The Journey to Kidney Health Starts with this Book (Book review)



The Renal Diet Cookbook for the Newly Diagnosed: The Complete Guide to Managing Kidney Disease (2017) is not your average cookbook. Author Susan Zogheib is a registered dietician and is considered to be a leader in the field of renal nutrition. Her expertise, experience and client-centred, holistic approach to kidney health makes this book an enjoyable read (her third book on the subject). The book is full of tools, tips, advice and practical help for the newly diagnosed. It is set up in a way so that the advice can be personalized to suit the reader’s situation.

This helpful, empowering book is written for the person newly diagnosed with early stage chronic kidney disease (CKD). Sprinkled into the book is advice about the helpfulness of a “positive attitude”, “supportive people” and “happy activities” as well as exercise and smoking cessation. It is a pleasure to read due to the colourful photographs of healthy food, and the occasional green and orange colour in the titles. The foreword is written by a doctor and the introduction provides an empowering message of taking control of your kidney disease by advocating a “kidney-friendly lifestyle.”

The first of 14 chapters start out with positivity and education about CKD and gives hope that although kidney disease has no cure, it is completely manageable with diet and lifestyle –“kidney disease will allow you to take control of managing it.” Zogheib explains the role that diabetes and high blood pressure has for people with CKD. She uses encouragement, education and her professional expertise which helps the reader trust the information provided.

Zogheib explains information about the “CKD 1-4 Diet”, with the main premise being a careful monitoring of protein, sodium, potassium, phosphorus and in some cases, fluid. This diet, as well as her book’s main purpose is to help slow or avoid CKD progression (avoiding need for dialysis). She often refers to having a doctor and the health care team (including a dietician) review the person’s personal health history as well as encouraging regular checkups and reviews.

Daily Meal Plans, Pantry and Shopping Lists, Worksheets, Tables, Tips, Dos and Don’ts, How To’s, Recipes, Appendices, Resources, References, Indices (2!) make this book very useful and a great reference for those starting out in their quest for successful management of their kidney disease. Zogheib didn’t leave anything out.

Of the 100 Recipes (in chapters 5-13), I found a few that stood out that I’d like to try (and I don’t have kidney disease!). Roasted Broccoli, Asparagus Lemon Soup, Creamy Pesto Pasta and Lemon Garlic Halibut all sound good to me! All the recipes look great and include serving size, preparation time, cook time (no more than 30 minutes), nutrition info, description and tips.

Zogheib notes that people aged 60 and older are at a higher risk for CKD. She also notes high blood pressure (hypertension) is the leading cause of kidney disease – which I know is a very common affliction of many. The book provides unique tips and strategies for anyone who is on a restricted diet (e.g., sodium) or watching their intake. The “Strategies for Dining Out” is a section that everyone should read especially if they like going to the “all-you-can eat buffet.” Any newly diagnosed kidney disease patient or their family members would benefit from this book. Highly recommended.

*I was provided a digital review copy of this book for a fair and honest review.

Angela G. Gentile


Angela G. Gentile  MSW, RSW is a clinical social worker and author of the book, “Caring for a Husband with Dementia: The Ultimate Survival Guide”, “A Book About Burnout: One Social Worker’s Tale of Survival” and the “Dementia Caregiver Solutions” app for iPhone and iPad. She lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba with her husband and has two adult children. She is creator of the Facebook communities – “Aging Well for Women” as well as “God, Cancer and Me.” For more information, visit:


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