Monthly Archives: December 2011

New Year’s Resolution Time

All right everyone, get ready because the first of the year is coming up, and we all know what that means. Time to make a new year’s resolution that can be broken as quick as possible so that we can move on with our lives.

Men are funny about New Year’s resolutions; typically it’s the “I’m going to get in shape” resolution. Hence, on the first of January there will be a gaggle of men across the country that will walk into a fitness center, write a $1,500 check for membership, hand it to the guy behind the counter and then tell them “Thank you very much, you will never see me again”.

Women are equally as funny. Their New Year’s decree is to lose 47,000 pounds in five months, you know, just in time to slip into that new bikini that is no bigger than a string of dental floss and an eye patch. Jay Leno once said  “Now there are more overweight people in America than average-weight people. So overweight people are now average… which means, you have met your New Year’s resolution”. That about sums it up for me.

New Year resolutions might have a better chance at success if they fall into the realm of reality. Not that losing weight or getting into shape is unrealistic, but it’s better to know your limitations.

How about trying a New Year’s resolution that is fun. Still want to get into shape? Make a New Years resolution to swim once a week. Remember how much fun it was to swim when you were a kid? Guess what, it still is. Or how about learning to surf, or snow ski. In fact, a great New Years resolution would be to make a list of activities you’re never tried, or haven’t tried in a while, and meet those goals. Want to eat healthy? You know where to go. Our portion-controlled meals  have got you covered.

Try hiking a nature trail. It’s beautiful and you may lose an extra few pounds. Or, if you’re really the adventuresome type, how about canyoneering. If you live near the water try kayaking or snorkeling.

How about a New Year’s resolution of making a list of all the fun things you always wanted to do, but never did.

The point is to have fun, and it doesn’t even have to start at the first of the year. Happy New year. everybody!!

Wendy Tree, Guest Blogger


Ring in the New Year with Kidney-Friendly Party Snacks

Counting down the New Year with your favorite friends usually includes a few tasty treats and a glass of bubbly. Enjoying special times while having to watch your kidney diet can be a challenge, but thanks to DaVita® dietitians, you can serve up some mouthwatering snacks and still eat renal-friendly foods.

When speaking with people on dialysis about their renal diet, many times the focus is on what cannot be eaten. There are, however, many delicious foods that are perfectly acceptable on the dialysis diet. The trick is finding ways to prepare these foods so that you don’t feel deprived. has wonderful, kidney-friendly recipes that focus on the “what you can have.” Each week DaVita dietitians share their personal stories and provide tasty selections for you to enjoy. The best part is if you’re cooking for others who are not on dialysis, they’ll be able to eat the same foods as you and not think they’re eating “diet” food because it’s all so tasty.

As you begin a new year and you start making your resolutions, please remember to visit the recipe section of this website for menu selections designed to keep your lab results where they need to be. Remember, in addition to eating the right foods, portion control is important, as well as discussing your food choices with your doctor or dietitian.

We’ve planned the menu for your New Year’s gathering with 10 easy-to-follow appetizer recipes along with a comprehensive grocery list to help you enjoy this festive time of year.

Let your family and friends know there’s a wealth of renal-friendly recipes right at their fingertips at

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year appetizer menu



Happy New Year appetizer grocery list

Baking Goods

  • canola oil
  • olive oil
  • grape jelly, 6 ounces
  • popcorn, unsalted (to make 11 cups)


  • 1 bottle champagne
  • 12-ounce can 7 UP®
  • 8 ounces cranberry juice
  • 1/2 cup liquid or frozen fruit punch concentrate
  • 1 liter diet lemon lime soda

Bread, Cereal, Crackers and Pasta

  • 7″ pita bread rounds
  • low sodium crackers
  • 24 matzo cracker miniatures (or other low sodium crackers)
  • 1 box low sodium cornflakes
  • 1 box corn cereal squares
  • 1 box rice cereal squares
  • unsalted tiny pretzel twists
  • unseasoned bread crumbs

Dairy and Nondairy

  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese
  • 8-ounce wheel of Brie cheese
  • small carton liquie nondairy creamer
  • 8-ounce carton sour cream
  • margarine
  • unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs

Frozen Foods

  • 1 pint sherbet lemon or lime flavor
  • ice


  • 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 lemon
  • 5 strawberries, stems attached


  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 pound ground turkey (7% fat)
  • 2-1/2 ounces cooked shrimp

Seasonings and Spices

  • Dijon mustard
  • Heinz® bottled chili sauce
  • honey
  • sugar, or Splenda® granular
  • brown sugar, or Splenda® brown sugar blend
  • ketchup, no salt added
  • mayonnaise
  • Tabasco® sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • ground ginger
  • ground nutmeg
  • ground cinnamon
  • allspice
  • Mrs. Dash® lemon herb seasoning
  • onion powder


  • 2-ounce jar diced pimento
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 medium onion


– Reprinted with permission by DaVita Inc.

– Source from


Healthy New Year’s Checklist for People with Kidney Disease

It’s a new year and a great time to make sure your health is in order. The following checklist can be taken to your doctor to review your overall well-being. In addition, Dr. Mary Meyer, who has been practicing in the areas of critical care, transplant and nephrology over the past 18 years, also suggests six items that you should pay extra attention to when talking with your doctor.

Good health checklist

Physical health review

  • Checkup
  • Blood and urine lab work
  • Medicine and supplement review
  • Flu shot and other vaccines updated
  • Exercise review
  • Nutrition review
  • Dialysis modality review if you’re on dialysis
  • Emotional health review
  • Check in with your feelings
  • See a counselor if necessary
  • Stay active by working or volunteering
  • Keep moving and doing things that interest you

While all the items on the checklist are important, Dr. Meyer especially recommends the following six topics be addressed with your doctor.

Flu and pneumonia shots check

Flu shots are the best way for everyone to prevent getting the flu, but if you have kidney disease you are encouraged even more to get the vaccine. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Protection suggest that people who have kidney disease and/or diabetes and need regular medical care have a flu shot.

While Pneumovax® shots (a vaccine effective against the 23 most common strains of a bacterium that causes pneumonia) are usually given before flu season in October or November; the beginning of the year is a good time to make sure you are up to date on both shots. If you still haven’t gotten your flu or pneumonia shots, ask your doctor. Flu season can last until May, so you’ll want to be protected.

Transplant check

If you’ve had a kidney transplant recently, you should make sure that your doctor pays special attention to the status of your new kidney. When going in for follow-up checkups, bring your surgery handbook, if you have one, and the list of medicines you are taking.

You should also tell your doctor how your home monitoring has been going. This monitoring should include regular, self-administered checks on weight, temperature and blood pressure. If you notice a dramatic weight gain, you could be retaining fluids. Temperature change can indicate infection. If there is a noticeable change in blood pressure, you should visit your doctor.

Diabetes check

If you have diabetes, the American Diabetes Association suggests that you visit your doctor two to four times a year, and if you are on insulin, these visits should occur at least four times so by the time you walk in for your New Year checkup, it should have been only a few months since your last doctor’s visit.

Dr. Meyer advises that you see an endocrinologist (a doctor who is more specialized in treating diabetes) if you aren’t working with your primary care doctor or nephrologist to manage your diabetes.

Dr. Meyer offers a few guidelines about what to look for and discuss with your doctor. Along with checking your glucose (blood sugar) level, blood pressure and weight, your doctor should take blood to check cholesterol, blood fat and glycated hemoglobin (hemoglobin A1c). The hemoglobin A1c test will give a measure of your blood glucose level over the past two to three months, probably since your last doctor visit. A urine sample should also be taken to look for protein. Protein in the urine (proteinuria) occurs when the kidneys are damaged. For people with diabetes, this is a sign of diabetic nephropathy—meaning kidney function has declined. This, in time, could lead to kidney failure. In addition to treating diabetes, your endocrinologist will also take steps to help prolong your kidney function and possibly even prevent kidney failure.

Medicine check

The New Year is also the perfect time to go over your medicines with your doctor. You should review what you are taking, how you are feeling and how your body is responding to the medicines based on your lab results. You can help your doctor determine if you’re taking the right medicines, or if there are medicines you no longer need to take. “It’s the perfect time to streamline the drugs you are taking,” Dr. Meyer says.

Activity level check

Even if you are on dialysis, Dr. Meyer recommends you stay active. “A lot of people say that you shouldn’t work if you are on dialysis. I think that’s the wrong advice. The more you get out into the community the better,” says Dr. Meyer. In addition to the social benefits of working, the financial benefits of an income and health insurance can also provide peace of mind.

Exercise can also provide a health benefit. Most people on dialysis can do some form of physical activity. A study published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation showed that people who exercise while on dialysis may have more effective treatments because exercise can reduce urea (a toxin that accumulates between dialysis sessions) by 20%.  Physical activity can help you feel better, stronger and more in control of your health no matter when you do it. Talk to your doctor about what kind of physical activity will be good for you. Even a little bit of exercise can be a big help.

Depression check

For a person with kidney disease, the everyday dealings with physical health issues can be all consuming. “Everybody is so busy dealing with the physical issues that they forget about the emotional strain,” says Dr. Meyer. But Dr. Meyer believes that it’s a good idea to take the time to check in with your feelings and emotions.

A study by Yale University found that depression is generally accepted to be the most common psychological disorder associated with dialysis. The feelings of sadness and hopelessness associated with depression can take away from one’s quality of life. Depression is an illness that should be treated by a professional in the same way you would treat diabetes or high blood pressure. Dr. Meyer’s advice is to listen to your feelings, and if necessary see a counselor. If you are on dialysis, talk to the social worker in your clinic. The social worker can help determine if you have clinical depression and can assist you with getting more treatment if needed. In addition, social workers are trained to teach stress reduction techniques that can help alleviate emotional strain. Your mental well-being is just as important as your physical health.

Make this year the best it can be by taking care of your physical and emotional needs. Use this checklist and follow Dr. Meyer’s advice to help you have a Happy, Healthy New Year.

– Reprinted with permission by DaVita Inc.

– Source from


Spend wisely this Season

First and foremost, be careful this holiday season!

Every winter, Americans spend about $450 billion on food, gifts, decorations, and other holiday wares. But how many of these dollars are spent frivolously, even foolishly? The average American spends more than $20 on holiday gifts for pets. Don’t get me wrong, I love my dog! But I don’t buy him Christmas presents (or birthday presents). I don’t think he even notices, and there’s money in my pocket for more important things.

Save on Postage: Americans spend $20 billion to mail cards, letters and packages every holiday season. Why not send gift certificates? With online shopping, people can get what they really want! And for much less postage.

Create a Budget and Stick to It
Holiday expenses can add up quickly, and one way to keep the financial damage to a minimum is to create a budget and then track spending. A budget should include the amount the family plans to spend on food, travel, incidentals and even a price limit for each person on the gift list.

Trim the List
When times are tight, whittling down the shopping list can save a lot of money. Aside from cutting the list down to only the closest of friends and family, some options include only giving gifts to children, setting generally accepted limits on what family and friends can spend and drawing names for gifts among family.

Only buy for the kids.
Adults really can buy the things they want, and all too often, the gifts they get are tossed in the closet. How often do we say,”Christmas is for the kids!” Give the adults gift certificates in prearranged sums, so they can get what they want.

Don’t Shop for Yourself
All of those holiday deals make it easy to adopt a “one for me; one for you” mentality. Set a rule that you’ll only shop for the people on your list – and not yourself. The pay off: less stuff in your house and more money in the bank.

Don’t forget the people who really need your thoughts. says,

The average American currently spends about $1,936 every holiday season. With a few minor adjustments, we could all save some extra cash and send it to someone in need.

If we all gave $130 out of that $1,936, we could end hunger for a year. For $2.13 annually, we could actually save the rain forest. And for $43, we could give every man, woman, and child in the world clean water for at least ten years, eliminating 35.75 million deaths.

Imagine what a holiday season like that would look like.

Melody, blogger


Top 10 Anti-Aging Foods

1. Spinach
Spinach is high in antioxidants, which help in reducing the slowdown and weakening of learning capabilities and damage of the central nervous system. The rich vitamin C and vitamin E content in spinach is the antioxidant source that helps in this particular case.
2. Salmon
One medical study claims that people who eat salmon or sardines once a week are less likely to suffer from dementia in their old age compared to people who seldom eat fish. Eating fish also helps to keep your brain cells more active, hence increasing the capability of learning and stronger memory power.
3. Red Wine
Red wine is high in flavonoids (a type of polyphenol), which are antioxidants. One of the most studied antioxidants is resveratrol, which comes from grape skins and seeds. Antioxidants help prevent certain molecules, known as free radicals, from damaging cells. To receive the benefits of red wine, it must be drunk in moderation (1-2 glasses maximum per day) and regularly.
4. Chocolate
Chocolate is one of the world’s favorite foods. Recent research shows that eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate also brings health benefits to your heart. The antioxidants in dark chocolate protect your heart against aging, damage and heart disease.
5. Whole Wheat Products and Brown Rice
When you replace the white rice, white-flour breads and cakes, and other refined grains in your diet with whole grains, you immediately reap a benefit. Refined grains can raise insulin levels, which in turn causes inflammation that damages the skin. Also, whole grains are a good source of selenium — a mineral that helps protect against injury from UV rays.
6. Unsalted nuts
Nuts are a great source of both protein and healthy fats. Eat walnuts, almonds, and pecans. These are high calories, but also provide your body with excellent nutritional essentials. Nuts are the perfect snack
7. Olive Oil
Olive oil has a lot of unsaturated fatty acids, preventing arteries from hardening. This makes olive oil a better choice for cooking.
8. Garlic
Garlic is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and an anti-viral agent. It retards cellular decay, thins blood and prevents infections. Garlic is an excellent antioxidant and helps in retarding growth of abnormal cells.
9. Blueberries
Blueberries are extremely high in antioxidants that can clean up the “dirt” inside the body. Frequent consumption of wild blueberries helps a lot in brain cell regeneration, improving memory power, reducing high blood pressure symptoms, and reducing the percentage of having a stroke.
10. Avocado
This fruit, which is usually eaten as a vegetable, is a good source of healthy monounsaturated fat that may help to reduce level of a bad type of cholesterol in body. Avocado is a good source of vitamin E and can help to maintain healthy skin and prevent skin aging (vitamin E may also help alleviate menopausal hot flushes). It is rich in potassium which helps prevent fluid retention and high blood pressure.