The Best Way Too Feel Better Now!

I have a question for you. Are you confused by the lists that the dietitians gave you when you first started dialysis? Did you notice that there was a list high in phosphorus and then other ones which were high in potassium and then high in sodium? Then you get a list for low potassium foods, and one for low phosphorous foods, ansd finally a list of low sodium foods. And did you, like me, try to figure out what you could eat? Only to say, “Oh my gosh, what the heck can I eat?” Because lo and behold, the lists conflicted with each other and by the way, do you have any idea of what high is? Do you have any idea what low is?

What Is High? What Is Low?

It means if food is high in, Oh, I don’t know. Let’s pick one. Let’s say potassium. Tomatoes are high in potassium. Does that mean you can’t have ketchup or spaghetti sauce? Is that what that means? You can’t eat a tomato. That’s kind of what it means to me when I see that. Well, and what is low? Oh, what is low in potassium? I can’t even think of anything at the moment. Mmm. Water for sure. That’s about the only thing I can think of at this point. Oh, I just thought of one, Cookies without nuts or chocolate. That’s low in potassium, but does that mean just because it’s low? You can eat as much as you want? Well, no, it doesn’t. Low is meaningless. High is meaningless.

Those lists are meaningless folks. You have to know how much, how many milligrams of potassium you can eat per day, how many milligrams of phosphorus and how many milligrams of sodium. If you don’t know that then you’re quite likely to either eat too much or eat too little potassium. You will know by how good or bad you might feel, and of course your monthly labs will let you know as well.

Now, What Do You Do?

So, how do you find out how much of Potassium, Phosphorus, or Sodium is in your food? Well, the hard way is use the USDA food database. The easy way is to use KDC’s USDA Food Finder, but either way works and then it becomes, well how much of what you can eat. So something that is “high” in something, just means you can’t eat as much of it. It doesn’t mean you can’t eat it.

I was eating everything pre dialysis and, and even when I first started in center, I didn’t eat as much. I ate very little actually because I was so toxic and uremic that I didn’t want anything anyhow, but my husband adjusted our recipes to use a lot less salt and he just gave me quantities that were small. Once I started dialysis, I started feeling better and was able to eat more.  If you monitor how much of everything you’re eating, you can eat what you want, especially once you start regular dialysis.

Would you like to feel better?

Remember! Follow these rules an you will begin to feel better!

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  • Weigh and measure your food.
  • Look up the nutrition values of your food in the USDA Food Database or use KDC’s USDA Food Finder
  • Keep a running total of phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and protein
  • Stay within your dietary limits. If you don’t have them, ASK your dietitian for them.




Until next time,


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