Dialysis and Holiday Eating

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, some say, there is much planning to do for parties and dinners, a time to gather with family and see ones that you have not seen all year eat food, swap stories and play with the children and eat more food. Then you go look at the decorations and eat a little more food. Wait a minute, that is a lot of eating for just one normal person. Hmmm but what can that do to someone that has kidney disease, on dialysis or even has a transplant. Well, it depends on what type of kidney disease someone has. To find out more specifics, check out Trail Food for tips from renal dieticians. 

In this blog, I will share with you my experience and what I did to eat the best I could when I was on dialysis. I do want to stop right here and say that this is not a substitute for medical advice. If you have any questions, reach out to your medical care team to find out what would work best for you.

Maintaining a healthy eating habit for a dialysis patient could be a challenge, but when the holidays came around, it proved to be even more of a challenge. It always seemed that the food that I was not supposed to eat was always at the table. From the macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, ham, scalloped potatoes and well I could keep going, but you get the picture. Eating healthy as a dialysis patient meant there were some things I would have to limit and others I needed to stay away from altogether. If you want to learn more about some things, you can or can’t have read “What’s New with the Renal Diet”.  

 . Here are some things that I did to help with eating. 

  1. Plan my Plate-When I would go to a meal or dinner party that was buffet style. I would try to look at the food first and pick out what I knew I could and could not eat, or another way of saying it would be I would plan my plate.
  2. Moderation Meter-Now some things are a little harder, one example was there was a certain dinner party I went to, and they had lasagna. Now, there are a few things in this dish that are not the best for someone that is on dialysis. One is the tomatoes and the next is cheese. During this particular time, I got a very small piece and made the best of it. By not overindulging and knowing that my labs were good and talking to my dietician about it, I felt comfortable making that choice. I know it’s hard to stay away from things such as cheese, tomatoes, and potatoes. I mean, that is the whole food pyramid, right. Well, some other things I would do is eat more vegetables, in my case it was the green beans. By filling up on more dialysis friendly food, the chances of me going for another plate and being tempted was less likely.
  3. Salt, um no- Salt is hard for a lot of people. One, it adds a ton of flavor, and it tastes better. If one overindulges in the salt by eating processed food, reaching for the saltshaker, they may find out the lesson of reaping and sowing. If I ate too much salt, I would cramp the next treatment and let me tell you it was not too pretty or fun. Eating food that is high in sodium makes you thirsty, so you drink more and tend to retain the fluid as well, which when you go to the next treatment you will have more to pull and trust me you don’t want to go through that. 
  4. Let your inner creativity make an appearance- Ok I know not everyone cooks but what is the saying there is no time like the presence to learn. You can learn as simple as going to your phone and pulling up some cooking videos and whamo the start of a new adventure can start. I can hear some of you now saying yes Anthony, a start of a new adventure calling the fire department and everyone in the neighborhood talking about me trying to boil water. Oh, well, things do happen, and you never know what you can do unless you try. By learning how to cook, you have opened a whole new realm of possibilities for you. You decide what you want to put in the dish and when you take to the dinners if no one else likes it but you. That’s great, there will be more for you, and you really did not want to share it anyhow. 

These are some of the things I did and still do to help me maintain a healthy lifestyle so that I will be ready for the next opportunity that may come my way. What about you, do you want to be ready for that opportunity? If so eat well and live healthy and be encouraged, you are one step closer to the next peak. 

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