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 Post subject: Ditching the "3-A-Day"
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:53 pm 
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So we are totally changing up the diets in our house. My husband is on board and the kids are too young to care or notice. We have slowly been working to cut out meat in our house, so the last thing is the dairy and eggs. I am worried about reducing the dairy intake of my kids because everyone, including pediatricians, stress the importance of dairy products. Even on PBS on tv, I see commercials all the time for the "3-A-Day" compaign. I am in southeast MI, and I don't know any other Vegetarians, let alone Vegans. How do you ensure calcium intake for your kids?


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 Post subject: Re: Ditching the "3-A-Day"
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:00 pm 
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soy and some other milks are fortified. many have 30% of your daily calcium requirements per cup, which is, essentially the same as the 3-a-day thing. drinking three cups of soy milk or three cups of dairy milk would be a lot so you could also take a supplement and try to include some foods that are higher in calcium naturally (http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/calcium.htm)
There's also calcium fortified orange juice. It's definitely something to think about, but if you make an effort, it's definitely doable to get the right amount of calcium without dairy.
There's some more info about calcium here if you scroll down
http://veganhealth.org/articles/bones#protein

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 Post subject: Re: Ditching the "3-A-Day"
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:04 pm 
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My son has three 8 oz glasses of oat milk a day with a little bit of flax seed oil added in for the fat content. It has 30% (adult) rda calcium, 25% vitamin D, and 10% iron per glass. I also give him these mutlivitamins for extra assurance. I get it with Amazon subscribe & save so it is super easy and mix it in his morning oatmeal.

Maybe that seems like a lot of oatmilk but he loves it and that is the only thing he drinks besides water so I don't think it is too much as far as sugar content or anything.

Good luck with your journey to veganism.

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Last edited by Aubade on Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Ditching the "3-A-Day"
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:05 pm 
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I have an infant, so I don't really know the answer for kids yet, but I can answer for myself. There are lots of options and most vegans I know do some combination:
-Drink fortified plant milks (soy, almond, rice, hemp, oat, coconut, etc.). Different brands taste different, try several. Most (all?) vegan cheeses are stupidly not calcium-fortified. But you can use plant milk in all the usual ways: straight up, on cereal, in smoothies, in sauces, in baked dishes like mac 'n' cheeze, etc. You can certainly do "3-a-day" of plant milks. For kids I would probably pick the fattiest variety you can find. For myself I do unsweetened almond milk.
-Take a supplement (I take a chewy one - I'm sure kids' would like 'em).
-Eat loads of greens (kale, collards, bok choy, beet greens, broccoli are all good; spinach is healthy but not a good source of calcium)
-Eat nuts and beans (they have small amounts of calcium, but it adds up).

You should also be careful about Vitamin D; most non-vegans get most of their D from fortified cows' milk. You can get Vitamin D from fortified plant milks, UV-treated mushrooms (check the label), supplements, and best of all, sunshine - with as much skin exposed as possible, no sunscreen.

I highly recommend "Vegan for Life" for more vegan kids nutrition advice.


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 Post subject: Re: Ditching the "3-A-Day"
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:06 pm 
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oh yeah, that's a good point. that 30% is for an adult diet, so for kids, they'd need significantly less. Here's info with the recommended amounts for calcium for all age groups
http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-QuickFacts/

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 Post subject: Re: Ditching the "3-A-Day"
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:44 pm 
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My oldest daughter has a severe dairy allergy and has never been able to have dairy. Her doctors have never been concerned about her because we eat a large variety of calcium rich foods, leafy greens and she does eat cereal and non-dairy milks that are fortified. It's kind of ironic that if she didn't have the allergy the doctors would (likely) be pushing dairy but since she doesn't, is growing normally, they're not the least bit bothered by the lack of dairy in her diet.

We've just been told to give her a multi on top of making sure she continues to eat lots of calcium rich foods. They also said that if I was concerned I could give her a couple of Tums everyday. (FWIW, I'm pretty sure normal Tums are vegan, but sugar-free kinds may not be.)There was a time she was also taking increased Vitamin D, but our pedi actually doesn't recommend taking too much more D than is already in a multi vitamin (other than what may be in foods) unless there's a known deficiency. She says that too much D can have a negative effect on the kidneys, if I remember correctly.

I think if you were worried you could probably talk to your pedi about Tums (or a similar product) in addition to what everyone else has suggested.

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 Post subject: Re: Ditching the "3-A-Day"
PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:35 pm 
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Wow, thanks for all the information. I have switched myself over to fortified OJ and soy and almond milk, so I just have to work on my girls, 1.5 and 4.5 years. I am reading a book called "Food for Life" and the research behind removing dairy and animal products is crazy scary. I breastfed and now feed my girls what I thought was to be super healthy food, but mostly dairy, meat, and eggs (even though fruits and veggies were included too). I am kinda shocked that my whole way of thinking was most likely off. Same goes for my husband and myself.

Is there a good way to buy non dairy milks? Seems like it is way more expensive then dairy milk which I thought was expensive in the first place.


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 Post subject: Re: Ditching the "3-A-Day"
PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:40 pm 
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Nondairy milk can get pretty pricy. My best advice is to look for coupons and also check places like Costco.

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 Post subject: Re: Ditching the "3-A-Day"
PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:58 pm 
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I recently discovered they have oatmilk on amazon subscribe and save. You can only get it 1x per month though, which is not enough for us! So we still pick some up from wegman's in between. It does get expensive, ($30 for 12 cartons) but having been vegan since 1998 I have no clue what regular milk costs.

Just for the record, I like oat milk because it has 4g protein, whereas other non-soy milks have less as far as I know. I can't do soy because my son it allergic to it.

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 Post subject: Re: Ditching the "3-A-Day"
PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:06 pm 
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You can save money making your own milk. Making almond milk is probably your cheapest and easiest option. Just soak some almonds for a few hours (or don't bother if you have a powerful enough blender), and blend them with water and anything else you want to add (vanilla, sweetener if desired, store bought calcium supplement, flax oil, etc). Hemp's easy too though considerably more expensive.

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 Post subject: Re: Ditching the "3-A-Day"
PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:01 pm 
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Trader Joe's also has cheap options.


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 Post subject: Re: Ditching the "3-A-Day"
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:09 am 
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I know right now Meijer has their brand on sale for $1.67 (most 1.99 regular) for the 32oz containers, but to get enough for my family of 4 to have 1 cup a day, I would need 7 of those. Haven't compared the prices of the refridgerator 64oz Silk ones yet.


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 Post subject: Re: Ditching the "3-A-Day"
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:38 am 
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how much is regular milk compared to soy milk? I usually the refrigerated half gallon silk containers are about $4-$4.50 but often go on sale. How was your family getting calcium before?

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 Post subject: Re: Ditching the "3-A-Day"
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:10 pm 
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Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that a lot of groceries have their own brands which are cheaper. Where I shop, the prices of dairy and soy milks are comparable.


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 Post subject: Re: Ditching the "3-A-Day"
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:17 pm 
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Grocery Outlet and Costco have very cheap plant milks too.

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 Post subject: Re: Ditching the "3-A-Day"
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:54 pm 
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It is $2.79 normal for a gallon of milk and each kid probably drinks their own gallon each week. But that is with me serving it at every meal and in cereal. One fat free and one whole milk. I also give them yogurt and cheese each day. So while my kids don't eat any junk food in my house, I feel a little bad for giving them so many dairy products. If I cut yogurt out, I can use that money to buy the big jug of calcium fortified OJ which has double the amount of calcium per serving then the yogurts anyways.

At one point I was buying yogurt for all four of us for the week, and that was expensive. Trading mine and husbands in for non dairy milk would actually be an even exchange.

And now that I am thinking of it, the "milks" are fortified, so if they don't get it every day a calcium supplement would be about the same, and probably cheaper. Right?

I am already cooking with leafy greens and beans and grains and stuff (thanks Veganomicon cookbook) so I have that covered. My youngest is a chick pea piggy.


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 Post subject: Re: Ditching the "3-A-Day"
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:01 pm 
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Wow - cows' milk is cheap where you live!!! It would be less of a shock to the system to switch if you lived where I do.

Non-dairy milks are usually fortified with calcium, Vitamin D, B-12, Vitamin A, and Riboflavin. Cows' milk is fortified with Vitamins A and D (by law, otherwise Americans would generally be even more deficient in them). Riboflavin and calcium occur naturally in cows' milk. B-12 occurs naturally in very small amounts in cows' milk. Cows' milk is also sometimes a good source of iodine. So if you wanted to have some days where you didn't serve fortified non-dairy milk I would recommend a) a supplement with calcium and Vitamin D (D2 is vegan, D3 is not 99% of the time) for those days, and b) a general multivitamin, which your kids are probably already on. You should probably talk to your pediatrician or a dietician about what levels of supplements would be good for your kids. Again, I really recommend "Vegan for Life" for a more thorough discussion on this topic and any other nutrition issues for kids. A session or two with a dietician who knows about vegan diets and how to support them might also be a good idea (you would have to seek such a person out, most dieticians don't have a great handle on how to deal with vegan diets).


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 Post subject: Re: Ditching the "3-A-Day"
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 5:14 pm 
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enmommy wrote:
And now that I am thinking of it, the "milks" are fortified, so if they don't get it every day a calcium supplement would be about the same, and probably cheaper. Right?


I get organic rice milk at Costco for $14 for 12 boxes, which is the cheapest I've found. I'd talk to your pedi about supplementing calcium and whether you even really need a seperate supplement. For us, like I mentioned before, we were told to just use Tums (which do have other stuff in them that is a little more "junk) which are super inexpensive. This was out of an abudance of caution and not because they were worried she wasn't getting enough Calcium through food but rather because they have a hard time with the no milk thing. Also, if you are going to supplement Calcium, you'd want to be sure that you're not giving anything at the same time that would block absorbtion. I know you can't mix certain supplments with each other or with things like OJ because it blocks some of teh goodness.

Even if I bought Tums and the rice milk, it would still be less expensive than buying regular milk (if I'm understanding your question correctly). My seven year-old goes thorugh maybe one box of rice milk a week.

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 Post subject: Re: Ditching the "3-A-Day"
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 5:17 pm 
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those are good suggestions. and the OP should definitely speak with her pediatrician about how much calcium her kids need because depending on how old they are, they don't need the adult amount and they may not need to drink as much fortified milk as a grown up.

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 Post subject: Re: Ditching the "3-A-Day"
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:45 pm 
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Great tips ladies. Thanks so much. I will defintely bring it up to the pedi next time we are in, but I am expecting a puzzled look on his face like "why would you give up milk". Who knows, maybe there are lots of mommies telling him the same thing. He was always awesome with breastfeeding. I know he is anti-vitamin if the kids are drinking/eating dairy and a variety of table foods. My girls eat pretty well I think.

I will check Costco and Sams. My parents have a Sams card and my sister has a Costco card. They buy stuff for me all the time. I have noticed that since husband and I stopped drinking milk, the household consumption is way down, and maybe the girls are not really drinking a whole gallon a week.


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