Lillian Wilson

Toxic Superfoods by Sally K. Norton

Are all superfoods healthy? Find out how to avoid the negative effects of high-oxalate foods by reading 'Toxic Superfoods'.

Toxic Superfoods

The book has gotten 4.13 ⭐️ on GoodReads.

“An invaluable book that tells the story of the deleterious health effects of oxalate in our food.” 
– Miki Ben-Dor, PhD

Sometimes even well-trusted healthy so-called super foods can not bring the results we expect them to or, even worth, worsen our fatigue, inflammation, anxiety and other health conditions.

In her book, ‘Toxic Superfoods,’ nutrition educator Sally K. Norton sheds light on how some healthy foods may contain chemical toxins called oxalates. Norton gives a comprehensive overlook of oxalate-containing foods and explains how we can reverse oxalate load and choose safer products to optimise health and well-being.

Author’s background

Sally Norton holds a nutrition degree from Cornell University and a master’s degree in Public Health.

Sally Norton (r)

Throughout her career, Sally has been involved in medical education, public health research, and holistic healing. She has gained recognition as a leading expert on dietary oxalate. Her expertise has been featured in various media outlets, including podcasts, radio shows, and reputable journals.

What is the book about?

The book ‘Toxic Superfoods’ sheds light on the health implications of oxalates, a plant toxin that can lead to discomfort, pain, and various health issues when consumed in excessive amounts. In the current trend of plant-based ‘healthy’ eating, people are unknowingly consuming higher levels of oxalates, which can lead to a range of health problems, from mental health issues to cellular function and energy level disturbances.

‘Toxic Superfoods’ is divided into two parts and presents scientific evidence explaining the healing responses and gradual recovery that a well-implemented low-oxalate diet can bring about.

In Part 1, the book discusses the nature and occurrence of oxalate, the increase in oxalate intake due to recent trends, and the health problems it can cause. The book aims to educate readers on the wide array of symptoms associated with oxalate overload and its role in various diseases.

In Part 2 of the book, readers will find practical resources on adopting a healthful low-oxalate diet, strategies for healing from oxalate overload, and supplement suggestions for essential minerals and B vitamins. The book also offers a self-quiz to assess one’s risk factors for oxalate-related health issues. Additionally, it provides tables of high-oxalate foods and their low-oxalate alternatives, recommended readings, and online resources for further information.

By following the guidance in this book, readers can better understand their risk factors, recognise symptoms, and make informed dietary choices to improve their quality of life and overall health. The book empowers readers to confidently adopt a low-oxalate eating pattern, even when their healthcare providers might not fully comprehend its significance.

Table of contents

  • Introduction: When Healthy Isn’t
  • Part 1: How Oxalates Harm
  • Chapter 1 Health Food or Health Disaster?
  • Chapter 2 Oxalates Are Weapons for Plants
  • Chapter 3 How Much Is Too Much?
  • Chapter 4 Toxic Delusions and Troubling Trends
  • Chapter 5 The Many Faces of a Poison
  • Chapter 6 Why Don’t We Know About Oxalate Overload?
  • Chapter 7 A Confusing Multitude of Symptoms and No Good Tests
  • Chapter 8 How Your Diet Aggravates Oxalate Overload
  • Chapter 9 How Oxalate Accumulates
  • Chapter 10 Symptoms and Syndromes
  • Chapter 11 Clearing Oxalates from Your Body
  • Part 2: The Low-Oxalate Program
  • Chapter 12 Assessing Your Oxalate Health
  • Chapter 13 A Phased Transition
  • Chapter 14 Converting Your Diet
  • Chapter 15 Supporting Your Recovery
  • Chapter 16 Unbroken
  • Resources
  • Endnotes
  • Index

Key takeaways from ‘Toxic Superfoods’

1What is a safe amount of oxalate to consume?

Oxalates, found in many plant-based foods, can be harmful when overeating, leading to serious health issues in both animals and humans. When oxalate crystals accumulate in the body, it can lead to adverse health issues, including kidney stones, hormonal imbalances, depression, and more.

Sally Norton gives a straightforward explanation of how much oxalate is safe to consume: “Kidney researchers tell us that a ‘normal’ and safe intake level is within the range of 150 to 200 mg a day. ‘High-oxalate’ eating – with great potential to get healthy people into trouble over time – is typically defined as 250 mg or more per day. Diets over 600 mg a day are considered ‘extremely high.’”

2Oxalate clearing can be discomforting, but very beneficial in a long run

When you switch to a low-oxalate diet and your body starts to clear out the excess oxalates, it is like a little detox process. But here’s the thing: not everyone will experience it the same way. Some people won’t notice much at all, however, for others, this whole clearing process can be a bit of a roller-coaster ride. You might not even realise that some of the symptoms you’re feeling are related to the high-oxalate foods, like chocolate or French fries, you used to love. It could be things like fatigue, headaches, grumpy moods, sensitive teeth, or achy joints – they sneak up on you, and you wonder what’s going on.

The timing can be weird too. Some people feel the effects right away, while for others, it takes months before they start noticing any changes. And when it hits, the symptoms can come and go, sometimes lingering for months or popping up unexpectedly like a fun-house mirror making you feel all disoriented.

Even though it might feel rough during the clearing process, many people notice improvements in other aspects of their health. You might find you sleep better or have fewer headaches, for example. The tricky part is that when you are dealing with discomfort in one area, it is easy to overlook the positive changes elsewhere.

3What are the benefits of a low-oxalate diet?

By following a low-oxalate diet, many individuals have experienced relief from conditions such as autism, spectrum disorders, hypothyroidism, chronic pain, and chronic fatigue. The dietary shift to low-oxalate alternatives has shown improvements in sleep, energy, concentration, and mood, while potentially preventing injuries, arthritis, osteoporosis, and age-related degeneration.

Strengths and weaknesses, according to readers’ reviews


  • The book is backed by extensive research, providing a deep understanding of the hidden health implications of oxalates.

  • Presents complex medical information in an easily digestible manner, making it accessible to readers from all backgrounds.

  • Offers practical and actionable steps to implement a low-oxalate diet, empowering readers to take charge of their health.

  • Through success stories and testimonials, the book inspires hope for those struggling with chronic health problems.

  • The author’s own journey with chronic health issues adds credibility and relatability to the book’s message.


  • The book has received criticism for challenging conventional notions of a healthy diet. Some readers find it difficult to accept that foods typically seen as super healthy, such as spinach, almonds, and certain legumes, could potentially have harmful effects.

Best quotes from ‘Toxic Superfoods’

“How and what we eat today has led to unimagined troubles as we eat more oxalate than at any time in human history.”
“Raw spinach, however, has over two to three hundred times the oxalate of lettuce and arugula, with a whopping 600 mg of oxalate (or more) in a 2-cup serving.”
“Oxalate has multiple ways to create malnourished bodies. Not only does it block us from accessing minerals in food, but when oxalic acid enters our bloodstream, it also steals minerals from body fluids and cells.”
“Growing children have a harder time excreting oxalate and are more susceptible to the effects of nutrient deficiencies and toxic exposures. The oxalate in today’s baby foods featuring high-oxalate grains and pureed vegetables, including sweet potatoes, carrots, and beets, should concern us.”

Final takeaway

‘Toxic Superfoods’ by Sally K. Norton is a groundbreaking book that challenges common beliefs about a healthy diet. It reveals the hidden health effects of oxalate in our food, shedding light on how seemingly healthy plant foods can potentially cause harm. The book offers a well-researched and thought-provoking exploration of oxalates, providing clear, easy-to-follow steps for readers to take control of their health.

If you’ve tried numerous diets, supplements, and treatments without success, this book could hold the key to understanding the underlying cause of your health problems. It will empower you to make informed choices and embark on a low-oxalate journey that may lead to significant improvements in your overall well-being.

Where to buy

You may ‘Toxic Superfoods’ purchase on Amazon at the best price. It is available in paperback, spiral bound, audio and Kindle versions, so you may choose an option that appeals to you the most.

Healthypedia FAQ

If you've been battling chronic health problems, whether it's severe fatigue, joint pain, dysautonomia, or food allergies, this book can be a game-changer for you. 'Toxic Superfoods' provides crucial information about the harmful effects of oxalates in certain plant-based foods, and how they might be exacerbating your health conditions. By following the low-oxalate diet guidelines outlined in the book, you can take control of your health and potentially experience improvements in your overall well-being.

Yes, the book is well-researched and supported by scientific evidence. Sally K. Norton presents complex medical information in a clear and accessible manner, ensuring that readers from all backgrounds can grasp the concepts. The book includes studies, success stories, and testimonials, giving credibility to its message and empowering readers to make informed dietary choices.

No, adopting a low-oxalate diet does not mean compromising on essential nutrients. Sally K. Norton provides practical resources and supplement suggestions to support a balanced diet. By carefully selecting foods and supplements, you can maintain a well-nourished body and work towards healing from oxalate overload without sacrificing essential nutrients.

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