Last night my body sent me an important message...in the form of a muscle cramp. I am right in the middle of my pregnancy so some of you may remember those painful leg cramps from your pregnancy. It definitely occurred a lot when I was pregnant with Ashton. But I had been cramp free in this pregnancy so far. So when the muscle cramp occurred I knew it was a sign that I should listen to.
As I mentioned in the first Green Smoothie Challenge post, spinach is high in oxalic acid and it's important to switch it up with other greens occasionally. The last few days I failed to listen to my own advice and think I over did it a bit on the spinach. The problem with taking in a high amount of oxalic acid is that it has the potential to bind with calcium, thus not allowing us to absorb it. And the main cause of muscle cramps, especially during pregnancy, is lack of calcium.
I think, since I am pregnant, I am much more sensitive to this. Baby needs calcium to grow and baby takes exactly what it needs from us while not worrying about what mama needs (it's great and amazing that it works this way). There is also a large degree of genetic variability in how oxalates affect you. So you may be able to handle a bit more spinach that me but I felt it was important to mention this to anyone consuming a large amount of green smoothies... or just eating a lot of raw spinach. Note: cooking greens greatly reduces the oxalic acid content, so go ahead and sauté or steam up that spinach, just watch your raw spinach consumption.
Don't let this scare you away completely from foods high in oxalic acid. They have much to offer.
"They're an excellent source of folic acid, photonutrients carotenoids and lutein, antioxidants, other minerals as well as vitamin K, E and C." source
How I am tweaking my smoothies to ensure I don't over do it on oxalic acid.
- using spinach and swiss chard less often and swapping it with lower oxalic acid greens like kale, baby bok choy, romaine lettuce, cucumber and celery.
- limit my raw spinach consumption to 8oz or less per day ...and listen to my body
For more information on oxalic acids, this article explains it well.
Peanut Butter Banana Green Smoothie
- bit of kale
- 1/4 avocado
- scoop of natural peanut butter (almond butter or a seed butter is great too)
- teaspoon of chia seeds
- frozen banana
If you are noticing detox symptoms like headaches or diarrhea, you can slow down a bit by smaller smoothies or doing a little less greens at first.