I had a slip in my GFR in November. I had an gastritis this fall and although I did not take anything, it may have impacted me. I also had fallen away from my diet as we sometimes do in time. I thought it was appropriate for a tune up. I went to see the renal dietician I saw 3 years ago. She is an expert and highly recommended in my area. I took a diary of my food for the last month or so.
She is totally now plant based. She lost a ridiculous amount of weight in the last months, and I think she looked gaunt and frail. She said she did it by eating only 500 calories a day and only plant based. She was honest and said she would not recommend that calorie level for me. (Phew, wasn't going to happen)
But she did have some things to recommend. First of all, she said no fats, none zippo, nada. Well, I agree in principal, there are certain foods and things that need some fat. But I certainly can cut that down. Also no dairy. Yikes, my beloved cheese was on the block. Ok, I can do that. She was basically warming me up to totally no animal products. I still will enjoy my cream cheese "Laughing Cow" product but not every day. NO eggs, even egg whites only. Well, that was going to be a big deal. But, I have stopped for now. And absolutely no milk. I do not drink milk but use Natural Bliss in my coffee. I only have one big cup a day. she recommended almond milk. No Chicken, no fish and no broth, either. I am ok with that for now but my homemade soup is chicken based broth and I am not throwing it out.
She cut my protein level down from 55-70 which was her recommendation 3 years ago to under 47 or lower. The desire was 15% of my intake of calories. Totally doable.
Then it got interesting. She starting recommending foods for me. First up was zucchini. I said no can do, too high in potassium. She disagreed until we looked it up on her computer and I was right. She said eat only a half a cup. Really, why bother? Broccoli was high in protein. Too bad, I thought. Not much else out there in the winter. She listed some other vegetables, and I do consume most of them.
Then she said that oatmeal was fabulous for me. Now this was in complete turn around from 3 years ago. Matter of fact, her recommendation was for everything carb being full on whole grain and bran. Now of course they want you to eat this oatmeal you cook for hours on the stove, but ... not going to happen. Brown rice and whole wheat pasta, which was a no no before, is now good. She again explained about that phosphorous is halved in plant based foods and now they are beginning to do research in the actual amount of potassium absorbed from foods. She said potatoes and some citrus was fine. Not going to take a chance on those with their high potassium. I said I just do not eat them. She said swap them out for other high potassium foods. I said what high potassium foods? I just do not eat them. It was not like I was eating chicken four times a week. She said legumes were great but high in potassium, eat small amounts. Honestly, I was getting a bit frustrated at this point. I was there an hour and half.
We talked more about the fat. She said nuts and nut butters were good for me until I told her I have had diverticulitis and do not eat them. I do not understand how the high fat in nuts is ok, but not olive oil. She said anything that is processed is bad. EVERYTHING. If you do not make it yourself, do not eat it. ( That was ridiculous to some extent. I could see why she lost 50 pounds in 4 months)
And one more good point: Intermittent fasting. I was doing that before and then started eating rice rollers with my coffee in the am. (Rice rollers are a no no because they are processed, even thought they are only rice, and sugar) She said, and I already do this, no food after 6 pm and nothing before 11 or noon. I am back to doing that and its not that hard. I was getting hungry in the am but now I am not.
So I have limited myself even more. Funny thing is I am actually feeling pretty good. She said that often when you change to this diet at first you feel crappy. She said that was because of the toxins being release into you body to eliminate. I will admit that a constipation issue is totally fixed and so that's good. I dropped 2 pounds last week. That's good.
But, and I left her with this. I said, " right now, I am on a short list of longevity. I do not know how long I can go without dialysis, now that my GFR dropped to 13. And we all know how hard that is. So there will be days when food wins. Not every day. But I am not giving up my popcorn with butter on Saturday movie night and I have never met a piece of chocolate cake I didn't love. She agreed that even with her self imposed restrictions that life happens. I wanted to say, but did not, that it is easy to restrict and do a 500 calorie diet if you only do it for 3-5 months. I said this is for life for me.
By the way, 500 calories is what they fed the people in concentration camps.