A journal of healing

Archive for the ‘Diet’ Category

Why, oh why…Questions I have.

My questions for today are: Is it possible for women to have a conversation and not talk about diets? Would it be possible for restaurants to consider that not everyone eats meat or tomato sauce? Why is it so hard to stay on your diet when away?

We just came back from vacation. It was a lovely trip to our favorite place in the 1000 Islands. We go every year at least twice. We do not really have cooking facilities in the room we are in. So we are required to either get take out or eat out. Actually, that is part of the beauty of the trip. Usually, we buy snacks for the room also. Now that I am required to watch what I eat, we limited the snacks. But I did buy a bag of Fritos and I had my favorite River Rat cheese. (I did end up feeding the Fritos to the geese and other animals there.) We ate cold cereal for breakfast in the room every morning. I don’t normally eat cold cereal. In the past I have brought an electric kettle so I could make oatmeal, but that is now only allowed on a limited amount on my renal diet. Cold cereal was the only option for this trip. Not a good thing.

Every morning, people around the world pour a bowl of sugary carbs and cover it with milk. For me, the carbs in the morning are really bad. My sugar elevates at the middle of the night, instead of coming down like most people and then by mid-day, it is in a normal range. I use long acting insulin with a bigger dose at night and a smaller one first thing in the am. I do not take insulin the rest of the day. When I ate cereal, my reading never came down and my overall sugar stayed pretty high. On top of that, milk has sugar as well as phosphorous and potassium which is not good for the kidneys.

When we were shopping at the store, it was hard to find any for breakfast that would have been a good substitute. We did buy some dark homemade bread at a shop and lite butter Again, bread is high in carbs. Forget about croissants, or god-for-bid donuts. I do not ever eat donuts.

I wonder if eating cereal as kids is a contributor to having diabetes as an adult. At home, I never eat cereal. I scramble two egg whites and one whole egg and sometimes add pre-cooked veggies. I have very low cholesterol so this is not an issue. My solution for our next trip was to buy a small egg cooker.

The other big problem was eating out. The place we stay has a wonderful restaurant with a fabulous salad bar. The first two nights they had a buffet. BIG MISTAKE. Even though I thought I was being judicious, I over ate. I skipped the buffet the rest of the trip. Two nights they had all you could eat pasta. It was cheaper to buy that dinner than the salad bar alone. I had pasta with alfredo sauce on the side. Yummy…but terrible for me. But, I was on vacation and in my head I justified it. We had other meals when the restaurant was closed and I tried to pick something with no red sauce and only chicken. I ate more chicken that week than I did all summer. A couple of times I only ordered salad but they came with chicken. It is almost impossible to find renal friendly meals in restaurants. If it doesn’t have pasta it has potatoes. Ordering a side of let’s say just broccoli is not a good option often because the broccoli is usually frozen and mush.

I had labs done the week we came back and my numbers were terrible….. well, I thought they were. My nephrologist said they were not that awful and to stop worrying. I already lost the five pounds I gained, and my glucose readings have come back down. But it did frighten me when I saw my GFR dropped two points. My goal is to get that back up.

Last night we went to a function at a restaurant. Again, it was a buffet. But they had big bowls of salad on the table. I was planning on having salad since they buffet was not renal friendly at all. I did pick though the broccoli and pasta and took just broccoli and had a small piece of really bad chicken French. The rest of the buffet was pasta in red sauce, veal parmesan, and roast beef. I filled my salad plate when I went up to the buffet and when I got back to the table; they had taken the big bowl of salad away. I was really mad. So for $40.00, I had the worse meal.

The function was for my hubby’s 50th school reunion. I knew no one there at all. I went to support him. After dinner, people were milling around and several people came and chatted with us….him. One other wife and I struck up a conversation as the men were chatting. We talked about what we were doing in our resent retirements. The topic never came close to diets until I mentioned cleaning out closets. Then she somehow got on a track about weight.

I don’t know if it is a female thing or because I am a large woman that people feel that have to talk about weight and diets with me. She started down a path of how as she aged she put weight on….. Truthfully, I don’t remember all that she was saying in detail as I tuned her out. I finally looked at her said, “I have been large all my life. Now excuse me, I need to go to the ladies room.”

Why do women NEED to justify their bodies? Also, why do women have to explain when they are at a dinner why they are eating what they are eating? My thinking is, “shut up and enjoy yourself. I don’t care what you eat and I certainly do not want your guilt or judgement.

No one ever said to my rather large husband, “gee… I put on weight as I got older.” If anything a male conversation last night would have been would be more about lamenting about hair loss. I did hear that once with one guy who was talking to my husband. His hair was almost gone but my hubby has a full head of hair. Both of them just laughed.

 

Pissy Situation: Diet or lifestyle change

“Just go on a diet and lose some weight.” I do not know how many times I have heard this in my life. It has been said from well-meaning and not so well-meaning friends, medical people and people I do not even know. What right does anyone have to even propose such a life sentence? I supposed doctors think that if they say this, they will be absolved from better educated suggestions. But only someone who has lived a life of diets knows how really hard and almost impossible it is to be successful losing any real weight and keeping it off.

I am a large person from birth. I was my mother’s largest baby and also the largest female in my whole family by the time I was 11. I am not just talking about weight because in hindsight, I was not that overweight as I was told. But I was six or more inches taller and took a bigger size in my clothes than anyone else. I did not get the petite gene like my aunts, grandmothers or sister did. Matter of fact, my mother was 4 feet 9 inches and never weighed over 100 pounds accept when she was pregnant. How could she possibly relate to the mammoth she-child she had. Even my brothers were not large in size accept my one brother who was husky. But he played football and so that was ok.

I grew up in a world of carbs and candy. Sweets were ever where and the dinner table was heavy with fatty meat and starchy vegetables. It was not big deal for anyone else in my family. My parents also insisted on clean plates.

But somewhere around 14, my mother put me on my first real diet. Green beans and Jell-O. While others were indulging in spaghetti and desserts, I had green beans for my meal, and Jell-O for dessert. Not a recipe for success. This only left a bitter taste in my mouth about dieting.

As an adult, I made several attempts at diets. I did Weight Watchers a couple of times only to gain weight one time. One time I did lose weight only to gain it and some more back once I stopped.

Sustaining dieting is very difficult. Anyone who has tried to change any type of habit will tell you how hard it is. I find there is less empathy for someone who is dieting than someone who is quitting smoking. Why is that? It is just as difficult.

Our culture is mean. We demand that our females be slender and sleek. Yet we are bombarded with food ads. What a rotten tease. Does anyone else not see how unfair this is? I have yet to see a good ad for salads. But open any magazine and they are filled with baked yummies and cheese covered dishes. I stopped watching TV because of the ads a long time ago. But now, I won’t read a magazine either. And I have a subscription to a cheese magazine.  “Oh,  the irony.”

There are many fine folks out there who are raging a war on fat shamming. I believe in their work. I also belong to an organization that supports Health at Every Size. I don’t believe in diets to lose weight.

But I have to diet now. Have to. And it is not to lose weight. It is to save my kidneys. This is a fight for my life, not for being accepted for the way I look. I do not give a rat’s ass what people think about that and have not for a very long time.

Less than three months ago I went on a renal diet. It is not about calories. It is about protein, potassium and phosphorous consumption. My primary concern is protein. I gave up red meat in 1986. But I did consume large quantities of chicken, turkey and some fish. I gave up turkey completely as it also has high purines which are not good for kidneys. I will eat a little haddock once in a while. But giving up chicken has been very difficult.

Next time you are at a restaurant, try finding a low protein meal. EVERYTHING has some form of meat or fowl in it. Even salads are covered in either chicken or cold cuts. Not good. Mushrooms also are not good on a renal diet and I don’t like them much either. The next thing is look at the side dishes. Potatoes forever. Potatoes are a definite no-no. NO chips, no fries, no bakers with sour crème. Pasta has tomato sauce which is not allowed. Tomatoes are also everywhere.  Other choices like cottage cheese are not good due to the salt and potassium. Most other offerings are smothered with mayo, which is ok in small amounts.  Pasta is good on a renal diet but not good for weight and glucose. These are things I have to be concerned with too.

I do manage most times going out. But my husband and I have cut way down on going out to eat. It has really changed our habits. He has been supportive but is not as restrictive in what he eats.

Every once in a while I get very cranky. Then I know, it is time to have a free day. I know this is the only way I am going to be able to sustain this new eating lifestyle. It is not just a diet; it is a whole change in attitude and life. I don’t like being forced into things, but I have to let that go because I will never win on this. My not being careful will only harm me. And once my kidneys slip further in function, there is no going back.

Free days are not days I eat everything I can get my hands on. They are days when I know we are going out to eat. I track everything I put in mouth. Most days, I limit my calories to less than 1200 calories. That is fairly easy to do when I am home. I have eliminated most of the crap in the house. I keep the fridge full of fruit and salad makings. I have high quality things like homemade breads which I buy and freeze. I slice the bread and wrap each slice individually so I can only take out one at a time. Any snacks I have are very low calorie like rice rollers or popcorn.

But some days, it is not going to happen. I crave something more substantial for dinner than a salad.  We have gone out for ice crème four times this summer. I had birthday cake for my birthday. I have not had potatoes but I will have chicken once in a while. We enjoy pasta once in a while and are now going to try homemade gourmet pastas. Better ingredients and fewer additives. The first couple of times I slipped off the diet wagon, the guilt was terrible. But then it really is no one else’s problem so I have learned to cut myself some slack.

I discovered that even with my free days, I still have lost weight. After I have a free day, I come back the next day with more determination to follow my diet. And it easier to do because I am satisfied and not as bereft of whatever it was I wanted to eat. My labs have been fantastic and have steadied my kidney function. My doctors are very pleased.

And I hopefully can keep this lifestyle up for ever.