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Calcium—It’s What’s for Dinner (and Dessert and Breakfast)

The following article was written by former PETA intern Jared Misner.

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me how I get my calcium after I ditched dairy products—well, I could have ditched school a long time ago too.

When we’re bombarded with commercials of adorable kids who pull apart grilled cheese sandwiches as their seemingly only source of the bone-building mineral and “Got this or that?” billboard and magazine ads, it’s easy to see why family and friends are concerned when you drop the “V” bomb: You’ve gone vegan.

While I never tire of knowing that so many people care about my health, it’s even better to know how much my body doesn’t miss cow’s milk. In fact, not one of my “brittle” vegan bones has broken yet. Not one! But that’s probably because I eat from this list of great foods that have more calcium per serving than milk does.

Some statistics before I break out the list: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that everyone get about 1,000 milligrams of the bone-building stuff every day. Regular milk has roughly about 300 milligrams per cup, which is 30 percent of your daily value. Check out this list of foods and drinks that pack a bigger calcium punch* and don’t involve any cruelty, hormones, antibiotics, or pus.

Pair any of these with a cup of soymilk and you’ve got an added 300 milligrams (notice that milk and soymilk have about the same amount of calcium):

  • 6 ounces of calcium-fortified orange juice (less than a cup!): 378 milligrams
  • 1 cup of spinach: About 300 milligrams
  • 1 cup of collard greens: 357 milligrams
  • 1 cup of rhubarb: 348 milligrams
  • 1/2 block of firm, calcium-enriched tofu: 326 milligrams

The surprise finale? In a teaspoon of baking powder, there’s anywhere between 217 and 339 milligrams of calcium, depending on the kind you use.

What other vegan foods help you get all the calcium you need?

*All numbers sourced from the USDA.

Commenting is closed.
  • Sally says:

    Because I am old I take a calcium supplement tablet made from coral which is dairy free – buy them from the health food shop.

  • Sally says:

    Because I am old I take a calcium supplement tablet made from coral which is dairy free – buy them from the health food shop.

  • Nicole says:

    Chick peas are also rich in calcium, and who doesn’t love hummos. Rice milk also has the same amount of calcium as cow’s milk

  • MARGUERITE says:


  • JT says:

    An important point to consider is that it’s not just about the treatment of the dairy cows at the farm. It’s about the cold hard fact that they all end up at slaughterhouses when they stop producing enough milk and/or calves. And where do many of those male calves go? Veal.

  • kathy says:

    @sheri, “If you’re eating or drinking something made from cow’s milk, it’s because a calf chained in a box somewhere isn’t.” — Dan Piraro

  • kathy says:

    Figs have a high calcium content too.

  • sheri says:

    MMMMmmmmm…. I’ll go get a nice glass of spinach or baking powder…. EEWEWWW!!! There is a dairy farm near where I live and the cows are treated very well. They are free range. And by that I mean it. I have had them wonder into my yard or my neighbors. We are talking a good 30min of a walk too!! They are friendly. You can walk up to them and pet them. Very healthy. So not every dairy farm treats their cows badly. Well the factory farms do, but there are still small farms that care an aweful lot about their cattle. I will stick to drinking my fresh cows milk and you can drink your tofu. To each their own, as long as no animals are hurt.

  • dil says:

    Thanks for letting us know the alternative calcium sources to milk .i am going vegan step by step (i am vege now with minimum of cheese where no animal rennet , and lil milk intake only in my TEA COFFEE) i happy to know that those veges you posted and soya milk are equal to calcium in cow milk . its really refreshing to know that, ppl take steps to go vegan and give the rights to those innocent creatures who can’t speak or fight for their rights .

    since long and until now animals were not given their rights and i can’t wait to see the day that whole world finally understand whts GODS original creation meant for and what he gave us to eat as in Bible GEN: 1-29. thank you PETA for your endless work on the rights of Gods other creation.

  • Brian Schamp says:

    A large proportion of green vegetables have calcium absorption rates of over 50 percent. This is compared with about 32 percent for cow milk.

    Animal protein induces calcium leaching which is expelled through urination. This leads calcium retention from vegetables to be higher.

    Dark green vegetable, in general, are high in calcium. This is an advantage of a raw food diet.

    Brian Schamp

  • June Siegel says:

    And what about kale? Isn’t that high in calcium as well?