Foodie Friday: How I Made My Family Weekly Menu Friendly for CKD

Welcome back!  So far the meal planning is working very well for us.  Everyone knows what we are having, and I can shop and plan for my CKD needs much easier.  Remember that I am in stage 3, stable and stable non-dialysis.  This meal plan was for this week which started on Sunday and will end Saturday.

Sunday:  BLT and apples.  Everyone eats the low sodium turkey bacon I buy.  I like BLT on French bread, but I didn’t have that, so we just used white sandwich bread.  I did not buy whole-grain bread this week, but normally I would use that for me.  Whole-grain bread is higher in phosphorus, but it is also healthier.  I am just sure to stick to one sandwich.   I do not have potassium restrictions so I can have tomato.  If you do have potassium restrictions skip the tomato or use just one slice.  I use Iceberg lettuce because it has the least amount of potassium of the lettuces available.

Monday:  Chicken Alfredo with broccoli.  This was a workday for me, so I did not make or eat this.  My daughter did make it using cauliflower alfredo and I guess they liked it.  I do not care for alfredo sauce so I probably would have just had some chicken with pasta and broccoli with a dab of butter and seasoning.  Making my own alfredo sauce rather than from a jar would save a lot of sodium.  Broccoli is high in potassium, but it also is super nutritious.  If you have to restrict your potassium choose another veggie such as carrots which would be equally good.

Tuesday:  Smothered pork chops, mashed potatoes, and sliced cucumbers.  I choose the thin slice pork chops and be sure to only have one chop.  If they are large I eat half.  If I have had very little protein for the other two meals, I will eat the whole pork chop.  I prefer center cut or loin chops.  Make your own gravy if you can.  If you must use a packet limit the amount you eat, or just eliminate it.   I saute onions and white button mushrooms to smother the pork chops in.  I do not cook with salt and I use spices and vinegar for flavor. I do not add the sauteed veggies to the gravy to keep my sodium level intake lower.   Salt-free butter is also a good idea to always have on hand.  Mashed potatoes were from a packet, but if I made my own it would be much fewer sodium amounts.  Use skim milk and salt-free butter also when making homemade mashed potatoes.  My family sprinkles salt on their cucumbers I like to drizzle raspberry vinaigrette on mine.

Wednesday:  Hot dogs, spaghetti-o’s, and fruit.  So, apparently, no one likes spaghetti-os but me.  So, I ate them.  Not exactly healthy, but they need to be used and I am avoiding food waste.  I ate one hot dog, without the bun.  Bread is very high in sodium so if I can do without the bun I do.  I very rarely use Catsup either but use mustard instead.  Mustard is low in sodium, Catsup is not.  There is a low sodium version but I find it quite gross.   I am not on fluid restrictions so I drink two glasses of water with this meal due to the high sodium in the hot dog.  Boiling the hot dog instead of frying it will also remove some of the fat and sodium.

Thursday:  Grilled cheese and tomato soup.  I actually love this easy meal.  Cheese is high in protein, sodium,  and phosphorus so be sure and only eat one serving.  Choose white bread especially if you are watching your phosphorus.  I use whole grain for the fiber.  There are lower sodium tomato soups in cans, but you can also very easily make your own and control the sodium in the soup.  Swiss cheese is generally lower in sodium than other cheeses.  This was a workday for me, so I did not get to enjoy this simple comfort dinner, but I did have it for lunch before leaving for work.

Friday:  Ground turkey with pasta shells and broccoli.  This is a new recipe for me and we are having it tonight.  Ground turkey, I bought the white ground turkey, is very low and fat and sodium.  The recipe also calls for low sodium options.  Again, if you need to avoid potassium, you could choose another veggie such as cauliflower. Also, remember that a serving size of meat is 3 oz or about the size of the palm of a hand.  This will help you keep your protein, and phosphorus in check.  Par-boiling meat also helps.   You can find the recipe here on my Pinterest page

Saturday:  If there are leftovers from Friday I will take them to work with me on Saturday for my dinner.  I will be making a basic meat sauce using ground beef for my family to serve over pasta for dinner.  I will take that on Sunday for my dinner at work.  Making your own sauce will keep sodium levels low.  I don’t eat a lot of sauce, so a couple of tablespoons is all I need to be content.  Limit your meat serving to 3 ounces.   Cook and drain your ground beef before adding it to your sauce.  Use spices instead of salt to season your meat and sauce.  A side salad will round out this dinner.  Eat more salad than meat sauce and pasta.

You may be wondering what I eat when I work.  If I don’t have leftovers to bring, I will put something simple together.  Sometimes I just take a salad and fruit.  Other times I will pack two slices of bread, a tiny bit of mayo and sliced tomatoes and have a tomato sandwich.  It just depends on what is easy, and what will fit into my dietary needs for the day.  I hate to have to warm things, so I often bring cold foods.

If you would like to learn more about tricks to make meals more kidney-friendly, use the contact form below to message me for a free meet and greet.

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Wellness Wednesday: Antibiotics Why Less is More

I really like the video below.  These videos were created to help laypeople understand medical issues in a simpler way.  Infectious germs are becoming more and more resistant to antibiotics.  A lot of this is due to the overuse of antibiotics and people not taking the full course subscribed to their antibiotics.  When you are prescribed an antibiotic take all of it, do not leave any, or save it for another infection.  If I need an antibiotic, which thank goodness is very rare, I ask for a culture to be done to be sure the proper antibiotics are being prescribed.  This does mean you will have to wait a couple of days for the results to come back, but it is better to target the correct organism.  Watch the video to learn more.

Use the contact form below to ask me about my Health Coaching services, or sign up for my weekly newsletter.

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Menu Plan Monday: Family of 4, One with CKD

Welcome back to my second week of menu plans.  On Fridays, I go over the changes I made to make the meals more kidney-friendly for me.  We are a family of four, but one child does not eat here regularly anymore.  We are attempting to still eat healthily but cut our food budget.  I have CKD stage 3, and my husband needs to lower his cholesterol.  Eating healthy can be more expensive, at least that is the perception.  While it is true buying organic, grass-fed, etc type foods are pricier than other varieties, but it can be done with some meal planning.  Making a menu, and then a grocery list, and then sticking to that list should help you stick to a budget.  Menu plans are for dinner only.

My menu plan for 2/24/2020-3/1/2020:

Monday:  Chicken Alfredo and broccoli.  This is a workday for me, so this is a meal my family will cook for themselves.  Fruit for dessert or after dinner snack.

Tuesday:  Smothered pork chops, mashed potatoes, and green beans.  Fruit for dessert or after dinner snack.

Wednesday:  Spaghetti-O’s and hot dogs, fruit and or veggie of choice.  We had these leftovers from hurricane prep last year and they need to be used up.  Using food on hand is essential to a budget even if it isn’t gourmet.  I will still have one more can of them left, so they will probably become lunch at some point.

Thursday:  Grilled cheese and tomato soup. A side salad can be added if desired.  Fruit for dessert or snack.  Another workday for me so this is an easy meal for my family to make when I am working.

Friday:  Ground turkey with broccoli and pasta shells in a savory sauce.  This is a new recipe for us.  I would like us to eat more lean turkey.  I hope this will be a hit.  Fruit for dessert or snack.

I am only buying fruit in season, and that my family will eat to avoid waste.  No trying new fruits to just have them be wasted.  I bought apples, oranges, and bananas for this week.  I shopped at Save A Lot and Walmart. The California oranges were amazing and are almost gone with a few more days until the next shopping day.    I forgot to keep my receipt, but this week was a little higher than last due to the meat I had to purchase.  It was still well below my 100 dollars per week limit. That 100 dollars is for 3 meals a day, not just dinners.   I still have to meal plan better for when I work.  I am doing low carb at dinner time, and I have not been well prepared for that when I work.

If you would like to learn more about menu planning for chronic illness, message me for a free meet and greet with an assessment. All new customers get the first month for 25 dollars.  Use the contact form at the end of this post.

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Sweating on Sunday: Step Aerobics

I had mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I had picked up the duration and intensity of my workouts.  My labs have all been good, and my kidneys are stable.  I now lift weights twice a week, instead of once, and have started doing step aerobics.  Now, I do not yet own a step.  I used to, but I must have gotten rid of it.  I am too cheap to pay too much for one, so until I find one at a bargain price I will just do the steps without it.  Trust me you still are getting a great workout, and honestly, if you are new to step aerobics or clumsy learning the steps first, off of the step is a good idea.  It is very easy to trip and fall, and injure oneself.  I like the Cher video below.  I used to do this way back in the ’90s and surprisingly stored away in my brain I still remembered the steps.  The teacher of this video has a much more difficult video.  I tried it today, and it is very hard to keep up.  I don’t give up, though.  I do 30 minutes of the step video, starting at the 9-minute mark, and then a 15-minute fitness walking video.  That way I get a 45-minute routine and I don’t get bored, which is very easy for me.  I will do this for a while and then change it up again.  I really like Zumba and the line dancing videos too.

Remember to stay in your target heart zone for exercise.  Step aerobics is not low impact and your heart rate will go up pretty quickly especially if you are a beginner.  Stay on the floor and leave out the arms if you need to.  It is still great for balance and brain training to learn harder choreography than just walking.

On Friday I wrote about how I made our weekly meal plan more kidney-friendly for me.  Sunday, today, is technically a new week, but I added it to the Friday post.  We are having BLT’s and I had talked about the bread, however, I am going to try an egg wrap to replace the bread.  I will let you know how that works out.  I am doing that because I am doing low carb after lunch to see if it works with weight loss.  Stay tuned.

If you would like to use my Health Coaching services, use the contact form below to email me for a free meet and greet.  All new customers get the first month for 25 dollars.

Also, don’t forget to check out myHealth Buddy Melissa Facebook page to follow my 2020 #WalkingChallenge and to join in if you like.

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Simple Saturday: Paint A Winter Landscape

Updated 8/28/2021: I still have not painted mine yet, lol. I will try to get to it this week. I have all of the supplies, just forgot about it. I try to leave Saturdays for simple, fun, relaxing and de-stressing topics.  I have several hobbies that I thoroughly enjoy, and painting is one of them.  I have not painted in a while and I feel a little out of practice.  I found this tutorial on Pinterest.  Now, I have not tried it, but I watched it and it does seem very simple and basic.  I love painting landscapes.  You don’t even need a ton of supplies.  I do not like paint knives, so I will not use those, and I am not sure I like the way the white shadows on the water of her painting came out.  So, I will just use a straight edge brush when I do mine, which hopefully will be soon.  Anyway, if you do it, please share it, and I will share mine as soon as I have it finished.  I miss painting and I need to get back into doing it regularly.  Here in Florida I generally paint more in the Summer and do the glass etching in the Winter months.  Have fun relaxing on this Simple Saturday.

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Foodie Friday: Making My Weekly Meal Plan Kidney-Friendly

So, I have decided to make my Foodie Friday posts about how I make my family meal plan more kidney-friendly for me.  Sometimes I don’t have to change much, but other meals I modify quite a bit for me.  I don’t expect my family to give up all the things they love just because I have kidney disease.  However, I also don’t want to cook 2 separate meals, and I also don’t want to waste food or money.  Below I will show the modifications I made.  Please note I am stage 3.  I do not have Diabetes or High Blood Pressure.  I do have some weight I would like to lose. I am 50 years old, and post-menopausal.  I do not have issues with Potassium.

Monday-  Chicken Ala King over biscuits and fruit.  This was the meal.  Now because we are trying to use up food we already have I used cream of chicken soup to make the gravy base.  These soups are very high in sodium.  You could always make your own, or just portion a smaller portion which is what I did.  I also par-boil the chicken to reduce fat, potassium, and phosphorus.  I then pan fry it with some seasonings for flavor before adding it to the gravy.  We used canned peas and carrots because again I am trying to use up food on hand.  To lower the sodium levels rinse the veggies twice before adding them to the gravy mixture.  For biscuits, I have never found a low sodium version.  They are also higher in phosphorus.  So, I simply just made sure I ate only one biscuit.  Make sure you are not taking more than 3 oz of chicken when you plate up your food.  I had a side salad to fill me up instead of having two biscuits and more of the gravy mixture.

Tuesday-  Fried chicken, mac n cheese with whole tomatoes over it and green beans.  This one is obviously hard for several reasons.  I again par-boiled the chicken before frying it.  For the coating, I found Publix brand bread crumbs the unflavored ones have no phos in the ingredients, so I use them.  I dip each piece of chicken in egg then coat with the breadcrumbs.  Then fry in just a little bit of oil to make them crispy.  My kids like Kraft Mac n Cheese of course.  I just limit myself to a 1/4 cup serving.  Green beans were canned so again I rinse and drain two times prior to cooking.  Always use salt-free butter.  A side salad again for me, helps me fill up.  For the tomatoes they were stewed canned tomatoes, and I only add like a teaspoon to my mac n cheese.

Wednesday:  Grilled Cheese and tomato soup, fruit.  You can always use Ezekiel bread it is very low in sodium.  I used whole grain bread for mine, which is higher in phosphorus, but still better for me.  You can use Swiss cheese which is a lower sodium salt.  Look at the different brands of cheese that you may like to pick the lowest sodium version.  Tomato soup was delicious I cook it with water, not milk, and I do not add crackers.  You can make homemade tomato soup very easy and it will have way less sodium, but I had canned on hand.  For the fruit, we always have oranges, bananas or apples on hand.  I split a banana with one of my kids.  If you can not have a banana or orange due to potassium restrictions, choose berries, or apples instead.

Thursday-  Chicken Marsala, pasta, fruit or salad.  I had a jar of Marsala sauce I bought to try.  But, I noticed there was a lot of sodium and other things CKD people should really not have.  So, I opted to just not use any for me.  I am also not eating carbs past my lunchtime meal, so I skipped the pasta.  I par-boiled the chicken before pan-frying in spices, and then I added mine to a salad.  Everyone else ate it over pasta and said the sauce was just ok.  I will just make it homemade from now on.  For fruit, again I split a banana with my daughter.

Friday-  This is a workday for me, so I am taking tuna with mayo, an orange and a banana.  I do eat a whole can of tuna when I am working.  If I don’t eat it all I bring it home for a future lunch.  I eat it without bread or carbs.  Note on the carbs, I am not talking about fresh fruit.  Those carbs I do eat at dinner time.  I will let you know how this works for me and my weight loss goal.  The rest of my family will have cheese ravioli with cheesy bread.  If I was going to be home I would eat this but limit my portions and add a side salad.

Saturday-  The menu says smothered frito taco bowls and coleslaw.  This is totally not what is going to happen.  My daughter picked this meal and when I was looking at the recipe there is no way I can make this healthy enough for me, and honestly, it is not healthy for anyone.  I do not par-boil ground beef.  You can, of course, but I don’t.  This meal will instead be soft tacos, and for me a taco salad.  Making your own taco seasoning will save a ton of sodium.  I had a packet on hand, so I will be using that.  I limit the amount of meat I put on my salad to 3 oz, a small amount of sour cream and a small amount of shredded cheese.  The shells are high in sodium, sometimes higher than bread, and have added phosphorus for preservatives.  So, I avoid them.

Sunday-  BLT, and apples.  If I choose not to have bread I will put my bacon, lettuce, and tomato in a salad.  I probably will have whole wheat bread.  White bread has less phosphorus, but I want the whole grains in whole wheat.  You can use Ezekiel bread to have lower sodium bread.  If I choose to have bread, then I can have the coleslaw I didn’t make on Saturday.  Apples round out this meal.  After you make your bacon, be sure and let it rest on a plate of paper towels to get rid of some of the greases.  Use low sodium bacon or turkey bacon.  My family is not crazy about either of those, so I simply limit my portion size to no more than 3 slices.  Note that dairy products are very high in Phosphorus.  I do not consume dairy except in very small portions and only with certain meals.  I do not drink Milk, except in very hit or miss situations, such as on my cereal.

I am working on next week’s menu as we speak.  Be sure to come back and check on Monday.  Remember foods that are processed, and not fresh, are going to have more sodium, potassium, and phosphorus than fresh because they act as preservatives for longer shelf life.  Be sure you are only consuming the portion size, or cook from fresh if possible.  If you would like to learn more about how a Health Coach can help you message me for a free meet and greet.  Use the contact form below to message me about learning more about my services, or to sign up for my weekly newsletter.

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Wellness Wednesday: Reiki for Stress Relief or Anxiety

Stress and Anxiety are kind of similar, but different.  They can both be acute and quick, or chronic and long-lasting.  Chronic Stress and Chronic Anxiety can be debilitating and cause illness.  Learning to deal and cope with these issues is very beneficial.

Nursing is a very stressful job, especially bedside nursing.  If you are doing bedside nursing then you know what I am talking about.  But, any job can be stressful, as well as just everyday situations.  We all deal with stress, and anxiety in different ways, but some people deal with it by not dealing with it.  This can be incredibly unhealthy.

I am a level 2 Reiki Practitioner.  I offer 15 minute Distance Reiki sessions to help heal negative energy caused by Stress and Anxiety.  If you would like to purchase a session, you can visit my Etsy shopor use the contact form below to message me.  Anyone who purchases a Reiki session will have a meet and greet prior to their session.

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Tips on Tuesday: Boil Foods to Reduce Phosphorus Levels

Updated 2/23/2021 I have been researching Phosphorus since I was diagnosed with CKD in 2017.  Phosphorus levels in foods are not required on food labels and are very often difficult to know which foods it is high or low.  Below I will give some tips, and the source so you can read the whole article, on ways to keep phosphorus levels under control. I recently found a great app called Nutrition Facts. It has the phosphorus levels for a lot of foods. It is super easy to use, too.

If you are on Dialysis your nutrition requirements will be much different than someone who is stage 3, like me, or non-dialysis.  Always consult your doctor about food choices or changes you are making.

1-  I have mentioned this before, but it is worth mentioning again, learn to read labels.  Any words with the word PHOS in the ingredients list, means there are levels of phosphorus in that food.  Try to avoid or limit these as much as possible.

2-  This kind of goes with number 1, but I put it separately to draw more attention to it.  Processed foods, that means foods that can stay on the shelf for very long periods of time, low-fat foods, and other quick easy type meals not only have the highest levels of phosphorus but this kind of phosphorus additive is nearly 100% absorbed by the body.  I love quick and easy too, but avoiding these foods as much as possible I think should be the goal of all who want to live healthier, not just CKD people.

3-  I actually just learned about this.  Boiling meat, and other food items, decreases the phosphorus content by up to 38% for meats.  It also reduces potassium, sodium, and calcium.  I just started doing this.  I do not have issues with my phosphorus levels at this time.  But, I am postmenopausal and I worry about my bone health, as well as maintaining kidney function.  So, it is imperative for me to keep phosphorus levels in check.  I simply boil for about 10 minutes then bake, or fry on the stove to finish the meat.  I am looking into whether pressure cooking and crockpot cooking of meat has the same effect as long as you do not consume the juices it is cooked in.  I will post more about that later.

4-  Remember that whole grains, which are obviously less processed than white bread are higher in phosphorus, but they can still be better for you if you don’t have issues with phosphorus.  I use multigrain bread and brown rice, but I consume them in lower amounts than the suggested serving size.  So, instead of 2 slices of bread for a sandwich, I only have one slice.  I basically half the serving size.  Nuts, seeds, and legumes are also higher in phosphorus.  See the phosphorus pyramid below.  You can read the source I used here.

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Menu Plan Monday

I forgot to post my walking stats yesterday, to the FB page, so they will be posted shortly.  I hope others are taking the Walking Challenge.  If you would like more information about that, use the contact form below to message me.

My husband and I decided that we really needed to revamp the way we grocery shop.  There are 3 main reasons for this.

1-  To avoid food waste using leftovers up and food items in the pantry.

2-  To cut our grocery bill in at least half or more if possible.

3-  To eat healthier and stick cut out a lot of the junk.

Now I can tell you my kids are really not on board with this.  But, lucky for me they don’t pay any bills so we the parents have all the say.  Now that doesn’t mean there will be no snack foods or food they will enjoy eating.  But, it does mean there won’t be all the crap they like to eat so much in the house.  I was going to share the picture of my February meal plan, but then I realized my handwriting has a lot to be desired and I have funky symbols that only I know what they mean.  So, I will just list out the menu items.  You can find all of these recipes in various places on the web, mostly Pinterest for me.  I adapt them to meet my dietary needs, for CKD.  I have started shopping weekly, and last week only spent 70 dollars on food, and that was with non-food items as well.  I shopped at Save A Lot and Walmart.  I do still try to buy organic and grass-fed meats.  This is actually fairly difficult on a strict budget.  It would be easier if Trader Joe’s was not so far from where I live.  The expense of the gas just isn’t worth the trip, unless I am going to that city for another reason.

This menu does not include breakfast or lunch.  We have a frugal breakfast and lunches already.  We eat a lot of chicken, but not in large portions.

2/17-  Chicken Ala King over Biscuits, fruit

2/18-  Fried chicken, mac n cheese with whole tomatoes over it, green beans

2/19-  Grilled cheese and tomato soup, fruit

2/20- Chicken marsala, pasta, fruit or salad

2/21-  Ravioli, bread and butter, side salad

2/22-  Smothered Frito taco bowls, coleslaw

2/23-  BLT and apples

2/24-  Chicken alfredo and broccoli

2/25-  Smothered pork chops, mashed potatoes, green beans

2/26-  Spaghetti O’s, hot dogs, veggies

2/27-  Grilled cheese and tomato soup, chips

2/28-  Ground turkey and broccoli pasta dish

2/29-  Spaghetti and meat sauce, side salad

If you are interested in learning how to meal plan, edit recipes for nutrition needs, or any of my coaching services, use the contact form at the end of the post to message me.

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