Monthly Archives: May 2010

Renal Diets -the whole truth

Kidney failure requires a special diet. When your kidneys no longer work properly, waste products and fluids build up in your blood. Although dialysis replaces the work load of your kidneys and removes these waste products, they can build up in your body between dialysis, so it’s important that you follow a specific renal diet plan and control the amounts and types of foods and fluids you take in everyday. For example, in general, it is best to reduce your intake of certain nutrients such as phosphorous, potassium and sodium.

Important: Before making any changes to your diet, make sure you discuss them with your doctor or dietitian. offers a variety of meal packs for special diets. Originally these meal packs were designed for low sodium, diabetic friendly,  portion controlled diets. We now are introducing meal packs for pre-renal and renal diets (Patients on Dialysis).

Here’s  a sample 7 meal pack:

1. BBQ Pork Rib Patty
• Sweet Potato Casserole
• Green Peas

2. Grilled Chicken Strips & Penne w/ Tomato Basil Sauce
• Summer Blend Vegetables
• Green Beans

3. Grilled Chicken Breast Over Rice & Gravy
• Diced Carrots
• Green Pea

4. Southern Style Chicken
& Dumplings
• Peach Half
• Winter Blend Vegetables

5. Chicken & Dressing
• Green Peas
• Sweet Potato Patty

6. Breaded Veal Patty
• Mixed Greens
• Diced Sweet Potatoes

7. Baked Chicken Thigh
• Broccoli
• Black-Eyed Peas

Nutritional details for the week:

Sodium: 509 mg
Potassium: 602 mg
Phosphorus: 297 mg
Protein: 28 g

  • Specially Developed for Ongoing Meal Programs
  • Lunches and/or Dinners
  • Consumed by over 12,000 people per day
  • with a 96%+ satisfaction rating
  • Conveniently re-heatable right in the meal packaging provided
  • Can be heated in the oven or microwave
  • Total complete nutritious meals
  • Good variety of meal choices
  • Delivered to your door via UPS and FedEx
  • Dietitian Approved
  • Doctor Recommended

Here are the things you need to worry about with a renal diet:


Phosphorus is a mineral that works with calcium to keep your bones healthy and strong. Phosphorus is needed by the body for building and maintaining bones and teeth and for normal nerve and muscle function. When kidney function declines, the body has a difficult time keeping phosphorus and calcium in balance. As a result of this imbalance, the body cannot get rid of excess phosphorus (phosphorus levels increase) and the body cannot take in enough calcium (calcium levels decrease). To try and correct this imbalance the body will “steal” calcium from the bones, which makes the bones weak. Problems associated with high phosphorus levels include itchy skin, bone and joint pain, and brittle bones.

Keep in mind that a large serving size of a low phosphorus food can become a high phosphorus food.


Potassium helps to keep your nerves and muscles, especially your heart, working properly. Potassium is a mineral and can be found in many foods. The kidneys are responsible for helping to keep the correct amount of potassium in your body. It can be very dangerous if your potassium level is too high. Too much potassium can make your hear beat irregularly or even stop without warning.


Diet plays an important role in the management of kidney disease. The diet your physician will ask you to follow will be based upon your level of kidney function, your body size, and any other medical conditions you may have. Your diet may be helpful in delaying the need for dialysis.

Protein is needed to maintain muscles, aid in building resistance to infections, and repair and replace body tissue.

As your body breaks down protein foods, waste products called urea are formed. As kidney function declines, urea builds up in the bloodstream. Eating too much protein may cause urea to build up more quickly. This will make you feel sick.
Eating less protein may be helpful in reducing your blood urea levels.
Reducing protein intake must be monitored by your doctor and dietician.


Sodium is needed by the body for many functions such as controlling muscle contractions, balancing fluids, and controlling blood pressure. Healthy kidneys remove excess sodium in the urine. As kidney function declines, sodium and fluids may accumulate in your body. Fluid retention may cause swelling in your eyes, hands, and/or ankles. To keep your sodium level in balance, your doctor may ask you to limit the sodium in your diet. Renal meals are dietician-designed and doctor-recommended! Call about them- 877-516-2442.


Why Gluten-free?

In patients with celiac disease, gluten injures the lining of the small intestine. This injury can result in weight loss, bloating, diarrhea, gas, abdominal cramps, and/or vitamin and mineral deficiencies. When patients totally eliminate gluten from the diet, the lining of the intestine has a chance to heal.

Here is a list of foods provided by the Mayo Clinic:

Always avoid
In order to avoid eating gluten, avoid food and drinks containing:

* Barley
* Bulgur
* Durham
* Farina
* Graham flour
* Kamut
* Matzo meal
* Rye
* Semolina
* Spelt (a form of wheat)
* Triticale
* Wheat

Avoid unless labeled ‘gluten free’
Avoid these foods unless they’re labeled as gluten free or made with corn, rice, soy or other gluten-free grain. Also check the label to see that they’re processed in a facility that is free of wheat or other contaminating products:

* Beers
* Breads
* Candies
* Cakes and pies
* Cereals
* Cookies
* Crackers
* Croutons
* Gravies
* Imitation meats or seafood
* Oats
* Pastas
* Processed luncheon meats
* Salad dressings
* Sauces (including soy sauce)
* Self-basting poultry
* Soups

Certain grains, such as oats, can be contaminated with wheat during growing and processing stages of production. It’s not clear whether oats are harmful for most people with celiac disease, but doctors generally recommend avoiding oats unless they are specifically labeled gluten free. The question of whether people eating a gluten-free diet can consume pure oat products remains a subject of scientific debate.

Many other products that you eat or that could come in contact with your mouth may contain gluten. These include:

* Food additives, such as malt flavoring, modified food starch and others
* Lipstick and lip balms
* Medications and vitamins that use gluten as a binding agent
* Play dough
* Toothpaste

Cross-contamination also may occur anywhere ingredients come together, such as on a cutting board or a grill surface. You may be exposed to gluten by using the same utensils as others, such as a bread knife, or by sharing the same condiment containers — the condiment bottle may touch the bun, or a knife with bread crumbs may contaminate a margarine stick or mayonnaise jar.

Allowed foods
There are still many basic foods allowed in a gluten-free diet. With all foods, check to see that each is labeled gluten free or call the manufacturer to double-check.

Grains and starches allowed in a gluten-free diet include:

* Amaranth
* Arrowroot
* Buckwheat
* Corn
* Cornmeal
* Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean)
* Hominy grits
* Polenta
* Pure corn tortillas
* Quinoa
* Rice
* Tapioca

Check the label when buying amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa. These can be contaminated with gluten during processing.

Other gluten-free foods include:

* Fresh meats, fish and poultry (not breaded, batter-coated or marinated)
* Fruits
* Most dairy products
* Potatoes
* Rice
* Vegetables
* Wine and distilled liquors, ciders and spirits has a Gluten-free category to make selecting meals much easier.
Check it out at


Secrets of the Mediterranean Diet

Our Guest Post this week is written by Eva B. Alexander.

Most people say the Mediterranean diet is high in fat. Can people still lose or maintain weight on a Mediterranean diet?

It is true that Mediterranean diet is high in fats.  However, these are healthy fats consisting of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.  The American diet is rich in saturated fat which is unhealthy.  Generally, the fat content of a diet does not determine weight loss.  It is the calorie intake of people that is decisive.  The Mediterranean diet provides plenty of healthy benefits but if you will not reduce your caloric intake, then you will never lose weight.

What is the major difference between the American and Mediterranean diets?

Americans consume high amounts of red meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy, while the Mediterranean includes very little. The diet also differs from the typical American diet through its dependence on fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, olive oil, beans, breads, cereals, and potatoes.

Why do people in the Mediterranean have lower heart disease?

Based on scientific research, the Mediterranean diet has played a significant role in lowering the incidence of cardiovascular disorder in the Mediterranean region.  This type of diet enables you to choose a lot of healthy foods.  It also promotes a holistic approach for enjoying better health.

How does exercise, walking, and physical activity enter into the “recipe” for the Mediterranean diet and health?

Of course, exercise is one of the most crucial aspects of the Mediterranean diet.   When this diet was developed in the sixties, exercise and physical activity were part of the culture of the Mediterranean people.  The development of the Mediterranean diet institutionalized the correct food choices and holistic lifestyle.  With this diet, a daily walk for an hour and once a week whole body exercises are required.

What is the difference between Low Carb and Mediterranean diets?

The main difference between these two types of diet programs is protein.  Generally, the Mediterranean diet has low protein content.  You will only get about 15 percent of your daily calorie consumption from the proteins of the Mediterranean diet.

People observed that wine is included in the Mediterranean diet.  What is the daily recommended amount for wine consumption?

For your general guidance, you have to consume wine in low to moderate amounts.  For male dieters, your daily calorie consumption from wine should be 5 percent.  For women, it should be lower or about 2.5 percent.

Final word of advice

The Mediterranean diet is a good program that can help you achieve good health.  This type of diet can help prevent cardiovascular diseases.  The key is to eat foods that are rich in Omega 3 and combine these with root crops, vegetable, fruits, breads, and cereals.

About the Author – Eva B. Alexander writes for the sample mediterranean diet blog, her personal hobby website focused on Mediterranean diet, healthy eating, tips to live better and longer.