right choices.  If they choose to fill up on carrot sticks (even with peanut butter), great, it’s much better than potato chips! They can learn when they feel full on their own without parents hovering; sometimes pressuring them to eat more or less makes the situation worse, they can learn to eat on their own.  When they are growing, they will eat more because their bodies need the nutrition, and when it slows, so will their intake. As parents, we need to supply the healthy foods for them to eat, and to teach them to make the right choices.

So don’t push that clean plate club! Just push the healthy foods.  And sometimes having your child talk to their Healthcare Practitioner (HCP) or a nutritionist can help them to learn better food choices, if they are making poor choices on their own, and so they can also learn the long-term implications of poor eating habits. Regulate what they eat by making healthy food available, not by forcing, and you will have a better chance of them learning to eat healthy!

Yours in Good Health


Give me Liberte….or nothing!

I do love yogurt, but after living in the UK and getting hooked on real life Greek yogurt, it was hard to come back to the states and get a yogurt that compared with the consistency and flavor.  Honestly, I was a total Chobani convert, as that was the closest I could find, and I like it.  It wasn’t quite the same, but it’s decently priced, full of probiotics, and delish, so I was a pretty happy girl. But a few weeks ago, on my trip up to the Natural Food Market that I have to travel to for my raw milk, I was perusing the aisles and looking for some new products, mostly because I’m a nerd and that’s what I like to do, and a yogurt brand I had never seen caught my eye.  I saw a brand called Liberté, which is not local to me in New England, but from Colorado, and from a smaller company, as opposed to the larger corporations that usually sell yogurts nationally.  Of course I bought it in every flavor to give it a try!

LIBERTE What is Liberté?

It is a small family owned company that began in Montreal, Canada in 1936 as a kosher dairy farm and in the 1980’s changed their focus to yogurt, but still only using pure, clean ingredients, to make a pure product.  They now produce out of Colorado, and use only dairy products that are antibiotic and hormone free, certified, and from local resources. Plus, they do not use anything artificial at all in their products; their cultures are specific to their product and all yogurts are hand-processed. They use skim milk and real fruit, which makes this yogurt not only 100% real, but 100% amazing. It is almost decadent how delicious it is, and for 130 calories with 0 fat per serving? I’m sold! It truly has a perfect texture, so much like the Greek yogurt from Greece, and it just tastes so fresh.  Each flavor was really yummy, of course they have plain, but they also have five others: blackberry, blueberry, lemon, peach and passion fruit, and strawberry.  The price was slightly more than the large corporation equivalent, but for getting a pure and clean product, it’s totally worth it to me!  I must say, I am a huge fan of Greek yogurt, but they also make a Mediterranean yogurt that has a thinner consistency for those of you who don’t dig the Greek.

To clarify, I am in no way sponsored by Liberté, I just like to bring to you healthy products that are made in the freshest, healthiest, and least processed way.  Plus, supporting smaller companies that use local resources for their products is something that I feel very strongly about; if you know where your products come from, the better your chances of getting products that are clean without fillers or anything else not listed!

Give Liberté a try, and see if you can taste a difference form your regular yogurt. I have made the switch, and love every second of it! Go out and get some.

Yours in Good Health


A Secret to Healthy Eating: Cheating!!!

I was asked by a few readers about how I am able to eat healthy all the time, and how I have such willpower to forgo sugar laden or fatty foods all the time, and I realized that if that is the way I have portrayed myself, I need to apologize! I am a regular person, and I have the same cravings as anyone else….probably the strongest cravings for skittles and chewy candy of anyone on the planet! Yet, I still do consider myself a healthy person, because while I do give in every now and again, the rest of my diet is really clean, organic, and I make pretty decent choices (lean proteins, veggies, fruits, and lots of whole grains .)

How do you stay healthy amid cravings?

It is so easy to be having a stressful day (or a hormonal day!) and have your body tell you “eat massive quantities of chocolate (or insert most intense craving here)” so you find that food, eat it, and your brian is happy for a millisecond, then you feel slow, sluggish, gross, and sometimes regret eating it. Whereas, if you reached over that candy bar and grabbed some nuts, or a yummy (healthy) salad, you eat your healthy option and you feel light, satiated, and stronger for skipping that craving! Why wouldn’t you skip that craving? I get it though.  I have hungry hungry hippo days where I feel like I want to consume everything in front of me….including people’s appendages, if they aren’t careful.  But on those days, I do what almost everyone who eats healthy or is trying to lose weight does: I have a cheat! Now, a cheat day is what can separate those happy with their waistlines from those who aren’t; a cheat day is not when you give into your cravings ALL day, it is merely when you give yourself a little treat, a serving sized treat, not a couple of king sized Snickers bars and an entire bag of potato chips!

Hot Chocolate All day today I honestly felt like I could kill for chocolate, and despite being offered (close enough to smell) my favorite chocolate chunk cookies, I held strong, I stuck to the lunch I brought to work, ate my healthy dinner, and after getting a little work done, my big treat was a cup of hot chocolate.  It satiated my chocolate craving, it was warm and cozy on a cold night, and it helped to alleviate my stress as I drank it while cuddling with my puppies, doing my nightly mental recap on the day. It was low-fat, and it satiated my craving, plus it was a special treat for accomplishing all I needed to do today, and I only ended up drinking half of it, because a whole cup is usually too much for me, so there is no guilt whatsoever! So, it is a cheat, but it is also a treat for sticking to my diet and a job well done; if you can’t pat yourself on the back, no one else will!

Also, if you are really super craving something, have a snack like an apple (full of fiber but sweet) or a handful of nuts (if you are a salt craver) and drink a glass of water and wait 20 minutes. Sometimes you can trick your body to hit those sweet/salty receptors and stave off that craving with a healthy snack…then it is merely dealing with the mental part of it, where you just want to nosh on your favorite snack! Plus, sometimes cravings mean that you are missing something from your diet, like when I am craving spinach, I clearly have not had my fill of green leafy veggies, so that craving I feel like I can go over the top with. That being said, If you don’t give yourself that cheat, then you will end up splurging later…like I tend to do with veggies that I am craving, but I keep it in check and stick to serving sizes with things that are not as good for me.

Plus, I get my daily exercise in, and when I step it up and have much harder workouts, I know I have a caloric deficit, so a “fun size” serving of skittles won’t knock me over the edge or ruin my diet for the day. On days that I don’t work out, you are hard pressed to find me giving myself a “cheat” simply because I haven’t burned off those extra calories.

And remember, that you can do whatever you want with your daily calories, if that means eating three candy bars, french fries, or healthy meals throughout the day, it is your choice how to live and eat. I understand the cravings, but I urge you to see try the other side of eating because at the end of the day you need to feel good about yourself and your choices; seeing food as fuel and taking emotion out of it gives you a whole new outlook and it feels great. Try healthy alternatives to fatty snacks (see a cup of hot cocoa, or baking sweet potato french “fries”) and ditch the guilt at the door.  And the best? Having a friend that also opts for a healthy lifestyle that will urge you to snack/eat healthier instead of telling you to go for it with the bad food…but who also knows you gotta give in sometimes (just in moderation!)

Be healthy, makes choices that make you feel good, and allow you to live your life positively.

Yours in Good Health



Another reason to know the source of your food…

There have been numerous times that we have consumed products and then found out there were different additives or harmful substances present, which is usually due to a lack of adherence to regulations, or knowingly contaminate the product to make a larger profit.  This has recently become a rather hot issue is because of contaminated found in the UK, Ireland, and a few countries in the EU.

horse meat

What was the contamination?

Some rather large quantities of commercially sold hamburger (“beef”) meat in Ireland was tested for DNA, per regular testing standards, and meat that was labelled as beef was found to actually have the DNA of pigs and horses present.  The meat was found to have come from suppliers in France and Ireland that have then supplied major retailers such as Tesco (for Americans, Tesco is like Stop & Shop, Winn Dixie, or Ralph’s, a pretty major chain of grocers) which produces its own foods.  Since the contaminated meats were found at one source, they were traced back to the sources and the issue was found to be much more widespread.  Tesco products such as Bolognese sauces, lasagna, and other products have been contaminated with horse meat.  Not only is the pig and horse meat contamination an ethical issue for many people, but there are also certain religious groups (such as Muslim or Jewish groups) that don’t eat porcine products due to beliefs, which makes this a huge issue.

One of the other issues is that the horse meat was found to have phenylbutazone (also known as bute) present in it.  Phenylbutazone is a non-steroidal anti inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is used for short-term pain control in animals.  It has been banned in both the US and the EU due to issues of aplastic anemia which results from suppressed bone marrow, so your white and red blood cells are not adequately produced, to properly clot or fight off infection. Even ingesting these meats, which were found to be up to 60% horse meat that was contaminated with phenylbutazone, which can be absorbed by humans and cause this bone marrow suppression and anemia.

Up to 16 countries in the UK and EU that have been affected by this meat contamination, not to mention that these suppliers also sent contaminated meat to large fast food retailers such as Burger King in the UK/EU, thus numerous people have been exposed to these different meats and the phenlybutazone. If you think you have been exposed, you should go to see your Healthcare Practitioner (HCP) and get assessed, but you should know that they are currently making the statement that ingesting these small amounts of the drugs through horse meat is presumed to not have an impact on your health, but it truly is unknown. If you feel unwell, and have been at risk, it is best to see your HCP and get checked out, especially if you have any other medical issues.  For a list of affected foods check here.

Another reason to eat local and support local agriculture when you can, you know what kind of meat and the source!

Yours in Good Health


Should I take Vitamins?

I am asked frequently who should take vitamins, and by frequently, I mean on a daily basis.  And there are certain subsets of people who should take vitamins, and for others it’s a complete waste of money.  Many times people tend to take more vitamins and supplements than is really necessary.

Should I be taking vitamins daily?

Vitamins and other supplements can be really pricey, and not really worth the price tag. Most of the vitamins and supplements that you find are not FDA tested to ensure that the claims on the labels actually match what is inside of the product, even commercially sold vitamins, are not approved.  Most of the time, if you really need to be on a vitamin supplementation, your Healthcare Practitioner (HCP) will write you a prescription for it, then you know that the amount of supplement you need is what you are actually getting.

Truly the only people who should be taking vitamin supplementation are people who have a malabsorption disorders:

Chron’s disease, Irritable Bowel Disorder (IBD), Celiac Disease, lactose intolerance, severe food allergies, bariatric surgery (gastric bypass), pancreatic insufficiency, hypothyroidism, Addison’s disease, among other issues.

Also, if you are pregnant, you should be taking prenatal vitamins, folic acid, and iron supplementation to ensure that your fetus is getting adequate nutrition, and your HCP will order these for you so they are FDA approved supplements.

vitamin veggies
If you have a truly poor diet, where you really don’t eat fruits and vegetables,even in juice form, and eat fast food on the regular, then you should probably take vitamins, but if you eat a regular diet, get in fruits and vegetables, then you really don’t need to take any sort of supplementation. It’s just a waste of money. Most of the vitamins and nutrients that are found in supplements can be added to your diet through adding a few fruits and or veggies a day to your diet. I think of my morning smoothies as my vitamins: jam-packed with 4 different fruits, of various colors, which basically gets me all I need for the day (but good thing I add in other fruits and veggies during the day.)

I’m not saying you all have to be smoothie converts, but it actually ends up being cheaper for you to add some fruits and veggies to your diets, and ditch the pills!

Yours in Good Health



An alternative sweetener and a yummy fruit?

This may sound a little too good to be true, and not everyone will be a fan, but there is a fruit that is grown locally in Peru that is full of nutrients, and can be eaten as a fruit, then when dried, used as a sweetener.

What is this fruit?

The fruit is called lucuma (or a lucma at times.)  It’s full name is the Pouteria lucuma, and is primarily grown in Peru and Chile as they need to grow in altitudes between 1,000-2,400 meters, and in warmer weather.  They can sometimes be called “eggfruits” because the flesh of the fruit is the consistency of a hard-boiled egg, but don’t let that turn you off from trying it, because the flavor has been described as everything from caramel to maple, sweet potato to pumpkin. I know, not what you normally expect from a fruit, and due to the consistency (I am a very tactile eater) I don’t want to jump right in with a spoon, but it is quite tasty added to smoothies, and in ice cream (on its own as a flavor or when mixed with vanilla.) Yum! And besides its unique flavor, it is full of vitamins and nutrients: calcium, Vitamin A (beta carotene), Vitamin B3, iron, and zinc. And as an added bonus?  It has fiber and antioxidants in it!

lucumaHow is it used as a sweetener?

When the flesh of the lucuma fruit is dried, then ground into a powder, it still contains all of those vitamins and nutrients, and because of the inherent fruit sweetness (fructose), it is still sweet when dried and ground.  It is a low glycemic index food, which means it adds the sweetness, but it does not have a huge impact on your bodies insulin levels (with a surge up then crash like sugar.) It is a different kind of sweet than straight sugar cane sugar, so it cane take some getting used to, but I quite enjoy the different flavor that it has, and if you are looking to cut out sugar from your diet but still have some sweet in your life, it is a great option!  And it is an option for diabetics too.  And you can use it in anything that you would normally sweeten: smoothies, ice cream, coffee/tea, and when baking!

These fruits can be hard to find outside of Peruvian/South American specialty stores, but if you are lucky enough to find one, give it a try.  And, you can find lucuma powder at any health food store and many organic stores.  Try it and let me know what you think!

Yours in Good Health


The Benefits of Raw Milk

People think I am bonkers for my obsession with raw milk and raw dairy products, and there is a lot of fear about drinking raw milk, and I think that is due to people not really understanding what it is and all of the benefits.  I will not lie and say that there are no risks, because there are, and some people with immunocompromised systems (due to illness, chronic disease, and/or medications) that should probably not drink raw milk, and those who are pregnant should always err on the safe side and only ingest pasteurized food.

What is Raw Milk?

Raw milk is milk that is not pasteurized. The pasteurization process that involves heating the milk to a temperature, for a length of time and then immediately cooling it; this diminished the amount of pathogens (viruses and bacteria) present, and makes it safer to consume, although there still are some present, and an expiration date.  Raw milk from cows that are fed a clean antibiotic and hormone free diet, is a completely balanced diet in itself, with proteins, probiotics, and other vitamins and minerals.  There are some true raw milk fanatics that solely live off of raw milk.  I am not that person, but it can be done!

Raw MilkWhat are the Benefits?

As I referenced before, Raw Milk has a lot of protein in it, in the form of amino acids (the building blocks of protein for our bodies.) There are 8 amino acids present in raw milk, some of which aid the body in absorbing and binding iron, others have anti-viral properties, and anti-microbial properties (some specifically to kill off bacteria that can cause cavities!) And, while it does have carbohydrates in the form of lactose present, many who are “lactose intolerant” are able to tolerate Raw Milk because it has the bacteria lactobacilli bacteria, which breaks down the lactose, so your body doesn’t have to!  It also has saturated fat in it, which I know is not usually thought of as good for you, but it helps to trigger the satiety response; you feel full faster and tend to eat less. It is also full of vitamins and minerals, including lots of calcium, to make for a healthy a vitamin packed snack. Also, because it isn’t pasteurized, it is full of probiotics (active bacteria that are beneficial to your health.) All the vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, probiotics, and cholesterol, this is a full day of good stuff in a glass!

What are the Risks?

Because Raw Milk is not pasteurized, there is a risk that some harmful bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria, or E. Coli can be present in the milk.  If they are present, then you are at risk for those infections, which can cause stomach cramping, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and can require hospitalization for severe dehydration treatment.  This is why people who are immunocompromised from age, chronic disease, or medications AND pregnant women and young children should steer away from Raw Milk.  Really this is the biggest risk.  There have been numerous people who have gotten sick from Raw Milk in the past, and the risk is highest when the cows are not grass-fed and if they were fed foods with hormones and antibiotics. If they are not grass-fed, and free ranged, there is a risk that the cows can be infected from the food and exposure to the bacteria in feces.

Raw Milk production is very highly regulated, and it is illegal in some states, and very strict rules in others, so my personal opinion is that the risks from Raw Milk are very low, and I have been strictly drinking Raw Milk for 4 years, with no issues. It tastes fresh, delicious, and it adds a nutritional benefit to my morning smoothies, tea, etc. I am not the kind of person who used to sit down with a glass of milk normally, but I started once I began drinking Raw Milk. The pasteurization process with traditional milk found in stores, kills off  not only almost all of the probiotics, but a lot of the vitamins and minerals are lost, along with some of the amino acids. If you are interested in giving it a try, you can check out the regulations by state.  You will feel better, absorb more calcium, and look better too; the less processed foods you add to your diet the better!!

Yours in Good Health


How to add calcium to your diet!

I know a lot of people that are lactose intolerant, or just tend to really dislike dairy, and want to add more calcium to their diet. Calcium adheres to the bones and helps to prevent osteoporosis. It can be a bit tricky to know how much you might need to eat of various foods to get the amount of calcium that you need each day. Calcium is also a bit of a tricky supplement to take because you need vitamin D to absorb the calcium, without vitamin D, you only actually absorb about 10-15% of the calcium you ingest.  Vitamin D can be taken in supplement form but the best way to get Vitamin D?  Spend 30 minutes in the sun, outside of the most intense sunlight times (10am-2pm) with only light sunscreen on (and it’s best absorbed without any on).

How much calcium do I need?

From the ages of 10 to 20 your body absorbs the most calcium to the bones, and slows significantly after the ages of 30. It is suggested that the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)  for the ages of 9 to 18 is 1300mg, ages 18 to 50 is 1000mg, and ages 51+ is 1200mg per day. If you think that an 8oz serving of yogurt has around 400mg of calcium, and an 8oz glass of milk has around 350mg, cheese has about 300mg per 1.5oz serving, eating three servings of dairy, really help you to hit that RDA for calcium.  If you can’t tolerate dairy, or just don’t like it, fear not, there are other ways to get in enough calcium, you just need to pay attention to your diet.

milk, muesli, beans, tahini..sources of calcium!

milk, muesli, beans, tahini..sources of calcium!

How do I get my calcium on?

The good news is that we live in a world full of fortified foods, and soy, almond, and coconut milks all have around 300mg of calcium in an 8oz serving, as does Orange Juice fortified with calcium.  One serving of beans (1/2 cup) gives you around 100mg, 1/4cup of almonds (in any form) adds 80mg, and green leafy vegetables are chock full of calcium (1 cup of uncooked kale/spinach/etc has about 200mg).  And, if you are really into sardines, you are really in for a surprise, 8 medium-sized canned sardines has 370mg of calcium! And for all of you tofu lovers, 1/2 cup of tofu has 270mg of calcium.  Your after dinner treat of frozen yogurt? 100mg of calcium.  So pay attention to the foods you eat, most likely you are getting a good amount of calcium, and remember that most cereals and breads are fortified with calcium, so read the labels.

What else can I do?

Remember that your body can only really absorb a maximum of 500mg of calcium at a time, so if you are taking supplements, be aware of that!  Remember to get your sun for the Vitamin D to aid in absorption of calcium into your bones. Also doing low weight-bearing exercises, lifting low amounts of weights, ankle weights, helps to strengthen your muscles around your bones and keep the calcium in your bones instead of stripping off.  Too much calcium can cause some bad things, so make sure just to get the approximately the amount that you need! So get that calcium in and strengthen those bones!!

Yours in Good Health