Are you experiencing a vegan dilemma? Need advice on anything vegan? Send your questions to email@example.com (subject line: Vegan Dilemma).
Read more questions and answers at our Ask me anything VEGAN advice column.
Q: I've been recently transitioning to a vegan diet. I think I've got the low-down on B12, but I'm struggling to understand what to do about calcium. I know how important it is, so I would like some advice. I'm an Australian living in Africa and I can't buy any fortified foods/drink and I'd like to have other options other then taking a supplement? What can I do? - Curious about Calcium
Dear Curious about Calcium,
Thanks for your question. Making sure you get all the nutrients you need is a big concern for a lot of new vegans. But let me put this one to rest for you. As long as you are eating a varied, whole food plant based diet, it is very hard to go wrong. Mother Nature is amazing like that, making sure that the foods we eat provide us with everything that we need. As long as you are eating sufficient calories from a wide variety of foods, you will be all covered, with the exception of vitamin B12 and possibly vitamin D.
As for calcium, I know that we have all been pretty much indoctrinated from childhood that "you get your calcium from milk". And it is true, you can get calcium from milk, but it is also available in a huge range of plant foods. This is great news because it means you can get all the calcium you require without the immense downsides of consuming dairy - need I mention the suffering of the cows and calves, the extra fat and hormones nobody needs, and the immense amount of water used in dairy production!
So where to find that calcium - in so many different places, for example sesame seeds, chia seeds, kale, broccoli, black beans, silverbeet, cabbage, oranges and so many more. If you would like a handy guide to calcium which you can print out and stick on your fridge, just click here.
Georgia Bamber is a vegan success coach based in the Southern Highlands NSW. Certified in coaching and plant based nutrition she knows a thing or two about embracing a vegan lifestyle. You can find out more about Georgia and how she can help you at www.georgiabamber.com.