Is almond milk a good source of calcium? {and a rant.}

In a nutshell: not really. Almonds are though: 100g of raw almonds will deliver about 260mg of calcium.

  • For healthy adults the recommended daily intake of calcium is in the range of 800 – 1000mg.
  • On average a 250mL cup of ready made almond milk will deliver 180mg of calcium.
  • In comparison, a 250mL cup of whole dairy milk will deliver about 300mg of calcium.

So we assume that dairy milk is a “good source” of calcium then don’t we?

When I say “good source” I am referring to the actual source of the calcium, not the amount of calcium in the source. I mean, yes of course I also focus on how much of a certain nutrient is in a certain food but only where whole foods are concerned and my sharper focus is on the food itself, not its constituent parts.

For fuck’s sake you can buy orange juice fortified with calcium and some will say “Oh that’s a really good source! My kids love orange juice, I can give them healthy oranges AND calcium.”

Erm, no it’s fucking not a good source of calcium. It’s pressed oranges (no fibre or other goodies in the actual flesh) from who knows where? Like are they even grown in Australia and if so were they the good oranges or the funky ones and were they stored in a big cold fridge for ages or juiced soon after picking? And then do they have sugar added and if so, what’s the sugar and what’s the preservative?: probably sulphur something which is highly indicated as a trigger for asthma attacks, head aches and other associated neuronal shit.

THEN you wanna know what is the calcium, something synthetic just sprayed in there? EWWWW.

So no, orange juice with calcium may appear to have a “good” measure of calcium per glass but it’s shit house quite frankly.

And to count on dairy milk as a source of calcium can be a mistake, IF you count on it solely. Too much dairy can be counter productive to the absorption of calcium as dairy is a food which lowers the pH of blood ~ it’s an acidic food.

I love it though and I eat and drink it, don’t get me wrong, I’m not dairy-bashing here, I’m just laying out some facts and thought provoking stuff.

So dairy lowers the pH of the blood which means that the body goes into action to raise it. How does it do this? Well one of the ways it does this is to put something base-y in the blood, something like the mineral calcium. Oh yes, we will draw on our bone stores of calcium in order to buffer the blood.

So we drink lots of milk to get calcium then we draw on our stores of calcium to buffer the acidic blood. Doesn’t seem to add up to milk being a “good” source of calcium IF we rely on it solely huh?

You may not drink a lot of milk but if you pour it over cereal or porridge, have a splash in a few cuppas across the day, a tub of yoghurt, maybe some cheese sauce on dinner or a cheese sandwich then a scoop of ice cream etc. etc. you can see how easily you can be consuming quite a considerable amount of dairy.

But back to almond milk…!

Alone it is not a good source of calcium, but it’s not going to have the same acid forming affect in the blood so there’s that: it will deliver its 180mg without taking any from you.

But calcium does need an acidic environment to be optimally absorbed. WAIT? WTF Katie? You just told me that an acid state of the blood is bad for my calcium stores, now you’re saying I need to have an acidic environment going on inside to absorb calcium??

Well the environment I’m talking about is the sites of absorption: your gut and your small intestine. You need good stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) and good protein digesting enzymes to break apart the protein rich milk and get to the nutrients that come with it. You also need vitamin D which stimulates the absorption of calcium.

Many people are deficient in vitamin D ~ we’re all inside these days and when we’re outside we’re freaking out about sun exposure so we’re covering up with sunscreen and clothing and as such, we’re missing out on the sun’s very own natural delivery method of vitamin D.

The sun stimulates vitamin D precursors located within our skin: we make vitamin D ourselves. We are very clever when left to our natural devices. But if we’re largely deficient in vitamin D then our ability to absorb calcium is in turn, largely compromised and we end up deficient in calcium also.

Fucking hell, I started out asking if almond milk was a good source of calcium and here I am talking about modern day lifestyle inflicted vitamin D deficiency. But it’s all connected.

It’s all bloody well tied up together because we’ve fucked it all up and if we didn’t need to know about the calcium content of almond milk vs. dairy milk I wouldn’t be here, there wouldn’t be a school that taught me how to discuss this as we’d just be eating all the good foods in the seasons that they’re naturally grown in and we’d be walking places and lifting things and using our limbs to move ourselves about. And there wouldn’t be the need for nutritionists or dieticians.

And all the cows would be eating pesticide free grass and producing non allergenic milk and we’d be drinking it without homogenisation and all its other nutrients would be in there too and we’d all benefit from it.

But we’ve mono-cultured the farms into barren, chemical wastelands and the cows get fed grains which make their flesh and their milk omega-6 heavy which is pro-inflammatory mind you and then we’re eating too much of the flesh and drinking too much of the milk and there’s fucking inflammatory diseases rife the world over and we wonder WHY??

Oh my GOD I could rage so hard about how fucked up it’s all gotten that I end up vomiting with the emotion of it all.

Just eat whole foods, eat less of the stuff that causes disease IF it’s over consumed and fucking exercise. It’s NOT rocket science because rocket science wasn’t even a THING back when we evolved out of the oceans and began eating food. It’s just normal, instinctive behaviour: to eat in keeping with what is available.

Oh, but hang on, what IS available? Meat and yoghurt. Yes of course we’re all instinctively eating from the supermarket. DER.

Well then let’s get the farmers up off their broke, sorry arses and give them their lives back and start buying fresh produce grown here, from close by if possible and eating LOTS of it.

But anyways, back to almond milk…

Look, it contains a pretty decent measure of calcium but there’s more to it than that. Always. The ingredients in almond milk can be a bit NO.

Here’s the ingredients list from a very popular brand, Almond Breeze:

Almond Breeze_ingredients

Yeah, NO.

Second ingredient is sugar. The calcium is a carbonate, not the best bio-available form (citrate is the best) and it’s got carrageenan, the seaweed-derived thickener which is still kinda not one hundred percent considered safe.

Here’s another, Australia’s Own:

Australias Own_ingredients

Ok so at least everything is organic, but there’s still agave syrup (which I have mixed feelings about) and a vegetable oil in there.

Here’s Pure Harvest:

Pure Harvest_ingredients

If I had to choose a store bought almond milk I’d choose this one as the sweetener is rice syrup which I feel better about that agave. It’s still got a vegetable oil in it though, but it is organic.

I guess the vegetable oils have to go in to keep everything a nice consistency else it’d be watery up top and gritty down the bottom: you know how when you make your own almond milk?

If you haven’t made your own almond milk I assure you it’s a piece of piss and as you’re not using industrial strength refining tools you’re likely to retain a lot of the nutrients of the whole almond. See when you blend them whole the nutrients in the skin get mixed into the liquid and even though you sieve it a lot will remain.

Also you’re never going to add vegetable oil or salt or seaweed thickening agent to it and if you do sweeten it you can choose from a variety of natural sweet things: maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, dates, vanilla, cinnamon etc.

Here, I wrote a post on how to make your own almond milk: read it!

So to summarise:

  • Almonds in themselves are a good source of dietary calcium.
  • Almond milk that’s ready made is a moderately good source of calcium but it does come with some dietary nasties.
  • Dairy milk contains a lot of dietary calcium but there’s more to the equation than its per cup measure.
  • We need to fight for our right to grow and eat our own food. We need to return the earth to her seasonal pull. We need to take our heads out of the sand and start accepting sad truths and then changing our behaviour to rectify them.
  • We need to eat less meat.
  • We need to get out in the sunshine and move our bodies.
  • We need to stop freaking the fuck out about how much of what is in what and just eat the good stuff and listen to our bodies.

~Yours in support of nature, K180, x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Hear, hear! Awesome post, i love it. I like how you describe the twisty paths our minds take too :)

  2. YES! Your blog makes me feel like fist-pumping! I’ve only just discovered it and I’m so happy that I did. I’m absolutely digging your no-bullshit messages, they’re freaking great! And as a student of nutrition science, they really resonate with me. Thanks for the motivation to keep smashing out my studies :)

  3. Thanks Katie!

    I have been wondering about all the pre made almond milks. I was told to cut back on dairy due to having gall stones and I actually quite like the flavour it gives my porridge but have worried about all the extras that get put in there.

    I found the Almond Breeze did not agree with me at all and once I get through the batch of So Good I purchased on sale I will be making my own!

    Surely if we spent less time agonising over everything we ate, we would have more time to get outside and soak up some Vitamin D!

Leave a comment

*