@rosemarya, there were at least five AHA moments.
For one thing, I've read labels for years but didn't really pay much attention to them. When I started researching a renal diet and nutritional values like potassium, phosphorus, and sodium, I was shocked to discover how much "hidden" minerals are in our food, especially processed food – disodium phosphate, phosphatase, potassium chloride, MSG, etc.
Second, an equal revelation was that some of the foods we are told to limit, such as tomatoes or potatoes, can still be eaten OCCASIONALLY and IN VERY SMALL portions or – like potatoes – processed a certain way to leach out certain minerals. (That same process can help leach out oxalates as well.) Yes, we can have a thin slice of tomato occasionally. Yes, we can have a small amount of rinsed, soaked, parboiled potatoes.
Third, I also realized that what I missed was texture and flavor, not necessarily amounts. Moderation certainly isn't my middle name but in many cases a small taste of something I ordinarily would limit or avoid has almost negligible "no-nos."
Fourth, as energy challenged as I am sometimes, I can't say enough good things about baking your own bread, tortillas, biscuits, etc. and cooking things "from scratch.". I started baking bread again like I did when the children were all still home, only this time I came up with an egg-free, dairy-free, sodium-free recipe for artisan bread baked in an iron skillet and it makes scrumptious toast. Producing your own ingredients like homemade salt-free mustard or low-potassium tomato/bell pepper sauce and using whole foods and fresh produce makes it possible to know almost exactly how much phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and protein is going on my plate. This is quite liberating because it gives a bit of control over what otherwise is a maverick of a disease.
Last, as a diabetic I was told to eat whole grains, brown rice and low-carb foods but renal patients should avoid whole wheat, brown rice, etc., and if a renal patient is limiting or excluding meat carbohydrates MUST be increased in order to get sufficient protein. So I figured my blood sugars would get wacky. They did not. Although my own personal renal diet is higher in carbs than is usually recommended for diabetics, I have been able to dramatically decrease my insulin and, while I'm still not losing much weight due to being in the wheelchair, I feel more energetic and engaged and my A1cs are now normal.
I can't promise similar results to anyone using my recipes, I only can attest that they work for me. If they work for others, let's celebrate!
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I also would like to share that other than a temporary drop which has resolved, my kidney function has improved and my primary says he believes my diet took a lot of the stress off my kidney. I can't guarantee that will happen to anyone else but if it does, I'll be delighted.