Doctor's Note

This is the second video of a two-part series about the latest discoveries on kidney function and food. See also Preventing Kidney Failure Through Diet. This is another reason why I find Plant Protein Preferable. Food is, after all, a package deal, as shown in Safest Source of B12. In addition, plant-based diets can help prevent and treat multiple diseases—see, for example, my videos How to Prevent Diabetes and How to Treat DiabetesPreventing COPD With Diet and Treating COPD With DietPreventing Arthritis and Diet & Rheumatoid ArthritisBest Fruits For Cancer Prevention and Cancer Reversal Through Diet?Heart Attacks and Cholesterol: Purely a Question of Diet, and my blog post Heart disease: there is a cure. Also see my video on obesity, Thousands of Vegans Studied. Why don’t more providers in the medical community embrace plant-based diets? See my video, The Tomato Effect

For more context, check out my associated blog post, Preventing and Treating Kidney Failure With Diet.

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  • Michael Greger M.D.

    This is the second video of a two-part series about the latest discoveries on kidney function and food. See also Preventing Kidney Failure Through Diet. This is another reason why Plant Protein is Preferable and food is, after all, a package deal. In addition, plant based diets can help prevent and treat diabetes, prevent and treat COPD, prevent and treat arthritis, prevent and treat cancer, prevent and treat heart disease, and prevent and treat obesity. Why don’t more providers in the medical community embrace plant-based diets? See my video The Tomato Effect and the hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects.

    • SJ M.D.

      This is really interesting – same amount of phosphor and protein, but two different sources – animal vs plants, and the patients do better on the plant based protein and phosphor. The winner is…….plants!

    • HemoDynamic, M.D.

      How many times have we seen this in our office. Pt comes in with BUN 25, Cr 1.1, 2 weeks on a strict plant based diet and viola! BUN 7, Cr 0.7.

      Works everytime!   It almost looks like magic, until, of course, we understand the physiology. 

      • Wickedchicken

        Wow. I am
        Just wondering are you using plant based diets in a medical practice or hospital setting? It is so hard to go against guidelines or do anything outside the box.

        • HemoDynamic, M.D.

          Wicked,
          I’m Private Practice and you’re correct traditional medicine doesn’t like it because you have to take a bit more time with the patients (which means less money) and they have never been taught nutrition and it’s benefits and don’t want to take the time to educate themselves, but the patients love it! 

          And isn’t that what all docs wanted to do when they went into medicine (Altruistic statement and I’m sure not important to some physicians) help people get better? And do no harm!

          Hospitals should use it too and patients would get much better faster, but Hospitals are afraid of teaching people to get better because, think about it, they only make money when you are sick! Not when you are well or dead.

          It’s a tough call at first, but once one starts learning about the overwhelming evidence in medicine supporting a plant based diet first, and then medicines second for treatment of chronic disease it becomes a no-brainer!

          I am a physician and have the benefit of seeing my patients get better daily in my practice using a plant based diet.  Few have this luxury but when they start seeing benefits they eventually start making better choices (usually).  I even have one practice partner that has seen so many of my patients get better on a plant based diet that he has now become Vegan!  He wasn’t always that way and at first made fun of me and my teachings.  Proof was in the plants!

          Break the chain, learn as much as you can about plant based lifestyles and start to teach it in your practice.  Then sit back and watch the transformations in your patients.

          Give them (your patients) the http://www.PCRM.org Vegetarian Starter Pack. 

          Have them visit http://www.NutritionFacts.org everyday and learn about the research–anybody can spend 2-3 minutes a day watching something about Nutrition from Dr. Greger.

          Have them watch Forks over Knives Documentary (The history of the book The China Study). 

          Give them John McDougalls, MD’s website http://www.DrMcdougall.com.  Educate, educate, educate.

          Plants work 100% of the time.  Some faster than others but it is truly amazing.

          • I have been WFPB since MArch 2015 and I have seen amazing healing in my family in general. I have a friend who has category 4 CKD and only 30% function in her one and only kidney. I talked to her about WFPB and she’s excited about it because she doesn’t want to have to do dialysis. She’s doing the diet prescribed by the NKF which won’t allow for certain vegetables and fruits because of their high potassium levels. She eats fish and meat a couple of days a week, but won’t eat beans because they have too much protein. :/ She also takes 3 different medications for high blood pressure. She found out one of her kidneys was already lost 2 years ago. She never had any symptoms of the disease. I would love to help her but I am not a doctor or a nutritionist. We don’t have any doctors with nutrition knowledge in our area. What should I do? Thanks.

          • HemoDynamic, MD – NF Volunteer

            I will answer More Friday when I have some time. But plant based diets have been shown to be protective from renal disease. All meats have been shown to be destructive to your kidneys so clearly stopping ALL animal products is the first and foremost best thing she can do to protect her kidneys. Plant based protein is protective. So eat ONLY plants. Look at the answer I left below. Even though an old comment Walter Kempners rice diet showed reversal of kidney disease eating only white rice, table sugar, fruit and fruit juice.

          • Thank you so much for your reply. I already figured that much out just by doing the WFPB lifestyle and reading the book by Dr Greger “How not to die.” What I was really wondering is how would she go about knowing if the diet is helping her. Since she’s taking meds and all and not having a supportive doctor… Would just monitoring her BP daily be helpful? Now, I wish I had gone to medical school… :D When my husband was having trouble with HBP and blood sugar, we knew just by monitoring his blood pressure and sugar daily that the plant diet was working. He’s lost 40 pounds and has no more health issues. Yay! How do we do that with kidney disease?

          • HemoDynamic, MD – NF Volunteer

            This is how Walter Kempner, MD at Duke university did it back in the 1940’s and 1950’s Walter Kempner’s Rice Diet Scroll down to look at the Diet Composition of the Rice Diet as compared to the typical American Diet back in the 40’s and 50’s.

            Also reducing salt to no salt added will also help reduce the stress and strain on her kidney(s). Here’s a good NF Video on that:High Blood Pressure May be a Choice

            Monitoring her blood pressure is a fantastic way to monitor progress; however, a caveat is she will have to cut her BP medications down. If she doesn’t reduce her medications she will start to get light headed and if the medications aren’t reduced or some even stopped she will end up blacking out (syncope) and falling and injuring other parts of her body.

            Blood and urine testing can be very helpful as well. One can monitor for kidney damage by measuring protein in her urine (Proteinuria). This is measured by her Micoralbuminuria (meaning small amounts of protein in urine) or if there is a lot of protein in her urine Macroalbuminuria. You can buy Urine testing strips online and maybe some stores like RiteAid or WalGreens may stock them as well to monitor this at home.

            The more you protect the kidneys by stopping all animal food intake the lower the Micro/Macro albuminuria will be in healthy kidney’s. If the kidneys have gotten to the point of failure, however, this may not change. I do have one patient with stage 4 Kidney disease and he is doing the Kempner rice diet (although not perfect) but we have seen an improvement in his kidney function.

            The gold standard for monitoring kidney function though is to have the BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen) and Creatinine blood test done and monitor his Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR). The more you reduce the animal food intake the lower the BUN and creatinine will be and the higher the GFR will be, but with kidney failure these numbers will already be elevated and GFR will be low (Stage 4 Kidney failure is a GFR in the range of 15-29. Normal GFR is > 90).

            Normal BUN depends on the lab but in general is 8-25. Healthy Vegan (Whole Food, Low Fat, Plant Based) kidneys will have ranges from 6-8.

            Eating a no salt added, whole food, low fat, plant based diet should be the standard of care for kidney disease (And ALL chronic disease for that matter). This is what has been proven beyond any doubt in the past so if one is truly serious about trying to forego kidney failure and dialysis then a no salt added, whole food, low fat, plant based diet is the ONLY diet I would recommend for treatment.

            Regarding the Doctors concern over the beans having too much protein and some fruits and vegetables having too much potassium or phosphorus they clearly do not understand, nor have probably ever heard of, the neutral and some beneficial effects of plant based foods on kidney function. This video is a must watch: Which Type of Protein is Better for our Kidneys?

            This Dr. Greger Blog is a very good synopsis of your interests as well: Preventing Kidney Failure with Diet.

            Please let me know that this was of help to you.
            Smiles!

          • Thank you so much for your reply. I will pass on this information to my friend, as well as a copy of Dr Greger’s book How Not To Die. I have noticed that unless it’s a death threat people are not willing to let go of their food addictions. I have always believed that food should be our medicine. So whenever I have a physical ailment I look at my diet. After 9 months on WFPB diet, after doing Wheat Free and Paleo diets for a couple years, I decided to get some blood tests to see how I was doing. I was pleasantly surprised. I am feeling great so I knew the numbers would show for it. :) The one number that was kind of puzzling was my eGFR. It is 83. My BUN was 8 and Creatinine was 0.8. I heard that a slight decrease in eGFR is normal with age. I am 44 years old. In my early 20s I was a vegetarian, but for the past 15 years, since moving to the US, I have eaten a boat load of animal protein. :/ No more though. I am done. I want to be a healthy WFPB eater for life!!! Should I be concerned about my eGFR? Should it improve on diet? Although not eating animal protein and processed foods, I do salt my food. My BP used to be 120/80 when I was pregnant and fat. Now it’s 110/70, sometimes 110/60 Wouldn’t taking the salt off completely lower my BP even more? Again, I appreciate your reply. :)

          • Carolyn

            Hi I have been a lacto vegetarian most of my life. I have type 2 diabetes. my A1C usually is less than 6.6. I just had a visit with my kidney MD and my GRF was 16. 6 months ago it was 28. My bp is usually about 120/78 I take Lisinpril 5 mg. and Januvia 50mg. I can’t understand what is going on. My creatine went from 1.8 to 2.8.. I am thinking about going on a complete vegan diet and maybe a raw foods diet. I am getting worried. I could stand to lose about 35 # so I am starting to work on that. Do you have any suggestions. What about alkaline water to drink, what that help.

          • HemoDynamic, MD – NF Volunteer

            Without giving medical advice it is clear that chronic disease medications only slow diseases they do not prevent or reverse the disease.

            The only therapy that has been shown to have a healing effect on the human body is lifestyle therapy!
            1. Eat a varied whole food, low fat, plant based diet is key to healing the kidneys. You are posting on the an eduVideo that gives you some of that information.

            Click here to see a brief history of the mastermind of the Rice Diet, Walter Kempner, MD.

            Also doing these things have been shown to have positive effects on your genotype or rather the expression of your genes reducing your risk for many diseases.

            2. Get 90 minutes of mild to moderate exercise or 40 minutes of vigorous exercise daily.
            3. Think positive thoughts. This has been shown to express healthy genes and suppress unhealthy genes.
            4. Get 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
            5. Get at least two hours of bright sunlight per day especially in the morning (you can use the 10,000 lux lights for exposure if you can’t get outside to get the sunlight). This can lower your cortisol (an important but inflammatory adrenal steroid hormone) level by 25% which reduces your blood sugar, stress on your kidneys and lowers inflammation. This is especially important in a diabetic.

            You really should make a Skype call with Michael Klaper, MD. He is an expert in nutritional therapy and water fasting to stop and reverse chronic disease. He works at True North Health Center in Santa Rosa, CA and charges $95 for the first 20 minutes and then a scheduled fee scale based on extended time. Completely worth the cost. I know of no other doctor that understands the scientifically proven power of the body to heal with plant based nutrition.

            2. Nathan Pritikin came along and was doing the same thing with reversing Heart Disease (our number one killer in the US) and all chronic diseases.

          • Ron Clark

            One thought is to lose the Lacto part of your diet and go totally vegan (no animal products)…vegetable protein is much easier for the kidneys to process.

          • Sherry

            I have PKD, so far my kidney function has been normal. Blood work and urine analysis have also been normal. I have multiple cysts inside and out each kidney. My nephrologist has told me recently that I have a few years before they begin to fail. I have been doing tons of research trying to find out what I can do about it through diet. I came across a website where they talk about an alkaline diet being effective in regaining function. I am on day 4 of this diet. I feel good about it. I was wondering what you thought about it. I know that on a vegan based diet I will need to take B-12. I was wondering if you had any other advice. My doctor told me to drink 3 liters of water a day, but never once mentioned diet. I have known about this disease for 10 years by dumb luck. The cyst on my right kidney is palpable in my upper abdomen below my ribs.

            http://www.pkdiet.com/alkalizers.php

          • HemoDynamic, MD – NF Volunteer

            I do not know of any study regarding diet and PKD on humans (that doesn’t mean there aren’t any though) but regardless the most anti-inflammatory/anti-whole body destructive diet is a whole food, low fat plant based diet (WFLFPBD)!

            Here is a recent published opinion about treatment of PKD: Therapies for polycystic kidney disease.

            Here is a quote from the Abstract: “Limiting the intake of calories, salt, and protein, together with increased intake of fruits, vegetables, and water are dietary treatments that should be started early in the course of the disease.”

            In regards to anything Kidney related a NO SALT added diet to the WFLFPBD is what the human research has been shown to be the most beneficial in prevention of kidney insufficiency and failure.

            Also please see my response to Tereza Crump above.

          • James

            Hi Sherry,

            I have been vegan for almost 10 years and was diagnosed with PKD about 5 years ago (through dumb luck as well). I have many cysts on each kidney as well. My doctor prescribed Lisinopril – though it is primarily a drug for high blood pressure, research has also shown it to slow down the progression of cysts from forming, potentially prolonging the usefulness of the kidneys. In my case it has done so for now, and my doctor thinks that coupled with my vegan diet has given me a better chance of delaying dialysis for many years.

            Of course everyone is different and circumstances could change, but just wanted to share my experience in case it helps.

      • KLV RN/CDE

        Plant-based diets ARE powerful for improving renal function! But what kind of recommendations do you give to pts who come in with labs indicating impaired renal function AND  hyperkalemia (or a hx of hyperkalemia)? 

        • HemoDynamic, M.D.

          KLV,
          That would have to be evaluated on a patient by patient basis because many things can cause hyperkalemia. 

          But here is a link to the most famous of Kidney Disease reversal Doctors and that is Walter Kempner, MD who coined the term Rice Diet–this is what put Duke University on the map for great Universities.
          http://www.ricediet.com/page/view/rice_diet_founder_dr._walter_kempner

          If it is a more severe case they could go to True North.  This is where Dr. T. Colin Campbell went when he was toxified with Dioxin and was able to rid himself of this carcinogen and restore his health.
          http://www.healthpromoting.com/

          But for most changing to a vegan diet suffices for Kidney disease stage 2 or 3.

    • LynnCS

      I recently started going to a local acupuncturist. She is a wonderful youngish woman, well versed in chinese medicine and is always trying to get me to tell her how much protein I get. I have told her that I am raw vegan and rely on veg sources and try to shoot for abt 35 g a day. She is noticeably upset when I tell her that. I am so surprised that she is snacking on meat and cheese at her desk when she prescribes herbs for so many body issues. I saw her as an alternative medical provider until she had this conversation with me a couple times. I do feel good after a treatment, but am not so sure that it is for me in the long run. I need to be among like minded people, especially care givers.

  • Randy

    Another exciting research article/concept to reinforce why presently and anthropologically our bodies are physiologically better able to function from plant vs animal sustenance. 

    Public opinion and medical knowledge/support of this topic and many similar research results would be much more accepted…………….. if it were not for the immensely large and powerful meat and dairy industry.

    • SJ M.D.

      The problem is that the knowledge has been around for many years, but still people die prematurely simply from eating the wrong food. 

      Mikkel Hindhede M.D. (danish doctor) conducted experiments with food in 1896-1904 (SIC!) showing that you only need 25-50% of the protein recommended. 100 years ago !

      He conducted experiments with people living 9-18 months on only potatoes and a little fat. They thrived, maintained healthy, worked without problems and no problems with physical activity (running).

      He wrote: Even if you eat a simple diet of bread, potatoes, kale etc you will get enough protein. 100 years ago !

      He wrote: The quality of protein from bread equals protein from meat. 100 years ago !

      • Thea

         SJ M.D.:  wow!  That is just so fascinating.  I really appreciate you taking the time to post this information.  I’ve seen some of your other posts and also liked those. 

        Just wanted to let you know that your posts are definitely appreciated. 

        Thanks!

        • SJ M.D.

          Thea – thanks. I think “the plant strong/vegan message” is important to save us from many diseases and ultimately to save the planet.

      • HemoDynamic, M.D.

        Dr. J,
        You may already know this but the grand master of reversing Kidney disease is Walter Kempner, M.D. and his rice diet.  It is what brought Duke university critical acclaim. Below are two links to read his story and to read his work.
        http://ricedietstore.com/wakeandridic.html
        http://www.ricediet.com/page/view/rice_diet_founder_dr._walter_kempner

        Plants, plants, plants, plants!  I wish I could patent plants!  Then I would truly be rollin’ in the Green ;-}

        • SJ M.D.

          Dr D,
          Thanks for the links.

          BTW: This time you didnt answer my reply! ;-)

          Video: Treating G. W. with green tea, reply 23

        • Jola

          I know you are speaking in jest,but not everything that is good for us needs to be  tainted with monetary covetousness. While I love the idea of plants and plant based eating and all the good that it does the human body and the planet, I think patenting plants is a bad idea (think Mansanto/GMOs and the like).  Just my “unjesty” thoughts.  

  • Veguyan

    Interesting. I don’t know how it fits in but to dissolve kidney stones I was given a protocol that includes not only apple juice and other herbs but liquid phosphorus as well.

  • Connie

    Thanks so much for sharing this! My mom began dialysis in April. My husband and I are vegan, so it has been a challenge cooking for her. I’ve been pushing the meat because that’s what the dialysis nutritionist told me had to be done. I will be giving this info to her!

  • Claudia

    I have a friend in kidney failure. She says that she can’t do my diet (I’m a McDougaller) because she has exceptionally high potassium levels.  Is she right?

    • M.Harris, RD, LD

       Many fruits, veggies, legumes and dairy products are high in potassium, which makes a potassium restricted diet difficult for anyone, herbivores and omnivores alike!  I would ask your friend to check with her nephrologist (kidney doctor) on how much potassium he or she can have per day (in milligrams), and if it were me, I would get a second opinion.  Also, if your friend is on kidney dialysis, often times adjustments can be made in the dialysis regimen to allow for a bit higher daily allowance of potassium.   If your friend still has some remaining kidney function, he or she has to weigh the taxing effects of animal proteins on the remaining kidney function versus far more benign plant proteins.  Though there is no question that severely potassium-restricted diets are challenging for anyone, a vegan lifestyle can still be followed, and the health benefits of this lifestyle are no less important for those with kidney disease.  Lastly, have your friend work with a registered dietitian to get help with planning the diet.

    • Angela Elaine Norman

      Your friend might find this book helpful: http://www.amazon.com/Vegetarian-Diet-Kidney-Disease-Plant-based/dp/1591202663/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1424103942&sr=1-1&keywords=vegetarian+kidney+diet
      The National Kidney Foundation has a list (https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/potassium) of high and low potassium foods to help your friend determine which foods are suitable for her condition. It may be possible for her to follow a modified version of the diet just using the lower potassium fruits, vegetables and grains. There is also a method for lowering the potassium content of foods by soaking them in water and draining them and boiling them again. The instructions are provided here: http://blogs.davita.com/kidney-diet-tips/?p=1210 She might also be interested in what Dr. McDougall has to say on kidney failure: https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2007nl/jul/kidney.htm

  • Mp Bailey

    After teaching a class on nutriton at my church my Pastor went vegan for 6 months in an attempt to reverse his polycystic kidney disease.  After the six months he had lost weight and his cholesterol went down by 50 points but his blood test showed that his kidney’s had actually gotten worse.  Is there any research on polycystic kidney disease and diet?

    • Toxins

      Dr. Mcdougall disscusses this form of kidney disease here.
      http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2007nl/jul/kidney.htm

      If you do not know who Dr. McDougall is, he is a very well known plant based doctor who like Dr. Greger is leading the way in plant based nutrition.

    • Mp Bailey

      Thank you so much for your help.  I will print it out and give it to him.   Of course I know of Dr. McDougall.  He is my hero.   I don’t know why I didn’t look there.  I guess I was just seeing if there was any new research on the subject.  Thank you again for your help! 

  • Rckamen2

    Another wonderful offering! How much suffering and how many amputations have I seen in my many years of hospital nursing…and now we have real eye opening help!
    Thanks again, more power to you and all the heroes that are practicing this medicine! The daily videos are my daily inspiration and I share them with everyone I can!

  • Chris

    Hi Dr. Greger. My husband is a nephrologist. We eat a mostly plant strong diet. For years, he has encouraged his patients to lose weight, thinking that lower BMI is a very big determiner in health and progression of diseases. The mainstream medical community recommends white bread, eggs and beef as good choices for people with kidney disease. They are supposed to avoid whole grains, beans and most veggies……

    I am interested in putting together a resource guide for his patients and am wondering if there is more info about being plant strong while on dialysis. The general info and recommended recipes on the internet are appalling.

    Thoughts? Suggestions?

    Thanks! :)

  • shannon

    Hi, I have a question for all of you out there – where do you find CKD vegan/vegetarian recipes? My husband was recently diagnosed with CKD, and I am struggling to find CKD recipes that are good for our whole family. The ‘traditional’ CKD diet looks like a bunch of crap to me, and we don’t eat meat. There is a lot of talk about the value of vegetarian diets to someone with CKD, and yet there really aren’t many recipes. Please help.

  • ShoshanaG

    I have recently been Dx with CKD stage 3. My doctor told me this is normal. (!) And so I have been left on my own to figure out what kind of diet is good for kidneys. I pulled a grocery list suggestion off a kidney disease website and i am apalled at what is “OK” to eat. They actually have Corn Puffs, Sugar Smacks, and other unhealthy options; sodas, white bread. So, it’s difficult for me as a vegetarian to weed through nutritional information that is geared towards a meat eating population. I use soy meat and soy milk and don’t know if I’ll be able to give those 2 things up. Thank you for a common sense website.

    • tuhumom

      Very interesting discussion. As a former kidney
      disease sufferer, I know how frustrating it can be to find
      answers. Just wanted to share a link that helped me out a lot when I
      was struggling to get better:

      http://journalofnaturalhealth.com/kidney/kidneyhealth.html

      Best of luck to everyone!

  • debbie

    thanks for the video, do you have a video showing excalty what you should eat, how much? little and often? Should you avoid all protein still? I am confuse!!:(

    • Thea

      debbie: I understand how easy it is to get confused. Let me try to help.

      re: “do you have a video showing excalty what you should eat, how much? little and often? ”
      Here are Dr. Greger’s nutrition recommendations:
      http://nutritionfacts.org/2011/09/12/dr-gregers-2011-optimum-nutrition-recommendations/
      Note how Dr. Greger just isn’t that concerned with pinning down an exact amount of this or that. But if you would like some more guidance, I think the PCRM Power Plate is *very* helpful. Just try, on average throughout the day, to eat foods that come in volume to be about these percentages:
      http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/pplate/power-plate
      And then throw in an ounce of nuts and seeds a day for good measure. Including a couple tablespoons of ground flaxseed a days, as recommended by Dr. Greger, is a great idea too.

      re: “Should you avoid all protein still?”
      No. You do not want to avoid all protein. That’s not even possible without an extreme diet. The idea is to avoid animal protein (no meat, dairy or eggs). Plants have all the protein that you need. Here’s some resources that will really help educate you on the topic protein:
      http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/protein.html

      And Dr. McDougall’s article from December 2003.
      http://www.drmcdougall.com/health/education/newsletter/archives/
      You might also check out the January 2004 newsletter article, Protein Overload.

      I hope that helps! I have some other ideas for you on how to eat healthy if you want some more resources. Just let me know.

      • debbie

        Hi Thea, thank you so much for taking the time to typ such a
        lovely response, it really means alot :D

        Sadly I do still have questions… I have lead a vegan lifestyle for over 20
        years and in the past 5 I have been more on the juicing/raw side of vegan, as,
        I believe I had kidney trouble over 5 years ago and my Doctor didn’t diagnose
        it properly. Long, long story, so I will

        keep it brief. To heal myself I went over to the fruit/80/10/10/30bad
        lifestyle, this made me incredible ill and 3 to 4 stone over weight. Since the
        beginning of this year I have slowly cut down on the fruit, replaced it with a
        green juice and start to lose the weight and feel better. I have massive reactions
        when I eat rice, grains, beans, pasta, and bread. I can look heavily pregnant
        so to help I am not eating these foods. I am now down to eating a ‘Cliff’ bar
        or naked? bars for breakfast, fresh juices throughout the day and greens and
        veg at night, with very low oil/fat. I
        do exercise 4/5 a week always have done. I am trying to keep this short but it
        is an ongoing thing and my doctor wont see me any earlier than Jan 2015 after I
        had an endoscopy back in march 2014 and I have to wait till 2015 just to speak
        with him about it. I am also waiting on a scan (cat?). I feel upset a lot of
        the time for the past 3 years I have stayed away from junk vegan foods and on
        occasions ate some tofu or fake meat,, however this leaves me feeling sick to
        so now I am not eating them, oh and I am not able to eat potatoes to. I do still
        try and eat them, but become very bloated after and full asleep. I am finding I
        am a sleep for about 9/10, if I don’t get my sleep I am not able to cope. My
        family do not understand, I am not able to see my Dr till 2015, I am living of
        juices, naked bars and some veggies in the evening. I do drink water as soon as
        I wake and quit tea and coffee 5 years ago, so no caffeine, plus I stopped
        eating vegan chocolate 3 years ago. How can I help myself further Thea? I am
        alive, but not living and feel like time is passing (Im 41) and I will not have
        lived midlife as fully as I wish.

        • Thea

          debbie: Well dang, that really does suck. My first advice for a situation like that would be to work with a doctor, but you are obviously trying to do that. And not getting much help so far. So, other than finding another doctor, which I know can be very hard, it’s not much of a suggestion. (*Can* you look around for a nutrition knowledgeable MD?)

          That aside, It seems to me that your biggest problem is being “reactive” (I don’t know what that means) to beans and intact grains (Non-intact/processed grains like bread and white rice aren’t all that healthful anyway – so no biggie if they bother you. But unprocessed whole rice, quinoa, hulled barley, oats etc – those are important). So, basically you are having problems with 2 out of the 4 main food groups. And it can very hard to get all the nutrition and calories and satisfaction you need from focusing on just non-starchy vegetables and fruit. I fully understand and sympathize when you say that this problem is affecting your quality of life. I agree that it would be something worth fixing if at all possible.

          Please note that I’m not a doctor. So, whatever ideas I have may be completely the wrong thing for you. But it doesn’t hurt to discuss ideas that you could try, right? Not if you have tried everything else and your doctors do not help. So, here are some lay person’s ideas.

          Suppose your gut has become sensitized (negatively) to certain foods like pastas and breads and rice, etc. Suppose after all that raw eating, you have lost important gut bacteria that you need to process real food and the problem just cascaded? And/or suppose that some of that sensitivity started out because what you are really “alergic”? to is pesticides or some mold or other additive in the processing. So, try this?: Get some *organic* hulled/hulless (not pearl) barley and wash/rinse it very well before cooking it. Then *with* a regular meal where you are eating some solid food, also eat a *very* small amount of the barley. I mean like literally a half teaspoon or even a quarter teaspoon. And amount that you know your own mind will consider trivial so that you don’t have to worry so much about mental effects along with the physical. My point is: for a very clean grain, see if there is a tiny amount that you can tolerate. And then slowly work to building up your tolerance.

          If your gut bacteria is the problem, you might do some research on what you can to do build up good gut bacteria. This site has some good videos and articles on the topic. But also I was recently pointed to an article where the scientist felt that leeks (I *think* it was leeks) was super-healthful in promoting good gut bacteria. Since leeks are a veggie and you are OK with veggies, you might focus on special veggies like those (see if you can find that article) to build up your gut along with the desensitizing process I listed above.

          Another thought is that quinoa is technically a seed, though it cooks/works so well as a grain. Even if your gut is not so good with real grains, your body may be OK with seeds. So, you might try a small amount of quinoa if you haven’t tried that yet. It would be very satisfying to include quinoa in your diet. And it is nutritious. And yummy! So, see if you can build a tolerance to the quinoa.

          Also, consider trying millet.

          Another thought: I looked at the ingredient list of Clif bars. It includes rolled oats. So, you are probably OK with oats (yeah!) and that is a grain. You can start to play with other types of oats, including steel cut, which is one of my favorites! Oats could be used in a lot of various foods and meals, not just breakfast.

          Another interesting thing I noticed about Clif bars is that they contain rice flour and isolated soy protein. So, you may not be as reactive to rice and soy as you think. It may be a matter of finding proportions and types as I was hinting at above. Maybe a hunk of tofu right off the bat won’t work for you, but what about eating a tablespoon of (thawed) frozen edamame? That’s yummy and a bean that you can work into your diet for great results emotionally (satisfying) as well as nutritionally.

          Also, while nuts and seeds can be a problem for some people trying to loose weight, those foods in limited amounts seem to *help* other people loose weight. So you might want to play around with deliberately having those foods in your diet – including the 2 T ground flaxseed (maybe thrown into your green smoothies). And if that works for you, nuts are very nutritious and have a huge number of applications – to make your life more fun.

          Those are my ideas. I sure do hope something helps. Please report back and let us know how it goes for you.

        • missy

          I have stage 3 ckd. This sounds Like what I have been going through after eating a lot of fruit. Strach (.ostly rice)would always make better. Not this time though. I now get swollen gland in neck if I dont eat my greens and if I dont eat e ough fat. I now try to eat small Amounts of protein throughout day with my starch (.ostly potato)and greens. Plus snacked on nuts a d little fruit. I actually went though a period of felling like I had no life left in me serverly depressed no energy. I am trying add small amounts of rice a d peas back now az a side dish and little corn. I do eat a little animal protein. Try to keep it mi imal.

          • missy

            Also doctors have been no help also.

          • Charmaine Taylor

            ALL US doctors must follow the FDA/USDA Healthy Plate nonsense of 65% carbs when that is the worst for diabetic kidney patient, and others. Also they still push a low fat diet, with FEAR of butter/saturated fats, when it was transfats and processed carbs causing Cardio issues..so the poor dietary advice from RDs continues..all they can teach you is lists of low phis/potassium foods..which is already on every site.

            I follow Dr. Walser’s* very low vegetarian protein diet, adapted to ow carb, and have been doing well in raising function from Stage 4 back to Stage 3b…all with diet.(see book Coping with Kidney Disease)

          • missy

            Forgot to add kefir seems to help too. They make coconut ones.

        • Mary-Ann Shearer

          You need to get to a fasting clinic and allow your body to repair itself – http://www.truenorthhealth.com is where Dr Alan Goldhammer works with people – supervising the fast very professionally.

  • DJWONG13

    Hi all, I would like some help.

    My grandmother currently has CKD, as a result of her diabetes and obesity. I want to find out how much protein I should put into her diet.

    From the information I’ve gathered, obviously plant-based proteins are the best. But in an article published in the American Dietetic Association by some Harvard professors titled: “Are high-protein, vegetable-based diets safe for kidney function? A review of the literature.” (which I think is cited in this video) they highlight the possibility that a high protein diet, whether plant-based or animal based, leads to kidney damage.

    Because my grandmothers health is so poor I don’t want to aggravate the situation, that being said I want to make sure she gets sufficient protein in her diet. So how much protein per pound should I implement?

    Many thanks,
    Darren W.

  • Lisa Calestino

    Do you have any advice for a struggling post kidney transplant? I do eat mostly plant based now No meat or dairy but occassionally do eat egg. Are there some plant food better than other to kick start an organ?

  • Khangsar Pema

    Hello, My name is Dr.khangsar pema , from UK TRANSPLANT CENTER I am a Nephrologist. I am contacting you to let you know that a 52 years old man from Lagos state, Nigeria is in desperate need of a kidney donor. The donation of a huge sum of money has been made for him to get a kidney transplant. A donor is needed and his family is ready to give any donor 400,000 pounds to a serious donor to appreciate such a donor and not for selling a kidney due to financial problem. Please save the life of this man by giving one or your kidneys for him to be well again. For more information, contact the email below via: [email protected]. Thanks and may God bless you. DR.khangsar pema NOTE : Good readers should know that without the NKF this surgery can not be carried out. And you should know the NKF exist. people use this means to trick others. be wise!!

  • Dr.Alex

    It should be EXPLAINED HERE that PLANTS must be ORGANIC non GMO. We have 20 years worth of data and the sad reality is that most vegetables/ plants sold in the US supermarkets since 1995 are toxic and cause cancer, hormonal disruption, liver and kidney failure: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/07/15/new-study-links-gmos-to-cancer-liverkidney-damage-severe-hormonal-disruption/

  • Dr.Alex

    It is important to mention that only Organic non GMO plant food sources should be used for healing diets. Most vegetables and plants sold in US supermarkets are toxic. There are numerous studies demonstrating that GMO produce cauces cancer, hormonal disruption, kidney and liver failure.

    • Thea

      Dr. Alex: Dr. Greger has touched on both the topic of organic and GMO. His conclusions do not support your statements. You can delve into Dr. Greger’s examination and sources if you are interested. Here are videos on the topic of ‘organic’:
      http://nutritionfacts.org/?s=organic
      There is a recent series on the topic of organic plants. Sadly, there isn’t a way to find the beginning using the search engine. But hopefully you could poke around and find it.

    • Thea

      I found my favorite quote from an article some time ago about choosing organic. It really helps to put the situation into perspective:
      .
      “A new study calculated that if half the U.S. population ate just one more serving of conventional fruits and vegetables, 20,000 cases of cancer could be prevented. At the same time the added pesticide consumption could cause up to 10 extra cancer cases. So by eating conventional produce we may get a tiny bump in cancer risk, but that’s more than compensated by the dramatic drop in risk that accompanies whole food plant consumption. Even if all we had to eat was the most contaminated produce the benefits would far outweigh any risks. Having said that, why risk any bump at all? That’s one of the reasons I encourage everyone to choose organic whenever one can, but we should never let concern about pesticides lower our fruit and vegetable consumption.” from the NutritionFact article: http://nutritionfacts.org/2013/06/25/apple-peels-turn-on-anticancer-genes/ The article page has a link to the study if you would like to review it.
      .
      That data is so very far from conventional produce being “toxic” without any qualification or perspective.

  • Cindee

    My 92 year old mother has kidney failure, they are only at 11% now. She has been trying to follow her doctors orders about what she should be eating, but she still eats meat. For her age, she is otherwise in quite good health. I myself am trying to go vegetarian because of my ill health (fibromyalgia, diabetes, high blood pressure, adrenal fatigue), it’s hard to explain to people how much a plant-based diet can be beneficial. My mom doesn’t have access to internet, so thus I can’t have her watch your videos. Any suggestions?

    • Thea

      Cindee: Does your mother have a DVD player? You can buy various DVDs of Dr. Greger’s talks and volumes containing the ‘videos of the day’. Also, depending on how much a reader your mother is, you could get her Dr. Greger’s How Not To Die book which was just published. Lots of people are finding it helpful.

      My last suggestion is to use the ‘Transcript’ button to the right of the video. You can then print out the text of certain videos to give to your mother. Without the graphs, I don’t think it is always the same impact, but it might be better than nothing…?

      Good luck to *both* of you! I hope you are successful too. The key is to focus on whole plant foods and leave out the meat, dairy and eggs. If you would like some suggestions on how to get that new diet going for yourself, I have some…

  • Natasha

    My daughter is 18 months and been diagnosed with chronic tubuloriterstial nephritis stage 2 with high blood pressure doctors say it will eventually progress but I have a feeling ur diet can help her but I can’t seem to know what exactly to feed her is it possible to give me a guide line please

  • Rafaela Michailidou

    My grandpa has renal failure, already lost a kidney and is having transfusions 3 times a week. His doctor told him to avoid fruits because of their high potassium levels. How can he be benefited from a plant-based diet? Thank you in advance.

  • Little Fish

    Improve Your Quality Of Life Even If You Are On Dialysis – This Guaranteed Method Assists Kidney Function – Even If You Are In “End Stage Renal Failure” http://tinyurl.com/fixyourkidneys

  • [email protected]

    I am hoping you can help me with the issue of meat protein vs plant protein. I am one of the caretakers of my elderly father who has just been put on dialysis. I eat a plant based diet, therefore cook a plant based diet. The nurses at dialysis keep telling my father that he must eat more meat because his protein is too low 3.3 today. Asked what he had for dinner, I had made a pea soup for dinner. They told him he has to have meat with it. I can’t seem to make him or the nurses understand that there is plenty of protein in plants. I am wrong when it comes to a person on dialysis. Do they truly need meat protein?

    • Thea

      kshaw520: I don’t know enough about dialysis to be able to say, but I have some resources and ideas that might be helpful. First, I would do some research and/or challenge the nurses to say exactly how much protein your father needs. You can then make sure that he gets that amount.
      .
      For the average human, you are 100% correct that plants offer plenty of protein. The following article covers protein 101 in a very easy to understand, but fully backed up way. It might be worth sharing with those nurses: http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/protein.html
      .
      The question is whether dialysis somehow means that someone has extra protein needs or maybe means that it is hard enough for a person to get enough calories (and thus would not get enough protein). If your father is not consuming enough calories, then you would want to concentrate on more calorie-dense foods, but you can still keep it plant-based. I can provide some resources for that if you need it. If the issue is that extra protein is needed beyond what people normally consume, then you might want to focus on plant foods which are extra-high in protein. That article gives you some ideas along those lines. But you might also want to do some non-whole plant foods like seitan, which is basically 100% plant protein.
      .
      Why did I specify plants in the previous paragraph? Because animal proteins are known to cause a variety of harm and the last thing your father needs is more health problems on top of what he already has. There is an exception, however. If your father has been eating animal foods all his life and all of a sudden you are feeding him a vegan diet, then he may have some problems adjusting. Dr. Klaper has a good talk on a theory on why some people may need to go vegan slowly rather than cold turkey because their bodies are literally addicted to meat and need time to adjust. I can find that talk for you if you think it would help you with your father.
      .
      Finally, I did a quick NutritionFacts search on the term ‘dialysis’. You may want to check out these videos: http://nutritionfacts.org/?fwp_search=dialysis&fwp_content_type=video . There is even a video with the title of “Which type of protein is better for our kidneys?” The last thing your father needs is to cause his kidneys, stress, right? So, best to stay away from that animal protein…
      .
      I hope this helps.

      • thecompassionateRD

        I am a registered dietitian and board certified specialist in renal nutrition. While a plant based diet is proven to protect the kidneys and prevent or prolong the need for dialysis, once a person needs dialysis things are very different. The kidney is no longer able to filter excess sodium, potassium, phosphorus and fluids. The person on dialysis needs to moderate portions of foods which contain high levels of those minerals, which happen to be many fruits and vegetables. Each dialysis unit has a registered dietitian on staff who can help with a list of those foods. In regards to the question about additional protein, it is true that people on dialysis need more protein because protein is lost during each dialysis treatment.
        Now to the question of vegan diets for someone on dialysis: it can be done, but takes a lot more careful planning to assure that the person does not consume excessive amounts of potassium or phosphorus. High levels of either one of these minerals can have perilous outcomes. I encourage my patients to eat the as many servings of fruits and vegetables allowed, but to choose from the low potassium lists.The amount allowed is determined by their blood work, and they should be counseled accordingly by the registered dietitian at the dialysis clinic where they go for treatment.
        Also, vitamins and supplements need to be evaluated by an expert in the field rather than by kind hearted friends, family, or the person working at the neighborhood health food store.
        If a dietitian at the dialysis unit tell a person it is impossible to be vegan, then I would suggest looking at the website eatright.org where they can find a dietitian in their area who is experienced in both renal nutrition and vegetarian nutrition. Perhaps the plantrician project can also help them locate someone with those specialties.

        • Thea

          thecompassionateRD: You are the perfect person to answer this question! Thank you for jumping in. I appreciate your information, and I’m sure it will help people who are in this situation.
          .
          Keep fighting the good fight! :-)

  • thecompassionateRD

    I am a registered dietitian in Long Beach, California. I was
    vegetarian for over 40 years, and about 4 years ago, when realizing the cruelty
    of the dairy and egg industry, became vegan.
    The patient population I work with have end stage renal
    disease and are on dialysis, either hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis.
    One of our biggest problems, besides high phosphorus levels, are low albumin
    levels (goal being 4.0 or higher). For thirty years I have been
    encouraging my patients to eat more animal protein in effort to raise albumin
    levels, as this has always been the recommended practice.
    As I am sure you are well aware, albumin is not a great
    indicator of nutritional status, but for renal failure patients it seems to be
    the best, if not least expensive, parameter we have. One of the markers of
    inflammation is a low albumin, and our patients have plenty of co morbid
    conditions which contribute to inflammation. My new hesitancy in recommending
    increased intake, especially of red meat, is that consumption of animal protein
    itself is a contributor to inflammation. I therefore, have begun
    encouraging more nut butters and limited amounts of beans and nuts to my
    patients. Because of the higher phosphorus it has long been recommended that
    dialysis patients avoid these foods. (we now know that the
    bioavailability of plant foods is lower than that of animal foods)
    However, I can no longer, in good faith, continue to advise my patients
    to increase animal products when the number one cause of death in dialysis
    patients is cardiovascular disease. But is this possible???
    My question to you is the following: Are you aware of any
    literature or studies regarding a vegan diet for dialysis patients which
    I could share with my doctors? There is much research about the benefits of a
    vegan diet in preventing renal disease, but I am now referring only to
    those patients on dialysis. I do have meal plans for
    vegan diets for renal failure, but I am specifically looking for something to
    present to my doctors which would help them come on board with more of a
    plant based diet (while still maintaining potassium and phosphorus levels
    within goal ranges) for their patients? Or is the current state of the
    art diet for dialysis patients, a diet lacking in fiber and phytonutrients and
    high in fat, still what the doctor ordered?

    • Hi, I just noticed the reply below that is from 4 years ago of Dr G. regarding use of plant based food and kidney failure. There is a Harvard study by Julie Lin et al (2010) Am Soc Nephronl 5 836-843.
      Please look at the refernce section of the studies that Dr G. is investigating below. I hope that is helpful.

    • Liz Leger

      Hi,
      I have a question. My blood test revealed a first time low eGFR of 56. Should be higher than 60. It has been normal in the past. It is very worrisome. My alkaline phosphatase is slightly high at 115.

      What does this mean?

      • thecompassionateRD

        You need to discuss these results and concerns with your doctor. Perhaps he/she will recheck them to make sure they are accurate.