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Calcium and iron on a vegan diet

Got milk?

My bodily situation forces me to have a vegan diet (and the unhealthiness of the substance formally known as 'milk', as well as the extreme cruelty of the dairy farming industry would probably lead me to be vegan even if I could digest milk). So, some people may ask: "how do you get your calcium and iron?"

The answer is not: "you must eat dairy products!", or "you must take this kind of supplement!".

The dairy industry has long perpetuated the myth that calcium is only available from milk (much like the meat industry has perpetuated the myth that the only way to get protein is by eating lots of meat). It is a testimony to the power of advertising that we believe these seemingly "universally acknowledged truths". Calcium is, in fact, available from a variety of vegetables, in much greater quality and quantity than it is present in milk.

Taking a supplement is also not the answer. The body and different types of foods work as an integrated system, each supporting each other. So, just popping a pill with the necessary mineral simply results in that substance passing through the body, unabsorbed.

You can eat as much calcium as you like, but without doing any exercise it won't be absorbed into your bones. Without exercise calcium goes into your joints instead. The result: stiff joints (arthritis) and weak bones (osteoporosis). Calcium supplements have also been shown to increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and kidney stones.

Moreover, Calcium dependents on vitamin D and magnesium to aid its absorption. The best way to get vitamin D is to spend 5 - 10 minutes in sunlight every day (without sunglasses or sunscreen). The best way to get magnesium is to eat seeds, nuts and whole grains. So, calcium, magnesium, exercise and sunlight must be taken together in order for the calcium to be absorbed (as explained in greater detail in these videos). Calcium and protein, however, do not go well together. People who consume too much protein also absorb less calcium, especially if the two are taken together.

Interestingly, however, calcium and dark fruit juices inhibit the absorption of iron in the body. To help the absorption of iron, vitamin C is required. Great sources of vitamin C are lemon or orange juices.

On the other hand, dark fruit juices (like red grape juice) are good for removing toxins in the food. So, when eating food which is unhealthy or full of pesticides (basically anything non-organic), it is a good idea to also take some dark fruit juice with it in order to remove at least some of the toxins.

So, everything works together in a web of interrelation and support. There are no quick fixes. A holistic healthy lifestyle is required.

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  • Hugo Bain 30/06/2008 8:10pm (10 years ago)

    It's funny that KC Sena used the word retarded. That's pretty much how I summed up his post. If anyone can translate that mess he calls English can they explain what he said.

    On topic, I find dairy essential to my diet as a vegetarian. I'm sure nutrients can be found in other sources, but to use Candidas' own words: "everything works together in a web of interrelation and support". Hence some dairy in addition to other food types is the best way for a healthy diet.

  • Mother Gandhari dasi 27/06/2008 7:01pm (10 years ago)

    Dear Candidas Prabhu,'

    We understand about the lactose intolerance. That is NOT only because of the Bad Milk. According to Ayurveda, All kinds fo diseases occur because of unhealthy lifestyle and accumalation of Ama (toxins) in the body from various sources - like environment, diet, lifestyle, stress etc. NOT only Bad Milk.

    Your lactose intolerance can be taken care of with Ayurvedic Regimes, Cleansing and better lifestyle & diet etc. In Ayurveda it is mentioned that when a person gets up later than after Brahma Muhurta, the feces in his body hardens and the toxins from that enters the blood stream. Thus all kinds of diseases. That is only one example of disease condition of humans. I will not go into more.

    The principal of YOUR support and Validation of Veganism (Which is Anti -Vedic) and Anti - KC - if MILK and left out of KC philosophy because you being a devotee have much higher principals than all Vegans who are NOT devotees - is the POINT.

    Just recently I hear a talk by betweent Sivarama Swami and Romapada Maharaj (I believe at New Vrndavan 24 hr Kirtan Fest - the tape is on Siva Rama Maharaj's website called Varnashram) expressing remorse that Australian people are becoming Vegans. So what are logical solutions towards bringing in the Vedic Arguments towards milk based diet knowing well that Milk and is polluted.

    As devotees, we need to make awareness towards Cow Protection and getting better quality milk instead of avoiding milk (pure) completely. Introducing Ayurvedic Principals and teaching along with scientific Principals of Bhakti yoga of rising early etc. may be the solution to Veganism.

    Without Milk, the Fine Nerve Ending of the Brain do not develop to understand Fine Spiritual Matters - So many times Srila Prabhupada has mentioned this. So this is NOT a personal attack but bringing up a point towards solutions against Veganism.

    Beg your pardon for any offenses.

  • Candiddasa dasa 26/06/2008 11:07pm (10 years ago)

    Look, the fact is my body can't digest milk (yes, even if it has herbs in it) and it is also a fact that cows (yes, even "organic" ones) are being tortured throughout their lives and killed prematurely for ("organic") meat. Those are two very good reasons for ME to be vegan. You can do whatever you like.

    This isn't an attack against all milk and it isn't contradicting Prabhupada. Why take is so personally? I'm simply giving some nutritional tips for those in a similar situation to mine (the numbers of lactose intolerant people are greatly increasing, by the way. Undoubtably, in part, because of the impossibility of obtaining pure milk).

  • K.C sena 26/06/2008 10:50pm (10 years ago)

    Please dont let any gross/subtle retardation spill over into what is a spiritual solution milk!!!!!!!!!! Milk, would have to be just that like every 1 knows of Srila Prubhupadas quotes so it is to me simple, like the way i preach it is as such:
    3 steps forward 2 steps back (karma-wise) as with anything nowadays nothing is "good" i don't care if it is subtle or gross or whatever way its divorced from the spectrum of argument it's beyond argument that milk increases those 4 things...Kali Yuga will act on blah blah blah Hare Krsna.
    A hell of a lot of people are innocent so when they drink any mother cow's milk 4 good or 4 bad it's always...... better...... in the above sense.
    So what about trying another go at it Prubhu???
    i know the poor bastards in the cow bodies are suffering like hell, only Yajna can really help em anyway, so why not anyone care to cont the thread?

  • Mother Gandhari dasi 26/06/2008 6:43am (10 years ago)

    Dear Chandidas, I understand the Milk is very polluted by the Dairy industry presently. But alternatively there is NOW organic Milk available in the market places. In Ayurveda, Milk is highly recommended and it nourishes all the elements of the body. There is special way to taking milk as you may know. One must boil the milk first with herbs like cardomon, saffron, cinnamon, nutmeg and or tumeric powder for better digestion. If it is still too heavy, then to dilute is with water and then boil it and froth the milk which makie is very light and easy to digest. Milk develops the FINE BRAIN nerve ending of the Brain tissue to understand spiritual subject matter. Milk calms the nerves and it has many other benifits. Sukadeva Goswami used to stay at a householders place until the cows were milked and he would take a little milk and then leave. that is how he nourished himself. So instead of avoiding milk completerly from a diet, we should find organic milk and create awareness of the atroucities happening to mother Cow at the present day. Vegans take a lot os soya in their diet, but in the Indian continent, Soya is used for animal feed. Besides the soya, that Vegans use is very much processed, so how can one call it food. Even an innocent looking tofu is so much process with citric acid, that it may create harm to our system from prolonged use of tofu. So let us make awareness of importance of Cow protection and stop the killings of cows. Because Srila Prabhupada had said that as long as there is Cow Killing, there is going to be wars. These two are veyr much connected. So I hope you understand my point. Ayurveda is an ancient science and it recommends, Ghee and milk for healthy living.
    Ys M. Gandhari dasi

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