Watching My Food and Fluid Intake While On Dialysis
Last updated: October 2023
I found that watching my food and fluid intake to be really important during my dialysis journey. As someone who has been on dialysis twice, once at the age of 18 and then again at 23, I have had to control my food and fluid intake many times before. I've altered my diet based on how high my potassium is or how high my sodium levels are and of course, it was a challenge most of the time and mentally draining.
During treatments, I realized I tended to have a high level of potassium due to the food I ate and having more fluids. I had to change things and find ways to control the potassium intake. Some people who are on dialysis might not being able to urinate, making the fluids stay within your body until your dialysis session when your blood gets cleaned out, and fluids get taken off your body.
Cooking while on a fluid restriction
I worked with dietitians and found a different cooking method to prepare food to help with my fluid intake. For example, boiling your potatoes before taking out the potassium. Still, I want to take into consideration the amount of water I use when cooking, as it will go into my fluid restriction.
The fruit and vegetables that I have found to have high potassium are:
- Greens beans
- Winter squash
- Dried fruits
- Orange juice
- Coconut water
When you are on dialysis, it is common to feel tired and have no appetite. I tend to feel active during the evening and the day after dialysis, and even more so when I watch my food and fluid intake. The better my diet was, meant less waste building during my days off of treatment.
Working with your renal dietitian on your goal intake, and you can keep a diary of your fluid and food intake.
Keeping on track with your diet
I keep track of my diet by keeping all of the information regarding foods to avoid or to eat on the front of your fridge, and a journal within reach. If I have any medication that I need to take regularly, I have an alarm set for 15 minutes before I need to take it and at the time I need to take it. This provides me time to remember to take my medication and get ready for it, and then a reminder when it's actually time.
From my journey, here are 5 things I have learned:
- Make sure I have access to my blood test results to determine my food intake.
- A renal dietitian will help work with you to create a goal or plan based around your needs.
- I keep a list of foods to avoid and safe to eat on the fridge.
- I frequently journal about specific food, my reaction, and to keep track of my fluid intake.
- Setting an alarm is a way avoid missing my medication.
This or That
In addition to chronic kidney disease, do you also live with diabetes?
Do you have chronic kidney disease without any symptoms?