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Rather than relying on generic advice or one-size-fits-all meal plans, it's important to have a personalized dietary plan.


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I'm new to this, help!

It is highly recommended to consult with a RENAL dietician to determine your restriction numbers. They will review all aspects of your condition, such as eGFR, medications, labs, activity levels, etc, to establish your maximum daily intake and nutrient limitations.

(Find a Renal Dietician in your area HERE. Scroll down about halfway and choose TeleHealth or In-Person.)

If you are in stages 3, 4, or 5, you may need to monitor potassium, sodium, phosphorus, and possibly protein. If you have diabetes, carbohydrates are also important to consider. Fluids may also come into play in late stages.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

>> There is no such thing as "good" or "bad" food. What matters is the amounts and combinations in which we consume them. It's best to start by sticking to lower nutrient foods, but this should not be a long-term solution. A more varied diet can maximize your nutrition and enjoyment of meals based on your specific needs. The more comprehensive and categorized your food lists are, the more you can incorporate, leading to more enjoyment in eating.

>> If, for example, your restriction number for phosphorus is 900 mg each day, you can eat any foods that contain it until you reach that limit. Your restriction numbers will determine your daily maximums, which you should aim to meet to avoid other health issues arising from not eating enough. It's also important to leave room for snacks and desserts.

>> The general guideline for protein is 3 to 4 ounces per meal, so 12 to 16 ounces total per day. However, your needs may vary depending on your stage and individual requirements. If you end up on dialysis, your dietary needs change again! Often, you will need to increase protein.

>> Eating for kidney disease can be confusing and challenging, as it requires a personalized diet based on your needs and situation. The first step is to determine the maximum amount of nutrition you should be getting from each meal and allocate some space for snacks. These base guideline numbers will help you achieve your daily nutritional goals.

>> You can then use these numbers to find recipes that fit your specific requirements,but you may need to modify those recipes to accommodate allergens, dislikes, alternative diets, and/or nutritional limitations.

>> You’re going to receive a LOT of advice. Advice is always appreciated, but it's important to remember that something that works for one person might not work for someone else. It could even be harmful. When managing a kidney diet, it's crucial to tailor it to your specific needs and other health issues.

😊 My program, book, and classes can guide you through this process step-by-step if you want to skip all the wasted time sifting through the conflicting information, and just start eating right, based on your specific needs.

Know your numbers

Here’s how they are defined or broken down according to eGFR.

Stage 1: 90+

Stage 2: 60-89

Stage 3a: 45-59

Stage 3b: 30-44

Stage 4: 15-29

Stage 5: anything below 15

For those who do not yet have their specific dietary restriction numbers, here’s a general guideline that can be followed.

When I was a culinary consultant for American Kidney Fund®, these listed guidelines are what I adhered to when creating and testing recipes. Stage 1-2 may or may not need to follow restrictions. If so, they are probably allowed more than what is listed here. It is sometimes recommended for stages 1-2 to increase potassium and/or protein (check with your doctor or dietician).

These numbers will help for Stage 3, and some people in upper Stage 3a may be able to use the higher amounts. Lower stage 3b and stages 4 and 5 may need to use lesser amounts. While those on dialysis often need to increase their protein.

(Always obtain your specific nutritional numbers from your dietician when possible).

Again, these are guidelines that are considered "middle of the road" and you must adjust them for your needs.

They do not fit everyone. For example, although my husband is stage 3b, he is only allowed 1,900 mg of potassium, which is below the amounts listed here. As you've read many times, this is about YOUR unique needs.

A change now is better than no change.

·         Sodium:     2000-1500 milligrams or less per day

·         Potassium:     2500-2000 milligrams or less per day

·         Phosphorus:     1000-800 milligrams per day

Protein is a calculation we will run you through in the program, as it varies for each person.

A general rule of thumb is 3-4 ounces per meal, per day.

I was told not to eat that but you say I can. I'm confused...

I completely understand your confusion. Many people with kidney disease are given general guidelines to follow and told to avoid certain foods (cos that's easier than showing you how to manage it).

However, it's important to remember that there is no such thing as good or bad food.

What matters is the amounts and combinations in which we consume them.

Here’s what I like people to understand: if, for example, you are allowed 1900 mg of potassium each day, then you can eat whatever foods contain it until you reach that 1900 mg limit.

This means that those foods you’ve been told to avoid can be enjoyed if you are managing your diet safely and within your specific limits. We cover all of this in my program/book/classes. Understanding your maximum nutrition amounts per meal, and snacks, and how to adjust them, can give you the freedom to enjoy a wider variety of foods while still taking care of your kidney health.

Why can't I just use kidney-friendly recipes?

When it comes to eating for CKD, the first thing we usually do is find recipes. That's perfectly fine as long as you are sure the recipes you are using are not supplying too much or too little of those nutrients you need to monitor.

I always bring to people's attention (cos we learned the hard way) that most recipes out there are geared for stage 3, and within stage 3, there is a considerable gap between upper 3A and lower 3B. Therefore, we need to make sure the recipes we choose fit us.

When we started this journey, I stuck to lower nutrient-rich recipes, thinking it was safe. Instead, my hubby began presenting symptoms, and it was due to his nutritional intake being too low. Had we not corrected that, he would have developed another health issue, simply from not eating to his maximum limitations.

I'm not saying this to worry you; I want to inform you that things aren't as easy as finding recipes, but it's where we start!

So, please keep that in mind :-)

Check out the Recipe Reliance Trap Video on my Media page for a more in depth explanation.

Why you shouldn't trust advice & much of the information you find online.

Let's start with this... "my doctor said..." I hear this a lot! Although I cannot tell you to ignore that advice, I CAN tell you that
Many doctors are great with the medical side but NOT with the nitty-gritty of nutrition.

Advice from others is always appreciated, but it's important to remember that something that works for one person might not work for someone else. It could even be harmful.

What I've found is most people who talk about how they raised their eGFR significantly, are people who were previously pounding their kidneys to death. When they made changes, their kidneys had a breather and "came back up for air" (raised a stage).

This does NOT mean that what they did is the answer; it means they stopped beating their kidneys and started being nicer to them. They WILL stabilize and settle into a stage.

While it's great that people have found what works for them, it's important to note that nutrient restrictions can vary from person to person. This is precisely what my classes/book/program teaches - how to successfully manage your kidney diet based on your specific needs and health concerns.

Although that resource you've found may be helpful, it is mainly focused on medical info and presents the same outdated information. Instead, my focus is on food and eating based on medical research. Eating is necessary, and I emphasize how to do it according to your needs. I take things a step further by utilizing my expertise as a nutritionist and chef and approach eating in a way that does not require avoiding certain foods or food groups.

Instead, we find a delicious balance, resulting in happy eating!

Can I take Vitamins or Supplements with kidney disease?

Before starting any supplements, it is crucial to consult with your doctor or dietician, as they can have varying effects on your kidneys.

For instance, fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K will accumulate in the body, leading to a build up and doing more harm. Additionally, some herbal teas can also be problematic.

It's important to remember that anything we put into our bodies will cause a reaction. Depending on our individual situation, health issues, medications, and other factors, it can affect us differently than someone else.

Therefore, always ensure that your doctor or dietician recommends what you take, and that you are being monitored.

I am going to go a step further here and highly suggest that what your doctor recommends, you research that too!

Yes, I have had too many clients tell me their doctor recommended something that turned out to be harmful.

I know... it feels like we really are on our own.

By the way, yes... fiber is fine.

What we know as healthy eating, Is NOT CKD healthy!

I hate to burst that bubble, but it's surprising to know that fish & seafood are naturally high in potassium, and the majority are also very high in sodium.

This can be a problem for people with CKD as traditional healthy eating habits may not work for them. Learning about healthy CKD eating based on individual needs is essential to ensure proper nutrition.

Focusing on fruits and vegetables is going to raise your potassium intake very quickly. Nearly every food on the planet contains potassium and fruits and veggies are some of the biggest.

Yes, water is great, water is healthy, but drinking too much is going to put a strain on our kidneys and that means progression.

Vegan and Vegetarian diets are often recommended. This must be done carefully if you choose this path.

Gluten free and low carb are very workable for CKD when you understand how to gauge the nutrition and find the balance.

Many people doing these alternative kidney diets end up severely deficient in other vital nutrients, leading to more health issues, or they are quickly going over in other nutrients.
Yep, it's about understanding your safe intake limits.

Yes, you absolutely can be a carnivore. Again, it's about understanding our safe intake amounts.

Whole grains, beans, and nuts are actually some top options for the kidney diet.

Dairy can absolutely be had, we just need to keep our intake lower and understand how to safely work it into our daily intake.

It can be incredibly frustrating to be told you cannot have so many foods you rely upon. In each of these cases, the key is to work with me so I can help you navigate your dietary restrictions and find creative ways to incorporate your favorite foods into your kidney-friendly diet.

With the right guidance, you can still enjoy a variety of foods while managing your kidney disease.

What it all comes down to is this:

We MUST understand what healthy CKD eating is, and what that means for YOU.

Can you help me with Labels?

From fresh fruit to ground meat, non-dairy items, grain-based foods, to additives. Yes, additives!

Many symptoms could be caused by them.

I experienced vision problems, thinking I was going blind. Removing products with a common potassium additive resolved it in two weeks.

The food industry can be tricky, using limited information and strange names for ingredients. It's crucial to know what's in your food to ensure it's safe and not causing progression.

For instance, a favorite alternative product lists "mycoprotein" as the first ingredient. Do you know what that is?

It's mushrooms! They gave it a fancy name, but transparency is key, especially for those with allergies.

Here's a tip: Avoid products with sodium over 200 mg per serving, with potassium/phosphorus ingredients high on the list, and those with over 20% phosphorus.

And those percentages—11% calcium, 3% iron—what do they even mean? I can help you with that.

Labels shouldn't feel like decoding a secret message, but the food industry sometimes makes it seem that way.

Check out more great info on my Blog.

A portion of all book proceeds are donated to American Kidney Fund. Linda also donates to Puerto Rico Rise Up.

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