I Am Focused on Ending My PKD With Diet and Fasting

This is my story and I am not advocating any type of diet or advice, just sharing what I’ve found and read on this subject.

I didn’t want it, had never heard of it, and discovered I had it out of the blue at the age of 55. Cysts on my kidneys – lots of them. I can still remember the awe on the doctor’s face when he told me of all those cysts.

No wonder I had so much trouble trying to lose weight. It was not necessarily fat, but cysts that were crowding my insides.

I liken it to little (and big) water balloons bouncing along inside my gut day and night. They don’t pop or ever go away, they grow. And more of them show up as they please to add to the weight and expansion of my belly. They hurt too. My lower back aches most of the time. I wake up in the morning feeling full and heavy. It’s miserable. But for those who have PKD, you know this, because you feel the same. We have consistently been told that there is no cure – yet, and therefore no hope for relief.

My New Eating and Fasting Plan

Now there is hope folks! I was so excited to begin my new diet and fasting plan. I wish I could have found more information, but I think I get the gist of it. Eat for a short period of the day. All the food and drinks (other than water) will be taken between 11:00am and 5:00- 6:00PM – for me, my plan. That is the timeline I have decided upon. After my time limit, I will be fasting and drinking only water, black coffee, or tea for the next 18 hours.

If it’s good enough for mice, rats and cats, then I can try it. Coincidentally, I watched a show called “Fat Fiction” on HBO the other day. After that I watched a show about fasting. Then, I read that research shows that a combination of a variation of the Keto diet (eating to cause ketosis) combined with fasting, has shown a reversal of kidney cysts in test subjects (animals). That’s a big coincidence! I am amazed and excited to discover this hope!

The documentary, called “Fat Fiction” tells how good fats are necessary for health. I knew this. My Homeopathic doctor had mentioned this years ago. Do not buy low fat, or fat-free foods because sugar is added when fat is removed. Sugar is the culprit. Carbs turn into sugar and then our bodies burn that sugar, instead of burning the fat from our cells. This is how I understand it, and you can read about it for yourself. One explanation can be found at What is Ketosis.

PKD and Keto

The problem with eating a Keto diet when dealing with PKD, is that not all the food suggested is okay. Also, large amounts of sodium are not accounted for when cheese makes up the bulk of many foods – and Keto diet followers tend to eat bacon, which I avoid like the plague.

Also with kidney disease, potassium can be a problem, so food like avocados, which are big with Keto, might not be good for PKD sufferers. Then again, maybe I was getting the wrong info all along. When I look at the PKD website, there is no mention of this possible “cure”.

Fortunately, I’ve been changing my eating habits for the better over the past nine years and I think I can generally follow a low carb diet while eating enough to keep my kidneys from getting worse. I’m very used to checking labels for sodium, but checking carbs is new.

I’m going to try to stick closely to the Keto Diet guidelines for at least a little while. I’ll be careful not to load my kidneys with salt and lots of meat protein. Mainly I will eat the way I have been, with a check on the carbs as I go.

Carb Wake-up Call

Strikethroughs shows the food I ate that were not low-carb, but I had no idea. My morning fast (which began the night before): Coffee black, drank until 11AM. Then: Blender drink of carrot juice, unsweetened cranberry juice, kale, and strawberries. Baked a quiche containing eggs, Swiss cheese, spinach, broccoli and onion, in a pie crust. Ate a big piece of quiche, also toast (using up my homemade bread) with butter, almond butter and ground flax seeds. Drank a cup of goat’s milk.

Quiche with spinach and onion
Homemade quiche

Supper will be leftover zucchini boats which contain: ground beef, parmesan cheese, onions and of course zucchini, smothered in organic tomato sauce.

Noticed: I got tired after I ate my big quiche meal. Guess it could be due to the fact that spinach, eggs and cheese all contain tryptophan! Pie crust, toast and goat’s milk all contain carbs, so does that “healthy” juice I drank. I definitely did not go low-carb with this meal. In fact, when I looked, I was surprised to see that pie crust is FULL of carbs, with no benefit to me.

  • Goat’s milk – 11 grams in 1 cup milk
  • Pie crust – 12 grams carbs in one piece…!!!!! Yikes. Eat the middle but throw the crust away ;(
  • Carrot juice – 20 grams carbs in 8oz., and unsweetened cranberry juice has 18 grams of carbs in 8 oz. Keto says juice is bad for it’s carbs – yes, it’s true.

Total carbs listed above that I ate comes to 61 and that is without counting that little piece of toast. I can assume that gave me at least 10 grams of carbs. Now my total carbs for today come to over 71 grams, because I’m sure other foods had some carbs as well.

If I have a glass of wine later, and of course I will, that will also add a few carbs. Normal carb intake suggested on a regular diet is over 200, but the Keto diet suggests that number stay below 50 grams. I failed, but I will learn from my mistakes, and do better . Staying below 50 carbs is going to be tough.

Keto White Sauce With Cream Cheese

No recipe is needed to make a delicious casserole with ingredients on hand. Buy Keto-friendly food and then make something up. The basics are meat, vegetables and sauce.

I had a head of cauliflower to use, so I made up a quick chicken and vegetable casserole. All I needed was a Keto white sauce to mix in. There are many ad-filled sites that suggest this basic way to make white sauce, using various ingredients. This is how I made mine with the ingredients I had on hand.

Cook the Chicken and Cauliflower

I cooked the ground chicken in a fry pan.

Simmer the cauliflower heads (I cut them into small florets and discard the bigger sections) for a few minutes. Layer the chicken in the bottom of a casserole dish, and put the semi-cooked cauliflower over it.

Ground chicken
Cook the ground chicken

Making the Sauce

The sauce was made by melting 3-4 tablespoons of butter with half a package of cream cheese (4 oz.). Next time I think I would use more of these ingredients. Then….

white sauce butter and cream cheese
First melt butter and cream cheese

Stir in some heavy cream, half and half – whatever liquid is preferred. Add big spoonful of plain, Greek yogurt (not non-fat) – this is optional, but many recipes called for mayo, so I substituted yogurt. Heat on low.

Add black pepper, grated cheddar cheese (mozzarella could be used), and I added a few pieces of spicy pepper cheese for added flavor.

Simmer and stir on low heat until all cheese is melted. Pour the sauce over the meat and veggies which are layered in the casserole dish.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Chicken and cauliflower casserole
Ready to bake
Baked cauliflower and chicken casserole
Not bad

A white sauce casserole is a nice change from all the tomato sauce casseroles I’ve been making, like the Poblano peppers and beef, and meatball and zucchini dishes.

Additional Notes

I would prefer this with broccoli, but I had the big head of cauliflower to use up. A nice addition would have been spinach, to give it some color. Any type of meat would work in this recipe, and so would many vegetables.

Shrimp and Veggie Stir Fry

This delicious and healthy meal is very simple to make. Chopping and preparing takes the longest. Break the tough ends of the asparagus, and break stalks into bite-size pieces. Wash and slice mushrooms. Slice peppers and onions. I cut my shrimp into small pieces.

Cooked a box of brown mushrooms first, in a cast iron. (I used my favorite cast iron with the high sides). Remove and set aside. Cook broken up asparagus in ghee for a few minutes, until it’s still crunchy.

Remove asparagus and add sliced red pepper, onion, and after a minute or so, chopped (bite size) shrimp. Cook a couple minutes until shrimp is turning pink.

Add all ingredients back into the pot, heat off, and stir in Tamari. Stir well and remove to a dish. Serve with something else like spaghetti squash or noodles, or eat plain. It’s really good!

stir fry in cast iron
Stir in the Tamari last, and it’s done!

I never, well almost never, add salt while cooking. The Tamari is a form of soy sauce, and I buy low sodium. That adds the salt at at the end. The vegetables in my meal are crunchy, and I cook them separately so none will be mushy.

Use any vegetables on hand. When I go shopping I buy whatever looks freshest and good, then I decide what to do with it all. This recipe would work with chicken, or beef as well.

Any leftover veggies in the kitchen, that are going out of date, can be used to make broth. Add chicken bones, or beef if you have it, or simply make a vegetable broth. Freeze the broth to use in chili, soup or other dishes.

Shrimp cooks very quickly and can get tough if you over-cook it. We caught this shrimp ourselves and froze it. Since we’ve had it a while, I know we need to use it up.