Kidney Stones and a Vegan Diet
I am 19 years old and I get chronic kidney stones. I have had over 30 or so (I lost count). I have been vegetarian for over a year and vegan for four or so months. I cannot eat high oxalate foods which is confusing because they are the healthy foods I am supposed to eat while being vegan! I drink three liters of water a day and barely eat any foods high in sodium. Once I became vegan I got more stones (having to pass them). It went from every two months to once a month to every two weeks. I really want to stay vegan because I know how much healthier it is but I cannot deal with all of this pain. Any information you can give me would be greatly appreciated. I have gone to a urologist but she hasn’t given me any helpful information and right now I am just so frustrated I want to give up. So please help!
Assuming your stones are oxalate stones, I would say that doing two things could help:
1. As it sounds like you’re doing, avoid the high-oxalate vegetables ‒ spinach, swiss chard, and beet greens. Kale, broccoli, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, and bok choy should all be safe. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should also limit or avoid rhubarb, beets, okra, sweet potatoes, nuts, tea, chocolate and soy products. Yikes – that’s no fun. But maybe if you cut them all out, you could then slowly add back in small amounts of nuts and soy products and see if they are safe for you.
2. Consider a calcium supplement with meals. Calcium can bind oxalates and cause them to be excreted in your feces, but you should ask your doctor about this before doing it. Here is some more info on this:
I am mainly concerned that with all these restrictions I will not be able to receive all the essential nutrients I will need. I eat mostly nuts and beans to receive protein and those are some things I can’t eat.
Have you seen ohf.org/docs/Oxalate2008.pdf
It lists beans as being moderately high in oxalates. I would think that you could eat small amounts of beans without it being a problem.
Unfortunately, it looks like quinoa (a non-legume, non-nut source of vegan protein) is high in oxalates: