Dialysis and the Holidays

Xmas Dinner

(I originally posted this last year and, like Christmas, it’s that time of year again! Enjoy!)

‘Tis the season to be eating! At every turn, we’ll be faced with the questions like, “What can I eat?” and “What can I cook?” and they’ll be more often than usual.

Since cooking has become a hobby with me, I have some very good sites where this information is available.  Perhaps the best site for recipes and meal planning is Davita.com/recipes.  I visit there often to get ideas.  It’s sort of a kidney-friendly Cooks.com (another place I visit for ideas but they are not kidney-friendly.

Davita also has a great diet planner that’s especially valuable to new dialysis patients. You enter your nutritional information that you can get from your dietitian and it will give you a meal plan for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks along with nutrition information.  Simple, eh?  After a time with that, you’ll be a pro at diet planning. They even have a diet prescription form you can print out to take to the dietitian.

The National Kidney Foundation has a webpage with dietary information and recipes in it.  It’s particularly nice because it includes information for CKD, diabetes and dialysis patients and each recipe is identified as applying to each group. You can view it here.  Also, the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP.org) has a whole host of publications in their library that contain recipes.

Most pre-processed and pre-cooked frozen meals have lots of phosphorus, potassium, and sodium (salt) in them so my advice is to prepare your own food. Here, for example, is a workaround for Alfredo Sauce as an alternative to a packaged Italian meal from a popular source.  Dialyspa’s Renal Support Group wrote about it in this blog posting.  After a couple years of reading container labels at the store for pre-packaged foods, I started cooking most of my meals.  It’s turned into a hobby of sorts but it helps me control the amounts of those foods I can and can’t consume plus the preservatives and additives that aren’t kidney-friendly.

In researching for this post, I found a new site I hadn’t seen before.  It’s KidneysDoThat.org and they have a recipe for Egg Nog which, in it’s traditional form, is NOT kidney-friendly.  However, they use non-dairy coffee creamer and that help reduce the phosphorus.  It’s labelled as non-alcoholic but that can be remedied quickly and easily.

I’ve focused mostly on kidney-friendly recipe sources because they make it easy to create meals that are kidney friendly.  If you want to access sources for specifics about what food to avoid and what you can consume, Here are some helpful links. Davita (again) has a webpage that identifies the top 15 foods that are kidney-friendly. It’s a helpful, general look at kidney-friendly foods.

You’ve probably seen posters of foods to avoid due to high phosphorus and/or high potassium.  The problem is they are sometimes contradictory or confusing.  It’s also hard to remember what they warned against when you’re at home or out shopping.  I asked the dietitian for and received a smaller version of the poster that I put on my refrigerator. That helped in the early days of dialysis.  I eventually learned the goods from the bads.

A website called LiveStrong has some good information in general terms about foods that are kidney-friendly.  In their case, the site is pointed towards maintaining good kidney health and not necessarily for dialysis patients.  But, what they have to say seems to apply to us.  You can view the website here.

The manufacturer of Renvela, the binder pill, has a good checklist for low phosphorus foods.  You can view it here.  I like it because it identifies specific brands of foods that are low phosphorus along with categories of foods.  It’s also a checklist format and able to be printed to take with you to the grocery store.  Pretty clever actually.

The VCU Health organization from Virginia Commonwealth University has a publication about diet called, “The Renal Diet” and on pages 9 and 10 a grocery list that you can print and take with you to the store.   It also has loads of information about all things associated with kidney failure and diet.  Very informative!

I found another store-ready checklist you can print and take with you when grocery shopping.  It’s from the Canadian Central East HLIN and the list is on pages 88 and 89.  You can view the publication here and just page down to 88 and 89.  However, there is a large amount of valuable information in it so, if you have time, go through the whole thing.

A group called Nepgrology Physicians LLC in Indiana has webpage of the traditional lists of foods high, medium and low in the various items we must attend to like phosphorus, potassium. protein, sodium, etc.  I include this because it lists foods and sometimes specific brands which makes it easier to use on a practical basis while shopping.

I know how difficult it is to manage a kidney-friendly diet.  It’s numerous times per day that I am looking at an item and asking, “Is this kidney-friendly?” or “Is this high or low in __________ (fill in the blank)” But, importantly, I am asking those questions.  It’s taken a while to come to that.  In the beginning, it was all very confusing but after a couple years, you learn what to eat and what to avoid.

© 2012 DevonTexas

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About DevonTexas

I am a person with ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease) which means my kidneys don't work. Forty or so years ago that would have been a death sentence but today there is Dialysis which means I can be hooked up to a machine that will clean my blood as the kidneys should. Three days a week, I go to a center and have too very large needles stuck in my arm to remove and replace my blood as it passes through a process where it's cleaned and the fluid is removed, a process taking a little over four hours each time. I want to advance knowledge about dialysis so that other patients can learn from my experience and mistakes. We shouldn't have to reinvent the wheel, eh? There is so much to be learned and experienced about our predicament. There are vast resources available to support us and enrich our lives but many patients don't know about them. There are also many issues that we have to deal with whether we want to or not. So I blog about them. All comments are confidential until I approve them. If you don't want your comment public, let me know and I will respect that. So, feel free to leave a comment. Enjoy.
This entry was posted in dialysis, diet, dietary restictions, New Patient, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Dialysis and the Holidays

  1. hollybernabe says:

    I found this post very helpful, Devon. I think, if you don’t mind, I’m going to reblog it on my site. This is the kind of information that needs to get around!!

  2. hollybernabe says:

    Reblogged this on Holly's Walk and commented:
    DevonTexas is a dialysis patient who writes a very helpful blog about dialysis and the lives of people on dialysis. I decided to reblog this particular post, about dialysis and the holidays and food in general, because it is so, sooo important to ESRD patients and is incredibly useful information. If you know have a friend or loved one on dialysis or with end stage renal disease, please take a few minutes to read the following. You may find something helpful!

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