Mary Payne MS, RD, LD
As a renal dietitian, I can’t tell you how many of my patients come to me confused and frustrated. Depending on their kidney disease stage, they have been asked to follow a “kidney diet” with little explanation or guidance from their medical provider. I wanted to help answer a few of those questions many of you may have today.
Do I really have to give up certain foods?
This is a statement I hear most often from my patients, and as I renal dietitian, I hate when a patient has been told they “CAN’T” have something anymore. A kidney diet can have a lot of restrictions, depending on your kidney disease stage. Your blood test results, as well as any specifications from your doctor, will be the basis of your kidney diet.
For example, many kidney patients will need to watch their mineral levels like sodium, potassium, and phosphorus; or maybe watch their protein intake. While you have to cut back on certain foods, I don’t believe you have to eliminate them completely. You do, however, need to learn how to balance foods throughout the week as to not get too many of these nutrients. This is where KidneyChef steps in. Once you create a personalized profile with your health conditions, KidneyChef provides recipes and meal plans customized to your unique medical situation, including specific nutrient requirements. With this, you can balance your diet and still be able to include some of your favorite foods with modified recipes!
If I can’t use salt, my food is going to be bland!
Many patients need to follow a low sodium (salt) diet in order to help their fluid status or even their blood pressure for cardiovascular health. Many of our convenience and processed foods are loaded with salt. It is important to learn how to read nutrition labels and look for sodium to help you with your salt intake. It is also important to stop using added salt (like table salt or salt-based seasonings) when you cook or eat food.
Just because you can’t eat salt doesn’t mean your food has to be bland! There are many low sodium or no salt added spices and seasonings on the market to help with this. Spices help add flavor to foods to make them taste better! KidneyChef takes this under consideration when creating recipes and meal plans. They will even teach you how to make complex flavors with spices and salt-free seasonings so you don’t have to worry about bland food! Try this southwest seasoning blend to flavour your food with.
Is the “kidney diet” going to cost me a lot of time and money?
Eating healthy does not have to be expensive or time-consuming! Healthy, nutritious foods can be found everywhere – not just high-priced specialty stores! KidneyChef teaches kidney patients how to shop for and prepare nutritious meals without breaking the bank.
My favorite features are the customizable meal plans and recipes that include grocery-shopping lists! Recipes can also be filtered by difficulty level and preparation time. KidneyChef even offers instructional videos to build your cooking skills. Even as a dietitian – I have seen my fair share of cookbooks and recipe websites, and not many of them offer instructional videos or pictures of the recipe I am going to prepare. I really like this about KidneyChef because it helps build confidence in the kitchen!
I don’t believe following a diet is going to help me.
As a renal dietitian, I truly believe following nutrition recommendations for a kidney diet can help prevent or delay kidney disease progression and complications. Kidney disease is complex – there can be mineral or fluid restrictions, and even having to worry about controlling our blood pressure and diabetes with diet. It can be extremely overwhelming. Check out this list of delicious food choices for dialysis patients.
I urge you to consider seeking nutrition help if you have not done so already. KidneyChef is a quick and inexpensive tool to help you get started on your kidney diet journey and can help you maintain your health long term!
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