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No do-overs

I’ve been at my parents’ house helping out after my mom’s knee replacement surgery. One of the things I’ve been focusing on is helping them adapt to a new diet because my dad has recently started dialysis. He also has Type II diabetes, so in addition to avoiding potassium and phosphates, he also has to watch his carbohydrates, particularly simple carbs. The foods he can’t eat because of kidney disease he should be eating because of diabetes, like whole grains and a bunch of great fruits and vegetables from cantaloupe to tomatoes. Likewise, most kidney disease diet plans suggest foods that diabetics should avoid, like potatoes and refined flours. So he has two extensive lists of what he shouldn’t be eating and finding the common ground is beyond difficult. Oh, and as little salt as possible. Fun for hours!

I’ve been looking for recipes for them, but there aren’t many resources online. Most of the information out there is a list of “don’t eat this and do eat that.” So basically, the same lists repeated a few dozen times.  What I really need are recipes.  So I went looking for cookbooks. There’s also Cooking the Renal Way. And this offering from the government. Doesn’t it make you hungry?

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So I struck out on cookbooks and most websites, but I did find some great recipes  on kidney.org. The few I’ve tried have been a hit, like these pumpkin pancakes. There’s also this site, which I haven’t fully explored yet. However, several I won’t try because I’m looking for things my parents will be able to make and will want to eat. If you’re in poor health, you don’t need a 20 step, takes an hour to cook, and requires exotic ingredients meals. It just doesn’t work with their lifestyle. And if it’s too hard or isn’t appetizing, they won’t bother with it. So I’m working on collecting healthy, easy, tasty recipes for people with diabetes and kidney disease who are on dialysis. Sounds simple enough.

While I’ve been at home, I got word that a high school classmate died after years of health problems. I have young friends (one who’s my daughter’s age) suffering from debilitating and frightening chronic illnesses. I’m being reminded over and over that we only get one body this side of glory, and it is decidedly not incorruptible.

Living a healthy lifestyle is work. It requires quite a bit of self-denial and self-discipline, two things that our culture is sorely lacking. But the alternative is miserable. Take care of yourself, friend. You only get the one shot.

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