A Low-Oxalate Lifestyle
What on earth are oxalates, you ask, and why should I care? Well if you suffer from any number of mysterious chronic pain, fatigue or gut disorders (not to mention kidney stones) then you may care a great deal about calcium oxalate crystals. Now for all of you healthy people who haven't had enough issues to care about alternative medicine, maybe just stick to the recipe section of this blog. This is weird science, don't get me wrong it makes sense but it is not main stream medical practice, at least not in Australia.
I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at fifteen. A disorder which loosely translates, 'We don't really know what's wrong with you so why don't you take some anti-depressants and go on a disability pension.' Unfortunately for me (or fortunately as it turns out), I have a family history of allergies to said medication. So instead we trialed a low-oxalate diet.
It works like this: Oxalate, a natural pesticide in plants combines with calcium in the body to form calcium oxalate crystals. Normally we have enough enzymes and digestive juices to break said crystals down, and process them through our gut and kidneys. However, some people just don't have the right enzymes, or healthy enough organ function to break these crystals down. When that happens oxalates get into the connective tissue and the muscles and start irritating away. It's kind of like having a severe form of gout (different type of crystal) absolutely everywhere.
Long story short, fifteen years later no pension, no medication and next to no fibromyalgia symptoms. (If I behave myself and don't eat things I shouldn't). Don't get me wrong, oxalates are in everything and it hasn't been easy, but it is certainly better than the alternative! Of course starting off with a lactose problem, and discovering gluten intolerance didn't help...but it only takes the occasional slip up to remind me, exactly why I eat the way I do.
But never fear, if you are also avoiding oxalates, gluten, or lactose--then you've come to the right place. I have had ten years to experiment, I've tried and failed, and tried and failed again. For a long time I hated cooking, and felt really depressed about the limitations in my diet. However I have learned how to substitute, mimic and create some really amazing food, and continue to experiment with new recipes every day.