Tag Archives | sugar

Want strong bones? Don’t drink milk.

For as long as we can remember we’ve been brainwashed to believe that milk is essential to strong bones. Kids must have a glass of milk with dinner to grow strong bones and women should eat plenty of yogurt to prevent osteoporosis (often the fruit on the bottom variety with loads of sugar of course….I’ll get back to that in a moment). It’s time to re-think this approach.

Calcium is certainly important to bone health. It is also important for muscle contractions, nerve function, hormone production and blood clotting. Just as a soccer team has 11 players on the field to help each other score a goal – calcium needs other minerals on its team to help it function properly. Some of its team mates are vitamin D, vitamin K, magnesium and phosphorous to name a few. Without them we can experience calcium imbalances, deficiencies and excess – it’s all about balance baby!

During my cleanse program we remove dairy for 14 days and it is something I sometimes suggest to my 1:1 clients as well for various health reasons. The first question that comes up is “where am I going to get my calcium???”

Instead, ask yourself this…..where do large animals like deer, cows and elephants get their calcium?

That’s right! From eating the foods they are naturally meant to eat like leaves, grass and other vegetable sources. They aren’t drinking the milk from another animal like humans do. We are the only mammal that does this.

As babies we produce an enzyme called lactase in order to process lactose (the milk protein) in breast milk. As we get older lactase production decreases because we can start eating real food and no longer need breast milk to provide all of our vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. When you experience gas, bloating, diarrhea and other icky tummy troubles after eating dairy, chances are you are low in lactase. To get your calcium in a natural form that is easy to assimilate, focus on some of these non-dairy sources.

  • Beans and nuts
  • Greens, especially broccoli, collards, kale, mustard, turnip tops, parsley, watercress and dandelion
  • Sea vegetables
  • Sesame seeds and tahini
  • Canned salmon and sardines with bones (I recommend Wild Planet brand)
  • Soup stock made with bones (fish, chicken or beef) and one tablespoon of vinegar (this helps draw the calcium and makes it available in the broth)

Here’s an interesting little factoid….3 1/2 ounces of kale (boiled and drained) contains calcium 187 milligrams of calcium compared to 118 milligrams than the same amount of milk.

3/12 ounces of sesame seeds contain 1,160 milligrams of calcium. Wowza! Not only do these foods have loads of calcium but that also have calciums teammates – magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K and phosphorous all in one nice little package. It’s like a huge buy one, get one sale!

Let’s talk about osteoporosis for a second, since that is the HOT topic that arises when we talk about milk and calcium. AnneMarie Colbin, author of Food and Healing says this:

Instead of seeing osteoporosis as a condition of lack, let’s consider it as a condition of drain. In other words, the question will be not “What is the way to add more calcium to the system?” but rather, “What is draining or keeping calcium away?”

Remember the fruit on the bottom yogurt I mentioned in the beginning? If you have one of those in your fridge get it out right now and look that sugar content. I’m going to guess it has anywhere from 25-30 grams of sugar and one of the ingredients is cane sugar or something similar (plain yogurt usually contains somewhere around 12 grams – this is the lactose, i.e. milk sugar). Sugar increases the rate at which calcium is excreted from your bones. So, while you’re eating your strawberry yogurt in the morning in the hopes of giving our bones some calcium, the sugar is cruising on in there and sucking the calcium from your bones before the calcium can get in there. Pretty counterproductive, don’t you think?

Some other foods that can compromise calcium are nightshade vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers), wine, coffee, vinegar and citrus. This is not to say you should take all of these foods out of your diet – but perhaps you should address that coffee addiction or wine with dinner habit?

Still doing dairy? Here’s what to do.


So we can all agree that there are loads of other places to get calcium, like nuts, seeds and leafy greens (I see a kale salad in your future!) and you need to ditch that fruity yogurt. But, what if you still want to eat dairy? Great question!

First, if you are having any GI troubles, skin irritations (acne, rashes etc) or have icky plegm in your throat (clearing your throat or blowing your nose) then I highly recommend taking all dairy out. Try it for a week and see what happens.

If dairy is still on your grocery list, follow these four steps:

  • Organic: Toxins like to hang out in fat tissue. When cows eat grasses that have been sprayed with herbicides and pesticides, those toxins gather in their body fat and the fat in the dairy they produce. We end up eating those toxins when we eat a steak or drink a glass of milk. Ick!
  • No Hormones: This often falls under the organic label but read carefully and research the company you’re buying from. Cows now produce nearly twice as much milk than they did 50 years ago. How is this possible? They are being loaded up on growth hormones (rBST) which we end up consuming. This has been linked to early puberty in girls and increase prostate cancer in men. Double ick!
  • Fermented: Fermented dairy is more easily digestible. Look for plain yogurts without the added sugar and sweeten them with honey, maple syrup and fresh berries. Kefir is also a fermented dairy beverage available at some farmers markets and natural food stores.
  • Raw: If you have access to raw dairy products that can be an excellent choice. Raw, unpasteurized dairy still has many important vitamins and minerals that are depleted during the pasteurization process, such as vitamin D, vitamin B12 and vitamin C. Be sure you are getting raw milk from a clean source you trust.

The Environmental Working Group has a nice guide on eating and choosing dairy. Check it out HERE.

Food and Healing by AnneMarie Colbin
The Whole Foods Guide to Strong Bones, AnneMarie Colbin
Culinary Nutrition Expert Program, Meghan Telpner

Comments { 0 } · Posted on April 22, 2014 in General

Let them eat truffles!

“Do You Eat Brownies???”

Last week I attended a women’s business conference and this question came up when the person learned that I work in the nutrition field. I get this question pretty regularly in different forms….”do you eat chocolate? Do your clients have to give up sweets? Can you tell me how to say no to chocolate chip cookies? Please tell me you eat dessert!”

So, I’m going to declare it right here. I, Tanya McCausland eat dessert!

Sweets and treats are part of exploring and savoring amazing food. When we deprive ourselves of the occasional piece of chocolate we’re setting ourselves up to inhale the entire bar. Yeah, we’ve all been there!

This week I’ve been in San Francisco visiting with some of my dearest friends. One of our favorite things to do is cook and enjoy a meal together. There is something absolutely magical about roasting potatoes, chopping herbs and grilling fresh sausages and is amazingly heartwarming and soothing – especially when you’re doing it in a tiny but bright San Francisco apartment kitchen! Alas, no meal is complete without a sweet treat at the end. The other evening we shared some amazing dark chocolate with almonds and dried cherries while we finished our wine and laughed late into the night. It was fantastic in every way possible!

So yes, this girl DOES eat dessert. But, I have standards that make eating it enjoyable instead of totally shameful.

How to Eat Dessert

1) Spot Cravings: How do you feel when you go scouting out the office candy bowl? Are you angry, frustrated, stressed, sad, tired? We tend to reach for the treats when things aren’t going our way. But, guess what? After you inhale the Snickers Bar you’ll still be angry, frustrated, sad and tired. Weird how that works, right? Instead, address your feelings with an appropriate action like taking a 10 minute walk outside, talking it out with a colleague, taking three cleansing breaths or even looking up cute kitty pictures on Pinterest. Or, do all three!

2) Splurge: There is a ton of cheap, crappy candy out there. Don’t fall for $2 bags of mini chocolate bars or 2 for 1 deal. Your body is not a garbage disposal so don’t treat it like one by feeding it junk. Your body deserves only the best and that includes the best chocolate you can find! Go for quality, not quantity. Spend the extra couple bucks on the “fancy” organic dark chocolate bar or the macaroon from a local coffee shop. Then, move on to step 3.

3) Savor: Now with your treat in hand take time to really enjoy it instead of inhaling it in mere seconds. That little piece of luxury deserves full attention! Sit down, and deeply inhale the deliciousness you’re about to eat (yes, I said smell your food!) and then take a bite. Close your eyes and thoroughly enjoy the taste and texture of this amazing treat you just took the time to savor.

4) Share: Eating is a communal activity and that includes dessert! It’s much more satisfying, enjoyable and profoundly feeds the soul when we can share food with another person. Cut your muffin in half and offer it to your office mate, share dessert with your love (one spoon only!) and crack open that bar of chocolate when the girls come over for dinner.

5) Stir up Your Own: While I have a serious weakness for a good bar of dark chocolate, I do love stirring up my own sweet treats. Unfortunately (well, fortunately) I’m not much of a baker so my oven doesn’t see much cookie or cake action. But, I do make one tasty truffle! My Chocolate Chia Truffles are delicious and super simple. If you can push the button on your food processor you’ve got what it takes to make truffles. By the way, this recipe presents a great opportunity to invite your kids into the kitchen with you. Just beware of those messy fingers!

Chocolate Chia Seed Truffles

1 ½ cups pitted dates, chopped
¼ cup unsweetened raw cacao or cocoa powder
½ cup whole chia seeds
½ teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
1 cup raw slivered almonds (can also use raw cashews, pistachios or walnuts)
½ cup shredded coconut for dusting


  • Soak chopped dates in hot water for about 10 minutes
  • Strain dates (reserve water) and puree in food processor until thick paste forms
  • Add cocoa powder, chia seeds and vanilla extract. Pulse until combined.
  • Add reserved liquid if needed. Add only a very small amount at a time so mixture doesn’t get too soft
  • Add almonds; pulse until well distributed throughout mixture
  • Form mixture into small balls and roll in shredded coconut
  • Place on wax paper in single layer and chill in refrigerator for about one hour. Place them in containers with lids. These will keep for about a week in the fridge.
Comments { 0 } · Posted on May 2, 2013 in Healthy Recipes