An oxalate free eating approach that may end aches, inflammation and pains, especially in joints!
Oxalates called oxalic acids, are organic compounds found in many plants. Some of us can experience a lot of stealthful health problems (hidden by various disease labels such as, for example, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory arthropathy) when we consume oxalate rich foods.
The oxalates our body naturally makes is normal and natural, but when we also consume oxalate rich foods / vegetables in excess, we can experience many problems.
The major nutritional challenge (we rarely think about it this way) is that these oxalates bind to the minerals also being digested in the intestinal tract, which then form nasty crystalline compounds together such as calcium oxalate and iron oxalate. Similar in feeling pain to fibromyalgia pain but with a sharpness, the specific pain from these crystalline compounds can be debilitating to muscles and joints and is usually systemic (even known to affect eyes, gentials, feet and bladders.
Certainly the symptoms this produces are similar to other health syndromes and symptoms and can not / should not be diminished with medications (yup, seeing your GP could mean a presciption for painkillers, rheumatoid meds, anti-gout prescriptions or sleeping tablets, anti-depressants even – NOT!).
These nasty oxalates can be handled by pushing them off your plate or eliminating them out of your juices or smoothies. OR they can be handled nicely if you really want to consume them.
There is no evidence that oxalates cause kidney stones – presence does not correlate with cause.
Sadly some oxalate compounds are to be found in specific ‘healthy’ foods such as fruits, vegetables, salad greens, nuts, legumes and beans. The disabling pains – like shards of glass ripping into muscles, or serious pricking sensations in the limbs (not tingling), and a general fatigue and the inability to concentrate or just being in a fog are the signs to watch for. This can affect anyone – healthy and sickly – it’s an equal opportunity crystal crisis. Yet sufferers of oxalate pains are most likely to be older (an accumulation of toxins over the years allow less leeway and slower instant detox and smart natural remediation).
Can you go about trying a low-oxalate diet?
You bet! That’s a very good idea! There are no standard mainstream medical tests that will show these crystals are in our bodies or in what quantities – except for possibly the odd crystal found in our urine – and can/is confused with uric acid crystals.
Even though there may be elevated Adiponectin and TNF-alpha markers / sensitivity tests for lectins and gluten that can be used or asked for (about Dr Gundry’s work), none exist for oxalates.
Three oxalic-free weeks is all it takes to feel if there’s a difference and if oxalates are your friend or foe. Just like removing lectins and nightshades, this approach appears to go against the healthy eating principles we embrace… it’s so-oo counter-intuitive – esp with today’s programming that any and every vegetable is sacred… but as Wm Shakespeare said: “engage your willing suspension of disbelief!”
First, you need to see if this applies to you:
- You used to be healthy, but gradually you developed sharp muscle pains, muscle fatigue, restless legs, serious stiffness in joints, sharp mouth and abdominal pain and less mobility
- You pass small amounts of urine more frequently.
- You feel sluggish, not well rested during the day, foggy-brained and don’t sleep as well as you used to.
- You often feel cold although your thyroid is tested as okay (although there’s so much more to thyroid health than merely the TSH test).
- You feel as though you’re more flat in mood and spirit and not as focussed, not sharp and not “on your game” as you used to be, even though you may have been told it’s genetic, menopause, a virus, your mother-in-law, or your astrology’s fault!
Foods High in Oxalate – the more obvious culprits
There’s a tad in almost all plants, but some plants contain very high amounts while others not so much.
Foods HIGH in oxalates (100–900 mg per serving) include:
- beet greens
- beet root
- swiss chard
- cacao powder and REAL chocolate (with less processed cacao still in it)
- sweet potatoes
- peanuts and pecans
- whole wheat and wheat bran
- coffee beans
Boiling vegetables can reduce their oxalate content somewhat.
Calcium can be used in the same meal as an oxalate – calcium binds to oxalates during digestion and that process of getting the oxalates clamped onto, carries it out of the intestines to the exit. (Oxalates DO NOT pull calcium out of your teeth or bones – a sign to run from that source of dietary advice or supplement flogging BS.)
If, for example, you crave a raw spinach salad, then rather than adding some eggs or bacon bits, you could add some chopped cheese or crumbled feta. The calcium in cheese binds to the spinach’s oxalic acid during digestion – that’s my way of enjoying raw spinach but without any expectation of absorbing the beneficial calcium… Or, you can add cream to your coffee… or you can purchase quality chocolate that has a tad of cream/dairy in it.
Sadly, wholewheat products and potatoes are on the list, too. There is no denying a low-oxalate diet will feel counter-intuitive — as it did for me, initially. Of course, those folks without pain and joint symptoms and fibromyalgia can, quite rightly, enjoy eating plenty of these foods and pay no attention to oxalates.
WHAT YOU CAN EAT – a really stringent oxalate free list
meats, chicken, turkey, fish and shell-fish
dairy (no fake cheeses, not fake soy cheese, nor oat OR ALMOND milk)
white bread (esp clean unbleached un-GMO-ed and organic)
fruits: bananas, kiwis, pears, lemons, limes, cherries, melons, coconuts, grapefruits, grapes, mangoes, green and yellow plums, peaches and nectarines.
vegetables: cauliflower, lettuces, mushrooms, onions, peas, garlic, squashes, zucchini, red peppers
white rice, cabbages, chives, cucumbers, endive, kohlrabi, radishes and water chestnuts.
peas and legumes (but high in lectins)
butter, organic vegetable oils (but not sesame oil)
wine and spirits
lemon juice and lemons are absolutely fine
WHAT TO AVOID… when it’s over-the-top serious
tea, coffee, chocolate, cacao, beans, nuts, seeds, grains, spinach, Swiss chard, beets and sweet potatoes and peanuts,
WHAT TO AVOID… when it’s just short of debilitating
tea and coffee with milk or cream
cacao or cocoa with milk or cream
almonds, almond flour, walnuts and pecans
wheat (bran, bran-type cereals, wholemeal, MULTI-GRAIN breads)
fruit berries: blueberries, blackberries, etc
beans: baked beans, kidney and garbanzo beans, pinto and black beans and green beans
fruit juice of medium to high-oxalate fruits such as cranberry and orange
vegetables: rhubarb, beetroot, celery, spinach, potatoes, leeks, carrots, green/orange/yellow peppers, sweet potatoes, parsley,
herbs and seeds: sesame seeds, poppy seeds, black pepper
peel of all citrus fruits (marmalade, candied peel, fruit cake)
soy and unfermented soy products such as tofu, soy milk, soy ice cream, soy flour (sneaks into everything), edemame beans
Some menu ideas / snacks when oxalates are over-the-top debilitating:
chicken, mushroom, onion and bacon white pasta bake
cheese, zuchini and mushroom omelette
dark leafy salad greens with healthy homemade mayo, with radishes, green onions, chopped zucchinis, peppers, cucumbers chives, mushrooms, proteins and a bit of chopped cheeses
cauliflower coated with cheese sauce with any meat or fish
stir-fry with egg noodles, chicken, mushrooms and white rice
white baguette with egg salad, tuna salad, cheeses or pate
smoked mackerel, tuna and/or haddock on a bed of dark lettuce with homemade mayo
white rice, hard-boiled eggs, parboiled asparagus dipped in healthy home-made mayonaise and with olives and crudit´e – a novelle Salade Nicoise without tomatoes and with avocado.
Once oxalates get past the intestinal tract tissue and into circulation, then the damage begins and in many nutritional articles / dietary information it will be about: disruption of mitochondrial functions; disrupt some mineral absorption; use up natural glutathione that could be used for taking down other inflammation or oxidative stress; it can interfere with ATP cycles and celular energy production; interfere with useful sulfates; act as a food intolerance and activate histamine.
Pleomorphic theory suggests that bacteria and some fungal species are integral to our terrain. They are part of our intricate immune system – not pathogenic themselves. However, if our terrain becomes imbalanced, these symbiotic species can become over-abundant, congestive and pathogenistic. Part of their pathogenistic pathway can include producing natural internally made oxalates.
Oxalates are also produced by penicillin and the Aspergillus bacillus. Penicillin and Aspergillus are in people with an abundance of mold in their body? Did autistic kids get their high oxalate levels by drinking green shakes? Spinach salads? Beet juice? Maybe, they got some from their high fungal and Candida levels in their body – indirectly acquired from imbalanced tissue trying to heal. (Keri Rivera has reported that once parasites are significantly reduced, autistic kids experience a dramatic drop in oxalate levels.)
Oxalate overload is not always entirely diet related. People have been known to live their lives meticulously avoiding ANY oxalate containing foods and wonder why their oxalate levels are still elevated. So, we start by reducing and then eliminating the intake of oxalates. Then that may be all there is to it. It’s the daily consumption of high oxalate foods that most of us need to avoid or at least manage with added calcium in each meal and snack.
For deeply affected folks and another point of view on oxalates: https://www.greatplainslaboratory.com/webinars/2016/4/13/the-green-smoothie-health-fad-this-road-to-health-hell-is-paved-with-toxic-oxalate-crystals
Aspergillus producing oxalates: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/8050718/?i=17&from=/24615146/related
Merrie Bakker B.Sc, M.Arch, CN
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Merrie Bakker – Live Blood Analyst / microscopist – Health Educator – Author – Teacher – Speaker – Editor – Hands-on-Healer – Reflexologist – Dowser – Reiki Master – Nutritional Coach – a life-long student of holistic medicine and preventative health who believes with a passion that cellular disorganization can be prevented or reversed by ortho-molecular medicine, emotional healing work, environmental detoxification (many areas of concern) and nutritional and lifestyle re-balancing (many possibilities). Combined with vigilance, monitoring and team work, clients are encouraged to detox, rebuild, re-nourish, resolve and re-educate.