If you’re doing a carnivore experiment, there’s a really good chance that at some point you’ll experience something called oxalate dumping. Here’s everything you need to know about what oxalate dumping is and how to get through it.
What are oxalates, and what does dumping even mean?
Some plants have a toxic defense mechanism compound called oxalic acid, which is a tiny, corrosive acid found in dark leafy greens, nuts and nut butters, sweet potatoes, raspberries, and kiwi fruit.
Your body has to excrete it. It can excrete a certain amount at a time, and stores the rest.
Once you stop consuming oxalate-rich foods, the body gets to work on clearing out oxalate crystals through the urine, skin, and stool.
Your body does this through cycles of oxalate dumping, where you have a short, period of clearing it, followed by feeling back to normal.
Symptoms of Oxalate Dumping
Symptoms vary from person to person, but may include:
- Skin: Rashes, tiny white acne-like pustules, or small oxalate crystals actually being pushed to the surface of the skin
- Urinary: Cloudy urine, bladder and/or kidney tenderness, UTI-like symptoms
- Stool: Burning bowel movements, as if you ate something spicy
- Other: Fatigue, dizziness, cramping, irritability, loss of focus and motivation
How Long Does Oxalate Dumping Last?
Not only can this be uncomfortable, with widely variable symptoms from person to person, but unfortunately, it’s also unpredictable. You don’t know when oxalate dumping is going to hit, how long it’s going to last, or how severe it will be.
Usually, it’s only for a few days, but you never know. If you’re not aware that what you’re experiencing is oxalate dumping, the symptoms can be so unpleasant, you can start to think carnivore isn’t working for you anymore!
On top of all of that, it can take years for the body to fully clear oxalates. And that’s unpredictable, too. It’s impossible to know when the next cycle will hit, or how many cycles it will take until it’s done. Oxalates truly are nasty little buggers!
But, don’t be discouraged! There are things you can do to minimize the side effects.
How to Minimize the Side Effects of Oxalate Dumping
The solution is to help your body ease up on the gas pedal of oxalate dumping. To do this, you add in just enough oxalate-rich foods to slow the rate of dumping, much like a rocket’s thrusters slow its descent as it returns to earth.
This does necessarily mean incorporating some plant foods, but you can do those without (or at least with very little) fiber, and also ones that are less likely to wake up the sugar dragon. In my experience, this means therapeutically incorporating in some black tea and 100% chocolate (i.e. no sweetener, just pure cacao).
Important: don’t let yourself think you have “failed” at carnivore if you do this! You are simply temporarily modifying your carnivore experiment to help support your body.
Best Oxalate Foods for Carnivore
- Black or Green Tea: Regular or decaf, 1-2 cups a day.
- 100% Dark Chocolate: 1-2 squares a day. Or, 90% dark chocolate, if you can moderate!
How Long Oxalate Dumping Lasts
It’s temporary, so don’t worry! It varies from person to person, but as an example, my first oxalate dump lasted 4-5 days.
After it passed, I felt back to my normal highly energetic and motivated carnivore self, and so will you!