So what's with all this 80s stuff? Meet Vegan Vince

Maintaining A-1 Kidney Health

My wife is a petite woman who has had five babies naturally without any pain medication or epidural, and the largest was our son who weighed in at 10 lbs, most of which was head. All these years she has made the point that a man could never know the kind of pain a woman experiences during child birth. She assured me that none of my sprains, strains, broken bones, or stitches came close.

Several years ago I had a kidney stone attack and ended up passing eight stones. People who know say that the passing of a stone is equivalent to the pain of bearing a child. When I told my grown children this, they said I should have given each stone a name, and now call me Octodad. For some reason my wife RaNae still refuses to acknowledge that I now know what kind of pain she has been through delivering our children.

A couple of years ago one of my little sisters who has been fighting type one diabetes for almost 30 years and been undergoing dialysis, needed a kidney transplant to save her life. Because of my age and having had kidney stones they wouldn’t accept my offer to donate one of mine. Luckily, another younger sister was a perfect match and made the major sacrifice. Both are doing well.

Kidneys are vital organs, meaning you can’t live without them. They are located just below the diaphragm, are about the size of a fist, and each has about a million tiny filtration units called nephrons. They serve a number of essential functions in the body. They keep the blood clean by filtering out and expelling waste into the urinary system. The kidneys help chemically balance the body by regulating the electrolytes and fluid volume and maintaining the acid-base balance. They produce hormones that help the body utilize oxygen more effectively, stimulate the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow, and absorb calcium and phosphorous.

Each day the healthy kidneys filter 30 to 40 gallons of blood, producing between 1 and 2 quarts of urine. A person can potentially lose a majority of nephrons before they notice any problems. There are a number of acute and chronic conditions that can affect their function, but the two most common causes of kidney disease are high blood pressure and diabetes.

Two men were comparing their health problems while waiting to see the kidney specialist. One said to the other, “Just when I learn to take things with a grain of salt, the doctor puts me on a salt free diet.” What are some things, besides controlling your weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure, that are recommended for kidney health? One step is to replace difficult to digest animal protein with easier to assimilate plant based proteins. Watch your intake of sodium, potassium, and phosphorous. Load up your daily menu with antioxidant heavy foods like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, garlic, onions, cauliflower, cabbage, red grapes, and cherries. Do I even have to say to stop smoking?

My best advice is to take care of those kidneys; you may not have a little sister who will give you one of hers.

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