How To Get Your Calcium Without Dairy


I think yesterday’s post: Should We Be Eating Dairy, left a few people with raised eyebrows and skepticism, while other people were intrigued and wanted to learn more on their own. I had one reader comment that it is harder mentally to be against dairy because there is so much information EVERYWHERE about the importance of “3-a-Day.”

My best suggestion is to read some literature for yourself. I highly recommend reading The China Study and then forming your own opinion. If you missed yesterday’s post, I encourage you to get caught up now: Should We Be Eating Dairy?

I think the #1 question raised when people first learn about those avoiding dairy is, “how do you get your calcium?”  So in this post, I wanted to touch on a few quick points for a little more convincing and then give some examples of how to get your calcium WITHOUT dairy.

Dr. Allan Spreen, the author of Nutritionally Incorrect: Why The Modern Diet is Dangerous and How to Defend Yourself and a Senior Member of the Health Sciences Institute Advisory Panel in Baltimore, is another advocate for avoiding dairy, emphasizing that milk is not the great calcium source in which people may believe. A few key points from Dr. Spreen:

How do you feel about “no dairy???”
  • The high phosphorus content of milk actually interferes with calcium absorption.
  • The homogenization process that milk goes through makes calcium less absorbable by the body.
  • Milk does not contain enough magnesium in order to help with calcium absorption and prevent it from collecting in your kidneys and soft tissues. If you take a supplement, make sure it contains magnesium at a ratio of 1 part magnesium for every 2 parts calcium!!
  • Homogenization also breaks down an enzyme called xathine oxidase, which when entering the body in this broken down, smaller state, can react against our arterial walls causing the body to protect itself with a layer of cholesterol.
  • Baby calves were meant to grow at an accelerated rate, far faster than human babies, which is why there is so much fat and protein in whole milk.
  • Moderation with cultured and enzymatically altered dairy products is okay; kefir, yogurt, and cheese.


Now for a list of some NON-DAIRY Calcium Rich Foods:


  • Kale: 200 mg per 1 cup cooked
  • Spinach: 250 mg per 1 cup cooked: Combine with Vitamin C to cancel out the effect of oxalic acid which can block calcium’s absorption.
  • Collard Greens: 300 mg per 1 cup boiled
  • Turnip Greens: 450 mg per 1 cup cooked
  • Parsley: 200 mg per cup
  • Romaine: 40 mg per cup
  • Nori (Sea Vegetable): 1200 mg per cup
  • Broccoli: 178 mg per cup
  • Green Beans: 58 mg per cooked cup
  • Celery: 54 mg per cup
  • Sweet Potato: 70 mg per cooked cup


  • Black Eyed Peas: 210 mg per cup
  • Soybeans: 175 mg per cup
  • Almonds: 70 mg per ounce
  • Brazil nuts or Hazelnuts: 55 mg per 1/4 cup


  • Figs: 100 mg in 4 figs
  • Oranges: 70 mg per cup
  • Raisins: 53 mg per 2/3 cup


  • Salmon: 180 mg per 3 oz
  • Shrimp: 40 mg per 1/2 cup
  • Oysters: 60 mg per 1/2 cup
  • Sardines (canned): 370 mg per 8 medium

Hopefully this list makes you feel more confident about meeting your calcium needs without dairy products! 

The best place to look for ways to get your calcium is the produce section!!

QUESTION: Do you know anyone who has given up dairy? Would you ever consider it?



12 comments to How To Get Your Calcium Without Dairy

  • [...] highly recommend reading The China Study OR catching up on a few posts: Should We Be Eating Dairy, How To Get Your Calcium Without Dairy, Laury’s 6 Reasons To Avoid [...]

  • Thanks for the guide Erin! I don’t eat much dairy because of the lactose and how it upsets my stomach so I do try and make sure I get calcium from other sources. I’m bookmarking this for reference :)

  • I’ve found these last 2 posts great; especially as they’re written from a RD perspective. I read The China Study ages ago, and it makes sense in my mind. In fact, I went to a conference on Breast Cancer earlier on this year and researchers at the University of Bristol have found significant links between hormonal cancers and dairy products (but not so much with animal protein per se). The medical doctors as a result, recommend consuming moderate amounts of meat (like in China, for example) and limit dairy as much as possible.

    Whilst I am no longer vegan I defo limit my dairy; partly because of the above, partly because I’m not a massive fan, and partly because it gives me awful gas and constip… (sorry, TMI!).

    Happy friday!

  • these last two posts have been super interesting. it’s definitely something to think about. humans are the only mammels that continue drinking milk after infanthood – doesn’t that tell us something? we haven’t taken the no-milk plunge in this house (we both really love it), but ceratinly something to consider.

  • I love your posts these past 2 days!!! This is the information that people need to know! Dairy is bad…spinach is good!!!

  • One mad cow, lol.

    I love the calcium chews, is that awful?!

  • Great post! My coworker read the China Study and filled me in a bit. Very interesting.
    I think most of us put so much focus on the importance of drinking milk, when like you mentioned, there are so many other sources.

  • I haven’t given up dairy, but I eat very, very little of it (a little cheese here and there, a bit of yogurt as a condiment, and some ice cream now and then :) Coconut milk ice cream is our favorite alternative!)

    It never made sense to me that we, as humans, should drink huge amounts of cow’s milk, and it only got worse for me after I started breastfeeding and learned a lot about lactation. I don’t plan to transition my son to cow’s milk when I can produce perfectly good milk designed just for him, and I definitely find myself challenged on that decision often. It’s hard to make people understand when the 3-A-Day marketing monster is everywhere they turn!

  • Great Post Erin. I have been wanting to read that boom for awhile now. Need to get on that!

  • This is a great list, and a wonderful follow-up post, especially for skeptics of the info you shared yesterday. I am smiling because as I read it, I am devouring a big salad of kale, romaine, and other veggies! Ironic? ;)

  • Thanks for posting this! Ive never liked milk, so I get my calcium other ways. I worry about it occasionally, but Im pretty confident Im getting enough.
    I didnt know those facts about milk though. Very interesting.

  • i love that so much produce contains calcium! another reason to eat veggies!!

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