This week, Jill answers the age old question, what’s the best way to prevent kidney stones?
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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. Well, hello, Jeff.
Jeff Sarris: How’s it going today?
Jill Harris: Okay, so–
Jeff Sarris: You’re ready to jump right in!
Jill Harris: Yeah, so, today we’re gonna talk about the number one way to prevent kidney stone, so stay tuned for that! But I do have to say this: It’s like, okay, so–it’s the day before Easter–whatever it is April 16, or something–and it is friggin’ freezing! I had a scarf on today. Now you would think, “Well, you’re in the Midwest!” We never get sick about talking about the weather here because it’s always–even though we live here, you’re just shocked that you’re wearing a scarf and mittens April 16. It’s ridiculous.
Jeff Sarris: Oh, yeah. I mean, I am ready for summer because–Oh, but also, you were recently on a trip. How was your trip? We haven’t talked about that at all.
Jill Harris: Oh, that’s right. So I went to Florida during spring break, which was hilarious, but I had very nice accommodations and you know, I did stay away from all the spring break craziness, obviously, because I’m a middle aged woman and I don’t do Spring Break craziness. So, I have to say, I just did not do much of anything. I went to the Everglades, though, I did do that and that was friggin’ amazing. Have you ever done that?
Jeff Sarris: So, I’ve only sort of driven through I’ve never, like, done anything.
Jill Harris: You’ve gotta do it! Like the big fan on the boat and it’s like you’re flying–It’s like a hoverboard, but in a swamp. I don’t know. It’s amazing. Lots of alligators all over the place. It was really beautiful. And then one day, too, we wanted to go deep sea fishing, but it was it was like this, so we were like, “Nah!” So they just took us like before the sea got real deep and we did like baby fishing, which you got like thousands of fish.
We put them back, of course, but they were little so it wasn’t like you’re catching big things, but whatever. Just to be out of this weather for a little while. Those are the only two things I did. Otherwise, I really just laid around by the pool with my sunscreen on of course, and it was–the weather was amazing. Which, you know, with Florida, because you’ve been, it can be hit or miss. Right? There’s no guarantee. So I mean, I just feel so lucky because it’s been years since I’ve taken a full week off. It’s been years. So I really appreciated the time away.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, that’s the challenge with running your own business is you could work nonstop through trips through everything. So, I was really glad you’re taking a little bit of time for yourself, like as much as you need, of course, but like to actually take time for yourself is so important.
Jill Harris: Yes, I of course went on that the Kidney Stone Diet Facebook page, because that I have to keep up with and but and people were like, “Jill, I thought you’re supposed to be on vacation!” But that Facebook page, I just love, too, so you know, it’s not like it’s a burden for me. And then, you know, when you get back from a vacation owning your own business, I have been working every weekend since so I have been nonstop working. And that’s why you don’t take off as much because you know what you’re going to catch what-for coming back. So it can be difficult, you know, but you know, thank God that you and I love our jobs. Imagine if we didn’t love our jobs, Jeff, it would be terrible!
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, that’s why we do what we do because this is just who we are at the core. And it’s like we’re creators, we’re sort of artists in our own way in what we’re creating and also like in our lanes and your lane is is within kidney stones.
Jill Harris: Right and so, you know, when you truly–and, you know, this shit’s on every stupid bumper sticker–but when you love what you do, you really don’t feel like you’re ever working. I love talking about a healthy lifestyle. I love talking about and I know you’re into this kind of stuff, too, is what helps humans change? Nobody’s way different than anybody else, right? What helps us change? Why don’t we change what are we afraid of? Each person is a little different, so what I say to one person may not help them, but it will help another one so that: the psychology of change and habits and all that, that’s so exciting and fun for me.
So I’m always interested in learning new ways to communicate that effectively for patients so they can live a healthier lifestyle because this what we’re asking people to do is not easy. And if it were easy, then there would be no podcast on this, and they were not be a multibillion dollar diet industry if this were easy. It’s not.
Jeff Sarris: Absolutely! So, before we dive in to the topic today, I just wanted to mention if you’re not already subscribed, it would mean the world to us if you could subscribe, hit that little bell for notifications. It goes a long way. We just wanted to mention that upfront, just because we are so close to–what what are we up to right now? Do you remember offhand?
Jill Harris: We’re at like 4500 subscribers and I’m throwing it out there people. I’m gonna throw that out here–we have a newsletter and I’m always offering things in that newsletter for my kidney stone folks. There’s like over 20,000 people on it. And so it’s a great way to keep abreast what’s going on in the kidney stone world, all the offerings from the Kidney Stone Diet, but also, I’ve been doing a little raffle. If you subscribe to the YouTube channel, email me at email@example.com, say that you subscribed, and I will put you in a raffle to win a free consult with me. I’m taking two people. So, we’ll do whatever we can. I’ll be giving away free things if I have to do to get you to subscribe now. Subscribe, please! Do it for us, please.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, it goes a long way because we’re just trying to get out to the most people we can–the good information, because there’s a lot information out there. And Jill has the experience, we want to reach as many people as possible, so thank you so much for everyone who’s already subscribed. And if you haven’t already, it’d mean the world if you do, but why don’t we dive right into this episode. This week’s topic is the number one way to prevent kidney stones.
The Number One Way to Prevent Kidney Stones
Jill Harris: Number one way to prevent kidney stones! Okay, so you’re not going to like what I have to say, because you’re looking for some quick fix some flour to smoke, or some kind of dance, or some kind of roller coaster ride, not that. Eating and drinking the way one should, which would mean, to you, to follow the Kidney Stone Diet. Now, listen, before you’re like, “Oh, boy, she tricked us!” I’m not tricking you. People ask me all the time, “How can I prevent my kidney stones?” The Kidney Stone Diet! Why? Is it something, like, magical? No, people form kidney stones for many different reasons–and we’ll do a video on that, too, soon–but many of the reasons have to do with diet. When we eat too much sugar and salt, it will leach calcium out of our bones and dump it into our urine. When we have too much calcium in our urine, that will increase our risk for kidney stones.
If we don’t drink enough fluids, we will increase our risk for kidney stones. We should be peeing out 2 1/2 – 3 liters of urine a day. If we eat way too much meat protein, this could cause us to leach calcium out of our bone and also increase uric acid levels. That is another kidney stone risk factor. When we eat too much oxalate–think lots of spinach, lots of almond products–and we don’t get enough calcium in our diet, that will increase our kidney stone risk. If we don’t get enough calcium, also part of the Kidney Stone Diet. When we don’t get enough calcium, we put ourselves at risk for not only kidney stones, but also osteoporosis. The only way to lower urine oxalate–well, number one is to eat less oxalate, but also is to get enough calcium.
So the calcium and the oxalate bind together in your digestive tract and leave in the stool. If you don’t have enough calcium, oxalate gets reabsorbed back into your body and you get higher oxalate levels. So, all of the things, each part of the Kidney Stone Diet: fluids, calcium, salt, meat protein, oxalate, sugar–added sugar–all of these things must be–your goals must be met from the Kidney Stone Diet. You can go to kidneystonediet.com to get that goal list. And, also, exercise, being a healthy weight because another risk factor for kidney stones is obesity. So, that’s super important. Why do you think I can get up for 23 years and talk about this diet every day, all day long? Because what we are promoting here is a healthy diet.
Get enough calcium, dairy or non-dairy, folks. Don’t yell at me you don’t drink no animal milk. You don’t have to! Use non-dairy sources. Stay away from almond milk. Getting enough calcium, lowering salt, and added sugar. That means you’re going to eat less crap and you’re going to be eating less processed foods. Not overeating meat. I’m looking at you guys, Keto. You can eat your meat. Just don’t eat it in a abundance, okay? Get enough fluids. Is that it, Jeff? And lowering oxalate! So, now, the oxalate part isn’t necessarily a healthy thing, but for kidney stone formers–and that’s pretty much why we can call this the Kidney Stone Diet because the oxalate parts thrown in there–these sets–Jeff! Is it a set of goals, these sets of goals, this set of goals?
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, this set of goals is perfect.
Jill Harris: I’m nothing without you. This set of goals. It will prevent kidney stones. It’s just healthy. Anybody listening to me scream about this, you want to lose weight? I have two people in my Kidney Stone Prevention Course, right now, in the accountability calls, one has kept off so far, 90 pounds I think, the other 50 pounds. Come on! It’s a healthy diet along with other all the other mantras. We say “Portion, not perfection.” You know, eat responsibly. Don’t overeat all the time, but move your body. It’s so very important. The number one way to prevent kidney stones is to make sure you’re eating, and moving, and taking care of yourself.
Now, some of you will still get kidney stones despite the Kidney Stone Diet–very few of you, by the way–but some of you will also need medications thrown in. So, recognize that, too, because some of you have hypercalciuria, which just means, genetically, you’re prone to too much calcium in your urine and you will have to be put on a medication. But that medication don’t work as well, unless you’re doing this diet as well. So all of it goes hand in hand. The number one way to prevent kidney stones is follow the Kidney Stone Diet. Do it. I promise you will lessen your stone risk. There is no doubt about that. And, plus, you’ll just be healthier, people, because, again, it’s just a healthy diet. All right, that’s it. I’m done.
Jeff Sarris: And to find the resources and the goals, if you just go to kidneystonediet.com/start, which I’ll bring that up right now, we have the “Start Here” page, which breaks everything down. Right at the top is, “What is the kidney stone diet?” You can find that article. There’s an oxalate food list, so you know what’s safe for oxalate. Obviously, the podcast you’re listening to, the Facebook group, and then the Weekend Wellness newsletter, where every Saturday Jill is sending out a free email to just keep you on track and sort of inspire you to keep moving along in your day. So, the number one way to prevent is a lot of things, which can be a little daunting, but this is why we’re here with the show, why Jill’s here, why she’s checking in with you every Saturday, and all of these things–the Facebook group–because this one set of goals, it is one cohesive set of goals, will have a very positive impact on your kidney stone risk. And that is what we’re here for: is to reduce that risk and hopefully make it so you never create stones again.
Jill Harris: You know, and I’ll say this, people are always like, “Jill, I want a natural way.” There ain’t no more natural than what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about eating well. What’s more natural than that? Yes, you can smoke an herb, if you want. I guess that’s natural, but this is what I’m talking about: don’t get more natural than drinking water; and lowering your sugar and salt: and eating really natural foods, not processed. I want to create community here. I’m not trying to be sneaky. I’m going to tell you why I’m asking the question of the day. I’m adding the question the day because I really want a robust community here like we have on the Facebook page. So the question of the day is: when you found out about the Kidney Stone Diet, what was the number one thing you were shocked to find out that would help prevent stones? Put it in the comments so we can talk about that. That’ll be interesting.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, and whether that’s today, or if you’ve been along for the ride for a while with us on this journey through the podcast or on Facebook. What was the first thing that really, really caught you off-guard? I know for me, understanding that connection between calcium and oxalate was something that I didn’t realize because in my mind, I think with a lot of people it’s like, “Oh, calcium oxalate stones, that means too much calcium.” Where it can also actually mean the opposite, not enough calcium. That was something that really blew my mind. And, obviously, if you’re brand new here and not super familiar with all the details, definitely head over to the site, kidneystonediet.com where everything is broken down or we have a catalogue now–this is episode 84.
We have 83 episodes of this show, so you can find so many of your questions, right along this list, whether you’re on YouTube on the podcast, or on the website. But, that, for me, was one of the things that really blew my mind. And just the fact that oxalate is so prevalent in a couple foods. I came from Paleo, Keto, sort of that world and I didn’t know almonds could be such a detriment to someone who is in that realm of creating stones. Also, for me now, I’m avoiding almonds–not because I’m afraid of oxalate, in general, but knowing how just overwhelming that is, in terms of oxalate. I don’t want to lead myself to create stones one day because I did spend a lot of time eating a lot of almond products.
Jill Harris: Well, that’s the thing and I always tell people because they’ll come to me and they say, “Jill, I can’t believe I gave myself a kidney stone.” But we don’t know what we don’t know. And it’s human nature to want to consume large amounts of said healthy food because more of it will bring more health to us. It makes perfect sense. It just so happens, in the kidney stone world, it doesn’t work that way. And so this is why our mantra of portion not perfection, or all foods except spinach and almonds in moderation–I mean, you know, if one just ate a few almonds a day, got their calcium every day, did their fluids, lowered salt, lowered all this stuff, do the Kidney Stone Diet but they only ate a few almonds, they probably wouldn’t have got a stone, right? Because they were doing all the other things.
It’s the combination of eating all the spinach, all the almond products. Almond flour for Paleo, Keto, almond flour, almond milk, almond butter. We’re over consuming the same products day in and day out in very large quantities along with–this is so very important these two words– along with not enough calcium. And it is counter intuitive to think that you’re supposed to–I hear that all day long, too. “What the hell, Jill? I’m supposed to eat calcium. My stone was a calcium oxalate! Did you not see the stone analysis?” “I saw it, Bob!” But let me tell you about calcium. So, you know, the calcium has to bind with the oxalate. It forms a calcium oxalate stone in the kidney and in the urine. And so, you know, it so doesn’t make sense that still some doctors say, “Get off all calcium.” And then what happens? Patients oxalate values get worse.
So, it’s confusing. It makse sense that people don’t understand that. But I always get so sad when people say they feel so bad about themselves because they’re like, “I can’t believe I put myself through this.” You didn’t know what you didn’t know, folks. And who would know this unless you get a kidney stone, right? Nobody’s Googling “kidney stones” if they’ve never had one. Who cares about them? So, the reason I love kidney stones, though, is because then people have to learn how to eat healthy, and the pain that they’ve endured and all the surgeries, perhaps a nephrectomy where they lose a kidney–then they’re like, “Oh, let me see what she’s saying.”
So, I get my audience because of the pain that people have been through, right? It makes patients want to change their diet. So, selfishly, as a nurse, it’s been very rewarding for me because I actually get to help people that want to change based upon health reasons, not just to look adorable in a new tank top. It makes me happy that people do want to learn. So, that’s great. That’s the one good thing about stones. That’s it, though.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, it’s just that impetus to dive deeper. So, thank you for tuning in today and, again, if you haven’t subscribed already, if you hit “Subscribe,” and that little bell, it means the world to us because it really helps us reach more people. And if you have a question that you would like answered on the show, the number is 773-789-8763, and we will feature your question on a future episode. Again, just head over to kidneystonediet.com, where you’ll find all the details, everything about the Kidney Stone Diet, the free weekly email, the link to the Facebook group, which is a very active group with an amazing community of people. I think that’ll be a good spot to wrap this week. So, thanks again for tuning in and we will see you next time!
Jill Harris: Thank you for tuning in! Bye!