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Why Blue Mountain Bistro Went Kidney Friendly (for a week)

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Why Blue Mountain Bistro Went Kidney Friendly (for a week)

In case you didn't hear, March is National Kidney Month and this past Thursday, March 10th was World Kidney Day. Blue Mountain Hospital has a dialysis center as well as peritoneal dialysis programs, so we wanted to raise awareness about kidney disease and highlight National Kidney Month. One large part of kidney disease and a dialysis program is the diet. Patients who have kidney problems and, ultimately, have to go on dialysis must drastically change their diets. In a stand of solidarity, Blue Mountain Hospital and Blue Mountain Bistro decided to have a week of kidney friendly lunch specials that our dialysis patients could enjoy! We hope that you enjoyed all of our specials this past week, but it's about more than enjoyment. We wanted to take a moment to share what a kidney friendly diet looks like and why we chose these meals.

Monday - Strawberry, Asparagus, & Chicken Salad

Tuesday - Lemon Caper Salmon w/ Rice & Veggies

Wednesday - Cranberry Chicken & Pasta w/ Butternut Squash Sauce

Thursday - Shrimp Tacos w/ Spicy Coleslaw, Rice, & Beans

Friday - Chicken Stir Fry w/ Broccoli Slaw & Rice

When you are eating to prevent kidney disease, managing chronic kidney disease, or for dialysis there are certain rules to follow. You should always work with a dietician or work with your medical provider to personalize the diet to fit with you, but here are a few overarching guidelines:

1) Choose foods and prepare foods with less salt and sodium

Cutting back on salt and sodium can help manage your blood pressure and result in less body inflammation, so you want to eat fresh as often as possible (pre-packaged and prepared foods can have A LOT of sodium). During our Kidney Friendly Lunch week, we focused on eating fresh with strawberries, lemon, cranberries, broccoli, butternut squash, and more. Plus, the food services team really paid attention to the sodium content in each ingredient and meal overall.

2) Eat the right amount and the right kind of protein

When your body uses the protein that you eat, it produces waste. Kidneys are supposed to remove waste from the body, but if your kidneys are damaged or not functioning, then they can't remove that waste the way they are supposed to. By eating the right amount and the right kind of protein, you can take that pressure off of your kidneys and not give them more waste than they can remove. Lean meats like salmon, chicken (without the skin), and shrimp are better for you. You can also get your protein from plant products like rice and beans.

3) Checking foods for phosphorus content

For those who are focusing on their kidney, a lot of phosphorus can be dangerous. It builds up in your blood and pulls calcium from your bones. Your bones need calcium to keep them strong and healthy. Too much phosphorus can also cause bone and joint pain. Just like salt and sodium, many prepackaged foods are high in phosphorus, so you want to eat fresh! With our lunch specials, we focused on fresh fruits and vegetables, pasta, and rice.

4) Being conscious of potassium levels

Damaged kidneys can't process potassium correctly and allow it to build in your blood. Too much potassium can cause problems for your heart and your overall health. The food (and drinks) that you choose can help lower your potassium levels. Foods that are lower in potassium include apples, green beans, pasta, rice, cranberries, and more which is why we tried to feature them in our meals and calculate the overall potassium levels.

It's important to eat for your kidneys to manage disease, slow down kidney damage, and prevent certain minerals from building in your body. Kidney friendly diets can also prevent other health problems like high blood pressure and diabetes. This type of diet can give you energy, prevent infections, build muscle, and manage a healthy weight. You may look at these guidelines and think that you can casually implement them into your life, but those with chronic kidney disease and are on dialysis must think about this stuff every day and with every meal. We were happy to raise awareness and try to stand in solidarity with those suffering this past week.

Happy National Kidney Month and World Kidney Day from Blue Mountain Hospital and Blue Mountain Bistro!