I have more requests to address oxalates. I wrote about this in Ch. 1 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods, and also here on the blog:
It’s another one of those “they” things: first they tell us greens are good for us, and then they tell us oxalates will cause kidney stones and other problems. Many people are fearful of kidney stones since they’re not only common (estimates are than 10 to 15 percent of Americans are diagnosed at some point), but also terribly painful.
Here’s the thing: it’s a gross oversimplification to say greens contain oxalates, oxalates cause kidney stones, and so you shouldn’t eat greens. First of all, calcium is so plentiful and highly bioavailable in greens, and calcium binds to excess oxalates to render them harmless and easily removed from the body. With all but a few serious health problems where specific nutrients are banned by your doctor, green foods are VITAL and should be eaten DAILY. Some evidence says BLENDING oxalate-rich foods neutralizes it–voila, green smoothies!)
Foods high in oxalates include soy, beer, wheat, nuts, beets, chocolate, rhubarb, spinach, and strawberries. I eat wheat, nuts, beets, chocolate, spinach, and strawberries regularly, most of them daily. But if you have a problem with kidney stone formation, I would address eliminating three deadly S’s rather than greens: SODA, SUGAR, AND SALT. Those chemically upset your body’s ability to utilize minerals like calcium and magnesium, leading to stones.
I know a schoolteacher who suffered with stones and eventually kidney failure, probably because for 30 years she didn’t want to have to leave her classroom to go to the bathroom, so she avoided drinking water. Drink LOTS of water to avoid kidney stones!