How Green Smoothies Can Devastate Your Health

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 23, 2012

Green smoothies are all the rage these days with many people consuming them every day or at least several times a week in an attempt to get healthy and “alkalize” the body.

Whenever I visit the cafe of my local healthfood store, there are usually several people in gym clothes lined up to order a green smoothie to sip after their workout.

Green smoothies are made by blending large amounts of raw leafy green vegetables with fruit to soften and sweeten the taste.  Typical vegetables included in green smoothies are kale, spinach, swiss chard, collard greens, celery, broccoli, and parsley.

Is the green smoothie fad a truly healthy habit over the long term or can consumption of these seemingly healthy drinks in fact contribute to serious health problems?

Raw Leafy Greens Contain High Oxalate Levels

Frequent consumption of large quantities of raw, leafy green vegetables as occurs when a person drinks green smoothies can be deceiving at first as a person will probably initially feel great after adopting this habit particularly if he or she is coming off a highly processed, nutrient poor diet.

The vegetables used in green smoothies are almost without exception high oxalate foods.  Over time, a high oxalate diet can contribute to some very serious health problems particularly if you are one of the 20% of people (1 in 5) that have a genetic tendency to produce oxalates or if you suffer from candida or other fungal challenge.   In those cases, a high oxalate diet can deal a devastating blow to health.

Oxalate Toxicity Not a New Problem

Humans have suffered the effects of oxalate toxicity since ancient times. A 2000 year old mummy from Chile was discovered through x-ray analysis to have an oxalate kidney stone about the size of a golf ball!

Oxalates can be deposited almost anywhere in the body and wherever they land, pain or worse is the result.

75-90% of kidney stones are oxalate related with 10-15% of Americans afflicted at some point during their lives. As the star shaped crystalline stones pass from the kidney, they cause pressure and pain in the bladder and urethra and can actually tear up the walls of the urinary tract.

Oxalate Stones Can Form in Any Tissue

Oxalate stones can show up in any body tissue including the brain and even the heart.

Oxalate crystals resembling shards of glass which become lodged in the heart cause tiny tears and damage to this vital muscle with every single contraction pumping life giving blood to the rest of the body.

Oxalate crystals which end up in the thyroid can cause thyroid disease by damaging thyroid tissue.

A frequent location for oxalates to end up is skeletal muscle which will cause pain with even normal movement and make exercise nearly impossible.  Dr. William Shaw, Director of The Great Plains Laboratory for Health, Nutrition and Metabolism who has studied oxalates extensively, is convinced that oxalate toxicity is a factor in fibromyalgia the pain of which can absolutely devastate a person’s life.

Vulvodynia – Painful Sex

Cases of women experiencing painful sex are on the rise with oxalates a possible culprit.

Vulvodynia, a condition causing pain in and around the vagina, is linked to oxalates deposited in this delicate reproductive tissue.  Oxalate crystals are very acidic and they cause irritation, burning, and stinging sensations for affected women with an accompanying feeling of rawness whenever they engage in sexual relations.

Oxalates Are Fungal in Origin

A surprising finding is that oxalates are produced in large amounts by fungus.  Large stones have been found in the sinuses and lungs of people suffering from systemic fungal infections such as candida or Aspergillus.

Therefore, anyone who suffers from any sort of candida or other fungal challenge like fungus nails or dandruff would be wise to be very concerned about oxalate intake via the diet.

Consumption of green smoothies would not in any way contribute to improvement of health in these situations.  Given that the majority of people today suffer from gut imbalance/fungal issues caused by antibiotic and prescription drug use along with consumption of processed foods, a high oxalate diet which includes green smoothies is an unwise practice for virtually everyone.

Does Cooking Destroy Oxalates?

Would it be safe to prepare green smoothies with leafy greens that have been lightly steamed first?

Not really, because oxalates are extremely stable and while cooking high oxalate foods like leafy greens (and discarding the cooking water) does reduce the oxalate level, it remains quite high.

Since green smoothies are consumed so frequently by those who swear by them, a light steaming of the veggies first would not make a significant difference over the long term.

Healthier Alternatives to Green Smoothies

The best course of action for health, then, is to opt out of the green smoothie fad.

If you enjoy green leafy vegetables, enjoy them in moderation in salads or cook them and carefully drain and discard all the cooking water – never use it in soups and sauces! Be sure to serve cooked leafy greens with a healthy, traditional fat like butter (not margarine or any factory fats synthesized with rancid and/or GMO vegetable oils) for maximum absorption of minerals.

Another option is to drink raw cultured vegetable juice or eat raw cultured vegetables.  Not only will you get enhanced nutrition from the culturing process which adds enzymes and nutrients, but you will also get a beneficial and therapeutic dose of probiotics to help balance gut function and improve digestion.

Another option is to do shots of fresh, green wheatgrass juice.  Wheatgrass juice is very low in oxalic acid.

If you already are suffering from some of the ailments described in this article and suspect a high oxalate diet which includes green smoothies or a daily spinach salad may be the cause, stop this practice immediately and consult with a holistic physician who can guide you on the road to recovery and how to best rid your body of the oxalate crystals that are potentially irritating one or more of your body tissues.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Author, Get Your Fats Straight

Sources:

The Role of Oxalates in Autism and Chronic Disorders, William Shaw PhD

Think Raw Veggies are Best?  Think Again

Determining the Best Traditional Diet for You

Picture Credit

 

Comments (1,230)

      • Likely the real problem there is not any specific ingredient, but the multivitamin in general. Science is generally pointing away from multivitamins and toward specific supplements for your specific vitamin shortfalls. Generally, they’re completely unnecessary.

        Reply
      • Here is a tip for interested readers seeing this post for the first time. If you’d like to avoid sifting through the hundreds of comments and learn more about the expanding knowledge concerning oxalates, I suggest going to the various comments made by PattyLA and Susan Owens and the links they provided (in addition to Sarah’s source article, cited above).

        Reply
        • You may also want to read Michelle’s thoughtful responses and her response article on her blog about the science behind oxalate consumption. I also write a blog for people on the low oxalate diet, and I can assure readers here that oxalate problems are much more common and more severe than the medical community realizes or would have your believe. However, not every one needs to avoid oxalate in the diet. Just use common sense.

          I would encourage everyone who reads this article to learn about the MANY oxalate-related symptoms including genital pain, rectal pain, fibromyalgia, autism, burning mouth syndrome, chronic fatigue, bladder pain, thryroid disease, irritable bowel syndrome and “brain fog” to name a few. If you have any of these conditions, stop the green smoothies or at least chose low oxalate greens like turnip greens, mustard greens and dino kale. If you do not have any of these oxalate-related symptoms, at least you will know what might be the cause if you begin to have problems later.

          I don’t believe everyone needs to stop green smoothies. But I do agree people should cut back on the high oxalate greens and use more medium or low oxalate greens instead and in more moderate amounts. I personally prefer to eat my low oxalate greens southern style with a lot of bacon fat and a little low oxalate tabasco sauce, but to each his own.

          I hope my blog helps someone who really needs oxalate information. The low oxalate diet has been the single most important step I’ve taken to improve my health and it could be yours also.
          Heidi
          Heidi @ Low Oxalate Info\’s last post: The Low Oxalate Curry Guide

          Reply
    • Do your research people. This is from WHfoods.com

      “For the vast majority of individuals who have not experienced the specific problems described above, oxalate-containing foods should not be a health concern. Under most circumstances, high oxalate foods like spinach can be eaten raw or cooked and incorporated into a weekly or daily meal plan as both baby spinach and mature, large leaf spinach can both make healthy additions to most meal plans. In short, the decision about raw versus cooked or baby versus mature leaf spinach or other oxalate-containing vegetables, for example, should be a matter of personal taste and preference for most individuals.”

      Reply
      • After finding out that Whole Foods has sold out and is supporting “co-existing with GMO’s” (check out Sarah’s article & news video) and that many of their “365″ brand of “organic” (yeah right) veggies come from China, yes CHINA (even the California Blend), I cannot ever again put my trust in their company or their products. Before finding out the truth, I traveled 40 minutes to shop at the closest Whole Foods store and I will never again shop there unless it is absolutely necessary. And although I have started shopping at several local stores (even before I came across this tragic knowledge) because most of the food in “Whole Foods” is so ridiculously overpriced, I will now gladly pay twice as much at my local health food stores who sell truly organic food and still care about integrity. It is a sad, sad day when even our so-called “health food” stores are selling out for profit now.

        Reply
      • I do not agree with this article, say: cook your veggies and put butter on…. greens healing properties can not be denied, of course I do not recommend living on greens, but all veggies and fruits contain oxelates and is not a threat to health including greens. she should have also wrote, if you got cancer do chemotherapy and cook all of your greens and vegetables so you get completely nutrient deficient and die faster

        Reply
        • Where do these people get their education and where are the references to these asinine recomendations? Where is the research people!!!

          Reply
          • i agree! this is the kind of article that is hanging onto one idea while overlooking many. seriously, and it comes up in a google search for kale smoothies, because of the content. exactly what i do not want to see, people being turned away from leafy greens due to false information that parades as fact in this article.

          • What total bollox people spout in here about cooking greens removes nutrients. I read a recent study which actually showed nutrients were AMPLIFIED thru cooking. end of the day there’s so much bullshit spread online nobody really knows anything. eat wat u like and die

          • yeah cooking leafy greens is actually essential to unlocking them as a great source of vitamin a. blanket statements are not good; cooking reduces some nutrients while amplifying others. it depends on what you’re after.

          • also, please no one stop eating vegetables because of fear of oxalates. how many people have you heard of with oxalate stones? how devastating to their health has it been, when compared to our obesity epidemic? how about the heavily supported theory that a diet high in fiber and natural foods prevents colon cancer, which is super deadly? please don’t throw a great thing out the window because you heard a scary thought. compare it to what you know, what you see people actually sick and dying from, and pick your battles wisely. Lord knows what unhelpful foods the vitamin-and-fiber-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet will be replaced with.

        • Autism actually is a symptom. It is not a disease. It is a brain injury caused by vaccine serum that passes through a damaged blood brain barrier. There are certain viruses a mother can have that passes from her body to the fetus through the blood. they cause the protective blood brain barrier that should close soon after birth in the child to stay open which allows harmful vaccine serum to enter the brain and damage the part that controls our social aspects. Do the research and you will find the truth. Autism like all diseases is not genetic. The modern medical establishment and the evil money grabbing fda does not want anyone healed. They want to treat you. Wake up America

          Reply
          • Oh gosh, do you really believe that? I recommend reading actual scientific articles on autism research. This is an extremely complex issue and I feel that many people just find it more convenient to stay on the surface of it rather than be bothered to read more and investigate better. By the way, I work with autistic adults.

          • there is no “good” research to backup the claim that vaccines cause autism. The research making such claims was badly flawed.and unable to be replicated!

        • You tell em Jolita. This article is ridiculous. Telling people not to eat healthy food that actually keeps you in perfect health. This article was probably really put out by the fda that wants everyone sick.

          Reply
      • Please, please, please…people do your research before you side with any articles that are based from one source (especially the Weston A Price Foundation).

        Reply
        • OMG...Misinformation November 8, 2012 at 7:56 pm

          Also, someone is trying to push this because it is the first thing that comes up on Google when you type in “green smoothie diet”. Now who in the heck would have a problem with green smoothies? I know..people who want you to eat animal products. The people of the opposing Paleo Diet!! After knowing who, what, when, where and then why and how, I can no longer use this article as a good source of information. This is essentially misleading misinformation.

          Reply
          • The People of the Opposing Paleo Diet….?….The Paleo diet consists of whole foods including nuts, seeds, non-starchy vegetables including leafy greens, meat, eggs, and dairy if well tolerated depending on whose type of Paleo you are following.

            There are some zero carbers in the Paleo movement but most Paleo sites I’ve read talk about tons of plants….they mainly avoid legumes, grains, and dairy depending on site.

      • I just read this same article that this quote was taken from – after reading the main article and thinking OMG —-
        THE WHFoods article information seemed reasonable and more evenly written and handled……..

        Reply
    • So, I read the article used as the single source for writing this article. Here are what it lists as foods that are high in oxalates: Spinach Lime peel Chocolate
      Soy protein Rhubarb Instant coffee
      Tofu Swiss chard Leeks
      Peanuts Parsley Tea
      Peanut butter Sweet potatoes Okra
      Pecans Pokeweed Wheat germ
      Lemon peel Black pepper. Please tell me how you can give all “leafy green” smoothies a bad wrap for frequent consumption when the ONLY ingredient that is often used in them list here is spinach? There aren’t even other leafy greens listed, unless you count rhubarb, leeks & parsley.

      Reply
      • I agree fully with your summation of the referenced article Aimee. How the author of the Green Smoothie article derived her information from that same article is totally off the wall. As with all things, moderation is the key for anything you eat or drink. And of course there are the people who take Coumadin who must avoid dark green leafy vegetables because it could cause them to have severe bleeding issues.

        Reply
        • Careful here: for someone taking stable dose of coumadin and them eating a new diet high in Vitamin K will actually cause a reversal in the effect of coumadin leading to LESS bleeding. It is the WITHDRAWAL of green veggies (vitamin k) that can increase INT leading to bleeds.

          Reply
          • That’s what I said!!!!! You just restated it another way. But the whole idea of green smoothies causing harm is ludicrous.

            Nina

          • I gave CVK education as part of my job at a hospital and our protocol, backed up by the ADA was that you maintain normal eating habits while taking coumadin. If you are used to eating foods with vit K then you don’t want to stop and lose their health benefits, and this will not increase clotting. If you don’t normally eat like this then absolutely don’t start adding vit K.

        • I don’t think this article is a major concern. Whether you eat cows that eat grass or smoothies, you are getting nutrition from plants so why does she not mention cows. I don’t feel this article has much basis. Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko has sources than one guy. I don’t follow fads, I try to eat a balance of foods some of which are processed and majority organic fruits and veggies raw. I think moderation is the key for everything in life.

          Reply
      • Aimee,
        You are right. That article only lists a few very high oxalate foods — it’s not very comprehensive. The Trying Low Oxalates Yahoo Group has the most up-to-date comprehensive list of the oxalate content of foods, which is about 196 pages long at last count.

        I love Sarah’s post for bringing attention to oxalate. Spinach can cause serious health problems. Scroll down to Susan Owens’ comments below (one of the leading oxalate researchers in the world for more information) for more thoughts on spinach. I wouldn’t eat the stuff for anything!!!

        But there are a lot of low and medium oxalate leafy greens like turnip greens, mustard greens, dino kale, cabbage and letttuce that could be added to a smoothie in moderate amounts (a half cup or a cup). Many people with healthy gut function could handle this amount of oxalate and benefit from the vitamins and minerals. But spinach and swiss chard in large amounts – YIKES!!!
        Heidi @ Low Oxalate Info\’s last post: The Low Oxalate Curry Guide

        Reply
      • IN addition to spinach, above article also mentions swiss chard,as green having oxolates- NOT all greens!
        -As a young adult (in my 20′s) I went to an MD for arthritis pain- he wanted to give me steroid injections, When I refused them, he said I’d be back when they got worse. I did research and found out oxalates (tomatoes,potatoes, swiss chard etc)and red meat (beef) made MY symptoms worse IF I OVERDID IT AND ATE TOO MUCH-eg: those bushels of tomatoes in the summer!)
        Not sure if organic versions of these would NOT bother me/ I can eat them in MODERATION-and I’m sure everyone doesn’t have my problem. But I had an insensitive MD tell me my arthritis wasn’t that bad – and I exaggerated my pain and needed to grow up- ALL my problems were caused by my OVERWEIGHT!
        Needless to say-I never went back to the insensitive idiot-and found out my problems were caused by oxalic acid and could be controlled with my diet. Also, 20 years later, my arthritis got so bad- I had to have both knee joints replaced. Just finding out it was probably SOMETHING in my diet that caused this too-unfortunately , I know I can NOT look to the medical community for answers to health and nutrition! JUST found this site- so glad! I think I’m really on the right track, now! Thanks to all!

        Reply
    • What? Is this for real?

      I’ve never read so much BS in my life… you may as well have written we’re all better off eating large steaks for breakfast along with that fried butter.

      Greens are good for us! I’ve been a healthy Vegan for 4 years and trust me I can see and feel the difference in myself from cuttingout processed crap, dairy, meat and fish… we get EVERYTHING we need from the plant world…

      Also take a look online and investigate for yourselves people…be your own investigator of TRUTH.

      Reply
      • right on Natalie! i was just looking for the “great greens smoothie” recipe and i come across this absolute load of rubbish. read The China Study by Campbell, and Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by CB Esselstyn. and seriously get your head out of your ass.

        Reply
        • absolutely read The China Study. It will change how you feel about our nutrition standards here in the United States. You will never look at nutrition the same way again. I have been drining green smoothies for the last year at least 1/2 quart a day and so has my family. We have more energy, less sickness. Got turned on to the concept after hearing about greensmoothiegirl.com and get her program.
          We eat “whole foods” as much as possible. Great feeling!

          Reply
          • I’m sorry, the “China Study” has been proven time and time again, to be bunk.

            This isn’t an “anti meat” agenda going on here, it’s just looking at one side effect of certain vegetables consumed in excess, but in a non comprehensive way without much sources to back it up. That doesn’t make it all or nothing, like extremists on either side of the “agenda” cry as they blow their whistles.

            And as far as the paleos go, they are ALL OVER green vedge — if you don’t even know who you’re crusading against (acting like they’re Atkins disciples), that speaks more about you than it does them.

      • absolutely agree you with you natalie 100% when you take away all the verbage the article says… if you dare to eat something green cook it and put butter on it. our diets are like a symphony everything works together in the whole foods world. if all you eat every day all day is spinache i can see this being a problem. and just because leafy greens hold this component doesn’t mean it acts that way when it is in our bodies and combined with other whole foods. there is no large population study or scientific evidence to prove any of this.

        Reply
    • I found this article a little upsetting…I’m not saying it’s not true but it was defiantly hard to read. Why? My father went on the Gerson Therapy solely for fourth stage pancreatic cancer and does green juices daily (chard, green pepper, escarole, romaine, beet tops, watercress, red cabbage, one green apple)–> His cancer cells/tumor are dying! While the Gerson Therapy is known for its carrot juices, the green are considered the most vital. I saw this first hand. I don’t know….more than a fad for the dad!

      Reply
      • Yep, totally awesome as the man says.

        Mum unfortunately passed from cancer recently and we all totally wish we’d known about Gerson et al 9 years ago when she first got diagnosed. Still, at least all that knowledge about the power of raw whole foods and – yes – organic green and other vegetable juices is now doing those of us left behind a power of good.

        Tell your father to keep up the good work :D

        Reply
      • That is wonderful! I have lost so many family members to cancer over the last few years, all of them used chemotherapy and radiation. I’ve started a major battle with some family members stating that if I got cancer I would not do chemo and would do the Gerson therapy, or something similar. I firmly believe the answer is in our diets. It’s so awesome to hear testimonials.
        I’m not sure about this article. I find it disappointing. Maybe the health problems are a concern to some people, but this article gives a very harsh tone at the entire green smoothie world, and there is no way someone will make me believe that having a green smoothie with spinach once a day is bad for me. If I had some of the symptoms I’m sure it would be worth looking in to, but for the rest of us, don’t make it sound like the plague! It’s almost silly to me.

        Reply
      • The Garson diet is amazing. I encourage all to read his books and watch the documentary called ‘the beautiful Truth’.

        As for this article..I can’t help but shake my head in disbelief on how poorly it was written. So much disinformation. You mid as well said for everyone to stick to the ‘fast food diet’ because THAT is just, if not more healthy for you.

        Reply
    • Sprulina is on the low oxalate list and Chlorella is claimed to help metabolize oxlates and flush them out.

      Green smoothies are not the problem.
      They are good and healthy.
      It is what you put in them.
      Just don’t use spinach, chard or beet.
      A good mix of lettuces, arugula, broccoli sprouts, bok choy, alfalfa sprouts and dino kale are all on the low oxalate list.
      You can make smoothies with whatever you like. Just choose carefully if you are oxalate sensitive like myself.
      I have been through the kidney and bladder stones. I had a sudden flare up of arthritis about a month ago and finally realized that it was the spinach and chard in my smoothies.
      Not stopping smoothies but I will be planting a low oxalate garden next year.

      Reply
    • Sarah,
      I completely agree with everything you said, it is imperative be people be aware of it!
      People to know especially if they suffer from (or if the first two things run in their family) thyroid problems, kidney problems, chronic fatigue, candida or fungal problems. Being 70 pounds overweight I came across the green smoothie diet and dove head first 100% into it 2 years ago. NEVER lost a pound only became increasing exhausted and fatigued but I continued for 4 months with green smoothies for 2-3 meals a day.. I made sure to cut the sugar from fruit by only putting in 1 piece of fruit and bulking up on broccoli, spinach, kale or dandelion greens. My fatigue exhaustion and irritability became extreme. My hair and nails suffered as well by becoming thin and brittle. I stopped doing the green smoothies. A couple of months later as I researched I came across NT and Gaps diets and slowly started implementing these foods. I also came across an article explaining OXALATES and GOITROGENS, it also listed foods that should NEVER be EATEN RAW! Broccoli, kale, spinach, chard and mustard greens. *All things in moderation, do as you think best for your body but be fully aware.*

      Reply
      • I have low thyroid issues, fibromyalgia and probably a few other surprise ailments lurking somewhere. ;) The only vegetables I eat raw are carrots. I occasionally have salads made with lettuce. I cook every other vegetable that I eat. I eat my cooked veggies with plenty of butter (because Nourishing Traditions says that it’s very beneficial) or cheese.

        We drank green smoothies and my kids didn’t like them. Green smoothies made them hyper and they made me feel light-headed and sometimes nauseated. And the greens generally have high oxalates and goitogrens in them. Yuck!

        Reply
      • Are you suggesting that you only ( or mostly) ate green smoothies for several months? That is not healthy in anybody’s book. That diet is not balanced. No wonder you were irritable and had other problems. But you mentioned that you drank 3 green smoothies per day and yet you lost no weight??? hmmm that doesn’t ring true. What other foods were you eating? This article is bogus. There is nothing wrong with green smoothies. They are very good for you as part of a balanced diet. I am currently eating the 80-10-10 way and it is amazing. I eat as much as I want (mostly fruits) and some fats and proteins from things like green smoothies, raw veggies, nuts, and seeds. I am not super strict either. Every few days I eat something else that I want such as a peanut butter sandwich with wheat bread or a big glass of Soy milk chai. I don’t think that I will strictly eat this way forever but this will forever change the way that I eat. And it is perfectly healthy to eat greens raw. This is just silly.

        Reply
      • Your symptoms made perfect sense once you said “I made sure to cut the sugar from fruit by only putting in 1 piece of fruit”.

        You probably didn’t get enough calories. chronic fatigue will happen quick.
        candida or fungal problems happen when you eat too much fat. And I’m making an educated guess that you ‘binged’ on nuts, maybe dairy or even junk food.

        kidney problems can happen with detoxing.

        Lettuce is low Oxalate. But make sure you get 2000 calories a day (fruit and grain). The body won’t drop weight if it thinks it’s starving.

        Reply
      • You didnt eat fruit so your hair and nails got brittle. You would have lost weight if you just ate more fruit and went to the gym.

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      • It sounds like your body was suffering from malnutrition. Just drinking 3 green smoothies a day is not the way to eat healthy and lose weight. I make my daily green smoothie with protein powder (vegan) fruits, spinach, and water. I eat greek yogurt for breakfast with some fruit preserves (no sugary preserves, just all fruit preserves) and almonds. For lunch I have a green smoothie, with 2 cups Fruit, 1-2 cups spinach or kale, vegan protein powder, and water. I snack on cheese sticks and fruit. Dinner is some lean protein, veggies, and maybe sweet potatoes. Then I reward myself with a serving of low fat, no sugar added ice cream that i make at home. In the first 3 days, i lost 3 pounds and have insane energy, even though I suffer from 24/7 headaches and chronic recurring meningitis. Everything in moderation!

        Reply
      • Erica,
        Are you sure it was the greens causing the problems and not your major source of calories. If you only had 1 piece of fruit in each smoothie and you didn’t lose any weight obviously your calories were comig from fat or alcohol. So after your uninformed, irresponsible, and foolish, putting it mildly, attempt to piece together a health regime you come on here and blame the greens. Other people reading this should do their own research and not believe the uninformed and ignorant.

        Reply
    • This was me 5 years ago!!! green smoothies gave me terrible kidney stones. That was one of the first things my doctor told me to stop eating. Then I started weston a price and healed my gut. Thanks so much for the post!!! People need to hear the other side of the story.
      kaley\’s last post: Natural Sunburn Relief

      Reply
    • Shellie – Substituting lower-oxalate greens may be a much better option than giving up on them altogether. For example, romaine lettuce is a much lower oxalate green than spinach, as well as being far milder in taste. As Sarah herself says, enjoy your greens, but in moderation (she mentions as salads, for example). So if green smoothies aren’t to your liking, by all means, skip ‘em. Just don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!

      Reply
    • My sister became a juicer after watching “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” DVD. Her TSH is higher than 6 months ago. She also believes that the China Study is based on science. I stopped my infrequent juicing and now eat my veggies cooked in butter. I’m still tired (I have Hashimoto’s) even though I followed NT and GAPS diets. Check out http://dogtorj.com. Avoid gluten, corn, soy and milk casien as they wreck havoc on your guts. The fact that almost all of corn and soy are genetically modified probably has a detrimental effect on our guts too. CA will have a proposition to label all genetically engineered food this Nov. We need to vote YES! Voting YES will probably mean the rest of the country will get GMOs labeled. Spread the word.

      Reply
        • There are many effective ways to rid yourself of stones in the kidneys. As a preventative, some of the same things that prevent gallstones are very effective, i.e., a shotglass full of unfiltered apple cider vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil every morning before food; a daily dose of an ionic magnesium product (make sure that it’s ionic, i.e. reacts electrically with water). For treating kidney stones already formed, the best thing I’ve come across is a prescription supplement called “Stone Formula” by Plum Flower brand. It’s used in China’s largest hospitals and boasts a 95-97% efficacy rate at dissolving kidney stones. It’s expensive (about $43 for a weeks supply, although a week or two or three is usually all you need to get rid of the stones) and you have to find a licensed health practitioner to buy it from (usually an acupuncturist or chiropractor), but it’s worth it if you like to avoid the drug/surgery hamster-wheel of the modern medical industry as much as I do.

          Reply
      • I feel like you can’t give yourself a kidney stone from adding a small amount of spinach to eggs. This whole blog seems ridiculous.

        Reply
        • Hi K, I’ve been drinking a green smoothie every morning for about a year and a half. I just loved it. Last month I had a horrible kidney stone attack, I wouldn’t wish on anyone. It’s a month now and it’s still there. and have to have a proceedure to remove it. The first thing my doctor said was….no more spinach!!!

          Reply
  1. Elizabeth Gilhuly via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 10:21 am

    This is one of the few areas I will agree to the “moderation” theory. Most things this doesn’t apply to but here I will agree not to overdo it. I’ve heard that kale is more nutritious cooked.

    Reply
  2. I love green smoothies, and don’t think I could give up their refreshing sweet taste. They do make me feel much better. I’ve only been consuming them for about four years now, and haven’t noticed a problem as of yet, even though being fully aware of the oxalate levels. Sometimes I will use romaine lettuce in place of spinach or chard, for lower oxalate levels.
    Brandon\’s last post: Walking: A Simple, Effective Way to Getting Fit this Summer

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist May 23, 2012 at 10:29 am

      The problem with oxalate toxicity is that you can’t necessarily feel the damage they are causing .. case in point – oxalate shards lodged in your heart. Best to stop this habit and if you love them, enjoy them only occasionally as with raw spinach salads.

      Reply
        • Wow! There is alot to be said for sensationalism. Green Smoothies with spinach and kale are actually not just helping people to manage the waste in their bodies more affectly but also regulating sugar levels and improving stress related issuses. Of course any food consumed in access can be dangerous but the audience that would qualify far out numbers those whose lives are literally being saved be incorporating green smoothies. I am the owner of a succesfull fintess consulting firm in Philadelphia and I am also practicing raw foodist. Dr. Arscilla in NJ first introduced me to green smoothies several years ago. He has a center where people have been delivered from cancer diabetes etc.This is an eyecathing headline but really. Are you trying to help people or what.

          Reply
        • I only partially agree. I had a bad case of Candida and saw 17 doctors with symptoms that didn’t make sense to any of them! The doctor threatened me with the removal of my gall stones and even said I was going to need a new liver. Finally with a special nutritionist…. I ate nothing but veggies, low sugar fruits and green shakes, and protein rich beans and home raised chicken. I got checked a year later and guess what….. no surgery. No stones. Perfect liver. It’s been 15 years since I’ve felt this good. And what about the GAPS diet? My friend is cancer free!! CANCER FREE!! She is only 35 and had the body of a 70 year old because of all the problems she had. NOT any more! I think more research should go into this. In the end.. everybody is different… Everyone’s life style is different…. and every body is used to processing different foods. I think people need more veggies in their life.

          Reply
        • Vickie,

          If it’s “wrong” it would be helpful if you state why and show some evidence to support your conclusion. That would contribute greatly to the discussion. Simply saying something is “wrong” doesn’t help any of us.

          Reply
        • If you read the article she references, you will understand that for some people this is a huge deal. For others it may only a big deal when they eat a lot of really high oxalate food like spinach. If you are referring to the oxalate shards lodged in your heart, this does actually happen, if kidney stones progress and kidneys shut down. http://www.ohf.org/about_disease.html
          If your point is that you may have some warning signs before things like shards in your heart, you are probably correct, but not before you have other serious health problems such as kidney stones, fibromyalgia, or vulvodynia. It’s just something to be aware of when you are eating more greens than you would feel comfortable eating under a natural circumstance, that you may be causing inadvertent problems down the road.

          Reply
      • So…. I do not like these foods and don’t feel good on the ones you mentioned . All along I thought I should be eating these things and felt so out of the loop because I am not. I just need to really listen to my own body because it sure does keep me strong and on the right path for IT ! I’m so glad I don’t have to worry about forcing these green things into my body anymore! I love what Sarah does for humankind and now also the animals in our lives . Thank you again, Sarah! :)

        Reply
        • That’s just an excuse you age yourself not to eat greens. I don’t like spinach or raw kale, but in a smoothie full of yummy fruits, I have them everyday. Everybody is certainly different, and you don’t have to force yourself to eat anything, that’s not a happy life. Find other things that give you the same nutrients and eat them. Don’t be stuck on eating things you hate, that’s a horrible way of life. And, this article is not backed by credible information. I research everything to make sure what I put in my body does better, not worse. Having chronic pain is a horrible way of life, but with a proper diet, wonderful family and friends, and exercise, is the way to happiness.

          Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist May 23, 2012 at 10:30 am

      Of course not! Just don’t eat them raw in green smoothies on a frequent basis as people are practicing today. The end of the article describes how to eat them safely.

      Reply
      • But you just said cooking them doesn’t help either.
        I like my green smoothies also.
        So what are we supposed to eat since green veggies and salads aren’t good for us anymore.

        Reply
    • Hear hear! What on earth are we supposed to eat? Every time I turn on the computer there is yet another “dangerous” food that I absolutely must not eat or I’ll suffer the pains of a miserable unhealthy life. I’ve cut out everything I actually like, and am eating a balance of good foods that come from the earth. Now I’m supposed to eat leafy greens “on occasion?” Please.

      Reply
      • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
        Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist May 23, 2012 at 10:41 am

        Eat veggies as traditional cultures ate them – cooked in butter or fermented – NOT as part of a health fad where large amounts of raw veggies are blended up in a drink. That’s what you do.

        Reply
        • Hmm. There is a recipe for fermented spinach on a very popular traditional foods website that I wanted to try. Would this be an example of a good way to safely eat spinach? Especially since fermented foods are used more as a condiment? I’m still learning. Thanks!

          Reply
        • If “oxalates are extremely stable” , how does fermenting change them if cooking doesn’t? I know that fermenting gets rid of sugars in the food and improves the nutritional value, but never heard of them affecting oxalates.
          Also, if only 20% of people are sensitve to oxalates, how are we to know? When you tell everyone to watch their intake, how does this justify the 20%?
          Other people on different diets, such as Body Ecology and Dr. Mercola ( and GAPS, I think) state to get rid of almost all fruit because of the fructose being bad and acidic to our bodies. I like the Body Ecology Diet – this diet is what helped me finish curing my son’s autism and cured his gut (in a month). Donna Gates promoted lots of greens and fermenting. I also like W. A. Price because I like milk and eggs!

          Reply
  3. In my experience most people are quite unaware of oxalate issues . . . I stumbled across it with on of my children and some of his symptoms. There is a very good yahoo group devoted to oxalate problems.

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist May 23, 2012 at 10:42 am

      Yes, people don’t get how serious the oxalate issue is particularly since so many are candida challenged already. They just think the more veggies the better and so why not blend huge amounts into a drink and chug it down. Bad idea!

      Reply
  4. What constitues a ‘High’ Oxalate diet? What kind of volume? I have a smoothie most weekday mornings, the main reason being to get some kefir into me. I use 1 cup of kefir, then add some frozen fruit and often a small handful of spinach or lettuce. I’ve tried kale but find it too strong. The volume of green in the smoothie is small. Should I be concerned?

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist May 23, 2012 at 10:32 am

      If it is small that is good … I still wouldn’t do it everyday though particularly since most people have candida issues nowadays whether or not they recognize it.

      Reply
  5. Wysteria Jackson via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 10:29 am

    I was raw vegan for a spell, I drank a lot of green smoothies and my teeth were in rotten shape. That being said, a lot of people regained what they considered health by green smoothies. There are even books about it. I can’t get into your article but look forward to reading.

    Reply
  6. Interesting article. I’ve been drinking a tablespoon of powdered alfalfa, barley and carrot powder in spring water, every morning for years. Don’t believe these contain oxalates. Any comments on my ABC drink?

    Reply
        • Licensed nutritionists in the USA now have to agree and teach the abysmal food pyramid or lose their license…. I wouldn’t trust them for anything!

          You’re just like the people who don’t believe any health info unless it has been printed and approved of by science/medical journals….. who have been shown to be printing a ton fraudulent information.

          Reply
          • And yet here you are listening to the holy teachings of a random blogger on the internet more than any scientific journal or gastroenterologist. You’re the least gullible of them all, right?

            …Yep.

    • Why does that matter? There are plenty of nutritionists who advocate a low-fat diet filled with processed “healthy” snacks, vegetable oils, and artificial sweeteners. I’d rather take advice from someone who’s done extensive self-study than someone with a degree who parrots the same junk that got us into this health crisis….

      Reply
      • @ Kate, very well said. I’m a nutrition major and find it extremely frustrating that we are taught to encourage a low fat diet.

        The main argument from people such as the Green Smoothie Girl is that Americans with a typical SAD diet can only benefit from more veggies. However, people following a traditional diet, who are more likely to read this blog, don’t fit into that category.

        This article isn’t going to cause people to quit eating healthy greens completely, but bring awareness to a health issue that people can research on their own and determine what is best for them.

        I can understand the negative attention Sarah is getting for promoting this, but it’s mainly from raw foodists and green smoothie drinkers. If you are a regular to this blog, you probably aren’t eating completely raw, so the argument isn’t very acceptable to me. If you’re a raw foodist, why read a blog based on the Weston Price Diet? And why get mad about it?

        Reply
  7. Really? your advice is to cook leafy greens thoroughly with lots of butter? Ok, so let’s just swing the pendulum over the most extreme side! Hurr durr.

    Human beings are meant to be able to eat things in MODERATION (unless a specific problem like allergies or other sensitivities), so I’d say a moderate consumption level is maybe twice a week, lightly cooked or in a salad. WHY tell people that the BEST option (You honestly said “better yet”) is to thoroughly cook green veggies in lots of butter??? So- remove ANY nutrition whatsoever and ADD more fat? My eyes are rolling so hard I have a headache now.

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist May 23, 2012 at 10:35 am

      Consuming cooked vegetables with fat is a documented way to ensure absorption of the minerals present. Butter is much better than any butter substitutes (many articles on this blog about this). Yes, you lose some minerals by cooking but reducing the oxalates is a good idea. If you wish to consume your leafy greens raw, that is fine, just do it only occasionally and make sure you have a good quality extra virgin olive oil salad dressing on top to help absorb the minerals :)

      Reply
      • Butter is much better than any butter substitutes? So butter is better than coconut oil? I beg to differ. I don’t necessarily think one is better than the other…but it greatly depends on the source of the butter and how it has been processed. Coconut oil and macadamia nut oil are excellent butter substitutes.

        I, too, am skeptical of this article. Not that I don’t think oxalate damage is a real issue. But I find it very hard to agree that we should only eat raw salads once or twice a week. I’d like to hear some expert opinion on this topic…would be great to get Dr. Mercola’s feedback.

        Reply
        • Sarah doesnt mean butter is better than coconut oil…when she says “butter substitutes” she means margerine and such…correct Sarah? I think this article makes total sense…we dont have all the enzymes to digest plants like herbivores do. And yes…to the person up above who said they were getting a headache from rolling thier eyes so hard I believe…good fat, and lots of it is great for you! The right nutrients are good for you but if they’re not prepared right then your body wont absorb them and/or it will even cause harm to eat them so just prepare them correctly…thats all shes saying people.

          Reply
          • Butter substitutes!?! I should hope that’s not what Sarah meant! Margarine is one of the worst things to ingest. It creates free radicals in the body and promotes heart disease..
            Suzanne\’s last post: Juicing Recipes

        • This article is another example of why I won’t ever be duped again by WAP followers.People aren’t curing cancer on WAP high meat and fat diets. They are healing cancer and other serious disease on raw vegan diets and Victoria Boutenko has helped people heal via green smoothies. WAP just wants everyone to eat high fat and high meat diets and they are so righteous that their way is the only true way.

          Reply
          • Just because you can cure cancer on a raw diet DOESN’T mean you’re causing cancer on a non-raw diet.

            Here’s the deal. The high-raw, high-veggie & fruit diet is GREAT for cancer because it’s been proven to help detox the body. That’s a really good thing, and anyone who needs a detox or a cleanse for health-related issues should definitely consider a high-raw, high-veggie & fruit diet.

            But most of us don’t need a specific detox diet. Most of us need to cure our nutrient deficiencies. And BOY do we have them. Most of us are lacking in Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Vitamin K-2, Vitamin B-12, choline, magnesium, and selenium. It turns out that traditional foods, WAPF diet is bursting with these missing nutrients. So, for those of us who are nutrient-starved, turning to a WAPF diet is paramount.

            The GAPS diet (which is WAPF compatible) is a healing diet and promotes juicing. But again, it’s meant to be a TEMPORARY, healing diet. Once healed, the GAPS diet includes instructions for transitioning to a more WAPF/traditional foods based diet to help maintain long-term health.

            So, while the high-raw diet is fantastic for detox and healing, the WAPF diet is great for maintaining that health once it’s been returned. I’d suggest you probably wouldn’t even need a special high-raw, detox diet if you’d been eating a WAPF-type diet for your entire life. But the fact remains, most of us haven’t been eating that way since we were in our mother’s wombs, so we have an uphill battle and may find that a detoxing, cleansing diet is necessary to begin our healing journeys.
            Food Renegade\’s last post: Can Earthing Reduce Snoring?

      • >>>”Consuming cooked vegetables with fat is a documented way to ensure absorption of the minerals present.”

        That is incorrect. Consuming cooked vegetables with fat will help facilitate absorption of fat soluble vitamins and nutrients.

        Can you site the documentation you are referring to? I searched Pubmed and found the opposite.

        Fatty meals will at best have a neutral effect. One possible beneficial mechanism may be Vit D upregulating calcium uptake. But I see a lot of parroting of misinformation such as MCTs will increase magnesium absorption when studies I’ve seen have shown the effect to be neutral.

        Reply
      • if I drink a green smoothie lets say 3-5 times a week and i add 4 cups of spinach is that bad? I HATE vegetables and this is the only way I get them down. I am 4 months pregnant and I am SOOO worried I’ll gain too much weight. I was already about 40 pounds over weight when I fell pregnant. (ok many people would argue that I was only about 25 pounds overweight, but I think I’m about 40 pounds over weight). I love food, I limit junk food (as in take aways to once a week) and thought that if I added a green smoothie with 3 fruit, and 4 cups spinach or lettuce I could manage my weight gain. I of course also try to eat as normal or healthy as possible during the day. Should I stop the green smoothies? I don’t understand? one website says it’s so good for you, another says it isn’t. I add yoghurt and seeds to mine…not that THAT will bring down the oxilate levels, but I try to get an all round well balanced diet. I eat no animal fats. I eat real butter but a reduced fat version of it..no added preservatives, trans fats or salts or sugars. I don’t eat meats that has visible fats, I eat whole grain breads and pastas and cereals. But I have a weakness for certain foods ESPECIALLY since falling pregnant. I am hungry all the time and found that green smoothies curbs at least SOME cravings.

        I don’t want to harm my baby but I am at my wits end..

        Reply
        • I’m also four months pregnant and have been following the type of diet/lifestyle Sarah talks about, outlined more at westonaprice.org. I’ve only gained 5 pounds so far in my pregnancy, and perhaps could have gained more, but I know that eating animal fats such as grass-fed butter with your vegetables truly does help absorb all the fat-soluble vitamins and does not make you gain too much weight. If a smoothie is the only way you can eat vegetables, I would continue drinking them. Use plenty of yogurt or kefir to make sure you’re getting probiotics. Smoothies are not a traditional food, but they are one way for us with more modern tastebuds to get enough vegetables.

          Reply
        • Animal fats are good for you, provided they are from healthy organic and/or pastured animals. There is a lot of research on this. Your body needs them, and they won’t cause weight gain; refined carbs, cereals, pastas, and excess natural sugars will.

          Reply
    • 100% Agree Margar! My jaw is on the floor after reading this article…. seriously, concerning the SAD (standard american diet) that the majority of americans are eating, you’re picking on Green smoothies? One thing in particular you never mention in your article is volumes – or at least the ranges of safe and unsafe amount of leafy greens you consider unsafe – honestly, there are alot more people NOT getting enough leafy greens there are eating way too many and enough to cause this type of health issue. Also you don’t mention the practice of rotating your leafy greens to avoid overcomsumption of oxalic acid and also for getting the max amount of vitamins and nutrients in your diet, which by the way, leafy greens are contain the highest amount of nutrients of any other foods! I still can’t believe someone claiming to practice “healthy living” actually wrote an article like this….. do your OWN research, people!

      Reply
      • Agree with Sabrina. Not sure which side of the fence this author stands. Based upon the title, it seems to be whichever side is the more sensational. Advising people to only eat on occasion leafy green vegetables–juiced or otherwise–is just sad. Of all the other things in the Great American Diet to pick on, I can’t believe they’ve stooped to this AND without more thorough research, such as the effect on insulin of those fruits to “soften” the taste, of which you only mention in passing. Perhaps then you might’ve made some valid point, but as it is, this article smells like bunk.

        Reply
      • UUUUUGGGGGHHHH!!!! Obviously the majority of people following this blog already know to a certain extent what is and is not healthy. Sarah doesnt have to tell you to not eat processed foods and such because you should already know that. I think shes assuming that everyone already knows the basics and is taking it one step further to inform us of the possible dangers in doing raw smoothies. I dont see how this doesnt make sense.

        Reply
        • Agreed! She didn’t tell anyone to stop eating greens altogether, she simply said to be mindful of oxalates and made a valid point about the possible health implications of swigging down bushels of high-oxalate greens in liquid form. Ask anyone who has had a kidney stone or other oxalate-related issue if they wish they had known about oxalates in food. Suggesting that Sarah should not discuss oxalates because swigging oxalate smoothies is better than the SAD is a bit ridiculous to me given that kidney stone pain is so severe that they teach us in nursing school to go straight for the Demerol for such patients . . . never mind the other health risks associated with oxalates.
          Nicole, The Non-Toxic Nurse\’s last post: Smart Meter Concerns Hit National Headlines . . . Finally!

          Reply
          • Ran across this post searching for pros and cons to the Green Smoothie Diet. As a casual, infrequent visitor to this blog, the sensational headline and clearly hyperbolic language made me read the article with a skeptical eye. I am blown away that anyone claiming to be interested in nutrition would seriously try to dissuade people from eating green, leafy vegetables. Even in the recommended “doses” I have read in various forums and blogs, the actual green leafy vegetable consumption is 2 cups, cups not “bushels”, of a combination of the following vegetables: romaine lettuce, swiss chard, bok choy, spinach, kale, dandelion greens, carrot greens and arugula per day. It would take a lot of green smoothies, not the recommended 16-32 ounces per day, to create an oxalate disorder in the 80% of the population the article states is not already suffering from one. That 80% figure comes from the article, where it’s stated that 1 in 5 people suffer from oxalate disorders. I could not find any research online to substantiate that quote.

    • I don’t understand where these people are coming from. This is a WAP friendly site. That’s Weston A. Price. I don’t get how so many mainstream, conventionally thinking people end up here. If you read up a little on WAP, then you will bypass the massive amounts of silly questions about where she is coming from, move at least 10 steps closer to knowing some real truths about health, and then we can talk. Until then, consider it info and move on or delve further and really learn something different and then ask some intelligent questions.

      Sarah, I don’t know how you keep you’re head about you with so many ignorant people stopping by. Good on you!

      Sofia

      Reply
      • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
        Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist May 23, 2012 at 5:28 pm

        I don’t take it personally. I realize these folks just need to eat a lot of BUTTER and they would get a whole lot nicer real fast. LOL

        Reply
        • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
          Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist May 23, 2012 at 5:31 pm

          I also show many of the mean comments to my kids and say to them “do you think I care what these people say? Absolutely not!” It’s a great lesson to show them that what other people think of you is completely meaningless and to do your thing regardless. Most people never learn that in their whole lives. I would love for my kids to learn it young.

          Reply
          • But, but……..I get mean comments from my own family and friends when I bring stuff like this up! They are all of the mindset that, “HOW WOULD YOU KNOW BETTER THAN DOCTORS? Or, you’re learning this on the internet? Ha!”

      • Wow, aren’t you all so welcoming to newcomers. Guess you don’t need or want more visitors to your blog.

        There is so much misinformation in regards to “healthy” eating, you may want to find a kind, welcoming way to educate people if you want their business. Then again…maybe you don’t.

        Reply
    • Clearly you haven’t been indoctrinated into the secret mysteries of animal fat and its importance in the human diet. You might be shocked to learn that lard is actually really good for you. Go on, gasp.

      Reply
  8. to be honest, I am still sceptical about this…I don’t think one size fits all…but I am grateful that you shared your perspective. I think it’s important to always pay attention how ur body reacts and how it makes u feel. and for sure to check for oxalate problems w ur particular body….but at the end of the day, I believe there is no question that organic leafy greens are really good for you….just KNOW UR OWN BODY….what makes one thrive, could harm another…..but to say that” it’s bad for u” – I just don’t agree with this

    Reply
      • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
        Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist May 23, 2012 at 10:36 am

        When I get a veggie juice from the healthfood store, I always sub a low oxalate veggie for the high oxalate ones. Not all veggies are problematic consumed raw or juiced. The leafy green ones are the worst.

        Reply
        • I was wondering the same thing Megan. I juice carrots, kale, green apple and ginger nearly everyday. Should I be leaving out the kale? This article surprised me as well. Although, I’ve come to trust Sarah and her knowledge/research. So, I will have to consider and begin to look more closely at the high oxalate veggies I consume.

          Reply
          • Wait….doesn’t the GAPS diet recommend carrot juice first thing in the morning? If carrots are so high in oxalates, why would she recommend them? I’m so confused. I also wonder if I was to lightly steam the greens, juice them and then add some coconut oil, if that would do the trick?

          • Add some real, raw cream to your smoothie with the carrots (like the recipe for the carrot tonic in the Nourishing Traditions cookbook) and it will likely balance out some of the oxalates, although I’m just taking a WAG here. I could never drink a green smoothie every day (see me gag) but I love the idea of a once a week ice-cold smoothie during the hottest part of the summer – made with a small amount of frozen fruit, some carrots and a few greens. I got really burned out on smoothies when I was on Fat Flush several years ago, so now I usually consume kefir or yogurt in the morning instead (homemade, of course). Also, when I was on Fat Flush the author (Ann Louise Gittleman) was a big fan (can you say BIG) of whey protein. Sarah did a wonderful article a while ago on how powdered whey protein can be a contributor to the ailment neuropathy – which I now have. Don’t know and can’t say if the whey protein contributed, but for the amount I consumed over a period of 2-3 years, I’d say yeah, prolly a large contributor to the problem.

      • Same problem eh? I guess that’s why alternative cancer clinics juice greens and get results lol- try that with your WAP diet. You need to really educate yourself (and I don’t mean WAP style nutrition) before you can make such outrageous and irresponsible claims.

        Reply
  9. Jewel Young via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 10:33 am

    WHAT??!! Well, i think the key here is moderation…as with EVERYTHING! My kids and i have green smoothies a couple times a week….we enjoy other types of smoothies as well. This article may be for someone who drinks several a day everyday….cause i firmly believe that loads of greens are excellent for the body.

    Reply
    • Amanda, you said exactly what I think everytime I read one of Sarah’s articles! I really have so much to learn! Having said that, I must comment that when something comes up that people seem to either disagree or exhibit frustration with, then I think it good to remember that we are all on the same journey to LEARN and take that info and see how it affects YOU. No need to get upset or confused, just be aware and appreciate that no one has “Arrived” and has all knowledge….so, we can be happy to have some new info to sift through and pick what we can use! Just be prepared to make some changes everyday and make it fit. I personally like to know what is going on, even if I choose to do something different. I love to read the dialogue from everyone’s perspective and experiences! I also am grateful that Sarah is willing to say some things that make us LOOK and check into what we may have taken as solid info. No problem! My only experience with green smoothies is noticing that a friend who drinks them daily has lost 30 pounds and looks unwell. I am sad for her as she is a young mother and I believe that she is going to have some imminent health problems, just from looking at her. But, this time last year, she was just beginning to look at the SAD diet and realize that her family was eating poorly. I appreciate that she is looking for the truth. Thanks for all your input; it helps me so much!

      Reply
      • Agreed with Watchmom3. Let’s keep an open mind about all this new info. I always care about my health. I followed doctor’s advice and read the latest health books on the low-fat diet, high fiber diet, juicing, low carb diet, zone diet, etc. Really, there is so much bad information out there. Too much and too confusing. Now we have to worry about Oxalate! All this is new to me. But I do appreciate everyone’s comments – pro or con. It’s about seeking the truth and sharing it with each other. I’m taking a deep breath before reading on!

        Reply
  10. Leah Lundberg via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Moderation yes, veggies bad for you, no! Others can be used in smoothies/juices as well, doesn’t have to be green: cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, cilantro, ginger, beets…don’t let this discourage! Just know what you are juicing, benefits AND liabilities!

    Reply
  11. I’m very skeptical about this. Since eating a lot of green leafy vegetables (and following Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s “Eat to Live” diet), my husband’s high blood pressure and high cholesterol have been cured. This article really sounds like it came from the onion – “if you are going to eat vegetables, cook them thoroughly and put butter on them”????

    Reply
    • It’s amazing to me that all these people never heard of Weston A. Price and the substantial research on the health benefits of butter! Stop living under a rock people and check out http://www.westonaprice.org/ ALL the info on a healthy diet are there! Catch up with the truth please! Save your family’s health now.

      Reply
      • I don’t trust one thing WAP says since I went through their information on breastfeeding and picked through how almost everything was wrong or misinformed just to work their agenda, what that agenda might be for giving out wrong information on breastfeeding? I’m not quite sure. But trusting them for health advice? I don’t think so.

        Reply
        • FYI – WAP’s agenda is to support small scale, sustainable, local farms growing nutrient-dense food. Yeah, what a terrible organization.

          Reply
        • Jessica, I agree with you that the WAP advice on breastfeeding is Total Crap. (And my LLL leader friend and WAP follower agreed). It does make me wary of other things they say….however, when I look into the research of what they say about most everything else, I do think they are fairly solid in most other things. Sadly, you just have to ignore the breastfeeding part…I would suggest writing them and suggesting some changes to the breastfeeding portion of their literature. I don’t know if it will help, but it’s worth a shot! (Maybe we can get Kellymom to write too!) :-)

          Reply
          • What do you follow now? What seems to be wrong with WAP way of eating? Did you develop health issues while following the WAP diet? Please explain as I too are just starting the WAP diet journey.

        • Oh my goodness, I know! I nearly chucked Nourishing Traditions when I read the chapter on breastfeeding. I wondered WHY they would want to undermine the health of mother and baby and their breastfeeding relationship. I just fume when I think about it. I can only assume that either a) the authors had bad experiences with breastfeeding, or b) they are woefully ignorant on the subject, or both. I decided to keep the book as a reference as I do any other cookbook–use the recipes I want, ignore the ones I don’t. It definitely made me more cautious toward anything they say.

          Reply
      • This diet has lots of criticism online from various sources (one such article can be found here: http://www.vegsource.com/articles2/fuhrman_dietary_myths.htm). There is also another recent rebuttal available from Kimberly Snyder. While some things appear to be sound, such as consuming unprocessed foods, other things appear to be amiss. I personally would require more research but for those of you high on the bandwagon, it might be a good idea to read some of the well-researched critiques before following/falling head over heels.

        Reply
      • Oh please. I learned about Weston A Price 20 years ago, when I was in my teens and came across a copy of Nourishing Traditions at a Goodwill store. Twenty years of much nutritional research later, and I still think his nutritional “truths,” research, and advice is a bunch of bunk.

        I have yet to come across one valid argument from a WAP supporter of why 70-year-old research from a Dentist olds any kind of scientific validity.

        Reply
        • Ummm Roxanne…..Look closely around you . Look at the health institutes and cancer institutes and unhealthy people. Is this not enough of a valid argument that WAP just might be onto something wonderful>? He studied . He learned . He listened and shared. Just maybe there is a chance he is right? What else is working to make people have good health? Is anyone? What is a better alternative? Pills and drugs? Obesity? We are a very sick nation. But then that is what our government wants. A weak nation, one that cannot fight back. One that just follows like sheep , One that cannot or will not think for itself. Legal drug dealers abound. Do you have a better solution than WAP had? I didn’t think so .

          Reply
          • The only thing our country’s high obesity and illness rates prove is that we are a nation that doesn’t eat enough fresh, whole food. We eat crap. The principles of the WAPF are not the cure for that. I follow a whole foods diet very similar to what Robyn Oppenshaw (The Green Smoothie Girl) teaches–mostly vegetarian, but not vegan. I eat a lot of fresh produce every day (close to 10-15 servings)—both raw and cooked, whole grains, beans, a lot of fish, moderate amounts of cheese (but otherwise no dairy), and very little other meats because I can’t afford grass-fed/pastured meats. My years of nutritional research tell me that diets high in animal foods are not healthy.

            I also concur w/ Michael Pollen when it comes to food: Eat real food, not too much, mostly plants.

    • @bonnie rose shaw, I too am very skeptical of all this. Now do we have to measure every lil thing that we put in our mouths. There is not enough time in the day. Too many Greens ?!?!?! Confused?!?!?! I also read “Eat to live”. Great, Great book. Amazing healthly living. I changed the way I ate and never felt any better. Thank you Dr. Joel Furman!!

      Reply
      • Oh please, Joel Furhman? His advice is so out of touch — almost everything he recommends is high in anti-nutrients — and also very high in omega six fatty acids.

        Good luck with that Elle!

        Reply
  12. Nancy Knowles via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 10:38 am

    leafy greens are important to health… seems part of this picture is missing… possibly the balance with foods that prohibit the crystal growth…

    Reply
  13. I’m not sure that I believe the reasoning in this blog. I think that there is nothing wrong with a diet high in veggies. As with anything, if you have a health concern, you need to be more aware of how the foods you are eating affect you. Perhaps green smoothies are not good for everyone, but neither is a diet high in nutrient-poor food. Pick healthy every time.

    Reply
  14. Jennifer Bacaro via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 10:39 am

    But they’re so tasty :( I’m shocked….I always feel bad I don’t eat “enough” leafy greens so I guess I feel better on that front. Lol

    Reply
  15. As with anything else, moderation is key. Leafy greens in a blender are no different than from a pot or salad bowl. If you eat too much of one thing and not enough of another you will suffer in one form or another. No one should dogmatically say that green smoothies are harmful. Eating nothing but one thing or another is where an argument can be made.

    Reply
  16. Hum… this is interesting. I’m not a green smoothie lover, although I have put spinach in smoothies for me and the kids on occasion. I do have an Italian Tuscan Bean Soup on the menu tonight…. where kale is cooked into the soup. I thought this was an old traditional recipe.
    Amanda\’s last post: Enchilada Casserole

    Reply
  17. Fran Shipp via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 10:43 am

    My son nd I love Green Goodness form Bolthouse farms.. he likes them so much he rarely leaves any for me. How moderate is moderate when enjoying them?

    Reply
  18. Wait- so what are you actually allowed to eat? You shouldn’t eat gluten or dairy, and better stay off all grains ideally. Don’t eat legumes or nuts or seeds because of the phytic acid. Stay away from things with fructose, which means all fruit, onions, garlic, etc… Stay away from sweet veggies like carrots and sweet potatoes. Stay away from green leafies and cruciferous veggies. Stay away from nightshades. And stay away from pork and seafood (because seafood is contaminated with heavy metals).
    Other than chicken and beef and eggs, what are you actually allowed to eat?
    Penniless Parenting\’s last post: My "Shopping" Trip at the Farmer’s Market

    Reply
    • You apparently have not been reading this blog all that long.
      Dairy is to be consumed raw. Not avoided. Grains are to be soaked. Not avoided. Nuts and legumes and seeds are to be soaked to get rid of the phytic acid. Not avoided.

      The “diet” that is talked about and recommended by this site is a TRADITIONAL diet. That’s all. High quality foods prepared in a way to get the most from them.

      Reply
      • I actually have been reading this website for quite a while, and I follow a traditional foods diet. I probably should have clarified my question further.
        As far as I knew, Paleo, primal, etc… are spin offs of traditional food diets, taking it just a bit more extreme. So, I read about fructose malabsorption that many people have on ThePrimalParent.com ( http://theprimalparent.com/2012/03/31/ibs-depression-skin-fructose-malabsorption/ ) and the list of foods to avoid:
        Fruit juice Dried fruit Fruit concentrates Melons Grapes Cherries Peaches Pears Apples Apricots Guava Mango Pomegranate Whole corn Honey Agave Tomato paste Corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup Wine — dry wines might be ok in moderation Wheat Onions Garlic Leeks Coconut milk and meat Jerusalem artichoke Green beans Carrots — tolerance varies Asparagus Chicory root
        On top of that- the phytic acid issue. Soaking and sprouting and fermenting only removes some of the phytic acid, not all. So thats a problem for any seeds nuts grains or legumes, including coconut. And for some sensitive people, any grains causes hystamine reactions, so they go off all grains. (My husband is off grains pretty much other than white rice because of this post. http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/pollen-is-not-the-problem/)
        I am off gluten because I am very gluten sensitive.
        While I would love a source of raw milk, I can’t get any where I live, and I know pasteurized dairy is bad for you. The only stuff even available is pasteurized antibiotic given and hormone filled milk unfortunately. On top of that being unhealthy for you, I am sensitive to all dairy other than butter, and my daughter, who I nurse, is sensitive to just the tiniest amount of dairy. So dairy is out (unless I find a source of raw milk, which I may or may not be sensitive to).

        And unfortunately, I can’t afford wild salmon, only farm fish, and only CAFO chicken and meat…

        So basically, that leaves me with pretty much nothing I can eat, that I can afford…

        Reply
      • I actually have been reading this website for quite a while, and I follow a traditional foods diet. I probably should have clarified my question further.
        As far as I knew, Paleo, primal, etc… are spin offs of traditional food diets, taking it just a bit more extreme. So, I read about fructose malabsorption that many people have on ThePrimalParent.com (you’ll have to google The Primal Parent Fructose Malabsorbtion because if I put a link this post gets censored ) and the list of foods to avoid:
        Fruit juice Dried fruit Fruit concentrates Melons Grapes Cherries Peaches Pears Apples Apricots Guava Mango Pomegranate Whole corn Honey Agave Tomato paste Corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup Wine — dry wines might be ok in moderation Wheat Onions Garlic Leeks Coconut milk and meat Jerusalem artichoke Green beans Carrots — tolerance varies Asparagus Chicory root
        On top of that- the phytic acid issue. Soaking and sprouting and fermenting only removes some of the phytic acid, not all. So thats a problem for any seeds nuts grains or legumes, including coconut. And for some sensitive people, any grains causes hystamine reactions, so they go off all grains. (My husband is off grains pretty much other than white rice because of the post here- Pollen isn’t the problem.)
        I am off gluten because I am very gluten sensitive.
        While I would love a source of raw milk, I can’t get any where I live, and I know pasteurized dairy is bad for you. The only stuff even available is pasteurized antibiotic given and hormone filled milk unfortunately. On top of that being unhealthy for you, I am sensitive to all dairy other than butter, and my daughter, who I nurse, is sensitive to just the tiniest amount of dairy. So dairy is out (unless I find a source of raw milk, which I may or may not be sensitive to).

        And unfortunately, I can’t afford wild salmon, only farm fish, and only CAFO chicken and meat…

        So basically, that leaves me with pretty much nothing I can eat, that I can afford…

        I know the GAPS diet would probably solve lots of these issues… But until I can afford to do that diet, what SHOULD I be eating? Seems almost everything is off limits…

        Reply
        • Would love to hear an answer to what Penniless Parenting posted. I am in the same sort of position. I have been following this blog for a looong time but I can’t afford 95% of the foods that we are supposed to eat and I live in one of, if not the most expensive city in the US (NYC). The grass fed meat and raw milk/eggs/butter I have available to me (through a raw milk service that delivers from another state) is so extremely expensive. I would love to eat right but truth be told, many of us just can’t afford it or don’t have access to it.

          Reply
          • @Janet Rowan: If you can’t afford 95% of the suggested foods, spend your money on one food you would like. Try butter (it doesn’t need to be raw to get a lot of health benefits)…it just needs to be from pastured (grass fed) cows. I have found the Kerrygold brand (from Ireland) to be the least expensive grass fed butter. I also find it tastier than the organic grass fed butters I have tried. The taste sold me, grass fed butter tastes like butter should, not a pale flavorless chunk of fat like most butter. The Kerrygold is just under $6/lb around here and like the theme of this post…moderation. Unless you’re eating a pound of butter a day, it shouldn’t be cost prohibitive.

            As far as grass fed meat or pastured chicken goes, we eat those sparingly. I don’t feel the need for lots of red meat and eat mostly homemade (cheap!) tempeh along with small amounts of wild fish and organic chicken. 4-6 ounces is plenty for me. YMMV

        • I have fructose Mal-absorption and when I first found out, I was extremely discouraged and felt like I couldn’t eat anything either. My journey with FM and TONS of my own research led me to the paleo/WAP diet (not “diet” meaning to lose weight) and this blog. There are many things to eat–you have to be motivated and creative to find things that work for you. It takes a lot of time, determination and effort. There is a wonderful support group for people with FM, gluten and dairy intolerance on Yahoo Groups (the Australia group is more active than US). It is also possible to afford better quality meats–there are tricks to getting cheaper prices, but like Sarah always says if you can only afford SPAM–then eat SPAM. I really want to encourage you that there are ways to get around all the things you mentioned in your post. You just CAN”T give up. I would love to help you, but am not sure how to exchange personal email addresses without sharing them publicly.

          Reply
        • My reply was meant for Penniless Parenting but got posted a little further down in the string of posts/replies.

          Reply
    • There is a way to prepare nuts ands seeds, by soaking them, to reduce phytic acid content.

      You can ferment dairy to get best nutrition out of it.

      Onions and garlic are very healthy – have high sulfur content for skin, hair and nails, and they also great for diabetics.

      Cruciferous veggies you can steam or ferment, green leafy veggies you can steam as well.

      Nightshades, if you don’t have problem with arthritis, you don’t have to avoid – they are nutritious foods.

      Hormone free, pastured pork is fine. Seafood contamination is just a misunderstood issue.

      So no, you don’t have to only have beef and eggs and chicken. There is a solution to every problem if you do your research.
      marina\’s last post: Spelt Flour and Yogurt Pancakes

      Reply
        • And don’t forget nuts are high in oxalates too.

          (As are carrots, olives, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, many fruits, and a lot of other foods. In fact, I’m a little confused as to why (whether you agree oxalates are a problem or not) this article is so heavily demonising green drinks and ignoring all the other potential sources of high oxalates in the diet? It’s… strange.)

          Reply
          • Yeah , the article is ridiculous because most plant foods have decent amount of oxalates including wheat, rye, bran, fruits, nuts, seeds, chocolate, tea, coffee, etc, etc…

            To be picking on greens is quite sad and really only focusing on one substance in a plant…what about all the other good aspects, are they outweighed? Just like phytic acid or nitrates or any other bad substance in a plant, this doesn’t mean to avoid it completely! Ah but the solution is to suckle a cow… brilliant just as nature intended us to suckle on bovines when even calves don’t do it after maturity!

            I have tried most alternative diets and the only one that has worked for me long term is a combo of the alkaline diet and raw vegan diet. Mostly green veg, nuts, seeds, good oils, quinoa, buckwheat, low sugar fruits, not all raw, but as much as
            possible.

            The real issue with green smoothies is all the sugary fruit and crappy processed powders etc. that people flavour them with. Green juices with a bit of carrot or beet for flavouring are much better. Obviously don’t overdo the silver beets and spinach and you will be fine, as far as oxalate levels go. The other issue with smoothies is that you are essentially “cooking” and denaturing the cells of the plant as it spins around hundreds of times a second and breaks it down! A juice extractor is more akin to actually chewing your food and you will absorb much more nutrition that way.

    • Ha Ha so true ..there is nothing left to eat….and high animal protein diets are not good for you either they say!

      Reply
    • Penniless: I once crossreferenced the foods of all the healthdiets that say you shouldn’t eat such ‘n such: came up with NOTHING!!

      Eventually I found a quote from someone: all foods are toxins……or leave an ‘ash’ of some sort in the system. Just choose your poison (sort of)…….

      Reply
    • Hi :)

      Chicken is terrible for food poisoning. Beef is the source of mad cow disease. Eggs ~ salmonella!

      The information in this item is very useful. We all need to take responsibility for our own health and need to check out the foods that we put into our bodies, but, from what I have read, nothing is always really safe to eat, drink or even breathe. ;)

      By the way, I have suffered oxalate problems, resulting from antibiotic use, and it was horrendous.

      My grandparents always said that moderation was the key and I’ve always believed in that.

      I found this because I was contemplating making green smoothies. I’ll still do that, but I’ll check out oxalate content first ~ also goitrogen content.

      Thanks.

      Reply
  19. JohnandMelanie Odom via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 10:46 am

    I will continue to drink my unhealthy green spinach shakes. Guess it’s killing me softly with all it’s glory and deliciousness.

    Reply
  20. Erica Iwamura via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 10:47 am

    I think I’ll agree with the others about moderation of the green smoothie.. don’t think the 2 that I drink a week will hurt me.

    Reply
  21. Maria Szucsova via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 10:47 am

    That explains, why I feel not so well after eating raw spinach or kale. It feels much better though, when nicely cooked with lots of butter, but I don’t eat it too often anyway – just don’t feel like it and I guess this could be the thing about listening to your body :) (I feel pretty sick after eating nuts as well, and they are being recommended so much as a part of the healthy diet…)

    I would agree with moderation being the key – after your body “tells” you it is ok to eat it :)

    Reply
    • Maria Szucsova try soaking the nuts and drying them on low in the oven or a dehydrator before eating them. It makes a huge difference in how well you can digest them. :-)

      Reply
  22. Thanks for the info Sarah. This is not the first time I’ve heard this, but for some reason I never listened before. My question – are spring greens included in this? I have a salad for lunch almost every day with some combo of spring greens, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, chopped leftover meat and homemade oil/vinegar.

    I also make coconut milk smoothies for my kids with raw spinach. I throw in some coconut oil, raw egg yolks and blueberries too. No more raw spinach for us though! I also use carrots and beets – are they okay raw in a smoothie?

    Reply
    • Aimee, I make one a lot with:
      Kefir (I make)
      Frozen banana
      Avocado (makes it really creamy and you don’t taste the actual avocado much)
      Carrot
      Frozen mango
      Coconut oil
      Cream from the top of my raw milk
      Some raw honey
      My two year old and I love this!

      Reply
  23. Jennifer Brooks via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Your article is completely misguided and conveniently leaves out many important facts:
    1. Green smoothies are not necessarily made of up vegetables high in oxalate. In fact, kale has a very low oxalate content and is typically used as a green smoothie base.
    2. Other very common foods, such as soy and peanuts contain higher oxalate levels than many different green vegetables.
    3. Oxalate disorders have not been associated with dietary intake of oxalate.
    4. People adapting a diet high in vegetables typically have a decrease in blood pressure, normalization of weight. There is no literature supporting that a diet rich in vegetables is associated with the diseases that you mention. In fact, those who eat more vegetables have an increased lifespan. Another fact, green vegetables have been found to be very important benefits and have not been associated with any adverse outcomes.
    5. Your interpretation of the article is misleading at best. You are making the assumption that dietary intake of oxalate is associated with disorders relating to oxalate. Despite many attempts to prove this, no study has proven this to be true. Although dietary changes are recommended for some of the disorders that you mention, there is no scientific data to show that dietary restriction decreases oxalate levels.
    There are many other nutritional issues worthy of our attention, but sending people the message that eating all green vegetables (yes, you don’t distinguish in your article) is wrong, not supported by the scientific literature and body of knowledge and is unethical.

    Reply
    • I totally agree with Jennifer and others commenting in the same vein.

      I think this article is another in the long line that will yet come about: trying to convince the populace that nutrients are actually detrimental to health. If you don’t believe the powers that be are trying to do this, then you don’t know about CODEX ALIMENTARIOUS. I’m sorry that such a popular blogger is following in this dangerous trend and aiming people amiss.

      Reply
    • thank you for mentioning the actual article that has been interpreted here. As with anything, interpretations are too subjected. The sad part of our generation is that google provides so many of these ‘interpretations’ that we never bother to read the true source and decode it for ourselves. No one person can be right about everything, no matter HOW well-meaning they are. Lets all read the research ourselves (yes it can be daunting, but is there not a sense of accomplishment for teaching an old dog new tricks? lol). But I am thankful to have read this article, because it has spurred me to look into the research. Keep in mind folks, cutting out all cholesterol doesn’t lower high cholesterol, so could it be possible that cutting out all oxalates doesn’t fix high oxalate problems. Perhaps it could make it worse?

      Reply
      • I agree with Kasie. People do your own research! One person is not the end all be all of information. There are a ton of books out there disagreeing with one another. Hello most doctors aren’t even given a proper nutritional background and a lot of nutritionists disagree about many things. READ! Rotate the greens on a daily basis and you’ll be fine. I read a lot about people hating their green smoothies? Ever heard of stevia, I have never had a bad green smoothie. 40% greens 60% fruit and always use either a banana or avocado for smooth drinks that don’t seperate. Also take the stems out for less bitter kale and out of chard for the saltiness. Romaine and regular green leafy lettuce work great too. I really wonder what Ann Wigmore would think of all of this, she cured cancers with green leafy veggies!

        Reply
        • Excuse me: the more I research, the more I don’t know. I recently came upon the work of Ray Peat who doesn’t like fermentation in veggies or dairy……so, yogurt is off the list!!

          And then there’s Matt Stone who likes sugar again…..

          Reply
    • It has never actually been “proven” that smoking cigarettes causes cancer either, but I would sure like to hear from folks who are making that suggestion.

      The connection between consumed oxalates and kidney stones is convincing enough that they teach about it in American nursing schools.

      P.S., First rule of the scientfic method is that nothing is ever “proven.” Science is about defeating the null hypothesis within a particular confidence interval–as any introductory statistics book will teach you. The preceding is always far from “proof.” Hence, we shouldn’t require “proof” prior to allowing a scientific finding to influence our health-related decisions.
      Nicole, The Non-Toxic Nurse\’s last post: Smart Meter Concerns Hit National Headlines . . . Finally!

      Reply
      • You’re right about the cigarettes. They are only a very low risk-factor for cancer, and nicotine boosts brain function which is helpful to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Cigs do, however, promote COPD and circulation issues.

        Reply
      • Nicole you are being ridiculous now. I unstand that you are a “student” and believe you have insider info on all things medical but your just as sensational as Sarah. People are bothered by uses of the word “devestate” and “Don’t” along with the lack of clarity on which vegetables are the culprit, etc. I think Sarah has done a diservice to the holistic healthcare enthusiast.

        Reply
      • I have to politely disagree. The effects of smoking are very well documented! Studies PROVE that smoking DOES cause cancer. The chemicals in cigarettes cause DNA affects and when removed by the good guys incorrect bases can be added on. When DNA mutates like this cancer cells can proliferate. It is also PROVEN that smoking causes oxidative stress and free radical damage, two risk factors for cancer. Sure you can get cancer even if you don’t smoke but the instances of mouth, esophageal and lung cancer are correlated with those who smoke.

        Reply
    • I agree with Jennifer that the idea of restricting dietary oxalates will reduce oxalate-related illnesses in sensitive people is unproven. The research is all over the place. It is like the idea that reducing dietary cholesterol reduces cholesterol levels, which we know to be wrong because the body manufactures most cholesterol. Maybe there is a small association, especially in extremes. The more interesting question is why people who are sensitive to oxalate-associated diseases create crystals instead of passing them out through the colon?

      I suspect gut health is a major issue. When the probiotic lining of the gut wall is impaired, things get into the blood and lymph that shouldn’t. I am very curious about the aspergilis connection as a patient ended up with kidney stones and vulvodynia after exposure to mold. Mold can affect the gut.. And perhaps there is a nutrient deficiency which doesn’t permit the use of implicated minerals (say magnesium.)

      Do remember people, only some people are sensitive to oxalates and the rest of you can eat them in peace. And while people with oxalate-associated diseases may also be able to eat them, I’ll understand if you want to play it safe. Plus if any of you thyroid-challenged want to steam your cruciferous veggies before putting them into your smoothies, you are allowed.

      Reply
      • Oxalates are toxic to everyone. They are what makes rhubarb leaves poison. The issue is not if you are sensitive to them. The issue is if they are absorbed by your gut or stay in the gi track and are eliminated. Also they are not like a food allergy that you can just see if you react to the food or not. The body stores oxalate, like it stores heavy metals, and reactions come from the build up in the body. Few react clearly to consumption of a high oxalate food (although my daughter does but I don’t. We both need a Low Oxalate diet for health.)
        PattyLA\’s last post: Low Oxalate produce in season now!

        Reply
        • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
          Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist May 24, 2012 at 5:38 pm

          Yes, most green smoothie addicts will discover this too late unfortunately. It’s not like you can drink green smoothies and say “hey I feel great, I’m going to keep doing this”. You are headed for the cliff and you don’t even feel it or know it. The time to change your ways is before your body tissues are inundated with oxalate crystals.

          Reply
          • I’ve been doing green smoothies every day for 2½ years, and the Boutenko familly even longer. You just need to rotate your greens.

        • Patty, the dosage makes the poison. Oxygen is toxic to everyone in sufficient concentration. Oxalic acid may attack cancers and the body creates oxalates- probably far more important than dietary oxylates.

          Reply
          • Huh? Oxalate hasn’t been shown to have any beneficial role in the body by anyone. It is a toxin that the body works to eliminate. It is a byproduct of some body processes, just like carbon dioxide is a byproduct that needs to then be eliminated.

    • Wrong.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11135080

      “Urinary oxalate excretion increased as dietary oxalate intake increased. With oxalate-containing diets, the mean contribution of dietary oxalate to urinary oxalate excretion ranged from 24.4 +/- 15.5% on the 10 mg/2500 kcal/day diet to 41.5 +/- 9.1% on the 250 mg/2500 kcal/day diet, much higher than previously estimated. “

      Reply
  24. You should not be allowed to write articles about nutrition. Oxalate is not harmful, but once cooked, oxalic acid can increase the risk of developing kidney stones. Get your facts straight before writing articles about foods that are on this plant to make people healthy. O yea, and the fat you eat is the fat you where. Stop telling people to douse their food with fat. Candida is a result of too much fat in the blood stream, not green leafy vegetables. Eat more fat if you want to get heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

    Victoria Innes
    MS Human Nutrition

    Reply
    • Agree. You really should not be allowed to write articles about nutrition. You are doing people a major disservice.

      Reply
      • Agreed! How about siting some of your resources for this article? Steering people away from or worse yet scaring them about drinking green smoothies is absurd. Yes, moderation is key. Yes, real butter is better than margarine. Unless you’re drinking a gallon/day + for extended periods of time, you have nothing to worry about! Not cool… this article is a better reminder for you to do your own research from QUALIFIED individuals who do actual research instead of just blogging about their opinions with little or no factual basis.

        Dr. Steven A. Mikulak, DC, CCSP

        Reply
        • Also agreed about the sources. I usually find that when I’m blogging it is easy to add a link to sources like pubMed, or to list them at the end. Given that the idea that consuming oxalates is a controversial contributor to kidney stones and other oxalate-related diseases, it would be good to see the pros and cons in the literature. Frankly I suspect that it has either more to do with the body’s ability to process minerals (cofactors missing? low Vitamin D status? minerals in wrong places due to leaky gut?) than consumption.

          Also you mentioned that only 20% of people are sensitive to oxalates (source? -it seems high) but you frame many of your comments to everyone, as if they all are dealing with hidden oxalate poisoning. This is a condition that affects a minority of people, and it may even not be related to consumption of veggies, quinoa, etc.

          Reply
      • That’s right Sarah. You are just educating people about different kinds of foods and how people can take a look at their diet, especially if they have health concerns, and make changes accordingly. I don’t know why people take your posts so personally. Actually, being a real food nutritionist, I am used to people taking things personally if they do not agree with something I recommend to them. At first I was offended but now I believe everyone has their own path and I just set an intention to attract ideal clients who will be actually helped by my services and knowledge. It is working out pretty well!
        marina\’s last post: Spelt Flour and Yogurt Pancakes

        Reply
        • Brad – I’ve had the misfortune of dealing with real doctors with my health. That’s why I’m interested in nutrition now.

          Reply
        • You’re linking to a VEGAN website…. that shows how much you know. This lady got healthier likely because she cut out gluten, dairy etc…… but she likely won’t be so healthy for long, as vegans eventually end up with severe nutritional deficiencies and early death as a result of their misguided ideas.

          It is good for detox purposes to eat raw vegan for about a MONTH if you have severe health problems (especially cancer), but after that you damage your health unless you put meat, saturated fat etc. back into your diet.

          Reply
    • I don’t know about the leafy greens causing issues, but I do know that oxalate is just the the anion in oxalic acid. If oxalic acid is a problem, then really, oxalate is *the* problem because oxalic acid is a fairly strong acid (has a pKa of around 1.3) and therefore is present as the oxalate and hydronium ions. Your assertion that oxalate doesn’t hurt, but oxalic acid does makes no sense. What does the cooking do?

      Cassie
      MS Chemistry, if you’re curious

      Reply
      • Cooking makes the oxalate in spinach more bioavailable, just like cooking makes the iron in spinach more bioavailable and the lycopene in tomatoes more bioavailable. Food combining is important as well, so read about that especially when cooking, as some foods have nutrients that bind together and can’t be eliminated well, and form things such as these crystals and kidney stones.

        Reply
    • Vickie this is literally the most ridiculous assertion I have ever read. Candida, cancer and diabetes are the result of fat consumption and not sugar? They don’t call diabetes “the sugars” for nothin’! Sugar feeds both cancer cells and fungus in the GI tract. You do realize our brains are 60% fat, our hormones rely on fat? Healthy fats are absolutely essential to the human body. We have been consuming them safely forever, and only recently has fat gotten a bad reputation. Only recently have low-fat/high-carb diets become the norm, and the rates of heart disease, diabetes and cancer are higher than ever. Just because you were taught this does not make it true, you need to do your own research. Carbs turn to glucose once digested, spiking blood sugar and being stored as fat. Healthy fats are used for energy, not stored. Get YOUR facts straight.
      dani\’s last post: ethics

      Reply
    • Candida as a result of hyperlipidemia? That’s strange . . . they don’t teach that in nursing school and I have never come across it in any journals. What does Candida eat again? Oh, that’s right, sugar. Why are diabetics susceptible to Candida? Oh, that’s right, their blood sugar is high and their immune system is down-regulated secondary to the sequela of high blood sugar. Wait, isn’t that a large part of the reason diabetics are though to have greater cancer risks according to the endocrinological literature? What are diabetics told to eat in lieu of sugar calories? Oh, that’s right, protein and fat. Eating fat causes fat deposition? Since when? Ever heard of the Mediterranean Diet that even most old-school MDs recommend these days, or the French Paradox? Time for some current, non-refined-carb-industry-sponsored CEUs me thinks. P.S., if the fat you eat were the fat you wear, then Sarah would not look as she does and I never would have lost my pregnancy weight. P.P.S., Lumping all fats into a single category is just plain ridiculous and ignores the past 50 years of science!
      Nicole, The Non-Toxic Nurse\’s last post: Smart Meter Concerns Hit National Headlines . . . Finally!

      Reply
      • Nicole, couldn’t agree more. All of the people I know who are fit and healthy eat plenty of natural fat and low carbs. Conversely, all of the people I know with weight problems are carb addicts. (And many of them eat low-fat and/or fat-substitute foods. Several of them have heart problems.) The fat you eat is certainly NOT the fat you wear! How outdated a statement this is! Scientifically, completely erroneous!

        Reply
    • Excuse me, *allowed*???? I’m sorry, I have been under the impression we live in a free country. How sad that I’ve been wrong all these years!?! If you don’t like what you read here, then stop reading blogs like this! No one, as far as I know, is forcing you to read articles you so obviously do not agree with. This blog is for people who want to follow or are already following the Weston A. Price principles for healthy living.

      Reply
      • This was meant to be a reply to Vickie Innes’ comment above but somehow didn’t show up in the right place!

        Reply
    • Vickie,
      Oxalate is a toxin. Our bodies do produce it in small amounts, but our bodies’ entire response to oxalate is to 1.) keep it from being absorbed through the intestines and into the bloodstream and 2.) to try and get rid of it if we have absorbed it, or if too much is circulating in our systems for our kidneys to keep up, to tuck it away in other tissues where it won’t do as much damage as it does while circulating.

      I don’t know how you could become a nutritionist without knowing the toxic effects of oxalate, but it is toxic to every person. The only difference in people is that some people’s bodies do a pretty good job of keeping oxalate out and getting rid of the oxalate that gets in and some people’s bodies don’t. Also, some people make a lot in their bodies and some don’t. The problem is, you might not know which one you are until you have already caused a lot of damage. Erring on the side of caution and reducing or eliminating the amount of high oxalate greens in your smoothies is a good idea for a lot of people. Also, cooking has absolutely no effect on oxalate. Some ways of cooking foods can reduce oxalate content in some vegetables, but cooking oxalic acid does not increase the risk of kidney stones. It actually lowers the risk if the vegetable is cooked properly.

      I think it shows pretty poor form to flaunt your nutritionist credentials and to tell other people to learn more about health and nutrition when you do not understand oxalate yourself. I encourage you to read more about oxalate before flaunting this type of ignorance in a way that is meant to belittle and cut down the author of this article instead of trying to promote a genuine discussion of ideas.
      Heidi\’s last post: The Low Oxalate Curry Guide

      Reply
    • Wow Vickie…….. you’re a nutritionist? Good thing there are people out there who actually know what they’re talking about, like Sarah, because people listening to you wouldn’t live long.

      Saturated fats help you lose weight, and low fat diets cause heart disease. Because the heart actually can’t function without saturated fat.

      Candida is caused by sugars and carbs, not fat. Cancer is caused by fungus, which is fed by sugars and carbs. Diabetes is also caused by sugars and carbs.

      Cut out grains and sugar, eat only one to two fruits a day, stop drinking fruit juice and eat more healthy fats like butter and lard, and you won’t have to worry about diabetes, candida and heart disease…… and it isn’t likely you’ll get cancer, either.

      Reply
  25. I think you are ding your readers a major disservice by lumping all green leafy veg into this category and then presenting their consumption as alarmist. The one, and only, source you cite calls out is spinach as the specific leafy green to be wary of but focuses more strongly on Soy and Peanuts which are not components of the drinks you are being alarmist about. What about sweet potatoes, chocolate, black pepper, and tea which are also cited. Will we be having a sweeping, alarmist “Don’t Drink Tea or eat Chocolate” article too?

    Additionally, the recommendation in your cited article is an increase in calcium citrate and Omega 3 fatty acids or vegetable oils – NOT BUTTER. Recommending people avoid all leafy greens in general and cook them in loads of butter is not only an incorrect reading it is woefully unhealthful for a society riddled with nutritional deficiencies and “unfoods” like high fructose corn syrups, etc.

    The article states that “The supplement that is most helpful is vitamin B6″. Know what B6 is found in? Spinach. And bananas – a common smoothie additive.

    More sources and some grounded advice from a certified nutritionist might help me take this seriously but as it stands I am saddened at scaremongering.

    Reply
  26. I don’t drnk alot of green smoothies..maybe once a week but i pretty much have a big salad everyday and I will continue to do so. Now leafy greens are bad? give me a break. like another poster said i believe leafy greens are excellet for the body. Everyday it seems like something else is bad for you. I have come to the conclusion that I ma going to eat whatever I want but just listen to my body.

    Reply
  27. I remember this similar topic “Think Raw Veggies…” from 10/10 (awhile ago) and you said if I were to blanch my kale that would be fine “no need to cook it to death”. Kale is in my green smoothie! What about Kale Chips? Lord help me!

    Reply
      • You keep saying “fine in moderation” but you didn’t make that the focus of your article. What you are doing is scaring away people who drink green smoothies in moderation or those who would benefit from adding them to their life. You may say that isn’t true but the fear-mongering language you use in the article suggests otherwise. And I have read through these comments enough to know that is a fact. How many of your readers have just told you they are no longer putting spinach in their smoothies or eating raw salads? Or thanking you for sharing something with them that they did not know? How many of those people actually had a problem with drinking green smoothies too frequently and in large enough quantities to warrant a problem? My guess is none. I personally do not know anybody who takes in so many raw greens or green smoothies to have a problem with high oxalates. Maybe you do but you did not share any examples in your article.

        If you did want to encourage moderation, you should have titled your article differently. It seems to me that we have bigger problems to worry about than people drinking green smoothies!

        Reply
  28. @Alyssa Pilat – I am not disagreeing with moderation, or really with her point at all. I think the issue most of us are having here is how this was communicated. Notice how everyone is going “Huh?” There are unanswered questions. If you click on the original article that she cites at the bottom of this one, it is more thorough. But still — sending out a message saying to “opt out” entirely — based on the information stated in ONE article? Not very responsible when 17,000 people are reading your blog.

    Reply
  29. Sabrina Ball via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 10:52 am

    This article is poorly written, do your own research people and don’t stop eating raw leafy greens!

    Reply
  30. Carrie Miller via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Im not sure that I can get into the article either. I think its just a ploy to get people to not get healthier so they can remain on pharms drugs etc. Mainstream is constantly turning a blind eye to natural things and natural remedies because that would mean money loss. If you do research from the beginning of time the healthiest people were the ones who had a very high diet of raw fruits and veggies, we need those most along with water and then other things are below that like grains, meats, etc Moderation I do think is important but I will not stop having a green smoothie a day just because someone is trying to tell me now that veggies are bad for you and should limit them to only once in awhile

    Reply
    • Carrie- Apparently you have never read Sarah’s blog or have a clue as to the research she has at hand by Dr. Weston price. You just read the article and then went off on a rant of your own opinion that was completely unfounded. People are telling Sarah to do the research when in fact you have not done it yourself. Yes the article could have been a little more clear for those that have never read about or know what her blog is about or have never eaten traditionally. But to get all bent out of shape over her recommendation to eat in moderation and to be aware of the harm you are doing to your body by eating too much of this is just ridiculous. Keep eating the way you want. It’s your right to eat what you want. But if you ever are concerned then do some research on Weston Price and his findings and see what is seriously wrong with the way things are being done today and why we are having all of the issues, diseases, and mass use of pharmaceuticals that we are suddenly having. And to trust newer research that is led by the pharmaceutical companies? Wake up people! If you care about your health then take a better look at the way you prepare your foods. If not then carry on.

      Reply
  31. Once my asthmatic & low immune system (at the time 3 yr. old) son was given a green smoothie daily (1/3 c), all his asthma symptoms went away. He hasn’t had any serious illness or an asthma attack in almost 3 years. I solely believe it was from the green smoothies. We don’t have them as much anymore but still feel they supply much needed nutrition. I feel that the broth/cod liver oil/traditional foods help the inside of the body in an important way but different from the smoothies. I feel fully balanced with both. I have wondered why my mom didn’t give me spinach in a smoothie or salad since I can’t stand cooked spinach with vinegar, yuck! I will try it cooked with butter. I doubt I will like it; I hope I’m wrong.

    Reply
  32. Thanks for the article! What about “green supplements” … the organic packets that contain all the nutrients of green leafy veggies? thanks!

    Reply
  33. This article is as bad and off base as the article on how to remove a tick. What’s next? Unreal the horrible advice given here. How much does the Price foundation pay you to say these things?

    Reply
  34. Awilda Sanchez via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 11:02 am

    from what i’ve studied over the years, this writer failed to mention that one must have an ENOURMOUS amounts of greens everyday to have oxalate build-up. the 1-2 cups of raw greens in a smoothie, even more and daily, is not enough to cause harm. this article certainly did not consider to include the many, many studies that find greens to be the foundation of a good healthy diet.

    Reply
  35. Wysteria Jackson via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Ug…enter…

    1. If you drain the liquid what about the magnesium? Leafy greens are about as high as you can get in Magnesium based on my research. So do we supplement because we aren’t getting nearly any in our diet because we drain off the liquid for fear of oxalates?
    2. The main issue I have personally found with green smoothies is that they don’t contain fats. When I (personally) began adding coconut oil my teeth and health improved.
    3. You do realize that your article is basically saying greens are bad for you, correct? What would you suggest as an alternative?
    4. Green smoothies are what get many people headed down the healthy path as they can see quick results, do you really want to turn people away from that?

    Reply
  36. Vicky, you are a nutritionist and you believe that eating fat makes you fat? Wow. And, no offense but mainstream nutritionists have fallen prey to every “fad” and bad piece of nutrition advice to come down the pike in the last twenty years. Eggs are perfect example. For YEARS those in your field were freakish about not eating too many eggs per week because of the cholesterol and then OOPS, our bad, eggs are actually an almost perfect food and fine to eat and what’s more, consumed cholesterol has little to no lasting impact on blood cholesterol levels anyway. With all the latest info and studies that have come out in the last two years regarding the fallacy of the low-fat way of eating I”m actually kind of shocked that you posted what you did. Harvard School of Public Health just came out with the (I think) the latest, saying there was no evidence to support low-fat=health and we should but low-fat diets to bed for good.

    Reply
  37. Wow, you struck a cord with many on this one. You state “If you enjoy green leafy vegetables, enjoy them only on occasion in a salad or even better, cook them thoroughly in lots of butter and carefully drain and discard all the cooking water — never use it in soups and sauces!” Would you please explain how we can still enjoy green and reduce the oxalate? If you are cooking fresh greens in butter, there would not be any cooking water to discard? Are you suggesting we need to steam the veggies first, discard the cooking water, and then add butter to the greens?

    Reply
  38. Articles like this are really harmful to people who are already struggling to eat a good healthy diet. It only serves to make them fearful to eat. I live in an area where it is much harder to come by healthy food and we have an extremely short growing season and only a small garden plot. To get raw milk I would have to drive 5 hours. When we drive 100 mi. into town to be able to get good healthy food, we are on a serious budget. Reading things like this only frustrate me and put me on a guilt trip because it makes me feel as if I am not doing enough and I am hurting my children by feeding them the huge vat of organic spinach I bought them when we were in town that cost a lot of money because we like spinach and its a heck of a lot better than hamburger helper. We don’t have enough space to buy 10 types of greens and rotate.
    Lindsey @ Road to 31\’s last post: Loving as Christ Loves, Living as Christ Lives: Glorifying Him Always

    Reply
    • Traditional cultures had access to tons and tons of raw veggies and leafy greens. Sally Fallon is running the Weston A Price foundation changing it so that it seems like all Price promoted for good health was animal products. Romaine and kale will serve you far more nutritionwise than butter + raw milk. We are talking fat vs. vitamins and minerals here. Think of it this way, how many of your ancestors back up to the first human ever, had access to leafy greens? How many had access to dairy cows?

      Reply
      • My guess is that perhaps the focus on certain foods is in large part because of how they are demonized by the conventional wisdom. There is a great amount of nutrition in butter and raw milk…sure some things are better about Kale and Romaine, but butter and raw milk are really good too.

        Of course people don’t normally talk negatively about eating plants except for small articles like this one pointing out how some people could have an issue with certain plants if they are eaten too much without enough variety.

        I found it pretty easy to read mention of fruits and vegetables….they have that too on the site. Sure there might be a bit more focus on the animal foods, but like I said they are criticized much more strongly and have quite a bit of false information thrown at them constantly by CW nutritionists, dieticians, doctors, etc…How many articles from those conventional sources will mention anything bad about vegetables? Many times they are pushing vegan/vegetarian diets.

        How often are they saying animal foods are health? Perhaps a few articles on fish point out the benefits, but there aren’t many other articles on how healthy animal foods can be.

        Reply
  39. When I just read the title of this article I felt annoyed… but I think we should all remember not to read these articles so literally. Sarah has some good info here… but I believe if it was presented from a different point of view (ie. the BENEFITS of preparing these greens with butter, and how green smoothies may not be your BEST option, or maybe… why you shouldn’t follow fad diets etc.) then maybe it wouldn’t have caused such an uproar.

    For those coming off SAD diets and reading this, I could see how they’d be frustrated with all the rules and theories. Take what you want from it… or not. Dissecting our food isn’t exactly the healthiest habit or mindset. Just do the best you can and be aware… and live your life! :)

    Reply
      • I do not believe green smoothies are a fad exactly– it’s just a way of ingesting fruits and vegetables. Our whole family has them almost every day but we use different food in them– dandelion, spinach, kale, bok choy, carrots, romaine, red leaf lettuce, butternut lettuce ( I think it’s called). And while I agree with Betty that this was presented in a way that is confusing, I did get something out of it.

        Green smoothies can be an easy part of a balanced diet. Spinach need not be used all the time, and I wish that point had been made, and that variety is key.

        Reply
  40. I would like to know what a safe amount of raw leafy greens would be? Interesting article. I had never even considered that green smoothies could be harmful. I like to eat my spinach sauteed in butter with scrambled eggs and I love kale chips baked w grapeseed oil. Hope that is a healthy way to consume them. Thanks for the info!

    Reply
      • Oxalates are only dangerous to those with compromised digestives systems, ie with dysbiosis or leaky gut syndrome. Normally, these oxalates would be digested by the gut flora in your colon and wouldnt be so detrimental. If you do find that you have issues with kidney stones and oxalates, look into repairing your digestive system first.

        Reply
  41. Susan Haddeland via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 11:11 am

    “If you enjoy green leafy vegetables, enjoy them only on occasion in a salad or even better, cook them thoroughly in lots of butter and carefully drain and discard all the cooking water — never use it in soups and sauces!” Did I just read this correctly? Cook them thoroughly in lots of butter for a HEALTHIER alternative to raw, leafy greens? *SMH*

    Reply
    • If you dont know the basics like the amazing nutrient dense qualities that is butter, don’t comment on this blog.

      Reply
  42. Sarah, you should take this post down, redo your research, and THEN maybe post something of valid worth. You are obviously not fully educated in the matter, but simply over-informed as many of your followers. Make sure to include IUs, RDI/RDA, DV or ANY kind of standard unit of measure. Dont just say large; large is relative. You are putting unwarranted fear into people. As with so many bloggers out there you take a grain of truth and wrap it up with opinions and circumstantial evidence. Now, go be a good little over achiever and get your fact straight!!

    Reply
      • Cheryl, even some RDA and nutritionists might know less than Sarah. There were a couple of times when my mentor (nutritionist, where people are lining up to work with her because of great results, mostly by referalls) had nutritionists come to consultations with her because they spent months eating only raw veggies, drinking juices and the like, with a result of their health deteriorating. Why would a nutritionist come to another nutritionist for a consult? Don’t they know enough or can research stuff themselves?
        marina\’s last post: Spelt Flour and Yogurt Pancakes

        Reply
        • Unfortunately I have found that even naturopaths/homeopaths are taught the standard dogma about low fat diets, saturated fat, cholesterol, fibre, polyunsaturated vegetable oil and soy. I am constantly dismayed and saddened about this! But it is fact. People like Sarah are paving the way for a truth that isn’t taught via the regular channels.

          Reply
      • Seriously?? You whole post is flawed with lack of critical information. i am not saying you know nothing, i said you are not posting the full truth. You have not guidelines or amounts, only relative descriptors. Get you facts straight means get amounts on the board, get some valid evidence. You whole post has very little credit if you submitted it to an actual magazine they would turn you down. So you blog because you dont need to be edited when you are a blogger. Seriously get a freaking clue as to what you are posting. Quit with these bullying scare tactics of misused information. Your post is near the equivalent of saying taking calcium supplements will give you kidneys stones. That statement has truth to it, but it is not that cut and dried. Sarah, serious repost completely with proper information. With proper credentials. Dont just claim to be a know-it-all and freak out with a bullying type of challenge when someone counters your supposed knowledge.

        Reply
    • It’s interesting that this post is such a problem and I’ve seen scare and fear in several comments. Why is this simply not awareness information. Information that you can choose to use and increase your awareness or not. Some followers of this blog are individuals who have looked at traditional diets and have interpreted its tenets along the same lines as what’s posted. We live in a society where if we are told a little is helpful, more, greater, and daily consumption should be even better.

      This post reminds us about the issues of eating (some) raw veggies and specifically leafy greens and the exageration of this consumption when raw veggies are then added to smoothies as is currently a popular health trend. I see this post very much consistent with what we know of traditional diets.

      Reply
    • Cheryl, I will NEVER understand why people, such as yourself, decide to be so RUDE when you disagree with someone! Please explain what justifies that? If you don’t agree, that is FINE! Just don’t try to FORCE someone to agree with YOU! That is the inferred and impolite tone that you conveyed. It is no different than going into someone’s house and deciding to tell them how stupid you think their home and decor, etc. is, IN YOUR OPINION! I will politely suggest that you find another blog that totally agrees with you. BORING, but your choice. I see this attitude everywhere now and I am SAD that people just walk all over others in their journey. You will enjoy your life more if you don’t mistreat others. Just a suggestion.

      Reply
      • Watchmom, the same could be said for your comment. I will never understand why some people feel the need to YELL at people with ALL CAPS in order to get their POINT across. It’s just as IMPOLITE, and frankly hypocritical of you to call someone out for similar behaviour.

        But I guess that’s just my OPINION! Sheesh.

        Reply
  43. When you link to the article at the bottom at the Weston Price foundation it says this ” Lettuces, by the way, are very low in oxalates. The biggest problem vegetarians face is eating a diet high in soy protein and spinach.” I’m going to stick with my daily salad for lunch, but be more aware of how large amounts of spinach & a few other foods can affect me. I suffer from Candida, so it was a very interesting read (especially the linked article).

    Reply
  44. So, what I think you’re getting at is that we end up consuming a lot more greens in a smoothie or juiced than we would likely eat in a salad causing our moderation sensor to be “off”. Normally, we might blend our greens in a salad and have smaller portions because, let’s be frank, they aren’t the tastiest thing. I’d say in relation to candida, the sugar is mainly the instigator. When we make smoothies (rather than a small juice or salad), we tend to add high sugar fruits. Might as well eat ice cream at that point. So a smoothie every once in a while isn’t bad but instead of juicing an entire head of kale or collard to put in it, maybe just have a leaf or two, and rather than add in a bunch of fruit to sweeten, possibly some lemon, celery and cucumber so we aren’t oxalated AND sugared out simultaneously which both feed candida. Am I getting this right?

    Reply
  45. I’ve been a WAPF eater for almost 10 years. I just started green smoothies with an organic spring mix to bring more “raw” into my diet, thinking more along the lines of Pottinger’s group. I’m striving for weight loss, more energy, less constipation (even though I go every day). I can only do so many fermented veggies and I thought this might fill a void in my diet and provide a simple lunch. Could you suggest a healthy smoothie that is not kefir based? I already do plain dairy kefir in the morning. My green smoothie has the following: raw egg yolk, cold pressed coconut oil, raw milk, frozen berries, freshly squeezed orange juice, stevia, and two handfuls of spring mix baby greens.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  46. I’m curious about powdered drinks such as ormus greens that we have drank here before (makes it easier to take to work, etc) and were considering getting into again. I’m curious if the oxalates are stable enough to survive through that kind of dehydrating/cooking as well?

    Reply
  47. Jennifer Dayley via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 11:24 am

    “If you enjoy green leafy vegetables, enjoy them only on occasion in a salad or even better, cook them thoroughly in lots of butter and carefully drain and discard all the cooking water — never use it in soups and sauces!”??? That’s interesting. Watch this video & then tell me raw leafy green vegetables aren’t HUGELY important. I DO agree with moderation in all things, & “too cold” or “too hot” can be detrimental to your health, especially if consumed too often. And I don’t have a problem with cooking in small amounts of butter, but I do NOT agree with discarding the cooking water (which so many of the nutrients transferred too) & keeping green leafies to a minimum. I agree with several points in the article, but there are just certain things that don’t fit. Who’s ever heard of not eating a lot of greens??? That’s a new one to me. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KLjgBLwH3Wc

    Reply
    • Yes, Dr. Terry Whal’s three-plates of veggies especially kale paleo diet did cure her of MS and is probably good for Parkinson’s, other neurological conditions and a wide variety of autoimmune diseases. People with thyroid sensitivity may need to steam cruciferous vegetables first. I recommend the video to my patients and my doctor has recommended it to me. She doesn’t have kidney stone issues and perhaps people who do need to choose different greens, or maybe not since the research isn’t clear about eating oxalates as opposed to manufacturing oxalic acid crystals.

      Reply
  48. John Taylor via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Oxalate is water soluble. If you’re going to consume a high-oxalate diet drink plenty of water.

    Reply
  49. You are full of bull!!! Jack Lalanne juiced his entire life and died and a ripe OLD age of 92. He was generally in good health his entire life. You are nothing more than an alarmist and you offer no scientific proof of your claim. Our own bodies actually produce oxalates by themselves without any help from juiced leafy green vegetables.

    Reply
    • Follow-up to previous post.

      Oxalates are naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and in humans. In chemical terms, oxalates belong to a group of molecules called organic acids, and are routinely made by plants, animals, and humans. Our bodies always contain oxalates, and our cells routinely convert other substances into oxalates. For example, vitamin C is one of the substances that our cells routinely convert into oxalates. In addition to the oxalates that are made inside of our body, oxalates can arrive at our body from the outside, from certain foods that contain them.

      Foods that contain oxalates

      The following are some examples of the most common sources of oxalates, arranged by food group. It is important to note that the leaves of a plant almost always contain higher oxalate levels than the roots, stems, and stalks.

      Fruits
      blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, currants, kiwifruit, concord (purple) grapes, figs, tangerines, and plums
      Vegetables (see Table 1 for additional information)
      spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, collards, okra, parsley, leeks and quinoa are among the most oxalate-dense vegetables
      celery, green beans, rutabagas, and summer squash would be considered moderately dense in oxalates
      Nuts and seeds
      almonds, cashews, and peanuts
      Legumes
      soybeans, tofu and other soy products
      Grains
      wheat bran, wheat germ, quinoa (a vegetable often used like a grain)
      Other
      cocoa, chocolate, and black tea

      Oxalates and health

      Conditions that require strict oxalate restriction

      There are a few, relatively rare health conditions that require strict oxalate restriction. These conditions include absorptive hypercalciuria type II, enteric hyperoxaluria, and primary hyperoxaluria. Dietary oxalates are usually restricted to 50 milligrams per day under these circumstances. (Please note: these relatively rare health conditions are different than a more common condition called nephrolithiasis in which kidney stones are formed, 80% from calcium and oxalate). What does 50 milligrams of oxalate look like in terms of food? One cup of raw spinach in leaf form (not chopped) weighs about one ounce, and contains about 200 milligrams of oxalate, so 50 milligrams for the day would permit a person to consume only 1/4 cup of raw spinach (and no other oxalate sources could be eaten during the day).

      Oxalates and kidney stones

      The formation of kidney stones containing oxalate is an area of controversy in clinical nutrition with respect to dietary restriction of oxalate. About 80% of kidney stones formed by adults in the U.S. are calcium oxalate stones. It is not clear from the research, however, that restriction of dietary oxalate helps prevent formation of calcium oxalate stones in individuals who have previously formed such stones. Since intake of dietary oxalate accounts for only 10-15% of the oxalate that is found in the urine of individuals who form calcium oxalate stones, many researchers believe that dietary restriction cannot significantly reduce risk of stone formation.

      In addition to the above observation, recent research studies have shown that intake of protein, calcium, and water influence calcium oxalate affect stone formation as much as, or more than intake of oxalate. Finally, some foods that have traditionally been assumed to increase stone formation because of their oxalate content (like black tea) actually appear in more recent research to have a preventive effect. For all of the above reasons, when healthcare providers recommend restriction of dietary oxalates to prevent calcium oxalate stone formation in individuals who have previously formed stones, they often suggest “limiting” or “reducing” oxalate intake rather than setting a specific milligram amount that should not be exceeded. “Reduce as much as can be tolerated” is another way that recommendations are often stated.

      The effect of cooking on oxalates

      Cooking has a relatively small impact on the oxalate content of foods. Repeated food chemistry studies have shown no statistically significant lowering of oxalate content following the blanching or boiling of green leafy vegetables. A lowering of oxalate content by about 5-15% is the most you should expect when cooking a high-oxalate food. It does not make sense to overcook oxalate-containing foods in order to reduce their oxalate content. Because many vitamins and minerals are lost from overcooking more quickly than are oxalates, the overcooking of foods (particularly vegetables) will simply result in a far less nutritious diet that is minimally lower in oxalates.

      Practical tips

      For the vast majority of individuals who have not experienced the specific problems described above, oxalate-containing foods should not be a health concern. Under most circumstances, high oxalate foods like spinach can be eaten raw or cooked and incorporated into a weekly or daily meal plan as both baby spinach and mature, large leaf spinach can both make healthy additions to most meal plans. In short, the decision about raw versus cooked or baby versus mature leaf spinach or other oxalate-containing vegetables, for example, should be a matter of personal taste and preference for most individuals.

      Table 1
      Raw Vegetable Oxalate contentmilligrams per 100 gram serving
      Spinach 750
      Beet greens 610
      Okra 146
      Parsley 100
      Leeks 89
      Collard greens 74

      Adapted from the following sources: (1) United States Department of Agriculture, Human Nutrition Information Service, Agriculture Handbook Number 8-11, “Composition of Foods: Vegetables and Vegetable Products.” Revised August 1984; (2) data gathered by LithoLink Corporation, a metabolic testing and disease management service for kidney stone patients, founded by Dr. Fredric Coe, a University of Chicago Medical School Professor, and posted on its website at http://www.litholink.com; (3)data presented by Holmes RP and Kennedy M. (2000). Estimation of the oxalate content of foods and daily oxalate intake. Kidney International(4):1662.

      References

      Assimos, D. G. and Holmes, R. P. Role of diet in the therapy of urolithiasis. Urol Clin North Am. 2000 May; 27(2):255-68.

      Curhan, G. C. Epidemiologic evidence for the role of oxalate in idiopathic nephrolithiasis. J Endourol. 1999 Nov; 13(9):629-31.

      Hanson, C. F.; Frankos, V. H., and Thompson, W. O. Bioavailability of oxalic acid from spinach, sugar beet fibre and a solution of sodium oxalate consumed by female volunteers. Food Chem Toxicol. 1989 Mar; 27(3):181-4.

      Kelsay, J. L. and Prather, E. S. Mineral balances of human subjects consuming spinach in a low-fiber diet and in a diet containing fruits and vegetables. Am J Clin Nutr. 1983 Jul; 38(1):12-9.

      Kikunaga, S.; Arimori, M., and Takahashi, M. The bioavailability of calcium in spinach and calcium-oxalate to calcium-deficient rats. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol(Tokyo). 1988 Apr; 34(2):195-207.

      Parivar, F.; Low, R. K., and Stoller, M. L. The influence of diet on urinary stone disease. J Urol. 1996 Feb; 155(2):432-40

      Prakash D, Nath P, and Pal M. (1993). Composition, variation of nutritional contents in leaves, seed protein, fat and fatty acid profile of chenopodium species. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 62(2):203-205.

      Sienera R. (2006). Oxalate contents of species of the Polygonaceae, Amaranthaceae and Chenopodiaceae families. Food Chemistry 98(2):220-224.

      Reply
      • Oh Sean, THANK YOU!! That is quality information, not happenstance non-sense that this original post is chocked full of. I am highly surprised little Miss Know-It-All Sarah didnt verbally backhand you. :) But i am sure she may try to as it seems she cant handle anyone “insulting” her with the truth.

        Reply
          • Actually, Tina I am not an economist turned nutrition nut like Sarah claims to be. I actually studied this stuff and have degrees in Nutrition and Food Science, Molecular Biology and a few other than correlate. this blog was brought to my attention through a friend and colleague. This type of blogging really needs to be shut down. this post is obviously driven by opinion not fact. She has one obscure source from which it is to be assumed she has conjured these conclusions. All I have asked is that she post rational valid proof of what she is claiming other wise it is just hearsay. None of what she has is hard evidence of anything. It is all circumstantial. I am not insulting her I am stating that she comes across and an expert and yet she has NO validation and her credentials are lacking. Economics is a far different science from biology and natural chemistry. You cant just decide , “Ah I bored and because I have a degree in something and I have passion for something else I am an expert.” But alas that is what the blogging universe has become, few actual true experts but a caboodle of yappers that think they know what they are talking about.

        • I can’t sit by and let one of my favourite bloggers be verbally assaulted like this! What I would like to know is, why are you people, who not only so obviously do not agree with Sarah or WAPF principles but also seem quite rude, even reading this blog? If it’s only to insult Sarah, then shame on you! It’s a free country and she has the right to voice her opinion, particularly on HER OWN BLOG! This is Sarah’s blog. Go get your own blog!

          Reply
          • I can’t stand this article and think she’s an idiot and I’m not subscribed to this blog. Someone shared it on FB and scared the crap out of other people not subscribed to her blog. Newsflash: there’s a thing called social media where stupid, inaccurate, LIES are shared and it’s harmful. I will NEVER subscribe to this, trust me! so that hopefully answers your question. This retarded article got put in people’s news feeds and we have the RIGHT (freedom of expression) to call it bull. :)

          • Prime, sure you have the right to call things what you want I guess, as this is a free country. But, if you’re not interested in this kind of thinking about health, why would you bother? I’m sure you have far more important things to attend to. You also don’t make any friends by spouting off like this. Since you agreed that we have the right to express ourselves as we see fit, then why not let Sarah express her opinion in peace? You think it’s bull, she thinks it’s valid. Since this is her blog, I think you must graciously concede.

      • Sean, just FYI. I would not bother to post all that info AFTER you begin with rudeness. I will not read it, and I suspect others feel the same. Wouldn’t it have been better to dialogue in a respectful manner with Sarah, than to join in the name-calling with CheryL? THINK.

        Reply
        • You suspect that others will join you in sticking their heads in the sand knowing there is a through list of sources that disagree with something you want to believe because he said the author was “full of bull”?

          There is a lot left out on the topic of “candida or other fungal challenges”. Antibiotics pave the way to a lot of that stuff. A good probiotic, or plain greek yogurt with a small drizzle of honey or pinch of blueberries every night can give those fungal challenges (as well as the prescriptions given for them) a run for their money.

          Reply
    • Jack Lalanne probably didn’t have a candida or fungal issue. Some figures show that as many as 80% of Americans probably have candida issues.

      Try not to be so abrasive! It’s fine to disagree but the majority of people on here are acting like they’ve been attacked personally.

      Reply
      • Ahhhhh here we go again….dont you sound like a hypocrite! How can you accuse Sarah of sounding like a know it all when thats exactly how you sound? And honestly…please do not comment on this blog if you do not agree with at least some of the Weston A Price philosophies or if you’re not willing to present your opinion tactfully without being rude. And no disrespect…but you having degrees doesnt say much about you either. Those are just things that you were taught by “the man”. Its just like religion and science. There are 2 sides to everything. In this case its the old way of doing things and the new way.

        Reply
      • You underestimate the damage and roadblocks that misinformation can spread when something somehow makes it’s way to the top of the search results despite being based on one or two questionable sources. It might seem trivial, but you never know how many people might’ve been steered away from something that could make a world of difference in their life because they get this article stuck in their head and don’t go through the comments.

        I am not a vegan, I am not a vegetarian, I am not a paleo diet commando, and I eat meats, coconut oil, and the greens too. My bias, my “agenda” here, is having to explain to my elders after they linked me this article, to please research beyond this blog post, and I’m not the only one who came here in this boat.

        Reply
  50. I find this article informative, but one-sided. Leafy greens are rich in folate and about 45 % of the population is a carrier for the MTHFR polymorphism. It’s reported 99 % of people on the autism spectrum disorder have this polymorphism. Carriers have have several issues and one is the need for naturally occurring folate, and leafy greens are rich in this. Lack of folate ( not synthetic folic acid, this is very bad for carriers ) plays a role in miscarriage. And addressing the WAPF way of living, Dr. Price specifically believed a lack of phosphorus and calcium were a direct contribution to tooth decay and leafy greens provide a perfect ratio of this. I’m not skipping out on my green smoothies or greens.

    Reply
  51. The point of the article is that green smoothies are a fad and consuming raw leafy greens in the enormous quantities that people are consuming them in green smoothies is a recipe for health disaster due to the oxalate problem that is caused especially since people with candida issues already likely have an oxalate problem as fungus creates oxalates in the body so watching the amount of oxalates in the diet becomes even more important.

    Reply
  52. I wonder what you would say to The Gerson Therapy method with over 75 years of successful, documented cancer treatments using green juices? Check out http://www.Gerson.org

    I am beyond confused and dismayed by this article. Sarah, I appreciate your blog and passion, and am wondering about your credentials. Are you a dietician or naturopath or something? Please help me understand from where you get your information.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Gerson therapy does allow some greens like beet tops, but no spiniach unless it is cooked. I think people see a large improvement on green smoothies because there is a lot of good nutrition in them and they are such a vast improvement above what most people are eating. People’s argument of “well I feel phenomenal while I drink them” is not really a great point. People usually feel great when they start a vegetarian diet because they are detoxing from so many SAD foods. I think they could be a great idea for people to do as a cleanse or health booster for a time, but the possible long-term negative effects are something that people should be aware of. There are obviously a few people posting on here who did recover from oxalate overload when they stopped drinking them.

      People need to quit being so extreme. Just because Sarah educated us about some facts and said she personally avoids them people are attacking her! (I realize you aren’t being rude, Marise, but some people are going crazy!)

      Reply
  53. I have to disagree…I JUST passed a 5mil kidney stone this month….I have never had one in my life….in the past 6 months I have started drinking a green smoothie for breakfast…..when I brought the stone to my Urologist I questioned her about my oxalate stone and how it related to the green smoothies…should I continue drinking them etc. The answer she gave was this: You would have to eat many POUNDS of spinach, kale etc each day to have a stone form. She told me that people that drink soda, especially “brown colored” soda are at a much HIGHER risk of forming oxalate stones than green smoothie drinkers. Her advice: Drink green smoothies! DO NOT DRINK ANY SODA!
    Shelley\’s last post: He Loves Ranch!

    Reply
    • It seems to me that if you’ve never had stones before but developed them AFTER starting a regimen of daily leafy green smoothies that the proof is in the pudding. I know no one wants to admit this, but Doctors are not always right…in fact, they are frequently DEAD WRONG, especially when it comes to knowledge about nutrition. Think about how often and how drastically the recommendations for food consumption have changed over the years. I have stopped listening to Doctors and have started doing research. The Weston Price Foundation, while not perfect, is a good start. AND their recommendations are based on anecdotal evidence combined with many, many years of research.

      Reply
      • here here! If the two leading cause of deaths are heart disease and cancer – Doctors are The Third Leading Cause of Deaths.

        Reply
    • Shelley, a doctor told my Dad that taking radiation was a good idea to stop his cancer. He died at 58 from prostate ca met to the bone. We now know that radiation can spread cancers and that it eats away at the bones and other tissue, which I saw with my own eyes. Not all doctors know everything. Wish I had my Dad back and hadn’t believed a doctor.

      Reply
  54. A friend just pointed me to this article: http://www.incrediblesmoothies.com/green-smoothies/oxalates-spinach-oxalic-acid-health-concern/ It is put out by a smoothie blog, so it make sense they are pro-green smoothies. I just wish that health experts could agree on something. I do appreciate you weighing in on tough health topics though! In the end I the best any lay person can do is read as much as possible and figure out what works for our own bodies. Which after reading Real Food Blogs for 2 years now, I am still at a loss.
    Amanda\’s last post: Enchilada Casserole

    Reply
    • For claiming somewhere in that or another oxalic acid/oxalate post that her article is “well researched”, I beg to differ…even if it was there is _no_ proof and _no_ footnotes behind what she says.

      Reply
  55. I think everything in moderation is important. However, if I skip on greens I’m a pretty cranky person. I don’t consume tremendous amounts, but I would say we through about 4-6 heads of kale a week, between my husband and myself. I would take more issue with the overuse of sweet fruits in those smoothies as it can feed candida.

    Reply
  56. A lot of people commenting need to learn a little bit about veggies and fats! We have some fat-ophobics on here, which is surprising. Fats are good for you, and they make your veggies healthier! There’s a reason why veggies taste way better in butter…

    Reply
  57. I am confused.. I have read on numerous nutrition websites about the benefits of eating leafy greens on a daily basis. I practically have a large mixed salad everyday (with nuts, cheese, olives, beans, sprouts, chicken thrown in) either for my lunch or in addition to my dinner. I am rarely, if ever, sick, look young for my age and my skin looks and feels great. I also eat lots of cooked veggies with dinner and in the morning I have a powdered green shake with my oatmeal (not to be confused with a raw green smoothie). Should I be eliminating my daily big salads or reducing them in case they are causing more harm then good and have more “cooked” veggies?? I have never heard the advice of eating less leafy green salads…

    Reply
  58. It surprises me that someone who supports a whole-foods diet doesn’t understand “WHOLE” foods and the fact that when nature grows a WHOLE edible plant, it provides a WHOLE solution, just like how an apple that contains a lot of fructose also contains a lot of fiber and other nutrients that slow down the uptake of that sugar so that the effect on blood sugar when you eat a WHOLE apple is very minimal. It’s like a little miracle food. Leafy greens are no different.

    It’s really interesting to me that you choose to make leafy greens the villain instead of going after soda, sugar and salt, which are the BIGGEST oxalate culprits, which DO cause kidney stones, because they aren’t naturally accompanied by oxalate-negators. Calcium is so plentiful and highly absorbable in raw greens, and calcium binds to excess oxalates to render them harmless and easily removed by the body. Green foods are vital and should be eaten daily. AND there is even some evidence that says blending oxalate-rich foods by breaking open the cell wall (thus making all the nutrients more bioavailable) actually neutralizes oxalates.

    Cooking spinach will increase the effects of oxalates in our bodies. It doesn’t mean you should never cook your spinach, oxalates are fine in moderation…

    Have you ever personally experienced someone to have “oxalate shards in their heart” and it was proven to be caused by leafy greens? I’ve never heard of too many vegetables causing health problems, as long as their diet is balanced. And the people who are eating “too many” vegetables? Where are they? I can’t find them anywhere!

    Too many greens is NOT our problem, people. Our problem is that people aren’t getting ENOUGH veggies… so one green smoothie a day allows us to get an extra 3-5 servings of veggies, which for most people will be all or 90% of the veggies they eat, sadly.

    I would love to see some scientific evidence, if you have some. Because I have searched and have yet to find any regarding oxalates specifically from spinach. Yes, they contain oxalates, but also oxalate-negators.

    Reply
    • AMEN!!! I’m SO tired of people NOT contributing proper info about nutrition in the country. SHE is now part of the problem.

      Reply
  59. @Rhonda Oxalates are reduced by cooking .. I’ve done more research on the subject since that earlier article from a couple years ago and have realized that oxalates are not reduced by a light steaming as much as thought. BUT, if you consume them in moderation you are fine of course!

    Reply
  60. @Rhonda Oxalates are reduced by cooking .. I’ve done more research on the subject since that earlier article from a couple years ago and have realized that oxalates are not reduced by a light steaming as much as thought. BUT, if you consume them in moderation you are fine of course!

    Reply
  61. Hi Sarah, I have to admit that I was pretty puzzled by your post. I love your blog and have followed it for quite awhile now. So, I did some reading this morning and was really surprised to find that most of the foods which contain high levels of oxalate are foods that many weston a pricers would advocate people to eat. However, in this article, I noticed that most of the people who have problems with their oxalate levels are also people whose health issues are rooted in a “leaky gut”. They also have a large amount of gut inflammation and not enough good intestinal flora which usually take care of our oxalates levels in our bodies. So, this has just encouraged me to keep drinking my water kefir, dairy kefir, yogurt, and buttermilk! Yay for fermented foods and they’re fabulous ability to keep our bodies balanced and healthy!
    http://www.lowoxalate.info/

    Reply
    • I eat and juice dandelion greens when I want to beat back fungal issues. Same with wheatgrass. Both are amazing super foods from my personal experiences anyway..

      Reply
  62. Jennifer Berry via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Here is what Victoria Boutenko says in her book, Green Smoothie Revolution, in answer to the question “should I avoid eating spinach because it has oxalic acid?”: “The oxalic acid in food is considered harmful because it can combine with calcium and may leach the body of this important mineral. For some reason, everyone knows about the oxalic acid in spinach, but they are not aware of the oxalic acid content in many other commonly eaten foods such as grains, beans, and especially coffee and tea. While spinach is loaded with calcium, which minimizes the loss of this mineral from your body, coffee has none. I would be more concerned about the oxalic acid content in coffee and other products than in spinach. At the same time, even thought the oxalic acid content in spinach is minute, if you do not rotate your greens and use only spinach for many weeks, you may accumulate oxalic acid and experience symptoms of poisoning. Remember, rotate your greens!” Hope that helps someone!

    Reply
  63. The body is designed to maintain a very narrow pH range in the blood, and will distribute acidic or alkaline products wherever it needs to in order to maintain that blood pH. I personally believe that this is a case of everything in moderation. If someone is already eating an alkalinizing diet, then these large smoothies daily could be overkill. But I believe that for the majority of Americans who line up for a veggie drink *maybe* once a day and eat a SAD 80% of the time, they are helpful. Moderation. Balance.

    Reply
  64. Andrea Baeza via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Fruits

    blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, currants, kiwifruit, concord (purple) grapes, figs, tangerines, and plums

    Vegetables (see Table 1 for additional information)

    spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, collards, okra, parsley, leeks and quinoa are among the most oxalate-dense vegetables

    celery, green beans, rutabagas, and summer squash would be considered moderately dense in oxalates

    Nuts and seeds

    almonds, cashews, and peanuts

    Legumes

    soybeans, tofu and other soy products

    Grains

    wheat bran, wheat germ, quinoa (a vegetable often used like a grain)

    Other

    cocoa, chocolate, and black tea

    Reply
  65. Marina Hoffstrom via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 11:46 am

    There’s a bacteria called Oxalobacter formigenes. They live in the gut and eat oxalate. Antibiotics and other drugs kill Oxalobacter formigenes and doctors don’t know how to get more of them … but other probiotics may help.
    My first reaction to this article was “fear mongering”! Please, do not tell people what to eat and scare them off healthy stuff when you don’t seem to know what you’re talking about! Totally dislike!
    You have many good articles and arguments, but this one diminishes your credibility a lot …

    Reply
  66. Green smoothies don’t make me feel better, but fresh juicing does. How come I always feel better after juicing or having a big leafy green salad, sometimes with eggs or meat?
    I juice about 3-4 times a week and have for many years. I don’t look my age at all. I think perhaps the author is throwing some of the baby out with the bathwater here by suggeting all juicing is just as bad as green smoothie concoctions.

    Reply
    • That’s basically what I just read here in this article. It says that most people who have issues with oxalates experience leaky gut or gut inflammation. Magnesium binds to our oxalates and helps expel them. So, soaking our nuts and seeds are a good idea to break down the phytic acid that blocks our mineral absorption.

      http://www.lowoxalate.info/

      Reply
  67. I take the Body Ecology fermented greens drink. Does fermenting solve this problem? I trust Donna Gates to know what’s healthy. She isn’t a big fan of juicing in general.

    Reply
  68. Great post! Look at Julia Child’s recipe for Spinach in Mastering the Art of French Cooking (or any older cook book)- she has you boil the spinach first, drain it, then cook it for a long time in a ton of butter- delicious! Or recipes for collard greens- cooked forever in a lot of fat. This is how people traditionally ate greens- maybe there was a reason for doing it this way.

    Reply
  69. Hi Sarah,

    I have a problem finding a holistic doctor that follows the WAPF phylosophy. The few doctors I’ve seen over the last years just laugh it off. Any hints as to how to find one?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  70. Never in soups?? I make soups for my family all of the time with rich bone broths and lots of veggies of all kinds including dark leafy greens…this is wrong?? I am so confused.

    Reply
    • she’s not talking about veggies in general. Sarah is specifically referring to situations like cooking up a big pot of spinach. Toss the water after cooking it- then add butter to increase the nutrients.

      Reply
  71. I’m also skeptical of the author’s dismissal of alkalization. My father had severe heart issues and was on his death bed many years ago. He began to take “Natural Calm” a powered Magnesium supplement and juicing once every other day. His heart problems immediately decreased significantly. Whenever he starts to have issues, he begins to alkalize.
    For the record, i’m not a vegan…I do best with moderate eggs and meat in addition to plenty of fresh veggies!

    Reply
  72. Kristin Sanders via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 11:57 am

    I think if you aren’t drinking these smoothies in large amounts and rotate the types of greens then you should be fine. Like others said, listen to your body. And raw butter on the veggies sounds delicious and healthy. Why all the butter hate?

    Reply
  73. Tracey Stirling May 23, 2012 at 11:58 am

    I started GAPS awhile back and about 2 weeks into it I developed what I thought was a UTI but after trying all the typical home remedies with no success I began researching high oxalate diets. One of the things suggested on GAPS is juicing every morning. At first I felt great when I juiced but then after the pain started and I began to research oxalates I decided to stop juicing as that was the only new thing I had added in my diet. Everything else on GAPS I had already been comsuming for sometime. The symptoms definitely lessened after stopping juicing but it has taken me months to literally get them to disspaear. I love what the GAPS diet has done for me but I am very careful now not to include high oxalate foods if I juice.

    Reply
  74. Wow, this really struck a cord with a lot of people. I can understand everything in moderation and I am curious to learn more about this information. I can also understand Sarah’s point in regards to butter. We have lost the art of food preparation, good quality, grass fed butter is hard to come by, yet retains it nutrients. I am learning now, that my parents were amazing in caring for our health. They limited sugar, if we had fruit it was always with a protein and my favorite ‘food’ growing up was cooked spinach and liver. Raw veggies are ok to consumer in moderation, their cellular structure is hard for our body to break down, thus the reason for cooking them lightly….if they are cooked at a high heat for long periods, then yes they will loose a lot of their nutrient value…Sarah, in regards to green ‘powders’ you are correct, a lot of them there is no information on how it is processed or where it comes from, that is why its important to do our own investigation and only buy from companies that you know where and how their products are being processed. I have been taking a green barley powder for 7yrs and is has done wonders for me. I know where its grown (Organically so), I know how they process it (cold processed to retain nutrients and cut at the point that young barley grass HAS the most nutrients) it was created with the partnership of Dr Hagiwara, MD who spent his life researching Green Barley.

    Reply
  75. I have a degree in biochemistry and you should remove this blog entirely. It’s completely inaccurate and you are scaring people with total misinformation! You don’t state how much is “a lot” of veggies per day, you fail to mention our livers produce most of the Oxalate in our bodies anyways, you fail to mention that it’s actually CALCIUM OXALATE that causes kidney stones (not Oxalate alone) and there are 4 different types of kidney stones and calcium Oxalate is one. You would have been MUCH better off attacking SOY for the much higher concentrations of Oxalate and sharing how soy is everywhere in just about everything.
    This is rediculous, inaccurate and you are not contributing to health in this specific article.
    You ARE spot on about fats and real
    Butter. Ill give you that.

    Reply
  76. “With all the knowledge I’ve accumulated regarding children’s health and wellness, I’ve become known locally as a kind of “Wellness Maven”. This was right up my alley, having come from a medical family where both my Father and brother are MDs. Through this blog, I am taking my lay role as health maven international!”

    These are the Health Economist’s credentials…far from professional to be writing an article that involves being a nutritionist expert!

    Reply
  77. It’s amazing how we as human beings can zero in on one particular item in an article and
    leave out the rest. I quote from Sarah’s article “Frequent consumption of large quantities
    of raw, leafy vegetables….” Note “frequent” and “large”. Please, people, she didn’t say “never” eat green veggies. Eat them in moderation. Don’t miss Sarah’s point.

    Reply
    • define ‘frequent’ and ‘large’. This is the issue, people are not scientifically equipped (usually by choice because not everyone likes science) to understand what she means by “large amount”. You would have to eat like a horse to get sick from veggies. If you can’t break down oxylates, there’s a genetic issue, an issue with YOUR free radical levels, or your not getting enough water. One of these drinks per day will NOT hurt anyone. There is NO evidence to her claim to “stop” drinking these. Now, should we all just eat veggies on a plate at every meal? yeah! It’s better to get them the right way.. but she’s freaking people out and now someone will take this to an extreme and not feed their kids spinach anymore! This article, the specific way it’s written is completely irresponsible and anyone with a background in science (I have a biochemistry degree) knows it! She just lost ALL credibility here and that’s a shame b/c I think she genuinely wants to transform health in this country. SHE IS NOT A NUTRITIONIST and should NOT write articles like this without an EDITOR who has an ACTUAL EDUCATION. Reading Dr. Price’s book and research doesn’t qualify her as an expert in anything other than his book. Done.

      Reply
      • Are you out of your mind? This is not Nazi Germany. Sarah can say anthing she wants to say on HER BLOG. Don’t agree? FINE. Don’t like it? FINE? But, you do not have the right to say to a free American citizen, “You should not write articles!” WHAT!? You must work for Monsanto who absolutely wants to STOP the dialogue! I think you may see the day that you are very sorry that you insisted that anyone who doesn’t agree with you should be censored. THAT IS ILLOGICAL AND IRRESPONSIBLE. Falls right in with the thought police… THINK!

        Reply
        • I think Prime is just making an statement based on her education in this subject, which makes her qualified to do so – Sarah has in the title of her FB post “to opt out” from green smoothies and if I didn’t already know so much about this subject as well and read this article I would take it as I should stop eating and feeding my children green vegatables. Honestly, I thought this article was a joke at first, and then when I realized it wasn’t, thought maybe it was actually written by a Monstanto employee…

          Reply
        • Couldn’t agree more, Watchmom3….this is NOT a fascist or communist country, though many of these raving lunatic commenters sound like they think this is the kind of country we live in. As though big brother could shut down or disallow any media that goes against allowable types of thinking. What really blows my mind though, is the fact that these people are reading this blog. If they aren’t following WAPF principles, why on earth would they be reading a blog like this? Personally, I think it’s just to cause trouble.

          Reply
        • Watchmom3, I actually DO have the right to tell an american citizen anything I want b/c to your point, I have free speach :) I can’t STAND Monsanto by the way and am on a mission to make all food labels state if they are GMO. My point is that if we TRULY and I mean, TRULY want HEALTH in this country, we HAVE to be responsible and THOROUGH. what GOOD does it do to share ‘health’ information that is NOT ACCURATE? Please tell me that. She, at this point, is no better than the FDA or Monsanto. So, sure she can write all she wants, but she has to understand that though people like me will NEVER subscribe (this nonsense got placed on my FB feed and SCARED people, MY friends who I’m protective over), there will be people MORE INTELLIGENT, and MORE EDUCATED than her. If she or her audience can’t take the heat, then I suggest you toughen up. She is NOT a health expert nor should she act like one. Had she said, ‘this is my opinion and has no research to back this up, nor do I really know any of the science behind this and I’m guessing at half of the information in the following blog so take it with a grain of salt”, then the people on here calling her BS wouldn’t be so fired up. Her poor followers will actually TAKE this advice and make themselves and their families SICK. I think she could have gone about this in a better, more accurate was and kept credibility.
          -And you’re right, we SHOULD be able to write what we want. But I will tell you, if I ever start a blog about Auditing or Finance a pretend I know what I’m talking about, y’all are screwed! haha!! -I have the right to do it…but that would make me a FRAUD. :)

          Reply
      • Anyone who wants to learn about exact amounts is free to do more research. If only those with formal degrees in nutrition are allowed to discuss nutrition it would be virtually ensuring that the industry-sponsored ridiculousness continues. I do not agree with every assertion that Sarah makes, but attacking her First Amendment right to make assertions on a blog she owns is kind of silly.

        I am unaware of any instance in which Sarah has claimed to be a degreed nutritionist, so I am confused by all of the “Sarah is not a nutritionist” comments.
        Nicole, The Non-Toxic Nurse\’s last post: Smart Meter Concerns Hit National Headlines . . . Finally!

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  78. Sabrina Ball via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    @ Rebekkah Smith – butter makes my muffin taste better too, does that mean it’s healthier now?? the hating I’m seeing here is on leafy greens, which is what I think has most people bewildered….

    Reply
  79. absolute Hogwash right here! And look at all the Frightened people here now! You should be ashamed of yourself! Drinking lots of water completely eliminates any chance of having any stones, where did you get your Degree? Maybe should Warn people to stay away from that school.

    Reply
      • agreed! She’s NOT A SCIENTIST, not educated in nutrition.. she’s at best inspired and ignorant. She read Dr. Price’s book yay. have HIM write these articles or at least get and editor! fail.

        Reply
    • Not true. i have drunk no less than 1 gallon of fresh/purified water per day for over 35 years (since I learned about fluoride) and I have stones everywhere, in every joint and in kidneys.

      Reply
  80. This is so confusing! I have been on a REAL food diet for 2 years now….most of the time on full GAPS. I just recently began adding a quart of green smoothies to my day and feel incredible. My digestion is so much better than when I eat traditional cooked foods. It’s frustrating because I’ve been so diligent in eating the WAPF way but am finding more relief in my health issues by adding a large green smoothie every day. Your comment about “green smoothies can be deceiving at first as a person will probably initially feel great after adopting this habit particularly if he or she is coming off a highly processed, nutrient poor diet.” I haven’t had processed food in over 2 years so this doesn’t apply to me. How can I feel so much improvement if it’s bad for me?

    Reply
  81. One of the biggest risk factors for getting fibromygalia is having your gallbladder removed. And one of the biggest factors in having gallbladder inflammation and gallstones is celiac disease and/or gluten intolerance.
    I don’t know how oxalates play into this, for me. I do have stones (gallstones and likely kidney stones too) myself (working on dissolving them), and don’t drink green smoothies. I do have spinach about every other day. But some stones start out as parasites. Heavy metals are one cause of your body not getting rid of parasites on its own.
    Supplements that can help dissolve both kidney stones and gallstones: chanca piedra and hydrangea. A person probably need to take these with high potency digestive enzymes and probiotics.

    Reply
    • I’ve also heard that nettles, marshmallow root and joe pye weed are good for removing kidney stones.

      Bile salts are needed if someone has had their gallbladder removed.

      Reply
      • I am one of those people that didn’t know better when the doctor said I had to have my gallbladder removed. This feels like a bomb just dropped on my head when you said that now I have to worry about fibromyalgia!!! There really is very little information out there for people who’ve lost their gallbladders (and yes… 13 years after I found out I have a gluten intolerance!). Beth, I’ve tried Bile salts but didn’t feel any differently… not sure if they are necessary or not as the body still produces bile and I read that if you stick to a regular eating schedule, your body actually can send bile during those times anyways.

        Reply
  82. Elizabeth Pelegrin-New via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Jennifer Brooks hit the nail on the head!!

    I’m sorry, but I may unlike this page if this is the kind of articles you post, and I’m not trying to be a jerk but this is the kind of thing that makes me angry… People taking this as gospel need to do a bit more research instead of just believing everything on a particular blog… I mean, going so far as to say that green smoothies are DEVASTATING TO YOUR HEALTH?!?! Give me a BREAK!!!! This is the most ridiculous phrase I’ve heard… out of ALL the things to watch out for in the fitness/health industry, green smoothies is what you pick?!?

    Reply
  83. “If you enjoy green leafy vegetables, enjoy them only on occasion in a salad or even better, cook them thoroughly in lots of butter…”

    REALLY!?!?! wow…because cooking a perfectly nutritious vegetable in a ton of butter is healthy…

    Reply
    • Grass-fed butter is an extremely nutrient dense food. Eating fats, REAL fats like butter, lard, tallow, olive oil, and coconut oil does NOT make you fat. Seriously, when are people going to get with the times, and let the fat fear mongering go?

      Reply
      • Eating all the “good fats” won’t make you fat or unhealthy you say? Please provide your source for this. I don’t disagree that a small amount of good fats is benefitial to our health, but not large or unlimited quantities…

        Reply
        • I never said “large or unlimited quantities” of saturated fat wouldn’t make you fat. That’s just common sense. I was referring to the fear of eating saturated fats in general. They are REAL food, and every cell membrane in our body is comprised of saturated fat, among other things. We need saturated fat in our diets. What we don’t need is highly processed (heat and chemical treated), genetically modified, rancid vegetable oils, which is what the mainstream considers healthy. Now those will do major damage to your body and your heart. By the way, saturated fat is NOT bad for your heart either.

          If you’re interested in why saturated fat will not make you fat, then research it. The information is out there. This is not a professional debate, it is a blog comment, and I don’t have time to go look up all the research I’ve done.

          Reply
        • I apologize if the last sentence of my reply seems rude. I didn’t mean it that way. I have a husband, a 4 year old, and 18 month old, and it’s dinner time. I just really don’t have time to look it up now.

          Reply
  84. My parents are “vegans” and they drink those green smoothies every morning…at first it was beneficial to get off of the overly processed foods…but after a couple of years they have started having health problems..my Mom is having thyroid problems…but it just seems to make them do the vegan thing more. Of course, every time they come to my house…I always have lots of good meats and good fats for them to eat…my Dad especially wolfs it down( he cannot resist!!)….they are starving themselves and they will not listen to anything about this. They have been given by their “doctor” the “China Study” and think that all things animal is terrible! I back you 100%…and I happen to like your hair and wardrobe too! :) hang in there and keep the good and informative blogs coming!!!! Love ya lots!!!

    Reply
    • Print some of the articles from Denise Minger’s blog, that completely invalidate The China Study, for them to read.

      Reply
      • Hi Linda…and Jen…and whoever else loves Sarah and all the work she has done to help us stay informed. If people don’t like what she says…..THEY SHOULD NOT READ HER BLOG!!! I ,for one, trust what she says because I agree with her sources and she does soooo much of the leg work for us Moms and Women (& men too) who don’t have the time to do it for ourselves!!! I mean …just look at her…..she’s in great shape…great hair and I have found her information to be very credible. People have just gone crazy over this their stupid green smoothies …..sooooo go a your green smoothies and leave us alone…..when you need help with your health problems that flare up as a result….Sarah is, I am certain, quite gracious enough to help you with the right information to get you healthy again…..Keep up the great work Sarah!!! We love you!!!!

        Reply
  85. Bailey Keenan via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    I drink them, but not every day. I’ve switched from spinach and kale which suppress thyroid function to spring mix. I don’t see it as any different than having a salad, although I do remember reading in Jethro Kloss’ book “Back to Eden,” that you shouldn’t eat fruits and veggies at the same time. Yes, actually grass-fed butter is VERY good for you, and may help you LOSE weight because of all the CLA it contains. Thanks for this post, this was interesting and helpful to me.

    Reply
  86. Hi Sarah -
    Just wanted to say that I love your curly hair and your casual yet classy wardrobe. Oh, and I love your blog, too.
    Blessings,
    Mary

    Reply
  87. This title is just….ridiculous. Over the top, much? Green smoothies, I’ll say, have CHANGED my life. Especially considering I was quite addicted to sodas. Leafy greens with butter is better for me? How in the world? Of course I know one size doesn’t fit all but encouraging people to STOP drinking something that many of us have several benefits from is just crazy to me.

    Reply
  88. Wow, Sarah, I was reading the source article for your post on the Weston Price website just last night. So many times we are on the same wavelength.

    I was reading up on oxalates after remembering that spinach was extremely high in them and after suffering headaches two nights in a row after eating steamed spinach now abundant at the farmers’ markets. I was interested to learn the other high oxalate foods cited in the article:

    Soy (the highest)
    Spinach (second highest)
    Black pepper
    Chocolate
    Instant coffee
    Leeks
    Lemon peel
    Lime peel
    Okra
    Parsley
    Peanut butter
    Peanuts
    Pecans
    Pokeweed
    Rhubarb
    Sweet potatoes
    Swiss chard
    Tea
    Tofu
    Wheat germ

    It was fascinating to learn about how it relates to fibromyalgia, autism, and vulvodynia, and how using calcium citrate can mitigate the effects when consuming any of these foods. So, last night I took 2 calcium citrate pills after finishing off that last of our spinach and no headache. Interesting, eh?

    I agree that the green smoothies are not as prudent as people might hope, especially when you also factor in the goitrogenic, thyroid-disrupting effects of some of the foods people use.

    I also thought it was interesting that spinach and soy are on the no-no list on Dr Louisa Williams’ detox protocol (www.radicalmedicine.com).

    Reply
  89. Pingback: Green Smoothies…Controversial? | CrossFit South Delta

  90. My family does have an oxalate issue! Plus I’m on a forum where lots of us suffer from it. Kidney stones are very painful. Many kids with autism also suffer from oxalate and it can be devastating to your health. I think the author was explaining how one person’s food is another person’s poison. I don’t understand why people are taking such offense to this information. I can consume dairy just fine and am not offended by articles explaining how people are intolerant from it.

    Reply
  91. I, sadly, just un-liked your page on FB. The odd thing is: I don’t even drink green smoothies — no matter how one makes it, they’re too high in sugar/carbs for me, even natural fruit sugars. But, it does truly bother me how you, Sarah, make sweeping generalizations about the health of others, like this: “Given that the majority of people today suffer from gut imbalance/fungal issues caused by antibiotic and prescription drug use along with consumption of processed foods, a high oxalate diet which includes green smoothies is an unwise practice for virtually everyone.” Only 20% of the population is susceptible to oxalate troubles (which you do mention), and one’s own liver produces oxalates! I remain unconvinced that avoiding all foods with oxalates causes more good than harm; so many amazingly healthy foods contain oxalates. A better route is to digestive and overall health is to eat organically-produced, fresh, unprocessed, whole foods. Consuming oxalates is not going to increase the body’s Candida production; your logic on this issue does not follow. Consuming sugars (and even starches) and no probiotics/fermented foods will produce Candida. Recommending a diet low in sugar and high in fermented foods (which you do) is helpful to the general health of all. Stating flat-out that green smoothies (when in fact, as others have mentioned, kale is low in oxalates; only spinach is high) are “unwise” for “virtually everyone” is irresponsible and alarmist. It’s your alarmism that deeply disturbs me, which is why I will no longer read you; I’ll stick to wise sources of information that don’t try to garner more readers by scaring them.
    Karen Joy\’s last post: Tomato Confit Sauce (GFCF, vegan)

    Reply
    • Read the article more carefully, she is not advocating eliminating these foods from your diet, just not eating it in huge quantities as are generally present in the green smoothies that you find at the health food store and/ or juice bars. She is talking about the daily drinking of these smoothies. I actually know people who are on a green juice diet exclusively for weeks and weeks at a time. This article is meant for those people.

      Reply
    • Thanks Karen for the laugh. Your post is so full of errors and just well, a perfect example of googlechondria where one believes what one reads because some ‘guru’ said it was true.

      Newsflash: Candida is a normal inhabitant of the intestinal tract. It only becomes invasive if one severely restricts carbs. Why? Because you’ve starved it of the food it craves, so it goes elsewhere looking for it.

      And that’s just one of many errors in your post…

      Reply
  92. Thank you so much for posting this. The trend never made any sense to me, but people would actually get angry with me if I said I didn’t buy into the seat on the band wagon. To me, traditional is key. Eat like your grandparents did, and their grandparents before them–real, whole food and traditional fat.

    Reply
  93. I know of two well-known raw foodists (when I say that I mean well known in the raw foodist community…who also agree with you about drinking green smoothies…Ken Rohla and David Favor. They don’t necessarily agree with everything else you stand for, but this is one of them. However they talk more about how it ferments in your gut and causes problems that way. Wow, I wish I could sound more scientific b/c from the looks of things that is what people want. But just adding my 2 cents. I’ve done green smoothies, raw food, and plenty of other diet fads. I’ve never felt as nourished as I feel now that I do traditional fooding. Only time will tell if I stick to this but for now I like the idea and understand the concept that animals digest large quantities of plants better than humans. I’m a believer in religion as well and the bible and God rejected the offering made by Cain of vegetables and accepted the animal sacrifice made by Abel. Again, I’m no scientist but the pieces just seem to fit and feel right about traditional fooding.
    Trish\’s last post: Ode to Mothers

    Reply
    • The fact that God accepted Abel’s sacrifice and not Cain’s had nothing to do with whether it was an animal sacrifice or not. Abel’s sacrifice was made in faith, Cain’s was not (Hebrews 11:4).

      Reply
  94. Glad I read this. I actually have a green smoothie recipe on my site, that I have made a few times. It is good and has its health benefits, but probably shouldn’t be consumed on a daily basis. I have found that when I tried to replace a meal or two with it, my energy drops(obviously not enough calories) and then nausea hits. Once I eat a regular meal I am ok within an hour or two, but its definitely not a fun experience. If I do have a green shake now, I will have it with my meal, instead of in place of. Eating greens in their raw natural state wouldn’t normally be bad for us, but I think having a green smoothie on a daily basis is giving us concentrated doses of everything that’s in them, good and bad. If you were out scavenging for spinach leaves in the wild, you probably wouldn’t be eating that much of it, especially not every day.
    Pat Smith\’s last post: Introduction to Low Carb

    Reply
    • For your recipe, how about replacing the high oxalate or goitrogenic veggies with ones that aren’t, like avocado, lettuce, carrot, zucchini, celery and cucumber? As for the energy drop, I would guess consuming protein and fat would help since they provide sustained energy. Add pasture-raised egg yolk, coconut oil, and shredded coconut, for example. Might be worth experimenting and see how you feel.

      Reply
      • Great idea Beth! Next time I think I will. Although I have been a little hesitant to try coconut oil, I cook with it daily and use in my deodorant and sunblock, but wouldn’t putting in it the shake thicken it pretty drastically, especially if it’s cold? Is it not very noticeable or does it make it tougher to drink?
        Pat Smith\’s last post: Introduction to Low Carb

        Reply
        • I take that back about oxalates in carrots and celery. Apparently they are high. Here’s a chart, click on veggies:
          http://www.lowoxalate.info/recipes.html

          Yogurt or kefir, preferably homemade, but full fat in any case, would be another option for adding fat and protein. I make kefir smoothies a lot and add coconut oil and shredded coconut. The oil can sometimes end up in tiny balls if I add something cold, like frozen blueberries, but I don’t mind it at all. It and the shredded coconut add texture, and it helps you to remember to “chew” the smoothie anyway, which is a good practice since it mixes with saliva, initiating the digestive process (don’t gulp down).

          Reply
  95. Shirley Collenette via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Does wheat grass have oxalates? We juice every morning, but we use cucumber, apple, carrot, ginger, orange and beet. Hope that is ok, because it sure is good, and my kids love it!

    Reply
  96. While I appreciate this article explaining the pitfalls of yet another fad in the “Get Healthy Quick” community, instead of presenting just the “scary” bits of information to increase website hits and create a buzz, which seems to be the standard journalistic tendency, it would have been nice to read a complete article that would offer solutions or guild lines to include juicing into a healthy life style. My wife and I have recently started a juicing regiment and my main concern has been at what proportions and intervals to consume the fruits and vegetables. I’ve been trying to get more information on what a juiced ounce of any particular item has, what it should be combined with, and what will happen if I consume too much. What I’ve found so far is just like your article, enough information to expose my ignorance, but nothing to help me. A list of recommended reading or websites would have been nice.

    Now that you’ve scared everyone, let’s see an intelligent follow up.

    Reply
  97. Elizabeth Otte Stowers via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    thehealthyhomeeconomist, you are very brave to do a post like this. There is a green smoothie revolution happening and a lot of people very strongly believe in the health benefits of raw veggies (mixed with some raw fruits). We were drinking green smoothies for awhile. I got onto someone’s e-mail list who is highly prolific in the green smoothie niche. I suspect she’s the one who took them mainstream. Anyhow, we put spinach, kale and chard in ours. Sometimes lettuce or raw broccoli.

    It didn’t really do that much for us (and our overall diet was about 90% healthy, organic with healthy fats, grains, etc). My kids didn’t really like the taste and the smoothies seemed to make them hyper. We stopped and we only have fruit-based smoothies (occasionally, not on a regular basis).

    One of the main reasons we stopped was because years ago (long before green smoothies became popular), I read about oxalates (and the health risks of eating too much of them) in some raw greens from Donna Gates (The Body Ecology author) and Dr Mercola. They both wrote that foods like spinach, kale and chard needed to be steamed before eating to help remove some of the oxalates.

    I have fibromyalgia and I’m interested in checking out the idea of oxalate crsytals. Thank you so much for your article!

    Reply
  98. define ‘frequent’ and ‘large’. This is the issue, people are not scientifically equipped (usually by choice because not everyone likes science) to understand what she means by “large amount”. You would have to eat like a horse to get sick from veggies. If you can’t break down oxylates, there’s a genetic issue, an issue with YOUR free radical levels, or your not getting enough water. One of these drinks per day will NOT hurt anyone. There is NO evidence to her claim to “stop” drinking these. Now, should we all just eat veggies on a plate at every meal? yeah! It’s better to get them the right way.. but she’s freaking people out and now someone will take this to an extreme and not feed their kids spinach anymore! This article, the specific way it’s written is completely irresponsible and anyone with a background in science (I have a biochemistry degree) knows it! She just lost ALL credibility here and that’s a shame b/c I think she genuinely wants to transform health in this country. SHE IS NOT A NUTRITIONIST and should NOT write articles like this without an EDITOR who has an ACTUAL EDUCATION. Reading Dr. Price’s book and research doesn’t qualify her as an expert in anything other than his book. Done.

    Reply
      • I would think the sharing of information that may help people avoid the agony of kidney stones and vulvodynia would elicit gratitude and appreciation.

        Reply
    • Prime I wish I could shake your hand. We should do lunch sometime. I know this great smoothie place that have these butter, spinach, and kale……..

      Reply
      • Beth, she had the chance to share ACCURATE info for those poor people who do suffer from kidney stones but she totally failed.
        @ Cheryl I e-shake your hand too, thank you! I just see so many poor people who this is not their area of expertise (b/c maybe they can’t stand science and love say, art, math etc) who will actually BELIEVE HER!! And they WON’T do their own research b/c they don’t LIKE doing research. That’s what experts are for. This is a controversy with the blogger world because in REAL LIFE it would be ILLEGAL to give advice like this without a certification. I get she isn’t claiming to be a nutritionist, but she is ACTING like one. I could have a blog about automobiles and tell everyone to put grape juice in their engine, sure! But that would make me a fraud and an idiot acting like I’m an expert in an area where I’m clearly NOT. This got thrown on my FB feed and scared a few of my friends which is why I’ve chimed in so much. I wish we could have that butter, kale, spinach, broccoli smoothie! -with a side of grape juice LOL

        Reply
  99. Ashley Bechtold via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I think it is a little ridiculous to attack green smoothies of all things in this world that are absolutely and 100% terrible for your health. I’m not sold on this. A green smoothie is basically a salad condensed… So we should stop eating too many salads and greens and plants and opt for??? What? What is the better option here? Instead of a green smoothie people should eat bacon and eggs for breakfast? I agree with Elizabeth above to say they are devastating to your health is ridiculous. I’m suprised you posted such an article on your Blog…I might have to unlike your page too.

    Reply
  100. Elizabeth Otte Stowers via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    thehealthyhomeeconomist, I also want to add that you went out on a limb in writing this article. If you were trying to lead people astray (as a lot of people here are claiming), you would NOT have written this and gone against “The Sacred Cow of Green Smoothies.” Instead, you would not have polarized yourself and would have written to the masses who truly believe that green smoothies are the way to go. Thank you for taking risks and bringing up questions that the fad-diet gurus are not posing.

    Reply
  101. In a recent article you mentioned that green smoothies should not be consumed by anyone who has a candia. I have always, even from child hood had dandaruff, I do not drink smoothies of any kind, but I do eat a lot of green veggies, mostly Baby spinanch in a salad. Could this cause oxalation, thereby make dandaruff worse?

    Reply
  102. Great post, Sarah! Thank you for sharing this information. Who knew people would be so shocked or so defensive/arrogant/mean-spirited about their spinach? Popeye made it look so appealing…
    I doubt your readers are the kind to be mislead by every new diet fad or controversial information, as your critics implied. (It was awfully condescending of them to do so.) Instead, it will hopefully spur some more research and healthy, yes healthy (not bitter, like leafy greens) discussion.
    I am curious, though. What was the diet of that 2000 year old mummy like? Following that clue might give us a better idea of the true culprit for the high oxalate toxicity. I am not convinced that raw crucifers are wholly to blame, though I’m sure they could play a part. I guess I’m more of the moderation mindset, though I must admit, I tried and hated green smoothies. Scientific permission to eschew them is just a bonus. ;)

    Reply
  103. Aren’t spinach and beet greens really the only “leafy greens” that are really high in oxalates? I thought kale was actually quite low.

    Reply
  104. Oh for goodness sake so you suggest soaking things in butter instead.. butter which has been proven to cause severe issues.. and if not raw dairy butter the molecules are burst ( during pasteurisation at high heat) leaving them unable to pass through the teabag structure of the liver correctly. Even organic butter is pasteurised a very dangerous practice so unless the butter is raw and organic forget this advice!!!!! You would need to consume a large amount of green smoothies per day for it to be harmful as for the 1 in 5 people.. thats 20% of the population that have these issues. way more than this are affected by antibiotic, female growth hormone ridden dairy… before you suggest butter please re-think your advice. WAY more than 20% are allergic and have issues with dairy SIGH!!!

    Reply
    • If you have read this blog for any length of time most of know she is referring to raw butter from pastured grass fed cows. we searched and found our source as everyone should…

      Reply
  105. Bailey Keenan via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Yeah, I agree with Elizabeth! People get very uncomfortable when someone questions their beliefs. It takes courage and honesty to do that. I can’t believe this topic could be so controversial. Again, I thought they were healthy, but the risks outlined in this post really make sense, and I appreciate the information!

    Reply
  106. First of all, I enjoy this blog very much and often refer others to it. However, I have to disagree with the dramatic nature of this one. As someone who makes green smoothies quite frequently, as well as juices vegetables, I must say the improvement in my health has been great (and no, I was not on a highly processed diet by any means prior to introducing them).

    I am wondering why you fail to mention rotating the greens? I know that each leafy green contains it’s own particular type and cocktail of ingredients and that rotating which ones you use are important for keeping variety in the body and therefore minimizing the build up of oxalates. I certainly don’t agree that cooking greens in butter is a better alternative, though I don’t think you should totally eliminate that either. I think the idea should be to keep variety of foods and of cooking methods. i think there has been an over emphasis on certain greens (for some reason everyone juices kale), but we should instead emphasize using ALL kinds of greens and making sure that’s not our only source of vegetable intake. What about the chlorophyl from leafy greens? I have to agree with another comment that most Americans are lacking in the leafy greens category- greens of any kind!-and we should not be discouraging leafy green intake with dramatic blog posts, bust instead encouraging people to research and learn about their food and their bodies by being in their own kitchen and not rigidly following one specific type of diet or another.

    Reply
  107. I’m petrified at doing for my body what is supposed to be good for it only to find out years later that I’ve totally messed myself (and my children ) up. Thank you for this article – I knew those quick fixes seemed too good to be true.

    Reply
    • I understand your frustration as I felt the same way about whole grains. . .but don’t be too quick to jump to conclusions yet on this one, as I explained just now further down.

      Reply
    • Sarah is so right about following the path of traditional diets, before I set out on that course, I was following the current thoughts on healthy diets which then led to health problems. But following traditional diets I was able to displace soda with Kombucha, and while never caring for vegetables growing up – I get excited about root veggies and leafy greens in butter, and I now if I have a craving, it’s for whole foods, which I don’t mind that kind of craving. So, now I listen and trust my body and so far, it’s been one satisfying journey.

      Reply
  108. Love this blogpost, Sarah – and the knee-jerk reactions! It’s hilarious. We are all so conditioned by the Food Pyramid and admonishment to eat 5 per day fruits/veggies that we never consider if this is how we evolved to eat. Fruits and veggies grow seasonally. Here in the northern Midwest, we have 4 months to eat fresh plant foods. The rest of the year, fruits and veggies are only available canned or fermented or transported from thousands of miles away during which time vitamins are tremendously degraded. All plant foods contain phytochemicals which protect them from herbivory, including oxalic acid, phytic acid, and goitrogens. And sadly, these compounds are toxic in high amounts. That’s reality. Deal with it.

    Reply
      • If that is your line of reasoning, how do you explain people who heal themselves of cancer on the Gerson therapy? They drink enormous amounts of green juices and eat many whole foods. Doesn’t seem like a foolish line of thinking to me if it works!!

        Reply
        • Gerson’s therapy was for people who HAVE CANCER. Not healthy people looking to be healthier. I am surprised no one has pointed this out, as several people have tried the same line of reasoning.

          All “alkalising” does is break down elements in the body (that’s called “catabolic” for those of you looking for jargon), allowing them to be excreted. We call that detoxing, but the word is so over used that I am not sure we are all talking about the same thing. Every day each body clears wastes. That’s “detoxing” too, but doesn’t need green smoothies to work, it happens by itself.

          In general, people who are sick (except cancer, I’ll get to that) need a building, “anabolic”, diet. One that heals. Like GAPS or a WAPF diet. Meat, broth, fats, cooked veg (much easier to assimilate) and so on, provide the raw materials to rebuild a weak body. Does breaking that sick body down further make any sense?

          The only reason a catabolic approach can be used to treat cancer is because cancer is, by definition, out of control GROWTH. You have to break that down to cure cancer (there are other elements, such as the theory that cancer is fungal in origin, and those aspects may also respond to an alkaline diet). I still don’t see how a therapeutic diet specific to cancer is a good idea for healthy people (or people with different issues, other than cancers). That’s a bit like cutting off a body part prophylactically. Oh, wait. Some people do that (tonsils, adenoids, breasts). Forget it: we aren’t even thinking clearly, how can we intellectually decide that a fad should trump the Wisdom of the Grandmothers?
          Justine Raphael\’s last post: Target Floral dresses

          Reply
      • If you are “amused” at the reactions of your article, than I am sorry to say you are less of a writer of improving people’s wellbeing than I orginally thought.

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      • sarah you are exaggerating. most people blend a handful to two of spinach in their smoothies. if that. not even a serving!! definitely not enough to cause a problem. i have candida and my issues were only helped by adapting a plant based diet. which i’m sure is why a lot of people are responding with passion. because they have been helped not hurt as you suggest.

        Reply
    • You said the Magic words right there Charlene, “high amounts”. Thank You! Now I would tell you, that I would go to Vegas right now and bet my house you don’t have a clue what is HIGH AMOUNTS and what is not! Maybe three truckloads a week of greens is too much eh? LOL
      Jeff\’s last post: Dr. Peter Gariaev and Wave Genetics

      Reply
    • Eating seasonally is how my grandmother (and parents even) ate. Grains, root vegetables, sauerkraut, dried fruit and cheese was winter fare, fresh produce, milk and eggs was summer fare. Meats and broths were year round. I think this rotation of what was seasonally available is a part of traditional eating that can be overlooked.

      Reply
  109. WOW! Hot topic here huh? Well, I do think it’s good that you pointed out the importance of consuming too many oxalates, many people are unaware that this can be a problem. However, I do think that you have to be careful about making green leafy vegetables seem like a dangerous or “life devastating” food. Many people are just looking for an excuse to make health food the enemy so that they can continue to consume their Frappucinos and 40-ounce sodas without guilt.
    Everything in moderation and eating a diet rich in whole foods- vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, sea vegetables, etc. is the best thing you can do in my mind. Green leafy vegetables are loaded with nutrition and should not be made to seem dangerous. And also, I understand you are coming from a Weston Price background, but the butter that most people are consuming is filled with pesticides, hormones, and toxic chemicals. So I don’t know if loading up on that is the greatest idea.
    But again, I appreciate your perspective, and for someone who is consuming multiple green smoothies a day, this is helpful information.

    Stacy
    http://healthyessentialscoaching.wordpress.com/

    Reply
  110. To all the people wanting scientific “proof”, with nutrition you’ll find one doctor with a study stating one thing, and another doctor stating something diametrically opposed by another study. I use my gut to determine what’s right for me, and WAPF all the way. Thanks Sarah.

    Reply
  111. I’m sorry, but you are just a tad gullible/sensationalist about this new info. I am quite a nutrition buff myself, and being aware of how this stuff works, it isn’t that the greens (or other good stuff that has Oxalate in it) are the issue, so much as that they are getting into the wrong spot because of leaky gut syndrome. The Oxalate is usually just harmlessly metabolized by the gut flora, or passes out of the body in the stool. Look it up at http://www.lowoxatate.info.com In the same way we cause allergies to harmless good foods for ourselves. We need to fix the problem, not blame the good foods for our issues. Gluten makes the holes in the gut, and pasturized dairy is an issue, but other then preparing our grains, nuts and seeds traditionally, and using raw dairy so we can have the enzymes alive that help us digest it, we really should feel free to eat raw and healthy live food. This kind of propaganda is the same foolishness people wanted to say in the past about the horrors of nuts, avocados, eggs, butter. . .check your info, and when it goes against all common sense, don’t trust it.

    Reply
  112. Did any of you critics READ this article?
    “Green smoothies are all the rage these days with many people consuming them EVERY DAY or at least several times a week… Green smoothies are made by blending LARGE amounts of raw leafy green vegetables with fruit to soften and sweeten the taste. Typical vegetables included in green smoothies are kale, spinach, swiss chard, collard greens, celery, broccoli, and parsley.”
    We are talking excessive amounts here! Drinking them everyday or several times a week! not once or twice a week! Large amounts? you don’t know what large is? we have all seen the you tubes on how to make green smoothies and I myself have been to a seminar where the presenter proudly displayed how no one could eat this huge salad bowl of greens that she stuffed into one green smoothie! for one person to consume daily! That is indeed a large amount!
    What are people who don’t believe in butter doing on this blog? just lurking to promote your low fat agenda? Do you know anything about WAPF? What are you expecting to find on a chapter head’s blog? Come on people let’s have some common courtesy here!
    Thanks Sarah, I have read bits and pieces about the problems with a high green smoothie diet before and I appreciate the reminder. (And I don’t need to have a big list of credentials behind my name to be literate and educated about REAL nutrition. We have enough people in this world with lists of credentials to lead us astray and cause many of the health problems our nation now faces!)

    Reply
    • Bravo Sally, Bravo Sarah. The issue will green smoothies was something I experienced myself. The amount of greens, concentrated – especially that spinach – is a problem.
      Growing up, my Italian grandmother would make spinach boiled and drained, then sauteed in butter and plenty of garlic. We loved it and wanted it every day, but I remember her telling us not to each spinach everyday, it wasn’t good to do that. That was 50 years ago.

      Reply
    • I don’t know if that is entirely fair to say we should know what large is. Yes I know what HUGE is, but that is a different matter. I’m someone who is not a healthy eater, I don’t enjoy eating healthy. I don’t enjoy drinking green smoothies either. But I will, I can drink one down and be done with it as opposed to sitting over a salad or plate of fruits and veggies. I don’t want to over do it, but I can’t seem to find what a healthy amount is, I just see words like large and moderate. That tells me absolutely nothing. If I blend I leave of collards a day, is that too much? What about 2 or 3? I’m not saying this to be antagonistic, I’m really asking the question. I want to know what that middle ground is that lets me at least get some good nutrition without going too far the other direction. But all I can seem to find are negative instructions that use vague terms and amounts. Someone out there, please just tell us all what is a safe and healthy amount and frequency of veggies and fruits. As it stands, it seems I’m doomed whether I’m eating smoothies or macdonalds.

      Reply
    • That _is_ funny!

      I admire your perseverance! Blogging (especially about nutrition) is definitely not for sensitive types like myself. LOL

      Reply
    • Wow, your unprofessionalism, on top of everything else, just makes this whole thing more shocking. (and doesn’t earn you any more respect or credit in my opinion).

      Reply
  113. Wow, Sarah, there is sure a long list of comments! I, for one, would love to learn more about this issue. Would you consider writing some more on this subject so we can better educate ourselves on this touchy topic?

    Reply
  114. i was intialy captivatd by the title of the article and then shocked by what i read in it. i suppose eating too much of one thing and not balancing it out with other healthy things is logical. i have been in a health struggle for the past 3-4 years trying to go from being overwieght/obese to a normal/healthy wieght so as to not put any extra pressure on my body and organs. i am still tying to understand how to lose wieght and stay healthy at the same time. there are so many ‘schools of thought’ on this topic and none of them agree. i have listened/watched all of the WAP vlogs and recorded seminars i can get my hands on. there are indeed qualified doctors and scientists who can validate the information they are presenting. i am inclined to stay an avid follower of WAPF (incuding Sarah and Sally F.) for the value they give me in my journey to health. i long ago gave up paying attention to mainstream media that wagon-jumps one health fad for another; all neglecting some health component or another.

    Sarah, i do have concerns though. Have you ever addressed (an article?) how an existing overwieght person can lose weight steadily and maintain that weight loss using the WAPF principles? I am concerned that i will have cosume large amounts of fat to stay full and keep me from getting hungry and eating every 2 hours. Especially in light of this blog about cutting back on greens (salads) and raw veg (my fav). The only thing i know for 100% certainty is that the more i know (and learn), the more i don’t know. It is very disconcerting to say the least.

    I am just tying to be provide the healthiest home i can for my family and myself. I have a husband who requires lots of calories due to his size and work environment, and 2 growing boys 7 and 4 (quite lean) who also require lots of calories throughout the day. I often fall back on quick processed foods like crackers and granola bars to fill in the time between meals. When i have them, raw veggis are also offered and this info adds to my confusion.

    Please, please, HELP!!

    Reply
    • For those who experience good or great results with certain ways of eating, it would stand to reason that if a food, even a healthy one, makes you ill you would stop eating it or at the very least, reduce/limit/eliminate its consumption based on our individual circumstance. an ounce of LOGIC is worth a pound of cure. :)

      Reply
    • Carrie you need to try Diana Schwarzbein “4 square meal” ideas mixed with WAPF ideas and get the carbs under control. Balance is important as well as nutritional foods. Keeping fats, protein, carbs and low/no carb vegetables all in balance for your activity level is easier than you think. Children have different nutritional requirements. Realizing most of my food was carb based has really changed my life.

      Reply
    • Carrie,
      I empathize with your situation. I had very severe health problems, mainly due to excessive weight. I ate a whole foods, mainly organic diet. I didn’t eat packaged or boxed food at all. I literally exercised two to three hours a day, and my weight would not budge.

      Finally I got the book titled “The Glycemic-Load Diet: A powerful new program for losing weight and reversing insulin resistance” by Rob Thompson. The change was really simple. I cut out all GRAINS from my diet and all sugar. I walked 30 minutes every other day. And I dumped forty pounds very quickly and easily, never to have gained it back. I also stay away from high glycemic foods that cause insulin spikes.

      The book explains how, for some people, grains and sugar are like a toxin to them. I must be one of them because if I eat grains or sugar I will immediately gain weight. The scale the very next day goes up! It’s quite bizarre. Nothing else I tried worked. I have read about others following what is called a “Paleo diet” (Aka Stoneage diet, primal diet, caveman diet) and accomplish the same.

      I was pre-diabetic, obese, had peripheral neuropathy and a plethora of health ailments. I was even on medication for the pre-diabetes. I no longer deal with these health issues and I no longer take medication for pre-diabetes! All I did was simply cut out grains (including corn), sugar, and high glycemic fruit/veggies, and walked thirty minutes every other day. I have read about many folks that have reversed out disease by doing the same or similar.

      Today, I have taken it one step further and I follow the Weston A. Price Foundation and traditional eating (I also juice greens) and I feel it has contributed greatly to the improvement of my health in regard to other ailments I am faced with… but I still don’t eat grains or sugar (although I do use maple syrup and raw honey sparingly on occasion).

      I get my recipes from Sally Fallon’s “Nourishing Traditions” cookbook. The home-made chicken stock, fish stock, kefir, beet kvass, sauerkraut & other fermented veggies are all daily staples in my diet, as is raw, grass fed butter. The organ meets are weekly staples in my diet. I also juice greens daily (I do not juice high oxalate greens).

      Sarah’s videos are very helpful and informative in terms of how to prepare foods the traditional way. If you haven’t seen the video portion of her site, check them out!

      Best of luck to you.

      That book is available here:
      http://www.amazon.com/The-Glycemic-Load-Diet-reversing-resistance/dp/0071462694/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1337875693&sr=8-1

      http://www.amazon.com/Nourishing-Traditions-Challenges-Politically-Dictocrats/dp/0967089735/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1337876946&sr=1-1

      Reply
  115. Maybe many of you don’t realize the HUGE quantities of smoothies people are drinking every day as meal replacements. It’s ridiculous.

    Reply
  116. What an irresponsible alarmist article! She essentially copied the scary parts from the source article listed at the bottom and conveniently left out facts like “about fifty percent of oxalate comes from the diet and the other fifty percent comes from what your body makes itself.” Also, the original article mentioned calcium citrate as a way to remove the harmful effects of oxalates. She forgot to mention that too because her goal wasn’t to inform you, it was to scare you! Just don’t make spinach, soy protein or any other food rich in oxalates your primary food source. Removing raw kale or spinach from your diet because there is a small chance you might get a kidney stone is a disturbing recommendation.

    Reply
    • I hardly think fear was what Sarah was going for when she wrote this blog. As someone who struggles with Candida and kidney stones, I appreciated the information.

      Reply
  117. Sarah,
    I have been told by my D.O. to not eat fermented products right now but to have a 50% raw diet. I like spinach and mixed greens. I do not have smoothies every day any more, but give them to my 2 boys. I eat a lot of broccoli and cauliflower too, cucumber, asparagus etc. ARe those included too as oxalates. No carrots or veggies that are sweet!
    I have candida in my blood and so was staying away from too many carbs, too much fermented foods, cheese, sour cream, homemade pickles etc….. No yeast products and gluten free, not much left to choose from except raw milk and other veggies

    Reply
  118. Hi Sarah, I’m wondering how you feel about the Gerson Therapy for cancer? It is a heavy duty juicing healing protocol. I believe carrots are the most juiced though. I was under the impression (even Dr Natasha Campell McBride requires juicing for GAPS) that juicing was a detoxifier and green smoothies are a descent source of vitamins and minerals in their whole form? Are all produce to be cooked in fats? I feel so good after I eat a salad, green smoothie or juice, how often would you say is ok? Thanks! And great responses to some of these very negative and accusatory comments as though you were beheading kittens! :)
    almira @healthy republic\’s last post: Transglutaminase: A Delicious Story of Meat Glue

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  119. I also forgot to mention that i am shocked at how many rude comments there are. There are better and more appropriate ways to express discontent.

    And as well, for those who may not have heard of it, the GAPS (gut and psycology syndrome) Diet (way of eating-not fad) is a good resource to research as it comes from a doctor who has devoted so much time to this area.

    Many blessing t all those who are trying to sort out this information as i am.

    Reply
  120. Due to being brought up on canned food and the very worst sort of SAD diet, I have a long history of fungal problems (40 years worth – I am 59) including IBS, bad facial complexion, severe dandruff/bleeding scalp, skin rashes, nail infections, gallstone/cholocystitis, nasal fungus infections and other herpes-like lesions that heal when treated with antifungals like Naftin, vaginitis, and severe vulvodynia. More than once I was given months of massive doses of liver-compromising Diflucan (200mg/bid). :( I recently lost over 100 pounds on a superfood-laced green smoothie-based diet. During that time I also strictly avoided sugar and processed starches. Many of the above conditions cleared up beautifully, including horrible fibromyalgia pain. Within months of reintroducing sugar and starches to my diet ALL of those symptoms returned with a vengeance and the weight started to pile back on, even though I continued to drink a reduced quantity of green smoothies daily. Our caveman ancestors, without benefit of water-tight containers and a couple of weeks to kill ALWAYS fermented their greens before putting them in their mouths? Puh-lease! Could you possibly use you time and talent to help determine how to undo the oxalate damage done by processed foods instead of wildly bashing something as beneficial as raw greens?

    Reply
  121. The title of the post was strong and yet lots of people read it! Perhaps the issue is moderation? Kale or spinach have their place just every day? Hence eating seasonally is a good idea.

    Reply
    • I have an oxalte problem. Spinach is extraordinarily high in oxalates. I don’t expect to ever consume it again. I gave myself kidney stones after just a month of eating it regularly in my scrambled eggs thinking I was doing myself a favor (this was cooked and drained spinach). The Trying Low Oxalates yahoo group I am in has story after story of people who thought they were getting healthier eating more spinach salads and ended up with declining health and often kidney stones or fibromyalgia.
      PattyLA\’s last post: FCLO Winners and a report on the lecture by Dave Wetzel of Green Pasture

      Reply
      • I love this post Sarah, how you take a stand for difficult issues and how you so politely respond to all of the misinformed, angry, hostile comments. I have many friends who have gone on “juice fasts” after watching a certain popular documentary. Many of them rave about how its permanently improved their health, including my parents, so this issue is important to me.

        I have a question for you, Sarah. My wife has been struggling with annoying dandruff for a couple years, and I have very slight dandruff. Could oxalate or candida be the culprit? We eat lots of almond butter, almonds, sweet potatoes, carrots, and brussels sprouts baked in coconut oil, but not a lot of leafy greens. We eat very healthy traditional foods, about 1/2 vegetables 1/4 grass fed meats, and 1/4 soaked beans, lentils, seeds, or steel cut oats. Would you recommend we change anything? I’m struggling to figure out which vegetables we should increase and which we should decrease. Thanks in advance for your help!

        Reply
        • 1 oz of almonds has 134.85 mg oxalate. A low oxalate diet limits daily intake to a total of 40-60 mg. 1/2 a cup of mashed baked sweet potato has 87.6 mg oxalate. Beans also have a lot of oxalate in general. Red lentils are low. Lima beans are medium. Oats aren’t low but they are lower than the other foods you eat.
          PattyLA\’s last post: Low Oxalate produce in season now!

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  122. Not sure if I read the same article that everyone else because I do not understand the negative response by some. she points out that the green smoothies or a high diet of oxalates could be harmful to those 20% of people who’s bodies have problems with oxalates. I am one of those 20% and I have kidney stones. There are other sources that suggest a low diet of oxalate for us kidney stone sufferers and even the mayo clinic’s advise is to stay away from spinach. I think this article is relative to some and not the most. Like all things in life,take what applies to you and your situation and leave the rest. :)

    Reply
  123. Not sure if I read the same article that everyone else because I do not understand the negative response by some. she points out that the green smoothies or a high diet of oxalates could be harmful to those 20% of people who’s bodies have problems with oxalates. I am one of those 20% and I have kidney stones. There are other sources that suggest a low diet of oxalate for us kidney stone sufferers and even the mayo clinic’s advise is to stay away from spinach. I think this article is relative to some and not the most. Like all things in life,take what applies to you and your situation and leave the rest. :)

    Reply
  124. I am so glad that you are talking about this! I was very pleased that it made it into your presentation about Broth this weekend as well. I wanted to tell you so in person but you were busy.
    More people need to know about the damage that high oxalate foods can do to so many people and you won’t know till it is too late. Detoxing from oxalates usually takes years. It is similar to eliminating heavy metals from the body. My daughter and I have been on a strict low oxalate diet (LOD) for over a year and still have more stored oxalate to eliminate but we are seeing such health improvements that it is really worth it. Sadly so many foods will never be in our diet again like spinach and almonds. They just have far too much oxalate to ever risk it.
    It is not uncommon to feel worse after you reduce oxalates in your diet since your body will switch from storage mode to elimination mode when you do so. Don’t fool yourself that you can continue in storage mode forever. Sooner or later your capacity to store oxalates will become full and then you will have symptoms all the time and have a huge body burden to eliminate. Do not eliminate all high oxalate foods at once! The body will dump too much at once and can cause kidney stones or other serious problems. Slowly step down your oxalate intake over time.
    I will urge anyone who wants to know more to go join the Trying Low Oxalates Yahoo group health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Trying_Low_Oxalates/ The list owner is an independent researcher who is dedicating her life to understanding oxalates. She knows more than anyone else on the subject.
    I also wrote a blog post about oxalates http://www.lovingourguts.com/2011/12/what-are-oxalates.html
    PattyLA\’s last post: FCLO Winners and a report on the lecture by Dave Wetzel of Green Pasture

    Reply
  125. Just coconut milk and some celery with a few sticks broccoli in it and a little fruit – is that a better smoothie?

    Reply
  126. Those of you trashing Sarah’s opinion on this because “it just doesn’t seem right”, maybe some more research of your own is in order before lashing out in such a way. And, in fact, she does point out that not everyone has an issue with this, just a significant percentage. So one or two examples of people not having a problem after consuming lots of green smoothies doesn’t really mean anything. There are people who smoke all their lives and don’t get cancer, but that isn’t a fair representation of the dangers of smoking for most people.

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  127. I’m dismayed at your attack on green smoothies, to the point that you are scaring people away from taking one of the most important steps towards healing they could make. Whilst there is a tiny tiny bit of truth about oxalates in the brassica family there are far more GOOD points about green smoothies. As a detox coach and certified raw chef I advocate blended foods for anyone going into recovery and transition to live foods, green smoothies containing small amounts of fruit (ONE banana or some mango for example) avocado, green leaves including lettuce family, some spinach or kale and LOTS of cucumber, some courgette and celery are very alkaline, detoxifying, hydrating, healing and full of enzymes, amino acids and plant based calcium. Blended foods are very easy to digest as the process is done in the blender, allowing the digestive system to adjust to the enzyme rich contents that ignite the highly diminished ‘fire’ from a life of eating DEAD cooked foods. go a step further into JUICING and health is enhanced even more and often faster. One of the big issues I often see, and have experienced personally, with green smoothies is the temptation to eat far too much sweet FRUITS in the attempt to disguise the taste of the greens…fine for a short time of say a week, while getting used to a new way of eating, but once we move into that new space, cut out the sweet fruit entirely for the most beneficial effects. Sweet fruit is far better enjoyed eaten WHOLE and in small amounts. Stick to the super low glycemic fruits like apple, summer berries in season and ORGANIC, but again go easy unless you are a performance athlete and can convert all the glucose to energy and not fat. Your advice to cook vegetables in lots of butter really is NOT healthy at all, and would do exactly the opposite of making the lovely leafy veg digestible.

    Reply
  128. Jessie TreeNickle via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    There is a huge difference in a smoothie and a salad. The action of grinding up food in a blender and in your mouth are not nearly the same. Humans were designed to chew their food not to drink it on ice. While a smoothie can be a treat it is more benificial to consume your greens the way nature intended. Adding fruits to balance the Ph of your smoothie would aslo be better for you.

    Reply
  129. Ruth Parrish Ankney via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    I’m always telling my husband who loves large green salads all the time, that salads make me sad. I was joking but maybe not! :)

    Reply
  130. I drink green smoothies everyday and it has saved my life. I mostly use all different types of lettuces, mixed baby greens and fruit but a couple of times a week add a little kale or spinach. It’s key to rotate your greens. I eat a high raw vegan diet and have lost 80lbs and am healthier than ever in my life!

    Reply
  131. I really don’t think anyone is going to go on a green smoothie rage ONLY putting leafy greens into a smoothie for weeks at a time. This article is totally written from an alarmist point of view and rather pointless.

    I recommend smoothies all the time as Certified/Registered nutritionist to my clients, especially those who are breakfast skippers. However, I always suggest they mix things up, include a quality protein source as well and keep the variety going with the fruits and veggies.

    Perhaps that would be a great follow up to this post — to talk about the benefits of greens, but to make sure you have variety.

    It’s too bad you chose this direction for your article as it sends the wrong message.

    Reply
  132. Sarah,
    I just wanted to say that I understood what you were trying to relay in this post. You were simply pointing out a flaw in a common fad and wanted others to know that despite it seeming all healthy, there are concerns with it.

    So many people think that if it’s a vegetable or whole grain or whatever than it must be healthy but they do not take the time to realize that some foods are best eaten when prepared a certain way or not eaten in excess.

    Thank you for your post and keep up the good work!
    Brittany @ The Pistachio Project\’s last post: We’re adding to the Pistachio Family

    Reply
  133. Julie Gerasimenko via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    It’s stuff like this that makes me want to give up even trying to be healthy! WTH??? What IS good for us. I’m pissed right now.

    Reply
  134. Elizabeth Pelegrin-New via Facebook May 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    ^^ Don’t be!! It’s a BLOG~not a scientific study!! Keep drinking your green smoothies… I have NEVER ONCE met ANYONE who’s health has been “Devastated” by a green smoothie…

    Reply
  135. If everyone slept on a biomat we wouldn’t need to have this discussion, it will detox you gradually over days and weeks, raise your immunity and help to balance your enzyme production and increase your absorption of nutrients, thus removing the fear factor that is being projected by all , my site crystals.thebiomatcompany.com.NOTHING LIKE IT

    Reply
  136. While I absolutely love your blog Sarah, I do think this particular article was either
    A. Poorly researched
    B. Mis-titled

    I think the outrage in response is because you’ve made a blanket statement about green smoothies solely based on the topic of oxalic acid, when not all green smoothies are high in oxalic acid. That would be like saying do not drink water because water contains fluoride. It’s an unjust statement. May have been more appropriate to say “Skip the High Oxalate Foods in Green Smoothies” as opposed to telling people to skip green smoothies. The source article is a great one, by the way, thanks!

    Green smoothies can be incredibly beneficial to health! Not all greens (or green smoothie ingredients) are high in oxalic acid. Honestly, the biggest health threat I witness when it comes to green smoothies, is the over-use of sugar (even in the form of using excess fruit and very little green, which causes insulin spikes). Also, there are ways to neutralize oxalic acid.

    However, people do not have to be so mean. If ya’ll differ in opinion, how about a healthy debate or providing some additional facts as opposed to being downright cruel in response? Nobody is perfect and anybody can overlook facts, sheesh.

    The following information may be helpful.

    ABOUT OXALIC ACID
    * – “Oxalates are naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and in humans. Our bodies always contain oxalates, and our cells routinely convert other substances into oxalates. For example, vitamin C is one of the substances that our cells routinely convert into oxalates. In addition to the oxalates that are made inside of our body, oxalates can arrive at our body from the outside, from certain foods that contain them. (whfoods1)

    * – Oxalic acid binds with calcium to form calcium oxalate, an insoluble salt. It also binds to other minerals, preventing their absorption by the body (pHbalance)

    * – “Although oxalic acid can be a toxin, you would need to eat extremely large amounts of vegetables that contain the substance before it would cause any health issues.” (eHow)

    * – “It is not clear from the research, however, that restriction of dietary oxalate helps prevent formation of calcium oxalate stones in individuals who have previously formed such stones. Since intake of dietary oxalate accounts for only 10-15% of the oxalate that is found in the urine of individuals who form calcium oxalate stones, many researchers believe that dietary restriction cannot significantly reduce risk of stone formation.” (whfoods1)

    * – “Cooking has a relatively small impact on the oxalate content of foods. Repeated food chemistry studies have shown no statistically significant lowering of oxalate content following the blanching or boiling of green leafy vegetables. A lowering of oxalate content by about 5-15% is the most you should expect when cooking a high-oxalate food. It does not make sense to overcook oxalate-containing foods in order to reduce their oxalate content. Because many vitamins and minerals are lost from overcooking more quickly than are oxalates, the overcooking of foods (particularly vegetables) will simply result in a far less nutritious diet that is minimally lower in oxalates.” (whfoods1)

    TO NEUTRALIZE OXALIC ACID:
    * – “Drink plenty of water each day. One factor in the formation of kidney stones is low levels of liquid in urine. Drinking water will counteract that problem and neutralize oxalate. Monitor your water intake to ensure you drink at least eight glasses or more of water daily.” (Livestrong)

    * – “Add 2 cups of calcium-fortified orange juice to breakfast. Citrus juices contain citric acid and may neutralize some products in urine, including oxalic acid. Science has yet to prove this, but MayoClinic.com lists citrus juice as one alternative medicine for treatment of kidney stones.” (Livestrong)

    * – Good gut flora will neutralize oxalic acid (Cookwell)

    * – Fermenting foods will neutralize oxalic acid (Cookwell)

    * – Add an egg shell to spinach while cooking, it will bind the oxalic acid. (pHbalance)

    * – Add calcium carbonate to your greens while cooking. Cooking itself does release much of the oxalic acid, but adding calcium carbonate while cooking removes even more. The calcium carbonate combines to the oxalic acid and removes it from the food. Very little calcium carbonate is needed to make it effective. One tsp. per pot of water is plenty for these purposes. You can buy calcium carbonate powder from most health stores or even online health food retailers. (eHow)

    OXALIC ACID CONTENT IN FOODS
    * – Kale has only .02g of oxalic acid per 100g. On the other hand, there is a whopping 97g oxalic acid per 100g of spinach. (Guinealynx)

    * – http://www.guinealynx.info/diet_oxalic.html

    SOURCES
    whfoods1 – http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=48

    whfoods2 – http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=38

    Livestrong – http://www.livestrong.com/article/268569-how-to-neutralize-oxalates-in-a-diet/

    eHow – http://www.ehow.com/how_5859381_break-down-oxalic-acid-food.html

    pHbalance – http://phbalance.wikispaces.com/Oxalic+Acid+Issues

    Guinealynx – http://www.guinealynx.info/diet_oxalic.html

    CookWell – http://cookwellforlife.blogspot.com/2011/03/oxalic-acid-veggies-probiotics.html

    Reply
      • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        Prime, you might be interested to know that the inspiration for this post came from a talk I saw last week from Dr. Kaayla Daniel PhD in Nutrition – author of The Whole Soy Story who was expounding on the health dangers of high oxalate foods and how foolish people are for consuming large amounts of them. Of course, this likely won’t be good enough for you. You will find some other reason why the information is wrong and why you are right.
        Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist\’s last post: How Green Smoothies Can Devastate Your Health

        Reply
      • Prime,

        Actually, according to her listed credentials, Sarah’s college education is higher than mine :)

        I have never met Sarah in person, but I do respect her as an individual. She does a lot of good for people in general, and for those trying to get well from being very sick. I know, because I am one of them. Her videos and blog posts have served invaluable in helping me to understand traditional eating and getting me on my way to healing (thank you Sarah!). Not to mention that she gives this information away for free where others are literally charging hundreds of dollars for it.

        While I do not always agree with everything Sarah says, or how she portrays the information she’s sharing, I wouldn’t dream of insulting her. Quite frankly, I am dumb-founded by the multitude of nasty responses to this post. It’s so unnecessary. It really just only makes the insulting person look bad in my opinion.

        I’ve always felt that a good gauge of a person’s character is to look at his or her intent. Sarah’s blog post about green smoothies was clearly not written with malicious or deceitful intent. While I personally feel this blog is a bit misleading and has caused unnecessary confusion and fear, it is still quite informative and it wasn’t written with the intent to hurt others. Seems to me that she wrote it to warn others of the potential dangers of high oxalate foods and in using those foods in large amounts in green smoothies – and perhaps to employ traditional eating habits instead of green smoothies. The post doesn’t particularly read this way, depending on how you look at it, but I believe that was her intent, at least in part.

        Yet I have to ask, what is the intent behind all of the malicious comments of so many people here? What does one gain by insulting another? What’s the pay-off? I don’t get it.

        I don’t agree with Sarah’s assertion that we shouldn’t drink green smoothies (although it appears to be sound advice to those with leaky gut syndrome), but I’m not going to come on here and insult her because I have a difference of opinion. What purpose does that serve? Uh, none.

        Yes, a more accurate title of the blog post may have been something like “How Oxalic Acids Can Devastate Your Health”. However, this would not have landed the attention of green smoothie consumers. Perhaps Sarah’s goal was to alert green smoothie consumers about the potential dangers of oxalic acids. In which case, the title serves its purpose well.

        The truth of the matter is that EVERY green contains an alkaloid, and the buildup of these alkaloids in the body is toxic. I know this from reading Victoria Boutenko’s book, “Green for Life”. I also know that it is important to rotate greens when juicing or consuming green smoothies. Yet many people have not read this book and are not aware of this fact. Enter Sarah’s blog post. She put information out there that should alert one to further research if they are not familiar with the topic. She also alerts those with leaky gut to reconsider consuming high oxalate foods.

        Furthermore, posts about how Sarah shouldn’t be writing about food because she isn’t a Nutritionist, I think, is very harmful to freedom of speech in general. An innocent blogger’s site was recently attacked by a dietician board, making those very same assertions (http://www.diabetes-warrior.net/2012/01/28/this-site-free-speech-are-being-investigated/). Please do not fuel that type of fire.

        It is our responsibility, as individuals, to discern between good and bad information, and to know what is right for our own body as an individual. It is our responsibility to seek further information if something doesn’t sit right in our gut. That is what I did. I sought further information, and shared what I found. It is debatable whether the information I shared is accurate. After all, I pulled this information off of other websites. I didn’t check the research or references and I have no idea how valid the information really is. It is simply an opposing view to prompt others to research for themselves.

        One other thing, when I am deciding on what type of diet or protocol to follow? I always, *always* pay attention to what the person looks like, who is promoting that method. If somebody is promoting a specific type of diet and they don’t exactly look healthy? It might be a good idea to consider the source.

        Sarah,
        my boyfriend and I have discussed this very topic, and we both agree that you are the perfect picture of health. Great hair, glowing skin, nice teeth, and proportionate – and I like your wardrobe :op Thanks for all you do!

        Prime,
        Victoria Boutenko is a wealth of information when it comes to green smoothies. Here are some links to the information you may be seeking. If it doesn’t list what you need, purchase her book, “Green Smoothies for Life”. Either way, the insults really serve no purpose.

        Green Smoothie Consumption Guidelines and Common Questions (How much is too much):
        http://greensmoothiesblog.com/green-smoothie-questions/

        Guidelines for drinking greens smoothies. Take note of Emilyb’s comments:
        http://greensmoothiesblog.com/guidelines-green-smoothies/

        Frequently asked questions about green smoothies:
        http://greenforlife.com/gsfaq.htm

        Why you should rotate greens:
        http://greensmoothiesblog.com/green-smoothie-rotate/

        How to Choose Greens for a Green Smoothie:
        http://greensmoothiesblog.com/greens-for-green-smoothie/

        Food Combining and Green Smoothies:
        http://greensmoothiesblog.com/food-combining-in-green-smoothies/

        Also, take note of what’s under the “Treatment” heading of the source article that Sarah provided a link to. William Shaw describes doses and timing in which to take calcium citrate in order to have it bind to oxalate and cause it to not be absorbed. Based on that, alone, I consider Sarah’s post invaluable, because it leads every single reader to an article that tells each one of us how to protect ourselves from oxalates, whether we are consuming green smoothies with swiss chard, or cooking them and slathering butter on them! I consider that a service to us all.

        It’s just sad that people are now proliferating the information in a very misunderstood way (see trackback posts). Yet another example of how we all need to do our own research. Speaking of which, here is an excellent follow-on post: http://oxvox.com/backing-it-up-with-science-can-green-smoothies-really-destroy-health/

        Reply
          • Thank you, Jodi, for a well-balanced, informed and reasoned reply…and also for the information and links. It’s a few months after these notes posted now but I’m just beginning my investigation into this area. I would like to encourage anyone reading my post to consider that each individual has to follow his or her own best path for their bodies’ nutritional needs. We are each unique, have our own DNA, heritage, environment, needs – nature and nurture, essentially, and have our own ‘private’, as in no one else is in exactly the same place or on the same road, deficiencies and health issues. For myself, I vastly improved my health with a whole, living foods lifestyle beginning 2.5 years ago, and of course green smoothies are a staple, but I live in a northern climate, so have happily included some cooked foods when I feel the need.

            A side note: I make my smoothies thick, so they need ‘chewing’ and my saliva is activated for improved digestion, but for those who just want to eat greens straight, consider the IDEA that we don’t have the jaw strength that used to exist, nor do all of us have our wisdom teeth any more, which would have been used to break apart the tough cell walls that greens have, AND we do not generally spend nearly enough time chewing them to break them down sufficiently for optimal digestion. Thus some of the main benefits of smoothies with leafy greens…per a lecture by Victoria Boutenko on Dec. 3, 2012. She also gave proof of the fact that greens HAVE been eaten raw by humans for hundreds, if not thousands of years: had a page from a 14th century ‘Olde Englishe’ book that gave ingredients and directions for making a ‘salat’ – salad – that was full of greens: the main difference is probably in cultivated vs. wild greens! That matter right there may have a big place in this discussion, but I don’t personally know that for a fact – yet! (Sarah, (or Jodi), have you looked into this subject at all? I haven’t much to date but am aware of the wild-harvesting movement, and the supposed massive benefits of ‘free-range plants’, for lack of a better term!)
            Also, and these are the main ideas that attracted me to them in the first place, green smoothies provide a way (so far as I know and have EXPERIENCED) to moderate the sugar levels in fruits and at the same time feed our largely greens-deficient bodies to begin the reversal of health problems and hopefully restore ourselves to good, balanced wellness. Lest anyone wish to question that assertion, may I reiterate that this has been MY journey, (along with many others, some of whom have written here!) and reassure any readers that I utilize a plethora of other foods and prep methods…and am constantly learning about, evaluating and trying out more options.

            HOWEVER…I have had underlying and supposedly undiagnosable health issues (headaches and fatigue, but more low-level stuff that, sadly, no ‘western’-trained doc has ever been able to adequately name or address), since I was 16 – it’s coming up on 30 years, so you can imagine my relief and joy at finding SOMETHING that helped me to feel better. At this point, then, I am finally feeling strong enough to delve into what my deep-seated health issues might be and from whence they came! According to one diagnostic method I’ve utilized, I do have quite an issue with several kinds of fungus and mold as well as calcium ‘collections’ that could turn into stones if not dissipated asap. My thinking on this, though, after several days of reflection, is that, unlike the way many are interpreting this informational blog, it’s good to be aware of possible issues with foods and oxalates, (really for anything we do), and I’m willing to research it further and determine if, FOR MYSELF, I feel that this potential danger outweighs the obvious benefits. (The information I had been aware of up to this point indicated that to reach toxic levels, the amount of greens would have to be VERY high, like more than anyone could comfortably consume, and that we’d know it when we reached ‘saturation’, as do wild animals who nibble on this and then that green plant all day long…that perspective still makes a lot of sense to me!) I’ve bookmarked your links to the GAPS diet and will look into that further – there really are a lot of issues and and a lot more treatments out there: may we each use our own innate and God-given wise sense of ourselves ALONG with other resources to choose well what we do each day!

            ( Sarah, I’m new here but I’m going to be bold and make a personal observation to you that I hope you will take in the spirit of concern which I intend: I came very close to tuning you out when I first tried to read several posts, as I felt put off by what can come across as a harsh attitude toward theories and philosophies that don’t seem to fit into your personal preferences, or that you feel justified in criticizing ‘scientifically’. I realize that you are a proponent of “Real Food” but does that have to mean that every other way of living and eating is necessarily flawed? That is truly the impression I get. Take this article, for instance: it is an admittedly attention-getting yet deceptive title, and, honestly, although I can understand and appreciate what you are saying, I don’t get much of a sense of compassion, care, concern or love from your writing, which is what I would look for from someone who is advocating their chosen diet and lifestyle as the way to optimum health. Nor do I feel that you’ve given even a nod, let alone a balanced view to the benefits of large (and varied) amounts of other kinds of greens that may be used as substitutes for spinach and such, if someone wanted to balance things out better. I guess the idea of honey being more attractive than vinegar (and not just to pesky little flies) comes to mind – maybe I’ve got a similar bent and so am more willing to address the controversy that seems to come up so often. The stress and ‘negative’ feelings (some would say energy) that I’ve seen generated here is, in my personal experience, probably MORE toxic that most foods that we’re trying to encourage others not to eat: hence, it defeats what I hope and assume is your whole purpose: to educate and inform, but beyond that, to uplift, heal and live a joyful, purposeful and meaningful life! So as not to be unbalanced myself here, I do thank you for your willingness to address potential issues and maybe ‘holes’ in people’s knowledge, and to put forth the effort that it must take to create and maintain a site like yours, let alone keep up with and hopefully enjoy the requirements involved in a healthy lifestyle these days!

  137. Pingback: Thankful For Instincts (and knowledge) « Misfit Mama At Home

  138. Two questions: would consuming calcium with oxalates cause the calcium oxalate to precipitate so that it is eliminated via the gut, or so that it embeds in body tissue? (I’ve been reading that calcium can be very heart-health detrimental, even on greenmedinfo.) Also, do probiotics help with oxalates by de-fanging them directly our by healing leaky gut in a way that prevents them from being absorbed into the bloodstream?

    Reply
  139. I think it’s funny how some people commenting are like “this is rubbish! I’ve never had a problem. All lies and now I’m mad. (Pouty face)”. Are you reading any other comments you know-it-all? SOME people do have problems! 20% as the article states. My mother had fibromyalgia and I never understood why she couldn’t tolerate green leafy foods. I tolerate them fine. Narrow-minded!!! We don’t all fit the same cookie cutter form people!!!

    Reply
  140. WHAT IN THE WORLD??? Attacking green smoothies? WOW! There are so many worse thing that people put into their bodies in an attempt to lose weight. This article in bull! And I don’t know ANYONE who’s health has been made worse by drinking green smoothies–not a single person!

    Reply
  141. Sarah, I enjoy your blog and appreciate your work in getting the word out about healthy eating. I agree with most of the principles of WAPF that you promote. However, your perspective on green smoothies is something I would disagree with. My family and I have been consuming about 1 green smoothie everyday for the past 5-6 years and we love it and have not gotten sick at all from it. It is a very important part of our diet and one that we promote to others.

    Our diet is primarily raw (at least half and as high as 85% a lot of times) and we also eat natural grassfed animal products, cooked veggies, healthy fats, raw dairy, and fermented/soaked foods (grains, kefir, kombucha, etc). At one point early in our raw food journey, we became 100% raw and vegetarian. I even got certified as a raw food teacher. However, that didn’t last long because we didn’t agree with vegetarianism and we also believed in the importance of some cooked foods in our diet. But we still advocate a high raw foods diet, along with other principles that even WAPF promotes (ie: traditional, real foods)

    The perspective of your article to *stay away* from green smoothies (and fresh juice) is one that I think is not totally balanced. I personally believe that there are too many benefits in raw greens to ignore it. Robyn Openshaw from GreenSmoothieGirl.com has addressed this issue of oxalates many times on her blog. Here’s a post that provides links to her oxalates posts: [Click Here]

    Thanks again for all you do, Sarah! This is just an area I would respectfully disagree with you on. :)

    Reply
    • Thank you Jocelyn, for showing others how to respectfully disagree. If Sarah hadn’t been the kind of person who has had to respectfully disagree with others at some point in her life, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. Why people don’t want to allow the discussion, I will never understand. Truth stands on it’s own. Just stand back and watch to see if it stands or falls, but allow the choice to decide, to be made by each person. Some things take time to figure out… just because someone says it, doesn’t make it so. I appreciate your opinion.

      Reply
  142. Pingback: Why Green Smoothies Will NOT Devastate Your Health | Incredible Smoothies

  143. I think your article needs to be removed or rewritten. My SIL sent this to me and I was SO mad! I am a strict vegan – I chose this lifestyle to literally save my life. I eat dark green veggies every single day and in copious amounts, and have NONE of the conditions you are alarming people about- I have blood work done 1-2x year. For your information – please read this excerpt from this exceptional book written by N.W. Walker, D. Sci. Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices. In case you don’t want to purchase the book here is an excerpt (Also, please refer to the amazing Dr. Christopher who also disagrees):
    “When the food is RAW, whether whole or in the form of juice, every atom in such food is vital organic. Therefore, the oxalic acid in our raw vegetables and their juices is organic, and is not only beneficial, but essential for physiological functions of the body. The oxalic acid in COOKED and PROCESSED foods, however, is definitely dead, or inorganic, and as such is positively both pernicious and destructive. Oxalic acid readily combines with calcium. If these are both organic, the result is a beneficial constructive combination, as the former HELPS the digestive assimilation of the latter, at the same time stimulating the peristaltic functions of the body.
    When the oxalic acid becomes inorganic by cooking or processing the foods that contain it, then this acid forms an interlocking compound with the calcium, even combining with the calcium in other foods eaten during the same meal, destroying the nourishing value of both. This results in such a serious deficiency of calcium that it has even been known to cause decomposition of the bones (osteoperosis). This is the reason I never eat cooked or canned spinach.
    As to the oxalic acid itself, when converted into an inorganic acid by cooking or processing the food, it often results in causing inorganic oxalic acid crystals to form in the kidneys.
    It is worthy of notice that the minerals in our foods, iron, for example, frequently cannot be assimilated and used completely if they have become inorganic through cooking, and often prevent the utilizing of other elements through chemical and other action. Thus, the iron in fresh, raw spinach juice may be utilized 100%, but only 1/5 of that, or less, would be availabale in cooked spinach.
    It is well to bear in mind, therefore, that as the organic oxalic acid is so vital to our well-being, the fresh raw juice of the vegetable containing it should be used daily to supplement the eating of these raw vegetables included in our DAILY salads.
    The most abundant supply of organic oxalic acid is found in fresh raw spinach and rhubarb.”

    Reply
    • One more thing…I can tell you what my experience has been…watching my precious loved one die SLOW and PAINFUL from cancer and wanting desperately to find what would work for HIM. Not everything that was recommended was right for HIM. (lots of alphabet letters behind their names…) We tried and some things didn’t work. THAT will be the moment when you KNOW that everyone has to decide for themselves based on their understanding and experience. YOU CAN”T CHOOSE FOR OTHERS. It will break your heart, but leave you with the knowledge that it is a personal decision and NO ONE has the right to stop you from trying to find what you need.

      Reply
  144. I am extremely disapointed in your research on this topic, but I guess a person can’t be perfect all the time. Oxalates only cause problems in ridiculously high amounts…one Green Smoothie a day is NOT going to push someone over the Oxalate edge. For you to actually discourage people from consuming raw fruits and greens is just plain stupidity. The benefits FAR outweigh the risks and anybody that does thorough research will clearly see that you are mistaken. A Green Smoothie per day is EXACTLY what the average person on the standard american diet needs. In fact it could potentially be their only source of real nutrition. Not everybody has access to raw milk. Shame on you for writing this article.

    Reply
  145. It just occurred to me (I’m a little slow today apparently) that smoothies in general can’t be great for health and weight because they condense so much into an easily consumed product. It’s so typical of our society to think “if a little is good, a lot must be better!” But really, we’ve only had the technology for 50 years or so to purée a smoothies full of veggies and fruits every single day. And those awesome high powered blenders have been around even less time that that. Whether its the oxadate or the sugar content…seriously, what human without a blender could have eaten 2 cups of spinach, 2 pears, a cup of blueberries, 2 tbsps of almonds, a cup of yogurt and 3 carrots … for breakfast? Every day?

    Reply
  146. Just read the low oxalate diet link… that answers one of my questions. I have theoxalates, that’s a given (crystals in my urinalysis). I’ve been sick a very long time and am comensurately poor. I rent a room and have limited kitchen access. Supplements are not in the budget. What can I DO about this??

    Reply
  147. I never thought I’d be following up on a post I made, but after reading the 98 and counting emails since, I couldn’t help myself. I don’t think anyone is debating the fact that oxalate crystals could be a problem, and from the many comments I’ve read, is a very real problem with some individuals, but the real issue here that so far no one has given any tangible answer to is how much is too much. Our ringleader “Sarah” likes terms like “frequent” “large” and now adding “barrel” to this highly technical conversation we are all having, still dodging the questions since she obviously doesn’t have an answer. I going to go out on a limb with some real numbers to see what this blog community has to say.

    We juice between 4 and 7 times a week
    Approx 3oz is greens, kale spinach broccoli, any one serving could have one or all
    Approx 4-5oz is fruit such as apple, pineapple, kiwi, strawberry. There again any one serving could have one or all
    2 carrots
    1/2 lemon
    Approx 4oz water

    There are some real numbers. To be honest I have no idea if anything is too much or not. Besides that fact that I hate reading vague articles geared to stirring people up, I was hoping that someone would post some real information as to where I/we could go for some nutritional facts. I have done some research but it’s like going down the rabbit hole, each question answered brings up 5 new questions, and now oxalate crystals is one of them.

    As to Sarah sharing her email about some of us having oxalate crystals on the brain, I believe that would be Sarah and anyone else who has drank her oxalate kool-aid.

    There is no knowledge that is not power.

    Reply
  148. I don’t have time to read all of the comments unfortunately, and am hoping most of this was pointed out. But although I appreciate the thought that one must be careful about all aspects of their diet, including not assuming just because it is a fruit, veggie or green that it is good for every person to eat in large quantities (or for anyone to eat in *large quantities*). I also think this article is sensationalized and biased in a large way. There should be discussion of the fact that it is entirely possible to make green smoothies/blended salads/juices that are not high in oxalaytes and that if you are avoiding greens for that reason then you should also be avoiding a number of other foods — many many veggies, fruits and nuts as well as grains are high in this *or other* natural food chemicals that can cause problems for SOME people (or if almost anyone if eaten in very large quanitities). So, the basic information of not going crazy about green smoothies or anything else (I’ve done the paleo thing and you can’t tell me eating as much bacon or nuts as many do is healthy either; in full disclosure gree smoothies have been a HUGE part of my own healting process, but I don’t preach them as a panecea for everyone) … “green smoothie” can cover a wide variety of ingredients … blending foods in general can be hugely benficial to those with digestive damage during the healing process (and for some basically forever). Many of us with multiple sensitivies end up feeling like we can’t eat anything when we come across “helpful” articles like this which is why I put this out for others to read — 2 things — first don’t eat the same things at every meal regardless of the “health benefits” of those foods — 2nd look into healing those senstivities with multiple methods (for me homeopathics and acupuncture and meditation are just as important ans what I do and do not eat — yes this means that with these treatments I am less sensitive to these foods so they can become a part of an over all healthy plant-based diet). — IN the end we all want the same thing — good health now and long term … let’s work together

    Reply
    • If you have multiple sensitivities, you will likely benefit from reading the following book: “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, MMedSci(neurology), MMedSci(nutrition). Best of luck to you.

      Reply
  149. An interesting and thoughtful perspective, and one with which I can’t really disagree, but in general a green smoothie – assuming you are not prone to oxalate kidney stones – a few times a month probably has more overall benefits than risks for most people. My feeling is that daily consumption is probably excessive, and the importance of varying ingredients to include a range of organic produce – and not just focusing on greens – in juice and smoothie form (if that’s your thing) is probably advisable for most people. It always comes back to whatever works for an individual. I guess you knew this was going to cause a bit of contention, so kudos for putting it out there! Many thanks!

    Reply
  150. Sarah, thanks so much for this post! I’m so glad to see more nutrition bloggers raising their audience’s awareness of oxalates, and all the negative ways in which they can affect people&#