First For Women



Certain plant foods contain natural chemicals called oxalates that can become toxic when consumed regularly, causing symptoms like brain fog, joint pain and weight gain.

Not all healthy foods are healthy for every body, asserts nutrition expert Sally K. Norton, M.P.H. “I was floored to think that food in my healthy diet, like spinach, Swiss chard and sweet potatoes, had been making me sick.” But they were. Now, she’s spreading the word about oxalate overload, especially to older women since cells weakened by age or chronic inflammati­on run the greatest risk of oxalate accumulati­on—and pose the most potential for healing.

Ken Berry, M.D., adds, “By lowering your oxalates, you’re going to get tremendous relief from inflammati­on quickly.” One woman FIRST spoke to lost 38 pounds in a month.

On Norton’s four-week plan, you’ll practice oxalate-aware eating by limiting high-oxalate foods and opting for lower-oxalate alternativ­es (see chart at right). In general, meat, eggs, cheese and cabbage are low-oxalate, whereas some seeds, tree nuts and beans are higher in oxalates. But this approach isn’t about perfection. Grandmothe­r Marty Wilson, who dropped three pant sizes, shares, “I followed Sally’s oxalate advice like a C+ student and still have seen so much progress. It makes it easier to lose weight!”

To see slimming results, follow this gentle step-down approach…

Week 1: Reduce oxalate consumptio­n to less than 200 mg. per day (about 60 mg. per meal). Start by removing the top offenders, like spinach, beets and dark chocolate.

Weeks 2–4: Reduce oxalates to

100 mg. or fewer per day, with the goal of getting under 60 mg. daily (about 20 mg. per meal).

Week 5 and beyond: If you’ve reached your goal, experiment with adding back in some foods during maintenanc­e mode. But know that healing can take time depending on your level of sensitivit­y. If symptoms return or weight rebounds, reduce oxalates by repeating the prior step.

Throughout the plan and beyond, use these tips to rev success…

Squeeze a lemon. Start each day consuming citric acid in the form of 1⁄2 cup of undiluted (full-strength) lemon juice. Norton says, “It helps break down oxalate crystals.”

Get calcium this way. This mineral binds to oxalates, mopping up excess and protecting the kidneys from stones. Aim for a daily dose of 800 to 1,400 mg., depending on your dairy food intake. Look for a product without vitamin D, like Nature’s Way Calcium Citrate 500 mg. (drugstores), to improve oxalate excretion.

Boil your broccoli. To lower the oxalate content in raw broccoli, boil it for 10 minutes and discard the water. Norton explains, “This breaks down the cell structures so some oxalates can leach into the cooking water.”

Enjoy a healing soak. Some temporary detox symptoms like headache or fatigue can occur as oxalates are flushed from the body. Soaking in mineral-rich water can help, says Norton. To do, add 1⁄2 cup of Epsom salts to a basin of warm water and soak feet for 15 minutes every other day or add 2 cups to a bath twice a week.

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