More Liquids and an Idea

Ready for the quandry?  Here it is:

My sweetheart made us a treat today: strawberry smoothies which consisted of the ½ cup of strawberries that can comprise one of my three fruit units today and four ounces of vanilla ice cream or my one and only dairy unit for the day.  I count this as a fruit and a dairy, but should it also be considered part of my remaining 48 ounces of liquid?  This is the type of quandary I run into in one form or another on a daily basis. As already mentioned, dairy is, indeed, taken into account as part of your fluids.

As a non-drinker and someone who doesn’t care for soda, I had no problem eliminating those from my diet, but my beloved hot chocolate is something I now have maybe once a year. Vitamin and flavored water were just becoming popular when I was diagnosed and, I was surprised to note they are high in sodium, potassium and/or phosphorous.

The list of what to avoid included so many surprises (to me) and the list of beverages that was permitted was so unappealing to me that I’m perfectly content sticking to filtered, non-iced water and coffee.  When I go out to dinner unexpectedly, if I’ve already had my two cups of coffee, I just order hot water and lemon. In over two years, maybe one waiter has asked me to repeat that order.

I was having a dismal time adding up how much sodium, potassium, protein and phosphorous I eat each day although I’d pretty much memorized my allotted food units and the calorie counts of each of my usual foods. I don’t know if this is a subconscious revolt against all the bookkeeping or if I truly was incapable of keeping this all straight. My son-in-law told me that eventually food packages will have bar codes containing how much of each of these is in it and our phones will be able to read these labels for us.  I sure hope he wasn’t kidding.

I devised a little notebook as the CKD patient’s food helper.  My nephrologist gave me a printed copy of the AAKP Nutrition Counter.  This can also be downloaded from their website, but this one was already printed and collated.  It measured four inches high by five and a half inches wide. At about the same time, I found a notebook of three by five inch ruled index cards.  That was a close enough match for me to realize I could tape the nutrition counter in the back of the notebook and make life easier for myself.  I managed to get a week’s worth of counting calories, food units, and elements on the front and back of one index card.

I listed each food unit I ate that day and circled the unit [e.g. dairy, protein, etc.] when I reached my limit for the day.  Each time I ate something, I used the nutrition counter in which food is listed alphabetically and contains portion size for the elements and calories.  I just now am beginning to be able to quickly tabulate the amount of each element and calories in the food and keep a running total until I’d reached my limit for the day.  It is cumbersome, but I hope to get it down to a science. Then it will become second nature, just as counting food units and calories has become. If I don’t routinely pull this little helper out at the start of a meal, my daughter automatically asks me where it is.  It’s actually becoming part of who I am. I have high hopes for this helper.

Sample (Unrealistically Neat) Page from An Earlier Notebook Entry

Monday                                              Tuesday                           Wednesday

2 coffee      458    1500NA        2 coffee       30

3 fruit         757     3050K          6 starch      383

2 veg.         150     612 P            5 protein     20

5 protein    987    750 PRO      dairy          134

1 starch                                      2 veg.         134

dairy                                         1 fruit           34

3

121

8

19

 154

1040

The first column for the day (shaded) is the food group column in which I recorded the number of units of the food I’d eaten from each group.  I’ve shaded these lists so you can easily locate them. In order to make this neat enough to read, I’ve used bold lettering [rather than the circles I actually used in my notebook] to indicate when I’d reached my daily limit for that food group. The groups are listed in the order I ate the first food in that group that particular day.  On each day, coffee – not a food group but limited, so included – was the first thing I had.  Then I ate fruit next on Monday, but starch next on Tuesday.  By looking at the food unit column, I could also see where I was falling down.  For example, I ate only two portions of vegetables each day.  I knew I needed to increase that number to three on the following days.

There’s more to explain about this, but it contains NUMBERS and it’s Friday night – the start of the weekend – so I’ll explain the rest on Tuesday.

Until then,

Keep loving your life.

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Published in: on December 17, 2010 at 8:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

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