1.5 Mile Beginner Running video Plus gift idea #2

Welcome to Sunday! I don’t always do a post on Sunday, but I realized I hadn’t done a Sweating on Sunday post in a while. When I began the low carb lifestyle, two months ago, I went back to just walking for exercise. Too much exercise, or too intense, just made me more hungry. Now, that I have the food balance down I feel like I can increase the intensity of my workouts without sacrificing carb intake. I had posted a while back about my daughter wanting to be a police officer. She has since changed that to a CSI detective, but as part of her PE for school she still needs to do the running, situps and pushups. I was doing this with her, until I changed to low carb. She didn’t want to run outdoors initially, and we intend on getting a treadmill, but until then I found this video which is exactly the distance she needs. This is a great beginner video to build up to running without interval walking. I have done this video a few times now, and it is really not too hard. Be sure to stretch before and after to prevent injury. Do the best you can. Walk more if you need to, but keep moving if you can. Do not do this every day, trade it out with less intense exercise such as Yoga, or just walking. It is 15 minutes long, but only do 5 to start if you need to. If you have not exercised in a long time, or are new to exercise, this is not the video to start with. I offer a Health Buddy Walking program, message me if you are interested in learning more. The video is kind of bland, and I play music in the background to keep it interesting.

We had company yesterday, so we ended up eating a lot of the leftovers. So, I went ahead and made a meal plan menu for today through Friday. Friday is a new budget and grocery shopping week. We will probably have a treat and get Subway on Friday. I found some coupons in the Sunday paper for Subway. Remember I only meal plan for dinners. Breakfast and lunch is whatever is available.

Sunday: still leftovers. I will probably have the same thing I had for lunch yesterday as it was so delicious. Once I get the leftovers gone and have storage containers again, I will make some coleslaw using some of that cabbage I bought yesterday.

Monday: Grilled cheese and tomato soup. It is supposed to get quite cold so soup is perfect.

Tuesday: Ravioli with sauce, bread and butter, side salad. For me I will stick to one portion of Ravioli, one slice of bread and have a large salad.

Wednesday: Pork tenderloin baked or slow cooker, coleslaw or salad. I also have some sweet potatoes which I can make. I do them in the Instapot as it is easier.

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: Possible Subway dinner treat

Please remember I am low carb not Keto. I aim for 70-100 grams of net carbs per day. I also have days were I eat up to 150 carbs sort of like Carb Cycling. If you would like to learn about my Health Coaching services to help you meet your health goals, use the contact form after the images to message me.

My second gift idea for people with CKD, or any Chronic Disease is this heated blanket. This is not an affiliate link, but it is on sale for Cyber Monday. People with CKD are often anemic which makes them cold all the time.

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low carb leftover turkey lunch, my 33 dollar groceries and toys for tots!

Happy Saturday! Today, was grocery shopping day for next week. If you were here last week then you know I spent over my 50 dollar food budget and was subtracting it from this week. That left 33 dollars for this week. We really don’t need much as we have so much leftover turkey and sides from Thanksgiving. There were a few low carb things I wanted, and we always need creamer. My husband did really good with the milk, so I didn’t need milk. But, he did ask me to see if turkeys were on sale, lol. There were no turkeys. Can you believe it? There was turkey breasts, which I prefer anyhow, and I did get one. But, it put me over my 33 dollars, but that is OK. I will just subtract it from next week, lol. The turkey breast was only 7.61 and that will make a lot of meals when we decide to use it. I really do not like shopping on Saturday, but I knew we only needed veggies pretty much, and I didn’t have to wait for the sale flyers tomorrow. Plus, I don’t really have a day next week I can shop until Friday, which starts the next week anyway. I did not make a menu for this next week, which starts tomorrow, because it will be mostly leftovers. If we run out of leftovers I have other options in the freezer. Below, see some of my lunch ideas with the items I bought. My husband will just eat turkey sandwiches until the turkey is gone. He doesn’t get tired of them.

Before I get to my groceries, and lunch ideas, I want to mention Toys for Tots. If you can donate a new toy to their cause, it is a wonderful cause. So many people are hurting this year, and while we give every year, I will try very hard to work it into my budget every time I go to Walmart to put something in their drive box. Now, I don’t know how long they are collecting for, so I may only hit it one time. I let my daughter pick the toy, and as long as it is reasonable I am OK with it. We also volunteer, and donate to dog rescue. The fur babies need love too. Being kind and giving to the community is a great way to have love for others, but also self care for yourself. It is a win win.

The first image is from Save A Lot and I spent $13.40. That cabbage was only .69 a pound and was 3 pounds in weight. For my leftover turkey low carb lunch, I used one of the Ole tortilla wraps, from Walmart then I fried up some of the cabbage, a tbsp of onion in olive oil. I added rosemary, and lemon pepper seasoning. Once they were softened I added about 2 ounces of turkey, and then once it was all warm I added one ounce of shredded cheese. I put it all on the wrap with a tbsp of sour cream, and it was super delicious. Those Ole wraps only have 4 grams of net carbs. Plus they have ground flaxseed in them, which is great for me as I do not get enough Omega 3s as I hate fish, and I don’t care for walnuts either. Be careful with these if you have CKD, and only eat one, as they will be higher in phosphorus than white bread.

The second image is from Walmart. I spent $26.42, but without the turkey breast I would have easily met my goal.

So, what are some lunch ideas I have in mind? The cabbage can be used for coleslaw, or fried and served with turkey, or the ham. The ham can go with eggs, or cabbage. I already have eggs on hand. I can only eat small amounts of ham, about 2 ounces, so the ham will last a long time, unless my husband or daughter decide to have some. The tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce can be for side salads, and cabbage can be added to that as well. I really love cucumbers and tomatoes with sour cream and some ranch seasoning. That is my favorite salad, and of course cabbage can go in there as well. The cottage cheese I bought because I can’t stand yogurt and I don’t drink smoothies this time of year. So, I will defrost the berries I froze over the summer, blend them in my blender and eat with the cottage cheese. I also still have apples on hand, which can be eaten with the cottage cheese. That would also be great for breakfast. If you have CKD, be aware that cottage cheese is very high in protein and sometimes sodium. The bread I always just buy when they mark it down, and stick it in the freezer. We can have mini pizzas, garlic bread, or just with butter with any sauce meal. My family loves that bread and I have gotten it for as little as 50 cents a loaf. That little pizza is my daughter’s for when I work. The creamer is just creamer, not for a lunch. We just needed it,

Please remember, I am on a low carb diet, similar to what someone with Diabetes might follow. I do not have Diabetes, but I do have CKD and I do need to lose weight. I have lost 13 pounds to date, and have kept it off, which is most important. With CKD I can not eat high protein, or high fat. So, I have had to learn how to count Macros and how much my body needs. It is a balancing act and can change at the drop of a hat. I do not follow a Keto diet. Ketosis may be very dangerous for someone with Kidney Disease and or Diabetes.

The very last image is my first gift idea for anyone on your list, but most importantly for anyone with a chronic disease. If you are trying to manage your chronic disease eating at work can be very difficult. There may be vending machines, parties, and coworkers who eat out for all of their meals. These things make it harder to stick to a diet plan. The thermos in the image is just like the one I purchased. It wasn’t that name brand, but other wise it is the same. It has saved me so much headache when at work. I can bring warm or cold food, and I don’t have to use the microwave. It really has been a lifesaver for me. Each day until December 24th I will share great gift ideas for people managing a chronic disease. This one is not an affiliate link. Not only will this gift be better for health, but also will save money on eating out.

If you would like to learn about my Health Coaching services, please use the contact form after the images to message me for a free email meet and greet. All new customers get one month of coaching for 25 dollars.

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14 days of gratitude: Day 14 Happy thanksgiving and meal prep low carb

Updated 11/20/2021: I will be Black Friday shopping for the first time in 2021. I have shopped on Thanksgiving eve before, but this year the Bills are playing and most stores are closed, I think. My daughter wants to do it this year to get her gifts picked. I won’t do Door Busters, or 5 AM type shopping, though. I don’t think she will even be out of bed if she wanted to.

Happy Thanksgiving! Today, I am grateful for so many things. I woke up, the weather is cool enough to have the windows open to keep it well ventilated in the house. I am grateful for all of you, my readers, who read my posts. My traffic and followers have exploded this year. I just started paid advertising on Facebook and had my first lead yesterday. I am so grateful for that. Even though the potential client needed something I could not offer it was great to have a lead. I get leads from Pinterest too, but they are nonsense, just men looking for something other than coaching. They kind of waste my time, but I am grateful for the practice of the communication. I am grateful for my job, my husband’s job, and my son and his new wife are still employed. So many people are not and they are having it hard this holiday. Long food lines of people need food and other items just to sustain themselves and their families. If you can help a family in need I implore you to do so. We have donated to a few food groups this year and will continue to do so. There is always a need, but this year it is so much more. Don’t forget about furry family members too. When money is tight they often can go hungry too. Please read my reminder tips below to stay safe and healthy today. These are simple things we are doing to be together and be safe.

First, as I promised I will share the homemade cream of mushroom condensed soup for the green bean casserole. I actually didn’t get to it until this morning, but it was super fast and easy. Plus, it is so delicious, I mean super delicious. This is not low carb, but really it uses only a minimal amount of flour, and you could use coconut or almond flour. My husband hates almond flour, and I do not have coconut flour on hand. If you choose to use either of those be sure and research how the consistency will come out. I used this recipe, and modified it as follows. I did not have onion powder so I just added fresh minced onions. I use canned mushrooms because I prefer them. I also had no celery salt. I thought I had celery seeds, but apparently, my daughter disposed of them and did not tell me. So, I just left that out. I also used chicken stock instead of vegetable broth because that is what I had. I added less salt than the recipe called for and more pepper. This is so much lower in sodium than the canned stuff. I simply put it in the fridge until I am ready for it. Be sure to drain and rinse your mushrooms if you choose to use canned like I did. You could literally use this same recipe to make condensed cream of anything soups and it would be so much healthier. I could probably use it for sausage and gravy too.

Last evening I started watching some Keto videos on Youtube. Now, I am not Keto, I am 70-100 grams of carbs per day. I don’t want to be Keto, either. I don’t want all of that fat. However, they had some really good tips on following a low carb lifestyle. Diabetics and people who are obese probably are already trying to live a low-carb lifestyle. I will share a video from each of them, and you could check them out at your leisure. The first woman, I really liked how she made sweet potato casserole using butternut squash and cauliflower. I wish I had seen this video a week ago.

If you don’t have an Instapot, they are awesome! I did so much of my prep last night which will save me a ton of time today. I put my peeled potatoes, and one carrot in there. The potatoes will be for mashed potatoes for my family, and the carrot will be mixed with a quarter cup of sweet potatoes for me. I do not make sweet potato casserole with all of the marshmallows. No one likes it that way. I just add butter and some brown sugar and that is it. I also put a whole head of cauliflower in the Instapot and then mashed it all up. This will be my mashed potatoes. At first, it was just blah, but I added a little butter, garlic, lemon pepper seasoning, and the kicker was a tablespoon of ranch-flavored sour cream. The sour cream is what made it creamy just like mashed potatoes. It was so good I wanted to eat it last night. A whole head of cauliflower has quite a bit of potassium and protein, plus phosphorus. So, be sure and limit it to a half-cup serving at a time. I also cooked my macaroni, for the mac n cheese. I set aside a 1 cup portion for me and I will use coconut milk and cheese in mine. Everyone else’s will have evaporated milk and cheese. This is literally everyone’s favorite dish. I add seasonings to taste. I will be making homemade gravy this year to save on sodium. My husband decided to cook his mom’s homemade stuffing. He puts it in the bird, and I don’t like stuffing like that. He did leave me a little to bake for myself. My apple pie and ice cream definitely won’t be low carb, nor will the Hawaiian rolls. But, the second Keto lady I like on Youtube has some awesome low-carb biscuits that I will definitely try in the future. I noticed Keto people eat a lot of beef. This will not be me. I prefer to not consume too much red meat. I am a chicken and turkey kind of girl,

My safety tips for Covid and Thanksgiving:

1- Check temps of anyone who comes over

2- Limit the size of people gathering to 10 or less even.

3- Have the windows open, fans on and keep the home well ventilated, or eat outdoors plus outdoor activities.

4- No hugging, kissing, or handshaking. I know this one is hard.

5- Keep 6 feet a part as much as possible and don’t eat close together.

6- Say your prayer without holding hands.

7- I have gloves that everyone will wear when plating their food, then the gloves are removed and hands sanitized before eating. If seconds are needed new gloves are to be worn and follow the same procedure.

8- Limit the amount of people in the kitchen.

9- Wear masks if you can’t be outside, or socially distanced.

10- Disinfect before company arrives, after they leave, and in between as needed, especially high touched surfaces.

11- This last one is the most difficult. Don’t travel if you can avoid it this year, consider having elderly relatives not attend, or anyone with a compromised immune system. The Covid is especially dangerous for them. If you have a baby less than 30 days old, it might be a good idea to stay away from that family member as well.

I hope everyone will be safe and healthy. These are just suggestions and things we will be doing. I am in no way saying that it means you or your loved ones will not get sick. But, I am saying it helps.

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14 days of gratitude: day 13 and Low carb thanksgiving options

Happy almost Turkey Day! The weather is still amazing here in Florida with warm days and cool nights. Today, I am grateful for awesome friends who enjoy nature as much as me. This morning I drove almost an hour to visit Payne’s Prairie, which is a Florida state park just outside of Gainesville. I had never been to this one before, and was so happy I went. See the images below. I only shared pics of me as I did not get approval for children or other adults with us. At the observation tower you could see the Bison and Wild Horses, but we didn’t get close enough on the trail we chose to get good pics of them. I will definitely visit this park again, maybe over Christmas break and one of the trails with more wildlife viewing. It was still a 4 mile walk total, and a great way to start a Wednesday.

I am not going to get my food prep done for Thanksgiving to share the results in this post, so I will share either tomorrow evening, or Friday. My husband has agreed to try some low carb options to lose weight, so I am very happy for that. But, not until after Thanksgiving. He doesn’t really eat a lot of pasta, or rice, but he does love bread. Remember, low carb is not keto. I won’t do keto. So, here are the low carb side options I will be making for myself or anyone who wants to get them a whirl. All of these recipes were found on Pinterest, or Google search. 1- mashed cauliflower, and 2- macaroni and cheese. I probably will have a small amount of sweet potatoes, as they are very easy to count how many carbs I will get. I don’t eat stuffing, so that is not a problem for me. There are lots of low carb stuffing recipes out there, though. The mashed cauliflower will replace mashed potatoes for me, and for the macaroni and cheese I will just set aside a serving of macaroni for me and prepare it the same as the larger batch, but in a much smaller serving. This also allows me to control how much cheese, and evaporated milk I am consuming. I will have a piece of my homemade apple pie, as it is my first time making it homemade. I will also have ice cream with it. Turkey is already low carb, lol. The green bean casserole will have homemade cream of mushroom condensed soup and I am excited to see how that comes out. We will not be having all of the appetizers we would normally have just because of Covid and too many hands touching it. I am fine with that too, lol.

We are having a very small gathering with just us 3 and my son and his wife. We have masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant, gloves for serving, and most importantly we can social distance and will have good ventilation with the windows open and fans in the windows. It might rain, but other than that it will be cool and comfortable for windows to be open. We will all decorate the Christmas tree after dinner. Decorating the tree, after dinner, is the only tradition I have honestly ever stuck to, We were invited to dessert at my son’s in-laws, but honestly it didn’t feel safe with too many people in one building. So, we chose to decline for this year.

My weekly food menu ends Friday with leftovers. So, I will be working on a new one for next week. I have 33 dollars in the budget and honestly the only thing I think I need is vegetables, and maybe coffee creamer. OMG, I almost forgot. A while ago I posted about coffee creamer and the amount of carbs I was getting in my creamer, especially in my iced coffees. The week that I went meatless for the whole week, Publix had Orgain plant-based protein powder buy one get one free. So, I picked up the Vanilla Bean flavor, and I love it. This morning I put it in my coffee, and did not need any creamer at all. I did add just a smidge of coconut milk to give it the creamy color. A serving size is 2 scoops. However, I only use 1/4 of one scoop, which is equal to about 2 grams of protein. If I have 2 cups of coffee I am consuming 4 grams of protein, and not all the carbs of the creamer. I can do that! I was afraid it would be gritty, but it was not. I have not tried it in ice coffee yet, but I hope it blends up just as nice. I track my protein intake, carbs intake, and fat intake on my Fitbit app. I have limits I have set for each. The fat limit, on low carb is the hardest to get exactly where I want it. I will share the link to the Orgain website. Buying it there is way cheaper than what I payed at Publix, and I can have it delivered on subscription.

Below, also see my low carb dinner last night. That is a 3 oz burger with ranch sour cream on top, in place of catsup. Then I had a large romaine lettuce salad, with cheese, pepperoni, green onions, and a tomato. That is a basic salad for me, minus the pepperoni, that was just a treat. I use only 8 slices, cut up small. The little thing with roots on my plate is the bulb of the green onion. Honestly, you guys, I plant these and I get free green onions. Every time you cut some off the plant, it just regrows. So easy! Now, I did have popcorn for a snack, and a banana for breakfast. So, as I stated I am low carb, not keto.

Message me for a free meet and greet via email, if you have Health Goals you would like to meet.

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14 days of Gratitude: Day 12, Plus My Dollar tree food challenge and a few updates

Updated 11/20/2021: We are almost to Thanksgiving 2021. Have you been practicing being Grateful? I have!

Welcome to Tuesday! I hope everyone is having an amazing day. I am so loving the weather in Florida right now. 70’s during the day, and 50s at night. Windows can be open, fans in the window. I love it!

Thanksgiving is 2 days away, and it will be much different this year, but I will post more about that on Thanksgiving. But, I am doing so food prep today. This year I am making homemade stuffing, check back Thursday to see how that went, homemade apple pie, again check back, and I am making homemade cream of mushroom condensed soup. It is super easy, and I am hoping super delicious. That of course will be for the green bean casserole. I am making that later today, and will share the recipe and results tomorrow.

Today, I am grateful for my car. For many years, like 15, we had only one vehicle to save money. I worked night shift, and my husband worked the day shift. It was hard, but it worked and it saved us a ton of money. It allowed me to work less and homeschool my kids, basically on one income, and a quarter. I was so happy, though, when we were able to buy a second car. I do not take my car for granted, and I protect it like it is gold. Because in a lot of regards it is. I hate working the night shift and I never want to do it again. I can shop, or take my daughter places without issues. I am so very grateful for that. If you live where you can access the bus or an Uber, then a car might not be important. We are very rural and have no access to any of those options.

Today, is Dollar Tree Food Challenge Day. You may have seen some of these on Youtube from other people. Mine is different. I am not going to buy 20 dollars worth of Dollar Tree food and then try to make meals out of it. But, each week, or so, I will buy two items and then compare them to each other, and taste them. Some I even eat completely. This week I chose Baker’s Best soft pretzels and Arctic Classic Cookies N Cream.

First, the pretzels. You can put these in a microwave, but since I don’t own one we baked them. You can see the ingredients below, but honestly I was impressed by the ingredients list. They have less than 1 gram of sugars and added sugars. That is impressive. I left the salt off of one pretzel for me, because I knew these were going to be salty. These were delicious and exactly what I expected a soft baked pretzel to taste like. There are six in a box, for a dollar, and to me, this is a steal of an item from the Dollar Tree. My daughter and husband love these. My daughter dips them in melted butter, and my husband dips them in mustard. I don’t dip, lol.

Now, for the Arctic Classic Cookies N Cream. On the label it says it is a frozen dairy dessert. I grew up in the ’80s and this tastes like Ice Milk that we used to get. It honestly was not awful, but definitely not like ice cream. I only ate a few teaspoons, because if you look at the ingredients the second ingredient is High Fructose Corn Syrup. So, I simply was not going to eat this. It was only a dollar so I don’t feel horrible throwing it away, but my husband might not mind the HFCS. I left it to see if he wanted it. I guess I could put it in very small amounts in a smoothie, but I honestly don’t even think I would do that.

You can see both product pics below.

I have a couple more updates. My Rosemary Challenge is almost over. I am so thrilled that I added this herb to my cooking skills. I do find I do not care for it on meats, but it really adds awesome flavor to veggies. In the image below is what I ate for dinner last night. I added Rosemary and Lemon Pepper seasoning to the steamed veggies and it was so delicious. Check out that adorable plate I found at Hobby Lobby. I bought the whole set. I don’t switch out for the seasons, we just use them all year. I can’t afford that kind of nonsense, and even if I could I wouldn’t bother. That plate is 8 inches across. I try to always eat on those as it keeps my portions in check. There are large ones, too. The mashed potato serving is only 1/4 of a cup, keeping my carbs in check, and the chicken thigh was 3 ounces even. I weigh all of my meats, and try to eat 2-4 ounce portion sizes. This keeps my protein in check and allows me to still eat low-carb and not get too much protein for my kidneys. I have been really bad about my carbs lately. I have not gained any weight, and have maintained the 11 pounds lost. But, I need to lose more, so I need to pay more attention. Remember I eat 70-100 mg of Carbs per day. That is Low Carb, not Keto. Keto can be very dangerous for anyone with Kidney Disease. I eat a ton of veggies. Update 11/20/2021: Since this post, I have lost 20 pounds and have managed to maintain plus or minus 2 pounds.

If you would like to work with a Health Coach to learn more about eating Low Carb, making meals to fit into your needs, or any other Health needs, please use the contact form after all of the images to message me.

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14 Days of gratitude: Day 11 Plus Hillbilly casserole and a failed homemade pizza

Happy Monday! Today’s gratitude prompt is, be grateful for your body. Is my body perfect? Absolutely not! But, I still respect it and am grateful for it. I have both arms, legs, feet all of which help me to hold, lift, exercise, move in general, walk, stand, run, jump, type, etc. Even if I have some flabby triceps I am still grateful for my arms. Even if I don’t have Buns of Steel thighs, I am still grateful. I have both my hands and I am grateful for that. I have a little arthritis, so I can’t do some of the things I used to, but I am still grateful to learn to do other things instead. I am grateful for my head that houses my brain and my eyes and ears. Without my eyes and ears I wouldn’t be able to see and hear the beauty all around me. I am grateful for my chest that expands when I breathe and houses my heart and lungs. My heart and lungs the lifeline to the body. I am grateful for those. My hips and abdomen that houses my womb where my children grew and thrived for 9 months before entering this world. My kidneys which to me are just as vital as my heart and lungs. While I still have 2 only one works well. But, I am still grateful for that, and all of the learning experiences that have come with having a failed kidney. Be grateful for what you have!

Friday I made some homemade pizza. It was super easy, affordable, and had good flavor. So, why was it a fail? Because, I used puff pastry for the pizza dough. I had it on hand, it has great flavor and figured why not. It was delicious, but puff pastry is flimsy and just did not make a good pizza dough. We ate it, but we just had to cut it instead of hold it. We didn’t use a lot of sauce and just added cheese. Super affordable!

Saturday, I made Hillbilly Casserole. This is a recipe I found on Youtube. It was super easy, delicious and affordable. However, it was not very healthy for anyone with CKD, or if you are following a low carb diet. All you need is a large bag of instant potatoes. I used Idahoan and they were only 1.50. A package of bologna. I used hot dogs, of which I only had 3 left from last week. It really was not enough hot dogs to get the full affect, but it worked. The last thing you need is cheddar cheese. I used about 4 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese. Fry up the bologna, mix up the potatoes. Put it all in a casserole dish, add the cheese, and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. This has a ton of salt in it, and phosphorus. Neither of which is good for CKD. Eat this in small amounts only and add some side veggies or a salad if you can. My family loved this, though more hot dogs in it would have been preferred. We still have some left and it will be a side for our chicken and broccoli tonight. Would I make this again? Yes, but with hot dogs not bologna, which to me are the same things. I would try and be sure we had veggies or side salad though.

We still have some of the homemade pork and beans leftover. That was definitely a budget friendly meal. I actually had them over the Hillbilly Casserole for my work dinner last night. They were super delicious that way. Bu, the last three days I have been eating way too many carbs. So, today I have to get back on track.

One thing I have already learned from my budget grocery shopping is that the sales flyers come out on Sunday. There were some great deals in the paper yesterday, but I had already shopped on Friday. I won’t make that mistake again. I will have to menu plan right through to Sunday and shop on Mondays.

If you would like to learn more about Gratitude Journaling and how it can help you, or how to budget grocery shop, meal plan especially with a Chronic Disease, use the contact form after the images to message me for a free email meet and greet. All new customers get 1 month of coaching for only 25 dollars.

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14 Days of gratitude: days 9 and 10 plus some food and a video

Updated 11/19/2021: I am really grateful for Grammarly as I update my posts and see the mistakes I made, lol.

My internet would not cooperate yesterday, so I have to do days 9 and 10 today.

Yesterday, I was grateful for my husband. While not perfect, none of us are, he is a good man and a good husband. He works hard, likes to laugh, and loves his children. As a wife, those are the things I am most grateful for. But, before I was his wife, I could tell he was kind, smart, driven, a great friend, loyal, and family was important to him. I am grateful to him every day.

Today, I am grateful for my children. I have a boy and a girl. I have homeschooled my children ever since 2007. I have graduated one and the other is almost there. That chapter in my life will soon be over. Even though I have been their teacher all these years, they have taught me so much. I am grateful I was blessed with the gift of motherhood.

If you have been following along then you know a lot of my gratitude has been about Nature. I found this old TedX talk on Youtube about gratitude and nature. I encourage you to watch it.

Yesterday, I made the Hillbilly Casserole. It was good and definitely affordable. Not especially healthy, though. Come back tomorrow and I will share the very easy recipe.

Today, my family is having cheeseburgers and the box of mac n cheese that didn’t get eaten last week. There is still salad in there if they choose to have it, or other veggies. We also have some homemade pizza left from Friday. I will share that easy recipe also, tomorrow. It was also definitely affordable. I will be taking some of the leftover pork and beans I made last week, along with Hillbilly Casserole to work. I think the pork and beans will add a little more health to the Hillbilly Casserole.

I hope everyone has a blessed Sunday. Has anyone started Christmas shopping yet? I have. I don’t want to be in the stores with a ton of shoppers during Covid.

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14 days of gratitude: Day 8 and my 50 dollar food budget

Updated 11/12/2021: In January of 2021 we sat down and figured out our budget the Dave Ramsey way. Our budget is $528 dollars per month for groceries using that method. Some months it doesn’t go so well. Still working at it, lol. I have to say the easiest way to save money on groceries is to use the pickup option. I order online and then pick it up. There is no impulse buying and teenagers picking up things we don’t need. Now, sometimes I actually have to go inside a store.

Yay, Friday! I am happy you are here. Before I get to the two things annoying me today I will write what I am grateful for, LOL. I truly am a grateful person and do not like to complain, but I may not always show my gratefulness which I assume would apply to most people. Today’s prompt is, name one thing I learned from my mother that I am grateful for. I hate these one thing prompts. There are so many things I have learned from my mom. But, since I have to pick one it would be how to be frugal. Now, that does not mean I have always listened very well, lol. As you will see below going back to a strict budget is proving not so easy for me and my family. We have always lived on a budget, but when you have more money you spend more money, and we are no exception to that rule. But, I grew up fairly poor, and my mom was excellent at being frugal, finding deals, stretching a dollar, and saving even with meager amounts of money. I am so grateful all of that information is stored in my brain and I truly want to teach my daughter how to be more frugal and buy what you need and save for what you want. It is so hard, especially for a teenager.

So, my 50 dollar for a week of groceries did not go well for this next week, and I can blame Thanksgiving for that. Now, with that said a lot of the stuff I bought can be carried over into the second week of the budget, as we get paid every two weeks, mainly because there will be a ton of leftovers from Thanksgiving. So, I am hoping it will even out.

I have a few gripes today in reference to things that were supposed to save me money. First Amazon Prime Pantry. We signed up for this and pay for a reason, two day shipping. I made my list the other day and this morning went to place the order. My items, a lot that I needed for Thanksgiving were not going to arrive until probably the day after Thanksgiving. Even if they came on Wednesday that is 5 days to delivery, not 2. I do not appreciate paying for a service and then I don’t get to receive the benefits of the service I am paying for. So, I had to take all of those items out of my cart, and left only the items for the second week of my budget. Amazon is in my not happy bucket today. Now, I could see if it was a true emergency, but Thanksgiving is the same day every year, and Covid has been here for 9 months, so I am not accepting those lame excuses. My second complaint today is for Ibotta. They were offering a free refund on Thanksgiving items that I intended to purchase and donate. But, of course, Ibotta would not load yesterday, or today, so I didn’t get to take advantage of that either. I have stopped using Ibotta before due to it not working properly and well that may happen again. There, now I am done complaining.

My first week menu starts tomorrow, 11/21, and goes until 11/27. I also purchased my two Dollar Tree items for my challenge next week. For this first week, I spent 83.68, and yes that is obviously over 50 dollars, but like I said a lot of the items will roll over into the second week in leftovers. For the second week, I have already spent 17.71 Save A Lot had the better deals, but not by a whole lot over Walmart. Just a few cents difference for most items and Save A Lot does not always have everything I need. Remember, my 50 dollar a week food budget is for food items only. It does not include non-food items. After Christmas, I hope to be able to sit down and make a budget for non-food items we use.

I wanted to share a recipe I made yesterday that was very affordable and will feed me and my husband for several meals. I had leftover pork ribs from Wednesday’s meal. You guys that was such a bargain, We have already had the ribs for 2 meals and lunch, and I was able to freeze 3 of the ribs for the next time I make this bean recipe. So, while the ribs were 10 dollars when you get several meals and then some out of the meat it really was a steal. In my crockpot, I put a can of black beans rinsed, and a can of Cannellini beans rinsed. Now, you don’t have to rinse them, but it gets rid of some of the sodium and I don’t generally like the sauce. Then I added about a 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce and a 1/2 cup of Italian dressing. I also threw in some pearl onions because I needed to use them up. Plus, one of the ribs that were leftover, bone and all. Then I put it on low for 8 hours. You guys this was so delicious. My husband loved it and had it again for lunch. If you have CKD like me be sure and not to eat the sauce, or as little as possible. Slow cooking your food helps decrease the phosphorus in the foods and releases it into the juices. I only eat a 1/4 cup at a time, and I put it over a 1/2 cup of masked potatoes. I had a simple side salad of lettuce, green onions, and some sunflower seeds. Try this delicious, simple, affordable recipe. The cans of beans were less than 80 cents apiece and I already had the other ingredients on hand. Eating beans is a great way to reduce your meat budget and still get protein.

Below you will see everything I bought for this weeks menu plan. I could have saved at least 10 dollars by using the stuffing I had already purchased, but my husband wanted me to make his mother’s homemade stuffing. So, I had to buy all of those ingredients. Plus, the pure maple syrup for the turkey was 7 dollars. So, that is actually 17 dollars I could have saved. But, my husband likes to make his turkey that way. I thought we still had some but did not. Sorry, my clean dishes are in a part of the shot. I wanted to get everything in one shot and my teen still hadn’t put dishes away.

Menu for 11/21-11/27/2020:

Saturday: Leftover homemade pizza for lunch and Hillbilly Casserole for dinner. Come back Monday and I will tell you how we liked both of those.

Sunday: Cheeseburgers and a side, probably Mac n cheese, fruit, or a veggie.

Monday: Chicken and broccoli. I think I have a jar of Alfredo sauce so we could have that over pasta. Or, it could be a completely low carb meal.

Tuesday: Tuesday is our busiest day of the week, every week. So, I like something fast and simple. I am sure there will still be the homemade pork and beans, or we could have grilled cheese and tomato soup, or breakfast for dinner.

Wednesday: Cheese ravioli, bread and butter and a side salad

Thursday: Thanksgiving, yay gobble til you wobble.

Friday: Leftovers of course

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14 days of gratitude: Day 7 and can you eat for $1.50 per day

Happy Thursday! I hope everyone is well. Thanksgiving is one week away here in the USA. In my Misfits box last week I got some organic Granny Smith apples. I got enough to make a pie. So, I added all of the ingredients for one apple pie and put them in the freezer. That way they won’t go to waste and I just thaw and put in a pie crust and bake. I have decided to pause my Misfits Market deliveries for 3 months, to evaluate cost-effectiveness. I love Misfits, and their mission to reduce food waste and supply organic foods to all areas of the country is something I definitely support. However, by the time the foods get to me, some of them are already starting to go bad. This is not cost-effective to me. I may have to find a local crop share program to purchase from. I found a couple, but they don’t offer the flexibility of choices that Misfits does, but I will have to evaluate.

Today’s gratitude prompt is: what do you love about the city you live in. I don’t technically live in a city, at least not by my definition, lol. It is more of a small town, but we picked this area for a reason. We are close enough to a city to be considered a suburb and have access to the convenience of a city but not the noise and traffic. People in this town are strong believers in faith and family. They have a community mind, at least most of them. No community is perfect and while I don’t always align with their political views, it is a great town with good schools and safe communities. Share your gratitude prompts in the comments.

As I continue to research food topics for my teenager’s Nutrition course next semester, I have come across some very interesting things. I didn’t know, and you may not know either, that the average food stamp benefit is 137 dollars per month, which actually breaks down to $1.52 per meal for 30 days. That is $4.56 per day for 3 meals. That is really sad. The government can only afford to offer this paltry amount of money to people who may already be in dire times. While researching how to eat healthy foods for $1.50 per meal, I came across the website Efficiency is Everything. They break down the healthiest foods with that amount of money. They base their 1.50 meals around flour, milk, eggs, pinto beans, kale, carrots, black beans, russet potatoes, and cereal. Their website is $1.50 per day, not a meal. That is really low. Cereals are fortified, or there is oatmeal to consider. You notice there are no fruits, but I would add bananas or apples to that list. I would probably also add tomatoes, but only when in season or canned. I think the list could be modified a little to reach the same threshold of 1.50 per meal, such as rice or pasta. A note about potatoes. Potatoes very often get a bad rap, but they are super healthy and cheap. I eat a baked potato almost every day for lunch, plus a carrot or peas. It is more brunch than lunch, as breakfast is usually just coffee for me. Add some lemon pepper seasoning and it is just delicious. I don’t particularly like Russets, but I could eat them if I had to. I much prefer red potatoes. You will note there is no meat on their list. Milk, bean, and eggs make up the majority of the protein. I don’t care for Kale and Broccoli is just as healthy and affordable. Also, green beans and spinach could be a substitute. I could totally eat like this, but my family probably would not be thrilled. However, if we had to they wouldn’t have a choice. I am following a low carb, so I simply modify portions to meet my daily carb limit of 100 grams of carbs per day.

Today, I am trying a new recipe that will make a lot of food with plenty of leftovers. I will share it tomorrow and how we liked it. It is very affordable and easy to make. My husband is willing to try it, but my daughter is a no, lol. She may starve. Just kidding I modify meals for her needs too.

Oh, before I forget, I did not have the Dollar Tree peas last night, I forgot, but I put them on top of my baked potato today, and like I guessed they tasted just like peas. See yesterday’s post. Tomorrow, I will also talk about cooking methods to reduce Phosphorus in foods for CKD.

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14 Days of Gratitude: Day 6 and My Dollar Tree Food Challenge

Updated 10/28/2021

Before I begin I want to explain my Dollar Tree Food Challenge. I have been watching different food challenges on Youtube. It is obvious you can eat at Dollar Tree. For my challenge, I wanted to compare two different foods and the nutritional value, as well as taste and overall value. I am unsure of how many places actually only offer Dollar Tree food options as a choice to eat. The two Dollar Trees that I frequent are within feet or a mile of other grocery stores where prices are very affordable and have healthier options. So, I simply don’t understand why someone would choose to eat Dollar Tree foods if you don’t need to. I find their serving sizes for a dollar to be higher than you could get the same at another store, or make your own. See my results below.

Today is day 6 of my 14 Days of Gratitude Challenge. Today’s prompt is, something I am grateful for today. Today, and probably every day I am very grateful for the internet and my smartphone. While our internet provider is not as fast as my son’s who lives in a bigger college city, it is faster than my mom’s in the sticks. Most of the time she can’t even get a signal on her phone to access the internet and her computer is slow. I can’t believe in 2020 in the USA that people still don’t have access to affordable good internet service. It just baffles me. Without the internet, it would be very difficult to find good information, and studies on CKD and other topics for this blog. Of course, this blog probably wouldn’t even exist. Having good information, quickly, right at the tips of my fingers is something I am extremely grateful for.

Now for the Dollar Tree Food Challenge. I compared Celeste pizza for one, to a can of peas. What I was looking for was comparable protein per serving size, and then all of the other nutritional info especially in relation to CKD.

First, the pizza. I am not a fan of frozen pizza to begin with but I picked it because per serving of one pizza there are 9 grams of protein. That is actually a pretty small amount of protein for a food item with sausage and cheese on it. I only ate half of this small pizza and gave the other half to my husband. So, I ate 4.5 grams of protein. The whole pizza which is about the size of 2 normal size pieces of pizza, there is 360 calories, 15 grams of fat, 7 grams saturated fat, a whopping 730 mg of Sodium, 47 grams of Carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugars, Calcium 8% of DV, Iron 15% of DV, and Potassium 2% DV. The ingredient list is so long it is ridiculous. The cheese is not real, and it has added Phosphorus as most processed foods do. So, from a CKD perspective, this is a horrible food choice. The sodium alone is 32% of DV, and the added phosphorus in this meal would be 100% absorbed by the body. While I could not locate this particular pizza on Eat This Much, similar pizzas have 22% of the DV of phosphorus per serving. On top of all that, it had a very chemical taste to it to me, and was not even enjoyable or filling. This is not something I personally would choose to consume again.

Now, compare the can of peas. First of all, it has only 4 ingredients, peas, water, sugar, and salt. That right there already makes this a better food option. Comparing the protein to the pizza, the peas per 1/2 cup serving size have 4 grams of protein. That is almost exactly half of the Celeste pizza. Plus peas are loaded with other nutritional items and is real food, not fake manufactured food. Per 1/2 cup the peas are 50 calories, 5 grams of fat, sodium is 290 mg, Carbs 11 grams, Fiber 3 grams, Sugars 4 grams, Vitamin A 6% DV, Vitamin C 10%, Calcium 2%, Iron 6%, Phosphorus 8% DV. You can’t change the sodium content of the pizza, but by rinsing the peas twice, you can greatly reduce the amount of sodium in the peas. Add butter, margarine, or other seasonings to flavor your peas and this is a much healthier food option from Dollar Tree. I will eat the peas with my dinner meal tonight. If they taste gross I will let you know, but I am doubting canned peas are going to taste like anything other than canned peas.

You can see the images below with the ingredients and nutrition labels. I am not picking on Dollar Tree or Celeste pizza. My only goal is to inform. There is obviously a market for these foods or they wouldn’t offer them. But, I do think it should raise concerns if people really only have a Dollar Tree to purchase food items from, and some of their items I could have purchased cheaper elsewhere.

Learning to read nutrition and ingredients on labels can help you eat smarter and healthier, especially if you have CKD or any other Chronic Disease. If you would like to learn about me and my Health Coaching services, use the contact form after all of the images to message me for a free email meet and greet.

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