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146: Oxalate Poisoning, Identifying Symptoms, and Developing a Low-Oxalate Diet - with Sally K Norton

November 19, 2019

Welcome back to the podcast! Today’s guest is Sally K. Norton, consultant, speaker, and vitality coach! Despite her love of healthy foods, she suffered through three decades of pain and health challenges, from the age of 12. A wide-range of health care providers, surgeries, orthotic appliances, physical therapy, prescription drugs, and other care options failed to help. But surprisingly, a specific change of diet finally did: the low-oxalate diet. Now, she seeks to educate people with accurate information about oxalates, and how to keep them from harming your health and stealing your happiness. Enjoy!




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Hey, guys, welcome to this week's episode, and today's guest is Sally Norton. She is a vitality coach, speaker and health consultant, and she helps you understand the root of your aches, your pains and what might actually be causing the problem could be oxalate poisoning. She focuses you on helping you to figure out what low Oxlade foods and to build extra energy and to have you have faster healing. So welcome, Sally, and tell us a little bit about your own personal health journey and how did you even become interested in this?
Thank you, Chantel. It's fun to be with you and your audience is really good. Yeah, I was in a position of complete desperation, could not see this problem at all and probably had it forever.
I was basically on the sofa. I couldn't work anymore. I couldn't hardly exercise. I felt like garbage and it took me several years and researching and experimentation finally crack the problem, which is I had this problem of a body that had gotten overloaded with oxidation because I would eating foods that were super high and oxalate.
And I just never had learned that I went to Cornell for a nutrition degree. I've been in the health space in my whole career. I've worked with all kinds of holistic healing practitioners in my career, and I just never even understood this at all. And so I really had to go back to the books when I finally understood it in my own body was telling me this.
And I basically a full time researcher, because my whole mental map of how health works and what food is healthy and what isn't was being completely thrown overboard.
So let's talk about names, some foods that are high in oxalate.
Potatoes, sweet potatoes, peanuts, almonds, cashews, and almost all the nuts, most of the seeds of people like like seeds, blackberries, raspberries, kiwi clementine.
Let's talk about spinach. What about spinach, like the poster child for Oxalate? That's the one that your urologist recognizes is nine Oxlade. He doesn't recognize potatoes, but he knows spinach. Try to tell you to not eat your greens, which is kind of silly because there's three or four major greens that are high, not sleep. And that would be spinach, rischard greens and kinds of kale kale.
So what about the beets themselves? Is it just the beet greens or is it the you you have your beet and you've got your red meat and then you've got the beet greens that come out of it. Is it the beet itself or is it just the beet greens?
It's both the Greens who happen to be more concentrated. It's almost like rhubarb is a famously high oxalate food. If you eat the rhubarb leaf, which you never do, you could die from it. And children have been known to die from playing with and feeding each other rhubarb and rhubarb leaves. And the stock is less oxalate, but the stock is still crazy high enough. And the fruit than in the US in most Western countries don't eat too much. That's incredibly high. And honestly, like rhubarb is a star fruit in a fruit, poisonings in Brazil and Indonesia and places where star fruit is accessible and considered a superfood. And that's the thing people use things like star fruit or spinach or blackberries or turmeric is another really high oxalate fruit.
And that's not a seed. That's a root.
These are considered to be superfoods foods and pomegranate is also sold as a superfood and it's high in Oxly. And that's getting to be pretty scary because in the last 10 years we've gotten so we're promoting spinach and almonds and using almonds as a substitute for what people used to eat in a way without paying attention to the fact that it's full of stocks and they can mess with your health.
So let's talk about some of the main symptoms of oxalate. And how do you are you checking your urine or how does someone see what is the test to see? And my high innoculate, probably the best test.
The true test is to, once you're informed, is to test it out on your own body. But that takes a little finesse because you have to know what's going on because the Oxlade ends up accumulating in your body and you can get reactions from Oxalate even when you stop eating it. In fact, some of the reactions to actually get even worse when you stop eating it, because now you're allowing your body to remove Oxlade that's been accumulating in your body. And the kind of effects that has on your cells leads to all kinds of symptoms. And it's quite different for each person. But it can lead to arthritis, gout, osteopenia, osteoporosis, weak skin and connective tissue problems. We either have funny tensions or tennis elbow or carpal tunnel, things like that. You get into inflammatory inflammation and autoimmune problems like Hashimoto's thyroiditis, inflammatory depression. We get into hormonal problems and glandular damage and you can get into cellular energy production, which gives you fatigue and promotes fat storage and obesity. You can get into neurological problems with memory problems, brain function issues like brain mental fatigue.
I know a lot of that trouble with irritability, depression, aggression, anxiety, damage cells and damaged mitochondria.
Again, it affects your ability to manage energy in your body and organ damage.
Bones can look like aging, menopause and things that are considered normal, but in fact are avoidable and are there secretly because we're not paying attention to it like this secret poison is in all our favorite foods and it's making us old and cranky way before our time.
We don't have to be like that is completely avoidable.
So talk about what are calcium oxalate crystals and how are they related to kidney stones.
OK, so oxalate is a word that's referring to lots of kinds of oxy like acid linked up with a mineral.
So, OK, so like acid links up with calcium really easily. They have very high affinity for each other and hook up quickly in some of the Oxlade to eat already in that calcium form. And some of them are even already constructed into giant crystals that are used by plants for self-defense. The plants make these arrows, these quiverful, and they're like double toothpicks.
Or these double tipped pyramids or these Stockey kind of like prison camps, you know, so and they're kind of cool under a microscope, they look pretty.
Those are big crystals that the plants make that you tend not to absorb. It's more than molecules and nanocrystals that you absorb. And some of them are not in the calcium form yet. When the plant gives it to you, it gives you the form. That's the more soluble form that breaks up easily, like the salt. All of those will dissolve and that's the potassium oxalate sodium. And they get into your bloodstream and will grab the calcium or the calcium grabs it and starts forming these molecules that link up in pairs. And then when you get about eight or 12 of these pairs, you get a nanocrystals forming.
So there's your calcium oxalate and it goes from your digestive tract into your bloodstream to your liver, to your heart, to your lungs, back to your heart. And then the heart pumps it through the body and eventually it gets to the kidneys. And technically, even though calcium oxalate stays crystalline and doesn't dissolve into ions, it is in the water fractioned. So therefore, it's the kidneys job primarily to get it out of your body. So the kidneys have to have the traffic and Oxlade all day long and what the kidney does to defend itself from these crystals clumping because that's what they'll start doing. They start growing. You know how you can do a crystal growth, but crystals also clump. So you either have the sort of structure that where you get one crystal or you get a bunch of crystals all together in kidney stones or a combination of both a healthy kidney that's really great at handling. Oxalate produces so many proteins and citric acid that prevents the clumping and prevents the crystal growth. So you don't get kidney stones most of the time. But some people aren't producing enough of those inhibitors. You call them crystal inhibitors. Lots of molecules do this and they're the ones who get these kidney stones. But pretty much anybody, if you keep overloading and overloading your body or you stop eating them and your body starts really moving them out quickly, you can move into and become somebody who's starting to perform kidney stones.
So let me just kind of rephrase.
So like when you eat foods like I mean, all these healthy foods that we're talking about, spinach, almonds, beets, strawberries, raspberries, like the healthiest foods that we can think of. So you're you're eating these foods. Your GI tract breaks them down. Right. And it's absorbing those nutrients. And then now the leftover waste is now going into your kidneys, right?
Well, it starts traveling around your body.
Yeah. It's traveling around your body and your your your kidneys.
In the meantime, it's very reactive molecule that's getting in there.
The calcium forming in pursing it does. It's still calcium from your blood. So already you've got a problem.
You're in a really you're depleting your body of calcium in the bones. Have to replace that way a lot all at once.
You overwhelm the bones ability to respond to calcium and people already arrhythmias them like that because.
Now, if it gets to the kidneys and then some people get lumpy oxalate, some other people can just urinate them out, and what if you tend to have a lot of cloudy urine? That is a condition called crystal urea. That means lots of curses in your urine, lots and lots. Locksley there. And I was one of those people I would turn in a urine sample, usually used to do annual urine tests as part of your physical.
And at least a third of the time I my maybe half the time my urine was cloudy. No one ever mentioned that that could be something here.
But if that's that's a great sign. If you're not a kidney stone person, but you do see a urine, you have cloudy urine, you able to excrete oxalate. That's good. But you're stress in your kidneys, out in the sun. You have too much oxygen in your diet.
And so let's name some more symptoms. So cloudy urine would be one. What else?
Any kind of aches and pains to malaise. So you got your headaches, you got joint pains, you got muscle pains, muscle, lots of.
Rashes, stuff that starts to feel like autoimmune conditions and also hormone levels in general brain into general malaise, tendency to get a lot of phlegm and mucus because the oxalate trigger masato the granulation and bladder issues, irritable bladder.
Once in a while I have to get up at night or you suddenly have to go really fast or you're like you have to go every half an hour with this little tablespoon of urine.
That's the crystal's irritating your bladder, pelvic pain, genital pain.
That's there's a whole organization that helps people with pelvic and genital pain who's been testing food for oxalate for twenty six years now.
So why would you have cloudy urine only 50 percent of the time? Is it because when you are eating those high oxalate foods, then your urine became cloudy and then sometimes maybe you weren't eating this high Oxlade foods, so then it wouldn't be cloudy?
There's definitely a dietary effect. Like when you have a big meal of High Oxlade, it takes a few hours before for the levels to get high in the blood and it takes several hours for the kids to clear that. So you're going to have a lag time.
So if you eat a big dinner with Swiss chard and sweet potatoes and by the time you lay in bed, your levels, both in your urine and your body, especially your bloodstream, are at the highest bedtime, which is a terrible time to be having high Oxly because it interrupts connective tissue repair repair in general. And that's what you do during sleep time as you repair all that little damage on your activities all day.
That's where it promotes chronic problems when you're not recovering from the day to day wear and tear and you end up with things like carpal tunnel or injuries that don't heal or scar tissue that never goes away, that could that's another thing.
So your question or not? Yeah. Yeah. So kale is off the hook, right?
Because it it only contains like 17 milligrams of oxalate where confusing one because some kills are really high. Green Curlee Hill is quite high.
But I think the red Russian kale is low, the Danakil is low, several of the kills are quite low and several are quite high.
So kale is like this weird kind of Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, where is like cabbage is always really, really low in most of the cabbage vegetables and that whole family are pretty low. And if you boil your broccoli, you can leech out some of that soluble Oxlade into the water. Just throw away the water. I mean, people are so proud of themselves for saving their water when they're boiling stuff and drinking that.
Not a good idea.
So name some of the green vegetables that are really low intoxicates that people should be eating a lot of.
Well, I don't necessarily think you should be eating. A lot of it depends on when your body can handle cabbage, vegetables or whether they're cooked. Cooked is a lot easier to eat than raw in general because you're going to get more nutrients out of vegetables if you cook them. Not a big fan of raw vegetables, especially in the cabbage family. So arugula, that's a great one to eat because it's low in Oxly, as is cabbage. But if you eat a lot of arugula salads or a lot of coleslaw, which is raw cabbage, you could be overdoing the raw cabbage and that's going to interfere with thyroid function as it has on your fingers. The cooked arugula is great. Some of the cables are good and there's things like romaine lettuce and lettuce, all those are really low mosch it's a form of a little green and sometimes called corn salad. There's several of them. Generally, if you worry about the three big to stay away from, which are beet greens, Swiss chard and spinach and cheese, your kale carefully, then the rest of the green things are OK.
Gotcha. Now you focus on helping others understand what Oxlade poisoning is, tell us if you had to give someone there, if you had to give your top three best health tips that you would give someone in your coaching, what would they be?
Well, if I could get people before they had this problem, because I work with people who are really sick and their self identifying, they've seen me now see the connection and they reach out to me. So I work with people who are in horrible shape with their health and are struggling. But the real the best tip of all is that prevention is much easier and a much smarter approach than a person with a disease that has this long problem where it's now in your body, now your body has to excrete it. And that's very hard in the body. It's not quick. And so that's the first thing. Don't keep believing our modern mythology around spinach and almond juice and almond butter and dark chocolate. That's another one that we didn't mention.
Let's not keep going overboard in those things, because pretty much eventually anybody could get in trouble with a Foxley, actually, by the way, has the same toxicity as asbestos. If I were to sprinkle asbestos into your smoothie, would you still want to drink that? It's just no one ever told you there's this nanocrystals in there that's going to mess with your entire body. You know, it's just because we haven't heard of it that we're so like what we and we I was so attached to my sweet potato. Let me tell you, it took a long time for me to get over that. OK, so that's tip one. Let's not overdo the oxalate in general. And please don't do this to your children. Don't make them eat spinach and Swiss chard. It's just not worth it. You're just hurting them and they don't want to eat it anyway. They're smarter than you are. So the number two one might be if you do think you have this problem, don't go completely off oxalate foods too quickly because you might unmask this oxalate illness that's lurking silently in the background because it starts off as completely silent. You won't know you're sick with it, but if you start, you're going to like kicking over a hornet's nest. If you suddenly unleash the Oxlade in your bones or tendons or face your sinuses, then you might even feel worse. So it's better just to back off on the extreme level of poisoning and get down to something more reasonable and let the because the body can't be used to preventing it from kind of releasing or purging this. Oxlade, if you're keeping some in your diet. So in the early days, keep some Oxlade foods around in your diet. So that's number two.
And then the third thing is that.
There is such a long process, it takes a long time to replace all your cells in your body. At least seven years replaced by yourself. So the body is going to keep working on removing oxalate if the blood levels stay low, if you stop eating it consistently in the body, runs into excellent deposit, that's in a muscle cell or tendon or bone, then it will try to get rid of it. And as it does that, that's difficult work because it has to break it down to the little molecules that are most stressful on the tissue. So you're causing some tissue stress and damage, loss of electrolytes as you're releasing now. So you need to continually be aware that you may continue. You need to provide support and that future symptom, say some tennis elbow or tendonitis or something or some tooth pain might be related to your body's healing, which is another point for people to understand. It's not your symptom. Today may not be from yesterday's salad. It might be from now that you're not eating oxalate. Your body is doing healing work. That involves some tissue damage in the process, though. And in another tip might be OK, because this it's moving around. It's continuing to cause some release and flushing and loss of minerals. So you have to keep replacing minerals and electrolytes every day.
Awesome. So in the end, I just finished writing my second edition of my book and I talk about how people don't have to deprive themselves when it comes to food, but everyone needs to decide for themselves what are their red light foods, their yellow light book foods, their green light foods. So for you, what are your red light foods where you go? Look, this is absolutely off the table for me. No chance of my ever putting this in my mouth. And then you've got some yellow light foods where you go, you know, I don't feel great when I eat this, but I feel OK.
Well, you know, and this is a very personal thing because we're all so damaged in our own ways and a lot of us who got to just attract damage because we have a history of legumes and undercooked coffee that's left lecterns a lot of oxalate. We tend to have. You've got history and we tend to have a lot of sensitivities. And I'm one of those people. I have a lot of reactivity. I come from allergic stock. My both my parents tended to have allergies. And so the Oxlade damage and it gets you where you're vulnerable. And I think I'm vulnerable and the kind of immune reaction thing and a lot of us are these days. So I listen to testing that I've had done that suggests that I'm super allergic to Lydian, which is everything, basically gluten. And I'm really big on gluten. These high oxalate foods. I tend to have constipation, which is another common damage that happens with problems. And the less fiber I eat, the better. So I eat no fiber or carbs in the morning. I always let my gut at least reste morning and tend to have gotten lately. I've just really moved away from my body like certain meats, doesn't like chicken, it doesn't like three kinds of fish. Like I really have to like pick and choose carefully.
And I really believe in that because that's what it takes for me to feel good. I don't so much believe in Yellow Foods because I'm interested in being awesome. So I hated it when I feel bad.
I really don't want to feel bad. I have no food matters more than feeling good for me. So it's not a big problem. Like I don't like to compromise with my own vitality. That's bad. That's a deal with the devil to me. I'm here about doing that.
Yeah, I love that that that's true, and that's what I say, everyone's got to decide for themselves what are the foods that just they don't make them feel good.
Why eat it? All right. Let's jump right into the listener questions. This is from Lydia in Charleston. My one weakness when it comes to food is sugar. I love all cakes and candies. After just about every meal. I literally need something sweet. It doesn't have to be an entire cake, but a piece of chocolate or cookie is fine. I've been trying to cut back on my sugar intake, but it's so hard. What are some substitutes I could eat to help kick this terrible, sweet tooth of mine?
I think that sweet tooth is evidence of nutrient deficiencies and probably not getting enough several kinds of nutrients that you need. It's really important to start making sure that you are eating is very nourishing.
And you may need to look into some supplementation as well and then really work with yourself. Like, what is that attachment? Can you have a non sweet meal every day? I really recommend breakfast, the no carb and one tip in terms of helping your palate know that your meal is done and you don't have to turn to sugar. The meal is to end your meal with something sour, something like yogurt, a pickle or something like that. And you do the sour taste and it somehow it helps you just finish your meal. So sometimes a simple thing like that. But, you know, we're sort of program for dessert. And if your parents were rewarding, you will eat your broccoli so you can have your dessert. You're like trained and trained in the most deep unconscious level. And you have to start saying over that and just deciding as an adult and you're going to parent yourself a little differently and stop thinking.
You need to give yourself some other reward after dinner.
Awesome, I love that. All right, this next one's from Rachel in Texas, My dad has always struggled with gout. I remember when I was a kid, he would have so much trouble walking around all day at an amusement park. I've done a little research and I know salt intake is a main factor of gout flare ups. I also thought I also saw that it could be hereditary. Is that true? Now, every time I have some pain, I start to worry that it might be gout. Is there anything I can do to help me prevent this from possibly getting it into.
Yeah, well, it turns out that gout is probably a major oxly problem. And so although Oxlade Diet is really much smarter than a salt restricted diet, I'm not buying the idea that some are intimately connected, directly connected.
I would focus more on the Oxlade and the crystalizing and it gets into the joints. And I really think that uric acid follows oxalate around the body as an entire lamotrigine protective agent in what you can come along and pick out the Oxlade and then you get calcium, gout and other calcium urinate crystals, uric acid crystals in places where there used to be oxalate crystals.
And then that's what we tend to blame Gowda on, is uric acid.
And they think that that that's coming from me, which is not at all true. When I had gout symptoms and I was told I had gout, that was when I was a vegan. That was when I had the highest oxalate diet probably. And so I think gout is more about the vegetables and the really about oxalate. And there is a, I think, rather predatory tendency for how Oxly affects you and whether you get gout versus you get depression versus you get skin problems or whatever.
And there's a lot of variability like the terrain is your heredity lachsa it's going to get you Leterme.
All right, Tina in Huntsville, I have an autoimmune disease, Hashimoto's, and I'm struggling hard to cope with this. It always causes me to become depressed. It affects my everyday life, and now it's affecting my diet. I've recently gained about 10 pounds just from eating because that's the only thing that makes me feel better. What else can I do to snap myself out of this depressive state? Do you have any tips for me to not fall back into this state again?
Yeah, I can deal with this a lot with my clients is a lot of us. I was told I had Hashimoto's overnighters.
It was actually a huge number of us, Locksley crystals in our thyroid gland. And it's really going down glandular function. The more glandular damage you have, the more Oxly continue like this becomes a cycle.
And I was able to get rid of the lumpy thyroid and go way down on my thyroid medication, many of my clients have depressive symptoms. And when the are coming out, you feel this flat affect. You don't care about anything about life and you can really let that stuff pull you down. And I think if you're overidentifying when I'm depressed versus this depression is happening, I wonder why that symptom is here. Have a little space between that. And there are a lot of things we can use because of depression. Cryotherapy is awesome for mood lifting. If you do it frequently enough, you know, at least three times a week and continue doing that for like six months, you can get a lot of benefits from that light exposure being outside during sunrise and sunset times when you get red light and energy on the skin, getting some time outside or even artificial UVB light during midday and getting up and talking to someone or getting a face.
And you can even turn on the TV and see a face on the TV.
That is good for your mood and alertness in the morning, getting out and touching your feet to the ground and picking up electrons. That's antiinflammatory as well. That helps to stop free radicals from flying through your body. There's a lot of things you can do. And certainly if you want to surround your life with good music, good flowers, not too much clutter, like surround yourself with anything that pulls you down in this place of scruffiness.
It's very possible that the combination of depression, Hashimoto's uninterruptedly.
All right. This next question says the other day I just found a small, very dry and itchy patch of skin on the back of my neck. I didn't think much about it until I continue to itch all day, every day. I have tried putting on moisturizing lotion to help with dryness, but sometimes it burns when I use it. I haven't switched my laundry detergent and haven't been using any new kinds of lotions or body washes. Nothing really triggers it to start itching. It just itches all day, although some days are worse than others. Could this be the start of psoriasis and will it spread to other areas? Is there any kind of lotion or cream that will help the itching?
Well, that sounds like an excellent symptom to me. I hear about this kind of stuff all the time up and it's dried burning, burning especially.
That burning brings these. Nerves and so on, so it could be something that will start to go away pretty quickly.
In the meantime, some aloe with a little bit of help, a bit like a lot.
Awesome. Well, where can our listeners go to follow you and your work?
OK, well, I have a website is Saloniki Norton dot com, and there's all kinds of questions are already answered for free on all the different tabs.
You can go into the support section and in there you can find in the shop section, which you can download and some very inexpensive.
And then I've been playing around on Instagram lately and we're having cool conversations on Instagram where people are sharing their stories of Oxlade and oxalate dumping. And I'm asking Norton Instagram and I do have a Facebook page and Twitter, but I tend to not hang out very, very much. So I recommend my website and Instagram right now.
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being on our show today. This is such an interesting topic. And I will be honest with you. I didn't know until I met you in person. I didn't I never even heard of the word oxalate and I knew nothing about Oxlade. So I feel like you're really like teaching people and like they're really like I'm sure a lot of people have not heard of this before, so.
It's really not being discussed. I'm just embarrassed for my own profession in public health because we're not making this a new thing. I think in public health, we should say, hey, there's an upper limit to these green vegetables.
And so I'm hoping to change that because it's something that we're trying to get healthy and it's hurting us. But that's not fair.
Yes. Well, if you have a question that you want answered, go to questions at Chantel Ray Dotcom. We'll see you next time. Bye bye.

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