This week, Jill answers what may be the most frequently asked kidney stone question on the internet: “What’s the best food to eat when you have kidney stones?”
Have a question? Leave us a voicemail at (773) 789-8763.
Stop Kidney Stones Once and For All
- Kidney Stone Prevention Course
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- 24 Hour Urine Collection Analysis
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Kidney Stone Diet Resources
Find more episodes of the Kidney Stone Diet Podcast here.
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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Jeff Sarris: Welcome back to the Kidney Stone Diet podcast: the show about reducing your kidney stone risk and living your best life. I’m your host and fellow student, Jeff Sarris.
Jill Harris: And I’m Jill Harris, your kidney stone prevention nurse. Jeff, we’ve done a lot of shows today.
Jeff Sarris: We really have! Yeah, there’s just so much to talk about, too! We haven’t had as many voicemails, which, by the way, if you do have a question, that number is 773-789-8763. But we’ve been going down the FAQ route for these episodes because there is so much to talk about, and people always have questions.
Now, we’re gonna do one that’s a little specific today that I think is good because we all want sort of a quick fix. We want that thing that like, what do I do? What is the one thing I do to be healthier? So, the question is, what is the best food to eat when you have kidney stones?
Not One Thing is More Important Than the Other
Jill Harris: So, I love how you just did an intro for that because you’re absolutely right. And I think, I–let me fix my T-shirt. I think what you said is extremely true. We, as people, find it all-consuming and very irritating that there’s just not one pill. There’s just not one thing. What is it, Jill, that I need to do that never makes a kidney stone again? Is it lemon juice? Is a chanca piedra? Is it water? Is it calcium? Is it oxalate? Oh, it’s oxalate, isn’t it? What is it, Jill? What is it? What is IT? People, there’s not one thing for any health problem. There’s always going to be–and this is why it’s hard for us, right? There’s not one food. There’s just not. It’s a lot of different things, no matter what medical condition you’re dealing with, no matter if you’re trying to lose weight.
It’s not going to be this mysterious you know. The one thing about losing weight is get rid of carbs. Well, is that really practical? Are you supposed to go to every function and every holiday without putting your lips around a starch again? Are you kidding me? Is that even–I’m not a fan, as you can tell. Now, for you Keto people, or Paleo people, it’s absolutely fine if you did that. So if you did that, I’m all for it, man. But what about the millions of people that try it, lose weight, and then gain it back, which is what happens, right? Most people are not that committed, and they can’t give up a Cinnabon for the rest of their life. They just won’t.
And when we deprive ourselves, we’re going to overeat somewhere, it’s gonna happen. So there are diets that are made up, “Just do this and you’ll be Skinny Minnie.” Well, eventually you’ll gain the weight back. That’s the message there for most people. For kidney stone disease–and when I go over these urine collections with people, they’re like, “Oh, really? All of this?” Yes. “My doctor didn’t tell me any of this.” This is complicated. Your doctor has four minutes to be with you because he has 50 people waiting after you, okay? And he might want to see his kid one day. So, Jeff, where’d you go?
Jeff Sarris: I don’t know. I just saw the camera went out. Well, you can keep going and I will fix this while you’re talking.
Jill Harris: So, the point is this: it’s going to take–when I’m going through a urine collection, I’m like we’re going through citrate, and volume, and oxalate, and calcium. In essence, people, it’s all of it. The Kidney Stone Diet will help prevent kidney stones. It will. But that means you have to pay attention to your sodium. You have to pay attention to all the added sugar you’re eating. You have to get enough calcium to feed your skeleton and get rid of the excess oxalate in your body. Get enough fluids to pee out 2 1/2 to 3 liters a day. Lower your oxalate to about 100 milligrams a day. Don’t overeat meat protein. So, it’s all of that. There isn’t just one food, but there is one diet that can certainly help and that is the Kidney Stone Diet.
And, actually, whether you’re dealing with kidney stones or you want to lose weight or a lot of things–cholesterol–if you’re going to go on a lower sugar, lower added sugar and lower sodium diet, you’re going to be eating healthier foods. So, you can help a lot of health conditions with the Kidney Stone Diet. It’s actually what the USDA recommends for we Americans, anyway. Paying attention to sugar, paying attention to salt, getting enough calcium, all the things that the Kidney Stone Diet will help. And, the biggest thing are these other mantras I talk about. “Portion, not Perfection:” that’s a big deal in any kind of health condition, and kidney stone disease, and obesity.
So, is there one thing to fix any of the problems you have? No, there isn’t. Don’t let anybody fool you by saying there is. Is there one way to fix your marriage? No, you’re going to have to take several steps to do that. Is there one way to be a better parent? No, you’re going to have to take several steps to do that. Maybe that’s why, you know, these kinds of things are hard in life. It takes a lot. It’s never just one thing, or it’s very rare that it’s just one thing. So, in essence, maybe we tricked you a little. And you can say you’re mad in the comments, but this is something I get asked a lot. “What is the one thing I can do to prevent kidney stones?” That is always what I’m asked. There is not one thing that’s more important than the other.
Now, all of it has to be done in conjunction, but some of you will have a lot of the things taken care of by the time you see me. And you do just have two things, maybe even one thing, but that’s rare. It’s usually at least a couple things going on in your urine collections that is increasing your risk to make new stones. So, I guess the answer is, there is not one trick, but there is one diet that will help. Also, I want you to recognize, too, that there are a lot of people in the kidney stone world–patients that do have to go on medications, there are certain medications that will help kidney stone formers, too, but you don’t get out of doing the diet. It goes in conjunction with doing the diet, just so you know. You there, Jeff, I don’t like it when you’re not with me.
Jeff Sarris: I know, I’m still here. I’m having a little trouble with the camera, so we may continue this episode just with me invisible I think. I’m just swapping out the battery just to see if that’ll fix it. But yeah, I mean, that is the thing, we all want that simple fix, that quick fix. But it just isn’t there, unfortunately.
Jill Harris: It’s just not, and I’ll have people say “Oh, my gosh, Jill!” When they first come to me, they’re like, “This is really overwhelming!” But if they’re doing an hour consult with me, or they’re doing the Kidney Stone Prevention course, they always get it. So, I have done this for so long that I can get this stuff–I know how to say it, I know who I’m talking to, so I may tweak what I’m saying a little bit different, but I do get the message across. I promise I do. So when people work with me, they come to me overwhelmed and they leave going “Oh my god, thank you.” And I’m not saying that to play my own guitar, or I don’t know the analogy.
Jeff Sarris: It’s toot your own horn!
Jill Harris: Thank you! What the hell? Guitar? I’m more of a rock-and-roller, I guess, and less of a band girl. But anyway, I’m not saying it to–laughs hysterically I’m not saying it to toot my own horn, I’m saying it’s so you know that this is doable. So you know that you don’t have to be overwhelmed. You just don’t! And you’re saying “Well, yeah, girl, you’re telling me to pay for something!” Don’t pay for nothing! Just keep watching these YouTubes! Do you know how many things I’ve learned in my life by watching YouTube? And then, eventually, I’m like, “Ahh, let me buy this because I want to get it over with.” I’m watching 100 hours of YouTube.
But I’m just saying don’t pay for nothing! Go to kidneystonediet.com. Go to the blog. Go to the start page. There’s so many resources there. I have free recipes on the website. And also this YouTube channel has, I don’t know, 50+ hoosies on it, so start doing your research. Just like there’s not one answer for any problem we have in our life–this one being diet, it’s going to be a combination–but also you’ve got to do some education, too. You’ve got to grab the research. I already know that you’re interested in helping yourself because you’ve found us here. And so, please do whatever you can to also engross yourself in the research. When I want to learn something new, I really throw myself into it.
So, do that because this is about your health. Do you know how many patients that I have and they lost their kidney, or they now have chronic kidney disease, or they have hypertension now, or they have other things, or they lost a kidney. I didn’t say that. We’ve been doing a lot of podcasts today, but all due to kidney stones, so you’ll have an increased risk of those things because of all the surgeries you have to do. The time loss off work, the pain, the unexpected stone incident. So, all of that, people, the reason I get up every day and do this work for 22 years is because you can get help with this, I promise you, you can. So, grab our free resources, there’s not a quick fix for any problem you have in the world. There’s just not. You’re going to have to do some digging. You’re going to have to find the right person to help you, and then you’re going to have to do the work. The end.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, and I mean, the digging–you’ve encapsulated all of this for people at kidneystonediet.com, and through the course, and through all of this. So, it takes a lot of the self-guided, self-motivated effort, but also you’ve encapsulated things in a way that makes very consumable, very doable for someone so you don’t have to worry about it. You’re not doing any original research and not trying to find everything because Jill has spent these decades working with people and knows what works and how she can help everyone on an individual basis. Which, on that note, I mean, through the Kidney Stone Prevention course, you have the one-on-one, or not one-on-one, the group sessions that happen all the time.
And that is such a valuable piece of it because as Jill always says, everyone is a little different. I mean, we have this framework, these goals that the Kidney Stone Diet sets out to help you achieve. But, along those lines, you’re going to have your own situation. Each one of us have our own situation, so it’s so valuable. I think it’s immensely valuable, and if you want to learn more, head over to kidneystonediet.com. You’ll see it right on the homepage where you can learn more about the course or subscribe to the email newsletter or any of the free stuff that’s out there. So, I’m back on video now, but I think that’s a good spot to wrap. So, again, thank you for listening to this show. And if you give us a little subscribe and thumbs up on YouTube, it goes a long way. I think that’ll do it for this week. So, thanks again!
Jill Harris: Thanks! That was awesome! I missed you, though. I don’t like it when you’re not here with me.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, I know. It was weird. I don’t know why the camera just decided to call it quits, but yeah, we’re back now. So it’s all good.
Jill Harris: All right. Awesome. Thanks guys so much. Have a great week.
Jeff Sarris: See you next time!
Jill Harris: Bye!