Tuesday, May 26, 2009

No cheating!

The Boy is now on a strict low sodium and low potassium diet. This isn't a major stretch for us, or for him, but it definitely requires some adjustments. Complicating this issue is the fact that many foods do not have potassium quantities listed, so I just have to look it up.

Tonight's dinner was steak, macaroni, and green beans. I know that all meats have higher potassium levels, but I am not willing to take him off of meat, especially since he usually only eats it once a day. The macaroni was plain, which The Boy loves. It was the Ronzoni SmartTaste which has added fiber and calcium. The green beans were not a success with The Boy. I ate them all instead. The tricky part was the steak without ketchup. He asked for it several times and wasn't happy when I told him no, but I wasn't eating it either, so he got over it.

Eggs will also be tricky without ketchup. However, he has eaten them without ketchup before and will learn to do it again.

Although the diet orders come from nephrology, it was the oncologist who said that we shouldn't really cheat. We are in a favorable position with The Boy, in that he is young and already eats pretty well, so we can really get him accustomed to eating this way for awhile.

Musical Daddy said that we should probably make it a point to keep the food in the house within the constraints of what The Boy can eat. I don't have a problem with that. Of course, there are exceptions, because there are plenty of things that we have in the house that The Boy has no interest in eating in the first place.

What I'd like to know, and what I'll probably figure out during his hospital visit by talking to the right people, is, what should be his limit for sodium intake on a given day? A 1/4 cup serving of shredded cheese has 180mg or so of sodium. That sounds like a moderate amount, but if he is only supposed to have 300 or 400 mg a day, it's far too much. Obviously, prepackaged things like rice pilaf and macaroni and cheese are out of the question, although half a serving of shredded cheese over plain macaroni is probably okay.

And then, of course, I'd like to know the same for potassium.

The two biggest dietary issues are going to be getting rid of ketchup, which is high in potassium and moderate in sodium (although I could get the salt-free stuff); and dining out. Secondary issues are going to revolve around convincing people that we are serious about keeping The Boy on his regimen and that there is no cheating, and we have to be mean parents about it, and no fun. It is a lot easier for a child to stick to something like this when other people are supportive, and it becomes a hassle when other people try to make the parents out to be the bad guys.

As someone who was on a restricted diet for many years as a kid, I can tell you that I felt like a freak for it and did whatever I could not to stick to it. It was an allergen-reduced diet and I didn't think I had allergies. Now, I really don't have allergies. I am also noticing a lot more awareness about allergies and special diets and such than there ever was when I was growing up. Many parents resent it, when their kid doesn't have allergies, that they have to be sensitive to other kids that do.

My thoughts on that? Tough tushie. Aren't you lucky that your kid doesn't have problems.

When I am having people over, I am sensitive to what their needs are. It doesn't mean that every single item on the menu falls in line with what that person requires, but it does mean that there is enough there for that person to feel like s/he can eat and enjoy. I'm thinking about vegetarians and people with allergies, in particular. However, I can't expect everyone to know what my kid's dietary needs are all the time, if I don't tell them, so I anticipate that I'll be sending a lot of renal-diet dishes when The Boy goes somewhere. And sometimes he'll have to have his own snack when others are eating potato chips.

It's just one more thing that isn't "normal" about our kid. So what else is new.

I'll probably post again once I have done some more research and gotten some more info about what The Boy's diet (and consequently our diet) is going to look like. Thank goodness we already eat well, because if he were accustomed to a lot of processed, packaged food, we'd be up the creek.


JC said...

That sucks! I feel so fortunate that Summer's remaining kidney is healthy with no issues so far. Good luck with the research. And, it is okay to be the "bad" parent b/c in reality you are being the "best" parent! Hang in there!

Rebecca said...

So, is this a permanent diet change? Or is it something that can be modified over time? Just curious. I am sorry that you all are dealing with yet another hurdle. I am awed by your ability to overcome and do so without any real issues. Kudos to you both for being so on top of everything! :) David is a luck little man to have such amazing parents.

the mol said...

It looks to be pretty permanent. He may have some flexibility as he grows up, or he may not. When he is older, he might have a certain upper limit on sodium, potassium, etc. and be able to figure out for himself how to ration that out over the course of the day.