Friday, 25 November 2011

The responsibilities of being a cook

As the main cook and menu-preparer of the house I take total responsibility for the standard of our diet. If we eat rubbish then I’ve only myself to blame. Diet features high on the guidelines for caring for our kidneys and that’s something that I now have to take very seriously.

We spent the last two days in the Amyloidosis Unit of the Royal Free Hospital in London and we chatted with a lot of people whose kidney functions are far worse than Mr A’s and who are consequently on dialysis. Amyloidosis produces sticky platelets in the blood and so the kidneys are often the first organ to be affected. These tests that Mr A has twice-a-year are designed to keep him off dialysis for as long as possible but it’s not only Amyloidosis sufferers who have kidney problems... many of us abuse our kidneys on a daily basis? *sticks hand up in air*

As cook it’s up to me to take care of Mr A’s kidneys, to keep them going as long as possible and to stop abusing my own at the same time so here goes. I'm going to try and: 
  1. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables (including peas and beans) and grain-based food like bread, pasta, noodles and rice.
  2. Eat some lean meat like chicken and fish each week.
  3. Eat only small amounts of salty or fatty food.
  4. Drink plenty of water instead of other drinks.
  5. Maintain a healthy weight.
  6. Stay fit. Do at least 30 minutes of physical activity that increases my heart rate on five or more days a week.
  7. Not smoke.
  8. Limit alcohol to one small drink a day. (That's because I'm a female. It's two small drinks a day if you're a bloke.)
  9. Have my blood pressure checked regularly.
  10. Do things to help me relax and reduce my stress levels.

I don't really drink and I certainly don't smoke but my hardest ones are 3 (I can’t resist eating crisps!)(I’m lazy!!!) and 10 (I get wound up too easily!)

Which ones are hard for you?


  1. It's something we tend to forget about until doctors give us a wake-up call, isn't it?

    My hardest ones are 4 (I love my tea, coffee and wine), 8 (as I said, I love my wine) and 10 (I stress about everything). We should all try harder!

  2. The weight one is hardest for me, but I'm working on it :-)

  3. Hi Ros .. 3 is not easy ... 8 limiting that stuff - tricky: I don't do bad, but I don't do good either; 5 and 6 have slipped since my mother's been in a Nursing Centre ..

    Definitely could do better! Thanks for the reminder .. but so pleased your keeping Mr A off the dialysis.

    Thanks for your help earlier .. sorry you've been to London for these tests but glad all seems ok for now - with thoughts - Hilary

  4. I do so agree with you. (And I crave those salty chips, too). I was strict macrobiotic for 30 years and it teaches the food preparer has the health of the whole family in her hands. I hope Mr. A continues to to improve under your watchful cooking.

  5. I have been trying to eat right, lately. I even did great yesterday! I hate to exercise, just not interested. Haha!

  6. I'm on a diet right now and it's so hard.Agree with you about the crisps, I also like salted peanuts. I don't drink enough water and I hate exercise but I really want to love it.Hope Mr A keeps away form dialysis for as long as is possible.

  7. I have a hard time with #3 (cookies & cupcakes...) which makes #5 hard sometimes! :)

  8. I am terrible at drinking water and my lips are always chapped because of it. I didn't think about the facts that my kidneys aren't happy with me. Thanks for the info, Ros.

    I hope you're enjoying the season.

  9. Ugh, it's the junk food cravings for me. Is chocolate really all that bad for your kidneys? *sigh* And why do guys get to drink more than girls? That hardly seems fair. Though I don't drink much anyway ... sometimes a glass of wine with dinner. I used to love exercising before kids, but now I can't squeeze it in with all the other things I want to do (ie. writing novels). But I figure I chase my little ones around the house so much, I'm sure that counts as some kind of exercise, right? :)

  10. I am exactly the same as you, 3 (cheeeese!) 6 and 10. It is good to have a reminder of what we should be doing every now and then though.

  11. Agreed Shirley, and sometimes then it’s too late to make a difference with diet.

    Hi Sarah, it’s not an easy one but it’s worth sticking at.

    Hi Hilary, no one expects you to manage a perfect diet when you’re under the sort of stress that you’re under. I suspect we burn off most of the fatty foods when we’re very stressed anyway.

    Hi Manzanita, you still crave salty chips after being so careful for so many years? There’s no hope for me getting over the cravings then!

    I dislike exercise too Maeve and Cassam, I’ve tried getting a Wii and all sorts to exercise but I still find it boring.

    Hi Jemi, sometimes you’ve just got to have cake, right!?

    Hi Robyn, keep drinking that water. It really does make a difference.

    Hi Amy, I suspect that keeping your lovely family in order is exercise enough and didn’t I read somewhere that chocolate doesn’t count?!!!!

    Hi Rebecca, I’m reminding myself more than anything here. I find this sooo hard.

  12. I find being the family cook so exhausting. You just never get a break. And it's so hard to find new things that the family will like. Lots of picky eaters here. Numbers 3 & 6 are my tough ones. I like sweets far too much, and although I'm always running around busy, it's not the kind of exercise to get my heart rate up.

  13. What a great post Rosalind! You're right, it's so important to try to have a balanced, healthy diet. For me, exercise is a tough one. I used to spend half my time at the gym and also did martial arts, now I don't have the time, but I do dog walk on average once or twice a day. I, like you, am a crisp lady. I do love them, but try to restrict to 2 bags a week max. I have a bowl of fruit for breakfast every day though, and try to make sure the children have fruit and veg every day.

  14. Oh, goodness. My poor kidneys. I really feel for them after reading this post! I don't eat a lot of junk, but I really fall down on the 'drinking lots of water' bit.

  15. One by one, none of them are that hard. It's just getting into the habit of doing them all at the same time that might pose problems.


  16. P.S. I try never to give into that salt craving but I've found if you take a small amount (maybe a tsp or less) of apple cider vinegar, and a wee bit of honey in water, it will often take away the craving.

  17. I'm right with you, Rosalind, on the ones that are hardest! And I confess, I don't really know what's bad for your kidneys... But all the things you list are good sense for anyone. If only it was easier to follow those guidelines :)

  18. Ya, it's tough when you are the one setting the tone. I suppose it is true to lead by example.

  19. Hi Rosalind, I've left an award for you on my blog.

    I hope the new regime goes well for you.

  20. I hope Mr. A is doing better. He is so lucky to have you. A few years ago, my brother had a kidney transplant, and we both have PKD. If you ever want to discuss this further, I'm available. In the meantime, diet and exercise are very important. To feel less guilty when I binge on junk food, I do wash it down with lots of water!


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