is this a healthy food? dill pickle mustard

Welcome back to another Food on Friday post! I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe from this new Covid Delta variant. Keep reading to get my thoughts on Dill Pickle Mustard. This post may contain affiliate links.

I have been hearing so much about Trader Joe’s Dill Pickle Mustard, that I had to get some. I was going there anyway, and I was really hoping it wasn’t sold out. It was not, and I got some. It is delicious! Not too dilly, just right. I don’t remember exactly the price, maybe 3 dollars, but it was reasonable. I think people think Trader Joe’s might be higher priced. I actually find them quite reasonable for a specialty store. They just aren’t super close to me. Their meats are kind of high, but I think all meat is unless you are buying junk meat. I don’t even really eat that much meat anymore, but my family does.

But, is it a Healthy Food?

  1. No, because it isn’t food. It is a condiment. So, technically it can not be called a Healthy Food.
  2. No, because if you look at the label below it has no nutritional value at all. In order for a food to be considered healthy it has to have energy ie calories, and some vitamins and minerals. The only quantitative item on the label is Sodium at 50 mg per tbsp. serving. That is a low sodium condiment, though!
  3. Now, I would call it a good condiment that is a healthy choice. It has no calories, no fat, and low sodium. But, you still get all the flavor and spice. The ingredient list is pretty good though hard to read due to the weird colors on the bottle, at least for my eyes. It does have some natural flavoring, and that can means various things.

This is really good on sandwiches, potatoes, meat, eggs even. Try making a salad dressing with it, instead of honey mustard or Dijon mustard. Ooh that sounds really good! I might have to try that. Try it on different food options and see what you think. Let me know in the comments if you like it, or not. I am sure there are other brands besides Trader Joe’s that makes Dill Pickle Mustard, but this is the only one I have tried. Have you tried other brands? Let me know in the comments.

Have an awesome weekend!

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Mask up, again!

Hello, and welcome to another Wellness Wednesday! This is not the topic I was going to discuss today, however in light of all the new information, and the fact that this is a Health blog I decided to talk about it. This is information and my thoughts. I am in no way, telling people to either get the vaccine or not. This post may contain affiliate links.

First, some background on my experience. I have Kidney Disease. I do not typically get the Flu Vaccine because the couple of times I did get it I got sick anyways. But, Covid was a different story for me. Covid attacks the kidneys and destroys them. I only have one so the risk of not getting the Covid vaccine was too great. I work in Health Care. I have taken care of people with Covid, and I have been exposed by people with Covid. I was fully vaccinated as of March 10 of this year. You can read about my experience with the second Moderna shot. Either my daughter, or myself, have been disinfecting our frequently touched areas every day for over a year, until May that is. We stopped wearing masks in public after the CDC said we could, as all of us are now fully vaccinated, including my teenager. Even though I work in Health Care I have never tested positive and I get tested a lot. Almost exactly 4 weeks ago, a fellow coworker and friend of mine, who is not vaccinated sat in my office doing paperwork with her mask off the whole time. I still wore my mask as I knew she was not vaccinated but required to test weekly. I only removed my mask when drinking from my water bottle. Three days after that I learned that she tested positive for Covid, and then three days after that she was admitted to the ICU with Covid Pneumonia. My job rapid tested me 4 days after I was exposed, and I was negative. One week after my exposure I started experiencing a mild scratchy throat. My job advised me it was ok to come to work and they would rapid test me again. Again, I was negative. Towards the end of my shift I could tell I was coming down with something and left early. My husband and daughter also got sick, though milder than I did. We all got a PCR test on the same day and were all in various stages of something. We all tested negative. Because I work in Health Care I was advised to self quarantine until my PCR test came back negative. There is a point to this keep reading. We went back to wearing masks after this, even before we were advised to do so. I have also gone back to disinfecting daily.

My friend did not have the Delta variant. But, now 3 weeks after her illness we have an outbreak at my work. I do not yet know if it is the Delta variant, but they believe most likely it is. I have heard of other outbreaks in my area where vaccination rates are very low, below 30% in some spots. Today, I had to go get PCR tested, again, due to the outbreak at work. I go to the Health Department, and the line which typically is one or two cars, had about 20 cars in line. Again, I do not know if any of the new cases are the Delta variant, but I can presume because of how fast the cases have exploded in the past few weeks.

If you have been paying attention then you know the CDC just issued new mask rules telling the vaccinated to mask up again indoors in communities with high spread of Covid. Unvaccinated people should have never stopped wearing masks indoors. Indoors does not mean in your own personal home, though if there is an outbreak in your home that may be prudent.

My point to all of this is what the CDC said that the new Delta variant has changed the game for mask wearing.

Some key points I would like to make.

  1. Being vaccinated does not mean you can’t catch Covid. Your chances are much smaller, and you most likely will get a milder illness and not need hospitalization. Nor will you most likely die if you are vaccinated and get Covid.
  2. The vaccine protects you, and those around you because it was thought the vaccinated could not spread it if they did get it. However, the new Delta variant they say has a 1,000 times the viral load of the other variants. It was also stated in tests that a vaccinated person had just as much viral load in their nose as an unvaccinated person with the Delta variant. This also means that vaccinated people, with that higher viral load, can transmit the virus to other people. That is why the new mask guidance came out, because the new variant is stronger and more dangerous.
  3. The longer it takes to reach Herd Immunity the higher chances of the virus infecting people and mutations will continue to occur. A virus needs a host to live. Humans are the host for Covid. If Herd Immunity is reached then the virus can no longer have a host and no longer can mutate. The video below explains virus mutation quite well.
  4. We already know that asymptomatic people can spread Covid.
  5. Children under 12 do not have a vaccine offered to them as yet. This puts them at a huge risk for getting Covid. The original variant did not seem to effect young children much and it was possible they could not spread it. We do not know if the Delta variant will react the same way to children. We have lost over 600,000 people to Covid in the USA alone, whether you agree with how that data was collected, or not, it is the statistic. Are we prepared to start losing large numbers of children to this virus?
  6. If you absolutely do not want to get the vaccine, or can’t for some reason, masks work. They act as a barrier to the virus entering your nose or mouth where the virus can grow and you will become infected. They also act as a barrier to the virus leaving your nose and mouth if you are infected. That protects others. Masks are most important when indoors especially with close proximity to others, if there is not good ventilation, or if proper disinfecting is not taking place. They are not perfect, nor are they 100%, but they are an awesome tool. Even before Covid I would wear a mask during regular Flu Season to avoid getting it. They work for any respiratory illness you may wish to not get. You may wish to wear eye protectors if you are in an area with high community spread and you are indoors.
  7. I had to quarantine and miss 3 days of paid work due to being directly exposed to someone who was positive for Covid they weren’t wearing a mask. I know I personally can not afford to do that every time someone exposes me. Your own place of business may have different rules, but because I work in Health Care and I got symptoms, I had to quarantine until I got a negative PCR test, not a rapid test.

I tend to ramble, but I hope you see my points. The videos below are short and explain it even better. I urge you to watch them and keep an open mind no matter your decision. Please talk to your health care provider also, to learn more and what is best for you.

Stay safe and healthy!


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Eye health: cataracts!

Happy Tuesday! I am rounding out Eye Health month with Cataracts. If you would like to know what next month’s main topic will be, sign up for my newsletter below. This post may contain affiliate links.

The video below explains really well what a cataract is and how the surgery to fix it is done. It is really neat and amazing to me that something so small can be replaced.

A cataract by definition is the clouding of the lens of the eye, which decreases vision, and causes blurry vision. You may also experience in a decrease in seeing vivid colors. The lens of your eye is the clear part behind the iris, which is the colored part of your eye. The lens helps to focus light, or an image, onto the retina of the eye.

After age 40 cataracts can become more common which makes sense for an aging eye. If you have family members with cataracts then you may have an increased risk of getting one yourself. Smoking, Diabetes, eye injury, some radiation treatments, not wearing sunglasses outdoors, and corticosteroid use may all increase your risk of getting a cataract.

Protecting your eyes by managing any of the items mentioned above are the best ways to decrease your risk of getting a cataract. See an eye doctor at least every two years to have your eyes examined. If you already wear prescription glasses and you need to be in the sun, discuss with your doctor lenses to protect your eyes from the sun’s rays.


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does yardwork count as exercise?

Hello, and welcome back to another Sweating on Sunday topic. I finally am back to regular workout routines after a shoulder injury sidelined any upper body work, and then I was sick with what seemed like Covid, but I tested negative 3 times. I do still have a lingering cough and actually think it was Covid as I was directly exposed by a coworker. Anyhow, I had to quarantine and no one else was exposed by me. My husband and daughter also got sick, and also tested negative. If you are vaccinated you can get a breakthrough infection though it will be milder and you may not get enough of a viral load to test positive, and supposedly you can not spread it. This post may contain affiliate links.

This time of year, in Florida, I could literally do yardwork every single day for at least an hour. Between the garden, mowing, weed whacking, and all the trimming that constantly needs doing, my daily workout could be yardwork. Or, could it? Is yardwork exercise, or just being active? I know for me it is definitely exercise. My heart rate goes up, I get plenty hot and sweaty, and I burn calories according to my fitness watch. Now, for me I like to stay in the light to moderate intensity. range of exercise due to my Kidney Disease. I try to never hit the high or maximum heart rate zones. To find your maximum heart rate zone for exercise subtract your age from 220. I will be 52 in a couple of weeks so that makes my maximum heart rate 168. If you would like to read more about heart rate zones, click here.

Not only does your heart rate increase, but you also will be working various muscles while doing yardwork. Check out this Pinterest image to see which garden tools work which muscles. Or, this one to see the muscles used when mowing grass with a push mower. As you can see different tools work different muscles. It is best if you can do yardwork for at least 60 minutes. That is super easy for me. We have almost an acre of land, and half of it I use a push mower to mow. The other half my husband does with a riding mower which of course is not exercise at all.

The two short videos below explain it even better. The first video is from a homesteading gentleman who shows how he stays in shape working the homestead and using the various tools mentioned. The second video the gentleman actually shows his stats from his fitness watch after he mows his 3/4 of an acre yard, and figures out whether it was exercise or just activity. Be sure and watch it.

You may not need that expensive gym membership, after all. But, you may need to supplement if you only do yardwork once or twice a week. Health Buddy Melissa has not tested or used any of the products mentioned in the second video.

Make sure you rest if you need to and then start back up, drink plenty of water, and then cool off and relax when you are all done.


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Processed people!

Welcome back for another Food on Friday topic. The video below is not real exciting, but the topic and the point they make is super important to living a Healthy Lifestyle. I am not going to write a lot, I am just going to encourage you to watch it with an open mind and really listen to what they are saying. Please remember that Plant-Based does not mean Vegan.

If you would like to learn how a Health Coach can help you change your eating habits, email me at, or you can fill out the contact form at the end of this post and the email will come to me.


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my #1 Tip for meal prepping

Hello, and welcome to Wednesday! Today, I am going to discuss my #1 tip for meal prepping that I use every week. If you want to learn more about meal prepping check out Meals with Melissa. This post may contain affiliate links.

I am a Certified Health Coach, with a background in nursing. I am accepting new clients at this time.

What is meal prepping? So, this may look differently for different people. But, for me meal prepping consists of having a plan, and then preparing for that plan. I do my monthly menu plan in six month sessions. Six months for hot weather, and six months for cooler weather. Here in Florida cooking is not fun during the hottest months of the year, which is August and September. Cooking really just heats up the house. Once I know my meal plan, then I can prepare or prep. Prepping begins with inventory and a grocery list. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need if you are trying to stick to a meal budget. I shop weekly, but you certainly could shop bi-weekly, or even monthly. Buy what you can afford. If you can’t afford organic, then buy the healthiest option you can, but for optimal health you should be trying not to buy highly processed or pre-made meals. If you can’t eat fresh foods fast enough, buy frozen fruit and veggies.

So, what is my #1 tip? Pick one day, or like for me 2 days, to wash, peel, chop, and even cook some foods ahead of time. Some people will make freezer meals for the week, or even month. I find my family does not like frozen meals and they do not work for us. But, I can cook a large batch of rice that can be used through the whole week. Rice is very versatile and healthy. Organic Brown Rice is best, but my husband can not have all that fiber, so we use Organic Jasmine Rice. You could pre-cook pasta, but I don’t like it pre-cooked. However, I can make a large macaroni salad, pasta salad, or potato salad and it can be eaten all week for lunch or dinners. If you know you are going to use ground beef for several meals cook it all in one day, and store it in the fridge for the meals during the week. The same can be done with chicken and turkey. Hard boil eggs on prep day for use during the week. I tend to pick meals that are large and can be used as leftovers for a day or two. My family does not mind eating a meal a few days in a row, as long as it is one they like. If you like a fresh meal every night then pre-portion the items you need for that meal on prep day. I saw a lady on Youtube actually put everything in a Ziploc bag, for that meal, in portions she needs to cook it. The ingredients are in their own bag or container. She puts what it is and the date and puts it in the fridge for later use.

Picking one day to do all your prepping will save you a ton of time, especially if you work full time and have kids going here and there. I do two days because I can’t seem to get it all done in one day. Or, maybe I don’t want to, lol. Prepare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That way you will avoid eating out, or grabbing vending machine items.

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Eye health: learn about night-blindness and amd!

Hello, to all of my readers! As I continue with Eye Health in the month of July it made sense to talk about some common eye disorders. Today, I will discuss Night-Blindness, and Age Related Macular Degeneration. Like most disorders there are things you can do to slow, or possibly improve, the progression. If you read my post about foods that keep eyes healthy, then you might already know that Vitamin A is very important for healthy vision. Keep reading to learn more. This post may contain affiliate links.

Night-Blindness is more of a symptom of an Eye Disorder, than a disorder itself, usually with the Retina. You will notice you have it because you won’t be able to see well in the dark or low light situations. It will take some time for your eyes to adjust to the dark. Some people with Night-Blindness literally see nothing except a black spot. Now it isn’t like normal eyes adjust real fast from bright light to darkness. Apparently, it takes 20-30 minutes for a normal eye to completely adjust from bright light to darkness. That is a long time if you ask me. You can learn more about Night-Blindness in the video below, or read here. A Vitamin A deficiency can be a cause of Night-Blindness.

Age Related Macular Degeneration is an Eye Disease that gets worse over time, and can lead to complete blindness. There are two types of AMD, wet and dry. The videos below explain it well but, Dry AMD occurs when people get Drusen in the Macular part of the Retina of the eye. It causes blurry vision like when reading. Your eye doctor will test for this and it is recommended you see an eye doctor at least every two years. Wet AMD, occurs when the tiny blood vessels leak blood into the eye. If you can not afford to see an eye doctor, or glasses, please click here for resources that will help you. My other eye articles may have other resources, so be sure and find them in the archives.

I have strange eyes. I have blogged about this topic before. I see an eye doctor every two years and no explanation for my strange eyes. I use OTC eye drops to keep them lubricated and I wear reading glasses when needed, as well as glasses for distance for night driving only. My acuity comes and goes and I believe it is more related to diet and my Kidney Disease than anything else. I also use an eye warming mask a few times a week to help with the dry eye symptoms I have.

Foods rich in Vitamin A: Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Sweet Red Pepper, Cantaloupe, Mango, Black Eye Peas, Cod Liver, Beef Liver, Dairy, Dried Apricots, Herring, and Tomato Juice. Corn is not too bad of a choice for Vitamin A.


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Is this a Healthy drink? Zevia

Welcome back to another Mindful Eating Monday. There are parts to Mindful Eating, but an important part is knowing exactly what you are putting into your body. Today, I am going to discuss a drink that I was intrigued with when I saw it on a Youtube video. So, what do you think, is this a healthy drink? This post may contain affiliate links.

Since I do not care for a lot of the flavored seltzer waters, and a lot of the flavored waters have things in them I don’t care to consume, I decided to try Zevia. These are not the ones I saw on Youtube, but I was in Target and I saw these ones that are obviously geared towards kids. It says Zevia for kids right on the can, and it has Mickey Mouse on it. It says it is naturally Gluten Free, Vegan, and non GMO. If you look at the ingredients they look pretty good, carbonated water, citric acid, organic Stevia leaf extract, and natural flavors. Now you might think that is awesome! But, one thing that makes me think is that it says they use organic Stevia but there is no certified organic label on the can. Why does that matter? If you read this article, explaining natural flavors, there is a big difference between natural flavors of processed foods labeled organic, or not labeled organic. This can is 7.5 ounces, and for 4 cans it was almost $5. This little can of fizzy heaven had good flavor, and fizz. There are no sugars and no caffeine. You can see all of the nutrition info in the images below. The full size cans are much more affordable, though still pricey.

I think if you can tolerate Stevia and the natural flavors does not spook you away, this could be considered a Healthy Drink. It is obviously better than soda, or fruit juice. If you absolutely can not drink plain water this could be a good choice. I find it kind of sweet so I would add maybe half the can to my ice water to give it some lovely flavor.

Tell me what you think in the comments. Have you tried Zevia? Join my Mailchimp mailing list to receive my weekly newsletter on Wednesdays, with a smoothie popsicle recipe for free.

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self care saturday: Massage

Hello, and Happy Saturday! I am still waiting on my Covid test results so I can come out of quarantine. If you are not on my Mailchimp mailing list, join below, then you don’t know that I was exposed to Covid at work. Even though I am vaccinated, and was wearing my mask, I did get symptoms 6 days after direct exposure. So, I have been tested 3 times now, twice with the rapid test, and yesterday with the PCR test. If this does turn out to be a breakthrough infection than it is very important for the health department to know about it. I was fully vaccinated as of March 10th. That is the two weeks post second dose. That is only four months ago, and my immunity should not have started to drop off already. I was actually quite ill for about 36 hours. So, now I wait. I really hate waiting and being in quarantine isn’t a whole lot of fun either. This post may contain affiliate links.

I try to leave Saturday for Self Care topics. However, we should try to do Self Care at the very least a few times a week, if not daily. If you can only squeeze it in one day a week then it is definitely better than nothing. This week I am talking about Massage for Self Care.

Massage has many Health benefits. Here are some.

  1. Massage can teat some disorders such as: back pain, muscle pain, joint pain, stress, anxiety, High Blood Pressure, and Insomnia.
  2. Massage can help support chronic diseases like CKD, Diabetes, and Cancer. Support in this context means it can help to alleviate symptoms. It does not mean cure.
  3. Massage can promote deep relaxation and calm.
  4. Reduce muscle tension and increase circulation.
  5. Reduce stress hormones and stimulate the Lymphatic System.
  6. Increase joint flexibility and mobility
  7. Help the recovery process for soft tissue injuries
  8. Increase mental alertness

Massage can be lengthy or short. There are many different types of massage. Some people may not like to to be touched in a massage kind of way by others, so self massage can be learnt. It is quite simple. And further if someone is really unsure about self massage something like Reiki, where the hands do not actually need to touch the body can be tried.

Whether you choose to hire someone to give you a massage, use Reiki, or self massage it is important to remember to set the mood. Be in a calm, quiet place. Decide what time of day is best for you to get your massage. I think most people find a massage at the end of their day would be very relaxing and promote good sleep. However, if you are looking to gain more energy than a massage at the start of your day may be best. Even after a hard exercise session a massage would be perfect. I prefer self massage, or Reiki, when I am outside in nature. The sounds of the birds, feel of the warm sun, make me feel calm and relaxed. If I were to choose to do it inside I would prefer a dim room with lovely candles and soft music. If candles bother you, you can always use an essential oil diffuser to add lovely scents, or they can be added to the oil of your choice. Lavender is very common as a stress relieving essential oil. Make sure people in your home know you are having Me Time and you should not be bothered for a bit. Turn off your phone, or put it away so as not to distract you. Maybe you just want to do a quick massage before jumping in the shower. That too is OK, but try to have a time for just you where you can really enjoy the massage and the self care it promotes.

Some special considerations for massage:

If you are pregnant, have skin rashes or infections, there is a possibility of broken bones, or there is a life threatening illness, in these cases a doctor’s clearance to receive a massage, or Reiki therapy would be prudent. Massage for children is probably going to be controversial. I would say at the very least parental consent would be needed and possibly present for the entirety of the massage, or Reiki session.

The video below is the only complete body self massage video I could find. Here are some Ayurvedic Oils you may wish to try in your next massage. Please note I have not personally tried these oils. I am not saying Ayurveda is any better than any other kind of massage therapies.


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funny friday: scare pranks!

Why do we find it so funny when someone is scared? I don’t know but we do. Today, is Funny Friday. That means it is time to relax and laugh out loud. Laughter is an important part of a Health and Wellness plan. You should get at least 15 minutes of good laugh out loud laughing a day. I hope you love the video below. Be sure and tell me in the comments if you laughed out loud, and why you think we laugh at other people being scared. I would love to hear from you.

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I am also working on updating my Walking Buddy Plan, Guided Imagery, Aromatherapy, Mindfulness, and I think I will be announcing a general healthy cooking option. So, be sure and watch for all of those. I already have Reiki, and Meals with Melissa updated. So be sure and check them out if you are interested in better Health with any of those topics.