Calcium the Veggie Way

Perhaps the strongest argument against dairy products in our diet: lots of us are lactose intolerant. Those lactose-intolerant folks, who don’t digest dairy well, are continually barraged with information that makes them believe they will lose their bones if they don’t consume dairy products in some way. They may be better off without it.

You do not need dairy products to get sufficient calcium if you eat a healthy diet. All unprocessed natural foods are calcium-rich; even a whole orange (not orange juice) has about 60 mg of calcium.

Government health authorities advise us to consume 1,500 mg of calcium daily. This is a tremendous amount of calcium. So much is recommended because of all the factors mentioned above. Even this high level of calcium will not prevent osteoporosis, but in a population with so many factors that cause osteoporosis, the extra calcium will make the negative balance less negative and partially slow the rate of osteoporosis. However, the only way to prevent osteoporosis and have strong bones is to exercise and to stop the causes of high urinary calcium excretion.

Since bok choy is packed with calcium, give these recipes a try:
Bok Choy and Bean Medley
2 pounds bok choy, chopped
1 15-oz can no salt pinto or kidney beans
1 15-oz can no salt aduki (adzuki) beans
1 cup prunes, soaked in water (just to cover) for at least 1 hour, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 cup lightly toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds
Including the prune soaking water, saute' the first six ingredients for 10 minutes. Before serving sprinkle toasted nuts over top. This may be served as a side dish or over brown rice, quinoa or bulgar for a main dish. Serves 6.

Doubly Delicious Greens
1 large bunch bok choy, chopped
1 large bunch Swiss chard, chopped
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (no salt)
2 cups shiitake and/or baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning
Place bok choy, Swiss chard, onions, and garlic in a large steamer and steam until almost tender, about 10 minutes. In a large pot add tomatoes, mushrooms, steamed greens mixture, and seasoning. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serves 8.
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