Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium

Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium

Last week, I talked about Magnesium.

This week, I wanted to talk about calcium and specifically how to get it through your diet without always looking to dairy products. Yes, dairy products do contain high amounts of calcium and so do many other foods.

Dairy can tend to be a pro-inflammatory food for a lot of people, so I think it’s important to be incorporating other food sources to keep our bones strong, as well.

Non-Dairy Food with Decent Calcium Content


Dandelion Greens
Mustard Greens
Turnip Greens
Bok Choy
Figs, dried


Soybeans (tofu, soy milk)
White beans

Nuts & Seeds

Brazil nuts
Sesame seeds


Egg Yolk
Chicken bone broth
Rainbow trout


Brewer’s yeast
Blackstrap molasses


Although this is not an exhaustive list, it’s a pretty good one. How many calcium foods are part of your regular diet?

I’m a big fan of eating your nutrients and I teach all my patients to do this as much as possible. You can become a patient in my Portland Clinic or see me for Whole Life Coaching & Consulting if you don’t live near.


Be sure to share this post with family and friends so they make sure they’re eating enough calcium, too!

A Favorite Supplement: Magnesium

A Favorite Supplement: Magnesium

Magnesium is one of my favorite and most useful supplements. It does so many things!

Magnesium works with calcium to keep the bones strong. It helps muscles contract and nerves send and receive signals. It helps us maintain a steady heart beat and a strong immune system. It even seems to help regulate blood sugar.

I use magnesium often with my patients. It’s been helpful for many symptoms, including muscle aches, restless legs, PMS, migraine headache prevention, pain syndromes like fibromyalgia, insomnia, and much more.

Of course, I’d love it if you tried to eat more magnesium first. Nutrients in food are the most bioavailable to our bodies. Foods high in magnesium include almonds, spinach, cashews, beans, potatoes, peanuts, brown rice, salmon, halibut, bananas, dark chocolate (whoop!) and avocado, just to name a few.

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of magnesium is:
~Men: 400-420mg
~Women: 310-320mg

Consider doing a food diary for a few days and see how much magnesium you are taking in. There are many great websites that list the magnesium components of foods and some apps, as well, if you search for them.

If you do have symptoms and you want to try a magnesium supplement, the dose depends on the size of the person and the condition being treated. For general body aches and pains, I recommend 120mg of magnesium glycinate twice daily.

Magnesium citrate is more widely known for the treatment of constipation. This is not a form of magnesium I recommend people use regularly due to possibility of dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. If you do struggle with constipation, magnesium citrate can be a game changer to remind the bowels how to move properly.

Forms of magnesium such as glycinate, fumurate, and malate will have less effect on the bowel and are usually better tolerated.

It is possible to overdose on magnesium, so always use the least possible amount to treat the symptoms and no more. As always, it’s best to check with your healthcare provider before starting any new supplements.

If you live in Portland, I’d be happy to see you in my clinic and discuss whether magnesium could be a great addition to your health regimen. For those not near me, I offer Whole Life Coaching.

I hope paying more attention to the magnesium you consume will bring you even more energy and vitality!

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The Rainbow Diet

The Rainbow Diet

The Rainbow Diet is something I talk about all the time and it’s the only “diet” I ever recommend. Most traditional diets don’t work, aren’t actually based on science, and generally make people feel deprived and down-right bad about themselves.

When someone comes to see me at my clinic, they’re often not feeling their best. Telling them to stop eating a bunch of different things, limit this or that, or begin exercising vigorously is not always that helpful. People know they need to “eat better” or “start exercising”, but they don’t feel great, and they don’t know where to start.

The Rainbow Diet is the perfect place to start. Just start trying to eat every color of fruit or vegetable every day. It’s way more fun to eat “colors” than to “eat more fruits and vegetables”. Right? And, it’s super fun to shop this way. When you hit the produce department, you add things to your cart based on color. Kids love this too!

Let’s break down each color and discuss the different foods and all the fabulous nutrients you get from each one:

Orange and Yellow:

Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables contain beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, flavonoids, lycopene, potassium, and vitamin C. They are thought to provide many benefits, including: anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, cell protection, heart health, immune health, skin health, brain health, reproductive health, and eye health.

Yellow Foods:
~Asian pears
~Bell pepper
~Ginger root
~Summer squash


Red fruits and vegetables contain beta carotene, vitamin C, manganese, and lycopene. They are thought to provide many benefits, including anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, cell protection, gastrointestinal health, heart health, hormone health, and liver health.

Red Foods:
~Bell peppers
~Blood Oranges
~Red Potatoes


Green fruits and vegetables contain chlorophyll, fiber, lutein, zeaxanthin, calcium, folate, vitamin C, and beta-carotene. They are thought to provide many health benefits, including anti-inflammatory, brain health, cell protection, skin health, hormone health, heart health, and liver and gallbladder health.

Green Foods:
~Bell peppers
~Bok choy
~Brussels sprouts
~Green beans
~Green peas
~Leafy Greens (arugula, beet, chard, collards, dandelions, kale, green lettuce, mustard, spinach, turnip, watercress)
~Snow Peas


Blue, purple, and black fruits and vegetables contain lutein, zeaxanthin, resveratrol, vitamin C, flavonoids, ellagic acid, and quercetin. They are thought to provide many health benefits, including anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, cell protection, brain health, heart health, and liver health.

Blue/Purple/Black Foods:
~Bell peppers
~Berries (blue, black, boys, Huckle, and marion)


White, tan, and brown foods contain Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate, beta-glucans, lignans, and potassium. They are thought to provide many health benefits, including anti-cancer, anti-microbial, cell protection, gastrointestinal health, heart health, hormone health, liver health.

White/Tan/Brown Foods:

Plus! Almost all fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, which helps keep the gut lining healthy and helps you absorb and excrete cholesterol, lowering your overall cholesterol levels.

While we may go back and forth about the value of eating many different foods, a high plant-based diet never goes out of style. With so many possible benefits, it’s a no-brainer to try to get in as many colors as you can every day! And, you’ll feel full from all the fresh goodness and you’ll be less likely to be hungry for foods that might not make you feel as optimal.

If you try the rainbow diet and you don’t see results, there may be something else going on. I’d be happy to help you get to the root of your symptoms. Click here to learn more about working with me.

Happy Rainbowing!

Let’s Talk About Palm Oil

Let’s Talk About Palm Oil

Did you know that palm oil is the main fat used in over 50% of the products you see in major stores today? It’s used in many processed foods, such as bread, pastries, cereal, peanut butter, chocolate and margarine. It’s also used in personal products like shampoo, cosmetics, cleaning products and even biodiesel fuel. What do you know about this popular fat?

I’ll admit, I knew almost nothing about it. That was until I started having a personal experience with it.

About 10 years ago, I started having issues with my gallbladder. The only option offered to me by my conventional primary care provider was to have my gallbladder removed. I didn’t have stones or other signs of gallbladder disease, I simply had a great deal of inflammation. I knew I could deal with that.

I ate a low fat diet for awhile (the gallbladder is directly involved in the digestion of fats), ate loads of green vegetables and dandelions, used bitters before meals, and took great care of myself overall. And, my symptoms reduced and after several months, I could go back to pretty normal eating.

That was until I started coming into contact with foods that contained palm oil. I noticed it first with a frozen pizza. It caused a full on gallbladder attack. I saw palm oil on the label and just avoided that brand.

Then, about a year ago, my husband went gluten-free for awhile. We bought some gluten-free packaged foods. I munched on a few and boom-another gallbladder attack. And….guess what…palm oil again. I started paying attention to labels and since I generally eat a “real food” diet anyway, it hasn’t been a big deal.

Until, last week. I bought a cake mix for a birthday. I used the mix for ease and made a homemade icing. It was a beautiful cake (if I do say so myself). When I ate it, I had another major gallbladder attack. And once again, a main ingredient was palm oil.

This got me curious. What is up with this oil? I knew it came from the fruit of palm trees. I knew they grind and press the fruit to get the oil. Natural, right?

Well, yes and no. As with all things I get curious about, I started investigating.

I found many articles about palm oil. I found out that after the oil is pressed, it undergoes a fractioning process where the liquid portion is removed by a crystalizing and filtering process. The solid part is then bleached to become the ingredient that is used in so many products here in the U.S.

I learned that palm oil is 50% saturated fat, one of the leading causes of elevated bad cholesterol, a leading cause of heart disease. The main type of saturated fat present in palm oil is palmitic acid. The studies aren’t conclusive yet, but it’s being speculated that palmitic acid is a cause of cardiovascular disease.

During my palm oil studying journey, I came across a film called, “Appetite for Destruction: The Palm Oil Diaries“. Fascinating! Documentary maker, Michael Dorgan does his own personal experiment with palm oil. He ate 3 muffins with palm oil every day for 6 weeks. Body fat analysis and blood tests were performed before and after. Besides the muffins, he ate his regular diet. After the 6 weeks, his total body fat increased from 4.6% to 7.4%. And, the fat accumulation was stored in his abdomen and particularly around his liver. So, the worst kind of fat to store, organ fat.

Now, obviously, a study of one does not quality as good research, yet don’t you think it’s interesting?

And, it started making sense why my gallbladder doesn’t like palm oil.

I would be completely remiss in any discuss of palm oil to not mention the environmental concerns. When the FDA finally got on board with the fact that trans fats are bad, palm oil became even more popular. Palm trees thrive near the equator, just like rainforests. What’s resulting is that forests are being destroyed in order to plant more palm trees to support our need to eat processed foods. Harsh rant and there’s more. Because the rain forests are being destroyed, there’s more carbon in the atmosphere and many species of animals are losing their homes, such as orangutans and certain elephants and rhinos.

The palm oil industry has become a billion dollar industry in the very recent past at the expense of indigenous humans, animals, and the environment, while likely causing those who consume it to progress into cardiovascular health issues.

In summary, eat real foods. Eat foods as close to how they are harvested as possible. Eat local foods. Avoid foods made in factories and you won’t even have to worry about this. I guess I’m lucky to have “my little buddy” aka my gallbladder. It’s there to signal me when I’m doing something sub-optimal for my health and in this case, sub-optimal for the well-being of our whole planet.

I’m still researching and learning about palm oil. If you have any resources or references, I’d love to hear about them. And, if you’re ready to move away from processed foods into more real foods, I’d love to be your guide. I’m currently taking new patients in my integrative primary care practice.

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