How Tracking Nutrients Changed My Life

  • A kidney failure diagnosis at 61 was daunting, but I was determined to do everything I could for myself
  • Counting nutrients allowed me to make choices that worked for me and resulted in a happier, healthier life
  • Tips for getting started on a renal diet: find out your nutritional budget, count your nutrients, track what you eat, ask for help and support, and focus on the benefits of a renal diet

I never thought I’d be facing a life-altering situation at 61 years old. But as I sat in the doctor’s office for my six-month check-up, I was told that my kidneys had almost completely failed. I had been leaking protein my whole life, but I never thought it would come to this. It was daunting, to say the least.

But leaving that appointment, I was determined. I wanted to do everything that I could for myself. I tried to follow the diet lists my doctor gave me, but they contradicted each other, and I couldn’t find anything I could eat. I started to cry.

That’s when my husband came to my rescue. He reminded me about the USDA’s food database that tells you the amount of sodium, potassium, and phosphorus in different foods and how much of each nutrient I could have daily. We got my daily nutritional budget from my dietitian and started looking up our food’s nutritional values. My husband made spreadsheets to track what I ate, and I began creating software to make the whole process easier.

I learned that counting nutrients allowed me to make choices that worked for me. And the result was a happier, healthier life. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.

For all you dialysis newbies out there, don’t be discouraged. The journey may be challenging, but taking control of your situation is the key to success. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Find out from your dietitian your specific daily nutritional budget.
  2. Count the sodium, phosphorus, and potassium in your foods.
  3. Use a spreadsheet, software, or pen and paper to track your diet and stay on top of your nutrient intake.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support from loved ones or healthcare professionals.
  5. Focus on the benefits of a renal diet and make choices that work for you. With the right tools and mindset, you can transform your life and improve your overall health.

Remember, the renal diet isn’t a daunting list of foods you can’t eat. It’s a path to better health, and you have the power to take control of your health and transform your life.

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Take control of your health today! Visit and learn the essential skills everyone on dialysis needs to know. You have the power to transform your life.

Essential Kidney Diet Skills