This blog is a way of sharing the information and resources that have helped me to recover my son Roo from an Autism Spectrum Disorder. What I have learned is to view our symptoms as the results of underlying biological cause, which can be identified and healed. I say "our symptoms" because I also have a neuro-immune disorder called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

And, of course, I am not a doctor (although I have been known to impersonate one while doing imaginative play with my son)- this is just our story and information that has been helpful or interesting to us. I hope it is helpful and interesting to you!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Oxalate Levels of Foods

I discovered about 3 years ago that Roo was reacting badly to the very highest oxalate foods, such as almonds, and took those out at that time.  I revisited the issue about 6 months ago because Roo was having problems with urine leaking at night, and was stunned to discover that not only did he need to be on a low oxalate diet but that I also need it very much.  This may be my primary food sensitivity.  Oxalates can cause the pain and exhaustion of ME/CFS (or at least contribute to them significantly), at least in part because oxalates injure and kill the mitochondria.  They also keep good bacteria from being able to colonize the gut if the level of oxalate in the gut is too high.  Oxalates can also cause the release of histamine and so can cause all of the same symptoms that histamine can.  Vitamin B6 inhibits the formation in the body of oxalate so a deficiency of this vitamin may predispose a person to have an oxalate problem, so there may be a correlation between Pyrroluria and having high oxalate levels. 

For the past 6 months I have been struggling to follow the low oxalate diet using a variety of lists available online as guides, but the lists often don't agree with each other and this has been very frustrating for me.  I finally created the list below by compiling information from the lists that are in the files section of the Trying_Low_Oxalates yahoo list, which has the most up-to-date lists.  One reason why lists don't agree is that newer testing is using more reliable methods, so I gave preference to newer data when I had to make a choice.  I can't guarantee that this information is correct, it's just the best I could come up with.  I will update it as I get more information.

The foods with the very highest levels, that need to come out immediately when an oxalate problem is suspected (and should never be consumed by a person with a known oxalate processing problem), are: 

almonds, amaranth, black beans, brazil nuts, beets (root and greens), buckwheat, cashew nuts, cannellini beans, chocolate, corn meal, cooked tomatoes, great northern beans, marshmallow root, milk thistle, navy beans, oil of oregano, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pink beans, pinto beans, potato chips, potato flour, rice bran, rhubarb, sesame seeds and tahini, slippery elm bark, all soy, spinach, star fruit, sweet potatoes, teff (flour and whole grain), quinoa (whole grain), white bean flour, and yucca powder.

All meat and animal products are low (eggs, milk, butter)

LOW- alfalfa sprouts, avocado,  arugula, asparagus (boiled), banana pepper, fresh basil, bok choy, broccoli (boiled), broccoli raab, cabbage (all kinds), cauliflower, chives, cucumber, daikon radish, garlic, kale (1/2 cup, boiled at least 6 min), kohlrabi, all lettuce, mung bean sprouts, mushrooms, mustard greens (boiled), onions, green peas (boiled), raw tomato, snow peas, sweet bell peppers (red, orange, yellow but NOT green), radishes, shallots, yellow summer squash, all winter squash (acorn, butternut, pumpkin, etc), turnip (steamed or boiled), wakame, water chestnut, watercress, zucchini, rutabaga (1/2 cup, boiled 1 hour)

MEDIUM- artichoke (boiled), asparagus (steamed), Belgian endive, broccoli (steamed), Brussels sprouts, carrots (1/2 cup boiled), celeriac, collard greens (boiled), eggplant (high histamine!), fennel, grape leaves (one), green onion, jicama (peeled), kale (steamed 6 min), nori, olives, (5), red onion, green beans (vary- roma and runner are med cut and boiled, string are high?), snow peas 

HIGH- Anaheim peppers, green bell pepper, brocollini (steamed), carrots (raw or steamed), celery, chard, chicory, hearts of palm, parsnip, potatoes (red without skins and boiled are lowest), tomatillo (one is medium), many green beans (pole, French fillet), leeks, nopali cactus, okra, parsley, sugar snap peas, purslane, radicchio, sorrel, sweet potato, green tomatoes, canned tomatoes, yams (in US yams are sweet potatoes)

LOW- apples, apricot (one), billberry (can get as jam), cantaloupe, sweet cherries, cranberries, dates, fresh fig, green grapes, huckleberries, lemon, lychee, mango, melon, oranges, passion fruit, peaches, yellow plum (most plums are low, some are medium), golden raisins, strawberry (less than 10), watermellon

MEDIUM- banana (half is low), Bosc pear, grapefruit (white), lime, papaya (1/4 cup), pears, pineapple (is high histamine), pomegranate, blueberries (1/2 cup), dried cranberries, dried cherries (1/3 cup), Italian prunes, tangerines, mandarins, nectarines, persimmon

HIGH- Anjou pears, dried apricots, blackberries, clementines, elderberries, grapefruit (pink), Hachiya persimmons, pomegranate, raspberries, gooseberries, goji berries, kiwi, citrus zest, currants, concord grapes, dried figs, guava

LOW FRUIT (and other) JUICES- apple, apricot, blackcurrant, cranberry, cherry, white grape, grapefruit, lemon , lime, noni, orange, pineapple, red currant juice, aloe vera juice (great for soothing, healing GI tract)

MEDIUM JUICE- carrot, coconut water, red grape, plum, pomegranate

HIGH- Kern’s apricot nectar

Seeds, Nuts Beans, and Grains
LOW- chestnuts (canned or roasted), coconut (milk is medium), flax seed, pumpkin seed (1/4 cup), 1 T pumpkin or sunflower seed butter, macadamia nuts (5 or fewer), red lentils (boiled 30 min), white rice, wild rice, black-eyed peas, split peas (both green and yellow), cellophane noodles (GF), Ancient Harvest quinoa spaghetti (1/2 cup)

MEDIUM- coconut milk, sunflower seed (1/4 cup), macadamia nuts (up to 25 nuts), pistachio (up to 25 nuts), pumpkin seeds (1/2 cup), walnuts (1/4 cup), popcorn (Orville Redenbocker’s is high), psyllium husks (1/2 cup), red kidney beans (1/2 cup), Tinkyada brown rice pasta, brown rice (1/2 cup), brown jasmine rice (1/2 cup), garbanzo beans (1/2 cup), lima beans, rice spring roll skins, millet (1/2 cup, boiled 30 min)

HIGH- Arrowhead Mills brown basmati rice, adzuki beans, black beluga lentils, fava beans, hazelnuts, hemp milk, green lentils, navy beans, poppy seeds, quinoa, red beans, rice milk, white beans, GF oats

Flours and Baking-
LOW- agave nectar, almond extract (pretty much all flavoring extracts), white chocolate, carob, coconut flour, guar gum, tapioca starch, baking soda, cornstarch, unflavored gelatin, rice starch, xylitol, stevia liquid (powder is high)

MEDIUM- flax seed meal, potato starch (1/2 cup),  sweet rice (mochi) flour (1/2 cup), green pea flour, chick pea (garbanzo) flour, pumpkin seed flour (1/2 cup), wild rice flour (1/2 cup)

HIGH- arrowroot, brown rice flour, chestnut flour, Chatfield’s carob powder, carob chips, fava bean flour, millet flour, sorghum flour, stevia powder, white rice flour (especially Bob’s Red Mill stone ground)

Flavors, Spices, Other
LOW- vanilla, coconut oil (be careful- it kills bacteria, fungi, viruses and can cause die-off), olive oil, sesame oil (including toasted, great flavor), mace, maple syrup, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar (high histamine), capers, chives, cilantro, ginger root, bay leaves, prepared horseradish, saffron, green herbs (dill, basil, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, tarragon, etc), white pepper (black pepper is high), nutmeg (up to 3 tsp), sweet paprika, parsley (dried, 1 tsp), Torani chocolate syrup, peanut oil, tabasco sauce (up to 2 T)

MEDIUM- cardamom (1 tsp), cayenne (1 tsp), cinnamon (1/2 tsp), chili powder (1 tsp)

HIGH- allspice, anise, black pepper, celery seed, clove (ground), coriander seed, cumin, curry powder, fennel seed, turmeric

Tea, Beverages-
LOW- chamomile, fennel, hibiscus (?), licorice, mint/peppermint, Kukicha twig tea, nettle, Ojibwa tea, pau d’arco tea, roibos (?), rose hip tea, senna tea, yerba mate (medium), wine (high histamine), coffee

There is a lot of disagreement about black tea and green tea.   It appears that if either is brewed very briefly, they may be medium oxalate, but if they are brewed longer they are high.  This seems to vary quite a bit by brand of tea as well so I chose not to include either kind of tea here.