This week on the Kidney Stone Diet Podcast, Jill answers a listener question about jicama and how to eat foods that don’t appear on the Harvard oxalate list.
Video mentioned in this episode:
Beyond Harvard, who can we trust for oxalate info?
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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: Hi! It’s your kidney stone prevention nurse. Hello, Jeff!
Jeff Sarris: Hey, there, we are back at it with another episode, another batch. I mean, we’re always batching these together to try to get as many out there because we don’t want to miss a week. We always have so much going on in our lives, but–
Jill Harris: We don’t want to miss a week.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, because we want to help as many people as we can! Reach as many people–and everyone who comments and has liked and subscribed, that means so much. And we thank you so much for everything you’ve done! The last month, the subscribers really cranked up a bunch!
Jill Harris: Well, here’s the thing: so, I told the people in my newsletter, I’m like, if we get 5000 subscribers, I’m going to give away two free calls to people. So we still haven’t gotten to 5000 subscribers, people, so now I’m going to offer it to people on YouTube who are watching. So there’s a lot of you that watch–people are going to be like, “God, she’s being a witch!” But listen, listen, listen, there’s a lot of you who watch, but you have not pressed that red button. Just press the red button to subscribe. “I don’t want you to, Jill.” But if you do that, it helps us get higher in the rating, so more people can find us instead of the junk that’s on YouTube about kidney stone prevention. It’s not all junk, but we want to rate higher in the rating, so when you click “kidney stones,” we come up.
So if you click the subscribe button, all that means is it will alert you on Tuesdays or whenever when the show’s coming. That’s all it does and it’s not a big deal. Everybody that I love on YouTube, it’s the first thing I do. I click the subscribe button because I understand that it’s going to help them rate higher in the ratings. So if you could do that for us, we would appreciate it. And when you do, if you subscribe, I want you to in the comments, write “I subscribed,” and then I, too, will know that you did, and when we get to the 5000, you can be a chance to get a consult with me. You can write it in the comments here and then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and say, “Yo, sister, I subscribed.” And then I will have your email, so I can say if you want or not. But we gotta get the 5000 people, so that’s what I’m waiting for!
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, and you can hit that little subscribe, that little bell gives you the notifications on your phone or whatever you want to. It’s just all those little bits really help. It makes a big difference and we don’t really talk about this, but the episodes come out on Tuesday mornings, and the more views you get in the first couple hours actually has a positive impact. And that isn’t to pressure anyone to watch right when they come out, but just so people know, because a lot of things like that we just don’t know that that’s how the system works. But YouTube likes to see, “Oh, and the first couple hours in the first 40 hours, how are they looking compared to previous other videos, previous videos and things like that?”
Jill Harris: Did you see that today? Because today it said, “Hey, you did a lot better sister and brother.”
Jeff Sarris: Oh, did it?
Jill Harris: Yes! It’s so funny that you say that! It said more views in the first, you know, first hour or whatever. So I didn’t even know that either. Jeff knows all this stuff. I’m just here to talk. That’s all.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, I’m here for the behind-the-scenes, the tech kind of side of things. But yeah, that’s why we make a perfect combo. You have all the knowledge able to help people and I can just take take the reins on the other things.
Jill Harris: Yeah, well, you take a lot of the reins. Let’s not mince any words here. All right, what do we got?
Jeff Sarris: Well, we are gonna start off with–we will have questions–but this one is a little different and very sweet.
Listener Voicemail: Hello, Jeff and Jill. This is Mia and I’m from New York City! And my question is, why are you two so freaking adorable? That’s all! I just called to tease you and to say “hi!” I love you so much for all you do for us stoners. Bye.
A Big “Thank You” to All of Our Stoners!
Jill Harris: Oh, that’s so sweet of her. So, Mia is in the Kidney Stone Prevention Course and she’s on the Facebook group. She’s very active and helpful. She’s just great in so many ways. She’s always posting her food on the Facebook group, so it helps newbies. There’s, you know, 12,500 people on their Facebook group, so there’s a lot of people. And the people who have been on that Facebook group for a long time were newbies once, and so they know that, you know, there’s like 30 new people that join the Facebook group every day. And so they always come in with the same newbie questions. And so Mia and other people in the Facebook group who have been there for a while, are always posting their food and always saying, “Okay, this is what Jill would say to that question.” So when I’m not around, they are always there to be very helpful.
Look, one of the reasons–I love community so much. I just do. Everybody that’s been around on my social media or in the Kidney Stone Prevention Course or in the newsletter–they write me every Saturday when they get their newsletter. And there’s 20, almost 30,000 people, I think on that newsletter. I don’t know, Jeff, it’s a lot. Anyway, there’s so much community and camaraderie, that it makes this job so fulfilling. And I think we both feel that on many different levels. Patients don’t get the help that they need for their kidney stone prevention. And so when they find the YouTube channel, or the find the Facebook group, they’re just so appreciative because they haven’t found that support anywhere.
And so, for me, being a nurse for you being deep into tech, like you are, trying to help other people who don’t know anything, get their word out and for you being a health coach, in all the many areas in which you succeed and help me in things, it’s very gratifying to us that we know that we’re able to be there for you guys. And I don’t know what else to tell you. There’s many days where people ask me, “How have you done this for so many years?” Well, it’s because of all the people that I’ve met, and I continue to be part of their daily life. It’s an amazing job I have. I think we both feel that way. I mean, you know, I’m not going to talk for you, Jeff, but you know.
Jeff Sarris: No, absolutely! It’s so gratifying that like, there’s people–like Mia out there, like, I mean, you’re so sweet. Like to say that, it’s just so sweet. But then, like Jill said, to be active in the group, to be helping new people, to be able to take the reins and do the things that–like we couldn’t be there to do 24 hours a day like that just isn’t feasible. There’s so many things to making this entire–the Course, the meal plans, the platform itself, to making it something that can really help people. There’s a lot of a lot of pieces to it. So it really means a lot to have people that are essentially moderators of sorts, like in the Facebook group.
Jill Harris: Absolutely! I have to say there’s Nancy, there’s Andrew, there’s Michael, there’s Pam, there’s–hold on, let me think there’s Wendy, regular Wendy, there’s newer Wendy, although she’s older at this point, meaning patient support person who’s been on that moderator. They’re not even–first of all, let me tell you this, they’re not even assigned moderators! They just take it upon themselves to do this. So there’s Fay that’s been on there. I mean, there’s so many more people that once they’ve been on the Facebook page for a pretty long time, not even some of them, they just learn, they learn, they learn. They go to YouTube, they’re on a Facebook group, they’re on my blog, and they’re just learning everything.
So when new people come, they’re the first ones to say, “Go to Jill’s website, kidneystonediet.com and the start page, here’s all the things.” I mean, I don’t pay them, I don’t ask them, they just do it! But this is the kind of thing about kidney stone prevention work. Because the support can be lacking, patients understand that. And so they are paying it forward always. It’s just what is done in that group. And it is wonderful. It is one of the best things I’ve ever spent my time on in my life, honestly. It really is because it just it’s the gift that keeps on giving. And I’m just so grateful to watch that community grow and the kindness that’s in it, and the love that’s in it and just the support that’s in it. It’s friggin’ amazing! I couldn’t ask for anything better.
Jeff Sarris: And not to leave anyone out, I know you listed people, but there are so many people in there that I’m sure there’s names–and I know there’s names, for a fact, that are being left out and that isn’t anything at all. It’s just there’s so many amazing people in that group and, from the bottom of both of our hearts, just thank you. Thank you so much for everything you guys do out there.
Jill Harris: Honestly, thank you. I mean, you know, whenever I have a bad day, I think about all the wonderful people especially on that Facebook group. And the repeat patients that are always leaving comments under these videos on YouTube. God bless you because you know, that also helps us in the ratings. People are like, “What can we do for you guys? You give so much to us free and this and that!” You can subscribe to the YouTube channel and you can leave comments in the YouTube comments because YouTube rates that better. They are like, “Oh, this channel’s active blah, blah blah.” So let’s give them a bump up.
So those are the things that you can do to help us, but there are already people that do it. Every video, there’s always the same people in those comments and thank you so very much. Jojo is one, Michael is one, Edward is one, Pam! There’s always people on, same people doing it and there’s always other people, too, but honestly thanks guys so much. It means the world to us. We’re very grateful for the audience we have in all our social media. And also, on TikTok now, people, a whole hell of a lot of hell is breaking out on TikTok with me, so I’m just telling you go there, too. It’s more of a fun platform over there on TikTok.
Jeff Sarris: For sure! I subscribed right away, but I haven’t been on TikTok at all. So I need to check-in and see what you’ve been doing lately because that is so much more fun. It’s more casual and just like “pop-the-camera-up-and-go” kind of thing, which is a lot of fun. So, yeah, thank you again, Mia, like that is very sweet.
Jill Harris: You’re the best, Mia. Love you!
Jeff Sarris: But yeah, we will go on to a question from I don’t know if we have a name. Let’s see.
What Do You Do When a Food is Not on the Harvard List?
Listener Voicemail: Yes, I’m calling from the Houston, Texas area, and I have a question about a particular food that I have not been able to figure out how many–the oxalate contents are in the jicama root. If there’s any way you could let me know via the podcast, how much content of oxalates are in jicama, I sure would appreciate it. Thank you.
Jill Harris: I don’t have your name, but I know you’re from Houston and so I will say this, I don’t know. “Jill, you suck! What do you mean, you don’t know?” I don’t know. Harvard didn’t study jicama. Now, we have a video that we should even link up here, and the video is, “What do you do when it’s not on the list, old lady? What happens then?” So if it’s not on the list–I think we have that video–if Harvard didn’t study it, the general rule of thumb is this: have jicama. Have it once or twice a week. Don’t be having jicama milk, and jicama sticks, and hikma sandwiches. Don’t be doing that because we don’t know, or I don’t know because it Harvard didn’t study it. I use the Harvard list for my patients. I’ve used it for decades, so it works.
But it’s not just the Harvard list that we pay attention to. It’s other advice that I give to patients when we don’t know. And there’s plenty of foods, we don’t know how much oxalates in it because it hasn’t been studied. We have that food once or twice a week– and I always say twice a week because you may have leftovers from a meal you made and we need to be practical. So, get your daily calcium needs met and you won’t have a problem with it. “What if it’s like spinach?” I’m not worried about it. Very rare. There’s there’s no food like spinach with 6-700 milligrams of oxalate in it. Spinach is special, but jicama–it’s when foods become like these superfoods and sexy foods for the month and then we tend to overeat it because we always think, “Well, if we have a little and they say it’s really healthy for us, we could eat as much as we want.”
Please don’t do that, so have foods that have not been studied once or twice a week in a normal serving size; get your calcium needs met every day; you won’t have an oxalate problem, I promise. “How do you know, Jill?” Because I look at all of these urine collections, thousands of them a year. And so that’s what patients do when they do their follow-up collection after they work with me. They have a call with me; they do the 15-minute Urine Analysis call; I tell them this kind of advice; they do a follow-up in a couple months after they change their lifestyle; they will have foods that they’re like, “Look, I know peanut butter is on the higher side, but I’m gonna have it on the day of my test. I’m just gonna make sure I get my calcium or oxalate’s low, under 30, which is where we want it on your urine test.”
So any foods that you’re like, “I know she said it’s not a big deal, but I’m gonna have that food on the day I do my urine collection. I’m going to make sure I get my calcium and I’m going to see.” And you’ll see, it’ll be low oxalate. It will be, unless you have other issues going on like gastric bypass or bowel disease, then you will probably still have high oxalate, but if you’re just the run-of-the-mill, average kidney stone former, it won’t be any problem, okay? So, stick to your 100 milligrams of oxalate that’s your budget, use it however you want, get your calcium needs met every day, and you will lower your oxalate, I promise. The end.
Jeff Sarris: And that Urine Analysis is right on the site. So, here I’ll pop it up there. You’ll see right in the top of the website, there’s the Urine Analysis link, and then, yeah, you can find the info about like doing that with Jill so she can take a look at your results and talk through everything with you. That is such an important first step that we’ve talked about so many times on this, too, the urinalysis.
Jill Harris: So, that’s how you get to talk to your doctor. I mean, you know, people go into–and me as a patient, too, with my cancer stuff–you don’t know what you don’t know, so you go into the doctor–nowadays, maybe you get 10-15 minutes with them, but you’ll get more time if you’re educated going into that appointment. Then the doctor is gonna be like, “Oh shit! Sally knows what she’s talking about. Let me sit down. Let me unbutton my collar. Alright, what, Sally?” But then you get better help! And it’s not anything against the doctors. It’s just that so many people really, they’re not interested in changing their diet. They don’t ask questions. But you don’t know what you don’t know!
So, if you don’t want to make another stone–because up to 80% reduction rate can be for you. We can reduce your stone rate up to 80% with just lifestyle changes, sometimes medications, but most of my patients just with lifestyle changes, they won’t make another stone again. So you get educated, a 15-minute call for $49. Come on, people, and you know how to talk to your doctor. It’s the same as a copay, nowadays, if not anything–and then you get a better treatment plan. And you can stop spending thousands and thousands of dollars, and pain, and stents, and ureteroscopies, and all this stuff. So it’s worth it. It’s worth it!
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, and that’s at kidneystonediet.com. Once again, along with all the free stuff, all the free content, all the podcast episodes, the link to the Facebook group and everything that we always talk about. But, yeah, it is such an important first step that I know that speaks to you, too, because you’ve experienced a lot in health and in medicine, and having that person like, able to listen–and being educated to then go to talk to the doctor really makes a big difference.
Jill Harris: It does make a big difference and, you know, that service is relatively new only because, you know, we didn’t think of it until I did go through all my stuff. And I was always like, “Man, I wish I had some kind of service that I could have paid a few bucks to figure out what I should be talking to my doctor about.” Do you know how many people–they don’t even know they’re supposed to get a urine collection! So, you don’t know what you don’t know. And lots of doctors do not offer them. I can’t tell you how many patients have said, “Thank God, Jill! I watched your YouTube channel and you and Jeff kept saying, ‘Get a 24-hour urine collection.’ So I knew to ask my doctor for that. And then the doctor was like, ‘Oh, yeah, sure, we’ll get you one.’ But it wasn’t going to be offered unless I had asked.”
And the reason they’re not offered many times is because a lot of people don’t want to change their lifestyle. And doctors are like, “What’s the point in doing all this? Nobody’s going to lower their salt.” But but they do. They do. So, you gotta find out why you’re forming stones and the way you do that is you get a urine collection done and then you meet with somebody, like me, who can help you understand it, so then you can talk to your doctor, and make sure you get on the best treatment plan possible for you.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, again, that’s kidneystonediet.com, and you can find everything from the website right there. I think that’ll do it this week. If you have a question that you want answered on the show, the number, again, is 773-789-8763. And we will feature your question on a future episode. I wish we knew your name, but thank you again, for your question. I hope that helps sort of just wrap a little bow around it to understand–to have that grasp of just how to work with it because it’s not spinach. We know that, but you can still sort of fit it in like Jill said.
Jill Harris: Absolutely, absolutely! Thank you Miss Houston!
Jeff Sarris: Thanks again, everyone listening, and we’ll see you next week!
Jill Harris: Bye!