Kidney Diet Tips

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Embrace Earth Day: Go Green!

“Go Green” is a catch phrase used to encourage people to conserve our planet’s resources. You can go green by embracing Earth Day on, April 22, 2020 – the 50th anniversary of this recognition day. I’ve been going green since I could walk. Caring for our environment is something I am very passionate about and excited to share with others. The first environmentalist I knew was my mother, Dorothy. She would send us to the roadside in the rural area where we lived to pick up trash that was thrown out by passersby. We reused plastic bags and composted to fertilize my mother’s garden. 

History of Earth Day

Earth Day originated in 1970 to help raise public awareness about environmental issues, such as air and water pollution. The founder of Earth Day, Gaylord Nelson, a former Senator from Wisconsin, was inspired to bring environmental protection to the forefront of the National Political Agenda.

In 1990 Earth Day went international, reaching 141 countries.  Headed by Denis Hayes, an environmental advocate, Earth Day 2000 energized the Environmental Movement leveraging the internet to bring focus to global warming and clean energy.

Renew Reuse Recycle

DaVita’s sustainability program and team is known as Village Green and its goal is to help make kidney care earth-friendly by reducing the environmental impact of operations and educating teammates and patients on how they can help. Highlights of DaVita’s 2020 goals set to achieve over the next 5 years are to:

  • Reduce water waste 30% per treatment
  • Reduce waste by increasing recycling  in 45% of locations
  • Reduce energy use and carbon emissions 10% per treatment

When I first started working for DaVita, the dialysis center used plastic jugs for the dialysate solution. We could collect 30 or more of these jugs each day. I would take those plastic jugs to a recycling center. Now many of the centers have switched to a central water system, which eliminates the need for plastic jugs.

What We Can Do

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, (1) a third of food produced is lost or wasted each year. Food waste can contribute to land-fills filling up and greenhouse gas emissions (2). Here is a list of things we can do to make a difference:

  • Reduce food waste
  • Buy local food
  • Buy straight from the farm or farmer’s market
  • Buy organic to support organic farming & reduce pesticide usage
  • Reduce meat consumption to lower carbon emission from livestock farming
  • Compost kitchen scraps for use in your garden
  • Reuse water bottles, coffee mugs and plastic bags
  • Pack your own lunch in a reusable bag
  • Bring reusable bags when you shop

Animal agriculture contributes to 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions.  According to the Journal of Science(3), livestock provide just 18% of calories worldwide and take up 83% of the farmland (2). For this reason some people have decided to adopt a plant-based, meatless diet.

Food Blogs

Here are some food of my favorite blogs that offer meatless recipe ideas. Check with your dietitian to see if the recipes you want to try are acceptable for your kidney diet.

References

  1. http://www.fao.org/food-loss-and-food-waste/en/
  2. https://www.epa.gov/lmop/basic-information-about-landfill-gas
  3. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/360/6392/987

Additional Kidney Diet Resources

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health questions.

Dawn Johnson, MS, RDN, LD

Dawn Johnson, MS, RDN, LD

Dawn Johnson MS, RDN, LD knew she wanted to be a dietitian when she was 18 years old. Now practicing over 20 years, Dawn has worked in various settings with a focus in renal nutrition over 12 years. She is passionate about addressing, examining and resolving people’s ambivalence for change. Dawn resides in Highland, Indiana with her husband and 2 young children. During her personal time, she likes to run, visit her local library and volunteer at church.