Tue, 31 Jan 2012

The Kidney Diet Challenge!

So how hard is the kidney diet?  Over the years, I have met with many other health care professionals, students, and caregivers who occasionally surprise me with their response to learning about the diet.  Most respond by saying that they are so happy they don’t have to follow a diet like this or that it must be hard to follow.  Every once in a while I hear someone say:  I could follow that diet – it’s not that bad! And I try not to respond with disbelief!  In fact, I encourage them to give it a try. I don’t know if anyone has ever actually followed through though.

Recently I heard about the team at St. Mike’s hospital in Toronto who are doing a “Walk the talk” challenge to follow the renal diet, take Tums® with their meals and blog about how it’s going. I think this is one of the best ideas I’ve ever heard – (and while wishing that I had thought of it first) – I wanted to share it with you.  It should probably be required reading (and maybe a required activity) for all nephrology health care professionals.  Check out their blog at walkthetalkchallenge.blogspot.com. I hope you enjoy it!

One of the comments made by Alison Thomas, just a few days into her kidney diet, was about this experience making her think that nocturnal home hemodialysis was more and more attractive because of the LACK of dietary restrictions.

I have to say that I agree!  For patients who are on more frequent and sustained hemodialysis, there is generally very little in the way of diet restrictions.  While it’s important to maintain adequate nutrition (there are still losses in the dialysate) nocturnal hemodialysis has been a real game changer when it comes to kidney nutrition.  But it also highlights the ever-changing challenges for kidney patients and we often see patients who have been on 3 or 4 different diets since they developed kidney disease. This in itself is a huge challenge!

Here’s a lovely, kidney friendly side dish (yes I’ve made it!) that I hope you enjoy. Cabbage is a wonderfully low potassium, high fibre vegetable. I like it served with salmon.

Roasted Cabbage Wedges
1 green cabbage (cut into 1” wedges)
2 tsp sugar
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper (or to taste)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven and baking sheet to 450°F. Combine pepper and sugar in small bowl. Quarter cabbage through core and cut each quarter in to 1-inch wedges but try to leave core intact – this will prevent your cabbage wedges from falling apart. You'll have about 16 wedges. Brush wedges with oil and sprinkle with sugar and pepper. Place the seasoned wedges on hot baking sheet and roast until cabbage is tender and lightly browned around edges, about 25 minutes. Drizzle cabbage with balsamic vinegar.