This week Jill breaks down everything you need to know to follow the Kidney Stone Diet.
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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.
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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. You know, Jeff, when we were just doing our thing, every time the intro starts, I feel like we’re trying not to look at each other and laugh. Not laugh, like, just a little giggle. I just feel like that. It’s like when you’re in the library when you’re a kid and the librarian is shushing you. That’s how I feel. I, like, have the mind of a 12 year old.
Jeff Sarris: It’s true, though, because it’s like that awkward time because the music is playing and it’s like, “What do we–what do we do?” You know? But yeah, so we’re gonna, this week, dive into some topics that we just haven’t touched on in the show so far. We still have some questions like, we’d love if you keep sending in your questions. We’re going to be taking more of the questions in future episodes, we’ve been just batch recording today, like we always do, so there will be some that we’ll be recording today. But we wanted to dive into just a specific Kidney Stone Diet topic today. What’s on the schedule, Jill?
Jill Harris: Okay, so I’ve got a bunch. I’ve got a few up my sleeve. I think the first one–I’m looking at my phone ’cause I wrote them down–I think the first one is, what the heck is the Kidney Stone Diet? I’d like to talk about that because, you know, in a lot of these videos, we’ve broken it down. But what is the Kidney Stone Diet? What it is comprised–what are all the elements in one little kit and caboodle? So, I’m gonna tell you how it came about. Everyone’s like, “No one asked, Jill.” I don’t care. You’re gonna listen anyway and so is Jeff. So here’s how it came about. Jeff knows. Dr. Coe, that’s my mentor, that’s Fred Coe. C-O-E. And you can find him at kidneystone.uchicago.edu. You can also find me over there as well.
But he’s my mentor and I’ve been lucky to have him for over two decades. And he’s a wonderful man. Anyway, he’s also the granddaddy of kidney stone prevention. So he’s done all the science. He knows all the people that have done a lot of science. So he writes articles on kidney stones and kidney stone prevention on his website. One day, we were working together and we said, “Let’s put all the elements of the Kidney Stone Diet in one article.” The article is over at his website. And when we wrote it, he’s like, “What should we call it?” And we said, “Let’s just call it the Kidney Stone Diet.”
Step 1: Get Enough Fluids
Simple and, you know, everybody wants to know a diet so we called it the Kidney Stone Diet. And let me tell you what it is: everybody comes to me “Jill, how much oxalate’s in this? Jill, how much oxalate’s in this?” I’m gonna save oxalate for the last because it’s the least important thing. See, I get–I’m all jumbled up because it really annoys me. Listen, oxalate we’re going to save till last, at the end of this video. First thing, get your fluid. “How many? How much fluid, Jill?” Well, you want to drink enough fluid that you urinate 2.5 to three liters a day. So what Jeff has to drink, you know, he’s a big guy. I’m a little lady. I’m only five two. How tall are you, Jeff?
Jeff Sarris: I’m six four. Yeah, no one could tell from the camera because just shoulders up, but yeah, when we stand side-by-side, it’s very apparent that our heights are a little different.
Jill Harris: It’s hilarious! And people always like, “You’re only five two?” I only have a big mouth. That’s it, okay? So, yes, Jeff may have to drink more than me. Although, I’m very middle age and sweat even on a chilly day. I exercise a lot (so does Jeff), but I mean, if I ate more salt than Jeff, he’d have to drink less than me. I mean, there’s so many variants. So that’s why we don’t say, “Hey, you’ve gotta drink this much.” We don’t say that. We tell you what we would like the output to be and it’s 2 1/2 to three liters a day.
“How do I know if I’m peeing that much, Jill?” Well, if you’ve done a urine collection before you can save those big jugs and you can check here and there so you can make sure you’re on track. Or you know you could do things like save it in a Tupperware, whatever. Figure it out, people! But two and a half to 3 liters. All fluids count, but water is best. So, mainly, you want the main fluid to be water, okay? Do you have any questions on the water part, Jeff?
Jeff Sarris: Oh, yeah, I think the tracking it is a challenge because it’s so out of the realm of our typical experience. If someone hasn’t done a urine collection before, a urine analysis, that is sort of like, “Oh, how do I figure that out?” But, yeah, throw it in Tupperware. I’d say just not the Tupperware you’re using for your leftover chicken.
Jill Harris: Oh yeah, totally! You’re gonna throw that Tupperware out. But I think the thing is, too– first of all, people, you should be getting a urine collection done. “There she goes again,” but you should! I just had a patient today I worked with and they’re like, “My doctor put me on these three things.” “Did you do a urine collection?” “No.” “Well, okay, but”–and as a nurse, I don’t override any doctor’s orders.
So I sent her back and said, “You may want to put in the portal–write your doctor–’Dear doctor, may I have a urine collection, so I can really figure out what I need to do to prevent these stones?'” Because maybe the thing she was told is really not going to help. And/or, when you’re told a couple things, you do those two things, but you don’t do the rest of the Kidney Stone Diet, okay? So you think you’re doing every single thing that you can to prevent stones and maybe those two things weren’t even something you needed to do.
Jeff Sarris: And oxalate’s the big one, right? A lot of people are just like, “Oh, oxalate is it.” Ignore, not ignore the rest, but maybe they’re not informed about the rest and all the other important parts.
Jill Harris: Exactly, or another generic thing to do is take, you know, suck on a lemon. You may not need a lemon, okay? So then patients wind up losing their teeth enamel, just sucking on a lemon, suckin’ on a lemon, and it’s not even something they needed to do once they do finally do urine collection. So, you know, you need to do a urine collection to find out what your treatment plan really should be. So, fluids. Also, another kind of generic “Am I in the ballpark of peeing enough?” If your urine looks like water coming out of you, you’re doing a good job. Once you see that it starts getting tinged with some color, start drinking a little bit more, okay?
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, that’s a really good metric, I think, because we notice that. That’s something we’re used to seeing and you see those times when it is just I mean, so, so vivid, and you’re like, “Oh, I am definitely dehydrated.”
Jill Harris: Yeah, and kidney stone patients definitely know, “Oh, holy braciole, I better start drinking!” because their urine looks, you know, very, very yellow, or sometimes brown. So they’re like, “Holy braciole, I gotta get some more water in me.” So, it is a good kind of generic indicator to see if you’re getting enough water. And that may not be enough water, but you’re doing okay, right? Okay, so you want to get your fluids.
Step 2: Lower Your Sodium
Number two–go ahead and sip, sip–number two, you want to lower your sodium. I’m going to go off on a little here. So, the first goal is–it doesn’t mean you have to do it in this order. These are just the elements. So you want to get enough fluids. Number two, you want to lower your sodium. It is advised that you get down to 1500 milligrams a day. American Heart people say this, everybody says this, kidney stone people say this. It used to be 2300 milligrams a day. It’s been lowered again, recently. 1500 milligrams a day. Now, some people will say, “Well, shouldn’t we even do it lower than that, Jill?” I say, “Start there, please, and then if you need to lower it less than that, talk to your doctor about it.”
Because the average person is, you know, 3000-4000 milligrams of sodium a day. So there’s two things I think about. When we tell a patient, say the patient’s eating 5000 milligrams of sodium a day, “How do I know, Jill?” You’ve done a urine collection and it will say how much salt you’ve had that day, in your urine. So if you’re eating about 5000 milligrams of sodium a day, and you hear me screaming to get down to 1500, or your doctor screaming, get down to 1500, or just lower your sodium, it’s very difficult to do that when you’re so high, which is the average, people, really in America. But then to go from 5000 or 4000 or 3000, all the way down to 1500, you’re not going to do that overnight. And so what I have found in my experience of working with patients for so many years is that patients are like, “My food tastes disgusting. I cannot do this. I’m out.”
So I like to wean my patients off slowly. If they’re at 4000 milligrams of sodium a day. I’m like, “Hey, let’s practice getting down to 2500. That’s where we’re going to go right now.” Maybe even 3000, depending on what they’re telling me, okay? Because if their food tastes terrible, again, they’re not going to be compliant for the long haul. And that’s what I’m looking for. I’m not looking for compliance to the next follow-up urine collection. I’m looking for actual lifestyle changes that the patient’s like, “Okay, I got this, and this is my new lifestyle.” Right? So, I like weaning off. Again, if your doctor wants you to go low–listen, any doctor I’ve ever worked with is going to be thrilled somebody gets down to 1500 milligrams a day because that’s really great. But some people, maybe they can go a little lower, it’s fine for them. Talk to your doctor about that. Does that make sense, Jeff?
Jeff Sarris: It definitely does! And I mean, some of the sources to outside of just cooking a meal and salting it, I mean it’s a lot of the packaged products, right? And different things that we might just grab-and-go and grab some snacks, they’re just loaded with sodium.
Jill Harris: Yes. Everybody says the first thing–I mean, I could just, it’s something–the first thing people say to me is, “I don’t use a salt shaker.” Well, I hope you don’t because salt is in every single thing you eat. So, even people before when they talk to me before their urine collection, they’ll say, “Oh, Jill, I eat a low-salt diet.” Then they do their urine collection and it’s 3000 milligrams a day. Why? Because they’re not turning it around, Buster Brown. You must turn your packages around. Look at baking soda. “I love capers, Jill.” Turn it around and you’ll see they’re little salt bombs, as is olives. I mean, there’s something that you would never look at an nutrition label ever in your whole life, but then when you do you’re like, “Oh my God, who’da thunk it?”
And that has to be the most common thing–every day I hear, “I had no idea I was eating that much salt.” Even foods with just naturally occurring salt in eggs, in milk, you know, the cow, the chicken. They eat from the ground. There’s sodium in the dirt and it’s naturally occurring. “Jill, do I gotta count all the sodium in a hard boiled egg?” I don’t care about that people gonna be like, “Really?” I really don’t. I want people to start with just getting rid of packaged foods. Don’t be worried about no eggs, the natural occurring sodium in an egg. That’s the least of your problems. If you want to tweet that way later, god bless.
But at the beginning, just look at your packages, don’t worry about anything else, and you will get it down over time. You will be good. So salt: 1500 milligrams a day. That is the goal. The other thing I’m going to tell you about these goals, you’re not going to do them every single darn day. Don’t be thinking just because you ate 2000 milligrams of salt one day, “Ohp, it’s over! I’m terrible. Forget it. I can’t do this.” It’s okay, you’re gonna have birthdays, you’re gonna have things come up, you’re going to go out to eat with your husband or your wife or your partner. And you’re going to go over your salt budget some days, that’s okay. Get right back on it. That’s all I care about. So, salt: 1500 milligrams a day. Anything else you want to say on that, Jeff?
Jeff Sarris: Well, it’s just like sugar, right? And you’ll get to sugar I know, but you talk about added sugar, this is sort of like added salt that we’re looking at. Added sodium versus like you said not the stuff that’s naturally occurring and coming in whole foods–not the company Whole Foods, but whole food stuffs that you’ll eat–because that is a different delivery mechanism and everything that it’s not just a salt bomb into your body.
Jill Harris: And here’s the thing that when my patients–I have many overweight patients and they’ll say, “I’m having such a hard time losing weight and I’ve heard that the Kidney Stone Diet will help me lose weight.” Well, yeah, it’s going to help you lose weight because you’re lowering your sugar, you’re lowering your salt. And those two things– added sugar–those two things are going to have you retain water. So we all know that when we eat too much salt we bloat and we retain water. Sugar does the same thing to us. Too much added sugar will also cause us to gain waterweight. It does the same thing. So the nice added benefit when we teach people to lower salt and lower added sugar, they will lose weight.
Number one, they’re eating healthier foods, for the most part, but they’re going to lose a lot of waterweight, which is very inspiring and motivating when you start this journey. You will lose good, you know–well it depends for everybody. I don’t want people writing me in the comments saying, “Five pounds? I only lost three!” Well, you only weigh 130 pounds. He weighs 300 pounds. He’s gonna weigh less. Okay, so what else? Added sugar! Added sugar, pay attention, people. People always say Jill said, this is what Jill said on added sugar: 25 grams a day for women, 37.5–I just bump it up and give them 38–38 grams of added sugar for men. Again the American Heart Association says this and kidney stone people say this.
This is what our government also is hoping that we can stay under because sugar is wow, we eat a lot of sugar in this country and it really causes inflammation, it causes weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, strokes, cardiovascular disease, redundant I know, but all of it, people, all of it. So added sugar. Added sugar is now parsed out on the nutrition label. Sugar people are real mad about this. So I think that there’s many different things. The government is, you know, wants to parse it out because it’s–our medical system is so overwrought with all these chronic diseases and too much added sugar can lead to obesity, which can lead to all these comorbidities like I said, those diseases we were talking about.
So, it’s very important to keep your added sugar low. In kidney stone disease specifically, added sugar and also too much salt will pull calcium from your bone and dump it into the urine. So this is why we’re concerned about it. Too much added sugar and too much salt will take precious calcium from your bone and dump it into your urine. So it’s very important. When there’s excess calcium running around in your urine, and that’s where these other minerals, like oxalate and phosphate can connect to it. form stones. So that’s, that’s why, specifically, we want you to lower those two things in kidney stone disease.
So, the sugar people are not happy that added sugar is parsed out. I think I’m grateful to the Keto people because they’ve made people very aware of added sugar. And so because so many people did Keto, which by the way, a lot of people who do keto they’re now my patients, so I’m not a fan of the way Keto is done. And if you’re on the Keto diet, and also want to prevent kidney stones, I can certainly help you do both. You can stay on Keto diet, there’s just some tweaks. So I think the Keto people have made patients really aware of added sugar in their products, which has been awesome.
Jeff Sarris: I like to tie it back to paleo, too, because that’s where I came from. Paleo when it started was all lifestyle. It’s low carb, not necessarily high fat, not like high fat, like keto it’s more getting rid of processed foods, staying lower carb and realizing that the reason all this added sugar is in there is as soon as we went low-fat, everything tastes like cardboard. So if you don’t add sugar, you have no taste in the processed and packaged foods, and yeah, it really goes so far–like it’s gone so far to really hinder like our collective health, unfortunately, because we went sort of down the wrong path. Not to say, going through the roof with fat is the right idea either, but it’s that balance, like you say it’s portion, not perfection, but balancing everything out.
Jill Harris: Yep, I mean, look, when we take away one food group, whatever that is, we always are told, “You give up this, but you can eat as much as you want of that.” This doesn’t work people, for most. There’s always somebody, “It worked for me.” Good. Keep on doing whatever works for you. Paleo, Jeff’s right, like Atkins, things like that. You know what happened? You, Jeff, may be a little young, but people my age remember the SnackWell’s? We got rid of all the, you know, low-fat but they loaded them up with sugar because guess what, guys? The food manufacturers do listen. So they know right now that people are wanting low added sugar, zero sugar, okay? So what are they gonna do? They’re gonna pump it up with salt.
Because the food manufacturers also have to answer to their board. So, you know, they can make things that have low sugar, but they’ll put it in front of focus groups and the focus group is like, “There’s no salt in here. These are disgusting.” So they have to also make money. It’s what their job is. It’s a company. So we’ve got to remember when you see a label that says, “No added sugar” or “Zero sugar,” turn it around Buster Brown, because I’m going to tell you right now, unless it’s notebook paper, there’s a buttload of salt in that product. Same thing. If something’s low salt, they’re going to add sugar to the product. It’s very difficult unless you’re, I mean, it’s just very difficult to get–a condiment is a great example.
You’re never going to have low sugar and low salt. If you turn those around–I’ve gone to supermarkets and done live videos on Facebook–if you do that, you can find barbecue sauce with no sugar, but it’s going to have a ton of salt and vice versa. So that’s how it does. Salad dressing is another great example. So added sugar is difficult. How do you know if something’s been added? It will say it on the label now as it will be sugar, and then below that on your nutrition label, it will be parsed out as added sugar. If you’re ever confused that there’s sugar in a product, look at the ingredients. Cane sugar, honey, molasses, brown rice syrup, these things, anything that ends in O’s, these are all sugars. You may say, “But honey’s natural.”
But if we added honey to cotton, now that cotton–I made it up–now the cotton has added sugar. Yes! It came out of a bees butt, but it’s still adding sugar to a product. I have patients argue that all the time. And it is confusing. I get why they argue it. It is a natural sugar, but so is sugar, sugar. It’s natural, but if it’s in something, it’s added sugar, right? And it’s so confusing with honey, that if you look at the back of your nutrition label, you’ll have what looks like a little cross almost. And it is an extra thing that says, “Yeah, we know you think it ain’t added, but it is, okay?” The FDA had a rule on that, actually, to get that as an added sugar. So they they went back and forth with that and it was deemed added sugar. So, anyway, sugars are hard for people. Salt is hard for people.
For some, both are hard, but usually somebody’s a “Sweetie” or a “Salty.” So, the added sugar is difficult, but I will tell you guys this, that once you lower your sugar, and your salt, you will find, after a while it ain’t gonna happen overnight, that you will have less cravings, which is really awesome. So I have a very low salt diet, a very low sugar diet and I get craving sometimes, but not really a lot.
And when you do have something salty, you’re like, that’s disgusting. And I know you’re like that will never happen to me. I promise you, it will happen to you. So give it some time. A good average is about, for salt, most of my patients within two weeks if they’re really being compliant and diligent, they’re like, “In two weeks, I felt a difference!” Sugar is harder for people. I’ll just say that. And it doesn’t mean you can’t, again, have your favorite thing. Just get right back on track. That’s all I’m asking. You’re not going to be perfect at this. Anything for you, Jeff?
Jeff Sarris: Again, like, this isn’t just a diet. Like, we think of the on-again, off-again diet where the Kidney Stone Diet is a lifestyle. So it’s our diet. Like I feel like there’s just a really strong distinction there: a diet versus our diet. And our diet sometimes is phenomenal. Sometimes we’re having a rough day. It might not be the best, but we can always get right back on the wagon and keep going and moving forward.
Jill Harris: We always have that choice and people forget that because, you know, I think the diet industry has really drilled into our heads–and we’ve drilled into our own heads–we’re either on something or off something. We have very black and white thinking around this, and I want everyone to remember, this is a practice. I practice healthy eating every day. Don’t mean I succeed, but I practice it. And here’s the key, which we’re going to do a video on this today, too, when you notice that you have a little something extra, you just notice it. You say, “I’m going to get back on track with the next meal choice.” That’s all you gotta do. That’s all you have to do, okay? All right, so that’s salt, sugar, water.
Step 3: Pay Attention to Your Calcium
And the next thing is calcium. This is also a very difficult one. Calcium is part of the Kidney Stone Diet. “Why do I have to get so much calcium, Jill, when I already have a lot of it in my urine? Why would I want more?” Well, you’re losing that from your bone, in a lot of cases. So you definitely have to replenish it.
Jeff Sarris: It’s so scary, like, I never realized that before.
Jill Harris: I know. It is very scary because Dr. Coe always says this: “Wherever you see a stone clinic, a bone clinic is close by.” These two diseases go hand in hand. Why? Because of the calcium issue. Kidney stone disease is so much of a calcium problem. Again, everyone wants to talk about oxalate, but the Kidney Stone Diet, most of it is based upon making sure you’re not using too much calcium (i.e. the sugar and the salt), and you’re getting enough calcium for your skeleton and for stone disease as well because that’s how we get rid of oxalate. So calcium: for men, we want up to 1000 milligrams a day. For women, who still get their period, 1000 milligrams a day. Women who do not get their period anymore, up to 1200 milligrams a day.
You will note I am saying “up to.” Patients will say, “She said 1200. I’m getting 4000 because more is better!” People, as most of you have learned, because now you have kidney stones more is not better in life, not in this area, not with diet. So, you’re not going to be able to absorb all of that. Calcium is a trickier thing to absorb. So you wanna get your goals met “up to.” You don’t have to go over, okay? Please don’t. Get up to. I’ve never worked with an adult in 21 years, that they have said, “Jill, shut up about calcium. I get plenty.” No adult has ever said that to me. Most people give up dairy long ago, they don’t like milk or they don’t want lac–they’re lactose intolerant, casein intolerant, many things. Ethically, they’re opposed to drinking any cow milk. There’s plenty of alternative milks, go to kidneystonediet.com, and you’ll see an article in my blog on alternative milks that you can have that have calcium.
And we have some earlier episodes, too, of the podcast talking about calcium and other options that you could have dairy and non-dairy solutions.
Yeah. So, you need that. We do not want you to get it by supplements in pill form because there’s been many studies done (many!) and they can lead to kidney stones. So please don’t get it through pills, unless your doctor has told you, otherwise, because of maybe osteoporosis. I want you guys to recognize that some doctors may say, “Get it through pills” because these doctors assume you’re not going to drink milk or blah blah blah. So you could say to the doctor, “Oh, doctor, I heard pills in supplement form can lead to kidney stones. I’m willing to get mine by food. Is that okay?” And they’ll say, “Yes.”
If you have malabsorption issues, if you’ve had a gastric bypass, or a bariatric surgery, listen to your doctor. Most certainly you’re on calcium pills. Okay? If a doctor has told you because you have another medical condition, then do as your doctor says. If you don’t have another medical condition that’s warranting supplements by pill form, ask your doctor “Is this still cool?” Because you’ve heard that kidney stones can be caused by pills supplements, okay? Anything else there, Jeff? It’s tick tock time for him to eat! Go ahead, talk, and I’ll get him food!
Jeff Sarris: Oh, yeah, but just along those lines, it comes down to, likely, the mechanism being that supplements aren’t delivered with the actual food stuff, that would be wrapping around that supplement, typically. So it is just sort of like the salt bomb or sugar bomb that we’re getting from other foods. We’re getting that calcium bomb from the supplements or whatever supplement it is, but it’s not necessarily–it doesn’t have maybe the micronutrients and things that would go with it from the food to help you process it, like typically.
Jill Harris: Yeah, I mean, my take, unless the doctor has ordered you to take supplements or a blood test that’s told you to take supplements because you are less than what is needed for normal value, I’m not a big supplement person. I’m really not, you know. Take them if you need them, of course, or if your doctor has asked you, but specifically for calcium supplements, ask what I just said and see if they’re still right for you after you say that to the doctor. Say you’re willing to get it from food. On my website at kidneystonediet.com, under the blog, there’s great–again, there’s the alternative milks. There’s also vegan and vegetarian sources for calcium. There’s another article for you guys that do not want any animal products and calcium. So, there’s plenty of information there, okay?
So now I think, what do we have left? Is it the big one?
Jeff Sarris: I think we have everything, we have fluids, salt, sugar, and calcium.
Step 4: Monitor Your Protein (Type & Intake)
Jill Harris: Oh, and protein! We need protein. Okay, so protein is next and I’m gonna make this shorter. The reason we don’t want you guys to think Atkins or Keto–first of all, Keto is a high-fat diet, but everyone eats way too much protein on it. Meat protein, meat protein. I’m not talking about beans or anything else. Too much meat protein can also increase urine calcium which can also lead to uric acid stones. So we want to give you the goal of 0.8 to 1.2 kilograms, blah blah blah blah blah. You have to go to my blog for that one or just Google “How to Calculate your Meat Protein Needs” and “Jill.” You’ll get how much you should have. The article is short. It takes you step-by-step. You’ll get it and then oxalate–
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, and with the protein, real quick, we have a calculator on the site. So in that article, you just put in your your weight, and it calculates it for you, so you don’t have to worry about the somewhat complex-sounding math because really, like when I saw that the first time, I was like, “Oh, okay, um, let me think back to like high school. How do I do all this?”
Jill Harris: That’s why I give the example using my weight so they can just take my weight out and plugg their weight. It’s so much easier that way. I know people hate numbers. I, myself, hate them, so that’s why I did that article, and just “How to Calculate your Meat Protein Needs” and “Jill.” Now remember, too, people, I’m talking about meat protein. So I’m talking about chicken–people will say, “I don’t eat no red meat.” Chickens, that’s meat. Pigs, that’s meat. So all meat, plus seafood, can increase your uric acid. So we want you to be in a certain goal, a certain limit there. But that doesn’t mean that’s your total protein. So, you know, you can have other protein sources. That’s just–if you’re getting protein by meat, don’t get all of your protein needs satisfied by meat. Does that make sense, Jeff?
Jeff Sarris: Absolutely! And I was just double checking and it’s kidneystonediet.com/protein. So, easy link. You can just type that in and you’ll go right to the calculator and get all the details that we were just talking about right now.
Step 5: What to Know About Oxalate
Jill Harris: Yeah, that’s good. All right. Last, but not least, is oxalate.
Jeff Sarris: Why everyone’s here!
Jill Harris: Everyone wants to talk about oxalate, but really, everybody that I work with–I mean, thousands and thousands of people, people–once you start taking away those handful of almonds every day, once you stop eating spinach salads, and juicing spinach and spinach smoothies and raspberries in any amount you want, and beets, and just eating these high oxalate foods in enormous amounts, once you stop doing that, and get your daily calcium needs met, almost all of you won’t have an oxalate problem anymore. Unless, again, you have malabsorption issues, okay? Bariatric, IBS, Crohn’s, colitis, all of these things. My rectal cancer, I can have malabsorption issues, so there’s a lot of different things that will cause it, but most people do not have that problem.
So, in my experience, in two decades, what’s going on is people are eating hundreds of milligrams of oxalate, vis-a-vis almonds all day long and getting no calcium. Spinach all the time. So once we take away, again, under the Free Resources at kidneystonediet.com, there is one piece of paper that says “List of Foods to Avoid.” That’s it. It’s very short and sweet, all right? So, oxalate, you get 100 milligrams a day, unless the doctor has told you otherwise. I give you a debit card right now along with that bank account of 100 milligrams of oxalate. You have the Harvard list that you can find at kidneystonediet.com If it’s not on the list–if you’re like, “Well, Jill, I’m eatin’ something that ain’t on the list. What do I do?”
You have that food once or twice a week in normal portion sizes, get your calcium needs met that day. “Why are you saying have it twice a week if we don’t know?” Because you might have leftovers! I’m practical! Don’t throw no food away, okay? I have never–that has never kicked me in the tush ever. Do that and you will be fine. Again, it’s about portion size. So, another thing with the Kidney Stone Diet, we’ve gotta eat a variety of foods–this is my take. This is one more step I put in there. We’ve gotta eat a variety of foods, people, not the same oatmeal every day. Not the same oatmeal every day for 25 years. Please vary it up a little. A nice varying amount of foods in normal portion sizes. You can lower your weight, you can stop making stones. Everything gets a little better when we start eating appropriately. Eating responsibly with the Kidney Stone Diet.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, speaking to that diversity, too, that’s why we started the meal plans. It’s inspiration for people to see really how diverse a week of eating should be and can be along with the recipes and all of the like macronutrients and everything broken down for you for those recipes. And yeah, it’s just a turnkey solution. People have been wanting recipes from you for so long, but this can really show now–people can see and have the inspiration to see “Okay, I don’t need that oatmeal every day for 25 years. I can do this. I can change it up.”
Jill Harris: Exactly! That’s why I’ve loved doing this so much. And the other thing is a lot of people are like, “I just can’t add all these things.” I’ve calculated, in the subscription meal plan, I’ve calculated every little bit of everything. So the oxalate’s in the recipe. You’ll know how much awesome oxalate’s in it. It comes with education with each recipe. You’ll know the added sugar, the salt. I don’t think I’ve ever gone over added sugar, maybe two grams in any of those recipes. And there’s, I don’t know, a lot!
Jeff Sarris: There’s a lot and so many more coming! I know I need to check with Dave, but I know there’s still a backlog just of so many we’re adding to the system constantly. So, yeah, anyone who’s interested, like definitely just head to kidneystonediet.com. And you can find meal plans there, you can find the course which dives into everything we talked about today, everything Jill talked about today, but even deeper, along with the group calls. And that’s sort of the core of the Kidney Stone Diet course is that direct connection with Jill and the rest of the Kidney Stone Diet community where you can share your trials and tribulations, really, and sort of have that shared experience with everyone. And Jill can help you along your journey.
Yeah, we love the group. I love it, obviously, it’s a great support group. We laugh, we have a good time in that group, but we also get serious and we’ve shed some tears, too. It’s a beautiful group and that’s where I help patients and they’ll say, “Well, this is what I’m working on.” And then it gets specialized for each person because everyone comes with different needs. You can’t throw a diet at somebody and expect everyone to do it the same way. Nor should they because everyone’s so incredibly different. Somebody has diabetes, the next person is allergic to a million things, or somebody is on the autoimmune diet protocol, there’s a million different things.
Jill Harris: So you’ve gotta talk to each person to find out what they’re struggling with, so that helps them be compliant and, you know, without that our healthcare system is not very well set up for this, is it? I don’t have to do those group calls, you could just send people off their merry way with just the videos, but there’s no way I would feel ethical about that. You have to help people understand it and you have to help people implement it. And also, you have to motivate people, you have to find a coach. I mean, that’s the best part of my job.
Jeff Sarris: And just, yeah, just how the medical system isn’t geared for it. It’s just the time. Like you’re able to give the time because this is–you’ve built it into your system, your routine how this all works. You also do private consulting, but that is a it’s a one-on-one. It’s pricier, to be honest, because there’s only so much time in your day. But the group calls are an amazing way that you’re able to connect with a bunch of people and have that shared experience. Yeah, no matter what you need, if you want completely self-directed, just to follow the the podcast, the blog, the course, you can go into the meal plans, everything can be found at kidneystone diet.com.
So yeah, I definitely recommend checking it out and never have to pay for anything. We’re always doing as much as we can for free to get as much information out there. This is our longest episode today. We’re just about 40 minutes, but there’s a lot to cover, a lot of ground to cover. So, for everyone listening, thank you so much for sticking around with us. And if you have specific questions that you want Jill to answer on a future episode, the phone number is 773-789-8763. And we will definitely get your voice on a future show. So yeah, I think this was great. I think it’s a good spot to wrap, too.
Jill Harris: Yeah, everyone’s like, “Holy bragiole! Don’t let her ever go off rogue because she just goes on forever!” Well, I want people to understand that the Kidney Stone Diet is not just about oxalate. It’s just not, people. That’s it. The end. That’s “I Love Lucy.” Jeff, you’re too young, but anyway.
Jeff Sarris: Oh, I know I Love Lucy. I didn’t watch a ton, but I know it. Thanks again for listening, and we will see you all next week.
Jill Harris: Bye guys!