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We Found a Great Source for Easy, Delicious Kidney-Friendly Recipes 

The Clean Plates Team
|
August 26, 2022
a woman holding up a cutout of a kidney

How you eat doesn’t just impact your digestion — it can also seriously impact your kidney health. One in seven American adults are affected by chronic kidney disease, but many don’t know it. For those living with a kidney condition, the symptoms can be painful and life-altering. 

Here’s the good news: a kidney-friendly diet focuses on ingredients that protect your kidneys from damage, which means sticking to a balanced diet featuring the right amount of protein, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low sodium — all ideas that are great for the other systems in your body, too. 

If you have been diagnosed with a rare kidney disease like autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), a genetic condition that causes cysts to grow on the kidneys, be sure to ask your doctor about developing a dietary plan tailored to your health needs, which may involve limiting your potassium and phosphorus levels. But even if you haven’t been diagnosed and just want to eat a kidney-friendly diet due to your family’s health history, we have some general guidelines from a kidney specialist — and can recommend a helpful, kidney-friendly cookbook, too.

“Adopting healthy eating habits can help promote kidney maintenance,” says German Hernandez, MD, a nephrology specialist based in El Paso, Texas. “A plant-forward diet based on whole grains, fruits and vegetables can help manage chronic kidney diseases.” 

Of course, learning what not to eat is just as important if you’re trying to protect your kidneys’ health. “Avoid foods with high sodium and high fructose corn syrup, eat smaller portions of protein, and lower phosphorus and potassium intake,” Hernandez says. 

Even if you haven’t been diagnosed, you should consider making an effort to eat in a way that helps promote kidney health if kidney disease runs in your family. In fact, ADPKD has a 50 percent chance of being passed down to children.

If you’re interested in trying a more kidney-healthy diet, you should definitely check out the Kitchen Creations for Kidney Health Cookbook on NephU.org. It’s totally free and contains kidney-friendly recipes ranging from easy-to-make appetizers to healthy main courses and desserts. Several of these recipes were developed by Chef Duane Sunwold, a kidney disease patient and professional chef who knows how to make food that’s seriously delicious, kidney-friendly, and remarkably easy to prepare. 

The cookbook is plant-forward, with lots of fruits and vegetables featured. One of our favorite ways to start a meal right now is with Chef Sunwold’s white bean “queso.” It’s phenomenally creamy and has a little kick to it — but is magically dairy-free. Instead, it derives its smooth, rich flavor from cashews and cannellini beans, a super kidney-smart combination that makes for a queso that somehow tastes even better than real queso? We know that’s a heretical statement to many, but we love the flavor, texture, and fact that it doesn’t congeal when it cools down, unlike regular queso. 

For a main dish, we adore Chef Sunwold’s bulgur-chickpea patties, which somehow don’t crumble (an issue we’ve found with many alternative-protein burger recipes). These are protein-packed, flavorful, and have a compelling, meaty texture. Chef Sunwold suggests topping these patties with his strawberry-kiwi salsa, and we think that’s an excellent idea, too, whether you choose to serve them in whole-wheat hamburger buns or over a salad. 

For dessert, we love the simplicity of Chef Duane’s five-ingredient dark chocolate chia seed pudding, which combines fiber-rich chia seeds and oat milk with chocolate and raspberries for a dessert that doesn’t taste healthy, but definitely is. 

So consider doing your kidneys a good deed today by downloading the Kitchen Creations for Kidney Health Cookbook. Honestly, we recommend doing this even if you don’t have any concerns about kidney disease — these recipes are easy, healthful, and delicious. 

And if you’d like to learn more about ADPKD, including discussion points to address with your family, go to ADPKDQuestions.com.

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