The Importance of Calcium

Growing up I was constantly reminded how important calcium is for bone strength and for a healthy diet. My mom asked me to drink a glass of milk every day or eat yogurt to make sure I was getting enough of this vital nutrient. Unfortunately, as I got older this became more difficult. Approximately 65% of humans have a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy. Most of these people are able to consume small amounts of dairy, but consuming too much can often result in abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, and nausea. In addition some dietary choices, like being vegan, necessitate the elimination of animal products from meals.

However, calcium is essential as we age, especially for women. About 8 million American women have osteoporosis, which is the development of pores in the bones which cause them to become very fragile. Women reaching or past menopause are at a higher risk since estrogen levels are dropping. Approximately 1 in 2 women over the age of 50 (nearly 50%!) will break a bone because of osteoporosis.

Good lifestyle habits including exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, but one of the most important things is to make sure you are getting enough calcium in your diet! The US Department of Health Services recommends 1,300mg per day for females ages 9-18, 1,000mg per day for females ages 19-50 (unless pregnant), and 1,200mg per day for females ages 51 and older.

So what calcium rich alternatives to dairy are out there?

  1. Non-dairy Milk: Almond milk, soy milk, and rice milk can be found at most grocery stores today and can be rich in calcium, especially if fortified. Calcium fortified almond milk contains 451mg of calcium per 1 cup serving, and just 90 calories. Calcium fortified soy milk contains 299mg of calcium per 1 cup serving, and 80 calories. Calcium fortified rice milk contains 283mg of calcium per 1 cup serving and 113 calories.
  2. Tofu: Tofu is made by extracting protein from soy milk, and is used as a popular meat substitute among vegetarians and vegans. With 1/2 cup serving tofu, you’re getting 434mg of calcium plus lean protein for 94 calories.
  3. Tempeh: Tempeh is essentially fermented soybeans compacted into patties and used as a meat substitute. With a 1/2 cup serving of tempeh you'll get 92mg of calcium, lean protein, and fiber for 160 calories.
  4. Edamame: These green soybeans are available fresh or frozen at most stores and make a great snack or addition to a meal such as stir fry. A 1 cup serving contains 98mg of calcium and 189 calories.
  5. Collard Greens: This leafy vegetable can be used as a wrap or cooked and served as a side dish. A 1 cup serving (cooked) contains 268mg of calcium and 63 calories.
  6. Spinach: Spinach packs a surprising calcium punch, delivering 241 mg in just a 1/2 cup cooked portion, making it perfect for salads or in smoothies.
  7. Okra: Okra is high in fiber, low in calories, and packs plenty of vitamins and minerals, including calcium. A 1 cup serving (cooked) contains 123mg of calcium and 35 calories.
  8. Broccoli: A 1 cup serving of this versitile vegetable contains 62mg of calcium and 55 calories.
  9. Arugula: Add some arugula in your next salad as a 1 cup serving contains 32mg of calcium and only 5 calories.
  10. Canned Fish: Canned fish is a great item to add to your grocery list- it's inexpensive and a great source of both lean protein and omega 3's. Per 3 ounce serving, canned sardines contain 216mg of calcium and 166 calories. Canned mackarel contains 205mg of calcium and 133 calories. Canned salmon contains 181mg of calcium and 118 calories.
  11. Dried Figs: Dried figs are a sweet snack that provides a small boost of calcium. A 1/2 cup serving contains 150mg of calcium and 186 calories.
  12. Fortified Orange Juice: Fortified orange juice is another beverage you can consume to increase your calcium intake- just watch the sugar content! A 1 cup serving contains 300mg of calcium and 117 calories.

Here is one of my new favorite smoothies that is loaded with extra calcium!

almond dream

TransFit Almond Dream Serves 1


  • 1 cup Vanilla Unsweetened Silk Almond Milk
  • 1 serving Chocolate protein powder
  • ½  frozen banana
  • 1 tsp+ cinnamon
  • 1 TBSP Chia Seed
  • 1 cup peeled & chopped zuchinni (keep these in freezer in chunks)
  • 12 almonds (should be 1/8 cup)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 5-6  ice cubes
  •  ** can add 1-2 drops Stevia liquid or 1 TBSP honey or 1 pitted date for added sweetness!

–Blend, Serve & Enjoy




It's Not Too Late to Jump Start Your January!

Many of you have already started setting your goals for the New Year and I'm so excited to see what you will accomplish in 2015! A healthy body,mind, and spirit can seem like an impossible goal to strive for, but you CAN DO IT and I would love to help! 

The first step is eating healthy, which is why I love to start off my year eating lots of fruits and vegetables. A fresh salad will give you the nutrients you need, energizing you to start the year off strong!


January Jump Start Salad


  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 oz goat cheese
  • ¼ cup  walnuts or sliced almonds
  • 1 bartlet pear, ripe
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds or craisins
  • ½ cup raspberries
  • ½ avocado (sliced and sprinkled with lemon juice)
  • ⅓ c olive oil
  • ⅓ c balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • pepper

Instructions:    In a jar with an airtight lid, shake the second set of ingredients. Toss with greens & other ingredients & top with cheese last.  Try toasting walnuts/almonds to bring out a rich flavor!  Adding grilled or baked chicken would a great added source of protein!

Exercise is the other main component of a healthy lifestyle, which is why I'm offering new January Jump Start Packages to help you reach your fitness and nutrition goals. Email me at transfitathens@gmail.com with questions.

And last but certainly not least, remember to come in for weigh-ins if you competed in the Holiday Extravaganza! The last day to weigh-in is this Friday the 9th! Get your $$ back, and see where you stack up against the others for cool prize packages.

Start 2015 off strong and you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish!