Cow’s milk is not the source of calcium

If someone would ask you where you get calcium from, you would most likely answer cow’s milk. We are told to drink cow’s milk to get our calcium, and it almost seems like there is no other source of this nutrient. That’s of course not true.

Calcium is a mineral that can be found in the ground. The cow’s natural feed is grass, so she gets the calcium through the grass and passes it on to her baby through her milk. In other words, calcium  is not derived from the cow’s milk itself but from the ground, which means that we don’t need to drink cow’s milk or eat other dairy products to get calcium, even though persistent advertisement from the dairy industry has led us to believe that. We might as well get the calcium straight from the source through plants.

Plants rich in calcium are for example:
Broccoli
Tofu
Garlic
Sesame seeds, almonds, brazil nuts
Green leafy vegetables such as turnip, kale, mustard,  collard greens, dandelion greens, spinach

If you’re on a plant-based diet, the amount of calcium that you need is also less than if you eat a lot of animal-based protein. This is because a diet based on a lot of animal protein will actually lead to that your body uses a lot of the calcium you take in. Animal protein is very acidic, and to balance this your body will withdraw calcium from you bones, so to keep you bones healthy you then have to consume higher amounts of calcium. Because of this, getting you calcium mainly from dairy products, as the recommendations today say, is quite contra productive, since the dairy products themselves are high in acidic animal protein.

So stop obsessing over drinking those glasses of milk every day and start getting your calcium from plants instead, folks!

New vegan restaurant in Vaasa

Next week a new vegan restaurant will open in the town where I live. With a population of around 60 000 Vaasa is definitely a small town and far from any vegan paradise. Sure, you can find a whole bunch of vegan food stuffs and other products here, but nothing compared to other cities here in Finland (not to talk about other countries). A vegan restaurant is really something I’ve only been able to dream about. Until now.

The lunch restaurant Vegana will open on July 30, and will be open around lunch time every day except Saturday (weekdays 10am – 2 pm, Sundays 12 noon – 4 pm). It is located 0n Vaasanpuistikko 17. I don’t know much about the type of food they will serve or the price range yet, but it will be interesting to go there try it out. I promise to write something about it once I’ve had time to go there!

The restaurant’s website is not yet finished, but the menu and other information is supposed to come up there in a near future.

Animal rights in a nutshell

The term “animal rights” doesn’t imply that we give monkeys, cows, reptiles and other animals all the legal rights of humans. No animal activist advocates for animals to have the right to vote, or the right to freedom of religion (or any other such legal right).

Instead, giving animals rights implies that we give them something very basic; the right to their own life, on their own terms. I have read a lot of philosophical works, heard a lot of debates, and so far I have not seen any good argument (only a lot of excuses) not to give them these basic rights.

Animal rights is all about giving the animals what they deserve, what we have stolen from them. Because that is exactly what we have done. Animals don’t “give” their flesh, their secretions or their skin to us. We take it by force, and it’s not okay.

Vegan food in the Netherlands

I’m sorry for the absence. I haven’t had time or inspiration for blogging lately, there’s just so many things going on right now. I might tell you about some of it soon.

Me and R went to the Netherlands, to Amsterdam and Nijmegen, for our anniversary. This is a post about the food we enjoyed (and the ones we did not enjoy as much), maybe I’ll post something about the rest of the trip later, but I make no promises.

falafel

When we arrived and had finally got to rent some bikes and found our hotel, we were starving. So we had falafel for lunch at the closest Maoz Vegetarian (there are several of them in Amsterdam), which was just fine, even though it left me a little too full. I liked the fact that you could fill it with the veggies of your choice, and you could refill it as many times as you wanted.

 vegan platter tofu paté and toasted breadOur favorite restaurant during our stay in Amsterdam was a vegetarian restaurant called Bolhoed. Even though they served some foods containing milk and eggs, they had a lot of vegan alternatives. On our first visit we shared their vegan dish of the day (the first picture), which was a really great mix of different foods. The second visit I had a tofu paté with toasted bread and a salad, which I was also very contented with.

 vegan cranberry cheesecakeAt the same restaurant they also had a bunch of different desserts and cakes. Since vegan cakes is not exactly something you can buy anywhere in the small town where we live, we had to taste at least a few of them. All in all we had three different ones. Our favorite was definitely this cranberry cheesecake.

hummous salad and fresh breadOne evening we visited what I read is Amsterdam’s oldest vegetarian restaurant; Golden Temple. I liked the interior in the restaurant, it gave a quite cozy feeling. The fact that the owner’s dog was walking around the restaurant did not make it any less cozy either, but I guess not everyone would find that to be a good thing. I ended up eating a hummus salad with fresh bread, while R had a similar salad with feta cheese (which was not vegan). I would have liked to try out their vegan pizza too, but we did not have any time to go back again.

asparagus saladWhen in Nijmegen, we had lunch at a restaurant that did not have any vegan dishes on their menu, but they were happy to make me something off the menu. They asked me what was ok to use for making the food, and I ended up getting an asparagus salad which was just fine for me.

Once we also ate lunch at TerraZen Centre, which turned out to be quite a disappointment.  The food was alright, but nothing that we could not have made just as well ourselves, and the owner was very busy since he was the only one in the café at the time.

For sure we missed some great places to eat, several of the ones that seemed interesting required reservations, which did not really work for us when we had no real plan for our stay. But we had great foods anyway, and all in all a great stay (with some negative happenings too, but you can’t ask for perfection, can you?). We saw a lot of things and met a lot of nice and energetic people.