I’m working with a lot of patients with renal (kidney-related) disease at my new job, and the diet I have to recommend for many of these patients is one that would be very difficult to follow myself.
For being such small organs (approximately each the size of a fist), the kidneys do a whole lotta work!
- filter waste from the blood
- release erythropoeitin, which stimulates production of red blood cells
- regulate electrolytes (sodium, potassium) and release renin, which regulates blood pressure
- release calcitriol, the active form of vitamin D, which helps maintain calcium for bones and for normal chemical balance in the body
- regulate acid-base balance
When your kidneys aren’t working properly, this affects sodium, potassium, phosphorus, and protein regulation, which may require you to decrease consumption of foods that contain these items.
These would be some of the hardest ones for me to give up…
- sweet potatoes
- peanut butter
I’d really love to come up with some fun food ideas that fit into the kidney diet guidelines, a sort of cookbook to give to clients with creative recipes. Like cauliflower mac & cheese and faux chicken nuggets (because let’s face it…all children love these foods).
I made whole wheat apple muffins recently. If made a smidge smaller, they might just fit into the renal diet [**edited to add: Since I've received some comments about this, I wanted to say that in general, these muffins would not be acceptable as a regular part of a renal diet. I think that most foods can fit into the renal diet as special treats, but they should not be consumed occasionally. As always, consult your renal dietitian, who is familiar with your specific case, labs, meds, etc. before making any dietary changes].
My modifications: sub applesauce for the butter and leave out some of the sugar (or don’t…I won’t tell).
Yes, these are giant muffins because I have a Texas-sized muffin tin, which is incredibly fun to use and requires less filling of muffins cups, which I also appreciate.
Time for a run…it’s sunny but still cold here! Spring can come anytime…..anytime.
How would you do on the renal diet?!