In this episode of the Kidney Stone Diet Podcast Jill Harris answers a listener question about almonds and whether their oxalate can be offset with yogurt or other calcium sources.
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Who is Jill Harris?
Jill is a nurse and health coach that specializes in educating patients on kidney stone prevention. For more than 20 years she’s helped patients understand that kidney stones can be prevented with the right treatment plan. It’s one thing to be told to lower oxalate or drink more water, but HOW do you do it? That’s where she comes in. Through the educational resources at kidneystonediet.com, stone formers can learn everything they need to know to significantly lower new stone risk.
Who is Jeff Sarris?
Jeff’s co-founder of SPYR, a branding agency based out of Chicago, where he and his business partner Dave help awesome people like Jill create online platforms that make an impact. He’s also a certified health coach, Executive Producer of the Netflix documentary Minimalism, and host of the Starting Now podcast.
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Welcome back to the Kidney Stone Diet Podcast, the show about reducing your risk for kidney stones and living your best life. I’m your host and fellow student, Jeff Sarris.
And here I am, Jill Harris, and I’m happy to be here.
The other day, in an email, you mentioned turn-it-around-Buster-Brown. I had no idea that that was a specific brand or anything.
Because you’re too young. My demographic has all grown up with Buster Brown. So when I say Turn-It-Around-Buster Brown with a nutrition label, I think they laugh because it’s nostalgic. So I’m like, okay, we need to take me and Luke, Luke is my chocolate lab, and we need to put the two of us on a mug and put Turn-It-Around-Buster Brown on it. People will get it because they’re old like me. But everyone had Buster Brown shoes. I’m not gonna wear that stupid hat. I’ll wear a baseball cap and have my beautiful 90-pound chocolate lab. He’ll be with me. It will be hilarious.
Yeah, where is Luke today if not over your shoulder?
Oh, he’s right there. Listen, if I was on the floor, he’d be sitting on my lap. I’m like, dude, you’re not a poodle. You’re 90 pounds! He is very codependent. The apartment we live in is 700 square feet and, when I tell you if I move five inches, that dog—I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve almost fallen over him. He is always by my side. And, so, I get annoyed a lot. I have to tell myself not to get mad at him. I’m a pet person. But sometimes I holler at him. And, then I feel very bad about it. And then you know, if he’s not right at my feet, I get sad. So we’re both codependent. It’s not one-sided, I can assure you of that. But he’s right here.
My cat, Alpha, is the same way. It’s when we’re recording. I tell him “I’m recording now. We can’t cuddle.” Then, as soon as we stop recording (I don’t know how he knows) he comes in here, starts meowing, and jumps on my lap. It’s the strangest thing.
They know. You talk to your cat. I talk to my dog. You would think there’s a family of five living with me in here. My neighbors must be like “Who the hell does she have over there now!” It’s just Luke. It’s scary, sometimes.
My son, of course, my son is also here. But when he’s at school, it’s just me and Luke—you would think there’s a party going on! It’s giggling, laughing, reminiscing. It’s ridiculous. I don’t care.
I know that people are like, “Oh, Tom, here she comes, that old lady with that stupid dog. Look at them laughing, talking. They’re crazy.” I don’t care. I talked to him in front of anybody. We have a relationship, we do. I know. It’s sad, but I don’t care. It makes me very happy.
Alright, let’s dive into this week’s question from, Candy.
Hi, my name is Candy. And I live in Grand Ronde, Oregon. I’m new to the diet. I’ve had problems with kidney stones. Anyway, so I’m hypoglycemic and I eat a little bit of almond butter. I used to eat a lot of almond butter, and I’ve cut it way back. And, I’m eating it with yogurt—does that offset each other so that I can make this part of my diet? If I start having low blood sugar, can I have a little almond butter, and then a few bites of yogurt. Will that work? Thank you so much.
First of all, I love her name, Candy, that’s joyful and happy. Second of all, it’s a beautiful question. I love talking about diabetes and kidney stone diet, because often I am working with people who have both. It’s not uncommon for people who have kidney stones to also have diabetes. Many patients are frustrated by the fact that they have both. And it seems to them, upon first inspection, that the two diets are not going to mesh. Why? Because they have been told, “Look, you have diabetes, have almonds, have spinach. They’re great to get your blood sugar up. They’re a high fiber food. They’re healthy fats. Have them?”
I will say this, when people are told that something is healthy, we tend to think the more we consume, the better. And then it’s zero calories, right? Because it’s just healthy. I mean, you know, nuts are very caloric. I don’t want to get into it with keto people or anything else. I’m just saying I’ve had a lot of patients that say, “Hey, I’m doing this diet, but I’m not losing weight. They said I lose weight.” Well, you’re eating two bags of nuts a day. There’s hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of calories in there. Anyway, I digress.
Yeah, okay, so she’s not necessarily diabetic at all, but I’m just saying I love working with patients who are diabetic and have kidney stones because they think they can’t have all these foods. You certainly can.
Now, for Candy, who is dealing with low blood sugar. She is saying that the almond butter is helping her get her sugar up. So she feels better. What I would do is, and she’s also a kidney stone former, I would trade that out for sun butter. And I’m going to say that because we know sun butter is a lot lower in oxalate because sunflower seeds are a lot lower.
I also would say that you can also choose another food that will get your blood sugar up. It doesn’t have to be any of those nut butters, but sun butter would be a lot better. I’d rather almond products be taken off the table. They are just too high. And, because there’s other options out there, why don’t we use those instead?
I would feel very reckless if I said to have almond butter. Even have peanut butter—you can have two tablespoons of peanut butter and it’s only 26 milligrams of oxalate. If you get 100 milligrams a day, you can certainly have it.
Her other part of the question was about wheather or not eating yogurt would cancel out the oxalate in the almond butter. It’s too hard to tell.
Why? We all absorb things differently. Whenever you have calcium with the high oxalate product, it will lower your oxalate but exactly how much, I don’t know. Maybe you have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, maybe you’ve had a gastric bypass, maybe you have other malabsorption issues. You may not be absorbing things like Jeff does, or Candice does, or anybody else. So everybody’s different. There’s no exact science.
Now, you may say, “But you say that all the things you say are drenched in science.” If you go to Dr. Coe’s website, or you put Dr. Coe/kidney stone, you’ll see all kinds of information from all different kinds of kidney stones researchers saying that when you have more calcium, you will lower your oxalate? Yes.
So, get your calcium throughout the day and, of course, that’s going to lower the oxalate that your body is absorbing. For sure. We know this
But, I don’t like you haveing almond anything, Candy. I don’t. Use other products like sun butter. You could even use peanut butter. It’s not a problem. And yes, if you are going to have peanut butter, make sure you do have a little yogurt with it. But also, you wouldn’t necessarily have to, okay? You do get 100 milligrams of oxalate per day and I’m being conservative.
So it doesn’t mean you can never have peanut butter again. It does mean taking away spinnach and almond products. Pretty much everything else is on the table. I take away a handful of things. And you can find those things on KidneyStoneDiet.com. If you go to the start page, you’re going to see the safe oxalate list and the full oxalate list. The full oxalate list is from Harvard. For the Safe Oxalate List, I took away the highest oxalate foods and, guess what, BOTH lists have 27 pages. So I only took away a few foods. Get that resource from my website, please. It’s free.
So, Candy, I’d rather you not have almond butter, choose another like sun butter or even peanut butter if your blood sugar is going low. That would make me a lot happier and it would really help your oxalate levels.
For my own curiosity, cashew butter?
Cashews are high.
As long as you keep within portion size, on the kidney stone diet you can have pecans, you can have sunflower seeds, flax seeds, you can have walnuts…you can have all those things. Look at the portion sizes on the Harvard list from the KidneyStoneDiet.com Start Page and you’ll see the portion size for each. Get your calcium every single day. I can’t tell you how important it is to get your calcium in every single day. Plus, you have a skeleton you need to feed.
We also have a full episode about that from earlier this season. If you’re already subscribed, you can swipe up in your app or check out the rest of the YouTube channel where you’ll find it.
That was great, Candy. Thank you.
If you have a question of your own, the phone number is 773-789-8763. We will feature your voicemail in a future episode of the show. Thanks again for listening and we’ll see you one week from today.
Okay, and everybody give your pets an extra hug and an extra kiss from Jeff and Jill today. Okay, so this is the pet episode. Yes, the pet episode. And if you want to do a shout out to your pet in the comments, God, nothing makes me happier. Let’s do it. On the Facebook page, I’m always like, “I’m having a bad day, show some pictures of pets!” There’ll be like hundreds of them. I love that. Nothing makes me happier. If you don’t have a pet, shout out your kid’s name. I’ll send him a heart. Why not?
The Facebook group is The Kidney Stone Prevention Group. It’s another free-to-join resource. Lot of kidney stone talk. But plenty of fun too. Because there’s so much more to life than just the one thing.
When I was going through my cancer, I really like to laugh when I’m going through adversity in my life. And so you may say, Well, that’s the funniest time of your life. But I mean, you got to make fun of things. You’ve got to laugh. So there’s some people that are like, we’re talking about our kidney stones. Why is she putting funnies on here? Because when you when you’ve been sick or when you’re going through hard times, laughter really is the best medicine. I know. It’s so cliche, but it’s gotten me through so much in my life. So, man, life is hard. You gotta laugh too. You gotta be fun. You got to have laughs, right?
Bye, guys. Thanks, Candy.
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