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  • Writer's picturehawaiichocolate

Happy Valentines Day!

Today is the day of love. It’s been commercialized but lets not forget the true spirit of expressing your love for a partner, a parent, a child, a good friend and self -love too!

The world needs more love and kindness that’s for sure.

Thank you to everyone that ordered Valentines chocolates this year. There were a few glitches. Some supplies I ordered got delayed, I couldn’t find prickly pear puree here and one package seems to have been stolen by not getting scanned in at a Fed Ex drop off. Not the first time this has happened but it’s sad when it does. I hate to disappoint anyone. Doing a small holiday production makes me wish I had a commercial space. But that is not feasible right now.


I am deep in this health journey at the moment. Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is only 5 % of all kidney disease and has been misunderstood. It is genetic, passing to 50% of offspring. I drew the short straw. Some ground breaking therapy has happened in the last couple years to help slow the progression and keep you healthy enough for a transplant. Ultimately, I need a transplant. The current wait for a deceased donor is 3-5 years. Live donors have the best outcome but I currently do not have one.


The therapy is a plant focused Ketogenic diet. This diet, while a fad right now, was actually developed 100 years ago for the treatment of epilepsy and it has been successful. In PKD the diet has been shown to shrink the cysts on the kidney and increase some function. That diet along with a Medical Food called Keto Citra is showing a lot of progress. This diet is not inexpensive, but I’m trying to stay off dialysis, so very motivated.


I am working with a Dietician from the Kidney Nutrition Institute. They tailor the Keto diet according to your labs and personal needs. For example later stage kidney patients cannot tolerate a lot of protein, often have imbalances of things like Phosphorous, calcium or potassium, must limit sodium and be mindful of food with a lot of oxylates which can cause kidney stones. Oxylates! Who knew! They are in spinach, almonds, chard, black tea, CHOCOLATE….tons of foods. And anemia is pretty prevalent. Having a dietician read the labs and recommend the proper supplements has been so worth it.


So a lot of conventional Keto replacement foods have been made with almond flour which is a big NO for me. Thankfully I like to cook . It has been a learning curve. Everything I eat goes into an app called Cronometer that tracks your nutrition- calories, carbs, fats, protein, micro nutrients, exercise etc. Its amazing, after eating this way for a month now to understand how the regular Standard American Diet ( aptly named SAD) is so carb and sugar heavy its no wonder Americans have so many health problems. Blood sugar not only causes diabetes, but many other problems. And it doesn’t take much for that to add up. My limits are 50 gr carbs, 50 gr proteins and 124 gr healthy fats based on 1500-1600 calories daily.

A Ketogenic diet is also excellent for Diabetes as it starves the blood glucose. Most people use the diet for weight loss which has benefits like lowering blood pressure, But for anyone wanting to start a KETO diet, I highly recommend working with a dietician. It is a big lifestyle change and you will need to be motivated to change your habits in regards to what you can eat,

I am never starved even though portions are smaller, the healthy fats keep you full and eventually the carb cravings go away. Not everything labelled KETO in a the store truly is, nor is it healthy. Many products are loaded with sodium and phosphates, so you become a label reader . You just can’t substitute a bunch of KETO low carb products for your regular junk food.

Whole foods are the best, and it does take mindset to eat this way initially.


Sadly my current Nephrologist is not that versed in my particular disease , or nutritional therapy or the current therapies for it so I have a recommendation for one that specializes in PKD and will be driving over 100 miles for an appointment.


And lastly, a shout out to Bonnie Raitt who won the Grammy last weekend for album of the year. Her winning song is about bringing awareness to organ donation. There are so many people like myself, waiting for transplants and donors. It can take 3-5 years to find one, and many die waiting.

Please consider this gift of life to others.


Love to you all,

Melanie



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