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It was literally a recipe for success when renal patients at Inverclyde Royal Hospital discovered their culinary skills!
Now, thanks to classes at Greenock’s James Watt College, they are preparing tastier and healthy dishes which won’t compromise their condition.
Renal patients must adhere to a diet restricted in salt, potassium, phosphate and protein because of their health but that can mean a bland diet.
The classes were the brainchild of renal unit associate specialist Dr Mun Woo who contacted the college to make the arrangements:
She said: “We spend much time telling patients what not to eat but surely it would be more beneficial if we could show them what they can have within the confines of their restricted diet. I wanted to demonstrate that there are lots of things they can do to diversify and vary an otherwise bland diet without compromising their health.
“Patients were shown how to make tasty food which was easy to prepare. The chef gave tips on how to make recipes more interesting. Best of all, at the end of the sessions the prepared dishes were served as a full course meal and the food was delicious.”
“The patients have learned that they can still eat like kings!
“It’s been a very successful exercise and apart from learning something new, the patients enjoyed the social aspect of the classes. They have been asking for more sessions!”
Dr Woo also encouraged the patients to bring along a partner to the lessons so that they could learn about the special diet as well.
Catherine Horn (57) from Greenock, was one of the patients who took up the opportunity of the cookery classes. She has been on dialysis for eight years.
A keen cook already, Catherine still found the classes educational: “They were very informative with lots of little tips and ideas about what you can do to make dishes taste of something!
“I’ve already used some of the spicy beef recipes. Normally I would be eating chicken or fish with a small portion of vegetables or potatoes, we are not allowed chips, it was quite a bland diet.
“Now I can really enjoy food again and it’s the kind of food everyone can eat. I can put a meal on the table which the whole family can enjoy.”
Renal patients must avoid foods rich in potassium and phosphate which can be found in many fruits and vegetables such as bananas, potatoes and tomatoes.
Dr Woo said: “Things can be done in the preparation of these foods to reduce potassium, such as par-boiling potatoes before baking.
“You can also get rid of much of the potassium in canned tomatoes by simply pouring away the juice.”
“By taking such actions the patients can enjoy eating foods that they may otherwise have to avoid altogether.”
All of the patients have also been given a recipe book produced by the National Kidney Federation with everyday kidney-kind recipes to practice their new skills.
James Watt Lecturer in Hospitality, Sandra Bell took the classes and she added: ”I carried out some research into renal patient diets beforehand and then with the help of four other students demonstrated different meals which the patients copied.
“It was really good fun and great that the patients could eat the food afterwards that they had prepared. I enjoyed the lessons so much that I would do it again in a minute!”
Picture courtesy of the Greenock Telegraph.
For more information contact NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Communications on 0141 201 4429.