I was diagnosed with advanced-stage Cirrhosis (chronic liver disease) at 30 years old. After trips in and out of the hospital, and upon the suggestion of my doctor, I studied the Renal Diet, and found that a modified version was the best diet for my own healing. The Renal diet emphasizes limiting fluids, eating a low-protein diet, limiting salt, potassium, phosphorous, and other electrolytes, and getting enough calories if you are losing weight.
That being said, it was very challenging to drastically change my diet and lifestyle to combat chronic liver disease – cirrhosis! To make it less overwhelming, here is a three day cirrhosis diet meal-plan I used, complete with recipes, so you can get healing too!
Before Breakfast, a Cleansing Beverage:
One thing I always start the day with is a glass or two of dandelion tea (found easily at your local health food store) with a teaspoon of raw honey and the juice of half a lemon. This is a great cleansing beverage and is a good way to jump-start your metabolism. Dandelion root is thought to aid in liver function, lemon adds vitamin C and a bit of natural acid and raw local honey is great for allergies. I personally used to have awful seasonal allergies but this past year hasn’t been much of an issue and I suspect this daily habit is one of the main reasons.
Start with a Smoothie:
After that, my cirrhosis diet almost always starts with this smoothie!
Other great breakfast recipes from my liver disease diet collection include:
Lunch is the biggest meal of my day and is eaten between noon and 2pm. These following recipes from my liver disease diet are easy to prepare and taste great even if taken to go.
– Southwest Tabbouleh (4 servings)
Here are some snacks I keep around that are real crowd pleasers even for those not on a diet for liver disease:
– Organic nut butter with sliced banana and honey (so simple, no recipe required here!)
Dinner: keep it filling, but light
For dinner, here are some of my guests’ favorites:
And let’s not forget a dessert…!
I follow my nutrient intake over the course of the day, not just a single meal. I kept track of my intake in a small notebook (about wallet sized) that I carried with me. I wrote down every bite I took each day and calculated it at the end of the day using online nutrition calculators. Within two weeks I didn’t even need to log anything because I was so aware of the nutritional values of common foods just through studying my diet daily. A bit of low sodium soy sauce in a stir-fry, or honey on granola is fine for me, so long as I make certain I keep the rest of what I eat throughout the day within my limits.
Most importantly, I listen to my body and notice how I feel after each meal. The rhythm of the diet came pretty quickly once I began to realize how good certain foods make me feel at certain points throughout the day. And don’t think for a minute that just because you are living with restrictions that you can’t enjoy your favorite dishes, there is almost always a healthy alternative if you look for it. Eating these healthy foods as part of a diet for liver disease will make you feel better, and they taste great too! Salud!
For additional healthful recipes, check out:
What is Cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis is a chronic liver disease. It’s actually a late stage of live scarring, marked by the degeneration of cells and inflammation. Cirrhosis is commonly caused by hepatitis or alcoholism. Symptoms or signs of cirrhosis include fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, easy bruising, and yellowing of the skin. Other complications can be malnutrition, high blood pressure, and swelling of the spleen.
What is the Renal Diet?
The Renal diet is ideal for those who are hoping to heal their kidney. This diet is low in sodium, potassium, phosphorous, and protein. You want to limit fluids and consume high-quality protein. Because this type of eating is kidney-friendly, it is also liver-friendly. Everyone’s needs are different, so talking to a dietitian will help you decide how exactly you should modify your diet.
What can a liver-friendly diet look like?
Ian Whitcomb starts off his day with a cleansing glass of dandelion tea with raw honey and lemon. For breakfast, you could consider having a rich smoothie, chia custard, or a nutritious mushroom omelette. For lunch or dinner, make sure you’re filling up: an herb and mushroom rich casserole or a chickpea and artichoke saute are great choices to start. The key is to eat vegetables and lean protein at every meal.
What are some additional tips for staying on track with my healing diet?
Consider tracking down your consumption in a notebook or on your phone and then calculate your intake using online nutrition calculators. You’ll eventually be more aware of the kinds of foods you eat and their nutritional value that you won’t even have to write them down anymore. One word of advice is to simply listen to your body and pay attention to how you feel after eating certain meals or types of food. Look for healthy alternatives to your favorite dishes; there are plenty!
Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.