Have you desired to eat something, but thought against it because the dish or treat did not fit into your diet? How often does that happen? The simple answer for Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetic patients is likely, "Often" because they are on strictly monitored, restricted diets. However, for those that want to get more out of their diet as well as their lives, they structure a meal plan that best suits their individual needs and dietary preferences. How? Well, with a bit of work on their own, and some guidance (as necessary) from their Dietitian.
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While your Renal or Diabetic Dietitians will create initial eating plans for those with Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetes to address specific health concerns; the plans are seldom revisited and edited by patients to build a nutritious AND enjoyable eating experience for themselves. This causes two types of patients: (1) an individual that severely restricts his/her diet to the point that they do not enjoy eating and at times may lose their appetite. (2) Also, an individual may become non-compliant to food intake and fluid restriction. Both of these cases are bad for you because both will reduce your quality of life. Not effectively using your Dietitian can cause you to have a poorer quality of life. But on the flip-side, by simply working more effectively with your Dietitian, you can greatly improve your quality of life!
Now I am going to give you a sample set of questions from which you can ask your Dietitian based upon your specific needs to get you started.
How can I better monitor my nutritional health? For instance, to keep a balanced weight.
- What is the specific amount of calories I should be eating every day?
- How should I best monitor my caloric intake?
- What is the right amount of protein, fat, carbohydrate, potassium, sodium, and phosphorus (major "labs" to monitor) for me?
- I am continually going over my recommended fluid intake, what are my options?
- I want to have my favorite meal this week, how can I make it fit into my meal plan?
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If you have not noticed, those questions all contain at least 1, "I" or "me" because you are now beginning to actively tailor a diet to your personal needs. By asking these simple questions, you will be surprised with your outcomes. Your energy will be up, your dialysis sessions will be more smooth, your blood pressure and blood sugar will become more stable, and most importantly you will feel better. Isn't that what you are looking for?
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Here is another big hint: Do not let this "New and Improved" meal plan just sit. Take ownership of it by working with your Dietitian on a frequent basis to update your meal plan, always trying to make it better and more tailored to your changing circumstances.
It is recommended that you print this article or jot-down the above listed questions to ask your Dietitian the next time you are scheduled to meet, and feel free to share the information with others.
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