Food Packaging Claims

While grocery shopping the other day, I had an interesting experience with my two girls. Halle and Macy are 12 and 8. As they get older, they are really starting to pay attention to what goes into their bodies. They, like the majority of us, believe what a food company places on the label as the truth. But, that isn’t always necessarily true. My girls found that pretty frustrating when trying to make healthy choices. So, what do some of the claims on packaging actually mean? What can you believe and when should you dig deeper? If it says “natural,” does that automatically mean it’s good for me?

Creamy Carrot Thyme Soup

Carrot SoupServings: 8


  • 3 pounds baby carrots or carrot chunks (peeled)
  • 8 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Pepper to taste

Combine the carrots, stock and thyme in a pot.  Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove from the heat and transfer the soup in two batches to a blender. Puree the soup completely, and then stir in the honey and cream.  Taste and add pepper, as desired.

Avoiding Halloween Health Hazards

SONY DSCHalloween is almost here again! For many, October 31st marks the beginning of  holiday eating and many diet temptations. Eating candy is not only for holidays such as Halloween. Sweets are enjoyable all year round. Candy seems to be everywhere, especially now. For people with chronic kidney disease (CKD), who have been told to limit certain things in their daily diets, some candies may be too high in phosphorus, potassium or sodium. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat yourself every now and then. There are some candies that are better choices than others. Planning ahead, knowing your labs and setting goals are your best bets to ensure you are starting out the holiday season right.

Fall Harvest Orzo Salad


Servings: 8


  • 4 cups cooked orzo, chilled (about 1 2/3 cup dried orzo)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 cups diced apple¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
  • ¼ cup blanched almonds, chopped


1. In a medium bowl, add all the ingredients except blue cheese and almonds, gently combining until well-incorporated.

2. Transfer the mixture to a serving dish, sprinkle with the crumbled blue cheese and almonds and serve.

PKD Connection

I have exciting news to share! Starting next Monday, Oct. 13, PKD Health Notes will be hosted on the PKD Foundation’s new blog, PKD Connection.

PKD Connection will provide the PKD community a place to gain tips to proactively manage your or your loved one’s health, hear the latest news from the PKD Foundation and have a conversation with other PKD patients and families.

Fiesta Pasta Salad

Portions: 6 Serving size: 1/2 cup

4 ounces bow-tie pasta, uncooked
2 tablespoons red bell pepper
2 tablespoons orange bell pepper
2 tablespoons yellow bell pepper
3 tablespoons red onion
3 tablespoons cucumber
3 tablespoons carrot
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. Chop bell peppers, red onion, and cucumbers. Shred carrots.
2. Cook pasta according to package instructions, without salt. Drain and rinse in cold water to cool. Place in a large bowl.
3. Mix prepared vegetables with pasta and mix to combine.
4. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients with a whisk, then stir into pasta and vegetables.
5. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Summer Cucumbers

Portions: 6 Serving size: 1/4 cup


– 1 medium cucumber

-1 teaspoon lemon juice

-1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

-1 tablespoon fresh dill weed

-1 tablespoon red onion

-1 teaspoon honey

-1 teaspoon prepared horseradish


1. Peel and dice cucumber. Chop dill weed and onion.

2. Place diced cucumber in a bowl and toss with lemon juice. Set aside.

3. Combine sour cream, dill weed, onion, honey and horseradish in a bowl.

4. Gently mix the cucumber into the sour cream mixture.

Milk Alternatives

I’ve been told that I should avoid/limit milk products. What are my alternatives?

People with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) may have to limit dairy product intake in their kidney diet, at some point in their disease process. Did you know that only 8 ounces (1 cup) of regular milk contains 8 grams of protein, 230 mg of phosphorus, 366 mg (almost 10 Meq) of potassium and 290 mg of calcium. When you might have been placed on a 1000-1200 mg phosphorus restriction and/ or a 60 Meq potassium restriction, this can add up fast. The higher levels of these minerals may not be the best choices for someone trying to limit phosphorus and/or potassium in their daily diets.

Snacks for a Kidney Diet

I’ve been told by my dietitian to eat regular meals and snacks. I have a hard enough time trying to figure out what to eat for meals, much less snacks. What are good choices for someone with kidney disease?

Whether you eat three regular meals, more frequent smaller meals, or your meals seem to blend into the next – for every eating plan out there, snacks can play a major role in a healthy diet. When you have polycystic kidney disease (PKD), whether you’re in the early stages or on dialysis, snacking should be a regular addition to your daily diet. Healthy snacking is key, and will most likely, require a bit of planning.