Tag Archives: renal diet

Healthy Kidney Diet

Healthy Kidney Diet

This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series Renal Diet

Healthy Kidney Diet

Healthy_Kidney_DietWhy you need a Healthy Kidney Diet and the things of concern in a Renal Diet.

There are many causes of kidney disease and when your kidneys are not working well, waste materials and fluid builds up in your body. When left as it is, the waste and extra fluid lead to bone, heart, and other health problems. When you are in this condition it is a must that you opt for a renal diet. A good kidney-friendly meal plan limits the quantity of certain minerals and fluid you consume on a daily basis. This healthy kidney diet is necessary to help keep the waste and fluid from accumulating and causing problems in your body.

Before deciding on the meal plan you should find out the causes of kidney disease and the healthy kidney diet you select must depend on your stage of kidney disease. In the early stages of your kidney disease, you may not go for the real renal diet and have little or no limits on what you eat and drink. But when you find that your kidney disease is getting worse your doctor has to recommend you to limit the intake of the following in your diet you are taking daily:

  •   Potassium
  •  Phosphorus
  •  Fluids


Potassium is a mineral that is available in almost all foods. Potassium is needed for making your muscles work but it must be noted that the intake of potassium must be limited. When you take too much potassium it is dangerous. When your kidneys are not working well, your potassium level may be too high or too low. So, while deciding on the intake of potassium in your renal diet take into consideration that too much or too little potassium can cause irregular heartbeat, muscle cramps, and muscle weakness. But generally the doctor will advise you to limit the amount of potassium you are taking and it is always better to take the advice of a dietician to know the foods that can be taken in your daily diet based on what causes kidney failure in your case.

When you are advised to take low potassium foods you can add more of Apples, Cranberries, Grapes, Pineapples and Strawberries Cauliflower, Onions, Peppers, Radishes, summer and Zucchini Squash, Lettuce, Pita, Tortillas And White Breads Bran Products And Granola Beef And Chicken, White Rice Etc.

At the same time if your dietician prescribes a high potassium diet then you can add more of Avocados, Bananas, Melons, Oranges, Prunes And Raisins, Artichokes, Kale, Plantains, Spinach, Potatoes And Tomatoes, Beans (Baked, Black, Pinto, Etc.), Brown Or Wild Rice etc.


is one of the most essential minerals needed by the body and in the studies conducted to find out what causes kidney failure the importance of keeping this at correct levels in any healthy kidney diet   is stressed. When your kidneys are not healthy, they cannot maintain the balance of phosphorus in the body and hence you have to limit the amount of phosphorus in your diet and depending on the stage of the kidney disease you may be given a phosphorus binder to keep the level of it in your blood within the right levels. To maintain the right phosphorus levels add more of Italian, French or sourdough bread, Corn or rice cereals and cream of wheat, Unsalted popcorn, light-colored sodas and lemonade etc



When your doctor has ascertained the real causes of kidney disease, he would have advised you to take little fluids and you must avoid drinking too much fluids as this gets accumulated in your body. This may lead to dangerous problems and hence you have to reduce the amount of water you take in.

When you are wondering about what causes kidney failure, you must understand the diet you are taking plays a major role and hence you have to be very careful in taking only a very good healthy kidney diet to help your kidneys function well for a long time.


Addressing Fast Food Problems

Addressing Fast Food Problems

DSC01705When You’re On A Dialysis Diet


All kidney failure patients must be concerned about diet and addressing fast food problems.

Getting diagnosed with kidney disease can mean a lot of adjustments. This, however, doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your life. While you may have diet restrictions, you generally don’t have to skip dining out.

Learn more about a live kidney donation.

Careful planning and good food choices are the two things you’ll need if you want to eat out. Here are a few insights you can use:

  • Plan ahead of time.

Knowing which restaurant you’ll be dining in can give you a clear idea of what types of food you’ll be served with. Because of this knowledge, you’ll be able to pick out the best ones that will fit your diet plan.

  • Inquire about the ingredients.

Not all restaurants would want to reveal their best kept secret recipes but asking for a food’s main list of ingredients can help you assess if a food item is good for you or not.  A renal diet is critical to your survival. Aside from ingredients, you may also need to know how their food is prepared. If they used processed and preserved ingredients, it’s best to find another place.

  • Ask for adjustments.

Say for example you’ll be eating out for breakfast. You can ask the restaurant to cut down on sodium and potassium when serving your eggs. If you want to have bacon, you can ask them to serve smaller portions. You can also ask for substitutes, such as replacing cheese and tomatoes with mustard.

If you can’t resist eating hamburgers, it’s best if you can have them prepared with no salt or pickles. You may also need to skip the cheese–for sure on this one! For flavor, you can ask the restaurant to include more lettuce, tomatoes, and mustard instead.

  • Know what foods to avoid.

When eating out, it’s essential that you avoid foods that contain high amounts of sodium and potassium. The list includes:

  • Creamy sauces
  • Deep fried foods
  • Salt-cured meat
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Heavy soup
  • Soy sauce
  • Salad dressings
  • All types of salts


Instead of ordering these foods, you should have:

  • Grilled foods
  • Low-potassium vegetables, such as celery, cauliflower, and cabbage
  • Low-potassium fruits, including berries, apples and watermelon


  • Carry your phosphate binders with you.

Because there’s no definite way you can measure the amount of phosphate in foods served in restaurants and fast foods, make sure that you take your phosphate binders as prescribed by your doctor. They can help you limit the amount of phosphorous you get from the food you eat from entering your system. You can keep them in your purse, your wallet or in your car so you can easily access them before heading out to a restaurant.


Staying alive is all about a sound renal diet. Learn more about addressing fast food problems.


Renal Diet Food

My Kidney Friendly Spaghetti Sauce

My Kidney Friendly Spaghetti Sauce

Renal Diet FoodI was scrambling around trying to figure out how to get the family spaghetti back on the table. Especially after my son was diagnosed with kidney failure. Thick, rich, garlic-infused red sauce was a staple for years in our household.

The issue, of course, was that Michael was in kidney failure and could not eat tomatoes. The phosphorus and potassium levels in his blood work would not allow for even a magazine with a tomato on the cover. Sure, we have had our share of pasta, white pasta along with white rice and both were getting too much to eat every day. We needed something new-something comforting.

The idea occurred to me as I was roasting bell peppers, watching the char turn the pepper sweet. What would happen if I could puree the grilled bell and turn it into a sauce, using chicken stock? Cream would have been my preferred choice, but this kidney patient was allowed no dairy.

Hence began a new-kidney friendly version of the Italian Fav, Spaghetti Sauce, ala Kidney Friendly. The first few batches needed work because of texture and after I figured out how to blend at high speed, I had something the family was commenting about. I added some fresh herbs and it because a weekly meal. It wasn’t perfect, but my goal was nutrition first, then taste. It worked. Learn more about the renal diet.

Cooking Meals: A Renal Diet

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Toni B

Cooking Meals: A Renal Diet

Labs – If nobody is cooking my meals and I don’t have any energy or money, how am I supposed to eat well? What’s really important here? 

You are not alone! What’s really important is good nutrition for optimum health, as defined by being within range of your goal indicators: protein, potassium, sodium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, hemoglobin and fluid intake.

There are several factors to address here. Cooking or even planning nutritious meals is sometimes daunting because of low energy to first cook, then clean-up afterward; lack of appetite to decide what one wants to eat; lack of resources to obtain the food; the initial challenge of reading labels and/or regular weekly/monthly grocery shopping any one of those and many other obstacles could hinder good nutrition.

Planning and preparing some basic go-to foods to have on hand, ready in the pantry or refrigerator. There are a few staples to keep on hand: tuna salad, chicken salad, apples & apple sauce. This list is only a brief sample because each person’s menu is so specific to their own labs that I hesitate to even give those examples.

Please speak with your dietitian for your menu mainstays and must-nots. Due to the specifics of your personal menu, some home delivery food programs might not work for you. However, speak with your clinic social worker to determine if there are resources in your community to address your specific needs.

Another option, check with your state (county) medicaid office to determine if you are eligible for the food or other types of assistance programs. Consider speaking with family and friends to seek their assistance as well.

Renal Diet

A Renal Diet

This entry is part 1 of 10 in the series Renal Diet

A Renal Diet

Renal DietA renal diet is the fuel your body needs to get you through the kidney disease  stage and into transplantation. People with kidney failure must adhere to a kidney diet to cut down on the amount of waste in their blood. A kidney diet  should be low in phosphorous, protein (sometimes) and sodium.

renal diet stresses the importance of consuming high-quality protein and limiting fluids. There are also renal diets that may include limited potassium and calcium. Each renal patient is different that’s why a dietician will work with each patient to come up with a kidney diet that is tailored to his or her needs.

Hearing about the nutrition value of a renal diet is one thing, but actually cooking like this is quite another. I mean, who in the world can give up tomatoes? How about those leafy greens your mother told you to eat when you were a kid? All the above are on the “no list” because phosphorus and potassium are regulated by the kidneys and if the kidneys are not functioning, excess amounts of otherwise good food balances will do you more harm than good.

Though good for an individual with end stage renal disease, a kidney friendly renal diet is not good for healthy people. Typical nutrients found in whole wheat is also a no go for a kidney patient, but a terrible choice for people who are otherwise healthy.

Following a renal diet may also bolster kidney function and delay total kidney failure. When I was visiting a dialysis center last month, I was shocked to hear the dietician tell kidney patients that limited fast food was all right. I asked about this only to discover the realities of lives of those with kidney disease. Most simply cannot cook for themselves and very few have the opportunity to enjoy someone to cook for them. This leaves the alternative, low cost meal. Try to stay away from fast food as the sodium will be very high.

Kidney Diet

Dad is Cooking Kidney Friendly Food

This entry is part 4 of 10 in the series Renal Diet

Dad is Cooking Kidney Friendly Food

Kidney DietKidney Friendly Food is hard to find and always requires in home cooking. I started my journey online and the greatest reference for kidney-friendly recipes is at the DaVita website. They do a great job of laying out sensible, easy to read recipes and provide plenty of nutritional information to go with them.

The problem with the recipes, I soon discovered, is that one kidney recipe may be all right for some people, but the range of kidney failure is so wide that a recipe almost has to be specific to the individual. Some patients are going to be all right eating whole grains once per week, while others should avoid brown rice at all costs. Dad is cooking kidney friendly food sometimes did not seem like such a great idea!

Most patients see a doctor once per month and have blood drawn to measure key indicators such as potassium, phosphorus and creatinine levels. The tests do not lie and if a kidney patient is eating junk food all month, the results will be in
plain sight. The same holds true for those who adhere to this strict regiment with the thought of wellness.

My son, Michael, needed protein, so my very first kidney friendly food meals centered around providing protein with no added sodium. Mrs. Dash only took us so far and left a flavorless taste, so instead of shopping major markets, I searched the natural grocery stores for salt free seasonings and went to the nursery in need of some herbs to add to the family garden.

Trader Joe’s was a great resource for salt-free seasoning as well as Sprouts Groceries. For protein, there was a huge debate with Loma Linda about plant-based protein vs. animal based protein. Of course, Loma Linda, being of the vegan mindset, encouraged a diet rich in beans, legumes. My research and discussions with dietitians though directed me in another direction.

Protein is vital to strength and I was looking ahead three months to a transplant and as Michael shed pounds and muscle each day, there was great concern that he may not be strong enough to endure the rigorous surgery if he did not keep his body strong.

Every patient is different and according to labs a kidney patient will alter this course of consumption and kidney friendly food.

Confused Kidney Chef

This entry is part 5 of 10 in the series Renal Diet

Confused Kidney Chef

Confused Kidney ChefIf you have a family member in renal failure, you will experience times when you are a confused kidney chef. Most parents start off without any confusion, but as our kids age, we seem to get closer and closer to the sidelines until, one day we simply get lost. Out of bounds, we can’t remember names, conversations or where we left the car keys. Our kids relish in this and ever opportunistic, they will use these lapses against us until one day we begin to believe that we really are losing our minds.

Though Michael was very sick and I was focused on his health and well-being, I wasn’t getting much sleep and learning to be a kidney chef was not nearly as much fun as reducing a bourbon glaze. Chief among my problem at the beginning of the nutrition cycle was the issue of protein.

Contingent on factors such as weight and gender, pregnancy and other health issues, Michael was going to need about 45-50 grams per day. Too much consumption would place an even greater burden on his kidney’s and too little would weaken him. Our choices were slim because of a kidney patient’s restrictive diet. It was no wonder I was stumped and a confused kidney chef.

Green vegetables are about 50% protein, but most of these choices were off the table because of potassium. Spinach would have been a great staple because 2 cups are over 10 grams of protein. Cross that one off the list. Same with brown rice, about 5 grams of protein per cup and the big, obvious choice for vegans everywhere, lentils.  One cup of lentils contain a whooping 16 grams of protein, but kidney patients like Michael are supposed to avoid any beans due to high amounts of phosphorus.

I don’t want to seem like a nutritionist or a dietician because I am not. I was a confused kidney chef, who had a son in kidney failure and I was trying to provide good nutrition because I knew that our only goal was to get him a kidney transplant as soon as possible. He hated vegetables as a kid, and loved chicken. His protein source was going to be chicken, lean beef, salmon, eggs. This is what I knew how to prepare and although tofu would have been another choice, he hated (hates) tofu and I had no idea how to make it taste good.

I was no longer confused.