Tag: osteoporosis nutrition

Episode 5: A conversation with Irma Jennings

Bone Boot Camp Podcast
Bone Boot Camp Podcast
Episode 5: A conversation with Irma Jennings



Sarah interviews Irma Jennings. Irma Jennings, INHC, went from the boardroom on Wall Street to the cutting board in her kitchen after returning to school at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2003. Her diagnosis of osteopenia in 2005 inspired her to create her company, Food for Healthy Bones™.

She is happy to report her bones are strong. For the past 13 years, Irma has blogged monthly on Food for Healthy Bones.

In this episode Irma shares her favorite mineral water for calcium and magnesium as well as her substitute for milk in her coffee. We discuss Calcium and vitamin D and straighten out some commonly misunderstood aspects of these vitamins. Oxalates are discussed as well!


Irma Jennings from Food for Healthy Bones Joined Sarah to discuss how we all can eat well and support our bones.

2:00 Irma writes a blog that gives insights and information on healthy eating for our bones.You can find it on her website: https://www.food4healthybones.com/

You will also find her free offer of a document on 30 essential foods for bone health that you can sign up for on the website.

3:23 Irma recommends buying foods without packages and ingredients you can pronounce.

4:51 Myths that confound us:  Milk is essential for bones.

5:31 Your body will tell you when something does not work for you because your body will have a difficult time with absorption.  Your digestive system or your sinus’ or a headache may alert you.  An alternative to milk is Laird superfood creamer.

6:30 Irma reveals her special coffee recipe

7:10 Irma uses Dr. McCormicks collagen as well as his goat whey.

7:55 Irma’s green tea ritual

8:15 Mindful eating outline 

9:54 What type of calcium is best if you are buying fortified foods.  Answer: marine calcium.

10:57 Calcium carbonate is the cheapest calcium and it is harder to digest.  Be aware that you need more stomach acid to break it down.

12:56 One should do an elimination diet under a doctor’s supervision.  Irma will be involved in offering one with a doctor soon.

15:00 The idea of “eating well” is generally misunderstood.  Variety is often ignored.

15:46 Understanding how much protein you need.

17:18 Straight talk about oxalates.

18:30 Do not get bogged down in what you can not have to the point that you are not eating a variety of foods.

18:50 Vitamin D and testing

24:00 Gerolsteiner Water is a natural mineral water that is high in calcium and magnesium.

25:44 Start your day with lemon water and a discussion of the controversy about acid and alkaline balance.

27:46 Eat a plate of veggies with different colors

29:10 Cronometer to get to know what nutrients you are taking in.

Starting with gut health after my Osteoporosis diagnosis

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Like so many women, I received my Osteoporosis diagnosis over the phone and it was a huge shock. It was so much to take in!   Being a fitness professional, I felt embarrassed and devastated.

My doctor immediately offered me medication, which I declined because I wanted to do some research first. Sure enough, once I looked into it, I knew that I didn’t want to take medication.

From what I studied, I knew I wanted to take a two-pronged approach to my osteoporosis diagnosis: focusing on exercise and nutrition. 

I looked at my alignment so that I could see why the exercise that I had been doing wasn’t working. Then I approached nutrition in a similar way—although my diet was healthy, I was still having digestive troubles. My sister advised me to begin with an elimination diet, which helps you find out which foods you are sensitive to.

Finding out that you are unable to eat certain foods is hard. It’s a big adjustment and can be very disappointing. But when you realise how much better you feel…no more headaches, lethargy, digestive problems…it is so worth it!

So I suggest you start by really getting to know your gut health. Try an elimination diet and then you will be working from a position of strength.

Here are some resources on elimination diets that I found helpful:


I tried a 30-day elimination diet—that was enough for me! I thought the signs were pretty clear.  I’ve eliminated a lot of foods and I’ve learned to not to miss them. An interesting thing is that there are people who say that for instance they crave sugar.   But it’s actually your gut bacteria that crave the sugar. Once your gut bacteria is cleared of sugar,  you will no longer crave it. It’s not good bacteria, and it uses sugar for its energy. It will die off and it will be cleared when you get rid of the sugar. There are herbs and probiotics you can take to support this process.

So, yes, I still eat fruit! But I’ve vastly eliminated all the sources of refined sugar. Not to say that I don’t have some dark chocolate. In fact, I have a little bit of dark chocolate every day. 

After I cleaned up my gut by altering my diet, I decided to start with probiotics.

Rather than going the route of reading all of the various suggestions on probiotics that you can buy, I decided I was going to make my own! I bought bottles and I started making my own kombucha; it’s really easy to make. You can find the instructions and the recipes online, and you can even buy a scoby, the little kombucha starter online.  I love the recipes and tips on this website.  I am not an affiliate, I just like the site.  

Then my husband decided to make sauerkraut! It’s also full of probiotics. So, again, it’s super simple, it’s just a lot of chopping. Or you can even purchase bags of pre-chopped cabbage. My husband used a darker cabbage and ginger to get just the right flavor.

Now I feel great about what’s going on in my gut!

The next step was to start looking at how to get the nutrients that I need, through diet.

The facebook group Osteoporosis Natural Remedies was a big help with food and supplements.  

I highly recommend that you do not take anyone’s word for it when it comes to what you should and should not supplement. I made my own decisions based on getting advice, being pointed in a direction, and then reading the research myself.  It is only after all that work, that I chose my supplements.  For example, I do not take calcium. After reading the most current research, I decided to get my calcium from food.  It is interesting to note that a 2019 Harvard Medical School Newsletter outlines why the 1200mg RDa for post menopausal women is likely too high.  

If there’s anything I’d like to impart to you, it’s to take your time and do your research. I know the fear is real but you do have time, you do not have to rush.

When you are comfortable with the gut and nutrient side of things, then you may want to think about a fitness approach. Exercising with weights is a recommended and proven natural approach to bone growth promotion that makes sense for many women. Many of us need to address our core strategies before we embark on a progressive loading weightlifting experience.  Additionally, many of us are interested in core strength and mobility for the lifestyle benefits they provide.

I’ve developed a system for finding core stability and strength while improving whole body mobility that is not a chore, but a fun journey of discovery.  This process lives as a community online in the Short & Sweet with Sarah Membership. We open the membership four times a year. If you’re interested, you can read more about it here!