Green Smoothie Questions

Oxalic Acid in Spinach

4 Comments 07 November 2009

Victoria Boutenko often receive questions about oxalic acid in greens, especially spinach. Here is an excerpt from the book Green Smoothie Revolution, page 34.

QUESTION: Should I avoid eating spinach because it has oxalic acid?

VICTORIA: 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 of the oxalic acid in spinach, but is 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 though 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!

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4 Comments so far

  1. Kathryn says:

    Hi Victoria,

    I’m fascinated with your lifestyle and wish I could do a more vegan diet. My body seems to need animal protein and fats. I also have blood sugar issues that make eating “just plants” almost impossible.

    I do agree that raw food is much better for people in maintaining good energy.

    How do you get around the dietary issues of adequate omega 3 fatty acids, B12, protein, saturated fats (needed for proper cell function), and blood sugar issues?

    This is what boggles my mind when it comes to the Vegan Diet.

    I did a fruitarian diet when I was much younger and it lasted 3 months and I was a wreck for the most part.

    I also did a vegetarian diet for about 3 years and ended up bleeding internally – so I gave that one up.

    I admire that you are able to function and prosper on a plant based diet.

    What’s your secret for being able to eat this way?

  2. Pacificus says:

    In response to Kathryn’s comment:

    Often, blood sugar problems are caused by fat in the diet, not the sugar. Fat blocks the way for sugar to reach cells and so it is left stranded in the bloodstream which results in symptoms. If the fat in your diet is below 10 % of your total calories, then you should have no trouble in this area. Animal products (meat, milk, etc.) are very high in fat and thus lead to such issues.

    Omega-3 needs to be consumed in proper ratio to omega-6. These essential fatty acids exist in the ideal ratio in fruits and vegetables. (Bananas are just one example. Eating bananas alone would provide adequate omega-3, and in the absence of excessive fat and other restricting substances (cooked proteins, grains, etc.), the body is very able to convert basic omega-3 into higher forms.)

    B12 is found in healthy soil and properly grown foods, as well as in food contaminates. However, as our food tends to come from modern intensive farms which use chemicals and monoculture, the soil is not healthy and thus the plants are not as healthy as they should be. Excessive washing of foods washes away any B12 on their surface and the end result is food which does not contain B12. Going back to nature is the proper answer – eating wild foods, and so on – but it would be best to use a B12 supplement in the meantime.

    Saturated fats need to be consumed in a proper ratio to other fats. This ratio exists in the fruits and vegetables. It is too easy to over consume the overt fats, as our culture has warped into one which celebrates them with abandon.

    A diet very high in fruit with around 2 – 4 % of total calories from dark leafy vegetables, and the occasional overt fat, such as a few nuts or a couple of spoons of seeds or half an avocado, seems to be the way of eating our bodies are designed for in order to achieve optimal health and functioning.

  3. Cindy says:

    In regards to the rotating of greens I find that I only
    Iike the taste of some of the milder forms of greens such as spinach, romaine and other different lettuces. I would like to continue drinking smoothies everyday but with me only liking certain greens should I cut it down to just a few a week and then rotate or what would be best to avoid the poisoning that you mention? Also does this hold true for juicing also?


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