Meet the Owner & Creator
Here's your official introduction...
CKD Culinary Consulting was started by Linda Blaylock in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2020 when the then-budding entrepreneur saw a need for a clear, reliable method to free kidney patients from their confusion, show them how to have their favorite foods, more variety, a simplified process, and show them how to successfully implement those dietary changes for life.
After her husband's diagnosis, they struggled with his diet and he despised being told he could not have foods the foods he treasured. This sparked a determination in her to figure out how to allow him to have them once again.
She truly believed there had to be a way to work with any food, and she was right.
She gathered all she had discovered and documented, and finally brought forward the very information and the method that has kept her husband's kidneys stable for many years.
Linda is the Owner of CKD Culinary Consulting™ and is the creator and owner of The How to Eat for CKD Method™ program.
She is a chef honors graduate of Escoffier School of Culinary Arts®, an ISSA® Certified Nutritionist, a certified kidney health coach, and a caregiver to her husband who has stage 3 kidney disease.
She was contracted with American Kidney Fund® for four years creating and testing recipes, providing educational content for their blog, and was an active advocate for Kidney Disease by meeting with representatives in her home state.
A portion of her book proceeds are donated each year to American Kidney Fund®.
A little more to my story and about me...
I enjoy exploring unfamiliar cuisines and adapting them (there's plenty out there to choose from!), as well as finding historical recipes to CKD-ify and improve.
Before meeting my (second) husband, I was a newly single mother with three (adorable and cute) young children. Living on a budget, being creative, and relying on easy to find ingredients is my specialty.
Fast forward to (finally) being married to the most amazing man in the universe...
When my husband received his diagnosis, I was graduating college for business management and prepping a business plan to open a clinic with friends.
The demands of trying to figure out how to "save" my husband were immense. I had to (heartbreakingly) go to the group and tell them I was out.
I needed to put 100% of my time into solving the CKD puzzle.
Within a week of graduating, I turned around and went to culinary school, then followed that with more for nutrition. The entire time, I was devoted to finding the answers and applying all I was learning into how it fit best with CKD.
It took me five years, but thankfully I had been blessed with the ability to focus solely on it, and to be in the right place, right time, with the right education, opportunities, and the right circumstances to find every vital answer.
After two years of painstakingly assembling my program, I brought it forward to help others.
How I got here...
What a road!
Once upon a ti.... HA! kidding.
Expanding on the story above, here's how it went down...
When my husband first received his Stage 3 diagnosis, the first two things the doctor said when entering the room were about preparing for needing dialysis, and how long it would be before needing to be put on the donor list for a transplant.
(The doctor may as well have simply punched both of us in the gut. Way to break it to us gently, doc!)
My poor husband was instantly scared to eat anything. I was scared to let him! We did our best but it sucked.
After he dropped a pants size within two weeks, we realized that it was imperative to quickly learn about foods, how to adapt our cooking, where to shop, how to read labels, and even how to eat. We needed to figure this out, fast!
Two long and tortuous weeks later, we talked with a dietician to learn the importance of managing not just sodium, but other nutrients that needed to be restricted based on his labs and progression. Not much help there. She gave us three recipes, one of them, some kind of wet, chopped herb mix we had never heard of that she said to use instead of salt. um... no, and two others that sounded less than appetizing.
Three recipes? really?
(Well, we got the restriction numbers. Glad insurance covered that or I would've been pissed about the wasted time and money!)
So, with no help, no resources, and only us and the internet to rely on, I jumped in head first.
I spent three straight days trying to learn everything I could. We're talking 12-hour days here...
Aaaaand nada. nothing. no help. no clarity. no answers. Only confusion.
I was so frustrated that I broke into tears believing this was it. This was the end. I was going to lose my husband.
How the he** do I "save" him when I don't have the answers I need???
So, instead of scrambling what was left of my CKD shredded brain, we turned to kidney friendly recipes that we found online.
Good God! (insert gagging noises here) So many were terrible that we lost the joy of preparing food together and having a meal.
There was no flavor, and the portions were so small.
We still joke about the one recipe that said "for more servings, add more water", I'm not kidding. Wish I were.
Anyways, I vividly recall our nightly interactions.
Me: (placing the meals at the table)
Him: (taking a bite, making a face)
Me: I'm sooorry
Him: (sigh) It's okay. I just have to get used to this.
It broke my heart, and after a month of this insanity, it sparked a fire in me to figure out how to make great CKD meals.
We started by trying to recreate our favorite meals on our own.
"What can we swap out that is lower in specific nutrients?
How much can we use?
Now what can we safely add in so there are bigger portions?
What can I do to create more flavor without salt?
Will these meals still be within restrictions?
It was a challenging and confusing thing to deal with each and every day. The conflicting information created further frustrations, the lack of accurate nutritional information increased our difficulties.
After a week of struggling and spiraling into the pit of horrid, flavorless, tiny CKD sh** meals, I realized that things were no better than before.
I accepted that I just couldn't do this on my own, with the (limited) knowledge I had.
My determination shot up to 100%.
I decided things had to change. We needed to stop the progression and avoid the approaching necessity of dialysis. We needed clarity and truth so we could enjoy eating again. Most of all, we needed freaking flavor and full tummies!!!!
That’s when I made my “No Plan B Commitment” to myself and my husband, and decided to invest all my time and energy into figuring this nightmare out. Come hell or high water, I was going to prove that kidney friendly eating can be simple and delicious.
Giving up was not an option.
Ignoring it was not an option.
Relying on others was not an option.
I was all in.
I decided to focus on food instead of all the crappy CKD information out there.
That's when I enrolled in culinary school, then more for nutrition (just like I mentioned above). I also became a certified kidney health coach, and was brought on as a culinary consultant for American Kidney Fund®.
My commitment and tenacity paid off. This was the turning point.
With my new found knowledge, and working with foods, it must of ripped some magic fabric in the universe because the answers started appearing for me.
Having a backdoor into kidney related information certainly helped too!
I noticed patterns and processes occurring and began to note everything. I discovered precisely where to find accurate nutritional info, how to easily combine our favorite foods yet ensure the restricted nutrients amounts were adhered to, I learned the simple process of creating and adding flavor without using salt, and I even discovered the crazy easy way to increase the bulk in the meals, so our tummies were full.
I enjoy our nightly interactions now.
Me: (placing the plates down)
Him: That looks good! ( takes a bite), Oh, YUM!
I did it. I knew there was a way, and I freaking found it! (see my tongue sticking out there? yeah, that's me blowing raspberries at the non-believers and nay-sayers)
We know that carefully managed eating has been the key to keeping my husband's kidney function stable all these years. (and what contributed to his pants size returning to normal, then jumping another!)
I decided I must show others how to do this very same thing. Anybody can learn it!
I just had to figure out how I could help.
I started teaching classes in my local area. That wasn't reaching enough people.
So, we put a second mortgage on the house (yep, ouch!) and I invested it so I could bring the program online. I was crazy excited. I worked non-stop, no days off, for six months, until the online system was set up and ready.
From there, it has quickly grown AND we've added published books (yay!)
We also realized that many people were struggling to afford the (already discounted) program, so we broke it apart, combined some sections here and there, ya know, that made sense together. Then we started offering the individual mini courses.
More people can have access to the program at the pace they need and a price they can afford. (insert happy dance)
This is what it comes down to - The way I help my clients is to supply them with all the vital information that it took me years to sort through and find, and I walk them through the exact process we live and swear by.
Living with an enjoyable, easy, stress-free CKD diet is second nature now, and I am committed to making sure others can do the same.
Look, I have been in your shoes. Whether getting the diagnosis, or struggling to eat for CKD, I have been through it.
I know the way out. I found the light at the end of the tunnel (ya don't have to be dead to see it)
I know exactly how to help others get their kidney diets on track, make it tasty, and stick to it for life.
Proof, you say? um... head back to the first page and do some reading.
If you want to slow or stop the progression, YOU hafta be ready to commit to making the changes. You have to want it.
If ya are, if ya do, I am here for you! (ha! I made a rhyme)
The CKD community is my inspiration and is why I have taken on this continuing labor of love.
So, thank YOU!
For the love of kidneys,
A little bit more about me, but personal...
I live with my pet bearded dragons, my chubby cat, Butters Karen (some of you will get that reference) and my sexy, math nerd husband.
When I am not creating recipes, overseeing my program and groups, filling orders, researching new products, keeping up with the latest CKD news, supporting my clients, or working on my cookbooks...
You will find me gathering with family as often as possible, spending time playing a Pathfinder® card game with my husband and/or friends, frequenting Renaissance Fairs, reading about Native American or Viking history, physics, philosophy, historical cooking, or binge watching El Reencuentro Menudo videos online, or snuggling my dragons while watching historical dramas, Miranda, Living Single, & Gilmore Girls reruns, Ghost Adventures, or Guy's Grocery Games with my husband.
I know... I'm weird!
You're not the first person to tell me that.
Through my program, I offer tiered support groups, and teach kidney disease patients how to safely and easily make the necessary dietary changes.
This includes dietary preferences such as lower carb, gluten free, dairy free, vegan, vegetarian, other restrictions from additional health issues, and even picky eaters.
In addition, I share my culinary expertise to improve meals, which can be a challenge when dealing with low nutrients and low sodium. I also supply helpful, up-to-date information on the latest kidney related information within the realm of CKD.
FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY
This work is offered with the understanding that CKD Culinary Consulting, LLC is not rendering medical, legal, or other professional advice or services. Seek professional services if needed. No guarantee to health or the slowing or halting of kidney disease is expressed.
CKD Culinary Consulting, LLC makes no representations, warranties, or medical claims or advice, or to the accuracy or completeness of the contents. No guarantees may be created or extended by use of the materials within. Advice, strategies, suggestions, menus, methods, information, recipes, etc., may not be suitable for every situation.
CKD Culinary Consulting offers no guarantee or undertaking and makes no representation of any kind that the program or products will meet Your requirements, achieve any intended results, be compatible or work with any other dietary needs.
This information is for home use only. This is shared information based on experiences.
No liability is assumed by CKD Culinary Consulting, LLC for this information, for any misuse, misdirection,
or situations arising from what you do with this information. Not liable for any mistyping or inaccuracies.