The Calcium Conflict, aka “The Chocolate Milk Excuse”

milkphotoAs parents, we are told from the minute our children are born that calcium is critical to our children’s health, and it is. However, what we aren’t told is that our kids can get calcium from many sources other than dairy. I, too, was  guilty of trying to get as many sippy cups of milk down my kids as possible; I even made them take “Milk Races” to see who could finish the fastest (they love reminding me of this!). This ended when I finally put two and two together on my own and realized my oldest daughter was very allergic to milk and dairy in general.

New parents live in constant fear of doing something wrong, and usually buy in to the “Milk, it does a body good” fan club as soon as their kids are off of formula or breast milk. However, times have changed as has our food supply, and milk does not do everyone’s body good. More and more children now suffer from chronic ear infections, constipation or diarrhea, constant runny nose, eczema, asthma and sleep issues from a very early age; many of these stem from or are related directly to dairy consumption. Most moms don’t realize that dairy is the culprit, as the possibility is never presented to them.

My favorite is when I hear parents argue that drinking chocolate milk daily is better than nothing because “their kids need the calcium”. Did you know that one carton of chocolate milk has more sugar than a can of soda?

Calcium comes from many natural sources. When we look at our children’s health, we need to consider bioindividuality: this means that all bodies are not created equally. Some of us can tolerate milk, caffeine, citrus and gluten; some of us can’t.  Modern research actually shows that our bodies don’t easily absorb the kind of calcium found in milk, so take some time to evaluate each of your children individually to determine what their body really needs.

Here are some alternative ways to get calcium into your kids’ bodies…and your own!

  1. Corn tortillas
  2. Beans
  3. Broccoli
  4. Spinach
  5. Kale
  6. Cabbage
  7. Carrots
  8. Cauliflower
  9. Almonds
  10. Pumpkin Seeds

For more great tips on how to change the way your family eats and lives, click here to get a copy of my latest book The Pizza Trap: Every Mom’s Guide to Breaking Children’s Dangerous Food Addictions, Ending Mealtime Battles and Building Healthy Habits for Life.

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