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    10 (Dairy-Free) Ways to Meet Your Calcium Requirements!

    How to get enough calcium without Dairy, by Wholesomeness Healthy Delivered Meals

    Calcium is one of the most essential minerals that we need for general health, strong bones and healthy teeth. In addition, we also need a matrix of other minerals such as vitamin D (from the sun), magnesium, phosphorous and vitamin K (green leafy vegetables).

    While diet is important, we also can’t forget the importance of weight bearing exercises such as walking or weights/resistance exercise, for strong, dense bones.  

    In the Wholesomeness kitchen we love being able to create nutritious food for people who may have certain dietary needs or preferences, and this is the reason why many of our healthy prepared meals are 100% dairy free.

    We know that calcium is important and so that’s why we use a range of other nutritious (dairy free) sources of calcium in our cooking.

    That’s why, in this article we wanted to shed light on some other foods that have a decent whack of the bone-building mineral too. Some of these we absolutely love to use in our dishes, so you may have seen them already in a few of your Wholesomeness meals!  

    Tofu, or soy bean curd is traditionally associated with Asian cuisine but has become more popular here as a meat substitute for vegetarian cooking.

    We love to use tofu in our vegan cooking, like in our Tofu & Pineapple Massaman Curry and our Butter Tofu with Brown Rice & Peas.

    A nice 100g of firm tofu contains about 200mg of calcium (nearly as much as a glass of milk). However, the calcium can vary greatly depending on firmness and brand so it’s important to check the label to make sure it contains calcium sulphate, which is used as a setting agent. If it does not, the calcium content will be much lower (about half).  
    A great calcium-containing low-oxalate vegetable that is perfect for Asian stir-fries. However, you need to eat much more of it to get adequate calcium (about 3.5 cups to be compared to a glass of milk), so it’s best to think of bok choy as more of a calcium top-up, or a calcium ‘side.’
    Fortified plant milks such as soy, oat and almond milks usually contain the same, if not more, calcium content than regular cow’s milk. For tips on reading the nutrition label, about 120mg of calcium per 100g is around the equivalent to cow’s milk.
    A large handful of almonds (about 50g) comes close to 80mg of calcium, not to mention the protein, vitamin E, phosphorous and healthy fat benefits they deliver, making them a great afternoon snack and calcium pick-me-up.
    When eaten with their soft, edible bones salmon and sardines are a great source of calcium, plus vitamin D, protein and omega 3 fats for a healthy brain and healthy joints. Have you tried our salmon fish cakes? 
    Tahini is basically ground and blended sesame seeds (like a sesame seed version of peanut butter). Tahini is so versatile, you can blend it with sauces, use it in a dressing with lemon and garlic, or simply eat it on toast!
    If you’re craving something sweet and need a calcium hit at the same time, snack on some dried figs. Half a cup of dried figs contains around 120mg of calcium.
    Tempeh is similar to tofu, but is made from fermented soy beans and therefore has a much stronger taste. 100mg of tempeh contains around 110mg of calcium. Tempeh can be used in much of the same dishes that tofu can, and is a great ingredient to have as part of your vegetarian cooking staples.
    Edamame are young soybeans that are harvested before they have ripened or hardened. They are super nutrient rich and are served a lot in Japanese cooking, simply boiled or steamed with a sprinkling of salt on top. One cup of edamame contains about 100mg of calcium.
    Broccoli, one of our favourite cruciferous vegetables! Broccoli is so yummy and packed full of not only calcium, but heaps of other good-for-you nutrients. 100g of broccoli gives you about 50mg of calcium, so it’s an excellent calcium top-up to go with the other calcium rich foods you eat that day.

    Click here to check out our nutritious, healthy, delivered meals


    Lisa Cutforth
    B.Sc Nutrition with Psychology (Dual Degree)
    Consulting Clinical Nutritionist to The Banyans Wellness Retreat
    Owner and Managing Director of Wholesomeness and Wholesomeness-on-Roma

    Lisa Cutforth and family.  Owners of Wholesomeness-on-Roma

    3 Surprising Signs of a Weakened Immune System


    In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that there are certain things we can do to prevent contracting the virus, for example social distancing and washing our hands frequently. But keeping our immune system strong and robust is also a crucial element to ensuring that we stay healthy during this time. A healthy immune system not only reduces our risk of contracting the virus, but it also protects us if we ever do contract it or helps us recover quicker. The protective healing functions of a strong immune system gives us a better chance of having milder symptoms and helps us to recover faster.

    Check out some signs of a weakened immune system below…there may even be some you didn’t know!

    1. You have ongoing tummy troubles 

    Tummy troubles can include constipation, food sensitivities, gas or bloating. If you experience these issues and they are ongoing, there is a high chance that something is not right in your gut. Research has made it evident that the health of your gut microbiota has a profound effect on your immune system, due to the fact that most of your immune system actually lives in your digestive tract. Your gut is one of your first lines of defence, and your immune system is right next to your gut. The beneficial bacteria and microorganisms (flora) help to defend your gut from infection, viruses, inflammation and autoimmune disorders. If your digestive issues are ongoing, it might be time to pay some extra love to your gut and try to get to the root cause of what’s going on.

     2. Your wounds take a long time to heal

    If your wounds just won’t heal up, it could be a sign your immune system is sluggish and weak. Your body works to protect and repair a wound by sending nutrient rich blood to the site to help create new skin. Of course, this depends on the availability of healthy immune cells. If they’re lacking, the skin finds it hard to regenerate and the wounds linger for longer.  Excessive stress and low vitamin C levels can also delay wound healing, and also lower your overall immunity.

     3. You catch every single cold!

    A couple of colds a year for an adult (especially during winter) is pretty normal. But if you can never catch a break from a cold and you seem to always have a stash of tissues in your pocket (for your sniffily nose!) its probably a sign your immune system may need a little bit more love and attention. If your immune system is not strong enough to fight off multiple mild colds per year, (and let’s face it there are bugs everywhere), then this sends a sign that it may not be equipped to deal with other more serious invading bacteria and viruses that may come your way. 

    One of the first ways you can start giving some love to your immune system is by nourishing it with the nutrients it needs, another way is by avoiding harsh additives, junk food or nasty ingredients. That’s two of the many reasons why we think it’s so important to create our healthy no nonsense food to help people eat healthier (without the hassle and stress of planning, prepping and cooking). Check out our meal plans here.

    Ocean Greens: The Superfoods Of The Sea

    When you think of greens that live in the ocean, you might be drawn back to early memories as a child emerging from the waves with thick, smelly and slimy green plants stuck to your ankles. You might think “gross!”, but actually, sea veggies might be just what your cooking needs…for healthy delicious boosts of flavour and incredible health benefits.

    Sea veggies include many marine algae varieties found in the water and along the coast. When you think of seaweed, you might think straight to the nori used in sushi, but actually there are over 10,000 types of seaweed found on earth. Being the oldest plant family on earth, they have been used for thousands of years in Asian cooking, however in the last few years cooking with sea vegetables has become more popular, especially among chef’s. Chefs have been having fun playing around with this ingredient, adding it to pasta’s, into mashed potatoes, even on top of cocktails! 

    In addition to being abundant and affordable, they also do incredible things for our health. They contain vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, amino acids, antioxidants and phytonutrients that our body needs for ultimate health, all of which function to provide powerful anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, the polysaccharides present in the cell walls of sea vegetables have also been studied for their ability to ward off and prevent different viruses from attacking our cells. 

    We know that seaweed is delicious in the form of nori but there are so many other kinds as well. Conquer your fear of sea veggies with these healthy ways to bring sea vegetables into your diet!


    Wakame is a leafy ocean green that means ‘young girl’ in Japanese – this is because young girls used to venture out onto the slippery rocks to pick it. Wakame seaweed is a deep green colour and very soft. You can make a delicious and uniquely flavoured miso soup using miso paste, dried wakame seaweed (found at most Asian grocery stores), soup stock, soft tofu and chopped green onions.


    Arame is a type of kelp and is quite mild in flavour so a great place to start if you are new to sea veggies. You can use dry arame seaweed in a salad with brown rice, red capsicum, green onions and a garlic sesame sauce for a unique, amazing umami flavour.


    The emerald green colour and tender texture of wakame seaweed make it a great substitute for basil in a yummy pesto sauce.


    Kombu (a type of kelp) adds a secret umami depth of flavour to any soup stock. Simply boil water and insert the kombu and within a few minutes you have a wonderful umami flavour. A great way for vegetarians to have access to that yummy savoury umami flavour as well.

    Maybe you might venture out a little bit with your cooking now that you know a little more about sea veggies. They are a great idea for nutritional health in general, but also especially during the current pandemic they might be a good addition to your diet!

    Fuel Your Workouts with Powerful Veggies!

    From ultra-bulk protein powders to muscle-promoting snack bars, there is no shortage of products available for those looking for a workout boost. The popularity of these high-protein convenience foods has meant that some of nature’s most efficient workout fuel are often overlooked. You might not realise, but the energy and boost that you need to rev up your fitness might just be hiding away in your fridge as we speak…


    Leafy Greens: Leafy greens like spinach contain a significant source of glutamine, which is an amino acid involved in the composition of proteins, and thus plays an important role in the development of lean muscle mass. Spinach also contains a compound called coenzyme Q10, which holds a critical role in producing energy for your cells, and in turn, boosting your muscle function and strength.


    Barley and Wheatgrass: Barley and wheatgrass are absolute powerhouses of antioxidants and are rich in vital minerals like magnesium, calcium and iron. Get an instant workout shot of energy by adding either one to a pre-workout smoothie to get rid of that can’t-get-out-of-bed-and-to-the-gym feeling. As well as being an excellent oxygen supplier to your cells all day long, they also contain carotenoids which help to keep tissue cells healthy and strong.


    Micro-veggies and sprouts: Sprouts are filled with anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, which help the body to absorb more amino acids from proteins. Many of these phytonutrients also help to speed up the muscle recovery period, preventing sore muscles, cramps and other discomforts after an intense workout.


    Parsley: Even herbs like parsley contain many fundamental nutrients which help to keep our muscles and cells healthy and efficient. Parsley contains a vital amino acid called lysine, which helps with the growth and regeneration of connective tissues of cartilage and tendons. Parsley's concentrated amounts of antioxidants and vitamins A, C and E helps to sooth inflammation in muscles and joints. You can raw parsley on top of meals, in salads and smoothies.


    Sweet potato and pumpkin: Sweet potatoes are one of the most satiating foods on the planet, because of their high fibre and carbohydrate content. Despite their ability to keep you full for hours, they’re relatively low in calories and virtually fat free. Swap out the pasta or white rice for sweet potato or pumpkin and your body might just thank you later - you’ll probably feel less sluggish, more energised and you won’t store unnecessary weight from a refined carb spike! 

    These are just some of the amazing plant foods that can be made heroes of your plate to help boost your exercise performance and give you that extra energy you need to crush your workouts! Of course, there are heaps more that we love, such as broccoli, beets, tomatoes and carrots.

    The Economic Costs of Poor Nutrition




    We are currently in the middle of the defining global health crisis of our time, the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. The virus has spread rapidly, causing fast infections and deaths across the world. We know this because the statistics and facts are everywhere, and we are able to see the effects of the virus unfold in real time. Despite countries taking different approaches, we have managed to come together to incorporate a “think global, act local” approach to help protect our most vulnerable, flatten the curve and ease the fierceness of the outbreak. 

    As we experience the coronavirus pandemic and its effects, the rise of non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity is on the rise in Australia and can be labelled a silent pandemic of their own making. The rise of Chronic disease is noticed as a challenging public health issue with effects on societies and economies. As a result, it highlights the importance of preventive measures alongside effective management and care. It is true that we are in the midst of a bit of a food revolution – there are shifting consumer preferences, new and exciting food innovations, and emerging nutrition science. But at the same time, we are also a little bit stuck. According to the National Health Survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, two thirds of Australians aged over 18 years old were overweight or obese in 2017-18.

    It makes sense that as humans we are hard wired to respond better to acute risk (such as COVID-19, Ebola etc.), rather than chronic risk. Acute risk is more immediate, fast and threatening to us compared to chronic risk (e.g. cancer, obesity and diabetes risk) which is sometimes a little fuzzy and slow-building, and therefore harder for us to connect with. One challenge that makes the connection between our current health and our future health ill-defined is the constant science and nutrition information that is deposited into the media every day. There is definitely an aura of health being created but unfortunately this does not always match the science.

    So what do we need to know?

    The foods that we need to eat should mostly come from the earth, and be in their whole food form. We can call these foods life-giving foods because that’s what they do! They give us life, they can heal and repair us. They are foods that contain bioactive compounds, fibre and healthy fats for good health. We are talking about fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts and whole grains.  

    These nourishing and life-giving foods given by the earth should be celebrated and given value for their role in the prevention of chronic diseases. As a country, we spend more money each year on health care yet we don’t seem to be that much healthier. Rates of chronic diseases have only increased over time, and they are headed for even more increases. In addition, the consequences of unhealthy eating have not been fully recognised – costs to businesses, companies, to the healthcare system, and to our health and well-being.

    Diabetes Australia states that the total annual cost for Australians living with type 2 diabetes is $6 billion (and that’s just for diabetes, let alone the many other costly chronic illnesses such as heart disease, stroke and obesity). This makes the chronic disease pandemic a fundamental economic problem and we need to realise the importance and power of food and nutrition as medicine and as tools to eliminate poor health now and into the future.

    Remember, healthy food doesn’t have to be tasteless and joyless, it can easily be yummy, satisfying, joyous, tasty and sustainable all at once! Just taste ours J

    The foods you eat can heal you faster and more profoundly than the most expensive prescription drugs, and more dramatically than the most extreme surgical interventions, with only positive side effects.” – T. Colin Campbell, PhD