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The list…..

Well, I’ve been reading about what changes I’m going to have to make in my life in order to delay the inevitable as long as possible.  The National Kidney Foundation has a great website with a ton of information, with my only gripe about the site is that some of the information is scattered about the website.  I have found so far that the two main things that I can do to help is watch my diet and exercise, but the rules governing those two items are, well, complicated.

Concerning diet, you know, it’s just wonderful finding out that the food I’ve been eating the past couple of years, while being great by any normal sense (high in whole grains and fiber, dried beans and fruit, getting a good bit of dairy, etc.), is actually, well, terrible for someone with CKD (chronic kidney disease, a term apparently used for all types of kidney failure regardless of whether or not the failure was caused by a disease (i.e. hypertension counts)).  I need to apparently avoid or significantly limit my intake of sodium, potassium, and phosphorus.  Now, the first two are easy to at least know what they are, but phosphorus?  That’s in food?  What food?  Well, it turns out that it’s in a lot of food in some count or another, but here’s a list of foods especially high in phosphorus:

  • dairy products such as milk, cheese, pudding, yogurt and ice cream, and it doesn’t matter if it’s whole, skim, 2% or whatever
  • dried beans and peas such as kidney beans, split peas and lentils
  • all nuts and peanut butter
  • beverages such as cocoa, beer and cola soft drinks
  • “whole grain” and “high fiber” foods (like whole wheat bread, bran cereal and brown rice)

Here’s a list of high sodium items (the small version):

  • table salt and foods with added salt such as snack foods, soups and processed cheese
  • some canned foods, prepared foods and “fast foods”
  • foods pickled in brine such as pickles, olives and sauerkraut
  • smoked and cured foods such as ham, bacon and luncheon meats

And potassium?  Oh, this is going to be annoying:

  • Oranges and orange juice
  • Kiwis
  • Nectarines
  • Prunes and prune juice
  • Raisins and dried fruit
  • Bananas
  • Melons (cantaloupe and honeydew)
  • Potatoes (including French Fries, potato chips and sweet potatoes)
  • Tomatoes and tomato sauce
  • Winter squash
  • Pumpkin
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Beets
  • Beet greens
  • Cooked spinach
  • Parsnips and rutabaga

And the exquisite beauty of it is that I need to keep on eye on some of those things because of potassium and phosphorus, for example whole wheat/whole grain items.

So what can I eat?  Well, good question, but for a simple start if it’s on the lists above I should seriously limit my intake, if not it should be OK to eat as long as I have a rough idea of how much sodium, potassium, and phosphorus is in it.  And there are other guidelines I need to follow, like that I need to get protein each day but only complete proteins (meat, fish, poultry, fresh pork, or eggs; fish being the best on that list, 3-4 servings a week recommended), several servings of grain/cereal/bread each day (but not whole grains when possible), and 2-3 servings of low potassium fruit each day.

Oh, and alcohol?  Maximum of one drink a day.  Period.  Any more than that and I need doctor’s permission.  Seriously.  If I haven’t had a drink in a while I might be able to squeeze a second drink if I’m eating a meal at the time, but those times better be special occasions, i.e. not often.  If I break that rule I risk serious consequences.

Even though the list is long and will take some getting used to, I’m sure I will eventually adapt.  The main problem right now will be just remembering what food is right and what’s wrong, especially when ordering from restaurants.  Today for lunch I completely spaced until I got home that potatoes are bad: I had ordered a side of fries with my meal.  Oh, well, I’ll figure this out eventually.

Now, concerning exercise.  That exercise is recommended is really a given.  Just about any “diet” plan includes a side of exercise.  The problem is there are rules governing exercise too:

  • Your breathing should not be so hard that you cannot talk with someone exercising with you. (Try to get an exercise partner such as a family member or a friend.)
  • You should feel completely normal within one hour after exercising. (If not, slow down next time.)
  • You should not feel so much muscle soreness that it keeps you from exercising the next session.
  • You should not do any exercise that could cause or has caused joint or bone problems.

So what does this mean for me in particular?  Well, it pretty much means that I’m going to have to stop doing Hapkido and Taekwondo.  The out of breath part, the joint and bone problems part……   ::sigh::  There goes the dream of getting a master’s belt.  I’m sure the school would be honored to have me continue to teach, but if I can’t train I will never be able to advance myself, and also I will slowly become worse as a teacher, and I can’t do that to my students.  I’ve seen what happens when instructors fail to keep up their own training; it’s a bad thing.  What exercise I’ll pick up instead remains to be seen.  I suppose a good thing that comes from this is that I’ll have more nights free, but…..   Well, I’ll adjust.

Enough “happy” thoughts for now.  I think I’ll go hold Natalie.  That usually cheers me up.  I’ll just have to remember that my father dealt with CKD.  Somehow I will too.