For the Love of Kidneys

Since last Tuesday, I’ve learned more about my kidneys–and kidneys in general–than I ever dreamed I could or would. I had a kidney stone (and two more still in there), and now I’m an advocate of kidney health. It was so painful. Believe me, you do not want a kidney stone. You want to bless your little kidneys.

Oh, the marvelous kidney! The kidney that filters waste, balances our fluids, releases hormones to regulate blood pressure, controls the production of red blood cells, and performs other key tasks. I learn that I wasn’t living to support my kidneys. One shouldn’t drink more coffee than water, for example (ahem, ahem). One shouldn’t eat too may beets (who knew?). One should limit animal protein (my vegetarian students are cheering right now).

I learned that kidneys love at least 2 liters of water a day. The kidney also loves a little lemonade each day. (I actually feel marvelous, and my skin glistens. My dark circles under my eyes seem much lighter. My skin isn’t as dry. Let us drink more water!)

The kidney loves a reduced salt, low protein, high liquid diet. I describe to my doctor the amount of salt I put on my nearly nightly popcorn. He says, “Yes, limit all this.” My dejected face encourages him to say, “But everyone needs a little sodium now and then.” He also tells me a cup of coffee isn’t bad at all.

He hands me my kidney meal plan. Goodbye, beets. Goodbye, all those mugs of steaming coffee all day long. Hello, water! Hello, health! And, surprisingly, hello to radishes, which apparently, kidneys love.


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