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  • Writer's pictureSarah Fraser

Kidney Strong

Hello! My name is Sarah. I'm here to share our story in the hopes that maybe someone out there will read this and feel inspired to change their story.

A short time ago, things seemed grim for our family of 5. I’ve learned so much valuable information that I feel compelled to share it with anyone who might find themselves in a similar situation.

Just over 1 year ago my hubby, Jim, was diagnosed with a chronic kidney condition called iga nephropathy. He was in stage 3. He had hypertension, high cholesterol, all of the trademark symptoms that tag along with this condition. It seemed to sneak up on us although, looking back, it had been lying dormant for years. The outlook, according to doctors at the time, was not optimistic. Jim was prescribed some pills, told to lose some weight and advised there was no cure. That was it. We felt pretty powerless. He was in his early forties.

Although we are Canadian, we were living in the States at the time. Lo and behold, my sister-in-law in Canada (god bless her!) sent me a book about a plant-based diet. I was intrigued. Could there be a solution out there - one that didn't involve prescription pills? I began to devour every bit of information I could find on iga nephropathy and plant-based eating. I told Jim I was convinced we could at least halt the progression of this disease through diet. We ended up doing more than that.

From the moment I laid my hands on that book, we raided our fridge. Out went the meat and dairy. No easy task for a guy who was all about high protein, low carb (probably what helped get him to the spot he was in). My journey of re-discovering how to make meals began. Animal protein is supposed to be the center of the plate right? Wrong. Milk is supposed to do a body good right? Wrong.

Why did I do this with him? Because I knew if he tried to do it himself, he wouldn't be successful. In the end, I ended up feeling so great eating this way that I started transitioning our 3 kids over and extolling the benefits to our family and friends.

Within 6 months, Jim was off his cholesterol statin medication. Doctors continued to reduce his hypertension medication. His eGFR (main kidney function number) increased almost 30 points bringing him back into normal range. All of this in less than a year. We more than accomplished our goal of halting the disease. We were actually reversing it! And he was feeling better than he had in years.

Where was the information about diet when we met with the family doctor, cardiologist and nephrologist? In fact, when I asked the nephrologist about a plant-based diet, he had nothing to offer. No acknowledgement of it whatsoever.

I share this because I can only imagine we aren’t alone. Kidney disease is one of the most commonly diagnosed medical conditions and it's on the rise (as are all chronic diseases). Not-to-mention, the ever-increasing incidents of hypertension and high cholesterol. I’m convinced now that these are all largely a result of diet. Everything for us comes back to food.

There is hope if you’re willing to make changes. We were told that Jim is a “miracle”. He’s not. The real miracle is the body’s ability to heal itself. Just give it what it needs. That’s all.

On this site, I will chronicle our journey and post some things that helped us along the way to better health…favourite resources, products, foods we eat, some recipes (mine and others. There has been much trial and error!). I will be open and honest about our triumphs and frustrations.

Full disclosure - I have no medical background and I’m not a chef. I’m a wife and mom who wanted to heal her husband and help her kids find a healthier way of eating. I’m the furthest thing from perfect. We hit roadblocks along the way, I have kids who still rebel when it comes to food, I have trouble finding meals that everyone will eat and my husband’s struggle to maintain his ideal body weight is real.

This isn't just about restoring kidney health. It's about finding a healthier you and the real-life ups and downs that go along with it.

If there’s anyone out there who might benefit from what we’ve learned, then this was worth a shot.

Finally, I invite you to share your story with me or just leave a comment. There is strength in community.

Happy Healing, Sarah

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