Today I want to talk about the kidneys, a matching pair of organs we don’t give much thought to unless they cause us trouble. We have two kidney’s, not just one, which gives you an idea of the importance Divine invention places on cleansing the blood of toxins. The entire blood supply passes through the kidneys roughly every three minutes to be filtered before flowing out to the rest of the body. Everyday, a person’s kidneys process about 50 gallons of blood to sift out about two quarts of waste products, urea and ammonium.
Up to the time I got diagnosed with cancer, and started studying the amazing elimination system, I had never thought much about the overall health of my kidneys. Which is kinda strange in a way, because I was born with a kink in my urinary tube. A kink in the urinary tract is a genetic condition that prevents the kidneys from draining correctly. The defect blocks the flow of urine and causes infection, lack of appetite, kidney stones and high fever.
This was before highly developed pre-natal care, or even urologists or nephrologists. For care my parents choose the the head of Pediatrics at Yale New Haven Hospital, who informed them that blockage repair surgery was too dangerous for newborns. His instructions: race me to the bath-tub and pack me in ice when my temperature spiked to 106 degrees while I went into convulsions. His hope was if my parents could keep me alive long enough, I may out-grow the kink. It was a long shot.
My mother can sleep like a bear in winter, so it was left to my father to walk me back and forth through the long nights. Grief stricken, he promised God he’d say 100 repetitions of the Lord’s Pray and 100 Hail Mary’s daily for the rest of his life if I lived. I made it; he kept his promise. Everyday you could see him rosary in hand quietly mumbling his pledge.
Once the structural problem was solved, the next logical step would have been to rebuild the weakened kidneys…feed me infant food that was organic. Start with simple foods like banana and watermelon, very alkaline foods that would begin to neutralize my blood from all the months of built up toxins.
But of course there was no “Food As Medicine” mindset back then. This was the early 1950’s, the Golden Age Of Processed Foods. I would be fed the standard finger foods of the time for toddlers set on my highchair table top; hotdogs cut up in small chucks, dry Cheerios, white elbow noodles, all washed down with Kool-aide in my tippy-cup. No one even considered water. Needless to say, I spent my whole childhood with a range of health issues, including chronic kidney infections.
As a culture, we often don’t drink enough water. We have altered our palates to crave different flavors and sensations, like sweet, salty or carbonated. We tend to meet our thirst needs with soft drinks, coffee drinks, giant Slurpees, power drinks, and every other liquid, but not water.
Needless to say- the prevalence of kidney stones in the U.S. has increased in both men and women. Kidney stones can grow to the size of golf balls while maintaining a sharp crystalline structure.
Kidney stones can be debilitating, extremely painful, and totally avoidable. If you are aware you have them, you will need to visit your doctor. But what your doctor may not tell you is if you choose not to suffer a life-time of stones, you will need to change your diet 100% ASAP.
In general, our modern lifestyle is very hard on the kidneys. The kidneys are one of the most stressed of the elimination organs from modern living. The kidneys contain tiny filtering units called nephrons. Each kidney has about 1 million nephrons.
You may think, “wow that’s a lot of tiny filters, enough to last a life time.” Before we began eating a diet of mainly processed foods this was true. But these tiny filters are easily damaged by chemicals and refined sugars. The Standard Western Diet is loaded with chemicals and hidden sugars, making it a prime suspect for damaging the delicate nephron filtering system. Research has found that the average American consumes up to 150 pounds of chemicals and 150 pounds of sugar a year.
With several thousand additives and drugs finding their way into our food and water, while working in drought conditions, kidneys now have to work extra, extra hard to maintain homeostasis.
Ultimately kidney care should start way before the body runs into trouble. Most people experience kidney disease between the ages of 30-50 years old. So I believe nutritional education for kidney care should begin early. How early? In a perfect world understanding the body’s very perfect elimination system and its care should start in grade school. In our present world, if like me, you got a late start caring for your body, I would suggest starting today. The body is incredibly forgiving when given the right tool to work with.
WHERE TO START?
GET GOING ON WATER: Many people will report they are just not thirsty. But here’s the thing. Over time the body responds by diminishing the thirst signal. Since water is an essential nutrient, vital for life, and under no circumstance can it be replaced, if we don’t enough water, we will have to retrain ourselves. A lot of us have been taught to drink 8 ounce tumblers of water 8 times a day. I find 5 ounces of water every ½ hour works better for me. It is easier for my body to absorb, and then I don’t end up eliminating it so quickly.
TRIPS TO THE LOO: I’ve heard it again and again. All kinds of excuses as to why people feel they have to stay dehydrated so they don’t have to stop and pee. How many times should you pee a day? Experts say at least 10 times a day to live a long healthy life.
KEEP IT ALKALINE: Healthy happy kidneys are dependent on the blood running alkaline. Acidic blood is literally corrosive to the delicate nephrons. Avoid food and drink with refined sugar. Fresh fruits and veggies tend to be alkaline foods and are 85% nutrient rich liquid. Making fresh pressed juice daily will make your kidneys grateful.
LOWER YOUR ANIMAL PROTEIN INTAKE: Unlimited intake of protein rich foods, which is now sadly regarded as the norm, profoundly affects normal human kidney function, inducing what’s called hyper filtration, which increases the workload on the kidneys.
KEEP IT ORGANIC: Stressed kidneys have a very difficult time removing excess proteins and salts from the body. Chemicals in processed foods cause strain and damage to the kidneys. This is easy to remedy. Commit to shopping and eating only clean and organic foods.
SO IN SUMMARY: The body has to have plenty of water to flush, flush and flush. It’s called the Laws of Nature, the grand plan. What does this mean? That there are no conditions for flexibility. You don’t have to argue it or try to rationalize it….this law is greater then you….it’s the Word from above. We get these amazing blessed bodies with a blueprint for maintenance. How handy is that? All we have to do is cooperate with loving care……
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