Hello, Friday! Are you happy it’s Friday? Most people end their work week today, but I have changed to just weekends, so I am the opposite right now. There are so many hot button issues right now, related to Health: my body my choice, parental rights, masks, vaccines, climate change, lower drug prices, better health care. Don’t worry I will be discussing some of these in the coming weeks, but today I decided to keep it light.
If you read my post from the other day, then you know some of the foods I have been eating while trying to be meat free forever. I forgot to add a few: almonds, raspberries, sunflower seeds, and cocoa. I also talked about the weird symptoms I had been experiencing, and how they pretty much went away when I stopped eating these super high Oxalate foods.
I love smoothies! You may have even read some of my posts on smoothies, and received my free smoothie recipe when you signed up for my Mailchimp newsletter. See below to sign up. I drink a lot of smoothies during the warm months. Even though my smoothies are only about 200 calories, I use them as a meal replacement when I am on the go, or as a light lunch, or breakfast. I do not consume them as much in the colder months. How do I know these foods I have been eating in large amounts are high in Oxalates? I use an app called, Oxalate Food Counts. It will tell you the oxalate levels in various foods. For me, the goal is not to completely eliminate oxalates, but rather to choose lower oxalate foods. I am doing a bunch of research on Oxalates, CKD, and other organs. So, watch for future posts. It is a really interesting topic.
A typical smoothie for me will contain the following, and how to switch out for lower oxalate foods:
- Ice, no oxalates lol
- Some kind of other liquid source. For me it is usually some 100% juice, and French Vanilla Creamer. I will get into the Vitamin C issue in another post, but a lot of Health Gurus and Influencers push Almond Milk as the liquid source in a smoothie. 1 cup of Almond milk has about 18 mg of Oxalates. Cow’s milk has virtually no Oxalates. If you still would rather have a plant-based milk try Oat Milk which has 8 mg of Oxalates, or Evaporated Milk which I don’t think is plant-based but does have zero Oxalates.
- Protein Powder. I use Orgain which is a pea protein powder. 1 scoop of a pea protein powder has 3 mg of Oxalates per scoop. I use only 1/2 a scoop because I think it makes the smoothie gritty. If you use Whey protein it has 0mg per tbsp, Soy Protein powder 2mg per tbsp, and Brown Rice Protein Powder 5mg per scoop.
- I use bananas, peaches, blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries. How do they match up? Banana 1 fruit 3 mg, I use 1/2. Blueberries 2 mg per 1/2 cup, Peaches 1/2 cup has 1 mg, Raspberries 1 cup has 48 mg, and Strawberries 1/2 cup has 2 mg. These are for the raw varieties. It may differ for frozen, canned, or dried fruits. But, if you watch some of the gurus and influencers they are pushing more exotic fruits. Let me share some oxalate levels for more exotic fruits, star fruit 1/2 cup 235 mg, cassava cooked 1/2 cup 34 mg, clementine 1 fruit 19 mg, dates 24 mg, elderberry 1 cup 105 mg, goji berries dried 1/2 cup 77 mg, Gooseberry varies but it is very high for all varieties, guava 1 fruit 67 mg, kiwi 1 fruit 16 mg, orange 1 fruit 29 mg, pineapple in canned or dried forms is high, pomegranate 1 medium is 99 mg, tangerine 10mg.
- I typically would also add spinach and carrots as well. I have CKD, but no issue with potassium, but I still limited spinach to about a 1/4 cup per smoothie. Carrots I would just throw in some baby carrots. Spinach has per 1 cup of raw spinach 656 mg of Oxalates, cooked is even more. So, for my 1/4 cup of spinach I was still consuming 164 mg of Oxalates. Carrots have 15 mg of Oxalates per 1/2 carrot. I forgot to mention celery. If I have celery I would often throw that in as well, for added fiber. Celery has 15 mg of Oxalates per 1/2 cup. If you want to make your smoothie green, try Kale instead of Spinach, which has only 2 mg of Oxalates per 1 cup. If you really want to get Vitamin A, but want to avoid carrots and sweet potatoes, throw in some Iceberg Lettuce. You won’t even know it is in there and it has only 0mg of Oxalates.
Most actual experts would say that a daily average of Oxalates should be about 150 mg per day. You can see by what I have written that you may be consuming way more Oxalates than the body can handle. You may even add other things, like Turmeric to your smoothie, which is also very high in Oxalates.
If you are Oxalate sensitive, which I think I am, your doctor may tell you to eat 50 mg or less of Oxalates. You can not avoid Oxalates all together, well some people do by going on the Carnivore Diet, but trust me you are going to be constipated, and probably mess up your intestinal biome. There is something called Oxalate Dumping as well, so please don’t just stop eating these foods if you have been eating them in very large amounts.
So, there you have it, ways you can make a low Oxalate smoothie. Check out the app if you are concerned about your intake, any unexplained symptoms you may be having, and speak to your doctor. It is probably best to ask your doctor for a referral to a Dietitian, as most doctors really don’t know much about nutrition.