No dairy? Need calcium? No problem!

It’s a scenario that has become more common to many of us. You have just found out that you or a loved one cannot eat dairy. So many questions and fears arise, with one of the most common fears being unable to get enough calcium from your diet.

It’s a scenario that has become more common to many of us. You have just found out that you or a loved one cannot eat dairy.

So many questions and fears arise, with one of the most common fears being unable to get enough calcium from your diet.

Without dairy in your diet where do you get calcium? Can you get enough calcium to be healthy?

The answer is YES.

It is true that dairy products have a large amount of calcium in them, however, you can absolutely get enough from non-dairy sources as well.

So how much calcium do you need?

It varies depending on your age, gender and whether a female is pregnant or breast-feeding.

If you are a male or female (who is not pregnant or nursing) between the ages of 19 – 51 years old, it is recommended that you get 1200mg of calcium per day.

For women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or postmenopausal, the calcium requirement increases to 1500mg per day.

Below is a quick comparison of some dairy and non-dairy sources of calcium you can integrate into your daily diet.

Dairy foods that contain calcium include:

• 8 ounces of plain low fat yogurt = 415 mg

• 1.5 ounces of partly-skim mozzarella cheese = 333 mg

• 1.5 ounces of cheddar cheese = 307 mg

• 8 ounce of non-fat milk = 299 mg

• 1 cup of 1 per cent cottage cheese = 138 mg

Non-dairy foods that contain calcium include:

• 1 cup of sesame seeds = 900 mg

• 1 cup of almonds = 660 mg

• 8 ounces of cooked soybeans = 450 mg

• 1 cup of cooked bok choy = 330 mg •l Sardines, canned in oil, with bones, 3 ounces = 325 mg

• Soymilk, calcium-fortified, 8 ounces = 299 mg

• 6 ounces of calcium-fortified orange juice = 261 mg

• 1 cup of cooked spinach = 250 mg

Does this surprise you?

As you can see, it is evident from the above comparisons, that getting enough calcium from non-dairy sources is very realistic and easy to do.

Suffering through health problems arising from dairy intake just to get enough calcium is unnecessary.

If you or someone you know cannot eat dairy, I suggest talking to your naturopathic doctor to ensure that you are eating a properly balanced diet for your specific dietary allergies/intolerances.

Dr. Shane Johnson ND was born and raised in Red Deer and is the owner of Aspire Natural Medicine. He completed his naturopathic medical training at Bastyr University, and is among only a handful of naturopathic doctors in Alberta to complete an additional one-year residency in family medicine. For more detailed information on naturopathic medicine, visit To learn more about the dairy-free lifestyle, check out some additional nutritional resources from Dr. Johnson available at

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