Diane May Nutrition Blog

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What Are Oxalates?

September 4th, 2020

Oxalates are a naturally occurring compound found in many plants. This organic compound binds to calcium and blocks calciums absorption and is excreted in stool. Oxalates that are not bound to calcium travel as a waste product from the blood to the kidneys and are excreted in urine. Oxalates can also hinder nutrient absorption when eaten with fiber. Oxalate is produced as an end product of Vitamin C metabolism. Too much Vitamin C, usually through supplementation, can increase oxalate in your urine.Do not take more than 500 mg of Vitamin C in supplement form, especially if you are prone to kidney stones. The most common medical condition that would make it beneficial to reduce high oxalate rich foods is kidney stones. There are studies that have shown that high oxalate diets lead to joint pain, fibromyalgia, inflammation, autoimmune diseases and vulvodynia. These studies need further research. You do not need to remove all oxalates, as it would be virtually impossible! By combining calcium rich foods, you can reduce oxalate absorption. For conditions such as having calcium oxalate kidney stones, limit oxalate rich foods to no more than 100-50 mg per day. What else can you do to reduce oxalate stones?

  • Stay very well hydrated. 2L a day and bonus points if you put lemon in it as citric acid can reduce stone formation.
  • Stay at a healthy weight.
  • Do not over consume protein.
  • Consume no more than 2300 mg of sodium a day.
  • Avoid high fructose corn syrup and refined sugar.
  • Include calcium into your diet.
  • Avoid Vitamin C supplements.

A condition called hyperoxaluria occurs when you have too much oxalate in your urine. It can be caused by a genetic disorder, intestinal disease or eating too many oxalate rich foods. Oxalosis occurs after the kidneys fail for those who have primary and intestinal hyperoxaluria, and oxalates build up in the blood. This condition is rare. Primary symptoms include: severe and sudden back pain, pain below the ribs in the back that is persistent, blood in urine, pain when urinating and chills or fever. Always consult your doctor if you have pain and/or blood in your urine.

Foods high in oxalates include:

  • Spinach and dark leafy greens
  • Bran and bulgar
  • Rhubarb
  • Potato chips
  • French fries
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Beets
  • Cocoa and chocolate
  • Sweet potato
  • Star fruit
  • Soy
  • Miso
  • Sesame seeds
  • Berries
  • Black tea
  • Cola
  • Coffee
  • Okra
  • Oranges

Some foods lower in oxalates:

  • Apples-peeled
  • Acorn Squash
  • Banana
  • Grapes
  • Nectarines
  • Papaya
  • Melons
  • Mango
  • Cabbage-white
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumbers
  • Peas-frozen
  • Summer squash
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Peppers-red
  • Corn
  • Carrots
  • Tomato
  • Dairy
  • Proteins
  • Lentils

It is important to note that most foods containing oxalates are good for you. Many oxalate foods are very healthy and nutritious. Removing them completely can lead to nutrient deficiency and poor health. Do not remove oxalates from your diet. Consume calcium and oxalate foods together to help bind the oxalates. When in doubt, talk to your doctor or RD.

A summertime favorite–zucchini casserole–gets an Italian spin in this delicious and healthy side dish with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. You can use zucchini or summer squash in this caprese-style casserole, or a combination of the two. A sprinkling of fresh basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar just before serving brightens up the flavors. Serve with grilled or roasted chicken and some quinoa, rice or couscous to soak up the juices from the casserole for a satisfying and easy dinner. Source: EatingWell.com, June 2019



Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat an 8-by-8- or 7-by-10-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

  • Arrange squash and tomatoes decoratively, like rows of shingles (some may need to be cut in half), in the prepared dish.

  • Combine shallot, 1/4 cup basil, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Spoon the mixture over the vegetables. Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella. Bake until the vegetables are tender and the cheese has melted, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons basil. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, if desired.

Nutrition Facts

87 calories; total fat 5.4g 8% DV; saturated fat 2g; cholesterol 9mg 3% DV; sodium 296mg 12% DV; potassium 326mg 9% DV; carbohydrates 5.7g 2% DV; fiber 1.2g 5% DV; sugar 3g; protein 4.8g 10% DV; exchange other carbs 1; vitamin a iu 809IU; vitamin c 18mg; folate 30mcg; calcium 121mg; iron 1mg; magnesium 23mg

How To Boost Your Immune System

August 7th, 2020

Many people are very interested in how to boost their immune system.  Our immune system is very efficient, but there are things you can do to make it as effective as possible.  In uncertain tomes, everything and anything we can to do make ourselves stronger is important. It’s important to understand there are many unfounded and unsafe products on the market and always check with your physician or RD before you take a new supplement/treatment. The most important ways to boost your immune system have to do with lifestyle.

  • Get good quality sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. Have a cut off times for fluids and food, optimally 2-3 hours before your bedtime. Keep your room cool and very dark. If you have electronics in your room, turn the lights away. DO not do any mentally stimulating  activities right before bed. Sleep is critical to immune function.
  • Get up and move: we not only need to get our 30-45 minutes of exercise a day and at least 2 times a week of strength training. We also should move all throughout the day. Stretch, take a walk, garden, clean the house. Every little bit counts. Exercise changes antibodies and white blood cells. 
  • Reduce that stress: Although we are in very challenging times, we need to find ways to reduce stress. Chronic stress leaves your body vulnerable to infection (and can increase your waistline). Try meditation, pay attention to your breathing, take a virtual yoga class, treat yourself to a relaxing bubble bath. If things feel too overwhelming, Reach out for support. There is no shame in getting help when you need it, and we all do at some point or another.
  • Eat for health: Consume cold water fish at least 2 times a week for those Omega 3 acids that can reduce inflammation. Those include, salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines and anchovies. Make sure you consume at least 5 servings of anti inflammatory vegetables a day such as onions, celery, apples, citrus and tomatoes. Eat whole foods as much as possible. Reduce refines, white sugar. Make sure to stay well hydrated with 64 ounces of water a day.Food has the power to impact immune function as well as inflammation in the body.
  • Probiotics: 70% of our immune function is in our gut lining. an unhappy microbiome can lead to a host of problems, including a weaker immune system. Consume pre and probiotic foods. These include fermented foods such as (probiotic) yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso. Prebiotic-Garlic, artichokes, onions, leeks, asparagus and bananas. your gut with thank you. If you want to add an extra boost you can supplement with a probiotic that contains Bifidobacterium animalis.
  • Supplements: There is little evidence to support that immune boosting supplements actually can strengthen immune function. With that said, if you feel you are not meeting all your nutritional needs through food, consider a multi vitamin. With all that said, there are current studies underway on the utilization of Vitamin D and C as well as Zinc and elderberry. Do not start any vitamin or supplement protocol without talking to your medical practitioner first.

We all can benefit from these practices, but don’t forget to wash your hands-20 seconds, wear your mask for your and your community, socially distance and be kind! We are all in this together.


Grilled salmon and veggies make for a colorful and balanced seafood dinner that’s ready in just minutes. The grill turns the salmon flaky and moist while tenderizing the crispy pepper and onion pieces. Round out the meal with brown rice or quinoa. Source: EatingWell.com, July 2018


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat grill to medium-high.

  • Brush zucchini, peppers and onion with oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle salmon with pepper and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

  • Place the vegetables and the salmon pieces, skin-side down, on the grill. Cook the vegetables, turning once or twice, until just tender and grill marks appear, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Cook the salmon, without turning, until it flakes when tested with a fork, 8 to 10 minutes.

  • When cool enough to handle, roughly chop the vegetables and toss together in a large bowl. Remove the skin from the salmon fillets (if desired) and serve alongside the vegetables. Garnish each serving with 1 tablespoon basil and serve with a lemon wedge.

Nutrition Facts

281 calories; 12.7 g total fat; 2.3 g saturated fat; 66 mg cholesterol; 369 mg sodium. 896 mg potassium; 10.6 g carbohydrates; 3.1 g fiber; 6 g sugar; 30.2 g protein; 3014 IU vitamin a iu; 125 mg vitamin c; 74 mcg folate; 84 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 65 mg magnesium