About 5 years ago I was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease, a hereditary disease that effects the kidneys’ ability to function over time. Though I knew there was a 50% chance I would inherit the disease, it has been heartbreaking and somewhat terrifying watching my grandmother and mom deal with kidney failure for the last two years.
With both my mom and grandmother on dialysis dealing with multiple surgeries, infections, shots, tubes, and more doctor’s visits than I can count, I’ve come to the realization that I don’t want any of that in my future.
So, for my 30th birthday I have made a resolution to gradually transform my diet into a PKD friendly diet. Roughly, this means no animal protein, a huge increase in raw foods, an increase in water (3 liters or more a day), and a focus on alkaline food intake.
The list of foods I need to avoid is staggering: no chocolate, caffeine, tomato, eggplant, cheese, milk, potato, and eggs to name a few. While the list of foods I can enjoy freely will open up some new possibilities and force me to be a bit more creative in the kitchen. Thankfully lemons are at the top of the good-for-me list along with some other favorites like all things coconut, kale, arugula, (stovetop) popcorn, chickpeas, mushrooms, and nectarines.
Switching over to this new diet will be challenging at times (like when I go to festivals or concerts or family holidays) but I’m hoping that this diet change will help me build a healthier lifestyle overall. For now, I will continue to enjoy goat & sheep cheeses, a annual sushi feast, and potatoes while I search more recipes that fit my self-prescribed diet and a yoga studio to help round out this new healthier lifestyle.
If you’ve been diagnosed with PKD or have family members with this disease, I highly recommend you read Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet. Though Kris is battling cancer, her ideas and recommendations are perfect for those of us facing kidney failure. It is my hope that if diet and lifestyle changes are implemented early enough in life, we may be able to avoid kidney failure all together.