77) Turkey Day Foods for People on Dialysis

November 23, 2006


As my donation to Turkey Day, for any of you who are preparing a Thanksgiving dinner for people on dialysis here are some recommendations of foods you can prepare*:

Proteins: Turkey, roasted/baked chicken, seafood, pork.
Vegetables: Green bean casserole, salad, cranberry sauce, glazed carrots, corn, zucchini, mixed vegetables, leached mashed potatoes, rice pilaf, cauliflower.
Starches: Plain bread rolls or sticks, 1/2 c mashed potato or sweet potato casserole (soaked), noodles, pasta dishes without cheese.
Beverages: Glass of wine, clear sodas or root beer, water, iced tea/coffee, lemonade.
Desserts: Pies: lemon, strawberry, and other fruits (no nuts); peach/cranberry/cherry cobbler; pound cake, shortbread, angel food cake; jello.

Foods to Avoid:
Mashed potatoes, macaroni & cheese, corn bread stuffing, ham, whole grain breads, beer, dark sodas, pecan pie, chocolates, ice cream, and chocolate chip cookies.

Later after a great turkey dinner: It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without spending at least a few minutes recalling all that I am thankful for right here and now in 2006. It is easy for many of us American humans to say our thanks from a position of having “everything” in the view of most of the world. And yet, when we say thanks we are thinking mostly about the less materialistic commodities; perhaps because these things are so common to us in our opulence. I paged through a user’s list of “things we’re thankful for” on a popular browser and found most of the responders thankful for family, health, and friends. If we ask people in the third world would they say they are thankful for the little food they have? Would people in Mali be thankful for foreign aid, their ability to make pottery, the few fish they can catch? Or would they too say they are thankful for friends and family? Even though some are starving, would they say they are thankful for health. Would they say they are thankful for just being alive?

Speaking of being thankful for health, even though in many people’s eyes I am sickly and from a medical perspective "on the edge of life" and depending upon a machine to keep me alive, I am thankful for my health. It is my health that helps me to manage and cope with my disability. When I see where I stand in the continuum of people on dialysis in my center, I am very thankful that I am one of the healthiest ones in there. I am thankful for those machines and for the people who serve us in the center; the nurses, the techs, the social workers, and the doctors. They are becoming “friends” in a way.

And, like all the other Opulent Americans, I am thankful for my family; primarily my partner and main squeeze, Liz. I can’t even say how thankful I am for her… because there are no words to express how lucky I am to have a partner in this adventure. And, of course, I am thankful for the kids’ existence: it warms me inside when I'm thinking about Johnny’s Hawaiian adventure, Katie’s determined confrontation with liberty, and Shayna’s “latency phase” in which she and I wrestle, kid each other, and do chores and school projects together. I am thankful for the rest of my family, in-laws, and friends… you all know who you are… “Thanks for being there for me when I need you!” And BTW… please stay there for me to lean on when I need to in the future. (I’m waxing emotional)

Finally, I am thankful for my work. I have always thought of my work in the way that Hanna Arendt** describes the difference between ‘work’ and ‘labor’ in The Human Condition***. For Arendt ‘work’ is one’s life work (vita activa) and I am fortunate to have work that is a joy to engage in on almost a daily basis. Whether it includes my writing, my artwork, or my training social workers, I find it to be a service to the world at large and that seems to me to be a blessing in the truest sense. I do remember that "all the blessings already are".

So, there you have it: my thanksgiving thanks list.

And lastly, of course, anyone who reads this blog on a regular, irregular, or lurking basis, I thank you for being interested in these writings.

Remember, “La conversación es el pasto del alma”.

Notes: *Special thanks to Jennifer the Dietician for preparing the above list.
**Hanna Arendt. retreived November 23rd online from Wikipedia at
***Arendt, H. (1958) The human condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

1 comment:

cheryl martin said...

Hi Jack - Well, I am back (in a way - in some ways I'll never be back like I was before my brother's death). Anyway, for someone who spends very little time on the computer, it's hard to believe that my time got even less this past month- and then, last week we had to send our computer to the shop for repairs - so the time I was on was NIL! Anyway, our computer is back, but it will never be the same either. We lost some things that I can't get back - some of my poems and essays. Another type of grief for me. Anyway, I didn't really intend to have a "pity party" here, I just wanted to say hi and to let you know that I am back to catching up on you! I'm wondering why your last entry was a week ago, though. Isn't that unusual for you? Tell Liz hi. Love, your cheryl