Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Seriously...a diet?!

Okay, don't freak out...I'm not going on a "diet," per se. But now having a history of kidney stones, I have been put on a low-oxalate diet for pretty much the rest of my life. Just fabulous.

So, this is all pretty boring stuff. And to be honest, I didn't give it much thought until this morning when I felt a small nagging pain in my lower back. I know it's not another stone, but it did get me thinking; so I gave my lovely do-not-eat list a good once-over. I consume so much of these products on a daily basis...not good. I guess it's time to officially go on a "diet."

Here is a link to high-oxalate foods I'm supposed to avoid. Green beans, draft beer, strawberries, and cereals are all on the list. Awesome. Oh yeah, so is tofu...there goes my plan of becoming a vegetarian.

Oxalates are compounds found in many foods and may be one source that leads to the formation of kidney stones. According to, kidney stones develop when there is not enough fluid in urine to dilute mineral and acid buildup. Oxalic acid, the byproduct of ingested oxalates, is one factor that can become out of balance. High oxalate levels in urine and plasma may work to create calcium
oxalate, the substance that forms some kidney stones. Neutralizing the oxalate levels in your diet may help prevent problems with your kidneys and improve overall health.

My instructions:
  1. Limit your intake of high-oxalate foods. Cut down on green leafy vegetables, chocolate and caffeine drinks, such as soda or tea (not including green tea...thank goodness!). Brewed coffee is OK, but stay away from instant coffee mixes. Other foods to limit include cereals (dammit!), bran, nuts, black pepper, and soy sauce.

  2. Increase your intake of low-oxalate foods. Include lean meats (turkey meat...thank you!), green tea (morning ritual...thank you!), bananas, cherries, mushrooms, cauliflower, cabbage, and most berry fruits...but I have to stay away from strawberries. :(. Shifting your diet away from foods that contain high levels of oxalates is the best way to eliminate the acid from your body.

  3. Drink plenty of water each day (I'm a runner...duh). One factor in the formation of kidney stones is low levels of liquid in urine. Drinking water will counteract that problem and neutralize oxalate. Monitor your water intake to ensure you drink at least eight glasses or more of water daily.

  4. Add 2 cups of calcium-fortified orange juice to breakfast (luckily I already drink a glass of low acid juice every morning). Citrus juices contain citric acid and may neutralize some products in urine, including oxalic acid. Science has yet to prove this, but lists citrus juice as one alternative medicine for treatment of kidney stones.
For more information on this oh-so-interesting topic, visit


  1. Wow. Just that short list of foods would kill me. I know you can do it!! :)

  2. I love your blog, Beth! Always thought you were such a good writer! :)