Low Oxalate Diet
You will not need to be sad on a low oxalate diet
What are oxalates?
Simple answer – NOTHING TO BE AFRAID OF !
Click the link below to find a great resource for following a low oxalate diet using the Harvard List of Oxalates.
Certain foods are high in oxalates and these need to be minimised in order to help prevent further calcium oxalate stones. Other foods are low in oxalates and can be eaten more freely. Rather than use the word diet, as most people think the word diet means restrictive, maybe a better word would be lifestyle. You need to change your eating habits if you want to be successful in preventing further stones and the Harvard list is the true and tested guide to follow. You will find other information online but by sticking to the Harvard list then you will be on the right track. There will be foods not on the Harvard list so eat those with moderation.
My Lifestyle Changes
I have had to cut out potatoes so have chosen to only eat them at weekends and not all weekend. Also by boiling potatoes approximately one third of oxalates is discarded in the cooking water. Potatoes are still relatively high though however they are cooked. Rhubarb and beetroot are gone and chocolate is very minimal. Almonds are very high too but I rarely ate those lately. Spinach is a no-no but I never liked spinach so no hardship for me. Peanuts are high but some people still eat peanut butter occasionally. It is all about control. Raspberries are a favourite of mine but they too are on the “naughty list” along with black tea. As a heavy tea drinker I have cut back to 1 cup of English Breakfast tea in a morning and then herbal tea during the day.
Water, water and more water!
In order to help prevent any stones forming you will need to drink between 85 to 100 fluid ounces (2 to 3 litres) each day. Other drinks such as juice does count but at least half of those fluids needs to be water.
Do NOT avoid calcium! If you eat a food high in oxalates such as potatoes, then drink a glass of milk as the calcium helps flush out the oxalates so they don’t linger in the kidney and form stones. Everyone should be getting 1000mg of calcium daily and post menopausal women need 1200mg per day. I have found I like oat milk and I also like that the calcium is higher than cows milk because it has been fortified. Also orange juice fortified with calcium is a good idea too. I have recently discovered that plain yogurt has almost twice as much calcium as Greek yogurt, This is due to the fact that for Greek yogurt the whey is removed and by doing so much of the calcium is lost. Shopping for fat free plain non-Greek yogurt is a trial as most stores have very little.
Your best option is to click the above link and go from there. There is also a Facebook support group for Kidney Stone Prevention Diet which has been a great help.
Some calcium oxalate stones can be cause by a rogue parathyroid gland releasing too much calcium into the body and I will cover that issue separately on another page.
For some people lifestyle changes, which it really is rather than a diet, can be challenging and overwhelming.
Take it on board and make changes accordingly. If you can’t cut out sugar and/or sodium in one go then lessen it little by little. Any changes, however small, will make a change to preventing kidney stones.
Guidelines, unless your doctor has advised differently, are 100mg or less of oxalates per day. The Harvard List is the proven one to follow. Don’t believe everything out there online. If it isn’t on the oxalate list, due to being a newer type of food like quinoa or avocado, then eat it sparingly and not often. You do not need to be bored on this diet or starve yourself. You can also allow yourself the odd treat here and there but be in control of portion size and take a calcium with it.
If you are the type of person who will eat a large bag of crisps (chips) in one go, then best advice is to not buy them.
Remember your health is what matters, but also none of us are perfect.
Fluid should be between 85 – 100 fl.ozs per day and at least half should be water. You can count juice and milk in this. Just remember that all colas are bad for kidney stone makers due to phosphoric acid and whilst soda in itself is not a good choice of beverage, try to limit it to lemon or lemon/lime if need be.
Calcium needs to be 1000mg per day for an adult but for post menopausal women consumption needs to be 1200mg per day.