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Primal challenge with Renal Failure

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  • Primal challenge with Renal Failure



    I am starting this with some trepidation because I am such a failure at dieting and self improvement, body wise, and to make matters worse I have End Stage Renal Disease. I have a GFR 15 (African American) my latest lab results and my creatinine and bun are very high. So I probably should not even be doing this. When I first met with my current Nephrologist she took one look at me and said you will be on dialysis in 1-6 months. That was December 2007 and I am still not on dialysis, but that is conventional wisdom in action. However, my kidneys are not getting any better and I need to do something and be accountable for what I do to my body. Another reason I am doing this is because I believe my overconsumption of fructose and carbs damaged my renal vasculature and increased my hyperinsulinemia to epic proportions and if I had been on a low carb primal diet years ago I would have better renal function.


    When I became aware of the drastic decline in my renal function I did a lot of research about diet and was advised to drastically cut my protein consumption. This seemed reasonable and intuitive however I didnít think it was right, and read that protein restriction was at best controversial for pre dialysis patients but high protein is an absolute requirement for dialysis patients.


    At that time I didn't believe my kidneys were at the point of no return and desperately tried to find someone just one little tiny person who reversed ESRD. I did find one and there was a study in which the researchers believed that 1-2% of people with ESRD do have renal recovery after starting dialysis but it goes undetected. That gave me some hope but of course there were no theories to explain this phenomenon and my doctor said those people who had recovered actually had acute renal failure and I have chronic renal failure which is way different. The jury is still out on all of that but I figured in the meantime I should take care of my body more than my kidneys because I have to be overall healthy to have a transplant and the drugs they put you on after a transplant usually induces diabetes, at least temporarily.


    I am not looking to go into ketosis but I would like to keep my carb consumption under 200 per day. I know that is high but any lower probably would not work out for me. I weigh 284 pounds and have to weight 231 pounds to even be put on the transplant list. So far I have dropped about 10 pounds since May ( I know, pitiful) but in spite of my weakness and fatigue I manage to work full time and go to the gym about 2-3 days per week and walk around Greenlake (2.7 miles) every Sunday for the past 4 weeks so far. If you see an overweight black woman walking like a zombie around Greenlake on a Sunday late afternoon it is probably me, stop and say Hi. I am planning to get a Grok tee-shirt.


    Anyway I want to keep my carbs under 200, make my exercise routine more primal, eat better food, like grass fed beef and chicken, do very light yoga and very light meditation, get plenty of sleep, keep working, walk as much as I can every day and hope my kidneys keep holding out until I can get a stem cell kidney or some other miraculous cure gets discovered, or until I get a transplant.


    I have also decided to start drinking protein drinks at dinner time. Dinner is the worst time for me. I live alone and when I get home I am usually extremely exhausted. I donít feel like doing a lot of cooking, but it is the time I am the most vulnerable to my urges (for carbs and sweets and fast food). I asked my nephrologist a few months if it would be ok to have protein drinks for dinner and she said no way you cannot handle the fluid overload. A couple of months later my potassium was extremely high and she surmised that I was not getting enough fluids. I told her I thought I wasnít supposed to be consuming a lot of fluids. Then I realized she forgot I was not on dialysis. I urinate all the time and do not have a problem with fluid overload so I could have been having protein drinks for dinner all this time instead of the crepes and other monstrosities I indulged in. Anyway I will start doing protein shakes with coconut oil for dinner and may sometimes for breakfast because sometimes I have problems with the taste of eggs and breakfast meat. I will make sure I eat a salad or some other healthy vegetable for lunch; I like blackberries for breakfast and finish off dinner with the protein. I cannot eat a lot of vegetables and fruit because they have a lot of potassium and I have a problem with a high potassium level. I would welcome any advice from the knowledgeable people in this forum since I cannot find any other renals who are also low carb but I am


  • #2
    1



    thecarla, it's obvious you're working extremely hard to overcome some major health challenges, so I can't imagine why you would think of yourself as any sort of a failure; your courage and determination are absolutely inspiring. I do think it's vitally important though, that you thoroughly discuss your diet intentions with your doctor or seek a doctor who is supportive of those efforts.


    I'll be thinking of you and hope you'll keep us posted here.

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    • #3
      1



      I am very afraid to give any recommendations to anyone for fear of giving them wrong advise but all I can do is give my heartfelt admiration and prayers to you so you become healthier. I would try to give Dr. Eades a note to see what his recommendations might be.


      http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/s...t-your-doctor/

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      • #4
        1



        I hope this article helps:


        http://www.second-opinions.co.uk/kidney.html

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        • #5
          1



          Hi thecarla,


          I think we're in the same boat - I have stage III Chronic Kidney Disease (Type I mesangiocapillary glomerulonephritis). I've been following the Primal Blueprint for about 2 months now and have the same trepidation about how this diet works for


          That said, my rationale is it's not really a diet - it's eating naturally which is what were designed to do. Following conventional wisdom is to deviate from the norm and I do also think my previous CW diet has contributed to my condition. I was diagnosed with it nearly 20 years ago and am still not yet on dialysis. My aim is to eat & live primally and see where it leads me.


          Things I believe are true for folks with CKD who look to follow primal.


          1) I get my protein from natural sources, mainly meat, but also nuts, fish, seeds. I did try protein shakes but my kidneys reacted badly to these.

          2) Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is bad for CKD.

          3) Question the medication - I've managed to cut my meds down by 50%, including getting off Atorvastatin. I still take loads of meds (prednisolone, enalapril, azathioprine, sodium bicarb and aranesp) but I do question these each time I have a clinic review.

          4) Keep your consultant fully informed about what you're doing. A diet change will affect your results, which is how your doctors monitor your condition.


          It's a journey of discovery and actively taking responsibility for your diet is my way of fighting this thing.


          Good luck and keep me posted.


          HD

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          • #6
            1



            WOW! Keep educating yourself, you are doing great! So good to stay in touch with support, someone in the same boat. Hotdog and thecarla you guys should become penpals!


            I'd second the idea of reading and researching on Dr Michael Eades' Protein Power Blog, he covers ALOT of deep science, give him a whirl. You can spend days on old posts!

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            • #7
              1



              I would like to thank those of you who responded to my post, it was very encouraging. I am glad to learn there is someone else in this same situation, not that you are in this situation,hotdog, but that you are looking at your affliction in a bigger way that is laid out by the Renal Industry.


              I take Epoetin and iron for my anemia, Vitamin d3, phosphate binders, lisinopril (blood pressure, ace inhibitor), Omega 3 (cod liver oil). I question my doctor at my visits also and she respects me because she knows I will not take any medication unless I understand the pros and cons of it and the pros would have to outweigh the cons. She has learned to accept that.


              As to my eating plan, that is why I gave myself the option of 200 grams of carbs per day because I want to find a balance that will keep my body somewhat healthy, allow me to lose some weight, but at the same time will not exacerbate my illness.


              Yesterday I counted up my carbs and it came to about 100 and that was a high carb day for me, so I think I should have no problem staying around 100-150 per day. I try to make healthy choices and cook most of my meals.


              This afternoon I made a shake with whey powder and coconut milk, I skipped breakfast. I feel great and I hope I can tolerate the shakes because I think they are a great alternative when I am not hungry but need my nutrition.

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              • #8
                1



                Yesterday I estimated I took in about 80 grams of carbs. I feel fine and tolerated the protein drink. I mixed it with coconut milk and a splenda packet. I think it will be really helpful when I don't feel like eating food. I went to the gym and dragged beast carcasses, pushed huge boulders with my legs and walked up a mountain (in my imagination). Today I will go to Greenlake. I feel pretty good considering my car was stolen Friday evening. I was stressed which is hard on me because of all my hormonal imbalances and depressed but I still managed to eat the way I wanted and do my workout routine. My car was found (damaged) so that's $500 I have to pay but at least they found it and at least I wasn't in it when it was taken from me.


                So I am off to Greenlake, I had breakfast which included grits which are very high in carbs but I am eating less and less of them and I will have a protein shake before I leave. I am not sure about dinner but I will have some vegetables and maybe a little fruit too along with tuna fish.


                I weigh myself Mon and Thurs at work so I am hoping I lose at least a couple of pounds even with all this added stress.

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                • #9
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                  Keep it doing what you are doing. Good for you

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                  • #10
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                    Best of luck, it sounds like you're staying positive! Just keep moving, and paying attention to how you feel after you eat/drink different things. I almost laughed out loud when you described your workout, I'll have to push boulders in my mind today too

                    You are what you eat,
                    and what you eat eats too - Michael Pollan

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                    • #11
                      1



                      Today I weighed myself. Friday I weighed 286.9 and today I weighed 283.4. I am very happy with those numbers. I was afraid the stress of my stolen car would shoot my weight up but it didn't. I stuck to my guns(diet and exercise wise) and it worked.


                      Greenlake is still kicking my but, it still takes 1hour and 45 minutes, my goal is to take only one hour. I wish they had mile or some other kinds of markers I do much better with visual cues when I am trying to attain something.


                      I hope to lose 10 pounds in the next 30 days but if I can just end up in the 270's and feel pretty good I will label that a success. Thanks again for the encouragement and the links.

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                      • #12
                        1



                        My weight on Friday, today was 283.14. I actually lost a couple of percentage points of a pound. I was really nervous about weighing myself because yesterday I had half of a doughnut. I was so stressed dealing with my stolen car etc and my lost drivers license (coincidentally), that I had my old standbys waiting for me to return to. I only ate the half doughnut and didn't do much after that carb wise except I did buy some cashews a little later only to discover they were honey roasted so that wasn't good either (I didn't have my glasses on when I bought them), but I am over all that and back on track today. This weekend it is off to the gym no Green Lake though because of the inflammation in my lower back from all that walking. I hope to do Green Lake next week though and I will actually be able to drive there, yeah.

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                        • #13
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                          I weighed 280.5 today, Yeah!!!


                          It has been a long time since I have been near the 270's. I am very happy.


                          However this weekend was kind of wierd. Saturday I woke up late about 12 noon spoke to my sister in california and my son, was planning to go to the gym to work out and was overcome by extreme tiredness. So I went back to bed to take a nap. Woke up about 9pm, stayed up about another 1 1/2 hour and then went back to bed again and slept until 1030 the next day. I estimate about 20 hours of sleep. That's a lot even for me. On Sunday I was still tired and didn't feel like exercising but I dragged myself to LA Fitness and exercised about 45 minutes and then took the bus to Green Lake and walked about an hour not all the way around. I am surprised because usually during the weekend I have more energy but this weekend I was starting to become concerned that my renal function was going south. I have a lot of back pain and I haven't eaten that much primarily because I was sleeping all the time. I will have my blood drawn next week. I am hoping this extra exhaustion is due to my stolen car and having to walk everywhere. My carbs are still mostly under 100 with mostly fruit and vegetable and bread limited to one meal per day.

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                          • #14
                            1



                            This has not been a good week. I have been in pain all this week and I didn't get much exercise except slow walking to the bus stop downtown, about a mile. I weighed 283.1. I feel kind of bummed, but not because of the weight which I think is good it could have been a lot worse, but because of the back pain. I am taking the maximum amound of tylenol, I try to keep active, I have a special (expensive) chair at work and a foot rest and still sometimes my back really hurts. I know one of my legs is longer than the other one I think that may contribute. I don't want pain pills but I was hoping that by exercising and strength training the pain would diminish. I did some serious stretching last night and it seemed to help.


                            The other thing that bummed me out was that I am reading Gary Taubes Book "Good Calories Bad Calories" and I am horrified at the scope of the collusion of the health care and scientific industry to allow this high carbohydrate low fat abomination to be perpetrated on an unsuspecting public, who I feel are trying to improve their health. Scientists know this is a fraud but continue to have this message sent out via the media. If we all stopped eating this high carb diet the economy would probably collapse so I guess they are subconsciously or consciously looking at the big picture.


                            If I had really known the truth I would probably not be in renal failure. I started on a low carb diet years ago but was convinced that people like the Eads and Atkins were giving people dangerous advice and were extremists instead of realizing they were the truth tellers. I am very disheartened about that.


                            This weekend I am planning to focus on strength training ( I will skip Green Lake until my back gets stronger) focus on only getting carbs from fruits and vegetables and just keep on the right path.

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                            • #15
                              1



                              Keep going Carla, you're doing great! I started reading Good Calories Bad Calories not that long ago also, and feel the same way you do. It's almost unimaginable that so much policy was written based on untested hypotheses, and has since wrecked havoc on our country's health and well-being! At least more people are learning about the dangers of highly processed foods and high carb diets, hopefully we will reach a tipping point soon and turn the nutritional tide.

                              You are what you eat,
                              and what you eat eats too - Michael Pollan

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