Happy Valentine’s Day for CKD Patients

Well, really, Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone, but this post will be geared towards people with CKD.  I was supposed to do my Cardiac nutrition post today, but since it is Valentine’s Day, I will do that post tomorrow, on Foodie Friday.

First, let me say I could give rat’s behind about Valentine’s Day.  Never have, probably never will.  So, for me the very best gift I can receive is a plant, namely that will bloom, to put in my garden.  I love roses the best, just saying!  But, if you are not like me and you would really love a sweet gift, and you have CKD, you know this can be a challenge.  So, I will share some options you can try as long as you take it slow.  For example don’t eat the whole bag, just eat a serving, maybe two.  You will see two images below of my favorite treats.  I only eat a serving size, so for the pretzels 5 pretzels, and the candy, 3 candies.

If you are a chocolate lover, my research shows that white chocolate is the best option for phosphorus and potassium amounts.  If I am baking with chocolate, I choose white chocolate and half the amount.  So, if the recipe says 1 cup, I use a 1/2 cup, and of course 1/4 cup would be even better.  Dark chocolate is healthy, but it does have a good deal of Phosphorus.  Use it in small amounts, only.  Today, I made homemade banana bread with white chocolate chips in it, yum.  I use this banana bread as a breakfast replacement, or lunch, when I am  working, or outside the home.  This reduces the chance of me eating fast food, or from a vending machine.  I also use a healthier flour, brown rice flour.  White flour is lowest in phosphorus, but since I stick to one slice, I choose the healthier all around flour.  Dipping fresh strawberries in chocolate, is also a better option.  I would use white chocolate.

Hard candies are always a good option.  I particularly love Cinnamon candies.  They sell out very fast, and often have to settle for Peppermint.  I carry hard candy with me everywhere, because I have chronic dry mouth, and they come in handy.  If you are diabetic, of course you need to choose a sugar free option.

If you are going out to eat try to stick to the healthiest options you can find.  Low sodium, lower protein, etc.  A grilled chicken salad, or salad and pasta is always a good option.  If you absolutely must have something more special, then only eat half of it, and bring the other half home to enjoy the day after Valentine’s Day.

There are not a ton of options, I know, but you can still celebrate, and not feel neglected.  I say go for a beautiful rose bush you can enjoy all year!

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Gardening on Tuesday and Stress Relief for Nurses

Happy Tuesday!  Tuesday, or Thursday seems to always be the best days for me to get into the garden.  Here in Florida you can start planting pretty early.  I leave my more sensitive plants, or seeds, in pots, so I can move them into the garage should the temps fall below freezing.  That can happen right up until March, though it doesn’t typically last long.  So far my carrots, tomatoes, and leaf lettuce are starting to sprout.  The cilantro and peppers are still not doing anything.  I have not tried a vegetable garden in a few years, so I am excited at the prospects.  I just planted lavender seeds, and have cauliflower going in, in the next few days.  It gets so hot here, in the Summer, that I am putting my plants in more shady areas this time.  They will still get lots of morning sun, but will be shaded from the brutal afternoon sun.  Gardening is a great stress reliever for me.  I love it, and missed it the last 2 years when I really didn’t focus on it.  It can be considered exercise too, if you do it long enough.

Speaking of stress, I have mentioned on my about me page that I have been a nurse for almost 32 years.  Being a nurse can be one of the most rewarding jobs there is, but it is also a demanding and stressful job, and it seems to be getting worse.  Staffing shortages, more demanding family and patients are just a few things that will add to the stress level of a nurse.  Sometimes, just venting, or having someone to talk to who will really listen, and can related, is a great stress reliever.  If you are a nurse, nursing student, or any other medical professional check out my available plans, and then send me a message for a free meet and greet if you are interested in working with me.  I am a very good listener, and can definitely relate. Plus, for the month of February, doesn’t matter what day you sign up, all new clients get 10% off for 30 days, for the monthly plan.   Reducing stress levels should be a priority of everyone.  Plus don’t forget about my new Walking Buddy plan.  It is 125 dollars per month with 2 30 minute walking sessions a week.  A great way to reduce stress.

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Memory Care Learn A New Word A Week Challenge: Belie

Updated 11/01/2021

Woot woot here comes the next word in our weekly challenge.  Belie is the word to memorize for this week.  Look up the definition of this word then in your journal write the word and the definition 10 times.  Then say it out loud 10 times.  Then try to use belie in a sentence.  Go back over all the previous words to make sure you are remembering them.  Say them out loud 10 times each if you need to.  How are you doing so far?  The list is getting longer, and longer, which means it is getting harder and harder.  You can do it! Make sure you find the other words in the archives. I am currently updating all of these posts. I will be creating some free, fun printables for my newsletter followers.

Remember, if you want to learn more ways to improve your memory, and you want me to be your Health Coach, use the contact button to message me and set up a free meet and greet.  You can check out the links below for important info.  I am running a special in February for all new customers.  Get 10% off the monthly plan.  Don’t forget about my new Walking Buddy plan too.  You can message me to discuss that if you need a walking buddy.

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Foodie Friday: Vitamin C

So, this will be a new feature on this blog.  Every Friday I will focus on something to do with food.  This week, because we are right smack in the middle of Cold and Flu Season, I picked Vitamin C.  Don’t forget for the month of February, all new clients get 10% off my monthly health coaching plan.  The discount is for the monthly plan only.  Yesterday, I introduced my Walking Buddy Plan.  If you are interested in any of that, use the contact button to message me, and set up a free meet and greet.

Another tidbit of info.  As I stated previously I have started a Carb Cycling meal plan.  This is not a Keto meal plan.  Keto is very dangerous for any with Cardiac or Kidney disease.  It is not a diet I would ever follow.  Carb Cycling is alternating between high, or normal Carb intake days, and lower carb days.  I do not ever go below 50 grams of carbs per day, and average 50-75/day, on those days.  With that in mind,  my other nutrition goal is to move to a whole plant based meal plan.  Why?  Because, on my low Carb days, I find myself eating more meat, and cheese options, as they are low Carb.  This is not good for my renal meal plan.  So, I have to learn to eat low Carb options that are plant based.  Completely changing your eating style is very hard, especially when I know the rest of my family is not going to go along with it for themselves.  But, I am determined, and so should you be, whatever your goals are.

Now, about Vitamin C.  Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, and more important to kidney patients, any excess not absorbed in the body is excreted in the kidneys.  High doses of Vitamin C, above 1 gram, or 1000 mg, can cause kidney stones in some people.  It can also cause crystal formations under the skin, and in some organs, in very high doses.  Because, Vitamin C does have some antihistamine effects, it is taken quite regularly during Cold and Flu season.  Vitamin C, in pill form, above 250 mg makes me sick to my stomach.  So, it is very easy for me not to take it in supplement form.  However, because used as a prophylaxis it can build the Immune System, avoiding the Cold or Flu, slightly, and possibly shorten the length you have it, I do take 250mg every other day this time of year.  It is debatable whether it is helping my seasonal allergy issues.  Avoiding dairy helps much more.  All doses mentioned in this article are for adults, not children.

Vitamin C is also an antioxidant making it important to wound healing, and possibly cancer and cardiac disease prevention.  If you are trying to stop eating meat, and meat products, then any time you eat high iron plant based foods, you should be taking Vitamin C with it.  For example, when I eat beans, I drink 4 oz of Orange Juice with it.  The Vitamin C helps the body absorb the iron in the plant based foods.

Foods that are naturally high in Vitamin C.  These are the top 10, and in order from highest to lowest, according to My Food Data.  There are cereals that are fortified with Vitamin C.  Please note, when you buy fresh fruits and veggies, they lose a lot of their nutritional value from pick time to purchase time.  Upick farms are great for this, and buying frozen because they are frozen immediately after being picked, sealing in the nutrients.  I do not particularly like frozen fruit, unless I put it in a smoothie, which is a great option.  Frozen veggies often taste fresher, and better than raw.

1.Guavas

2. Bell Peppers not the green ones.  They do have Vitamin C, but not as high as the colored variety.

3.  Kiwi

4.  Strawberries

5.  Oranges.  Surprised they aren’t at the top?

6.  Papayas

7.  Broccoli

8.  Tomato

9.  Kale

10.  Snow Peas

Also of note, if you are Diabetic, or on a Renal Diet, you need to monitor the sugar, and Potassium levels in each of these.

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Does Exercise Reduce Cardiac Risk?

Updated 2/7/2022

It is love your heart month, and heart health awareness.  Today, we will discuss exercise, and how it can reduce your risk for Cardiac disease, but also as it relates to people with CKD.  Remember, everyone is different, and for some people exercise may not reduce the risk.  Always ask your doctor before beginning an exercise routine, especially if you plan on doing more than a basic walking routine.  Vigorous exercise can be dangerous for some people, and for people with CKD, studies show that intense exercise may increase Creatinine levels, at least for short periods of time. If you have CKD, or Heart Disease already, be sure to talk to your doctor as to what exercises are best for you. Generally, most health care practitioners will probably be OK walking.

I did a post on walking, a couple weeks ago.  You can find it in the archives.  Most anyone can walk, and unless your doctor tells you no exercise, then chances are good you can walk too.  For me, I have CKD stage 3, I try to aim for 50-60% intensity of my Maximum Heart Rate.  To find your MHR you subtract your age from 220, then figure out 50% of that.  So, for my age, my MHR would be 85 beats a minute, at 50% intensity.    I try to stay in that range. This is very light exercise and it is hard to stay in that range if your goal is to increase your fitness level.

Of course, vigorous exercise is going to have a higher risk reduction.  According to medical websites, up to 25% risk reduction if you exercise vigorously, of cardiac disease risk.  For me, who works out moderately, it is only 10% risk reduction of reduction to cardiac risk.  But, for me, I can’t risk my one good kidney for an organ that right now is functioning fine.  Now that may change in the future.  Vigorous exercise would be running, jogging, bike riding, aerobics, etc.  Moderate exercise would be walking, yard work, or golfing.  Low-intensity aerobics can also fit under moderate exercise.  I recommend anyone starting out, do a walking program first.  This will increase your strength, balance, and circulation, preparing you for a higher endurance program.

Using weights also adds to the cardiac risk reduction.  However, again if you have CKD this can raise your Creatinine levels.  So, kidney websites recommend doing Pilates, or Yoga for toning, instead of weight lifting.  I have not started either of those yet, but I intend to.

Even 15 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity will benefit your heart.  The goal is to eventually build up to 60 minutes, at least 5 days a week.  But, if you can only do 5 or 10 minutes a couple days a week, then start there.  It is important to start somewhere.  Any activity is better than no activity at all.  Your heart is a muscle, and like any muscle, it will take time, and work to make it stronger.

Know to watch for warning signals, especially if you have CKD or an already underlying cardiac disease.  You do want to have difficulty carrying on a full conversation, but you don’t want to be breathing so hard that you are gasping for air, or can’t speak at all.  That is a sign that you are working too hard, and you need to stop and rest.  Learn to check your heart rate, before, during, and after you exercise.  Remember you want to stay within the MHR, as stated above.  The older you are the lower your MHR will be, so it is imperative you always speak to your doctor before starting an exercise program, and that you learn to properly monitor your heart rate and breathing during exercise.   Walking around your house is not an exercise program.  We all walk.  Fitness walking is an exercise program.  You will expect to have some muscle pain, after exercising, especially if you are sedentary.  But, chest pain, pain in the jaw, or neck, or any intense pain anywhere, can be indicative of an issue and you should stop and rest right away.  Also, make sure you stay hydrated.  Drink before, during, and after.  Don’t exercise in intense heat.  The goal is not to be a super athlete but to decrease your risk of cardiac disease.

Check out my Walk With Me, walking health plan. I am accepting new walking buddies, so use the contact form at the end of this post to send me an email for a free consultation. I would love to be your Walking Buddy and help you reach your wellness goals. If you need to learn how to check your heart rate, monitor your breathing, or other exercise safety measures, be sure to mention that in your email.

Watch the short video below that talks about reducing cardiac risk, and reducing the risk of cognitive decline with exercise as simple as walking.

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How To Get Rid Of Plantar Fasciitis!

Updated 2/3/2022:

As I stated last week, February is Heart Health Awareness Month.  My Thursday topics will be heart-related topics, especially in relation to CKD.  The 4 topics will be exercise, nutrition, stress, and cholesterol.  Plus, I am introducing a new monthly plan, called Walking Buddy.  That is right, I will be your walking buddy.  I will give more details in tomorrow’s post.  This plan will be strictly for people who want or need a walking partner. It is a virtual walking partner.

I got Plantar Fasciitis in early Summer last year.  Ooh, it was awfully painful.  I saw lots of websites claiming instant relief, or getting rid of it quickly.  While I hate to say something is untrue, I am telling you if you have a serious case, nothing will be quick.  It is a long, slow healing process.  But, there are things that will at least help alleviate the pain, and stress caused to your foot.  Hopefully, you only get it in one foot, not both.  I will share the things that actually work, and help the most.  It took mine 5 months to completely heal, but it can take up to a year, or longer if you don’t try some of these tips.  In the worst-case scenario, there is surgery, but I don’t think that happens very often.  So, here are the things that worked for me, in order of importance.

First, what is Plantar Fasciitis?  For most people, it means heel pain.  But, not everyone gets heel pain.  The Plantar Fascia runs all along the bottom of your foot, connecting your heel to your toes.  So, you can have an injury anywhere along there.  Mine was more towards the center of my arch.  If you have high arches, like me, you are more prone to get it, or flat feet too.  There are ways to tape and wrap, but they are very time-consuming, and I didn’t find it all that helpful.  I never tried taping but did do the ace wrap in ways meant to be helpful.

1-  Rest.  Yes, you must let it rest.  If you work on your feet all day, it is imperative that you not be on it, as much as possible, when you are not working.  This was torture for me.  By the end of the day, at first, the pain was almost unbearable.  People with CKD can only take Tylenol, which does not help inflammation.  This brings me to my next tip.

2- In the beginning especially, in the acute phase, use ice to decrease the inflammation.  You can apply ice any way you find that works, but what I found best is to put a water bottle in the freezer before I went to work, then roll my foot on it back and forth, after a long day on my feet.  Be sure to put a cloth between your foot and the ice.  This felt heavenly.  Some people find just rolling their foot on a tennis ball helps.  It did not for me.  I needed the ice.

3-  Do not exercise, as much as possible in the beginning.  When you do start to exercise again, take it slow.  It will not heal, and you can make it worse if you continue with your exercise regime.

4-  Now for the three products that I swear by.  The boot OMG, worn at night, as soon as I started wearing this, I started to see slow, but immediate results.  The little supports, I would wear in my shoe when I would work, or when exercising.  I tried the inserts first, and they not only didn’t help but seemed to make it worse.  But, those little beauties alleviated so much pain from being on my feet all day.  They are elastic, for compression to control swelling and softball support.  Just slip it over your foot and wear it all day., or night.  I bought both of these products at Walmart.  The boot was a little expensive but so worth it.  It stretches that tissue while you sleep.  Wear good shoes.  I love New Balance.  I wear them every time I walk, or work now, for long periods.  There are more expensive brands, but I find these work and are affordable.  My feet love these.  This brings me to my last point.

5-  Stretches.  There are lots of videos on Youtube that will help you do stretches for Plantar Fasciitis.  Along with the items I shared above, there were only 2 stretches, and one exercise I found actually helped.  The first stretch was actually quite difficult but really helped a lot.  You know how you stretch your fingers out away from each other?  Well, that is what you need to do with your toes.  At first, my toes wouldn’t do it.  It was like they were dumb and just couldn’t follow the command my brain was telling it.  So, I would use my fingers to force them apart.  But, slowly I was able to do it on command.  I still do this stretch on a regular basis.  The second one is similar to what the boot does.  Pull your toes towards your knee.  You can use a towel, or engage your calf muscle.  This is a great stretch for your calf muscle also.  The exercise that helped is rotating the foot in a complete circle several times, first clockwise, then counterclockwise.

If you would like me to work with a Health Coach to help you meet your health and wellness goals, use the contact form below to send me an email for a free consultation.

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Memory Care Challenge: Auspicious

Updated 11/22/2021: I am continuing to edit the older posts for this topic before proceeding to the new words. This is a very popular topic. Thanksgiving 2021 is this week, so be sure and check out my Gratitude posts from 2020. Just search for gratitude in the search box. I will be continuing the topic of Dementia into December, with some gift ideas for people suffering from Dementia.

So, this week’s word is Auspicious.  Remember, there are 100 words altogether, so this is a lengthy challenge.  In your journal write the word, and definition 10 times each, then say the word and definition out loud 10 times each.  Go back over all the previous words, reading them out loud 10 times each.  How are you doing so far?  This is our 6th word.  You can find the other words in the archives. Some more challenging ways to help improve memory and remember your words are to write a poem using the word of the week, or all the words. Draw a picture story, write a story, create a funny song. There is a short video below to help you learn more about the word, auspicious.

Taking care of your memory is such an important issue, especially with the rise in Dementia and Alzheimer’s diseases.  If you would like to work with me on other ways to improve your memory, click the contact button and send me a message to set up a free meet and greet via email. 

One great way that has proven to help prevent Dementia and improve cognition, and memory, is exercise. Check out my Walking Buddy Plan. It is affordable and walking is a great way to exercise, especially if you do not exercise, or have not in a while. You can use the contact form at the end of this post to send me an email with any questions. I am working on some free printables for my Mailchimp subscribers to help with learning and remembering the words on the list.

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Can’t Afford Organic? How To Remove Pesticides From Fruits and Veggies!

Updated: 2/2/2022: As I continue to edit old posts that I did, I came across this post. As my family is currently doing a Food Budget/Pantry Challenge for the whole year of 2022, this post became even more relevant. This refers to fresh fruit and veggies. If you buy frozen or canned, organic if you can afford it is best. This does not apply to processed foods, or convenience foods, for obvious reasons. Those foods, shelf-stable, if I choose to purchase them I do try to afford the organic varieties.

If you are like me, you may be trying to go Organic.  Organic foods are much more expensive than non-organic foods.  But, since they are supposed to be healthier I do it.  I won’t even go into the depressing article I read on how Organics were actually discovered to have pesticides.  Not yet, deep breath!  But, earlier this week, I read an article about how a new discovery of washing fruits, and veggies, is very effective in washing off pesticides.  This is good news to me.  We live on a budget, as a lot of Americans do, and buying Organic all the time is killing my grocery budget.

The report I read, which I can’t find now, was basically the same as the one I found on Consumer Reports.   I will get right to the point, but you can read all the boring mumbo jumbo by clicking that link in the sentence above.  They used bleach, regular water, and baking soda water.  Yes, baking soda, is a very cheap product to purchase.  I have stated previously that I take a 1/2 tsp of baking soda, in water twice a day, as prescribed by my doctor, and the results have been awesome for me in reversing my Metabolic Acidosis when I was first diagnosed with CKD. Now, I find another awesome way to use it.  I don’t want to wash my food in bleach, sorry.  I clean the house with it, but not to food washing.  Plain water, well ok but you know it isn’t going to remove all the pesticides.  According to the Consumer Report article, one tsp of baking soda in 2 cups of water for 2 minutes, removed some of the pesticides.  The other article I read was a tbsp of baking soda in a liter of water for 12 minutes, and most pesticides were removed.  Of course, you can’t account for pesticides already absorbed, but if you peel your fruits and vegetables that helps even more.  Be sure to rinse anything you soak in the baking soda solution.

I can not tell you how awesome I think this is, especially for people who might not be able to afford the more expensive organic items. There are other very good reasons to buy organic foods other than they are healthier to eat. But, when you live on a budget and you need to feed your family, organic might just not be feasible. If you ever wanted a cause to join, pushing politicians to make organic foods more affordable and accessible is a good option.

Use the contact form to send me a message for a free consultation.

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Having A Superbowl Get Together with CKD

Updated 2/1/2022: I wrote this in 2019 and man I was not a great writer, nor that knowledgeable about CKD. It has been a journey for me and I have learned so much. So much of our lives revolves around food and family get together. That does not go away just because you have CKD or any chronic illness. I did lose that 5% of body weight, as a matter of fact, I lost almost 10%. I still have more body fat that I would like to get rid of. Keep reading to learn about the issues with that. Also, I stopped exercising 60 minutes a day and went to 30. But, I have to admit I had the best success when I was doing 60 and dietary changes too. I will be doing an updated Superbowl food post soon.

OK, let’s admit it, it stinks having a chronic illness, but it stinks, even more, when there are parties or holidays to celebrate.  To throw another wrench in it, I am trying very hard to lose 5% of my weight.  That is not a whole lot, but the doctor swears I need to.  I exercise 60 minutes, at least 5 days a week, and have cut out so much stuff.  Yet, the scale never changes, unless I am starving myself, and I refuse to do that.  It is so hard to maintain Iron, Vitamin D, and other nutrients on a restricted diet.  I refuse to go backward when I have come so far.  But, I shall keep trying.  I have started Carb Cycling to see if that will help.  I will do another post on this, when I have been on it a while, and feel like I might know what I am talking about.  The skinny is, you have a normal carb day, alternating with a low carb day.  I am aiming for 50 carbs on my low-carb days.  Today is my first day trying the low-carb day.  So far so good.  I do have to be careful, though.  Lower carb foods, in general, mean I will be eating more of some foods I may want to avoid on a renal diet.  However, as long as I stay within my guidelines it should be OK.  Anyway, back to the Superbowl.  Davita has some great ideas for finger foods for the big day.  However, some of them don’t agree much with me.  You can find them by doing a search for Superbowl foods for CKD.  Below is what we will be having, and how I am adapting for myself. Tomorrow is a normal carb day for me, so I don’t have to watch carbs as much.

Chicken Wings:  My husband makes the best chicken wings, and I am not the only one that says that.  He missed his calling and should have been a chef.  But, he does not cook with the healthiest of options.  So, for me, mine will be baked, not deep-fried, and I limit myself to 4 or 5 wings. If you parboil your chicken wings prior to frying, or baking, it will reduce the potassium and phosphorus in the meat.

Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara Sauce:  I am not really adapting these, but sticking to only 3 or 4 sticks, and that is it for me.   Or, I may slice up some extra sharp cheddar cheese, and have that instead, with no sauce.  I can add some Ritz crackers, low sodium, but only a few because they probably have added Phosphorus.  I could make my own Marinara sauce, that will control sodium and other ingredients, or use Salsa. Updated: I have learned that if I eat organic salsa, and mozzarella sticks I will not get as much phosphorus.

Tortilla Chips with Salsa:  Tortilla chips are a better option than potato chips, that is why I get them.  Low Sodium is even better. There will be potato chips also, and Queso dip but I won’t eat those.  They are for our guests.

Veggie and Dip tray:  This is where I fill up on most of my calories.  I love fresh veggies and use Ranch dip.  I make the Hidden Valley kind with the packet and sour cream.  That is my favorite.  Of course, I have to watch the sodium in that.  We will have colored peppers, celery, cucumbers, and cauliflower.

Fresh Fruit:  With Cool Whip, just yum.  Strawberries, and grapes.  Again, a lot of my calories will come from fresh fruit.

Drinks:  We will have soda, but none for me.  No alcohol will be served, but there will be lots of water or Sweet Tea.  I may make some Green Sweet Tea.  It is better homemade, and I use organic honey for my sweetener. Update: I no longer use honey for sweetening, instead I use Stevia.

Remember you need to adapt your Superbowl to your dietary needs, not mine, or anyone else’s.  If you need help in learning or maintaining your needs, and following your diet, message me via the contact form at the end of this post, for a free health coaching consultation.   Don’t forget it is Heart Month, so my Thursday posts will center around Cardiac issues.  Be sure and read the disclaimer below, check out my archives, and maybe you want me to be your Health Buddy.

Oh, and go Rams!  No Patriots fans in this house.

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