The Low Oxalate Diet

If you are new to the low oxalate diet or exploring whether a low oxalate diet could help you or someone you love, this page is for you.  I invite you to start by reading some posts about how to start a low oxalate diet, how to succeed on a low oxalate diet and frequently asked questions about the low oxalate diet. The low oxalate diet has helped many people heal symptoms of genital pain, bladder pain, autism, kidney stones, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia and more. It could help you also!  Please read Who Benefits From A Low Oxalate Diet to see if the low oxalate diet sounds right for you.Girl enjoying peach on the low oxalate diet.

Also please note this page is a work in progress!  I will keep adding to it as I write posts about the low oxalate diet and how to address the underlying cause of your oxalate issue.  I will also add to this page as you ask questions in the comments section below.  Let me know what you want to learn, what you want me to write about next or how I can help you.  This site is your site. Take care and know I’m cheering for you.

Starting a Low Oxalate Diet:

How to get an Accurate Low Oxalate Food List
Four Effective Approaches to the Low Oxalate Diet
Simple Low Oxalate Meal Plans

Oxalate Science 101:

What is Oxalate?
Top Six Reasons Why Some People Accumulate High Levels of Oxalate

Frequently Asked Questions:

Who Benefits From A Low Oxalate Diet?
Why are the Low Oxalate Food Lists so Inconsistent?
Is Kale Low Oxalate?
Is the Low Oxalate Diet Healthy? What is Dumping and other FAQ

Tips and Resources for Low Oxalate Dieters:    

Introducing the Low Oxalate Diet Store    
Four Strategies for a Low Oxalate Thanksgiving

Five Tips for Using Herbs and Spices on the Low Oxalate Diet
Low Oxalate Recipes
Low Oxalate Product Reviews
The Low Oxalate Diet served Family-Style
Guide to Low Oxalate Greens
Low Oxalate Curry Guide

 How to Modify Recipes for the Low Oxalate Diet:

Is this a Low Oxalate Recipe?
Simple Low Oxalate Substitutions

 

Photo credit to Bruce Tuten for the lovely picture of his granddaughter enjoying  a fresh Georgia peach.

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Nancy July 19, 2012 at 10:35 pm

I am having a hard time getting used to this low oxalate diet- mainly doing without bread and my whole grains. I only see white and wild rice as options. I had a wheat sensitivity, so I was eating lots of buckwheat , quinoa, amaranth, etc. Now I have kidney stones. And no chocolate too? Ugh! Could you help me with substitutions? I know I can use vanilla instead of chocolate, but are there any flours at all out there that I can make homemade bread from? Thank you!

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Heidi July 20, 2012 at 12:45 am

Hi, Nancy.
The low oxalate diet can be a big adjustment. I understand your frustration and grief. Be sure to give yourself plenty of space and time as you work out a new way of eating. I think big comforting non-food rewards and nurturing are a must. Maybe you are due for a massage or a pedicure? :->

Anyway, many people on the low oxalate diet eliminate or drastically cut down on grains, especially wheat and gluten, not only because of the high oxalate content, but to try and heal their gut function (which is often a large cause of excess oxalate absorption in the intestines). If you have a wheat sensitivity, then it’s highly likely eating wheat has irritated your gut and contributed to your oxalate problems. I would definitely ditch the wheat. After that, it’s up to you to figure out if you can eat other grains and how much. Part of the key to accepting a new diet is finding acceptable alternatives to the foods you used to eat. Have you gotten an up-to-date list of the oxalate content of foods from the Trying Low Oxalates Yahoo Group yet? If so, start looking through it! It’s full of foods you can start learning to enjoy. If not, go to my LOD store (click on the tab on top of the page) and start flipping through some of the gluten-free products. I’ve listed the oxalate content beside each one, so you can start to see what alternatives are available to you–you’ll notice a few gluten-free pastas made with brown rice that are low oxalate, plus flax seed, oatmeal (medium oxalate) and a some low oxalate flours and baking alternatives, such as coconut flour and tapioca starch. Many common whole foods are not listed in the store, but also might be helpful for you such as corn tortillas (3 mg. oxalate per tortilla) and spaghetti squash (great pasta alternative).

I don’t know if this rings true for you, but when I started giving up whole wheat bread I found that I missed it most during meals where I traditionally ate lots of bread. I didn’t miss it, however, when I ate Mexican-inspired meals (where corn tortillas were an acceptable alternative) and Asian meals where white rice was expected. For me, part of the key was learning to cook more meals where I didn’t emotionally expect to eat bread. I also started to make low oxalate muffins and pancakes with coconut flour to occasionally eat with breakfast and switched to eggs most mornings with an occasional bowl of oatmeal. This worked for me. Since then I have gone almost completely grain-free, but it’s still things like eating brats at a backyard BBQ where I really miss my whole grain bun.

Hope this helps.
Heidi

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Katelin August 18, 2012 at 1:03 am

Hello!

I recently was diagnosed with Vulvodynia/Vestibulitis and became SO discouraged after realizing that all of my efforts to eating whole foods and making my own whole wheat tortilla, etc all of the time went down the drain! So much of my diet consisted of brown rice, whole wheat/whole grain breads and pastas and other high oxalate foods. All week I have been crying (my poor wonderful wonderful husband…) but stumbling across your site has given me a lot of hope. Especially after seeing your recipe for the chili and low oxalate hummus!!

Two days before the diagnosis and learning that I need a low oxalate diet I had made a fresh batch of homemade nutella….hazelnuts are VH…guess my husband will be eating all of that- as well as all of the peanut butter protein bars I made….*sigh*

Thank you for your website- please continue to post recipes and information!!!

Sincerely,
Afraidofthislowoxalatediet.

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Heidi August 18, 2012 at 8:56 am

Hi, Katelin.
I’m glad you found me. It can be so discouraging to learn that so much of what we thought was healthy in our diet may have actually been causing our symptoms. The good thing is that you’ve trained yourself to eat healthy foods and now hopefully you can choose even healthier foods for your body. Whole wheat is out, but you can still eat whole grains as oatmeal, corn and brown rice in moderation if you wish. And although some “healthy” whole foods are off the menu, many others (including ones you’ve probably never heard of) are okay. You may want to try some Sunbutter soon if you are a big peanut butter fan. It is definitely not the same; it has it’s own distinct taste. But it is really satisfying and can be used in place of peanut butter in any recipe.

I just got back from a three-week vacation to Colorado and haven’t posted in awhile but some new recipes will be coming soon!

Take care,
Heidi

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Joanna September 19, 2012 at 4:16 am

Thanks for this fabulous resource, Heidi. I would love to have a post where you spell out for beginners the best way to get started. I’m finding this diet a little overwhelming right now. Thanks.

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Heidi December 8, 2012 at 9:12 am

Hi, Joanna.
I’ve posted some low oxalate meal plans for beginners which may be a helpful. They are actually quite low oxalate so you might start with those then add a few other low or medium oxalate foods for variety. Hope that helps you get over the overwhelmed stage.

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Stephanie Anne December 8, 2012 at 6:04 am

Hi, I am looking for advice/direction…. Basically, I am continually producing kidney stones, within days, both sides… It all started back in April when I ended up in ICU because of kidney stones/infection and I turned septic.. it has been a long haul… I dealt with nephrostomy tubes, stents, surgeries , etc… and I am only 28 and had no other medical issues. My doctor is still trying to find out what type of stones they are, but he wants me to start on a low oxalate diet… also low salt and and cut protein. I am so frustrated! Does any have any words of advice or suggestions? Thanks for your time. Have a great day!

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Jennifer December 8, 2012 at 9:14 am

Stephanie, did your doctor do any blood work? Specifically, were your calcium and PTH (parathryoid hormone) levels checked? Many people form kidney stones because they have hyperparathyroidism.
You can read about it on WebMD
http://www.webmd.com/kidney-stones/tc/parathyroid-gland-and-kidney-stones-topic-overview

If you are getting kidney stones because you have hyperparathyroidism, a change in your diet may provide relief but it won’t provide the cure.

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Sonja January 23, 2013 at 11:31 pm

Hi,
I have had a terrible time with kidney stones. I just had a stent taken out of my right kidney. My left kidney is not functioning anymore(found out in August). I have to be on a low oxlalate diet. I have no clue what to eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Can you give me some suggestions? I know I shouldn”t eat almonds and drink iced tea. I eat alot of strawberries and blueberries. Is that fine?
Thanks,
Sonja

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Heidi February 9, 2013 at 2:30 am

Blueberries are low oxalate so go ahead. Strawberries are medium oxalate, so go ahead and have a half cup or so, just not too many. For suggestions about what to eat, you might want to start with my Low Oxalate Meal Plans and go from there. Hope you are starting to get the hang of it.

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Caren Ganzert February 27, 2013 at 12:46 am

This is so interesting. My husband just had a large kidney stone “zapped” and was given a list of foods to avoid. I looked it up to find ideas and found your site. Both of us have “gut” issues and arthritis. I have suffered from IBS and he has been diagnosed with diverticulitis. This is definitely worth working on for both of us and I will share with my daughter who has tummy troubles and asthma. It may fix all of us!!!

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Sharon March 23, 2013 at 6:36 am

I came across your very interesting website while trying to figure out how to eat kale. I have had a problem with fatigue and pain in the muscles of my legs upon getting out of bed in the mornings. I’ve followed a modified paleo diet but just a month ago made additional changes to my diet after reading about Dr. Wahl’s recovery from MS while doing her version of a paleo diet. She is big on kale. Upon completely cutting out all grains and adding in more veggies I’ve eliminated the pain most of the time. However I have discovered that I don’t do well with nightshades. I can eat them on one day if cooked but after consecutive days I start to experience pain again.

I also have a problem with my thyroid (hypothyroidism) and am concerned about eating goitrogenic foods. I noticed you recommend the low oxalate diet to help with thyroid issues. However you mention peaches as being okay to eat on your diet. I’m confused as to if I should be eating peaches and kale in light of the thyroid issue.

Sheesh, if I cut out nightshades, goitrogenic, and high oxalate foods will I have any veggies left to eat? I guess I need to do some more research. Your opinions or recommendations are most appreciated. Thanks.

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Heidi March 23, 2013 at 7:42 am

Hi, Sharon.
Most of what we know about the healing effects of the low oxalate diet for non-kidney stone related disorders comes from twenty years of anecdotal evidence from the Vulvar Pain Foundation and the Autism Oxalate Project. Thousands of women have healed or significantly recovered from severe vulvar pain by following a low oxalate diet. Many of these women also had bladder or rectal burning and pain which also healed. Surprisingly, when we started to get together at seminars and in support groups we found that a high percentage of women with severe vulvar pain also had fatigue and muscle or joint pain. Many had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a few with arthritis and a few with chronic fatigue syndrome. Others were undiagnosed but had the symptoms. What we found as the years went by was that not only were these women’s vulvar and bladder pain healing, but their fatigue and muscle/joint symptoms were also healing. A few found that their hypothyroidism also cleared. In the past six years, the Autism Oxalate Project has added to this data through their scientific research on the connection between autism and oxalate (children with autism often have elevated oxalate levels). Their lead researcher, Susan Owens, has also run a Yahoo group called Trying Low Oxalates. This site started as a place for parents with autistic children to get information on how to incorporate a low oxalate diet into their children’s healing program. Many of the parents went on the low oxalate diet with their kids, and again the evidence started pouring in that the low oxalate diet can heal many disorders including joint and muscle pain, fatigue and thyroid issues.

We know from lots of scientific/medical studies that the thyroid is one of the first places that many people’s bodies stash excess oxalate (that how oxalate causes problems — you injest too much of it often through a leaky gut and your body reacts by stashing it away in places where it will later cause you pain or other problems.) Anyway, oxalate researchers have known for years that people with high levels of oxalate in their bodies often have a high levels of calcium oxalate in their thyroid and that this can interfere with thyroid function. So does the low oxalate diet help people with thyroid issues? Yes, if your thyroid problem is at least partially because you have to much oxalate in your system and your body is stashing the excess in your thyroid. Can it help muscle and joint pain? Yes, if your muscle and joint pain are caused by oxalate. My muscle pain was and I healed. Many other women have also healed. But I imagine a lot of people have not. There are many reasons people can have thyroid problems, fatigue and joint/muscle pain. Oxalate is only one.

Hope this helps you consider whether the low oxalate diet may be right for you. Good luck in your research.

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wendy April 19, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Iv been getting kidney stomes for 20yrs,i also have crohns diease,osteo necrosis.kidneystones have ,,,,,been terrible .Iv had back to back surgies for stones for months now .I dont remember being stone ,,,,,,,,frnnee

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Uma July 2, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Hi Heidi! Thank you for this web. My husband had kidney stones three times in the last 12 years; the last was three months ago and had to undergo surgery to have it removed. I am now going to “study” your web to see how he can stay kidney-stone free & yet be able to eat great food. Thanksxxx much again.

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Heidi July 4, 2013 at 9:41 am

You’re welcome, Uma.

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criss August 22, 2013 at 8:19 am

Thank you for the info provided. I suffer from LS and became a vegetarian in hopes of easing my pain and suffering. I became pregnant and began to eat meat again. I have a one month old and all my painful symptoms are back… My specialist said it was due to hormonal changes… I am convinced my diet has something to do with it aswell. I will use all the information provided to help me in my quest to wellness. God Bless and thank you.

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Dona August 31, 2013 at 10:24 pm

In researching the internet for Low oxalate foods, I see that Albert peaches are high 5.0. While Hiley Peaches are 0.0 and Stokes peaches are 1.2. I have tried to find what these peaches look like so I can see if the 2 boxes of peaches we just bought are safe for me, as I have Kidney stones again, and want to prevent this in the future. I also have fibromyalgia.
Thankyou.

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Heidi September 1, 2013 at 7:26 am

Most of us in the low oxalate community consider anything less than 5.0 mg. oxalate per serving to be low oxalate. A food that is right at 5.0 mg. oxalate is a medium, but it’s such a low medium that you don’t need to deprive yourself from having a peach. No matter what variety of peach you bought, I would consider it to have around 5 mg. oxalate and to go ahead and have one a day (or two if you just can’t stand it!) Just keep the rest of your foods pretty low for the day, so you don’t go over whatever target you’ve set for yourself (most of us strive for 40 -60 mg. oxalate a day, but some doctors allow up to 80 mg. oxalate per day for kidney stone patients).

BTW, the oxalate values you listed are from out-dated oxalate lists that don’t reflect the huge amount of oxalate testing that has occurred in the past fifteen years or the much more accurate, modern testing methods. The most current, accurate and comprehensive list of oxalate values can be found in the files section of the Trying Low Oxalates Yahoo Group. The most recent testing does not specify variety, but has peaches ranging from 2.5 mg. for a “small peach” to 7.5 mg. for a half cup of canned Lite Del Monte Peaches. That’s why most of us eat peaches, not worrying about the variety, and consider them to have about 5 mg. oxalate per peach, give or take a couple mg.

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sonia October 5, 2013 at 5:05 am

For anyone who’s down in the dumps with the dietary restrictions – I just want to say : It gets better!
I’ve been on this diet for about 15 months now, gradually so as not to cause a major ox-dump (which happened when I went too fast). It sucks sometimes BUT I feel better than I have in years. It’s definitely been worth the trouble and time. I do cheat once in a while with lots of calcium or magnesium citrate (like with a glass of lightly chocolated milk) but for the most part have been steadily whittling down to lower levels. Keep your chin up and stick with it and you’ll be rewarded with great changes.
Thanks so much fo rall your wonderful recipes Heidi. Your cottage cheese pancakes are just wonderful!

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Heidi October 5, 2013 at 7:25 am

Thank you for you words of encouragement, Sonia. It means a lot to the people who are just starting out. And glad you like those pancakes. Cottage cheese pancakes are my favorite, too.

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VK October 27, 2013 at 10:33 am

Heidi (or anyone who can answer), I have recently suspected that my 3 year old might have an oxalate issue based on her symptoms, so I have been reading as much as I can on the subject. I am just wondering if there is any hope of recovery or is she to be on an LOD for the rest of her life? I haven’t been able to find out if most people are in it for life or if they find that once their gut is healed that they can return to eating high oxalate foods normally. I don’t know the source of her issues, so it may be a tough one to answer. Thanks.

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Heidi October 28, 2013 at 7:51 am

Hi, VK.
Thanks for your comment. Some people do need to stay low oxalate for life, but many do not. Once most people have detoxed from stored oxalate and has addressed any gut issues or endogenous oxalate production issues, they should be able to eat more oxalate. How much more depends on the person. I doubt most of us would ever touch spinach again, but I do know some women who have healed all of their oxalate-related symptoms and occasionally indulge in some nuts or chocolate without issues. And I know a lot of people who move to a medium oxalate diet where they only restrict the highest oxalate foods. I personally have gone through phases where I played around with a medium oxalate diet to see how it affected me, but I have unresolved gut issues and endogenous oxalate production so I had to return to low oxalate diet. As we learn more about how to heal the gut and stop endogenous production I am hopeful that something will work for me and I can eat a lot more oxalate!
Take care.

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zooie January 7, 2014 at 9:20 pm

Heidi, do you have any oxalate info on lupin? We are doing some baking with coconut flour and sunflower seed flour and now i’m wondering if lupin flour might be another good low oxalate option. thank you!

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Heidi January 12, 2014 at 5:32 am

Hi, Zooie. Irwin Valley brand Lupin Flour tested medium oxalate with about 12.2 mg. oxalate per half cup (testing funded by the Autism Oxalate Project in 2011). A little more than some others but not bad. Happy baking!

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LARA February 16, 2014 at 3:34 pm

HI THERE

YOUR SITE IS WONDERFUL. CAN YOU TELL ME IF THERE ARE ANY RELIABLE TESTS TO TESTS ONESELF FOR OXALATE PROBLEMS?

THANKS SO MUCH

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Heidi February 20, 2014 at 8:19 am

Hi, Lara.
The most reliable test at the moment is the Great Plains Labratories OAT test, especially if you have your results interpreted by oxalate researcher, Susan Owens, with the autism oxalate project. She is available for phone consultations once you get your results. You can find her contact info at the Trying Low Oxalates Yahoo Group or Facebook group or at her website.

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Leo February 17, 2014 at 3:16 am

Hi! Anybody know if spirulina and chlorella are good to eat(low oxalates)

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Heidi February 20, 2014 at 8:25 am

Hi, Leo.
Spirulina and chlorella tablets(6 tablets) are both low oxalate.

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Caligirl February 19, 2014 at 7:50 am

Hello,

I was just told that my oxalates are at 121!!. Have never passed a stone, but evidently this number is super bad, !and I need to immediately go on a low oxalate diet. Well, I am on day 2 , and know that there is validity to the dumping syndrome, since Ive had headaches, and sometimes vision is sensitive to glare. That aside, we are planning on a cruise this year, and now wondering how do we deal with the food issue. Do I need to cancel our reservations since food is such a big part of what you pay for.

Also Avocado I have seen as High and Low Oxalate. Which is it?

Thanks for this forum. It has made me feel better, just having others in my shoes.

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Heidi February 20, 2014 at 8:15 am

Thanks for your comment, Caligirl. Avocado are low oxalate. I eat them a lot. I personally would not cancel your cruise. You will slowly learn what you can and cannot eat and tricks for eating out. I was able to manage my oxalate levels and still have a lot of fun on my Caribbean cruise about four years ago. I did allow my self a slight increase in my daily oxalate allotment while cruising (about 70 mg. per day was my goal as opposed to under 60 mg.), but I had fun and ate a lot of great food. Hope this helps.

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r ellison March 25, 2014 at 12:21 am

The Only really comprehensivte for4. ?’s re oxalate. & interative site re ?’s and current info.
Thank you. 1. U said avocados low..many tables agree. But Harvard tables say very high?
2. Kale..some places VH some places moderate.
3. I am diabitic type 2 well managed but.makes very diffiicult to be low oxalate
Especialy cutting down on proteins. I eat finn crisp rye thins…i assume high. What about spelt?
4. Am 63…i do eat about 5 walnut halves every day or two..with o% no fat plain yogurt? Shoukd i stop?
5. Last question..hemp hearts & flax oil?…
Thank you so much.
Am headed over to group pagg no fat pla

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