The tedium of a low potassium diet

Curse you, rice milk

As my kidneys are basically knackered, they can’t process potassium or phosphorus well. Too much potassium and I have a heart attack and die. Too much phosphorus and my PTH levels increase, and amongst other things, MY BONES DISSOLVE.

Not being highly keen on either outcome, I try to keep an eye on it. I try not to get obsessed with it though, because it can take over your life. I should keep to less than 1000mg of potassium a day (Yeah, that’s a gramme, but you end up thinking in milligrams).

Most days it doesn’t bother me too much, but some days it really gets on my nerves. Today is one of those days!

Today, so far, I’ve had:

  • Two slices of white toast (brown is nicer, obviously, but higher in potassium!) with a bit of tartex for breakfast (about 100mg potassium)
  • A cup of nice coffee (150mg potassium)
  • Cornflakes with rice milk (140mg potassium)
  • And then a clementine because I wanted some joy after the cornflakes (131mg potassium)
  • A cup of tea with milk (about 100mg)

So, so far, that’s 621mg.  More than half!  And I’ve got to go out for dinner tonight – we’re going to a Mexican.  Normally I’d have something with kidney beans in – but I just found out recently that they are fantastically potassium rich – look at this – a tin is FIVE TIMES my daily potassium level. I was still eating those until fairly recently, and occasionally felt my heart racing in bed. That was probably why. So, no kidney beans. And I’ll have to watch the cheese and sour cream too, even though as everyone knows, they are AWESOME – they are also packed with phosphates.

Phosphorus, though, I’m not quite as clued up on. I keep away from dairy as much as possible, and dark carbonated drinks. My last tests showed my phosphorus was really well controlled since I started , so I relaxed a bit – but my potassium was 5.6 which is above normal, so needs more work.

I’m very fortunate that I am the cook of the house, so I can change what I cook fairly easily rather than hassle whoever does the cooking. And I love rice and noodles, which are pretty low in potassium. But Christ, sometimes a man really wants a baked potato.

My advice to you – don’t have kidney failure.

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