Kidney Meals That Taste Good
Can there be Kidney meals that taste good? Here is my story and what I went through and how I prevailed and served some delicious food to my 24 yr-old son.
Like many people, I love great food.
My wife, Jennie, has gone so far as to call me a “food snob” and she has gone on a kitchen strike once or twice with the announcement that I am just too difficult to please. Perhaps, but I think pot roast hastily thrown in the crock pot should be seared first. Go ahead and add the shallots and the garlic. Toss some of the herbs into the frying pan so we can get both the scent and the flavor before drowning a cheap cut of meat in some cold water and ask it to taste good after twelve hours of boiling. Could you please add some beef stock and maybe a cup of this Burgundy?
In her defense, we are both working parents and in the old days had to make a stop at school with kids before we even thought about starting our own day. Who gives a damn about searing pot roast at six in the morning? Little did we know that one day we would be challenged with creating kidney meals that taste good.
One thing we do have in common is taste and though kids and work can get in the way of cooking, both Jennie and I love good food. This is how I inherited the cooking duties for the family and being an overachiever, I really took my job to heart.
When Michael was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), we were paralyzed with fear and uncertainty. We were consumed with grief and unanswered questions, but after the first few weeks at home, it was apparent that healthy food was going to be as critical as his medication and dialysis routine.
Because I was already the family chef, these duties fell into my lap, but I was no longer concerned about gourmet food. I was grieving, but at the same time I knew Michael had to eat. I also knew that getting back to work was going to be important for my mental health. We had insurance, but an illness like this would end up costing several thousands of dollars.
Kidney Meals That Taste Good-is there such a thing?
I started a search for a Home Chef- someone who would come into our home and teach us how to prepare kidney-friendly meals as well as keep a stockpile of ready-made food within reach. We had tremendous health concerns and working our way past grief and fear took the majority of our time, but looking for a kidney chef would be my first culinary challenge.
They absolutely did not exist, though many home chefs indicated they would be pleased to prepare any recipe we gave them. The problem was that other than referencing a few websites, we knew nothing about kidney diets. We needed a chef who already knew this stuff-a chef who understands a kidney diet! Where were they?
My journey led me to a list of dietitians and though I have great respect for many of them, none that I interviewed knew anything about how to actually prepare some of their recipes. Sure, we knew Michael needed 8 ounces of protein daily, but how do we prepare food that is both nutritious and good to eat?
No tomatoes. No potatoes. No leafy greens. Very little fruit and by the way, sodium is a real issue since high blood pressure is rampant with kidney patients. That means you are probably going to have to prepare this food yourself. I finally decided to take some time off work and to learn how to prepare some kidney friendly recipes myself.
And so, my journey began as I stepped into the shoes of somebody with kidney disease. I love kale and Jennie and I learned of the tremendous health advantages to eating it. Lowers cholesterol, helps fight cancer, a great antioxidant and it is huge on vitamins and that’s why kidney patients can’t eat kale. The potassium is more than 8% for a single cup and kidney patients cannot eat too much potassium because the kidneys, if they are healthy, are responsible for processing potassium.
Kidney patients cannot allow too much potassium to build up into their system or their hearts will go crazy. Like me, I was going crazy with the idea of taking on this daunting task. And then I discovered the same held true for Spinach. And the same is true for most of the leafy greens that are touted by experts as good for us! What were we going to eat?