Self Care Sunday: Sunsets

Do you take time to enjoy Sunsets? Taking a few minutes and watching the sunset every day can be a powerful end to your busy day. I try to be outside every evening throwing the ball to the dog and watching the sunset. I sit on the swing and listen to the birds, and tree frogs in the Summer.

We are actually on vacation, and the sunset below is a Saharan Dust Sunset in Captiva Island. We were supposed to be vacationing in NY. We left for NY, got as far as NC, and the governor of NY put a mandatory 2 week quarantine in place for all visitors from FL. Since that would have been our whole vacation, and being caught came with hefty fines, we turned around and returned to FL. We decided to visit Captiva, a place we have always wanted to go to. It is amazing here. Kind of expensive, but I guess all vacation spots would be expensive. The sunsets are truly amazing, and the beaches are awesome. Most people here are wearing face masks, which believe me is no easy feat when it is 100 degrees plus outside. The beaches are not crowded this time of year, due to the heat, so masks have not been needed on the beach.

I will miss this place when we leave.

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Going Vegetarian with CKD, Protein

Happy Monday! Health Buddy Melissa is going on a much needed family vacation. We have all been tested for Covid, and are negative, and will be travelling to see family some we haven’t seen in years. We have masks, hand sanitizer, and proper disinfecting supplies. We are ready to go! You can still email me, using the contact form at the end of the post, if you are interested in using any of my coaching services. I will be back to taking new clients on July 13th. I will still communicate via email with anyone who has questions or comments. My laptop goes with me everywhere. I wanted to get in at least one more post before I officially leave.

Last week I talked about the bio-availability of Iron in plant based foods, and how that can affect someone with CKD. Today, I will discuss protein on a plant- based or Vegetarian diet and the challenges of getting enough Protein. I am testing taking Amino Acids with a very low protein diet. I am not suggesting others should do this, but it is worth talking to your physician about. There is a very strong study that taking Amino Acids plus a low protein diet, may help the issue of Protein metabolism and how it effects the kidneys. I will keep you posted on how it goes. As of now it has been about two weeks, and I feel very good, no issues and I have no inflammation or GI upset. I had said before that I was trying Lo Fodmap, and while there are a few of those foods that I truly need to avoid such as soy and cauliflower, most of the rest of that diet is not necessary. I do not tolerate beans, and legumes well, either.

Which leads me to the point of this post. The video below will explain that plant based protein is not as well absorbed as animal protein. Which means you need to eat a lot more of plant based proteins to get enough. If you have CKD, then this can be bothersome because most plants have quite a bit of phosphorus and potassium. Not to mention some are pretty heavy on the calories, and if you want to lose weight this adds another challenge. That does not mean you shouldn’t talk to your doctor about it. Studies are clear that eating a Vegetarian or plant based diet is very beneficial to the kidneys. That is why I am choosing to try the Amino Acid supplement with a low protein diet. This is not a Vegan diet. I have already scheduled my labs and dr appt for September. I also know to monitor my body for any changes or negative effects. Please consult your MD if you choose to give this a go. You do not want to get PEW or muscle wasting. This can be a very bad side effect of a low protein diet. It can also be dangerous. Your heart is a muscle and protein energy wasting can effect the heart. It happens quickly and you may think you are just losing weight, when in actuality you may be losing muscle mass and possibly adding fat in its place. You also don’t want to push your body into Metabolic Alkalosis the opposite of what most kidney patients have from acid buildup. Be smart and be safe.

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Plant Based Diet and Iron

A couple of things before I begin. I have been following a plant-based diet for about 10 days now. I can tell you I have no inflammation and I feel great. I also am currently losing a 1/2 pound of weight per day. We are getting ready to go on a much needed vacation, so I will try to get at least two more posts in before we go, on this topic.

Now, with all that said, Iron, Protein and B12 are my biggest concerns with following a plant-based diet and also having CKD. There is a lot of evidence that a diet based around plants can help the kidneys. However, because plants are non heme Iron sources, plus high in potassium and phosphorus, I am being proactive with this diet choice. Proactive means learning, studying and understanding symptoms my body may have. This week I started to notice my tongue was getting sore. This means I probably am starting to lose Iron stores. This freaked me out a bit, so I did eat some meat yesterday, and took a Iron supplement. Today, the soreness is gone. One of my issues with this diet, is that Iron in plant foods is not readily absorbed by the body, which means it is basically useless. This should concern anyone, as having Anemia is not fun for anyone, but it is especially concerning if you have kidney disease. So, after doing some more research, I have to be sure and take my plant iron sources with a Vitamin C source. This will not be hard to do, I just have to be more aware of it when I am eating. There are other things that block the absorption of plant sources of Iron. The short video below will explain them in a very easy way to understand.

I plan to continue this plant-based diet, hopefully forever. In the next two posts I will discuss protein and Vitamin B12 as it relates to absorption and bio-availability.

If you have questions, or concerns, please use the contact form under the video to message me.

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Portion Distortion: Pancakes and ckd!

Updated 9/6/2021: Happy Monday to all of my wonderful readers! I am not sure I am liking this new WordPress editor. I can’t post to certain categories anymore, which is annoying. At any rate, this week for Mindful Monday I am sharing another portion distortion food plate. As I continue to teach my husband, and myself about portion control, I am always learning too as I coach others, we are seeing how much portion sizes are out of control in the USA. Today, I will discuss pancakes.

Who doesn’t love pancakes? They are an easy, affordable breakfast option for many families. However, pancakes are also high in carbs, and a calorie dense food. Pancakes are also a good source of Iron which can definitely make pancakes a healthy breakfast choice. I had a box of amazing Chocolate Chip Pancakes in my cupboard. We don’t eat pancakes a lot, but I wanted a calorie dense morning starter because I probably was only going to have a very light, or no lunch, and was doing a lot of outside work on a very hot and humid day. But, I also wanted to stay within my chose eating portions.

According to the box, one serving is 1/2 cup dry pancake mix, mixed with water. That made exactly one pancake. My pancake got a little mangled when I flipped it, but you get the idea of the size in my image. That one pancake, portion size, was 220 calories. I added a 1/4 cup of Maple Syrup, which added another 100 calories. A portion size on the label of the Maple Syrup was a 1/2 cup for 200 calories. I halved it. This one pancake, was very filling and I had no problem keeping my energy levels up through the sweaty outside work until I could get a meal again.

You can see how pancake calories can very quickly add up if you don’t follow the portion sizes on the food label. I have seen people put way over the recommended 1/2 cup of syrup on their pancakes. Remember 1/2 cup has 200 calories, the majority of which comes from sugar. If you have CKD, pancakes are also high in Phosphorus, one portion having up to a possible 20% of the recommended amount for a day. The pancake mix I used had chocolate chips, making the Phosphorus most likely even higher. They can also be high in Potassium, and definitely Sodium. If you have CKD be sure and consume only one portion of pancakes. Trust me, I know how hard it is to eat just one pancake. But, they are a very filling calorie dense food item, so one is very satisfying.

If you have any questions, please use the contact form after the images, to contact me. I am a Health Coach with CKD, and if you would like to learn more about my coaching services, use the contact form under the images to message me.

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Going Plant Based or Vegetarian with Kidney Disease

So, I was originally going to post one big post on meat protein vs plant protein, but there is so much good information out there that I decided to split them up into individual posts. This post will be about my personal experience so far.

I have written about Plant Based and Vegetarian lifestyles, before. But, while I had made a lot of changes, and tried various things I never went full on in. The main reason for that is I have an underlying fear of not getting enough Iron from plant sources, mainly because I do not digest or tolerate beans, or soy very well. I do not want to be anemic again like I was when I was first diagnosed. That was incredibly awful. That fear has plagued me for a couple of years. Fears are funny things. But, after taking some Nutrition courses, and reading a lot about Plant Based and Vegetarian lifestyles, and the benefits it has on the kidneys I decided to go all in. I have been Plant Based totally for 7 days now. I do eat eggs about twice a week, and have skim milk a few times a week. I will also have small amounts of cheese, ice cream on occasion and this morning I had two pieces of bacon. I assume I will eat Tuna a couple of times a month. No more chicken, pork or beef. Holidays I am sure I will have turkey if it is offered.

I feel great actually, and I do take a multivitamin a few times a week just to be safe with my Iron. The fear of being anemic is bigger than my desire to not want to take supplements. I have no inflammation, headaches, or joint pains since switching. I do get muscle soreness after exercising hard, but that is normal soreness. I have noticed I am not sleeping as well, but I assume that will correct itself after my body has adjusted. I sleep sound, just not as long as I would like. It could be totally due to it being lighter earlier, also.

Because I am also on a weight loss mission, that will be another post, plant based can have a lot of carbs, so it is a real balancing act.

Stay tuned to follow my journey. We are going on a family vacation in 10 days it will be interesting to see how I will make modifications while travelling. I don’t see me wanting to eat salad all the time, but we will see. I may have to just take some things in the car that can travel easily. We are driving and it will be a long three days to get where we are going. I will try to blog daily, or every few days at least.

Below you will find one of my new favorite exercise videos. I was going to do them all in one post too, but I find there are too many, lol. I get bored very easily. Remember if you have kidney disease you need to keep your heart rate zone within the light to moderate range. Under the video will be a contact form. Please use it to contact me for any reason. All comments are moderated. Please make comments post topic appropriate or they will not be allowed. I know everyone wants backlinks, but this gets quite old the strange comments I get.

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Self Care Saturday: Have A Cup of Tea

I will admit I am not much of a tea drinker, or at least I wasn’t. But, now I quite enjoy a cup of warm tea once or twice a day. Try drinking tea just on Saturday and see if you can learn to like it. Teas has some awesome health benefits, especially white and green tea varieties. Opt for the most organic with the least amount of preservatives to get the most benefits. I have not tried white tea, but I really do enjoy green tea. I add a cinnamon stick and a tbsp of French Vanilla creamer. i Take it out to the the garden, or sit on the yard swing and enjoy all the lovely sounds around me. It is a great way to start a morning, or end a day.

Maybe you are just a little stressed out. Sit down with a cup of tea and practice focusing on your breathing and away from your thoughts. By the time the tea is gone you will feel ready to go again.

View the videos below to learn about all the health benefits, and some possible risks of drinking tea. One thing that really caught my eye, is that the tannins in tea can decrease the amount of Iron the body can absorb. So, be sure and have your cup of tea an hour before a meal, or two hours after, never with a meal. Here is a link to read more about green tea benefits.

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Shock TV!

This has been one of the busiest summers I have had in a long time, and it hasn’t even officially started yet. Last week a Tropical Storm came through. We only got a lot of rain, but it was kind of nice because we had been in a drought. I am still working on my Mindfulness class, and finished up a bunch of Nutrition classes. Which brings me to the topic of this post.

Do you know what a size zero is? Do you know, how skinny that really is, and how malnourished a size 0 probably is? I am not saying anyone should be grossly overweight, either, but most people don’t strive to be grossly overweight. I am always amazed at the human mind and what we really are able to convince ourselves is normal. Below, are two British shows, where they have Universal Health Care, on the topics of Obesity and Anorexia. While the series is a drama and I am sure some of it may have been dramatized for TV purposes, you can not escape the shock of the participants in the series Supersize vs Superskinny. There are 7 seasons and you can watch it right on Youtube. I only shared season 1 episode 1 below. You will see how the doctor uses the diets of the participants via meal swaps, to show the other how their bad eating habits really look and feel. There are other tidbits of information in this show. I learn so much from human behavior and watching others. If you are struggling with weight, either under or over, seek assistance to help you get on the right track. Just dropping 20 pounds can help your Health so much.

The second video is actually a documentary. I am not sure why it is pixelated, but all of the options for this one were. You still get the idea, and this video is shocking. It showcases a woman who is already a size 8, and her journey to be a size 0 USA size, or a size 4 in the UK. What she puts herself through in 30 days to drop two dress sizes is just awful.

As a Health Coach, I will never coach my clients into Fad diets, excessive exercise, starving ones self, etc, to lose weight. I promote healthy lifestyle change, and that takes time. There are no quick fixes here.

Please remember if you are underweight, or suffer from Anorexia, to please seek medical assistance. Being underweight is extremely dangerous and your heart can just stop. It may even be more dangerous than being overweight. This blog is for adults. If you are a child and are in crisis, please seek assistance from a medical doctor.

If you would like to learn more about my coaching services, please use the contact form after the videos, to message me.

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Portion Distortion!

Well, it was an interesting past 7 days. My internet was in and out, and every afternoon went out for at least an hour. So, I have decided to try to blog in the mornings instead. I missed three scheduled posts last week, and I will get them done within this week. We had a tropical storm come by us, and it rained buckets for days.

I have started coaching my husband on diet and portion control. It is working quite well for him. He had no clue how much he was really eating. I am guessing a lot of people don’t follow the recommended portions on the food label of every food item. Plus, learning how much saturated fat is in fast food has really opened his eyes as well. He has already lost 5 pounds. Below you will see an image of my breakfast this morning.

This breakfast is one scrambled egg, 1/2 cup of skim milk, and 1 cup of Chex Vanilla cereal. This breakfast has 277 calories, and 12 grams of protein, and is the correct portion size of cereal and milk. The cereal may have a small amount of protein, but I had thrown the box away so I can’t say for sure. Cereal is a great option for breakfast. It is almost always fortified with vitamins and minerals. Be sure and try to find the lowest added sugar variety that you can tolerate eating. Why? Because, cereal is expensive and if you are not going to like it why buy it. If you add a 3 oz glass of orange juice, it will help the body absorb any iron in the cereal and egg. I do not tolerate orange juice well, so I don’t drink it. This portioned breakfast will help keep you going until lunch and give you a great start to your day.

How are your cereal portions? Check your portions, read the label, and realize how much you are really consuming.

If you need to lose weight this is a great place to start, proper portion control. If you are underweight, please disregard the portions I recommend. Chances are very good you actually need to eat more portions, and should seek the assistance. Believe it or not, being underweight can be just as dangerous to the body as being overweight.

Take care! If anyone is interested in learning more about my coaching services, please use the contact form below the image to message me. You can always email me at healthbuddymelissa@yahoo.com

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Metabolism Part 2

Well, it has been an interesting week already. Monday, I didn’t get to do my planned post because my daughter needed my laptop for school, as hers was having issues. Tuesday, I sat down to write out my planned post and the internet went out and stayed out until this morning. Those 2 planned posts will be done next week.

An update on my Soy What post. I tried Tofu, and oh my gosh, it is a definite no. While I was able to tolerate eating it, I didn’t even notice it in the food, the effects it had on my Gastrointestinal system were absolutely disastrous. So, no more Soy for me. I will just live with hot flashes.

One of the most important things I have learned about Metabolism, in my Sports Medicine class is that increasing your Metabolism may be more of a myth concept and marketing gimmick. The effects these items have on Metabolism are minimal at best. As someone who suffers from a slow Metabolism this is sad. I also learned that the body can only consume 500 grams per day in Carbohydrates, and the rest is converted to fat stores. That totally explains how a lower carb diet can help people lose weight. However, very low carb diet can be dangerous. The body needs carbs to function, and fat. You can watch the part 1 video on Metabolism, here.

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If you would like to learn about my Health Coaching services, please use the contact form below the video, to message me.