Soba Noodles with Chicken and Scallions / Oxalates!

Posted by Brette in Food

soba saladWhile this post is ostensibly about the recipe for Soba Noodle Salad with Chicken and Scallions from November Everyday Food, it is also about my frustration with food.

Let’s start with the recipe. It’s actually sobas, chicken, scallions and red cabbage with an oriental dressing. Very easy to put together and very tasty. I added some carrots to get another veg in there. I enjoyed it and will be eating leftovers for lunch. This is a nice quick meal – particularly if you already have some leftover chicken you can just shred.

This was a good recipe for me to make the night that I did. I’ve mentioned that I’ve been struggling with an ongoing infection for months (UTI) and then what we believe are kidney stones (lab report not back yet). On the day in question, I returned from the Dr’s office struggling to process the latest info. Although we have no verified proof yet of stones, that’s what they believe I have. And it turns out I’ve probably given them to myself via my weight loss.

Here’s the deal – as I’ve blogged about here, I’ve lost about 20 lbs eating Martha’s food and thinking about food as Martha does.  It was really eye-opening for me and I drastically changed what I eat, encompassing lots and lots and lots of greens and eating nuts for afternoon snacks.  As a cruel joke, those foods are high in oxalates, which can cause kidney stones.  I came home with a little pamphlet listing foods high in oxalate. On the list is pretty much everything I have been eating.  In fact, the only things it seems that are not high in oxalates are foods I’ve learned to avoid  – things like white bread!  I’m sure I am simply in shock and will figure this out, but right now I’m mad at the world that spinach, swiss chard, chocolate (yes, chocolate), nuts, sweet potatoes, wheat germ, berries and much more are on the list. I (jokingly) told Mr. MarthaAndMe that I’m just going to eat cake and ice cream since they are the only things that are safe.

I’m supposed to cut way back on oxalates for now then try to find a balance. Snort. Turns out the buckwheat in the soba noodles is even on the list. I looked in the cereal cupboard this morning and of the 6-7 boxes in there, the only things I could eat were Special K or Frosted Flakes. Blech. Maybe I’ll eat oatmeal for breakfast from now on. They also told me to drink lemonade – something I used to drink a lot of but learned to cut out of my diet because of the sugar content. Yes, I know I could just put some lemon juice in my water, but I really hate that!

Yes, I’m crabby about this. I finally found a way to eat that allowed me to first lose, then keep off the weight I had lost (quite an achievement for me) and now I learn it was all wrong, wrong, wrong.  Let me be clear that I will not cut out chocolate. I’d rather be dead. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating, but small amounts of chocolate must remain in my diet.

I have an entire bunch of Swiss chard in the fridge I was going to use to make a recipe in November Everyday Food. I’ll have to give that away. No more spinach and mushroom omelets, spinach salad, wilted spinach, creamed spinach (are you seeing how much I like spinach?). Sigh. Goodbye honey roasted cashews. Goodbye peanut butter.  I’ll pull myself up by my bootstraps and handle this dietary challenge, if not with grace, then at least with determination!

Update: Thanks for all your comments and support on this. Test results now say it was not kidney stones but “sediment” (I can’t find much on Google about this, so if you can point me to something, I would appreciate it). Back to the drawing board, but I’m still supposed to stick to the non-oxalate plan in case I have stones too small to see. I’ve got appts set up for 2nd opinions in the coming weeks.

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14 Responses

  • Let me just say that my kidney stones were caused by this too and you do NOT need to cut those things out of your diet. You simply need to drink more! That’s always been my problem. You need to drink 2-3 times more than the average person. Lemonade really does help but it has to be the real stuff because the frozen mix or the crystal light stuff doesn’t have the same acidic power to eat away at little formations of baby kidney stones.

  • Thanks! Their advice was to cut it all out just temporarily – I’ve got to do something to get some relief. Then reintroduce things but try to do it slowly and keep oxalate levels low. It’s frustrating b/c I already drink lots of water – they said eight 8 oz glasses is what to get to but I already drink at least that much. I’m increasing the water and drinking real lemonade (hate that fake stuff)

  • Melissa says:

    What a wretched development! Who knew that moderation was required in eating healthfully — along with everything else…

  • jennifermargulis says:

    Ugh, the struggle with the kidney stones sounds really hard and maybe we should all just be eating cake and ice cream. But I am inspired to eat more vegetables and greens, and this recipe looks like a good one. Argh…

  • I recently cooked a recipe with soba noodles and loved it. Thanks for this one- will definitely try it!

    And so sorry to hear about the damned oxalates and your frustrations. I love all those foods, too, and don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t eat them. Especially since you found them so helpful in your weight loss. I hope you figure this all out and are able to incorporate what you love back into your diet.

  • I’m so sorry to hear about all the pain and ickiness. I’m amusing myself, though, with alternative headlines, like … Martha Stewart gave me kidney stones.

    Hang in there.

  • Well I already accused of her giving me food poisoning or food allergy (I kept getting a rash and thought it was tied maybe to lime or to fish – turns out it was my niacin supplement!). Martha would be so pleased though – she says to make up big pitchers of water with lemon slices in them and drink them all day – well, that’s what I’m doing.

  • Just watch your teeth with all that lemon! It does help with the kidney stones but then it also eats away at the enamel on your teeth. My dentist to swish with baking soda after I drink lemonade or lemon in my water. But who really does that?

  • Oh for gosh’s sake – another example of how there’s always a down side to things. Thanks for the warning. How long did it take for you to feel better once you started lemon juice and diet monitoring?

  • I’m so sorry to hear about the oxalates/kidney stones connection; that’s a new one to me and really disturbing. I eat practically nothing but the foods you mention, and they are all really healthy and also on the list of cancer-prevention foods too. What about drinking water first thing in the day? I recently did a story about detox and several experts mentioned to me that they drink two big glasses of lukewarm water every day as soon as they get up, and that’s very good for the kidneys. Might be worth trying…

  • Thanks Melanie. Good tip.

  • Really, it took me about four years to get rid of the stones that had all formed already. I’ve been kidney stone free for 6 years now. The key for me has been drinking lots of water and I do make lemonade at least once a week. I don’t really watch what I eat anymore and I’m no longer under the care of an urologist so I’m hoping no more kidney stones are forming. (I think mine formed when I became vegetarian for a while. Now I eat meat so maybe I eat less of all those oxalate filled foods.) I drink water even through the night which means lots of getting up and going to the bathroom but my urologist recommended it. Now I’m in the habit and can’t get through the night without water by my bedside.

  • Thanks for sharing! I’ve been drinking at night too and honestly I find it so disruptive to my sleep, but it’s better than pain. I’m seeing some improvement, so fingers crossed that it continues.