Calcium: Just how much do we understand about it?
I’m referencing this study about how we obtained calcium in paleolithic times for a reason quite unrelated to the article itself.
Last friday night Cassie and I enjoyed a lovely night with good friends. It was a general cook-up of fish, chicken wings, with a wonderful healthy salad.
We all dived into preparation.. with the exception of our two vegan friends who produced two frozen patties of indeterminate origin and asked pointedly if they could be cooked in a way that assured them that no ‘cross-contamination’ from non-vegan foods occurred. We did it, cooking the gray coloured patties on a separate hotplate, and once everything was ready, we sat down by the swimming pool and began our feast by candle light. Amid the chatter, I heard our vegan friends ask for sauce. It seemed their grey patties were too much (or too little) to bear. A bottle of sauce was located, and the two vegans then tried as best they could to decipher the ingredients by the light of a single candle.
As an ex vegetarian (12 years) I respect people’s choices, and if veganism satisfies a moral need, God be with ‘em. But they looked like you could blow them over with a feather. And my local doctor begins muttering in his beard if I remind him of his vegan patients because they refuse to acknowledge that their diet is affecting the way their bodies and minds are functioning.
B12 isn’t the only problem vegans have. K2, sourced from grassfed beef and dairy, is a essential element in the distribution and elimination of calcium. And let’s not go into the amino acids (taurine and lysine) we get in abundance from meat. Other vegan longterm problems include thyroid and teeth.
Calcium is available to vegans if they go big on dark leafy greens like our alka-partner Brett Hayes, whom Cassie interviewed last week. To look at Brett you would believe that veganism is the ideal diet, but he’s also a green food fanatic and very learned in diet related topics. (Brett has consented to join our advisory panel of health professionals.. more on this soon)
Denise Minger, that ex-raw, paleo amazing researcher gives a very good list of points she thinks vegans need to know.
The list is here, and below you’ll find her expanded comments on each point.
Coming back to my original point.. (It is Easter Monday – that’s my excuse for the wandering rave) The study is an overview of what our ancestors ate to maintain better bones and less bone decay than what we can achive today. It shows where they got their calcium It’s a fascinating read; I was amazed to learn that we actually shrunk in height once we began eating grains, and the study pinpoints the poisons we accept as tolerable in a grain-based diet.
“Phytate-rich fiber sources tend to show the greatest effects on mineral absorption (30), but before the Mesolithic Period (which generally began no earlier than ,ı1 5 000 y ago) humans, like other primates, made limited if any use ofcereal grains and hence had little exposure to phytate.
Whether or not nongrain fiber sources have an adverse effect on mineral absorption has not yet been conclusively established but if such an effect is present it appears likely to be less extensive than that of fiber from grains (30).”
“Purified proteins such as casein, lactalbumin, and wheat gluten added to a basal diet typically produce hypercalciuria (36, 37); however, long-term calcium balance studies during a high-protein (2 g/kg) diet with the protein provided as meat have shown no hypercalciuria and no indication ofcalcium loss (38).”
The study also pointed out that our daily bread habit ‘avidly’ binds calcium in vitro, which may prevent its absorption. (perhaps that’s why some bread vendors add calcium!). Age related bone loss is an accepted part of life today, but the report shows that our paleo ancestors had very little loss as they aged, but this changes when we began to eat grains.
Green vegetables, of course, have some ten times the calcium of grains.
Here’s the report; I’ve talked enough. Please take your time and absorb its many important findings. I hope my lean and keen vegan friends read it too; they really do look bad.