This week on the Kidney Stone Diet Podcast, Jill Harris answers a listener question about building muscle while watching protein intake, reducing oxalate, sugar, and following the important aspects of the Kidney Stone Diet.
Have a question? Leave us a voicemail at (773) 789-8763.
Stop Kidney Stones Once and For All
- Kidney Stone Prevention Course
- Kidney Stone Diet Meal Plans
- 24 Hour Urine Collection Analysis
- Private Coaching
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.
Love this episode? There’s more!
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.
I’m Jill Harris, your kidney stone prevention nurse,
So, what does that shirt say? Do more of what makes you happy. Love it! I mean, that’s so true. It’s what life’s all about, you know?
Let’s Talk About Joy
Jill Harris: Yeah, and it doesn’t mean that it has to be the super crazy thing. It’s just like, I don’t know, maybe want to watch an extra kitten video today. I don’t know! People always think it has to be this lofty, big, giant, you know, world-changing, life-changing kind of thing, right? It could just be simple, something simple, like going to the store or window shopping, or it could be so frivolous, an extra 10 minutes of alone time. It could be what ever you want, as long as it brings you some kind of joy. And the more joy that we have, then the more joy that we can give. And I’m a big proponent of that. If I don’t get my alone time or I don’t do the things that make me happy, then I can’t spread joy the way I want you. And that’s really important to me. I mean, that’s my whole M.O.
People will say, “Jill, I’m just following you because I know you won’t be crabby.” Well, and it doesn’t mean I’m not crabby. It just means I can’t pick up the phone if I am, right? So it’s very important. Women particularly like to think that, you know, they’re always supposed to be helping and doing and if they spend any time for themselves, then you know, that’s not right of them, and they feel guilty. I say, bullshit lady! Stop being a martyr. Really take care of yourself. And here’s one thing: the older we get time goes. And so at some point, if you take care of yourself, you’re able to give better in the world. So we women, specifically, have this backward notion that, you know, if we’re taking time for ourselves, we just don’t have the right to do that. But I push back on that. We talk a lot about this in the Kidney Stone Prevention Course.
Make sure that you’re filling yourself up so you can provide for everybody else in your life. If that’s really what you want to do, stop being a martyr and take care of yourself first, so you could do it without becoming bitter and resentful somewhere. Why do we do that to ourselves? So I don’t do that anymore. I used to do that and then I got sick, and I woke up. So I make sure I get my time for myself. I won’t ever do that again. And sometimes it could just be an hour in the morning. I’ll wake up extra early and it could just be you know, answering–it could be by giving, but I’m taking time out to answer Facebook questions or whatever I’m doing. Maybe I’m doing my TikTok at that time now–whatever I’m doing, but it’s what I want to do I have that hour to do whatever I want to do with my cup of coffee, and I have it so then I can fully show up in the world. I think that’s so important. You’ve gotta do that.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, and finding joy–like I love that you use the word “joy.” Right here, that red book you see there? That’s called “The Book of Joy.” So it’s by Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama. It’s with an author, but they have been best friends for years, for decades, or when Desmond Tutu was still around. But they only met a couple times, spent hours together, but they had this kinship, that for years, they were trying to reconnect in person. So this book is all about that journey to reconnection. And then, along with the story, they talked all about joy and their approaches to joy. Because happiness is fleeting, but joy can flow through as much of our life as we’re capable of happiness. So it’s finding joy in the small things and, like you said, even just answering emails! The satisfaction that can come from that, when when looked at through that lens is so valuable.
Jill Harris: Look, it is our responsibility to find joy. It is not anybody’s responsibility to give it to us or bring it to us because that’s fleeting. It’s got to come in all through you, then you give it out. And I’m not saying people can accept joy. They can, but in order to keep that going, you’ve got to rustle that up yourself. Typically, we’re looking outward for whatever. It starts–you could be saying, “Who are you? Oprah Winfrey? What the hell?” I’m just telling you all the stupid things I’ve learned in life have become so important to me. And finding joy, being healthy, all of the things–that is our own personal responsibility. That is our responsibility.
Sometimes you have to seek it outward, just because you need to learn how to do it for yourself. And that’s where I can be helpful to people. But, overall, you know, it’s hard to do that for yourself because you feel you don’t deserve it or maybe you’re around the wrong people that the environment’s not filled with pieces of joy that you can pick up. But it’s not–I don’t mean to be glib about it. And it’s like, “Everyone go get some joy!” It’s hard. It’s hard and you have to be reflective. You have to think about the ways in which you can bring it to your life and whether you find it valuable. Maybe you try something that didn’t work, you try something else. It’s a whole thing, but once you learn how to do it for yourself, it’s wonderful. And then you can give it to other people. That’s a wonderful feeling. It really is.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I think that’s a perfect spot to get into our question. And, if you have a question, the number again, is 773-789-8763. But yeah, we have a question from looks like José.
What Can I Eat to Bulk Up on the Kidney Stone Diet?
Listener Voicemail: Hey, what’s going on? I’m José here in Los Angeles, California. I’m wondering how one can bulk up on the Kidney Stone Diet. I’m trying to pack on muscle and it seems difficult because the typical things which one can use, like peanut butter, high oxalate. And then there’s also chocolate, but also, you know, high oxalates, and then we have meat, which is an animal protein, but supposedly having too much animal protein is bad for you. You can only drink so much olive oil, although that’s high calorie. And I’m just trying to figure out what else? Because something that’s high in sugar, like vanilla ice cream, which is also good to add to a protein shake, supposedly, you know that’s a lot of sugar. And so I’m trying to figure out what healthy things I can eat a lot of–mass quantities of–to bulk up and pack on muscle. So far, the only thing I can seem to find is bananas.
Okay, well, José is not gonna like what I have to say and I think anybody that does some body building may not like what I have to say. But I have people in the industry that agree with me. Now, ask yourself: bulking up? He’s talking about who he wants to gain some muscle. He’s also talking about very high calorie foods that he wants to bulk up with. So, with fat, those are fatty foods: the ice cream with peanut butter. Yes, they’ll add some calories, but I don’t know about so much muscle. And there’s a lot of research that says we really don’t need to bulk up to get muscle. So you’ll see a lot of people in the bodybuilding world, they’re going through a bulk phase, bulk, bulk, bulk. And then the show’s coming and now they got to get lean. So they bulked up for what? They grew a little bit of muscle and a hell of a lot of fat. And now they’ve gotta get ripped for their show.
So, I don’t agree with that. I’m not somebody who agrees with bulking when the ultimate goal is to build muscle. So there’s two different things: you don’t have to gain fat to to get to get muscle, okay? That is kind of going to the wayside now, this whole bulk up phase, just to then get lean. I don’t think it makes much sense. Men, once you start trying to get lean, you bulk up, make some muscle–more so fat, though–and then you’re trying to get lean again, and then you lose muscle. So, what are we doing here? So, here’s what I think: in order to grow muscle, you do need protein. Up to a gram of protein per pound. How are you going to get it?
You can also get it through vegetables. I don’t think anybody should be eating the same food over and over again. The reason I have bodybuilders in my practice is because they ate a jar of peanut butter every day. You don’t need to do that. There’s plenty of other protein sources. There’s on my website, there’s articles on vegetable proteins, non-meat proteins, you can do it that way. So protein is going to be the building block, obviously, of muscle. So get up to–get your needs taken care of. Now, I wish I knew his weight. I mean, that would be very helpful. So, you know, is he 120 pounds trying to bulk up to 160 because that’s different than if he’s 160 and he wants to bulk up to 220.
Yeah, if we’re talking like bodybuilding or just sort of like, “I’m thin. I don’t want to be so thin.” Those are different approaches, so it is a challenge.
Totally different things! Hold on, somebody’s trying to–hold on. Send to voicemail, okay. Two totally different things. So I’m not a fan and I am certified personal trainer. I understand I like bodybuilding, too, I have some little girl muscles for me, right? So I understand that somebody wants to build muscle. So if that’s what he wants to do, he can certainly build some muscle. Get enough calories every day. He does not have to eat olive oil to keep calories on. Eat his normal amount of food. He can eat, he can, he can get a surplus of calories if he needs to just spread it all around. So if you want peanut butter, José, you can certainly have it. Two tablespoons of peanut butter, put it in your smoothie. There’s 26 milligrams of oxalate. You get up to 100 a day.
Have a calcium source with that smoothie. I’m not worried about that, right? So there’s 200 calories, about, in your peanut butter. You’ll have your fat, it will have some oxalate, but the calcium will pretty much negate it. And you watch your own plate for the rest of the day. There’s ways in which–but that’s a great question. There’s no perfect answer for that. Meaning I would need to talk to somebody and say, “Where is it that you are? Where do you want to be?” And that a consult, that’s when you work with somebody. Because that’s not a generic question. So, number one, I’m not a huge believer in bulking to grow muscle, when then you’re just going to debulk and going to lose some of that muscle you just grew. So read some research on that.
People are not thinking bulking is the way to go anymore. That’s Arnold Schwarzenegger kind of thing, back in the day. More so, now, bodybuilders are not doing that because they lose the muscle they just gained from bulking when they tried to get lean again. So, that. You do not have to bulk to grow muscle. You just have to maintain your calories and push harder weights, okay? And be consistent in the gym. That’s what you need to do. So that is a question that I can’t just say, “Here’s the answer to.” It would need more digging out, but I love the question. So what José can take away from this is, José, you can certainly eat some peanut butter.
Again, you just can’t eat a whole jar of it. Get your calcium needs met. Get your protein needs from other foods besides animal protein. Get what you can from animal protein–you can figure out how much that is for you on my website on how to calculate your meat protein needs at kidneystonediet.com, my blog, but then you can have other protein sources as well. You can have eggs, you can have a protein smoothie, just pick the lower salt, lower sugar ones, okay? Pair that with milk or a non-dairy calcium source. So, there’s ways in which to keep your protein needs–because bodybuilders will say, “Well, I’m building muscle. I need more protein.” Get it through other sources.
And you don’t need as much protein as you think to build muscle because at some point, once you get over like more than a gram per pound per day, more than a gram per pound, you’re not building that much more muscle people. It goes like this. So don’t be thinking more is better, even with protein. At some point, you can just grow so much muscle, so I want you to realize that, too. Newbie gains are a real thing. If you’re new with this, José, you’re going to–and you haven’t lifted before or done all the things you’ll grow muscle pretty quickly. And then you’ll stabilize–those newbie gains are a great thing–and then you can slowly keep adding muscle throughout your whole life by lifting heavier, being consistent with your workouts, and maintaining your calories. So, that’s how you do it. But that would need a consult. It’s a great question. God knows I love talking about that kind of stuff. I love it!
Jeff Sarris: And I wanted to touch on–you said that protein you hit a certain point in it, more protein doesn’t mean more muscle. And I just also wanted to just touch on like, really quickly, there is–this is a technical term for like people listening, but whatever, like gluconeogenesis. So you hit a certain point with protein amino acids where it turns in actually to carbohydrates. So sometimes, people might be going for, like, “Okay, I’m doing lean. I’m gonna bulk up and I’m going to stay lean.” And then suddenly you’re spiking your blood glucose without knowing it because “I’m doing everything right. In my head, like I have my whey protein. I have this, I have that.”
But it’s like the law of diminishing returns: you can add in some of the protein, you can do these things, but there’s always that balance. And like Jill said, moving more weight. It comes down a lot to the compound exercises and different things that are getting–stimulating your hormonal response, like stimulating your body in the ways that works best for you. For men, that could be fasting–a fasted workout. You might wake up, instead of starting with like bacon and eggs, maybe you’re going to the gym and doing squats and deadlifts, whatever it is that you do. And that might actually spark your system in a way I don’t want to. I don’t wanna get too much into that, but this isn’t really what we’re here for, but there’s so many things that maybe the the focus on more intake of food might not be the exact pin to stick in there. It’s a balance of so many things to consider.
Jill Harris: Yes, and I would say, to jump on what you just said is, each person is different. Some people will say, “I’m gonna tell you right now, Jill, I lift so much heavier, and I have so much more energy when I have a carb, when I have a meal that consists of carbs an hour before I work out.” And other people are like “I am an IFer, intermittent fasting, and I have my most energy–I have my coffee and then I go to the gym.” You know, so you’ve got to figure out what works for you. So, everybody’s different like that. And some people say, “I’ve got to have that smoothie right after my workout.” Research shows, you don’t have to run home and grab a piece of turkey and get some protein in. You can you can wait a couple hours.
So, right, there’s a level where there is just a diminishing return. I always say this and kidney stone formers have learned this by overeating almonds and spinach. At some point, this stuff goes south. More is not better. And so, for building muscle, what you want to do is have a diet that works for you, that will get you to be able to lift more weight and lift it longer, right? And you don’t have to be in the gym for two hours. I’m just saying, maybe you want to build some muscle, maybe instead of three sets, you’re doing four sets. Maybe instead of 8-10 reps, you’re doing 10 to 14 reps. I mean, there’s many ways to build muscle.
Jeff Sarris: Or maybe it’s vice versa. You’re doing two to three, because the weight–like there’s so many variables.
Jill Harris: Yeah, the weight is so heavy. Yeah, exactly. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to eat more calories people to bulk up and then to get that lean body afterwards. So, you know, the whole bulking up–if José is too thin, he’s thin, he may want to add some weight. But bulking is a very specific term and I would need to know if he meant it in its truest sense or he just needed to gain some weight because he’s too thin and he’s trying to–you don’t have to gain fat to get muscle. This was the point of this was what I’m saying. You don’t need to eat extra calories to get muscle. That’s my point. I don’t need extra calories and I have good muscles for an old lady.
Jeff Sarris: I like that this question got both of us really excited. Like it’s fun because it’s a little outside of the the norm for things, but it’s like right in our wheelhouses and sort of where we focus and what we what makes us come alive beyond the typical topics. So yeah, thank you so much, José, for calling in. And if you have any follow up questions, actually, feel free to call in and anyone listening. The number again is 773-789-8763. And we would love to feature you in a future episode.
So that’ll do it for this week. Head over to kidneystonediet.com if you have any other pressing needs concerns, questions, you want to check out the course, you want to check out the meal plans, you want to join the email newsletter that goes out every Saturday. So much! So much is there and we really appreciate every one of you out there and everyone who’s subscribed to the YouTube channel, clicks the little bell, the thumbs up, the comments. It all means a lot. So, yeah, thanks again and we will see you all next time.
Jill Harris: Thanks for being here, guys. Bye!