It’s Wedding week!

The week is finally here. My son is getting married this Friday. From now until Monday August 3, 2020 Health Buddy Melissa will have no new blog posts, and I will not be able to do free meet and greets. You can email me to request them, or about services, but no emails will be responded to until August the 3rd. Thank you for your understanding in this very exciting time for my family. Stay safe!

Portion Distortion: Pasta

Do you love pasta? I love pasta. My kids love pasta. It is a staple food in our house. I really like Publix Greenwise organic pasta. It is a little bit more expensive than non organic pasta but it is still an affordable product. Pasta can go a long way, especially if you are eating the recommended portion size. Most people, and we were included in this group, overeat pasta probably because they don’t realize what a portion size of pasta really is. This is not a paid post. I am just sharing the pasta I choose most often.

Pasta is a carbohydrate dense food making it higher in calories. It is also affordable and can fill you up for long periods of time. Not to mention it is often enriched making it a healthy food option. But, it can also add on the extra pounds when eaten in large amounts. For most pastas, and I say most, because I have not read every single box of pasta, and I suppose they could differ, a serving size is 2 oz which is equal to 1/2 cup dry pasta. When cooked that 1/2 cup of dry pasta will equal out to about a heaping 1 cup serving. Now trust me that is not a lot of pasta. It will look like you have no food on your plate, trust me. That is why it is so often over eaten. That 1 cup of cooked pasta has right about 200 calories in it. If you have even 2 cups you are getting 400 calories in just the pasta on your plate. Spaghetti is the hardest to measure. I cut the spaghetti up in small pieces and then use the measuring cup to scoop it out. If you have CKD, like me, then use only a small amount of spaghetti sauce. I use 1/4 cup of sauce, sometimes it has meat, sometimes it is Vegetarian with mushrooms and onions. It just depends. Making your own sauce will help you know what is in your sauce. I often choose Publix organic sauces. Sometimes we just have pasta with some butter or olive oil and salt or other seasonings for me. Sauteed veggies and no sauce is also a favorite of mine. Of course red pepper sauce is low in potassium, and my family likes Alfredo sauce too, but I don’t use Alfredo, Avoid bread too, a future portion distortion post, if you are trying to lose weight. Or limit to just one slice of bread.

Learning to eat recommended portion sizes is hard, but with some practice and guidance it is totally doable. If you would like to have me coach you in this area use the contact form at the end of the post to message me, or email me at melissa@healthbuddymelissa.coach

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Updates from Health buddy Melissa

As you can see I have my own domain name now, and a fresh updated website. You will also notice paid ads now on this website. I have upgraded this blog so I can start accepting payments right from here. For now I will use Paypal and am looking at Stripe. I also now have Google Suite for secure emails, video chat, text chat all safe and secure. I have a crazy busy week coming up, as my son is getting married, but I will be updating my Health Buddy plans to be more streamlined and simplified. Some features such as Guided Imagery and Distance Reiki will still be stand alone plans, as some people may just opt for those and not actual coaching. I also have a new secure email just for Health Buddy business through Google Suite. I pay for this feature, and it guarantees privacy and security. My Disclaimer will also be updated and I am considering a sleek new logo, though I really love the simple one I already have. I will be adding new features for paying members only, but that will be down the road as I decide how I want it to be. For now my special for all new customers remains at 25 dollars for 30 days. This is currently for USA customers only, as I do not know the laws for Health Coaches in other countries. I will also be getting an app where contracts and forms can be easily signed online. With all the Telehealth going on I am ready for the virtual world to need my Health Coaching services. I am an Independent Contractor and do not work for or by anyone else. I hope you enjoy the new website! If you have unmet needs and you would like to work with a Holistic Health Coach to learn how to meet them, use the contact form at the end of the post to message me. I am ready to accept new clients.

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Think About This!

Before I get to the main topic, a couple of updates. The Kidney Education Class I did last evening was awesome! I will be doing one in August, hopefully 2. Unfortunately I will probably have to put a cap on how many people can attend. Right now I am using Facebook events and I have to upload each slide individually and then answer any questions. It would be hard with more than 3 people and take quite a bit of time. If you are interested in these free Kidney Classes, go to my Facebook page, and like the page to watch for updates. You can also follow this blog for updates. You must be able to read and write English, as it is the only language I know.

I am beginning work on upgrading this blog, so I can share my own videos which needs practice, lol, and accept client payments right here on the blog. I am also working on a new Guided Imagery for Weight Loss. That should be ready some time in August. You can view and purchase all of my Integrative Therapies options in my Etsy store.

A new Health report shows that if 50% of Americans, yes only half, wore a face mask, socially distanced and washed hands regularly may drastically reduce the spread of Covid 19. With people complaining that they want their kids to go back to school, and I don’t disagree with that, and people not being able to see loved ones in nursing homes, I simply don’t understand why Americans will not just comply with these 3 easy steps. Not everyone can wear a mask, OK I can sympathize with that. But, you could social distance, avoid crowds, don’t be in closed places for long periods of time, and wash hands frequently. Not one thing is perfect, all can have flaws, but if you can do all 3 think about how much may be accomplished to keep people safe and healthy, and reopen. You can read the full report here.

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If you would like to learn about any of my Health Coaching services, please contact me via the contact form at the end of this post.

How is your own country doing with the Pandemic?

Virtual Kidney Education Class

If you have read this blog before then you know I am an American Kidney Fund Kidney Coach. This is a volunteer position and I took the class because I am passionate about increasing awareness, education and advocate for earlier testing. I had set up several in person classes, here locally where I live, but didn’t get too many participants. Not unusual in a small rural town. Just when I was going to branch out to different areas Coronavirus struck and things got paused. Then, AKF made it so we could do the classes online, instead of in person. I have my first class tomorrow. This first class is only by invite, and the class is full. It is kind of a practice session with friends. However, I will be doing 2 classes a month, more if I can. I will try to do different days and times, so as many people as want to take the class can. I will advertise the classes here, on social media and other virtual places. This first one is a Facebook event. I can’t do live video, so I will have to upload each slide and then have conversation about each slide. I will see how well that works out. I may try Skype and look at other sources also. If you would like to follow Health Buddy Melissa on Facebook, click here. Please note these kidney classes are for information only, and are no way to diagnose or give medical advice. I do not make the course, I just follow what is provided to me from AKF. I am very excited about this and hope I get good turnout for each class. I only need one person, other than me, though.

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My CKD Friendly Fruit and Veggie Smoothie

Happy Friday! I hope everyone is well. I have posted before how I love smoothies. So, I put together a recipe for a CKD friendly fruit and veggie smoothie. Please remember the nutrition info is estimates only. Especially for Phosphorus which is incredibly difficult to find accurate amounts for. I use the website Eat This Much to get a general idea of Phosphorus amounts. The creamer I can not find Phosphorus info, but the ingredients says it has a potassium and phosphorus additive, so that means the potassium amount I gave is probably a bit higher, and the phosphorus as well. You can always just not use the creamer, but even milk alternatives have phosphorus additives. I like the flavor that the French Vanilla creamer adds. Also replace the banana with strawberries or other low potassium fruit, if potassium is an issue for your. I also use parsley or kale, instead of spinach. It just depends what I have on hand. If you need some protein in it I have used flaxseed or cashews. I also freeze my smoothies for when everyone else at my house is eating ice cream. Also please remember if you are on a blood thinner, ask your doctor about eating leafy greens, and if you are prone to kidney stones, spinach in high amounts can increase oxalate levels.

Enjoy! If you would like to learn about any of my Health Coaching services, please use the contact form after the images to message me.

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Can Losing Weight Improve eGFR for People with CKD?

Updated 3/17/2021 When I was first diagnosed with CKD way back in 2017, one of the first things my Nephrologist told me was that losing weight would help my kidney function. Like many of us who are over-weight, I was yep here we go the fat bandwagon. But, apparently he was right. As I have been researching topics for this blog, and for my own personal knowledge of CKD, there have been a few studies on this topic. As with all things CKD there are not many studies, and they are not particularly large, and are often sponsored by companies with products to sell. But, some is still better than none. While I have very good muscle strength and do not find it difficult to build new muscle, even on a protein restricted diet, like most women who have had babies and have reached Menopause, I do carry extra weight around my middle and hips. I have never been super slim, even before children. I have always had a bulky strong look to me, and the smallest I have ever been was 20 pounds over where my doctor said I should be for my height. It is very hard for me to lose weight. I lose inches, but the weight just really takes a long time to budge. Because my ultimate goal is to heal my kidney function, or at the very least get back to stage 2, weight loss is a very important part of that goal. Through all of the trials and errors, I think I have finally found a system that will work for me, not just in the short term, but in the long term as well. It is not an easy plan, and it is not fast, either. But, when I stick to it strictly, I can lose a half a pound a day, safely. I may write an ebook, or I may make the info a pdf for my newsletter followers. I haven’t decided yet, and it will be some time before I am sure the results are not just water weight or something like that. Plus, I need to have my labs checked to be sure it is completely safe.

Read my exciting March 2021 Kidney Update!

For the month of March 2021 I am giving away free coaching sessions related to Kidney Disease. Click to read more.

I found several articles on weight loss and egfr. But, I found this one easy to read, and with lots of information. Some of it you may not understand, but you will get the idea. My husband can lose weight very fast, I can not. I am not sure why, but I am sure it probably has to do with my CKD. https://www.healio.com/news/endocrinology/20120325/weight-loss-guidelines-aim-to-curb-chronic-renal-failure#:~:text=Weight%20loss%20has%20been%20shown,and%20without%20overt%20renal%20disease.

The article above talks about how difficult it can be for people with CKD to lose weight, especially if you also have Diabetes, or HTN. I do not have either of those, but I am right at the borderline for HTN. Again, weight loss will help keep my blood pressure in a good range. Weight loss will also help egfr by decreasing inflammation, proteinuria, and hyperalbuminuria. I do not currently have any of those, but I did when first diagnosed. I do get inflammation occasionally when I exercise too hard, but some of that is normal body response. I also have a tendency to retain water in my fingers. I always have, but if I am not careful it can get worse. Most of the time it is when it is extremely hot and humid and I have not hydrated myself well enough. I have labs done at the end of next month, so I will have a good idea how my diet and exercise plan is effecting my kidneys.

The article also talks about Bariatric Surgery for those with CKD who are morbidly obese and just can not lose weight. The study showed positive results. While I am not a candidate for Bariatric Surgery, and I believe in Diet and Exercise, if you just can not lose weight due to issues with your CKD, you might want to look into Bariatric Surgery to see if it is a viable option for you.

Obesity is such a huge problem in the USA. With Obesity being a risk factor for getting CKD, or at the very least renal dysfunction, there is every good reason in the world to lose weight. If you follow my Portion Distortion posts on Mondays, you will know that most of us are consuming way more calories in portions than is recommended. I read a blog where they lost weight just by controlling their portion size. They didn’t follow any other restrictions such as Keto, low carb, low fat, a certain amount of calories per day, etc, they just ate the proper portion sizes according to package labels. Hats off to them! Now I don’t know if they were successful in maintaining that, and keeping the weight off long term. But, if you stick with something for at least 3-6 months it will hopefully become ingrained and a habit in your every day lifestyle. Of course, family and friends are huge obstacles to losing weight. You have to have more will power to succeed than their will power for you to fail.

If I stick to my plan I can lose 1/2 pound per day, and I have already lost several inches on my arms, waist, hips, and thighs, but not my chest, sadly. Vacation was tough and I did not stick to it, and gained back 5 pounds of the 6 I lost. But, I am back on track and have lost 3 of those 5 in just a week. Follow this blog to read future updates and how I am progressing on my Diet and Exercise plan. Don’t forget to read the article. It has some great info.

I am also a certified American Kidney Fund Health Coach. This is a volunteer position. Before covid came I was setting up in person classes, but that didn’t last long. Now, they have approved for us to do virtual classes, which I am very excited about. I can reach so many more people virtually. Anyway , I am doing the first class next Wednesday. It is kind of practice to see how it goes and what I need to change. Then I will be doing them publicly. I will post the info here on this blog as well as my Health Buddy Melissa Facebook page, and my personal page. The class is free, and anyone can attend that can read and understand English. The first one for the general public will be in August, after my son’s wedding. I will try to do two a month. Right now I am using Facebook events as I am familiar with that format. But, once I upgrade this blog I can do them right here. Or, Skype and Zoom are other options. I thing Google Connect also could be used, but I have no idea how to use that. So, I will have to familiarize myself with that.

If you would like to learn about using any of my Health Coaching services, please use the contact form at the bottom of this page, after the images, to contact me. Or, you can email me at healthbuddymelissa@yahoo.com Ask about my brand new It’s A New Day, 30 day coaching plan.

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Portion Distortion: Cheese

Who doesn’t love cheese?

OK, I don’t really love cheese, but I do like it in small amounts on occasion. The problem with cheese, well there are three, is that it is a very calorie-dense food usually high in sodium and fats. The other issue with cheese is that it is often overeaten in large quantities adding unnecessary calories, fat, sodium, and phosphorus. Do you know what an actual portion of cheese is? See the image below. See it in reference to the size of a quarter. The correct portion size of cheese is 1 oz. That 1 oz of cheese has 110 calories, 9 grams of fat of which 6 grams is saturated fat, 180 mg of Sodium, 30 mg of cholesterol, and 7 grams of protein. Phosphorus is harder to figure out because it is not included on labels. However, according to Eat This Much, 1 oz of cheddar cheese has 14% of the daily requirement for phosphorus and 20% for calcium. That is a lot in such a small serving of food. If you have kidney disease cheese can be a very dangerous food.

That doesn’t mean you can not have cheese, unless you are stage 4 or 5, or your doctor has told you not to eat cheese. Otherwise, eating a 1 oz serving of cheese, and keeping track of food consumption in your food diary, you should be able to enjoy small amounts of cheese. Cheeses differ in their nutrition stats, but they are generally similar. Be sure and read your labels, and use a website like Eat This Much to help learn about phosphorus in foods. If you are trying to lose weight you can see how large amounts of cheese are going to add lots of unwanted calories to your daily needs. Stick to recommended serving sizes on labels. If you are eating out try to avoid cheese dishes, or ask for 1/2 portions, or eat just half and take the rest home. It does take a bit of discipline and it is not easy, but it is so worth it in the end.

Check out my post on which cheeses are best for CKD.

If you have CKD, want to lose weight, want to start exercising by walking with me, or need to learn to eat better, and would like to learn about my health coaching services, use the contact form after the images to message me. Or, you can email me melissa@healthbuddymelissa.coach

Updates From Health Buddy

Happy Wednesday! I have a few updates for you today.

First, I would like to take a moment to talk about leaving comments on this blog. I love comments. I love to hear what you think, want to know, or if you want to use any of my Health Coaching services. However, I do not enjoy having to moderate 100 spam comments every single day. This is really a waster of my valuable time. Plus, since comments are moderated you are wasting your time as well, as they will not be approved. I also understand the importance of back links. I will not be allowing back links to user profiles, or other questionable websites. I also will not approve comments where the comment has absolutely nothing to do with the topic you are commenting on. This includes, but is not limited to generic comments such as I love your blog, and I just found it, etc. That just tells me you didn’t actually read anything I wrote, and you just want the back link. These types of comments will not be approved.

While you can leave me a comment if you are interested in using my services, if you don’t leave a way for me to contact you this is not helpful. The best way to contact me is by using the contact form at the end of every blog post, or emailing me at healthbuddymelissa@yahoo.com Again, if you are just wasting my time and sending me spam, please don’t bother.

My business hours fluctuate depending on the needs of the potential client and things going on in my personal life. So, if you need Health Coaching services, I am flexible to what you may need.

Those who do read, and follow this blog, know that I am a certified AKF Kidney Health Coach. They are now allowing us to do virtual classes, which is absolutely great news. I can reach so many more people this way, as opposed to in my very small community. I will be doing the first virtual class in a couple of weeks, so be sure and watch for me to post the details, probably next week. This is a totally free class.

The easiest way to get updates from this blog, is to follow this blog. As I continue to learn about advertising myself, and the best options that will suit my needs both personally and financially, following this blog will send new posts right to your email.

After my son gets married at the end of this month, I anticipate being able to offer the monthly specials again. Until then, please continue to request info if you are interested in using any of my services.

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