She said while it’s unreasonable to tell patients to completely cut some of those foods out of their diet, his recipes show how they can use them in moderation.
Debra Brooks-Redd is a patient at Fresenius. She said the pasta salad samples from McCargo’s recipes were something she liked and wants to know more about what she can use in her kitchen to match her diet.
“I’m very happy that he took the offer from Fresenius to do this because it is a challenge to learn to change your diet and change it a lot,” Brooks-Redd said. “Like the other patients, I’d like him to list the spices we can use because I’ve got a cabinet full of them.”
Mulcahy said processed foods use a lot of phosphorus as coloring and flavoring agents, so giving renal patients recipes to follow could really help them.
Myra Hohenstein, a registered nurse at Fresenius, said hearing from a chef about what patients can eat could lift their spirits about their diets.
“I’m so excited that they get to see someone without these problems has come in and shown an interest,” Hohenstein said. “The families aren’t really going to know that these recipes are for specialized diets.”
McCargo said the recipes can also help people with other dietary restrictions, but might need to be modified with guidance of a professional dietitian. But he said with every clinic he visits, he gets ideas from patients about what he might be able to add to the list of recipes and come up with regional dishes.
McCargo said helping people find food they can enjoy makes him feel good.
“When I go from clinic to clinic, if it’s just one person that looks at me and smiles or asks a question, I feel like that’s what makes my day,” McCargo said. “Just knowing that patients are engaged in the conversation makes me feel like I’ve done my job.”