Recently I read that the calcium in chocolate milk is not absorbed by our bodies well because of the oxalates in chocolate. Kind of like how the oxalates in spinach interfere with absorption of calcium.
Spinach is among a small number of foods that contain any measurable amount of oxalates, naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating spinach. Oxalates may also interfere with absorption of calcium from the body. For this reason, individuals trying to increase their calcium stores may want to avoid spinach, or if taking calcium supplements, may want to eat spinach 2-3 hours before or after taking their supplements.
I was not entirely convinced about the chocolate milk example and I was relating this at the dinner table recently. The resulting conversation with my daughter was hilarious and exemplifies one of the super-powers I have as a Mom.
She: Mumma, they serve strawberry milk at lunch in school.
I: You could try it but I am pretty sure you won't...
and then we spoke together
She: I don't ...
She and I: ...like it.
Her eyes widened in amazement. My status rose by leaps and bounds in her eyes. I turned my face away to hide my smile. Then a little voice filled with reverence asked:
She: Mumma, do you know what I am thinking now?
My husband and I had a tough time holding back our chortles.
I guess I had better enjoy this while it lasts. I don't claim to know everything but she has tremendous faith in my ability to reason and arrive at a logical answer or to research the topic in question adequately and give her a satisfactory explanation. Because of this, I fall under the category of "Knows Everything".
If our conversation at dinner has raised some flags in your mind, there's enough discussion out there to ease your mind. Parenting at iVillage has the most reasonable explanation:
milk contains much more calcium than chocolate contains oxalate so there's plenty of free calcium left over. In fact, only about 6 mgs. of calcium is tied up, out of the 250 or so milligrams in the milk.
So, if your children are drinking chocolate milk, that is just fine. It is important for every child to get an adequate amount of calcium to help keep their bones strong and help them grow, so if they will only drink chocolate milk, don't discourage it...it will be good for their bones.
Some of you may have noticed that lately I've been freaking out on a very spicy green chutney. I don't usually add garlic to my green chutney but hey! I work from home and there's no-one around who might pass out from inhaling my breath (hubby excepted), so I thought what the heck and went to town with the garlic.
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro
- 20-25 fresh mint leaves
- 5-6 Thai green chillies**add more for more heat
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- 2 inch piece of fresh ginger
- lime juice, approx of half a lime
- salt to taste
- Place all ingredients in a blender with about 1/4 cup water or as little as possible so that you don't end up burning out the motor of your blender.
- Do not inhale when you open the blender, especially if you have respiratory issues like asthma. The green chilli 'fumes' can cause a coughing fit. I usually make chutneys when my daughter is not home or if she is, I make sure that she is in a well-ventilated place.
- Use as much of the cilantro as possible. The stems are juicy and also help add body to the chutney. My chutneys are not runny because I use the cilantro stems and can therefore use less water.
- If you're like me, you buy cilantro in 'bulk' (3 for $1) instead of paying 79 cents per bunch at the regular grocery stores. Here's how I make my cilantro last for weeks.
- I slice both the ginger and garlic to help my blender along. Those of you lucky enough to have a Sumeet or a Pushpak mixee needn't bother.
- Taste the chutney before you transfer it from the blender. Feel free to adjust the flavors to suit your tastes. According to me, there's no hard and fast rule about how much of what you use. What my chutney tastes like depends entirely on my mood when I am making it. When I intend to use it as more than just a spread, I make it spicier. The original chutney for patra fish has dhana and jeera.So use my recipe as a guideline but make sure you create a green chutney that tickles your tastebuds and delights your soul!