Do you suffer from Kidney Stones?
If you do, you must read this post!
Do not be fooled into thinking that too much meat and eggs cause kidney stones. Let me tell you how it is the spinach and vegetables high in oxalates that are the true cause of kidney stones!
Do you remember Popeye?
The spinach he ate for strength was a MISTAKE!
The iron content of spinach was miscalculated by a German chemist when he misplaced a decimal point (source)!
While there are just 3.5 milligrams of iron in a 100g serving of spinach, the accepted number became 35 milligrams thanks to his mistake! (Not to mention the anti nutrients in spinach!)
This caused the popular misconception that spinach is exceptionally high in iron, which makes the body stronger!
Popeye should have had a steak instead!
An important aspect of a healthy diet that enables weight loss and healing is eating the most nutrient-dense foods possible. Getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs while consuming the fewest calories to get them is essential for healing and long-term health.
I had a few family members criticize me for not eating a lot of fruits and vegetables and that I needed to get more vitamins and minerals instead of eating a steak. I kindly helped educate them where the most nutrients come from and that my steak had more vitamins and minerals than the broccoli they were consuming.
Many people wonder how to get enough vitamins and minerals when eating carnivore. The popular belief is that you get your vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables. But that is not true as many plants have antinutrients that can effect how vitamins and minerals are absorbed.
Bioavailability refers to how well the body can absorb and utilize nutrients. It doesn’t help us much if a food is extremely high in a given nutrient but our bodies can’t make use of that nutrient and it goes right through us.
Anti-nutrients are a big culprit when it comes to reducing bioavailability. Oxalates bind to minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium, depriving our bodies of these nutrients, and phytates block the absorption of critical nutrients like calcium, iron, and zinc.
A study of zinc absorption found that when plants were substituted for meat, zinc absorption was reduced by almost half. The researchers concluded that “those consuming vegetarian diets . . . may require as much as 50 percent more zinc than nonvegetarians.” They also found that “vegetarians need to increase dietary iron by 80% to compensate for an estimated lower iron bioavailability of 10% from a vegetarian diet, compared with 18% from a mixed Western diet.”
In this study (source), the researchers compared zinc absorption in the body when oysters were eaten by themselves versus with black beans or corn tortillas. As you can see, zinc absorption was cut by 75 percent when the oysters were eaten with black beans and completely disrupted when they were eaten with corn tortillas. All of the zinc from the oysters was robbed from the body because of the antinutrients in the corn tortillas.
Another study found that eating red meat increased nonheme iron absorption by 85 percent!
A third study showed that iron absorption from legumes was as low as 0.84% even in those who were very iron deficient. This is in part to phytates blocking absorption, but the study also found that “even after complete degradation of phytic acid, soybean protein still inhibits iron absorption.”
For reference, iron absorption from eggs ranges from 5 to 9%, or as much as 10 times higher. Beef iron absorption is 7 to 8%.
There are many more examples of this effect, including vitamin A. Animal foods have about 20 times the bioavailability of vitamin A as plant sources. It is also important to note that vitamins B12, D3, and K2 do not exist in plant foods.
One of the most damaging antinutrients in plants are oxalates. Oxalates are like tiny crystals found in almost all plants. Some plants have a high level of oxalates, others have less.
Some of the highest oxalates levels are found in spinach, swiss chard, green curly kale, chocolate, sesame and seeds, potato and sweet potato, cinnamon, turmeric, peanuts and legumes, green tea, chia, beets, rhubarb, figs, kiwi, blackberries, grains and plantains among many others. Peanuts, almonds, potatoes and spinach are some of the most common foods that are the worst for oxalates. Lower levels of oxalates are found in arugula, bok choy, endive, cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower, cucumbers, radishes, mustard greens, garlic, avocado, mushrooms, peas and watercress. (source )
Oxalates are tiny crystals that can literally act like tiny glass shards or spears in the body when they accumulate.
These are antinutrient irritants that can really bother our bodies when consumed in large amounts. These tiny spears damage cells through our digestive tract and into our body when they are absorbed which can lead to leaky gut and many other issues. These oxalates are a toxin and need to be detoxed from the body.
The safe limit of oxalates for humans depends on a lot of factors. For most people 100mg a day or less is probably OK for most people. But some with digestive issues, suppressed immune system and other issues it can be even less. The lethal level, the level that will kill you, has a wide range of about 3.5 grams to 30 grams which is a very wide range. Those that are vulnerable, 3.5 grams can kill you. That is only 3 of the green smoothies that are popular these days. One man in Barcelona Spain (source) at 52 years old died from 3 bowls of sorrel soup (which is about 3.5 grams of oxalate). He had diabetes which likely caused his tolerance level to be on the lower side. But people have died from ingesting too many oxalate at one time.
In addition to eating high amounts of foods with oxalates people with digestive issues (celiac, SIBO, Crohn’s, IBS, etc.), history of extended use of antibiotics, history kidney problems and kidney stones are all at higher risk for oxalate accumulation.
Once in the body, oxalates can attach to cells throughout the body where they can disrupt normal cell function of nerves, glands, bones, eyes, heart and other cells. They are primarily detoxed through the kidney causing irritation of the kidneys and are one of the primary causes of kidney stones. Over 80% of kidney stones are caused by oxalates. (source)
Oxalate accumulation over time can cause many of the common symptoms of aging including fragile bones, hormone imbalances, joint problems, nerve damage, headaches, sleep disorders and restless legs. In 1993 study from Japan found 85% of samples from people over 50 have Oxalate deposits. Upwards of 80% of people with thyroid problems have oxalates in their thyroid. Microcalcification of calcium oxalates in the breasts have even been shown to potentially be an early indicator of breast cancer. Even gout has been linked to oxalates. (source)
Oxalates also deplete you of many minerals as well. Especially iron, calcium, magnesium among others. This is where the danger comes in with thinking certain plants are high in minerals and will help our health. For example, spinach is high in calcium. But it is also high in oxalates which grab onto calcium and steal it from our body.
Unfortunately, unlike other antinutrients in plants, there isn’t much you can do to reduce them in foods. Boiling, soaking, fermenting and cooking don’t reduce oxalate content. The only thing you can do is avoid high oxalate foods. And especially green smoothie drinks that can concentrate a high number of oxalates into one drink.
When dealing with excess oxalates it’s a good idea to up your minerals with nutrient dense foods like beef. Also, phosphates can be helpful in removing oxalates so get some commonsense sun exposure as that is the only way we make phosphates and cholesterol phosphates. In the skin made from the sun. So, get 20-30 minutes of direct sun a day. Spending time in a sauna is another good way to helping remove oxalates from the body.
The sauna that I personally own and LOVE is CLEARLIGHT SAUNAS!
Contrary to popular belief, the idea that meat doesn’t have Vitamin C is inaccurate. The more raw the meat is, the more vitamin C it contains. Organ meat has a lot of vitamin C! Also, the lower the carbohydrates and sugar you eat, the lower your requirement of Vitamin C.
This information comes from our Carnivore Cookbook!
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TESTIMONY OF THE DAY
“Since I was eligible, I’ve donated blood. I’m type O- and once I found out what that meant as far as being a universal donor, I’ve always felt a calling to donate. My blood has been regularly sent to a children’s hospital in St. Louis which has compelled me to donate as frequently as possible. I was always asked at my appointments if I would like to donate Power Red (double the red blood cells which is the most common type of blood needed.) I would quickly answer “YES!” as I knew this could provide more to those in need.
My excitement would quickly turn to a letdown as my iron levels would fluctuate and were often not even high enough for a regular blood donation.
I started iron supplements hoping for a cure to long-lasting anemia but was met with harsh side effects of long-lasting headaches and nausea. I found keto about a year ago but only started healthy habits about two months ago.
Thanks to Maria Emmerich, I was able to donate Power Red yesterday.
My iron levels were the highest I’ve ever seen them (still in the normal range, just high for me!)
It’s truly amazing what eating healthy has done for my body and my spirit. This non-scale victory made my heart smile and gave me all of the motivation that I needed to continue this new way of living.
Thank you, Maria Emmerich, for all of the fantastic recipes and science-based lifestyle.” Mariah
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