Thursday, July 5, 2012

Food and the 4th of July

I loved spending yesterday with Matt and doing 4th of July stuff. Of course I had to have some BBQ ribs. That’s a given. Oh let me make that BBQ rib, singular. My kidney function is low, and with the decline in function my kidneys have a much harder time filtering the protein and putting it to good use, so I have to eat a restricted amount of protein. Counting protein is such a pain, but thankfully I’ve become much better at it.

What really helped is keeping a food diary for about a week and getting a handle on how much protein is in a serving. There are lots of great sites that will calculate how much protein, calories, fat and such just by simply adding in what you have ate for the day. There are some sites that even tell you how much of each vitamin you had. That’s a great benefit for us with kidney problems because sometimes we have too much of certain vitamins and so we have to restrict food with those vitamins in them. I don’t do it anymore, after doing it for a little while at the first of the year I have a pretty good idea. It’s amazing how much protein is in food.

I love carbs and sweets, especially cookies and cake.  I have been so surprised how much protein is in a few cookies. OK, so its not much, but when I’m trying to keep my protein down under 50 grams every day 2 grams for a couple cookies is a lot. I miss milk so bad, but that’s another several grams of protein, especially if I fill my glass full. Let’s talk about hamburgers, I LOVE a juicy hamburger stacked with all the fixings’. A hamburger from one of my favorite places, Red Robin, has over 40 grams of protein in it. What’s a girl to do when I try to eat less that 50 grams a day?

If I know I want to eat a meal packed with protein I normally try to eat fruit for breakfast and no protein and again for my third meal.  Not only is the protein bad, but all the sodium does horrible things to my body. I can easily put on a few pounds of water weight if I have been eating meals packed with sodium. I am really amazed at the amount of sodium in prepackaged foods. Even when I cook and salt things enough to have a good flavor, it still doesn’t have as much as the prepackaged counter product.

Normally, when I cook I add more vegetables and less meat to my dishes. This helps me reduce the amount of protein in a dish. For example: 1 cup of brown rice has 4.5 grams of protein in it where 1 cup of cooked ground beef has 24 grams of protein in it. Since my cooked meals are a little leaner and have less protein I make sure to pack Matt some high protein items in his lunch. Yogurt and cheese are two things I always put in his lunch. Also, reducing protein also reduces calories in a lot of dishes. To make up for reduced calories I normally don’t buy reduced fat, low fat, or fat free varieties of any foods.

At first it was hard to watch what I eat and prepare so many of my own meals to make sure they met my needs. Now that I have been doing it so long I see the benefits not only for myself but for Matt too. Being more careful about what I eats makes us eat a much healthier diet and I think being careful has helped slow the progression of my kidney disease. I have tried gluten free diets, vegetarian diets, and other fads. I think what has helped me the most has been restricting gluten and meat, eating more fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Since my most noticeable improvement was from my last lab work with my function coming up three points to 29 percent I am going to continue to eat how I have been and hope for more improvement.


  1. Way to go! I live hearing when people are being proactive with their diet to improve their health. I totally believe in taking control. It does good things for our bodies and our phsyche!! Happy 4th!!

  2. Thanks Alisha, I have to admit though, its not always easy to have self control. It feel strange to watch how much protein I eat when normally you hear about people watching how many calories they eat. I also cheat sometimes too ;)