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Recipes For People With Kidney Disease


In Norman Cousins' medical memoir, he wrote of how he used laughter as part of the healing process. Laughter is a great way to cope with anxiety and tension, and it can help maintain a positive attitude by relieving stress and improving mood. Additionally, it can help the physical healing process by lowering blood pressure and lowering blood sugars in those with diabetes. Given that these two conditions are responsible for the majority of kidney disease in this country, laughter and humor should be part of the healing process.
Recipes For People With Kidney Disease


What is life without music? I know I could not imagine a life without it. Music has many healing qualities. It relaxes us, it can calm our fears, and it may help lower our blood pressure and improve our overall health, which makes complete sense given that all of us are musical. What do I mean by this? There is a musical rhythm to everything in our bodies. Our hearts quite literally, have their own musical rhythm.
While much has been described on the psychological effects of musical healing, it is also important to note that it has physical effects as well. A study was done in Canada concerning music therapy and those on dialysis. Music helped with relieving depression, relieving anxiety, and lowering stress levels. So go ahead. Turn up the radio! 


In the beginning, the goal was to get you thinking about the way to better kidney and overall health. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Take that first step on the pathway to your health journey today. Gradually, you will acquire a new insight and be an ambassador for a healthy lifestyle; but for now, just try using this simple start-up plan.

The plan is like going up a set of stairs; each day you take another step up towards your goal. It may be a small step, but the important thing is to not go backwards. We never go down, we only go up.
Always up!
Day One: Take a Five Minute Walk
All you need for this first step is a good pair of walking shoes and a commitment. The beauty of walking for exercise is that you can adapt the time and pace to fit your age and condition - all I am asking for is five minutes the first time out.

Keep a walking diary so that you can concretely see your progress. Try to increase your walks by a minute each time so that you are eventually walking for thirty minutes three to four times a week. In the event of cold or inclement weather, check out your neighborhood mall; most have an indoor walking program.
Day Two: Eat a Healthy Breakfast
It can be difficult to change your eating habits all at once. So, in this second step, I'm just asking you to change one meal at a time. Start with breakfast. Make it a priority each morning to put something healthy into your body. Whether it is a sprouted grain cereal, vegetable omelet, or something as simple as a glass of vegetable juice, make the commitment to that first meal of the day. A simple breakfast meal can take as little as five minutes. You will eventually find that a healthy lunch and dinner will fall into place, too.
Day Three: Take a Time Out
In our hectic worlds, we often make time for our spouses, children, parents, and friends, but none for ourselves. To complete step three, make daily relaxation for at least five minutes a priority. Learn relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing with your diaphragm, that you can do in five to ten minutes. These short intervals of meditative therapy can do a lot in keeping you centered and reducing the effects of every day stress. Make the commitment and take five minutes!  

Day Four: Decrease Your Coffee or Soft Drink Intake By One
Think about a typical workday. There's probably coffee in the morning, a mid-morning coffee break, a soft drink for lunch, coffee in the mid-afternoon to help keep you awake after that heavy lunch, and coffee or a soft drink with dinner. Starting today, decrease the amount of coffee or soda you drink by one cup. The time it takes to buy it from the vendor and subsequently drink it is about five minutes. Use that five minutes for something else instead, like time for meditation. Continue reducing by one cup each week. Rome wasn't built in a day, and caffeine is something from which you will have to gradually wean yourself.
Day Five: Decrease The Amount You Smoke 

Why do we smoke? For many of us, it is a great stress reliever. There is nothing like going out for that five minute smoke break. Think about how many smoke breaks you take daily. Maybe it is one when you wake up, one at work in the middle of the day, one late in the afternoon, and one at night before bed. That's a lot of five minutes.
Take one less smoke break a week. Give yourself those five minutes back. If you are continuous chain smoker, reduce the amount you smoke by 5 percent each week. After several weeks, you may have an additional half-hour or whole hour back you didn't know you'd been missing.
Day Six: Get to Sleep Five Minutes Earlier 

Now that you have been exercising more, you are likely more tired each night. For many of us, sleep is a priority we forget about. The solution is simple. Each week, go to sleep five minutes earlier. After six weeks of this, you will have gained a half-hour of sleep. If you can give yourself an additional half-hour to hour of sleep each night, you will be all the better for it. And all it takes is five minutes.

As you can see, this is a rather simple, yet ambitious plan. I assure you, though, it is very doable. It may be difficult at first, but that is why we are starting with small changes. Over time, the small steps will become a full flight of stairs. You will have walked to the top without even realizing it, and your kidneys will thank you.
The healing process is not just a physical one. Beyond healing your body, you also need to heal your spirit. It is important to utilize all potential modes of healing that are available. Mind, body, and spirit are all connected. To find out more, you can check out Recipes For People With Kidney Disease.

Natural Remedy For Kidney Disease

What is the essence of a human being? This question has been asked by many throughout history, including philosophers and theologians. As human beings, we are more than the sum of our parts - we are spiritual. We have feelings, fears, beliefs, and needs, and our spiritual and emotional aspects are integral to the healing process.

Natural Remedy For Kidney Disease

This blog has been a journey - each post a stepping-stone to broaden your knowledge of kidney disease and provide you with the tools you need to improve your physical well-being. This post, however, focuses on intangible qualities that are equally as important to the healing process as the physical component. In order to improve your health, you have to want to do it and have the belief that you can do it. It is that belief, that faith, that enables you to take that very important first step to getting better.

None of us are islands unto ourselves. We are connected with everything and everyone around us. Our bodies remain in balance because of the constant communication between all of our body systems and cells. Having an illness, especially one that requires hospitalization, is a time of extreme disconnection physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The illness not only causes imbalance and disharmony in the body, but the isolation from family and loved ones can also invoke feelings of despair. These negative feelings can hurt the healing process.
Norman Cousins, in his book Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient, said "The inevitable question arose in my mind: what about the positive emotions? If negative emotions produce negative chemical changes in the body, wouldn't the positive emotions produce positive chemical changes? Is it possible that love, hope, faith, laughter, confidence, and the will to live have therapeutic value? Do chemical changes occur only on the downside?"

When we feel connected, we change. We become more positive, more invigorated. People do better when family members and friends are present. I always request, if possible, that a family member be present when talking with a patient. Not only do they function as an extra set of eyes and ears concerning the medical aspects of care, but more importantly, they serve as a support system, a rock. People with CKD, especially in the advanced stages, are on an emotional and physical roller coaster due to the nature of the disease. Illness is a humbling experience for anybody, and no one should have to go through it alone.

Many of us experience a need to feel connected with something higher than ourselves. While the connection with family and friends is important, this higher, spiritual connection is also vital in the healing process.
One night while on call, I was asked to urgently see a man who was very ill in the emergency room. He had a debilitating pneumonia, his blood pressure was low, he was in a state of shock, and his kidney function was worsening. He was so critically ill that he was soon transferred to the intensive care unit.

I went out to the waiting area to meet with his family and it was a positive but overwhelming experience. They were holding hands and were engaged in a communal prayer. When they finished, I introduced myself and explained to them the nature of their family member's illness. I was flabbergasted when they asked me to join them in prayer. I held hands with the family as each murmured a small prayer of healing. When it was finished, I was hugged by several members of the family, and they asked me to pray each day for their loved one.

In those tense early days in the ICU when the patient's condition was grave - when the pneumonia that ravaged his body was so bad it was unclear if he would pull through - he was never left alone. There was always a family member present, praying with and for him. They all held his hand and whispered words of encouragement. When he was able to eat, they helped feed him. They were a constant source of encouragement, and each day when I visited they invited me to join them in prayer.

For a short time, the patient did need to be on dialysis. After several weeks, though, he recovered from the debilitating pneumonia and his kidney function slowly recovered. I am wholeheartedly convinced that without the support, encouragement, and prayer from his family, he would not have done as well.

Through that experience, I gained a new insight into the role of prayer. The role of this blog is not to advocate for any specific religious practice or creed; rather, I am simply saying that I believe prayer is a way to connect with the spiritual side of human beings and aid in the healing process. Prayer gives the person and her family a significant motivation to get better and even further, addresses those intangibles I talked about that make us whole.

Studies examining the role that prayer has in affecting the healing process have been mixed, and it is a very difficult topic to research. In one study, prayer had an effect on the healing of wounds in primates. The group that was prayed for had better results in healing its wounds than did the other group. Additionally, the work of physicians like Dr. Larry Dossey and Dr. Mitchell Krucoff suggest that prayer can be effective. Other studies, however, have had conflicting results.

Studying the effect of prayer is very difficult; there is so much about prayer that we don't understand and more study needs to be done. That being said, I sincerely believe that it is an integral aspect of total care. When patients or their families ask, I pray with them. And if I visit someone in the hospital who is in the process praying or meeting with their pastor or spiritual adviser, I will wait until they are finished. Prayer should not be interrupted. To find out more, you can check out Natural Remedy For Kidney Disease.

Homeopathic Remedies For Kidney Disease


Complementary therapies are being researched and used in combination with Western Medicine more and more each day. I don't like the term complementary because it implies that this treatment is separate and should be treated as such. Many physicians are using the term "integrated" instead, which I think is much better word. An integrated approach that uses all forms of available and relevant therapies is the best approach. If you decide to utilize any of the therapies described below, it should be done under the close supervision of both your kidney doctor and qualified health practitioner.
Homeopathic Remedies For Kidney Disease

Osteopathy and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) 

There is no better example of an integrated approach to medicine than osteopathy. It is a practice of medicine that focuses on treating the whole person, not just a particular illness. I am one of many osteopathic physicians. We are trained not only in "Western" medicine, but also in using the healing power of touch to treat illness-osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM). The founder of osteopathy, Andrew Taylor Still, recognized the important role of a "hands-on" approach in treating people. Therefore, all osteopathic physicians are trained in the basics of OMM in medical school; some even undergo further specialized training to become practitioners solely in OMM.
Through the use of different types of manipulative techniques, including myofascial (my-o-fash-el) techniques - a type of muscle massage - OMM is used in the treatment of many illnesses, including hypertension. There are other techniques that are utilized specifically for the treatments of edema as well. I believe that touch is an essential component of the healing process and OMM is a great example of this.
Chiropractic Medicine
This is a great form of hands-on medicine that focuses on the spine and spinal mechanics as a cause and contribution to health and disease. There is an overlap with chiropractic care and OMM, as many people benefit from their expertise with an improvement in overall health and well-being. With regards to high blood pressure and kidney disease, if the spine is not in line, it can alter the character of the nerves that affect blood pressure and the kidneys. This increased "sympathetic tone" of the nerves can increase the blood pressure and affect kidney blood flow. Both chiropractic medicine and OMM can restore the body to its natural balance through different, but complementary forms of therapy.

Acupuncture is an ancient practice that, like OMM, has a beneficial effect on the whole body. More specifically, it may have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body and may be beneficial in kidney disease. More studies are certainly needed, but I think some preliminary evidence suggests acupuncture may have an effect on lowering blood pressure as well.
In contrast to Western medicine, the approach of homeopathy is that less is more. In other words, very small quantities of medicine can have significant effects on healing. The risk of experiencing toxic effects to any medication in homeopathy is slim to none. More study is needed in the use of homeopathy for the treatment of kidney disease.


Chelation (kee-lay-shun) is a treatment for purifying the blood that effectively removes toxins and other pollutants, including heavy metals, from the body. It has also been used in treating clogged blood vessels, diabetes, and heart disease - research is ongoing regarding chelation and heart disease.
As discussed in prior posts, lead and other heavy metals that we are exposed to can worsen kidney disease. The effect of heavy metals on kidney disease is a lot more common than we think. In an important study, chelation improved kidney function in people with a long-term, low-level exposure to lead.

Chelation treatment involves administering a "chelating agent" called EDTA (chemical name: ethylenedinitrilo-tetraacetic acid) through a vein (intravenously). This agent can also be given in a pill form. There are natural forms of chelation, as well. Medications in
pill form used for chelation can include EDTA, vitamin C, garlic, and other natural agents. Watch the dose and type of agent you decide to use. Some of the oral forms may have high potassium and magnesium levels. Talk with your doctor if you are deciding on this form of therapy, as blood work needs to be monitored closely. There are many potential benefits of chelation therapy that need to be further studied.
Meditative Therapies 

We talked at length about the importance of meditation and stress reduction. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is, not only to reduce anxiety, but also to lower stress, improve blood pressure, and improve one's well-being.

For many of the conditions we discussed in the preceding posts, a combination approach to treatment is the best approach. In diabetic nephropathy, for example, in addition to using ACE inhibitors/ ARBS, the use of vitamins, antioxidants, and certain herbal supplements can be beneficial. More research is needed, however, to establish what the optimal dosage is. To find out more, you can check out Homeopathic Remedies For Kidney Disease.

Reversing Chronic Kidney Disease

The Effect of Detoxification on Kidney Function 

Under Supervision by a qualified practitioner, detoxification is an excellent way to bring your body into balance if you have normal kidney function. There are several reasons I emphasize this. With CKD, especially in the advanced stages, the excessive urination and risk of dehydration associated with detoxification can affect kidney function. Such forced urination may increase the workload of the kidney. Additionally, your kidneys are receiving the combined effects of all the herbs in the cleansing formula at one time, many of which contain potassium, like juniper and dandelion root. With diabetes and advanced CKD, the kidneys can have difficulty getting rid of this often harmful extra potassium load.

Reversing Chronic Kidney Disease

Another concern about detoxification and kidney function is the required time. The time commitment to various detoxification programs is different. Some are short, lasting only one to three days; others can be as long as thirty days. In CKD, doing a rapid detoxification may actually worsen kidney function. The kidneys are very sensitive to rapid fluid changes in the body. With the "kidney flushing" properties of many of these rapid formulas, the risks of dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and worsening kidney function are significant. I would avoid doing any type of rapid detoxification if CKD is present. If you have stage 1 or stage 2 kidney disease and you choose to do a rapid detoxification, I would do so under the close supervision of your nephrologist or complementary health care provider.
A slower detoxification process - one that is more kidney friendly - may be an acceptable alternative. If your doctor does not have you on any type of fluid restriction, I would recommend drinking a lot of purified, alkalinized water. In addition, the use of certain teas, such as green tea, can be helpful because it is a natural diuretic.
By doing a more gradual detox, you have a much lower risk of developing dehydration and worsening kidney function. This approach is less traumatic to the kidneys and it will improve how you feel over time. In addition, add a glass of freshly juiced vegetables daily. Equally as important is eating fruits and vegetables that are abundant in antioxidants. It doesn't make any sense to detoxify if you are not going to change your eating habits.
Consider Liver Cleanses
Many of the available liver cleanses contain ingredients that are either kidney protective or kidney beneficial, including the vitamins B1, B6, B12, E, folic acid, N-acetylcysteine, and milk thistle - the last two of which are currently being studied for their kidney protective benefits. I would look for a cleanse that contained all or most of these, although a better option would be to take the ingredients separately. Before attempting any type of cleansing program, however, first consult with your doctor.
Your intestines are filled with "good bacteria" whose job is to help in the digestion of food and maintain balance by preventing the growth of "bad bacteria." When we take antibiotics, we disrupt the normal balance in the intestines, because the medicine can wipe out both good and bad bacteria. Probiotics are good bacteria that we put back into our bodies to restore and maintain balance in the intestines. A common way to take this is via a dietary supplement, and there are many of them out there.

In addition to maintaining balance, probiotics may have a role in kidney disease. The intestines and the kidneys both have a role in processing the toxins that can build up in kidney disease. In advanced CKD, the use of probiotics may improve the processing and removal of toxins. One example is a probiotic supplement from Kibow Biotech. More research is needed in this area, but it represents a new area of treatment for CKD. Again, talk with your doctor and other health providers before trying any new medication or dietary supplement. To find out more, you can check out Reversing Chronic Kidney Disease.