October Health Topic: Obesity

Hello, and happy Thursday! I hope the week has seen you well. For the month of October I have decided I will discuss Obesity. This is a topic, as a Health Coach, of course I have talked about before, but now a whole month will be dedicated to it. If this kind of topic is a trigger for you, please just sit this month out.

This is just a short intro post today as to why I feel talking about Obesity is so important. As of 1 year ago, over 42% of Americans are considered obese. That doesn’t even account for people who are overweight.

During October I will be discussing Obesity in a broad range of topics, and hopefully you will learn some good information that can help you begin your weight loss journey, and why it is important to do so. There will be no fat shaming here, so please don’t bother.

Below, are some videos with some statistics. I urge you to watch them to see how big the Obesity Epidemic really is. The third video, he is a little snarky, so just ignore his sense of humor and take in the statistics.

My husband and I have challenged each other to lose 10 pounds by Halloween. If you would like to join the challenge, please do. Having a goal and being challenged can help you stay focused and on track. Tomorrow I will be announcing a special deal for October for my Walking Buddy Plan. Be sure and check it out.

I will not be promoting crazy whack diets, or supplements.


Sign up for my Mailchimp newsletter!

Success! You're on the list.

High Oxalate Food Swaps!

All this month I have been discussing Oxalates in relation to kidney stones, and the possibility it may effect CKD. I did not get in as many topics as I would have liked, but if you look in the archives there is some really good information for you. The foods with the very highest oxalates, are either exotic foods, or foods considered super foods and are popular with Vegans, and Influencers. The list below is not complete, but will give you an idea that you don’t have to completely give up really healthy foods to avoid oxalates.

Fruits: The top 10 highest oxalate fruits are:

  1. Elderberry 105 mg per cup
  2. Indian Gooseberry 5996 per 1/2 cup other varieties have 15 mg per 1/2 cup
  3. Guava 50 mg
  4. Prickly Pear 1/2 cup boiled has 261 mg
  5. Raspberry 1 cup 50 mg
  6. Rhubarb 1/2 cup 541 mg
  7. Star Fruit 235 mg
  8. Pomegranate 1 medium fruit 99 mg
  9. Orange 29 mg
  10. Kiwis 19 mg Some others in this range are olives, grapefruit and goji berries.

Fruits with lower oxalates include apples, grapes, blueberries, apricot, peaches and bananas. A note about Avocados they have 19 mg per avocado. That is probably moderate if you eat a lot of avocados.

Vegetables with highest oxalates:

  1. Beet Greens 1 cup 500 mg Beets and beetroot are also high at 80 and 76
  2. Edamame per 2.5 oz cooked has 22 mg
  3. Fresh Express Mesclun Salad Mix 1/3 cup has 35 mg
  4. Okra 1/2 cup 57 mg
  5. Purslane Leaves 1/2 cup 165 mg
  6. Spinach cooked 1/2 cup 755 mg Spinach raw 1 cup 656 mg
  7. Swiss Chard 1 cup 350-429 mg
  8. Yams 1/2 cup 40 mg
  9. Turnip 1/2 cup mashed 30 mg
  10. Carrots raw 1/2 carrot 15 mg

Potatoes are also very high, but I can’t find them on my app. Some veggies to be mindful of are bamboo shoots, cassava, cayenne peppers, collard greens, and mung beans. If you like to eat salad choose romaine or iceberg. Broccoli, bell peppers, onions, cauliflower, zucchini, and corn are all lower in oxalates.

Beans etc:

  1. Black beans up to 72 mg per 1/2 cup
  2. Cannellini beans 1/2 cup 79 mg
  3. Great Northern Beans 1/2 cup 67 mg
  4. Lentils dried and boiled 1 cup 39 mg
  5. Navy Beans 1/2 cup 76 mg
  6. Red chili beans 1/2 cup 33 mg
  7. Soybeans 1 cup 96 mg
  8. White beans 1/2 cup 62 mg

If you like to eat this type of food, and there is no doubt they are healthy food, split peas, green peas are your best best in regard to oxalates. Chickpeas in a can are safe, but dried and boiled are high.

Nuts and Seeds:

  1. Almonds 1 oz 122 mg or roasted 1/2 cup 272 mg
  2. Brazil nut 1/2 cup 128 mg
  3. Cashew 1 oz 49-75 mg
  4. Chia Seeds 1 oz 192 mg
  5. Hazelnut 1/2 cup 103-140 mg
  6. Peanuts are high depending on roasted 53-137 mg peanut butter 1tbsp 13 mg
  7. Sesame Seeds 1 tbsp 342 mg
  8. Soynuts 1/4 cup 392 mg
  9. Walnuts 7 nuts 31 mg
  10. Tahini 1 tbsp 16 mg

For this category pistachios and sunflower seeds win. Pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and macademia nuts are also lower oxalate choices.

Meat: Virtually all meat is oxalate free

Dairy, unless it has chocolate in it is very low in oxalates.

Baking Ingredients:

  1. Almond flour 2 tbsp 60 mg Almond meal has a ton
  2. Amaranth flour 1/4 cup 76 mg
  3. Barley flour 1/2 cup 42 mg
  4. Brown rice and Buckwheat flour per 1 cup about 60 mg
  5. Chickpea flour 1/2 cup 39 mg
  6. Cocoa powder 4 tsp 68 mg
  7. Cornmeal 1 cup 64 mg
  8. Potato flour 1/2 cup 89 mg
  9. Quinoa flour 1/2 cup 140 mg
  10. White bean flour 1/2 cup 141 mg

For this category white whole purpose flour, even gluten free varieties are the best options if you are sensitive to oxalates. Whole wheat, is also fairly low,

If you would like to learn about any others such as sweets, spices, cereals, etc, use the contact form at the end of this post to send me a message.


Sign up for my Mailchimp newsletter!

Success! You're on the list.

Taste Test Tuesday: Family Cook Off Week 1

Last week I announced that my husband, daughter, and I were going to start a family cook off even each Monday. Yesterday, was our first cook off, and I was the judge. We need to come up with a prize, but we didn’t decide that yet.

So, for this week I got to pick the theme, and I picked a Fall Casserole. My daughter, who is 17 picked a Keto casserole, and my husband chose a classic. I forgot to take pictures, but below you can see the results of my judging. Next week my husband gets to pick the theme and be the judge. Even though my daughter decided she didn’t want to judge, just compete, she is going to pick themes every 3rd week. I am not sure how long we will keep this up, but we had fun doing it, and it is a great way to have some family fun!

I did a ton of meal prep last week, so now this week I can just relax a little for dinner. I don’t usually do large meal preps, but actually I found it quite rewarding. I now have 8 dinners prepped in the freezer and ready to go when I want them. I will post more on that in a future post.

Husband’s Meal: I don’t know the actual name of this casserole but I have seen versions of it on Pinterest. His ingredients were: tater tots, ground beef, cheddar cheese, Manwich, and Fritos. When he told me his choice I asked him if he could make his own Sloppy Joe sauce homemade, as he is a very good cook and I was pretty sure there would be High Fructose Corn Syrup in the Manwich. He opted not to do that, and took the easy way. I deducted points for that. Being he is a good cook, and knowing I do not care to eat the canned version I felt he was being unhealthy on purpose. He had good presentation, and this casserole was huge and will feed us for several days. So, from an economic perspective he gained some points. He also did not use a recipe. Again, he got some added points. It had really good flavor, but it was extremely dry. I suggested maybe less tater tots next time. His was also quite salty, most likely from the cheese and Manwich. There is no vegetables anywhere in this casserole.

Daughter’s Meal: She chose a Keto Chicken Fresca type recipe. I am not sure she realized it was Keto, because she doesn’t really care about Keto. So, I took away some points for not choosing a recipe that would be good for the whole family. She does not care for chicken, so she wanted to substitute for another meat. I already knew what my husband was making, so I suggested she not pick ground beef. So, she picked beef tips, or stew meat. She also didn’t want to make the homemade salsa, as she does not like fresh Cilantro, and I agree with her on that, as it tastes like dishwater to me. Her dish was very fast, and easy to make. The most time consuming part was sauteeing the meat slightly, with the chopped onions, prior to baking. Her ingredients were: beef tips, medium salsa, 1/2 of a chopped onion, a little cumin, chopped bell pepper, some of my homemade Basil herbed salt, and chili pepper flakes. Oh, and part skim Mozzarella cheese. The presentation of her dish was not great. She used way too much salsa, and it made the dish look very wet and sloppy. However, this dish had much better flavor, and it was tender and delicious. She was creative in her food pairings, and substitutes. It had great flavor without being salty.

The winner was my daughter. She put some thought into hers, and had a pretty well rounded dish. I would have preferred she added some rice, or something to it, to make it more of a balanced meal. My husband’s was dry, and hers was wet, but after taste testing was done, I just mixed them together and it was delicious!

Next week I will remember to take pictures.

From a CKD standpoint, the casserole with the fresh ingredients is always going to be best. Because I do the grocery shopping I was able to pick the products. There was nothing I could do to substitute Fritos, or Manwich, but I was able to buy grass fed organic beef, and organic salsa. I don’t think I remembered to buy organic cheese, but I did buy light cheese where I could. The Manwich and the Fritos are very high in Sodium, and as I stated the Manwich as High Fructose Corn Syrup in it. The Fritos might too, I didn’t check that. This did have a ton of protein in it, so I have to be mindful of serving sizes. I do not have an issue with Potassium, so the salsa is not an issue. As for phosphorus processed foods are going to have a lot of it, and the body absorbs 100 percent of it. That is why I prefer organic when possible, because it does not usually have phosphorus additives in it. Once in a while I find one, though, so always read the labels.

If you are living with a Chronic Disease, and you would like to help your family understand your food limits, try a family cook off. Let them learn how to cook for you, instead of you cooking for everyone else, and you. People learn by doing, and their perspective might change if they actually have to be in it.

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Sign up for my Mailchimp newsletter. My next one goes out next Wednesday.

Success! You're on the list.

Don’t Take My Chocolate!

Hello, and welcome to another Thinking on Thursday topic. Today, we are going to think about chocolate. I know controversial, right? But, for this month’s Health Challenge, I have been discussing Oxalates, and chocolate is very high in Oxalates. Well, sort of. Keep reading to learn more.

I have talked about chocolate before. Mostly in reference to chocolate being high in Phosphorus and Potassium. But, now I find out it is also high in Oxalates.

Yesterday, was National White Chocolate Day. I thought I always disliked white chocolate, but now I think I am in love. Why?

Strictly for the topic of Oxalates here are the differences in the types of chocolates, according to my Oxalates app:

  1. A serving size of 1.75 ounces of dark chocolate has 78 mg of Oxalates, and that is for 45-59% cocoa. It gets worse from there.
  2. The same serving size of milk chocolate has 39 mg of Oxalates. That is not horrible if you only eat that serving size.
  3. White chocolate and you get a more generous serving size of 2.5 ounces only has 3 mg of Oxalates. Oh yeah!

That is only for the chocolate. It does not include nuts, caramel, or peanut butter so be cautious.

As for the other concerns for chocolate, according to Davita 1 cup of chocolate chips contains at least 500 mg of Potassium, and at the very end of the spectrum 190 to 500 mg of Phosphorus. Thank goodness you wouldn’t eat all that at once, lol. Semi sweet chips are lower than milk chocolate chips. As for white chocolate, 1 cup of white chocolate chips contains 486 mg of Potassium, 299 mg of Phosphorus. So, while white chocolate is slightly better you do need to be mindful when you are eating these kinds of snack foods. One dietitian recommended that you limit your serving size of chocolate too a 100 calorie serving. Just for a more accurate visual of what 100 calories of chocolate would look like it would be 3 1/2 squares out of a whole bar of chocolate. That is not a lot of chocolate. But, if you can not live without chocolate at least there is an option. If you are on Dialysis please be sure and speak to your doctor before you consume chocolate. There is a video below for you to watch. I only watched the very first question because it pertained to chocolate. The rest of it was on other food topics related to CKD. She gives an interesting perspective on chocolate.

While researching this topic I found this website, that showed me what 100 calories of various snacks actually looks like. You might be surprised.

I did make a banana bar snack last week, and I put white chocolate chips in it with the idea of posting it today. Unfortunately I can not find where I put the recipe, and I am hoping I did not throw it away as it was super delicious and everyone loved it. I had worked out the stats per serving for Oxalates, Calories, Phosphorus. When I find it I will share it.

Do you love chocolate? Do you have CKD?


Sign up for my Mailchimp newsletter!

Success! You're on the list.

Thanksgiving on Tuesday: Family Food Challenge!

Hello, Hello! As promised, yesterday, I am sharing something fun that your family, or friends can do too. I was watching a Youtube video last week and it was a family that challenged each other to make a themed meal. Their theme was a Dollar Tree theme challenge. It was really interesting, and the creative meals they came up with were amazing, well two of them were, lol. Plus, they had three meals worth of leftovers for the rest of the week. Brilliant! So, in my house at this time is myself, my husband, and my 17 year old. I proposed to them that we try this on Mondays when my husband and I are both off from work. My daughter decided she did not want to be a judge between her father and myself, so she will compete each week, and one of us will be the judge. For the first Monday coming up I picked the theme and it is a Fall casserole. Casseroles are easy, convenient, and we should have a ton of leftovers, making them also economical. I will be sure and share how it works out next week.

But, I wanted to do a challenge this week, so last night I challenged myself to make a Thanksgiving dinner that was not a Dollar Tree challenge, for as affordable as possible. I spent only $6.04 on my meal. Now, this is not a traditional Thanksgiving meal. That is not the goal. But, if you are tight on money, don’t really know how to cook, or maybe you just want a really chill Thanksgiving instead of all the hassle of cooking all that food, and the dishes oh my, then this might be for you. Maybe you are stuck at college for the holiday, or some other reason. This would also be great for leftovers after the big day. Check it out. I don’t have my receipt because I order online now, but I can tell you from my order the price for each item.


Great Value Cream of Chicken Condensed Soup 1 can .57 If I ever make this again, and I probably will I would get low sodium.

Great Value Turkey Flavored Stuffing Mix 1 box .82 again if there is a low sodium option I would get that next time

Great Value Thin Sliced Oven Roasted Turkey Breast 1 pound $3.28 You honestly only need half of this so it could be even cheaper.

Daisy Natural Sour Cream 8 oz $1.37

1 cup of water free

That’s it! Now, if you bought half of the turkey breast you could get some canned green beans for .46 I had some already in my pantry and we ate them as a side.

To make this you need a crockpot. I chopped the turkey breast up and put it in a pan to sautee with some olive oil, and poultry seasoning. In hindsight I would not use the poultry seasoning the next time. This only took a few minutes. Then I layered it on the bottom of my crockpot, after spraying it with non stick spray. Open the stuffing mix and pour it over the turkey breast as evenly as possible. In a large bowl mix together the water, sour cream, cream of chicken soup. Then pour it all over the stuffing spreading it out to make it even. Cook on low for 2.5 to 3 hours.

My daughter and my husband were the judges. Now mind you my daughter does not eat stuffing. She hates it! But, she didn’t know what was in this meal because when you stir it all up to serve you really might think it is mashed potatoes. Anyway she ate it and had seconds. She gave me a 7! My husband said it was too salty, and I agreed. But, it really did taste like Thanksgiving in a bowl. He still gave me a 6. I would recommend the low salt versions that I stated above. I could have made the presentation better as well, but I didn’t think of that.

Anyway, I would definitely make this very easy, affordable meal again. This is obviously not a well rounded meal, but when you are in a pinch for time, and money, it will work.

How affordable can you make a Thanksgiving meal? Leave me a comment below. Probably Friday, for Foodie Friday, I will be sharing a chocolate recipe. Come back to check it out.


Sign up for my Mailchimp newsletter! It goes out tomorrow and I am sharing my favorite macaroni salad recipe.

Success! You're on the list.

Meatless Monday: Greek Spaghetti

Hello, Hello! As I try to work back more towards a Vegetarian type of eating pattern, I have discovered this wonderfully delicious recipe. If you have read any of my posts on Oxalates this month, then you know why I have steered away from strictly Vegetarian eating.

We actually had this on Friday, but I am sharing it today on Meatless Monday. I did not remember to take pics, but you will get the idea. It is a very simple and delicious meal. The video below is the original recipe, and I will share how I tweaked it for my family, and our preferences below.

Greek Spaghetti:

Ingredients: Penne Pasta, Feta cheese, Pepper Jack cheese, onions, black olives, butter, garlic, cherry tomatoes.

For starters I used mostly organic products, as that is my preference. I do not always get my preference, but I try. I also do not mix everything together, as I do not eat Feta cheese, and my daughter will not eat olives, or tomatoes.

To make my version put in your hot pan a half of a stick of real butter, or the whole stick as the original recipe calls for. Add fresh minced garlic, and chopped onions. I like Vidalia. I don’t think her recipe had onions, but I include onions in almost everything I cook. Just let that cook gently on low, while your pasta cooks. After the pasta is cooked, and drained, toss it in with the butter, onions, and garlic. You have to be fast here, and serve it quick. It is not as good once it starts too cool, and I would not like this leftover, so be sure and cook only what you are sure will be eaten. I had the olives sliced, cherry tomatoes sliced, and the cheeses all shredded up so each person could add whatever they wanted to their pasta. I also added some fresh chopped Basil to mine, and a little garlic salt. This really was so super delicious, and everyone loved it. It is also relatively inexpensive. Of note, black olives are very high in Oxalates, so use them cautiously if this is an issue for you. Pasta, can also be moderate in Oxalates, especially if you are using a whole grain pasta. I used just regular white organic pasta.

Try this and let me know if you like it. Try my version, and the original below. They are pretty much the same, but just a little bit different.

Come back tomorrow to see my 6 dollar meal that I am making today. I don’t want to give it away, so no hints. I will also be sharing a new family together time challenge.

Are you trying to eat more meatless meals? Let me know what your biggest struggle is to achieve it.


Sign up for my Mailchimp newsletter!

Success! You're on the list.

Funny Friday, Halloween Scares!

We are coming into that time of year, Halloween. Have you started to decorate yet, or get in the Fall season. I have not yet. I am unsure of how I want to decorate this year. I love Fall themes, and Thanksgiving, but my Fairy Garden grew all in with Ivy this year, so none of my little houses and such are visible. I may start another one in a different spot, but I am not sure.

There is nothing like a good laugh to get your weekend started, and you might just get some good ideas. My son, and husband, are pranksters, and like to scare us as well. I do think some of these are kind of cruel to do to very young children. I also find it interesting that no one swore. I swear, trust me. Also, only like two or 3 people fought back and 2 of them were children. The secretary got it 3 times. Watch the Husky, too. It is not very long, and I laughed hard enough to tear up.

Be careful when you scare people, there could be unintended consequences.

My work schedule is changing this weekend. So, my Saturday and Sunday posts will probably become more rare. I will try to do them ahead of time, and schedule them.

Sign up for my Mailchimp newsletter!

Success! You're on the list.

How Much Salt Does the Body Need to Function Normally?

Hello, and happy Thursday! If you read this blog, then you know I talk a lot about salt. I talk about salt when I talk about the kidneys, and I talk about salt when I talk about blood pressure. But, how much salt does the body actually need to function normally. Yes, you are reading that correctly. The human body needs salt to function! I usually say that right around a 2GM Sodium Diet, is probably good for most people. But, am I correct? I found a video that explains it quite well, and better than me. It is short, so be sure and watch it and see if my 2 GM, or 2,000 mg is a good amount, or not. I picked two posts that I have done in the past on this topic. You can read them here, and here. There are certainly many others, and you can find them in my archives.

I like this lady because she explains things in a simple, easy to understand way. She is a Kidney Dietitian, and that is super important when getting information about diet and Kidney Disease.


Sign up for my Mailchimp newsletter!

Success! You're on the list.

Taste Test Tuesday: Trader Joe’s Italian Meatballs

Whoa a new featured topic! I think it is fun to share the perspective of different tastes for different food items. So, I am starting a Taste Test Tuesday topic. I don’t know if every Tuesday will be this topic, because I have others for Tuesdays, but if it is really popular I will just do it.

If you read here you know I love Trader Joe’s. I also don’t get to shop their often because it is not close to me. We had never tried the meatballs, but in the Summer having something quick and easy is nice. So, I bought the Italian Style Meatballs. I am going to say right off the bat I wish I had read the ingredients better, see below. There is soy in these meatballs, way at the bottom of the list, but still, and it is probably why I have GI upset today. I don’t tolerate soy well. On the other hand, my husband will usually not eat meat with soy in it, but he didn’t even notice, and he loved these meatballs!

Me: I thought they had great flavor, were a good size, and overall were quite good. I did not care for the texture, however. They were affordable and convenient. There was way too much fat, however, and I think in the future I will just freeze some of our homemade meatballs for the summer months. They also have quite a bit of sodium in them for a serving size of 2 meatballs, that are really not that large.

Husband: Liked them a lot, and ate the rest for lunch as a meatball sub. Trust me when I say that is a good thing. He had no complaints or issues.

My daughter did not try them this time around.

Would I buy them again? Absolutely! I just wouldn’t eat them. They are great for when I work and the hubby, and daughter can make a quick easy meal.

There are about 6 servings in the bag, and if I remember correctly they were right around 5 dollars. Do you need help meal planning, or following a diet? Check out Meals with Melissa.

Have you tried these? What do you think?


Sign up for my newsletter!

Success! You're on the list.

Should You Avoid Everything But the Bagel Seasoning With CKD?

Hello, and happy Monday! I hope everyone had an awesome weekend. It is finally getting to be a smidge cooler in the mornings, and I can enjoy my coffee outback on the swing. If you have been following along then you know for this month I am discussing Oxalates and how they can effect CKD, and other parts of the body. It is taking me a while to put together a long post on Oxalates in general, and how they effect other parts of the body besides kidneys. I will leave links to all of the posts I have done on this topic so far, so you can find and read them. It is very interesting and understudied topic, to me anyway, because I feel like I probably am sensitive to Oxalates.

Just a note that I love Trader Joe’s and I am not picking on their brand of Everything But the Bagel Seasoning. I am sure they are all similar, but this is the one I have on hand and was consuming regularly up until my strange symptoms begin. See my first post on this topic for more info on that. This seasoning is delicious and adds a nice little punch to food. You can see the ingredients below, but of concern is the Sesame Seeds and the Poppy Seeds. It does have a bit of Sodium as well. A serving is a 1/4 of a tsp, and trust me that is hardly anything at all. Check out this image, to see what I mean. According to my Oxalate app tracker Sesame Seeds contain 324 mg of Oxalates per 1 tbsp, and Poppy Seeds contain 34 mg of Oxalates per tbsp. Unless you are only using the recommended serving size of this seasoning, you could be consuming way too many Oxalates, especially if you have CKD. Oxalates are tiny nano crystals that build up in the urine because the kidneys can’t remove the Oxalates efficiently anymore. You don’t have to get a kidney stone for this to be an issue with CKD.

I sadly have stopped eating this seasoning, at least for now. My symptoms have improved by changing my diet, and I feel like I am back to baseline. My kidneys were actually improving, and at my last doctor visit I was back to stage 2. But, then I went back to stage 3A. So, I would live to be and stay at stage 2. Anything that is potentially going to make my kidneys work harder, and I don’t need it, I will try to avoid. I will eventually go back to using this seasoning, but in smaller amounts, and I will be Mindful of the other foods I eat in a day to be sure I stay right around 100 mg of Oxalates per day.

Please don’t just stop eating foods with Oxalates. You can cause something called Oxalate Dumping. Speak to your doctor, or request a Dietitian referral if you think you are sensitive to Oxalates, or are having strange symptoms especially during Summer months when Oxalate foods are probably higher consumed. If you are Vegan, Vegetarian, or even Keto, and you are having symptoms that are unusual to you seek the advice of a trained Dietitian to see if Oxalates may actually be causing you harm.

If you would like to learn more about how a Health Coach can help you reach your eating lifestyle goals, send me a message using the contact form at the end of this post.


Other posts on this topic:

Sign up for my Mailchimp newsletter!

Success! You're on the list.