Is a low oxalate diet the next trendy healthy diet? Thanks to the paradigm shifting information about the keto diet and carnivore diet, many people are taking their health back into their own hands and learning more about the nuances of optimal nutrition. Best known as a treatment for kidney stones, the low oxalate approach is taking on new popularity with people in the low-carb and zero-carb circles as well as recovering ex-vegans ravaged by high intake of oxalate containing plant foods.
Read through this oxalate diet guide to learn more about which foods have low and high oxalate levels, recommended serving amount, who can benefit from minimizing or eliminating oxalate and low oxalate friendly recipes you can make in your kitchen.
What is a Low Oxalate Diet?
Oxalate, also called oxalic acid, is a naturally occurring compound found in many plants. Our bodies are able to produce it organically or may obtain it from food.
Many so called “health foods” like spinach, soy, almonds, and cacao contain exceptionally high levels of oxalate.
In moderate amounts these foods may not cause any problems. However, if eaten in excess or consumed by someone who already has autoimmune conditions or severe gut dysfunction, problems can arise.
Usually, oxalate passes without a problem but if a person is oxalate sensitive or overloaded with a consistently high amount of oxalic acid, negative symptoms may occur. (1, 2)
Oxalate toxicity may be experienced as
- Kidney stones
- Back and joint pain
- Leaky gut
A low oxalate diet is a diet that minimized the intake of oxalate containing foods.
This is a field of research that we are only beginning to understand. There is not a hard definition of what counts as low, medium, and high oxalate. (3)
You may review multiple oxalate food lists and first see some foods marked low but then categorized as high somewhere else.
When questions occur, we can always do our best and judge the results by how our body reacts.
The University of Chicago set a limit of 100 mg oxalate a day for low oxalate diets. That’s a maximum, they state that half that amount, 50 mg, is ideal if that can be accomplished.
Who Needs a Low Oxalate Diet?
Low oxalate diets are typically recommended in relation to kidney stones. This dietary approach is known to help clear kidney stones and prevent them from forming in the first place. (4, 5)
Health care providers and dietitians also recommend a low oxalate diet to those who have noticeable urine oxalate levels. (6)
Now, in the day and age of the internet, you can find anecdotal evidence for all sorts of things. There are claims that a low oxalate diet can help with a multitude of symptoms:
- Chronic joint pain
- Chronic back pain
All things considered, testing a low oxalate diet yourself seems pretty safe. Continue learning about it and educate yourself through research and critical analysis.
Then when you are ready, swap one food for another and see if your symptoms improve.
What foods are High in Oxalates?
Oxalate levels vary based on food type, cooking method, processing and growing factors. That being said, the foods with the highest level of oxalate are generally agreed upon. (7, 8, 9, 10)
I’m sorry if these are some of your favorites!
Foods with the highest oxalate levels are:
- Spinach, cooked
- Spinach, raw
- Rice bran
- Buckwheat groats
- Miso soup
If you are concerned about oxalate, eliminate these foods entirely and start immediately.
Other high oxalate foods to avoid or limit are:
- Whole wheat bread
- Buckwheat flour
- Collard greens
- Beets and beet greens
- Swiss chard
- Sweet potatoes
- Soy, tofu, and soy milk
- Nuts and nut butters
- Black tea
Low Oxalate Diet Recipes
To make low oxalate diet recipes, you’ll need to source low oxalate foods. Use my printable Low Oxalate Food List pdf as a guide.
Mix and match any of these ingredients together and you can make enjoyable, delicious meals without much trouble.
I have many low oxalate approved recipes here on the blog too!
Low Oxalate Diet Recipes
Low-Carb Alternative to Mashed Potatoes
Move over potatoes, cauliflower mash is coming to town! Make room on your table for this easy, low-carb, low-oxalate veggie side dish. It's just as delicious as traditional mashed potatoes, no one will tell the difference.
How to Make Cauliflower Rice
Not only can cauliflower perfectly mimic potatoes, it can also replace rice! You don't ever have to think about oxalate when cooking with cauliflower so it's a great replacement in so many different types of recipes.
Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew
Here's an easy meal you can make any time of the year. All you have to do is dump the ingredients in a slow cooker and let it do it's magic!
Dairy-Free Pumpkin Muffins
Don't think a low oxalate diet is limited or restrictive, there are so many goodies you can enjoy. Take these low calorie pumpkin muffins as an example, they are great for a light breakfast or snack.
Coconut Flour Bread
Whole wheat bread might be out of the picture but this coconut flour bread isn't. This loaf is great to meal prep for sandwiches, toast, or anything else you want to use bread for.
Dairy-Free Liver Pate with Ox Liver
Organ meats are extraordinarily nutrient dense and valuable for many diet types, including low oxalate. There are many benefits of liver, it is usually the most appealing organ meat to start with so if you are not already eating it, try this recipe and get it in your diet right now!
No Bake Cheesecake for One
Desserts certainly get simplified with low oxalate ingredients. This single serving no bake cheesecake is the perfect thing to whip up when you feel like something sweet but don't want to commit to multiple servings.
How to Make Homemade Sauerkraut
Fermented foods have a wonderful zippy flavor and are fun sides for many meals. Plus, homemade ferments are naturally raw and packed with beneficial probiotics!
Homemade Raw Milk Yogurt Recipe
Making yogurt has never been easier! Follow this tutorial on how to make raw milk yogurt in your own kitchen and you will be thrilled to have such a healthy food. I also include directions for instant pot and crock pot modifications.
Slow Cooked Organ Meat Stew Recipe
Organ meats? YES! The benefits of organ meats are worthy of your attention and can make a big difference in your health. Not only are there serious health benefits, but environmental and budget factors to consider too. This stew is a good way to normalize organ meats in your diet.
Keto Low Oxalate Recipes
Some people come across low oxalate diet information after transitioning to a keto diet.
Entering into ketosis naturally eliminates many of the high oxalate foods from the diet. No one eats wheat, corn, soy, potatoes or beans on a ketogenic diet.
If you are interested, review the keto diet shopping list and learn what you can eat on a low-carb diet.
Some researchers, like Sally K. Norton present the hypothesis that keto flu is, in some instances, related to oxalate dumping.
A low carb low oxalate diet may be a step in the right direction.
All of my keto carnivore recipes use low oxalate ingredients and most of my easy keto recipes are low in oxalate. You have lots of choices!
It is interesting to note that animal foods are the only foods that contain ZERO oxalic acid.
Have you ever heard of a carnivore diet?
This is a diet made exclusively from animal foods. It’s quite a fascinating concept and is widely considered to be a very effective reset diet that functions by eliminating all possible irritants.
To get an idea of what to eat on a carnivore diet, download my free printable pdf Carnivore Diet Food List and browse my carnivore diet recipes to see the foods in action!
Low Oxalate Diet Plan
Our daily habits are seriously challenged whenever we employ dietary changes. This is totally understandable because so many of our routine habits revolve around meal prep.
I recommend picking 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 3 dinners that will fit into your diet plan. Make these your new favorite meals and rotate them around during the week.
Start the day with a breakfast of fatty animal foods. Choose a healthy source of protein and fat. You’ll be well satiated all morning long.
Salads are still fine for lunch. Opt for lettuce rather than spinach and add wild-caught fish, hard boiled egg, or steak on top. Sliced mushrooms and cucumber, are also delicious additions.
For dinner, avoid pasta and potatoes. Instead serve beef, chicken, or fish with a side of low oxalate friendly vegetables.
Many of these meals are naturally low in carbohydrate so since you are already going in that direction, it is a good time to try a low carb, high fat ketogenic diet to see if that will further improve your health.
If you need any guidance on the transition or tips on how to make it sustainable and realistic for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!