Welcome! My name is Jackie and I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Chronic Kidney Disease about 3 years ago. At that time, my kidney function was quickly declining and my doctor and I were discussing a scary reality that looked like needing to get a transplant or even dialysis.
As I sat there, quietly panicking, my doctor asked me if I’m following the CKD diet.
“What’s the CKD diet?” I asked.
He then proceeded to explain that there’s a diet specifically for people like me, which essentially revolves around only eating the foods that are easy for the kidneys to process. As he was saying this, my mom and I had already pulled out our cell phones and were beginning to look further into this diet.
I learned a lot during that appointment and I remember walking out of the office completely and totally freaked out. There was such a long list of food that I couldn’t eat and a lot of food that I had thought was considered to be “healthy,” actually wasn’t good for me at all.
Today, 3 years later, I am happy to say that I managed to actually bring my kidney function up a few points and my doctor and I both attribute this largely to my change in diet. I am doing the best I can to follow the CKD diet and now know what I can and cannot eat. I’ve learned how to cook (relatively well, but it still takes me time to chop an onion…mainly because of the crying) and only eat out once a week. Living in New York, this isn’t just a diet change – this is a lifestyle change. My health has become my priority.
About a year ago, I started to get bored by a lot of the recipes I was finding online in the usual CKD blogs and nutrition sites. They were fine and filled me up, but being a foodie, I wanted more from my food. I love to eat and had lost some of the joy from food I had gotten in the past. So I decided to challenge myself – I wanted to take real recipes, recipes from food shows or chefs, and attempt to make them CKD-friendly. So many of the recipes you’ll see in this blog are inspired by others, which aren’t CKD-friendly. I’ve learned how to find substitutes, the importance of spice (vs salt), and not being afraid to experiment. In each recipe, I’ll give credit to the original recipe, but post the changes that I’ve made.
One note – these recipes are all based on my own health and what works for me personally. If I’ve learned throughout this journey, it’s that everyone is different. For instance, I generally don’t have high potassium levels – they’re relatively moderate and even low – so I will sometimes include a higher potassium ingredient in my recipe because it’s ok for me. That said, I would encourage everyone to check with their doctors to understand what’s best for them. If potassium is an issue for you, just remove this. Ask your doctor before you decide to try anything, especially if you have CKD.
To find out more about Chronic Kidney Disease, check out this great site: National Kidney Foundation. I also did a quick synopsis of my own on the disease and the diet HERE.
I also recommend Davita as a source of great content on CKD and a lot more recipes. I get a lot of inspiration from this site and highly recommend it.