Food. We all need it, but being a renal patient can present some very unique challenges. For anyone who knows me, growing up I could eat anyone under the table...I don't know if that should be a badge of honor, but it's true. I can't tell you how many times friends and family would look at me and wonder where I put it all. You see, ever since high school I have pretty much remained in the same weight range, give or take a few pounds.
I remember one night during Winter break from college, I had eaten a beautiful steak dinner at home...I was feeling pretty good, then the phone rings - it's Paul. Paul and I have literally known each other since the sand box in kindergarten at the Old Sailors Home in Duxbury. So Paul can certainly attest my stomach being a bottomless pit.
I answer the phone and Paul says to me, "we are going up to the North End (in Boston).". For anyone who knows Boston, the North End is famous for it's Italian food and restaurants...so very good! "Do you want to go?" I said that I had already eaten dinner "but, sure, I'll go."
We ended up meeting some friends at La Familia - absolutely great food! At first, I wasn't thinking about getting anything since I had already had dinner. As everyone was ordering, I felt a little pang in my stomach that I wanted something...I ended up ordering the veal pram...it was my favorite and it was amazing on this night - three pieces of very tender veal on a bed of linguine that you could feed a family of four with for about a week. Needless to say, I finished it all!
The above example aside, being a Diabetic for more than 27 years has had it's challenges in the food department. Add to that, in the last few years that I have also needed to follow a cardiac diet (heart disease is another great side effect of Diabetes), and now during the last year or so needing to follow a renal diet as well.
With three somewhat distinct diets, how in the world am I going to eat. Enter Christine, my wife. Christine is a fantastic cook, and over the years has taken it as a personal challenge to make us nutritious meals. Christine is Diabetic also, so the Diabetic diet sort of became a way of life for us. Then I there was the cardiac diet and then finally the renal diet.
It has been a challenge that she enjoys. Who knew, because of needing to limit potassium intake, that Christine found a way of making tomato sauce without using tomatoes (hint...roasted red peppers!). One site that certainly that has helped her, has been http://www.davita.com/, with loads of great recipes and ideas.
I know the renal diet is a pain for a lot of people...knowing that we have to be aware of things like potassium and phosphorus in the foods we eat. I would love to hear from others about how they deal with the renal diet before and after your transplant...perhaps you have a favorite recipe you may want to share...can't wait to hear from you.