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Fitness first in 2019!

Take control of your kidney health with simple daily workouts

Exercise is important for everyone, especially those with kidney disease. Regular exercise can help control blood pressure and may help slow your kidney disease down. At the same time, exercise can help you feel better and more in control. But, starting an exercise program can be daunting. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be! The key is to make a plan, start slow, steadily increase your workouts and always check in with your doctor to make sure your program is right for you.

Be a healthier you this year – make an exercise plan today! Here are some sample workouts to consider adding to your program.

1. Walk and talk. Walking out in the fresh air is good for your mental and physical health. Want some company? You can also use this as a chance to meet up with someone you haven’t seen in a while. Catching up while exercising will leave you feeling refreshed and better prepared to take on the day and the challenges it may bring. Not excited about bundling up in the winter and heading outside? Head to the mall, go to the gym or walk on the treadmill. Put some headphones on, listen to a podcast and start walking. As you get more fit, adjust your pace. If you are on a treadmill, change the ramp settings to add resistance.

2. Yoga at home. One of the best parts of yoga is the fact that it can be done virtually anywhere. You don’t need to enroll in a class and you don’t even need a yoga mat. Simply spread a towel out on your living room floor, find a beginner yoga video on YouTube and start learning the poses. Finding the workout too difficult? Not comfortable on the floor? Try yoga on softer grounds like grass in a park or sand on a beach. Also, you can search for a video that suits you. Chair yoga, for example, is a popular variation of yoga where the exerciser does poses while sitting in a chair, or standing up and using a chair for support. Start with just 10 minutes a day and build up to 30 minutes. The combination of breathing and stretching makes yoga a worthwhile practice for emotional and physical health.

3. Pool time. Water aerobics or swimming is a great way to get fit. It helps tone muscles and leaves you feeling refreshed and re-energized. Check your local pool for classes. With the music pumping and a group of others beside you, the time will fly by! Or, just go and swim some laps. Either way, you will get a great workout that is bound to be easier on your joints.

Remember to speak to your doctor before starting an exercise program. Your doctor should be able to suggest some simple exercises right for you—even for 15 minutes a day—that can make a big difference in how you feel and improve your kidney health at the same time. Let us know how your exercise program is going—share your experiences with us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Have some exercise Pinterest boards you like to follow? We are on Pinterest, too, and would love to hear about them!

Five tips for kidney patients this holiday season

If you have kidney disease, you’ve likely changed your diet to keep healthy. Following the kidney diet can be tough anytime of the year but especially challenging during the holidays, when parties and events, complete with platters of tempting, non-kidney-friendly food, are ever present. Don’t let this keep you away from enjoying fun times with your loved ones this holiday season! Here are five tips for surviving holiday parties and gatherings while sticking to the kidney-healthy diet:

1. Eat beforehand. Don’t show up to a party with an empty stomach. It’s so much harder to stick to your diet when your stomach is rumbling! Eating beforehand will help you avoid temptation and give you more time to focus on why you’re really there—to enjoy good company during the holidays.

2. Offer to bring a kidney-friendly dish. Yes, this means you’re not off the hook for cooking, but it also means you’re guaranteed to have something kidney-friendly to munch on wherever you go. Plus, you’ll be able to introduce other party-goers to a low-salt, kidney-healthy meal, something that’s good for just about everybody! Check out our kidney-friendly recipes if you’re looking for a dish to make.

3. Avoid processed foods, including processed meats. Processed food equals high salt, a definite no. Steer clear of these items; choose low-sodium proteins and fresh foods instead.

4. Control your portions. Have your eye on some tasty treats but know they aren’t particularly kidney-friendly? Have just a taste to satisfy your craving, then use your willpower to move on.

5. Plan an active gathering. If you’re hosting, plan an activity instead of centering the party around food. Going for a walk or a short hike, will take the focus off food and get those endorphins going, leaving everyone feeling good about getting some exercise during the long winter months. Playing board games and family sports is also a nice way to spend quality time and make memories not centered on eating.

You don’t have to avoid holiday parties just because there may be foods you can’t eat. Follow the tips above and you’ll be setting yourself up for a great time with family and friends!

The road to transplant: Armando’s journey

Armando’s early days of dialysis.

In 2007, 17-year-old Armando Gonzalez Valadez was tired, didn’t have much energy and always felt sick.

Soon after, Armando was diagnosed with kidney failure and started dialysis in the Mount Vernon area. After about six months, he moved to Lynnwood and became a Puget Sound Kidney Centers patient in Mountlake Terrace. His idol, Superman, was proudly displayed on t-shirts he wore to treatment.

Armando’s determination and strong will was evident with him working two— sometimes three—jobs to make ends meet. In 2011, Armando began doing home dialysis treatments five nights per week, which allowed him the ability to juggle work during the day. He also began helping the Mountlake Terrace social workers run a monthly support group that provides education to only Spanish-speaking patients.

Armando after his kidney transplant.

Not content at just working and living in this country, Armando was passionate about becoming a U.S. citizen. All his hard work and determination paid off in March of 2014 when he finally obtained his citizenship. Then, on December 27 of the same year, he received “the call.” It was his turn for a transplant.

The operation was successful and Armando received what he describes as “The best Christmas present, ever!”

For Armando, life after transplant has only gotten better. Recently, he was promoted to manager of Interstate Batteries, a company that celebrates his transplant anniversary every year with a cake. He has also just purchased his first home and got married.

Armando has shown that not only can Superman “jump tall buildings in a single bound,” he can beat kidney failure too. Like Armando says, “You have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life.”

Interested in learning more about kidney transplant? Read more about this treatment option here.

Kidney-Friendly Summer Recipes

It’s now officially August, and that means it’s the hottest time of year for many of us. Whether you’re planning on having friends and family over, or simply cooking for one, the recipes below are absolute musts. They’re packed full of flavor and low in salt — the perfect combination for people with kidney disease (and their friends and family too)! Here’s a brief look at our top summer foods, with links to the full recipes as well.

Chili Lime Dip With Veggies

The perfect appetizer for any summer meal, this Chili Lime Dip recipe is just as scrumptious as it is easy. Limes are a great way to add flavor and acid to a dish, and they really come through in this one. Chop up some carrots and peppers and you’re good to go!

 

Chicken ‘n’ Grape Salad Sandwich

With both celery and grapes included in this recipe, you’ll have plenty of crunch when you sink your teeth into this delicious sandwich filling. Not only is this one kidney-friendly, it’s easy to whip up as well! Check out the full Chicken ‘n’ Grape Salad Sandwich recipe to see just how simple it is to make.

 

Thai Shrimp Kebabs
Thai shrimp kebabs
Looking for a way to mix up your barbecue menu? Look no further than this recipe for Thai Shrimp Kebabs! Like spicy foods? Load on extra marinade for a bigger kick, then pair with our next recipe for a balanced bite.

 

Asian SlawcoleslawThis Asian Slaw recipe could be included in just about any meal, especially one served in summer. The classic cabbage, grapes, carrot and apple combination is tasty and crunchy, especially when drizzled with such a light dressing.

 

Lemon Loaf
Lemon loaf
Every summer meal needs a light and refreshing dessert, and we strongly recommend considering this Lemon Loaf recipe. With bright, citrusy notes, this dessert is easy to make ahead of time and slice up on demand.

 

Want more kidney-friendly, low sodium recipes for summer, and every season? Check out our recipe page for more!

Kidney-Friendly Superfoods

Should you choose natural foods over processed or packaged foods? Yes and here’s why! Many fruits and vegetables have antioxidants, vitamins and other nutrients that help keep your body strong and healthy. Although some of the healthiest choices are high in potassium, smaller servings can usually be added if you need to limit potassium. Ask your dietitian if these kidney-friendly superfoods are right for you.

Apples are a good source of fiber, which can lower cholesterol and blood sugar. The apple peel has extra antioxidants, which can help protect brain cells.

Blueberries are high in antioxidants that help protect against cancer and heart disease. They also have fiber and vitamin C, good for immune health and digestion.

Fatty fish like salmon and albacore tuna are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These can help control clotting, improve heartbeat and blood pressure, and lower triglyceride levels.

Kale is packed with vitamins A and C, calcium and other minerals that support eye-health and have anti-cancer benefits.

Strawberries are loaded with fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants that help protect your heart, prevent cancer and fight inflammation.

Spinach is high in vitamins A, C, K and folate, nutrients that help boost your immune system and protect your vision.

Sweet potatoes are full of beta-carotene, vitamins A, C and B6, and fiber. These nutrients boost your immune system and help your vision, red blood cells, cholesterol and digestion.

Look for recipes that include these superfoods for delicious and healthy eating, and make sure to try this delicious recipe for fruit salsa!

Want more kidney-friendly, low sodium recipes? Check out the recipe section of our website!

Congratulations, Kathy Harvey!


Each year, National Kidney Foundation Council bestows the Susan C. Knapp Excellence in Education Award to one renal dietitian in the country.

Puget Sound Kidney Centers is proud to announce that our Director of Renal Nutritional Services, Kathy Schiro Harvey, has received this distinction for 2018!

Kathy is an expert in nutrition education, having a Master’s in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Washington (UW). For the past 37 years, Kathy has been a renal dietitian and nutritionist, specializing in chronic kidney disease (CKD) education and dialysis.

Kathy accepting her award from the National Kidney Foundation Council on April 11, 2018.

Always looking for new ways to help improve the quality of care for people with CKD, Kathy is active in the CKD community. Her involvement includes working with organizations like the National Kidney Foundation, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Washington State Council on Renal Nutrition.

Kathy is a frequent lecturer on renal nutrition and is a dietitian preceptor at local and out-of-state universities, including UW, Washington State University (WSU), Central Washington University (CWU), Bastyr University, University of Northern Colorado (UNC), University of Houston (UH) and Iowa State University (ISU). Moreover, Kathy has contributed to the production of numerous renal nutrition publications, including textbooks, peer reviews and professional manuals as an author, coauthor and editor.

Congratulations to Kathy for her dedication and hard work! She is an important and valuable member of our team, and we are honored to serve with her.

Survive and thrive with Tena!

Happy World Kidney Day! Whether you’ve just been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, have been on dialysis for some time or are waiting for a transplant, there are a number of ways to prolong the life of your kidneys and improve your overall health.

Two years ago, Tena saw a brochure at her nephrologist’s office for PSKC’s Survive and Thrive with Chronic Kidney Disease program, a free community class hosted by PSKC year round. The goal of the program is to teach people with early kidney problems about making successful lifestyle changes. Subjects covered include healthy eating, exercise, blood pressure management, coping with kidney disease and treatment options. In class, participants meet with a doctor, physician assistant, social worker, dietitians and patient mentors.

Tena H. learned more about dialysis through our Survive and Thrive program.

Tena was newly diagnosed with stage three CKD and had a lot of questions and concerns about living a healthy, happy life. After attending the first class, Tena started to feel that “this disease is not a death sentence and there’s a lot of hope.” Specifically, Tena found hope and support hearing from members of the patient organization, The Road Back to Life. “They really make you listen and know you’re not alone.”

After completing the classes, Tena said she learned many new skills to promote her health or, as she calls it, develop a “new normal.” She learned that the nutrition piece and social work piece are just as important as the nephrology visits. She also learned how to appropriately read food labels, cook with different herbs and spices, and plan ahead to carry out a fulfilled life. Tena’s support network expanded as well. She said she walked away from the class feeling that “when you share, you can connect.”

Now Tena is taking what she learned in class and bringing it to her community. Most recently she connected with PSKC social workers to talk with her peers about advance care planning. Thank you, Tena, for sharing your story and helping us ignite new conversations about health and wellness!

Learn more about our free classes at www.pskc.net/classes.

Lance and Marni: a caregiving story

Lance and Marni met 45 years ago in New Mexico, raised two daughters and have lived in Arlington for the past 20 years. About three years ago, they received some unexpected news. Marni was told that her kidneys were failing and she should prepare for dialysis. Just six months later, they found themselves checking in for dialysis treatment at PSKC Smokey Point.

Marni, on dialysis at PSKC Smokey Point, with husband Lance.

Lance, retired, studied the dialysis process. Since day one, he has documented every one of Marni’s treatments — her blood pressures, medications taken, blood sugar readings and more. Mostly, Lance looks for trends so they can catch it if something is amiss. He is happy to be Marni’s “medical advocate” and so much more by doing all the cooking, cleaning and housework as well.

Marni stays busy outside of dialysis, teaching tole painting classes out of their home every Thursday night. Supplies, including wood characters that Lance builds, are included in the cost of the class.

There are many ways to adjust to dialysis, and together Marni and Lance have figured out a way that works best for them. By writing it all down, Lance provides helpful information to get the best care for Marni and engages himself in a positive way. Marni continues to spread her passion for art even while tackling dialysis and other health challenges. A strong and solid pair, Lance and Marni are an inspiration to all.

2017 Gift of Life dinner & auction raises more than ever before!

A big thank you to the 240 guests who attended our annual Gift of Life dinner and auction in September. We raised a record $237,000—the most dollars ever raised—at this year’s event!

Guests at the event take a look at the Puppy Package during the silent auction.

 

“It was truly a great evening. It really is special to see so many people turn out to support the work we do at Puget Sound Kidney Centers,” says Harold Kelly, president and CEO of PSKC. “Those of us at PSKC feel very fortunate to be part of such a caring community of friends and colleagues who share in our mission to enhance the lives of people with kidney disease.”

 

The ‘wine grab,’ always a favorite!

 

This year’s event also had a record number of sponsors and auction donors, and because of their support we were able to raise additional funds to support patients.

See more photos from this year’s Gift of Life dinner & auction below. We’re already looking forward to next year’s event and we hope you are too!

 

Guests Denise and Pete Sontra.

Karen and Chris Schmitt.

Auctioneer Nelson Jay.

Guest Jenni Tyner and friends.

 

We couldn’t do what we do without the support of the amazing community around us. Learn more about what we do for kidney patients and those at risk for kidney disease in our community.

 

Happy strumming! In between dialysis treatments, Ukulele Mike shares his music around the world

When a young Michael Lynch found a dusty ukulele that his sister brought back from Hawaii years earlier and began to teach himself, little did he know what a life-changing moment that was to become. Ukulele Mike has now taught the instrument to thousands of people around the globe.

Michael Lynch, known around the world as Ukulele Mike.

As a teacher in the Seattle school district and local private schools, Mike brought the magic of the ukulele to countless school-age children throughout his career. Thanks to his online instruction videos, Mike also has an international following. He now receives videos back from accomplished students in Korea, Japan, New Zealand and around Southeast Asia. They all respond back with different variations of his catchphrase “happy strumming,” which is how he ends each lesson.

Mike started dialysis almost two years ago, but he is still able to write, produce and share his music around the world. He admits his most productive days are his off days, but he’s never allowed his illness to stop him. He’s currently planning a second ukulele cruise, where he and his wife, Collene, teach ukulele to passengers for four or five days at sea, on their way from California to Hawaii. Mike also currently works with musical instrument builder Oscar Schmidt Co., and has developed the Mike Lynch Tenor Ukulele, complete with his signature on the headstock and available for purchase online.

Visit www.allthingsukulele.com to learn more about Ukulele Mike.