Respect the renal diet!

Every once in a while I hear something that really sticks with me. Today I met with a lovely patient who has been following some sort of renal diet for the last seven years. She expressed to me how frustrating it is when people give her “healthy” diet advice while critiquing her food choices. Limiting dairy and choosing white bread might seem strange to others but for this patient, they were an important strategy for keeping healthy. She told me that one day she finally said: “Respect the renal diet and I’ll respect your healthy diet!” I have never heard anyone put it this way before but I loved it!

It’s easy to get caught up in the latest diet craze or be swept away by the latest nutrition study that seems to negate all studies before it! In truth, many studies are not strong enough to warrant many of the headlines. And somehow, with nutrition, everyone feels qualified to give advice. I have been confidently told that a mushroom has more protein than a piece of steak (it doesn’t) but the person sounded so certain that I couldn’t feel comfortable until I looked it up. To make things even more confusing, we are all overwhelmed by advertising with “healthy” claims or healthy sounding names. “Low in sodium” is easily confused with “lower in sodium”. No wonder people are confused when it comes to nutrition.What it really comes down to is that everyone’s needs are a bit different so it’s okay if they eat differently! Of course you need to find something that you enjoy. Try these curried shrimp salad rolls as an interesting lunch option or make extras, slice in half and serve as appetizers with the vinaigrette. They are a fantastic, light alternative to traditional spring rolls.

Speaking of spring rolls, check out this great new resource for Chinese renal patients and for those who love Chinese foods! The cookbook “Eating Healthy for Life” features renal friendly versions of classic Chinese recipes. You can access it on our Brochures page under Nutrition at

Curried Shrimp Salad Rolls
(Per roll)
4 shrimp
1tsp curry paste (or 1 tsp oil + 1 tsp curry powder)
2 peach slices
Basil, cilantro (to taste)
Rice Paper

Spicy Garlic-Ginger Vinaigrette
1 ½ cloves garlic
1 tbsp fresh ginger
¼ tsp crushed red chilis
½ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup olive oil

Sauté shrimp in curry paste. Set aside to cool. Soak rice paper in warm water. Place rice paper on towel to absorb some of the moisture. Line rice paper with shrimp, thai basil, cilantro, peach slices, and a chiffonade of lettuce. Roll securely. Process all vinaigrette ingredients in a blender and serve with the rolls.

Developed by Chef Leslie Cairns

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