I recently had the pleasure of being invited to speak to some “smallest winner” participants at my local YMCA. The smallest winner is a weight-loss and weight-training program, but also focuses on lifestyle, which is where people like me come in! I was invited in as the expert vegetarian, since it’s something I’ve done for so long. And you know what, I'm very happy wearing that hat! I found the people I met to be very inspiring and interested. I spoke to the group for about half an hour, then we played a game. I handed out blank pieces of paper and asked them to write down different ways they thought vegetarians got their nutrition. We talked about where vegetarians get protein, healthy fats, calcium and whole grains.
Today I’d like to share with you how I like to get calcium! This list is not complete, so feel free to add your two cents to the comments! But here is a start: leafy greens (kale, spinach, dandelion greens, bok choy), broccoli, sesame seeds (!), tofu, peanuts, peas, black beans, baked beans, blackstrap molasses, corn tortilla, fortified orange juice, almonds and almond milk. The milk industry would love to have us all focus on milk for calcium, but there are a lot of great non-dairy options out there to explore, without any of the side effects. And remember, it’s far more important to think about your diet as a WHOLE, rather than just focusing on individual nutrients. If you are eating a well-balanced meal, you’re very likely getting what you need. And it all else fails, just eat tons of kale chips!