Monday, December 10, 2007

Where's the beef?

Not on my plate. Not anymore. (sigh)

Last week I had the distinct privilege of meeting with Dr. Steinman, PKD doctor, guru, and all around nice guy. In addition to persuading me to join his clinical trial up in Boston, he also told me I need to make some changes in my diet. In addition to low sodium, (and when he says low, he means low--1500mg) he suggested that I also go vegetarian. Not vegan, necessarily, but lay off the beef, pork, and chicken.

When he said that, my brain practically exploded.

But, like the good PKD patient that I am, I am trying. Dr. Steinman made the point that it's not that one steak will kill you, but the negative cumulative effects a regular animal protein diet can have on kidneys that are already compromised. So, with that in mind, I went grocery shopping today.

The experience almost made me cry.

It's not only giving up the meat, really, although I'll admit that most of the meals I cook for my family revolved around meat of some kind. It's the balancing act I am faced with that was overwhelming for me. How do I balance a vegetarian diet with low sodium? How do I balance my recent commitment to eat locally ground food that is in season with such diet restrictions? How am I going to feed my family when the only real vegetarian dish I know how to make is Eggplant Parmesan, a dish my 5 year old adamently refuses to eat? And what do I do with the 10 lbs of frozen ground beef I bought in bulk last month from my favorite farmer?

The enormity of what I faced, the changes I would have to make, hit me in the produce aisle, and I wanted to sit down amoung the potatoes and weep.

Like everything else, I know that I have to do this in small steps. I picked up some trout to make for dinner, with a bag of salad and locally grown acorn squash for side dishes. I got some organic tortillas and some canned refried beans, thinking we could do bean tortillas tomorrow. The sodium from the canned beans isn't ideal, but it will have to do until I figure out how to actually make food with real beans.

I did have some positive thoughts in the grocery store. One: beans are cheap. Two: Eating like this, the baby weight is bound to come sliding off in a jiffy.

I guess there's a sliver lining in everything.


Di Hickman said...

As someone who's been diagnosed with PKD for 19 years and vegetarian for almost as long trust me you won't miss it! I actually stopped eating meat for ethical reasons but then found out a few years ago that a veggie diet has some benefits for PKD patients.
If you need help let me know!

SusanS said...

Heather, I have tons of great vegetarian cook books. I should take a look and send some your way. Good luck.

Heather O. said...

Yes, send them my way. I'm feeling particularly desperate!

The Wiz said...

I think you should just eat smoothies all day long. Ummm....smooooooooothies.

Seriously, though, did he mention anything about a vitamin B supplement in addition to your veg? Admittedly, my knowledge is limited, but I do remember learning that you can't get some B vitamins when you only eat plants. (But maybe you can in cheese or eggs, hmmm...have to look that up.)

Anyway, I think it might be worth asking your nephrologist about on your next visit.

Also, I am curious as to what you had ordered for dinner and thus, what you were eating when he told you this.

Anonymous said...

my mom has pkd and said in the last few months she has actually lost her taste for meat. Her Nephrologist never told her to give it up completely, but she has totally lost her taste for it. I thought that was interesting. She will probably start dialysis in the next few months. She's also gotten to the point where she can't even eat most fruit/veggies because her kidneys are functioning so low they can't process all the vitamins. I still haven't been tested for PKD but will when it comes time to get tested for her transplant. Your blog is informative and thank you for sharing.

Patty said...

Searched for "PKD and blogs" and found your site. Diagnosed about 20 years ago, renal function still good but my waistline is expanding dramatically and the pressure on my stomach results in GERD. Haven't modified my diet too much but think I should start watching protein and caffeine. Thanks for your blog!

Liz said...

I know nothing about PKD, but have you heard of the books Eat right for your type? Let me know if you want to talk to someone about adjusting your diet for your blood type and the benefits it could have with your PKD. (found you on MMW!)

Ryan said...

i was just diagnosed with pkd about a month ago and was wondering, do i have to watch my protien and potassium intake also? and if so any clue how much i can have daily? i have no idea what to do diet wise and i could use all the advice i can get so your thoughts would really help, thanks

Ava Gardner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ava Gardner said...

That's what I'm practising now.
Not 100% meat free.
Just on occasion.
I'm 20 years old and really don't want to do dialysis when I grow up.
Plus meat is getting boring.
Sauteed vegetables, lentils and curried fruits and veggies are so way more yummier.