My father is a renal/diabetic patient taking Coumadin. My mom has always followed his renal diet as well as a sodium restricted diet. She is very well informed on what is acceptable for the renal portion of his diet. He has recently been diagnosed as diabetic and has also started taking Coumadin. My mom has tried working with several dietitians to control his diet, but has not had any success.
She is so confused and desperately wants to learn more to help my father. She has packed my father's breakfast, lunch, and even dinner when he needs it for the past 13 years and only wants to give him the best foods possible to help him. He has lost so much weight because as it has been said, "Patients, it seemed, were usually told not what they could eat but, rather, what they could not eat".
Do you have any resources that you could recommend?
Dr. Gourmet Says...
The Dr. Gourmet website provides a number of resources for you to help your father eat healthy and watch the amounts of Vitamin K that he is consuming. For instance, there are three lists that you can download in PDF format. They range from a very simple list of foods that have a high or moderate amount of Vitamin K, to a complete listing of all ingredients used in Dr. Gourmet recipes with the amounts of Vitamin K listed. You can find those links here:
List of foods with relative amounts of Vitamin K
There is now an eatTHISdiet plan just for those on Coumadin. This version of eatTHISdiet works just like the Original and Comfort Food Diet plans, but it has foods on the menu that are low in Vitamin K. You can link to the plan here: http://www.drgourmet.com/warfarin/eatthisdiet/index.shtml
Also every recipe now has a section of Special Diet Information that can help determine if a recipe might be safe for those using Coumadin or have other health issues like Acid Reflux, Lactose Intolerance or need to be on a low-sodium diet.
While most recipes on the Dr. Gourmet website are low in sodium, for those on very low-sodium diets every recipe now has a listing in the Special Diet Information section to help determine if a recipe might be safe for his low-sodium diet. If it is not, there are two alternatives. One can follow the instructions in the eatTHISdiet plan on how to substitute recipes, or reducing the amount of salt added to each recipe is the other alternative.
Because Dr. Gourmet recipes use fresh ingredients that are low in sodium, often simply reducing the amount of salt that is called for by 1/2 or eliminating it altogether can help with eating less sodium.
Every teaspoon of salt has about 2,300 mg of sodium in it. As a rule of thumb, adding 1/4 teaspoon of salt will add about 575 mg of sodium to a recipe. Because the amount of sodium is reported for every Dr. Gourmet recipe, one can easily decide how much salt to leave out and still meet your father's targets set by his physician.
The Ask Dr. Gourmet section on the website has a listing of questions that have been asked by readers like yourself. The questions and answers are posted on this page: http://www.drgourmet.com/askdrgourmet/index.shtml
In addition, there is an easy way to find out about the nutrition content of any food. The USDA National Nutrient Database is at this link: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/
By entering an ingredient and following the steps, this website will report the complete nutritional values of any ingredient and many prepared foods. The Vitamin K content is the last listing at the bottom of the Vitamins section. If it is not there, the food or ingredient that you searched on doesn't contain enough Vitamin K to be reported.
You can see that there's a host of information available to you on the Dr. Gourmet website for eating healthy while taking Coumadin.
Thanks for writing,
Timothy S. Harlan, M.D.
Eat well, eat healthy, enjoy life!
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How Much Vitamin K is in....?
There's an easy way to find out about the nutrition content of any food. Just use The Dr. Gourmet Diet Plan Software.
Just register to use the software, then click the Recipe Box tab. The ingredient database includes over 7,000 ingredients and will show you the nutritional information for those ingredients - including Vitamin K. Use the Food Diary section to help you track your daily Vitamin K intake along with calories and other nutrients. Try it now!