High Oxalate Food Swaps!

All this month I have been discussing Oxalates in relation to kidney stones, and the possibility it may effect CKD. I did not get in as many topics as I would have liked, but if you look in the archives there is some really good information for you. The foods with the very highest oxalates, are either exotic foods, or foods considered super foods and are popular with Vegans, and Influencers. The list below is not complete, but will give you an idea that you don’t have to completely give up really healthy foods to avoid oxalates.

Fruits: The top 10 highest oxalate fruits are:

  1. Elderberry 105 mg per cup
  2. Indian Gooseberry 5996 per 1/2 cup other varieties have 15 mg per 1/2 cup
  3. Guava 50 mg
  4. Prickly Pear 1/2 cup boiled has 261 mg
  5. Raspberry 1 cup 50 mg
  6. Rhubarb 1/2 cup 541 mg
  7. Star Fruit 235 mg
  8. Pomegranate 1 medium fruit 99 mg
  9. Orange 29 mg
  10. Kiwis 19 mg Some others in this range are olives, grapefruit and goji berries.

Fruits with lower oxalates include apples, grapes, blueberries, apricot, peaches and bananas. A note about Avocados they have 19 mg per avocado. That is probably moderate if you eat a lot of avocados.

Vegetables with highest oxalates:

  1. Beet Greens 1 cup 500 mg Beets and beetroot are also high at 80 and 76
  2. Edamame per 2.5 oz cooked has 22 mg
  3. Fresh Express Mesclun Salad Mix 1/3 cup has 35 mg
  4. Okra 1/2 cup 57 mg
  5. Purslane Leaves 1/2 cup 165 mg
  6. Spinach cooked 1/2 cup 755 mg Spinach raw 1 cup 656 mg
  7. Swiss Chard 1 cup 350-429 mg
  8. Yams 1/2 cup 40 mg
  9. Turnip 1/2 cup mashed 30 mg
  10. Carrots raw 1/2 carrot 15 mg

Potatoes are also very high, but I can’t find them on my app. Some veggies to be mindful of are bamboo shoots, cassava, cayenne peppers, collard greens, and mung beans. If you like to eat salad choose romaine or iceberg. Broccoli, bell peppers, onions, cauliflower, zucchini, and corn are all lower in oxalates.

Beans etc:

  1. Black beans up to 72 mg per 1/2 cup
  2. Cannellini beans 1/2 cup 79 mg
  3. Great Northern Beans 1/2 cup 67 mg
  4. Lentils dried and boiled 1 cup 39 mg
  5. Navy Beans 1/2 cup 76 mg
  6. Red chili beans 1/2 cup 33 mg
  7. Soybeans 1 cup 96 mg
  8. White beans 1/2 cup 62 mg

If you like to eat this type of food, and there is no doubt they are healthy food, split peas, green peas are your best best in regard to oxalates. Chickpeas in a can are safe, but dried and boiled are high.

Nuts and Seeds:

  1. Almonds 1 oz 122 mg or roasted 1/2 cup 272 mg
  2. Brazil nut 1/2 cup 128 mg
  3. Cashew 1 oz 49-75 mg
  4. Chia Seeds 1 oz 192 mg
  5. Hazelnut 1/2 cup 103-140 mg
  6. Peanuts are high depending on roasted 53-137 mg peanut butter 1tbsp 13 mg
  7. Sesame Seeds 1 tbsp 342 mg
  8. Soynuts 1/4 cup 392 mg
  9. Walnuts 7 nuts 31 mg
  10. Tahini 1 tbsp 16 mg

For this category pistachios and sunflower seeds win. Pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and macademia nuts are also lower oxalate choices.

Meat: Virtually all meat is oxalate free

Dairy, unless it has chocolate in it is very low in oxalates.

Baking Ingredients:

  1. Almond flour 2 tbsp 60 mg Almond meal has a ton
  2. Amaranth flour 1/4 cup 76 mg
  3. Barley flour 1/2 cup 42 mg
  4. Brown rice and Buckwheat flour per 1 cup about 60 mg
  5. Chickpea flour 1/2 cup 39 mg
  6. Cocoa powder 4 tsp 68 mg
  7. Cornmeal 1 cup 64 mg
  8. Potato flour 1/2 cup 89 mg
  9. Quinoa flour 1/2 cup 140 mg
  10. White bean flour 1/2 cup 141 mg

For this category white whole purpose flour, even gluten free varieties are the best options if you are sensitive to oxalates. Whole wheat, is also fairly low,

If you would like to learn about any others such as sweets, spices, cereals, etc, use the contact form at the end of this post to send me a message.

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low oxalate green smoothie!

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:

  1. Ice, no oxalates lol
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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What are oxalates?

Happy Wellness Wednesday! Today, and at different times this month, I will be talking about Oxalates. If you have Kidney Disease, are at risk of getting Kidney Disease, are Vegan, Vegetarian, Plant-Based, etc. you may wish to read this month. Each day will be a different topic related to Oxalates.

So what exactly are Oxalates? Oxalates are found in most plants, some more than others. They break down in the body to Oxalic Acid. Plants use Oxalates as a way to protect themselves so they don’t get eaten, a toxin, or poison if you will. When consumed in large amounts Oxalates may build up in the body causing various illnesses. Watch the very short Youtube video below that explains what Oxalates are.

If you read here often, then you know that I am always tweaking my diet, for various reasons, but generally for overall health. I have been plant-based for a while, but I really want to try to eat more of a lifestyle with no meat products. I had pretty much attained that goal, but I started to notice some odd symptoms, or exaggeration of other things that I have had previously. These symptoms were worsening of my dry eyes and strange vision without explanation, Calcific Tendonitis in my shoulder joint, urinary retention, bladder pain, hesitant speech or a stutter, Arthritis type stiffness and pain in my finger joints, and the return of migraines that I have not had in years. I had read about Oxalates before, because I have CKD. I even thought I was limiting my Oxalate intake, but I did not know the extent of Oxalates in foods. But, one day when doing some research I read some more about Oxalates and guess what, a lot of my strange symptoms could have been from oxalate toxins!

What was I eating almost every day that is high in Oxalates on a plant-based leaning towards completely meat free diet?

  1. Black beans
  2. Whole wheat pasta and brown rice
  3. Whole grain breads
  4. Baked beans
  5. Peanuts, peanut butter, and some other nuts
  6. Spinach, carrots, potatoes, and a variety of other greens.
  7. Turmeric
  8. Paprika
  9. Sadly Everything but the Bagel Seasoning

And I am sure there were many others. I immediately cut back on these high Oxalate foods, and my symptoms improved very quickly. You have to do this slowly, and may want to get assistance from a Dietitian as it can cause Oxalate Dumping. More on that in another post.

What was I not eating? Dairy! More about that later, too.

Be sure and come back to read the other posts on this topic.

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Get to know oxalates!

Hello, and welcome to Healthy Tips on Tuesday! This week’s tip is really a teaser of topics to come. Get to Know Oxalates!

I already knew some about Oxalates, because I have CKD. But, I did not know to the extent that they are toxic, and even poisonous. Oxalates are found in lots of plant foods. I have been strictly plant-based for about 2 months now, and I have noticed some odd symptoms. But, I am still researching this, and I don’t have a ton of time today to do a large post. Plus, it is a teaser. You will just have to pay attention to learn more about this topic.

Tomorrow I will most likely be doing my last post on Diverticulitis, and then I can concentrate on Oxalates after that.

If you are Vegetarian, Vegan, Plant-Based, or just eat a ton of plant foods every day, you are going to want to keep up with this topic.

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Learn About G-bombs!

This post will combine a bunch of different topics into one. Yesterday, I shared that this week’s food challenge was for me to be completely meat-free. Why I decided on that challenge I did not explain. If you follow me you know I have CKD. Last week I was browsing through Twitter and one of the kidney organizations I follow was doing a survey on initiatives that various kidney patients would like to see them pursue in the new year. I also knew before that, that there was a huge push for a plant-based diet to be used to treat kidney disease. Some of the questions were geared around that topic. One of my biggest complaints with them using a plant-based diet to treat kidney disease, well actually two complaints, is 1- phosphorus in a plant-based diet is going to be very high levels according to research I have done, though it may not be well absorbed by the body, and 2- I feel like Anemia is a huge issue to consider for anyone on a plant-based diet, but could be dangerous for people with kidney disease. Those 2 reasons, plus the video below encouraged me to approach this topic in the form of a food challenge.

You also know, if you read this blog, that I am creating a Nutrition course for my high school child. The video below will be included in that course.

To begin I need to clarify some frustrating definitions.

What is plant-based? According to Harvard University a plant-based diet is: plant-based or plant-forward eating patterns focus on foods primarily from plants. This includes not only fruits and vegetables, but also nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans. It doesn’t mean that you are vegetarian or vegan and never eat meat or dairy. Rather, you are proportionately choosing more of your foods from plant sources. Why does this frustrate me? For one thing, not everyone classifies it the same way. Some lump plant-based in with veganism. Plant-based simply means the majority of your daily food intake will come from plants. This could mean frozen, canned, etc, especially if you live in a food desert.

What is whole food plant-based? This is a much stricter version of a plant-based diet. Foods should be of the least processed possible and probably raw. In another words in its most natural form. Why is this frustrating? Again, because so many groups and organizations are lumping all of it together, and trust me people take this stuff personally. Let me be clear. If you live in a food desert or on a fixed income, this diet is going to be very hard to follow and or very expensive. A lot in this group are also putting veganism in there. Some of these do not consume any oil in any form as it is highly processed.

What is Vegetarian? Very similar to plant-based, matter of fact I would say almost exactly with the exception that again, organizations and other entities are trying to push the Veganism movement in here. I think that is why it is now called plant-based instead of Vegetarianism. I will be doing plant-based or Vegetarian with some dairy and some eggs. Why? Because of B12. It is the best way to get that vitamin. I have no desire to be Anemic, and yes I can and will take a multivitamin but as you may or may not know there is some evidence that suggests the body does not even absorb multivitamins and are a complete waste of money.

What is Vegan? Vegan’s eat no meat at all, or any product that is derived from meat. They do not buy leather, or any fashion and beauty products derived from or tested on animals. This is a very noble goal to have. It is also not the healthiest for humans. It is awesome for animals, but some studies suggest Vegans do not necessarily eat a healthy diet just because they are not consuming meat products. Next week I will focus on this as it pertains to kidney disease. Some will say Veganism is a political movement and a lot of them are kind of aggressive about their choices as it pertains to convincing others.

I am not saying any of these are better or worse. What I am saying is that without proper education of all the issues that go with kidney disease and the complexities of it, these types of diets will only confuse people. Since phosphorus is not on food labels and is very hard to track in food items, suggesting everyone should be plant-based is complicated. I don’t want B12 injections, so I will do what my body needs to keep Anemia away. If that means I eat small amounts of meat or meat products then that is what I will do.

Now, to the next confusing part of this post. The video below is not about kidney disease. But, it is about living a healthier life into our later years. She mentions G-Bombs in the video and that everyone should be eating them every day. Of course, I had to see what G-Bombs were. Why is this confusing and frustrating? Keep reading to find out.

G-bombs is an acronym for Greens, Berries, Onions, Mushrooms, Beans and Seeds. Great, right? Let’s check some more.

Greens- If you follow some groups, greens means leafy greens. Such as mustard greens, spinach, kale, parsley, romaine lettuce etc. Well, some of us don’t actually like a lot of those greens. You may be bummed even thinking you can not meet your greens’ needs. Greens encompass any food source that is green. Yes, it is true that leafy greens are exceptionally healthy, but so are lots of other greens such as iceberg lettuce, peas, green beans, limes, broccoli, and so many more. So, go ahead and eat your greens, all greens. But, what if you have CKD? If you have kidney disease these greens are typically very high in potassium. So, be sure to eat them in small to moderate amounts. Plus, keep in mind if you are taking Coumadin, or Warfarin greens can be very high in Vitamin K which can affect the effectiveness of your medication. These things just confuse people when they are not told accurate information.

Berries- This one completely made me laugh. Strawberries, blackberries and others are not berries. They are fruit, but not berries. However, bananas, avocados, pumpkins, tomatoes, watermelon, and kiwis are. LOL, so eat your berries. I am pretty sure when they said berries in the video, as a matter of fact, I think she said strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc. Now, mind you those fruits are still very good for you but are not berries. Blueberries might be. Again, confusing to consumers of this information.

Onions- Alright I will give them this one. I don’t think there is any way to confuse onions.

Mushrooms- Mushrooms are actually very healthy and a decent protein source for anyone not eating meat. However, I don’t care for fresh mushrooms so I only eat canned or jarred. Plus mushrooms, again are very high in their phosphorus content and should be eaten mindfully if you have kidney disease. Canned or jarred may be less in phosphorus due to processing, but there is no definitive test I can find to that. They are very low in calories too.

Beans- This is my least favorite food to eat. Legumes would fall under this too, but peas are the only ones I like. I can eat small amounts of beans and that is not bad because beans, except green beans are high in potassium and phosphorus. They would need to be eaten with care if you have kidney disease. I only eat 1/4 cup at a time. They are a good source of protein but there is debate about how much of that protein is actually usable by the body.

Seeds- This is another very confusing category. You are probably eating way more seeds than you ever knew. You are probably thinking flax seeds, chia seeds and sunflower seeds. While those are seeds, again, if you have kidney disease these can be very high in phosphorus and I consume in small amounts only. Nuts can also be included according to the video, again, phosphorus is an issue. Read about seeds, here.

When you put all of this info together you can see how I, someone with kidney disease is frustrated with these kinds of recommendations. I don’t think there are enough studies showing it is safe for all aspects of kidney disease. Yes, I put all of that on my survey. Now, with all of that said, anytime you can eat a healthier diet with less processed foods and more whole foods it is obviously going to be better.

Now, for what I ate today. I made an avocado dressing to put on a baked potato and carrots for lunch. I typically don’t eat breakfast, but I did have a slice of leftover pizza. Dinner will be broccoli, sauteed mushrooms and onions and two eggs. I am not hungry and seem to be satisfied enough. I did go slightly over my carbs limit. I use Myhealthykidney, an app on my phone, and or Eat This Much website to try and figure out how much phosphorus I am consuming. Contact me to learn about my Health Coaching plans.

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Foodie Friday: Health Benefits of Pistachios

I hope everyone had a Happy New Year!  For the first Foodie Friday of 2020, I will be talking about the very healthy Pistachio nuts.

Pistachios are a tree nut with a green color that is rich in nutrients.  If you are Vegetarian or Vegan, they have almost 6 grams of protein per 1/4 cup serving.  Trying not to eat Potato Chips?  Pistachios are a much healthier option with healthy fats instead of saturated fats.  If you have CKD they are pretty high in Potassium so be sure and limit how many you are eating.  One serving of Pistachio nuts contains almost 30% of daily amounts of B-6.

They are a low-calorie snack option.  Each serving has 159 calories.  Just be sure you stick to the serving size.

Pistachios are full of antioxidants that help reduce the risks of getting cancer, including colon cancer.

Pistachios also contain two antioxidants, Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which are both vital to eye health.

Pistachios are high in fiber and are considered a prebiotic which will aid with gut health.

If you are a woman and eat a lot of nuts, studies show a decreased risk of Heart Disease for women.

If you have diabetes, or pre-diabetes Pistachios are a low glycemic food which means they can help control your blood sugar levels.

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Did You Gobble Til You Wobble?

How was your Thanksgiving?  I am not just talking about food.  I hope everyone was able to enjoy their Thanksgiving with family and friends.  We had a busy, but a peaceful day.   I can admit I ate a little bit more than I should have, but not too much.  On Wednesday, I watched the Netflix documentary, The Game Changers.  I am encouraging the rest of my family to watch it too.  While I have been slowly converting to Vegetarian eating, the documentary just speeded the process up for me.  I will probably never be Vegan, and am more focused on Mediterranean Diet way of eating.  I am sensitive to soy products, and with CKD I do have to be sure and get adequate Iron.  B12 is another huge vitamin that is necessary for the body, but I won’t say any more to give away too much from the documentary.  Watch it.  Do you think you could switch, or have you already?

Don’t forget about my free Walking Challenge to start in 2020.  I personally have a goal to start running in 2020.  I am already working towards it now.  Message me for details, or read the post in the archives.  I will try and set up an easy monthly challenge for different target areas.  December will be a month-long plank challenge.  I have some ideas for some other new programs too.  You can read all my current plants in the Available Plan section, and I have a monthly special, too.  I also offer gift certificates.

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