Two steps forward, one step back. That’s what I feel like right now. At the end of last week, I inadvertently went too low oxalate and that put me into an oxalate dump. If I needed confirmation that oxalates were a problem, and I did, now there’s no doubt in my mind.
Friday, I was exhausted and feeling very restless. I went to bed at 9:30 and once I got settled, I realized that my joints were aching, especially my shoulders and hips. I wasn’t able to fall asleep until around midnight. Saturday morning the pain woke me up early. I only had six hours of sleep. It was so bad I had a hard time staying still. Everything screamed, particularly my shoulder blades and the surrounding area. Large patches of skin felt raw, too.
I finally realized on Sunday that it might be oxalates- I am not counting oxalate intake daily yet, so I didn’t think about it before a friend asked. I then looked back over my food intake and realized that was very possibly the issue. I didn’t eat enough veggies in the two days before it started, and since it had begun I hadn’t eaten enough in volume or in amount of oxalates. I was hurting too badly to feel like eating much. I had dropped to below 20 grams of oxalates per day for several days, kicking off the dump then intensifying it.
So once we figured out it was oxalates, I took some measures to deal with it. I took some L-Arginine and B6. I immediately ate a high oxalate food to stop the dumping, took an epsom salt bath to help with detox and provide magnesium. I also rubbed on some magnesium oil. I had Jeff rub down my shoulders with a muscle rub and used a hot pack as comfort measures. I drank plenty of water to help flush out the crystals and dilute my urine to help prevent any sting that might happen from the crystals. Once lodged in your tissues, oxalates came come out through your skin, lungs or urine. The only place I didn’t notice it was my lungs.
I had a little chocolate to end the dumping. Surprisingly, I had been craving it, but having that little bit convinced me that it wasn’t as tasty as my memory said it was. So I didn’t binge, I was able to stop at just a little. That has ended my chocolate cravings. I also drank some beet kvass. Kvass hasn’t been tested for its oxalate levels, but beets are high, so I figured it might be a good measure.
I immediately improved, but what had gotten dislodged still had to make its way out. It’s now Friday and the area under my shoulder blades still has some dull ache to it. So now I’m convinced that oxalates really are an issue for me. And I dread having to go through this process again with back and forth, better and worse. Chelation for heavy metals was very much an up and down cycle, and I had hopped those worst days were behind me. Now I see that they are not. I’m frustrated and aggravated. I’m angry that I wasn’t told about these test results in 2008. Perhaps my life would be much different now if I had known.
Speaking of which, I’ve also found out that oxalates bind to heavy metals. I hope to spend some time reading about that soon to find out if I could run the risk of having issues with circulating metals during dumping, or if I should consider chelation as a helper, or if it would hinder removing the oxalates. My suspicion is that I should consider resuming chelation once I have fully worked down to a low oxalate diet. It can also bind to candida/yeast. While I do not suspect I have that as a problem, I will be investigating it, too.
I also met with my nutritional counselor, Lydia of Divine Health From the Inside Out, last week. We have decided that I need to consume seafood 3-4 times a week, need plenty of red meat, need more fatty acid supplements, and made some other decisions about mineral supplementation. I will continue on with consuming a large, protein-heavy breakfast and taking digestive enzymes and betaine HCl. I am finding the big breakfast with lots of protein really does help me feel better all day. I’m showing a very high need for protein and minerals while I rebuild, which is to be expected. Your body needs protein, high quality fats and minerals to rebuild and restore the gut lining and tissues damaged from oxalates working their way out. I will add calcium citrate to my meals to help bind with the oxalates so they can not be absorbed by my gut lining and go into circulation.
To that end, I have ordered more bison and lamb from Tropical Traditions and I’m purchasing seafood and breakfast meats from Green PolkaDot Box to make sure I meet my minimums. I’ve set up a basic meal chart guideline for which meat is to be served so I know what meat I’m going to have with what meal, and I just have to fill in the details. For the weekend, I’m planning simple meals that are easy on everyone then begin the rotation on Monday.
What’s On The Menu
In other news, I’ve decided to delay trying out the paleo auto-immune protocol. It’s just too much to get meals figured out and planned without repeating the same few meals over and over. And over. My kids are already dealing with some food fatigue due to how restricted I was for dinners, so I will wait on the PAIP until I’m totally on my feet with low-oxalate. Right now, I don’t need to unnecessarily eliminate foods, I need as many as I can find. So I added some seed and pepper-based spices back onto the menu. I also added very small amounts of sunnut butter back in, as that has some oxalates, too.
I have decided for now to stay on sweet potatoes as a food that will keep me high enough in oxalates to prevent dumping. I plan on tracking my oxalate intake daily and add a little sunnut butter or sweet potato at dinner if needed, in an effort to keep my intake levels stable. I will also finish the beet kvass I have here before I eliminate it.
What I don’t know, and what I’m trying to learn now, is if it is possible to do a low, slow controlled pull of oxalates instead of going through these dumping cycles. I’m hoping I can avoid having weeks like this past week. Somehow, I doubt that will be possible. 🙁
Some of you have been asking for help in knowing what to eat and what meal ideas there are for someone who is reducing oxalate intake. I don’t have an easy way to take pictures right now, since I don’t have a cell phone, but I will make an effort to blog more about what I’m eating and maybe list a weekly menu here on the blog. I’m finding the task of figuring out what to eat pretty overwhelming, just as you are.
Breakfast- coconut flour waffles (heavy on the eggs) with chicken and apple sausage, raw milk. I will bulk-cook the waffles and freeze the extras so the kids have another option when they’re tired of eggs.
Lunch- leftover roast chicken and roasted parm broccoli from Thursday night, a cup of bone broth
Dinner- Bunless bison burgers with stir-fried sumer squash and zucchini, a little raw milk cheese, kombucha
Breakfast- salmon four-egg omelets with raw cheese and Hollandaise Sauce
Lunch- Leftovers from Friday night, kombucha
Dinner- Poached dill salmon, cauliflower, bone broth
Breakfast- Bacon, fried eggs and raw milk cheese
Lunch- Sweet and sourish chicken made with bone broth, with rice for the kids
Dinner- clean out the leftovers in the fridge, kombucha
Thanks for the update, KerryAnn. I have been eagerly awaiting your meal plans 🙂
Kerry, When you say, “oxalates” do you mean oxalate acid that we reduce by soaking certain foods? I do a lot of nutrition research, but am not yet familiar with the term “oxalate dumping” and that whole process.
BTW, I love your blog! Now, back to making my dill sauerkraut. 🙂
We soak to unbind the phytic acid from the minerals in beans, grains, nuts and seeds. Oxalate is a salt made of dissolved oxalic acid and a mineral that when combined, becomes a solid like crystal with very sharp, very pointy edges. While they both grab and hold minerals, phytic acid is relatively harmless when unbound and oxalic acid is not. Oxalic acid is unstable and will grab ahold of any mineral it can get ahold of, which further causes problems in the body. Oxalic acid prefers heavy metals over minerals that you need, and can hold the heavy metals in the body.
Oxlate dumping is where the oxalates lodged in your tissues begin to make their way out of your body because you are consuming less than your body is able to secrete and your body uses it as an opportunity to get rid of the oxalate, which your body considers to be a foreign toxin. They’re solid little crystals and they’re painful.
Stephanie W. says
Have you had any experience with liquid zeolite? Thanks.
Stephanie, I have not. I decided to go for the Cutler Protocol instead at the time for chelation.
Jennifer R says
I just wanted to warn you that excess protein (as well as excess vitamin C) can be converted to oxalate by the body, or at least that is what I read when I was investigating this protocol a few years back. So high fat might be better than high protein. Not that you can’t have both. I don’t know what the max of protein is though. http://endurancesportsflorida.com/2011/01/26/does-your-healthy-diet-promote-kidney-stones/
Jennifer R recently posted..Swine Flu Hype
Thank you for letting me know, Jennifer. I hadn’t heard about that and I will definitely investigate it.
I have a very painful bladder condition called interstitial cystitis for 7 years. A few months ago I had some testing that showed high oxalates in my urine. I was advised to go on a low ox diet. I also follow paleo. I was shocked to realize my pain gets SEVERE, like chards of glass getting poked though my entire pelvis and urethra.. I am having a hard time because I keep starting the diet, but then cheating with something high oxalate to stop the pain. It certainly confirms for me that oxalates are my issue because eating chocolate can stop the pain in 30 minutes, but then the next day its worse. Anyway, just wanted to add that I feel like I am 2 steps forward, 3 back..and so on. I need to just stick to it and ride it out, so I can get to the healing!
Thanks for your posting. It’s been some years now, so would you let us know how you are now? Do you still thinks it’s oxalates behind your health issue? If so how have you been managing it and how much progress so far?
Thanks and sorry about my poor English.
Hi, Yuri. My oxalate issue did resolve as I worked to heal my gut. I do not think oxalates were at the bottom of my health issue, I think my gut was the issue and oxalates were just one symptom. As we have worked to heal it, multiple issues have resolved and I am now back on a normal diet, minus the gluten and I do watch my histamine intake as I have symptoms as I get too much. However, we’ve even been able to work on that and I have greatly improved and I believe we will be able to resolve it soon.
I have made progress using a practitioner that I recommended in my 40 plants series. You can read about her here- https://www.onevibrantmama.com/add-color-to-your-diet-plant-based-foods-when-animal-foods-arent-healing-your-gut/