Food and Drink Items You Might Not Have Thought About

Did you ever consider herbal supplements?  They can be a problem when you have CKD since only a few have been studied with CKD patients.  Keeping in mind that my kidneys were not functioning up to snuff, I decided to abandon them completely.  This was quite a departure from the way I usually dealt with illness, but I was frightened enough to just stop using them. I also didn’t know if any of them contained “the three peas with salt” or phosphorous, protein, potassium or sodium. I wasn’t willing to accidentally further damage my precious kidneys.

While none of this is established, the following might be toxic to the kidneys -wormwood, periwinkle, sassafras (I remember drinking sassafras tea as a child.  Did that have any effect on my kidneys?) and horse chestnut just to name a few. Then there are other  herbal supplements that might be harmful to CKD patients: alfalfa, aloe, bayberry, capsicum, dandelion, ginger, ginseng, licorice, rhubarb and senna.  There are even more, but they seemed too esoteric to include. I found I was continuing to learn information that had nothing to do with CKD, but was surprising none the less.  For instance, I’d always used a broken open aloe stalk to treat burns never once realizing it was ingestible.

While I urge you to speak with your nephrologists before eating any of these, there are several websites that may be helpful. They are and And, as my nutritionist kept mentioning, star fruit is toxic for CKD patients.  Gulp!  I ate that, too, when I was in Nigeria.  Again, I feel like the medical student who was convinced she suffered from every illness she studied, except in my case, I think everything I ate that’s not good for CKD patients was the cause of my disease.

Most of the renal diets limit liquid intake daily, despite the fact that humans lose one liter of water through our skin daily via evaporation. We also lose fluid through breathing, sweating and feces. Men are 60% fluid, which includes not only water but blood and salvia while females are 55% fluid.  The kidneys are the organs responsible for regulating the fluids in our bodies.

As CKD patients, we do not internally control the amount of liquid in our bodies, so we have to do it externally.  If we drink too little or sweat too much, we become dehydrated.  Severe dehydration can cause sweating, diarrhea, vomiting and usually the low blood pressure that makes you feel weak and dizzy when you stand up.  On the other hand, if we drink too much, we suffer fluid overload.

It’s thirst that makes us drink in order to dilute the concentration of dissolved solids in our bodies so we can bring them back to the proper level. Unfortunately, the brain concurrently releases vasopressin, which is an anti-diuretic hormone that causes the kidneys to conserve water.  What this means is that those of us with CKD drink when we’ve thirsty as does everyone else, but we don’t produce much concentrated urine.

If you fall below the proper concentration of dissolved fluids, normally you lose interest in drinking while your urine becomes diluted and you void a great deal of it.  However, if you suffer from CKD, there’s little increase in urine flow and the urine doesn’t become diluted.   In other words, a person with CKD – like you or me – has a low concentration of dissoluble solids.

I’ve already mentioned that my fluid intake restriction is 64 ounces and that I drink two eight ounces cups of coffee daily (I think they help to keep me from feeling deprived), so I’m left with only 48 ounces of liquid. In researching for this book, I discovered that the organic soy milk I sometimes have with cold cereal in the morning and the ice cream I sometimes have are considered fluids as well as being considered dairy.

I don’t have both on the same day since my allotment is only four ounces of dairy.  That’s only half a cup.  Have you ever tried to enjoy a quarter cup of ice cream?  That’s what I’d have to do as well as limit myself to two ounces of that soy milk to enjoy (hah!) them both on the same day.

Going back to the fluid intake, between the coffee and the dairy, I only have 44 ounces of fluid left per day.  I live in Arizona where the summer temperatures go up to 115 degrees.  I’ve learned to plan when I’m going to have water and how little to have each time.  You’ll have to do the same depending upon the climate. This is one time when that old dieting adage which recommends drinking water instead of eating whenever you think you’re hungry is not apt, and it’s certainly not necessary to drink when others do just to be social.

You might need to be reminded that popsicles, sherbet and gelatin are also fluids, though in solid form.  You might need to be reminded, but I needed to learn that.  To me, a solid was a solid and a liquid was a liquid. But that’s not true for CKD patients.  Think about it. Popsicles and sherbet are frozen water with flavoring (I know I’m being too simplistic here.) and gelatin is boiled water with a powder added.  This certainly made me curious about what else I didn’t know about what I always thought I knew.

I’ve got a little quandry ready for you to solve on Friday.

Until then,

Keep loving your life!

Published in: on December 14, 2010 at 10:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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