Chef Duane Shares the
Importance of Prioritizing
Nutrition for Kidney Health
Chef Duane Sunwold,
who is featured on NephU.org’s The Neph Chef TM,
shares his journey of living with a rare kidney disease
Nobody could have prepared me for the life-changing diagnosis I received 20 years ago. Kidney diseases, including my diagnoses of minimal change disease (MCD) and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), do not run in my family. Like many newly diagnosed patients, I worked closely with my medical team on strategies to help manage my condition. After exploring various treatments for 18 months, we discussed how dietary changes could benefit my kidney health. As a chef I was particularly intrigued by this and following the recommendation of my doctor, adopted a plant-based diet. I began feeling better, just two weeks after changing my diet. After several months on this diet, I was instructed to start decreasing my medication, and I was thrilled to hear that my kidney disease was going into remission.
Today, I combine what I have learned from my own health experience with my passion for cooking and developing new recipes to educate others who are living with kidney diseases. I also advocate on the importance of speaking with their doctor about dietary habits that can promote optimal kidney health.
When I learned about Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc.’s Kitchen Creations for Kidney Health initiative, I was excited to provide my support and spread the word to others. In addition to sharing my favorite recipes, this initiative highlights the importance of having family health conversations. I can’t think of a better place to talk with family than at the dinner table.
Family conversations are especially important for patients with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), a rare disease with a 50% chance of inheritance. Since it is common for patients whose families are impacted by the condition to remain asymptomatic for years while the disease progresses, early diagnosis is imperative.
I encourage you to try some of the Kitchen Creations for Kidney Health recipes on NephU.org. From appetizers to side dishes, there are a variety of recipes accommodating low-sodium or plant-based diets that can be enjoyed by those living with a kidney disease. I recognize everyone’s condition is unique, so patients should consult with a healthcare provider regarding food allergies, food sensitivities (non-IgE reactions), or if they are unsure of an ingredient in a recipe or have specific diet restrictions.
Do you have a kidney-friendly recipe you would like to share with others?
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