Going Vegetarian with CKD, Protein

Happy Monday! Health Buddy Melissa is going on a much needed family vacation. We have all been tested for Covid, and are negative, and will be travelling to see family some we haven’t seen in years. We have masks, hand sanitizer, and proper disinfecting supplies. We are ready to go! You can still email me, using the contact form at the end of the post, if you are interested in using any of my coaching services. I will be back to taking new clients on July 13th. I will still communicate via email with anyone who has questions or comments. My laptop goes with me everywhere. I wanted to get in at least one more post before I officially leave.

Last week I talked about the bio-availability of Iron in plant based foods, and how that can affect someone with CKD. Today, I will discuss protein on a plant- based or Vegetarian diet and the challenges of getting enough Protein. I am testing taking Amino Acids with a very low protein diet. I am not suggesting others should do this, but it is worth talking to your physician about. There is a very strong study that taking Amino Acids plus a low protein diet, may help the issue of Protein metabolism and how it effects the kidneys. I will keep you posted on how it goes. As of now it has been about two weeks, and I feel very good, no issues and I have no inflammation or GI upset. I had said before that I was trying Lo Fodmap, and while there are a few of those foods that I truly need to avoid such as soy and cauliflower, most of the rest of that diet is not necessary. I do not tolerate beans, and legumes well, either.

Which leads me to the point of this post. The video below will explain that plant based protein is not as well absorbed as animal protein. Which means you need to eat a lot more of plant based proteins to get enough. If you have CKD, then this can be bothersome because most plants have quite a bit of phosphorus and potassium. Not to mention some are pretty heavy on the calories, and if you want to lose weight this adds another challenge. That does not mean you shouldn’t talk to your doctor about it. Studies are clear that eating a Vegetarian or plant based diet is very beneficial to the kidneys. That is why I am choosing to try the Amino Acid supplement with a low protein diet. This is not a Vegan diet. I have already scheduled my labs and dr appt for September. I also know to monitor my body for any changes or negative effects. Please consult your MD if you choose to give this a go. You do not want to get PEW or muscle wasting. This can be a very bad side effect of a low protein diet. It can also be dangerous. Your heart is a muscle and protein energy wasting can effect the heart. It happens quickly and you may think you are just losing weight, when in actuality you may be losing muscle mass and possibly adding fat in its place. You also don’t want to push your body into Metabolic Alkalosis the opposite of what most kidney patients have from acid buildup. Be smart and be safe.


Heme Iron vs Non-Heme Iron

This is the first part of a two part post about Protein, specifically meat vs plant protein. One thing that needs to be considered when deciding whether to switch from meat protein to plant protein, is Iron. If you have CKD like me, Iron is vital to keep the levels up. Even if you do not have CKD having too little Iron can lead to Anemia as well as other problems. Below you will find some videos explaining the difference between Heme Iron and Non-Heme Iron. I will make a couple of points about my observations and experiences of both types of Iron.

1, First let me say, again , that Nutrition is a very complicated topic. That is why there are experts like Dietitians. Seek advice from an expert if you already have underlying issues before trying to switch your diet.

2. Getting too much Iron in a day can be just as dangerous as not getting enough. It can increase the risk of Cancer, as well as Diabetes, especially heme Iron, which is meat source Iron. Know how much Iron is recommended for your age, and gender.

3. Iron absorption differs greatly between the two kinds of Iron. If you do not tolerate Vegetarian sources of foods in high amounts, due to too much fiber, or other issues, then non-heme Iron may not be well suited for you. Plus you have to consume a lot more of non-heme Iron sources, due to it not being absorbed as well, to get enough from these sources. I personally am very sensitive to too much Fiber, and I do not find it pleasant to consume non-heme Iron sources in too high of quantities.

4. Watch carefully to learn all the ways that Iron absorption can be enhanced or inhibited. I found it quite interesting that dairy products can actually inhibit Iron absorption. This is curious to me because so many children and adults drink Milk with their meals.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comment section. Or, you can use the contact form after the videos to message me.

BTW I know when my Iron levels are going astray because I get a swollen sore tongue.