Living With CKD Pantry/Food Budget Challenge Start Of Week 4

Hello, and welcome to the start of week 4 of the Pantry/Food Budget Challenge. If you have not been reading along, shame on you, just kidding, maybe, lol. My husband and I have decided for the whole year of 2022 to try a Food Budget Challenge. Right now we still have a lot of pantry items left, but it is dwindling each week. At first, we were just eating out of our pantry and only buying what we absolutely needed. But, then last week it occurred to me that it wasn’t a very good idea to do that, and just buy no groceries. That would put us in a bind for sure. Especially, since I am the only one in my family of three that can very easily go without eating meat. So, I decided to just spend the full 63 dollars each week, and that way not completely run out of everything. This is still a challenge, and I know it is only going to get more challenging, lol.

If I remember correctly last week I only bought a kielbasa and some chicken nuggets for meat. There is still a half bag of chicken nuggets left and the kielbasa. We have cut back on our portions of meat so much, that I am amazed at how long it is lasting. My daughter will only eat processed meats, yuck, or beef. She will eat eggs too. So, she is limiting herself in the protein sources she is getting, though she definitely can get enough from all the cheese she likes. Until I get away from these 12-hour shifts I work I am just relegated to eating at my workplace even though I know it is way over-salted, and processed. I am actively starting to apply at other places because this 12-hour stuff just is not healthy for me.

One more quick note. Last week I discussed coffee, and how important it is to our morning. I do not like cheap coffee, and since my husband went and bought another coffee pot that only takes the pods I am stuck with it. Coffee is extremely expensive right now. After doing some research I found on Amazon that I could get their brand of the breakfast blend, light roast, 100 pods for 24 dollars. That will last us well over 4 weeks. So, we decided that coffee would be our gift to each other every month and will not be counted in the budget. It only comes out to about 6 dollars a week or less, anyways.

One more thing about my husband. He can not eat the same thing more than 2 days in a row, where I could and not even care. So, I have to have variety each week. I told you it was gonna get hard. We ran out of milk on Sunday morning and he thought he was going to die one day without milk until the new week started today.

In the picture below you will see this week’s haul. Some of it is hard to see like the eggs, the large Aldi pizza, behind the bagels, are some tortilla chips, and there are 4 cans of veggies, but my daughter piled them high. Canned veggies are not perfect but they will do on a budget. Be sure and get low sodium if you can, or just drain the liquid and rinse before cooking if you can’t. Asparagus was quite expensive, but my husband asked for it. I could have saved nearly 10 dollars by not buying the chips, corn chips, and pretzels. But, I have to have something for us to snack on in the house. We do have a bunch of crackers that they really need to eat up. Creamer is also almost a luxury at this point. Even at Aldi even though it is half the price of Publix, the bottle is not nearly as big. I did buy meat this week. The chicken thighs had 8 thighs for $5.55. They are not organic and the skin and bone are still there. But, that is easily 4 meals of chicken dinners. The ground beef was $5 dollars a pound and I got two pounds. Honestly, I was kind of disappointed because I can get the organic ground beef for a similar price but they didn’t have any. I split the ground beef up into two 1 pound packages before freezing it. Aldis eggs were not economical at all, either. Eggs are even higher priced. I had to run to Publix to get eggs, and then my daughter decided she wanted some french fries. All in all this week I spent $71 dollars.

I went $8 dollars over budget this week, and while that is certainly not a crisis it is still over budget. I am sure I will be buying tomatoes before the end of this week, so that will be a couple of more dollars. I can not afford organic that is for sure, and I absolutely can not afford to shop at Publix on this budget. I do have several ideas of how maybe I can do more with my hard-earned money. I will try to get my meat from Misfits Market so that I can get organic. No, it is not huge packets of meat for cheap, but it is doable and I prefer organic. I have an account with them, but since I started this challenge have not bought from them. My husband does prefer the taste of organic milk but doesn’t have to have it to be happy. That is good because it is twice the price of non-organic milk. Next week, I don’t have to go to the city where Aldis is, so I am going to try my luck at Save A Lot and possibly the Dollar Tree. I will not eat processed junk, so if it comes to that to stay on the budget something will have to give.

If there is one thing I hope people can take away from all this is that healthy food should not be expensive and shitty food cheap. This is a horrible way for things to be. Nor, should I have to shop at 10 different stores, trying to find the best deals every week. People that have time to do all that is probably not working full-time jobs.

Over the weekend my family ate leftovers and cooked out of the pantry while I was at work. I need to update my pantry list after today’s shop. This is a super important way to keep track of what you have so you can plan meals around your pantry.

Today for lunch we had the Aldis pizza because it wouldn’t fit in the fridge. Keep that in mind if you buy one, they don’t fit. I had one slice of pizza, and a side salad. That pizza had 880 mg of sodium in one large slice. I ate half a slice. That is way too much sodium in one slice of pizza. I didn’t even look at the other nutrition information. For dinner, my husband and daughter will finish the pizza and I will have a leftover pork chop from Friday, and leftover broccoli. I may have a banana, or pretzels for a snack.

Some other meals I have planned for this week are spaghetti and meat sauce, chicken and bacon-wrapped asparagus, and pineapple rice. I have to use up the pineapple I bought a few weeks ago.

Do the best you can do. Try not to buy high sodium, overly processed, and foods with added sugars.

Let me know in the comments if you are joining in the challenge and what success you have had so far. You can leave links to your videos, or websites and I will check them out. I am going to try to do short videos once my husband is not working from home anymore.

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Walking is the best exercise for someone with CKD. Walk with Me!

What Is A Living Will and Do You Need One? Plus More!

Welcome to another Thinking on Thursday topic. As promised I said I would cover topics related to retiring and other Golden Years topics. First off let me state this is my opinion, but if you do some research you will see that my opinion is helped by a lot of legal experts. I think anyone over the age of 20 should have a Living Will. At the end of the post, I will do an update on my pantry and food budget challenge, so there will be a lot of pictures.

We can not discuss if you need a Living Will without a few definitions. First off what is a Living Will? I like to keep things simple, so to put it in a simple way it is a legal document filed with your doctor, family, and anyone else who needs it making it very clear what your wishes are for your medical care should you become terminally ill. What is the definition of a terminal illness? Again, in its simplest form when someone has a terminal illness there is no cure and will cause death. That is a pretty broad statement in my opinion and if you have CKD, like me, they will tell you there is no cure. Now, I think in a lot of states this would be broken down into how long until death is expected, etc. Be sure and follow the guidelines, and understand what a Living Will in your state means.

My husband and I will each be doing a Living Will. Something we should have probably done years ago. But, when you are young you don’t think about such things, like something awful can never ever happen to you.

Again, this is my opinion and my feelings. I have been a nurse for 35 years and I know there are certain things I do not want. For example, I do not want to be kept alive with no quality of life. Quality of Life is a debatable topic, but for me, if I can not do the things I enjoy how and when I want to, I have no quality of life. If I am exhausted all the time, can’t work, can’t exercise or even walk far, am being fed by a machine, am incontinent with someone needing to clean and change me, these are not quality of life for me. If these things were short-term, and by short-term I mean less than 3 months, then I would consider it being rehabilitative, not poor quality of life. Event hat is debatable to me if the expense to do so will be outrageous and put my family in a horrible position of trying to pay just to keep me alive. I have lived an awesome life and while I don’t want to die, I don’t fear death. I do fear no quality of life, however. Dialysis is something I am still on the fence about, especially since I don’t have to confront it yet. It is life-saving, obviously, but I would have to assess my quality of life.

These are the types of things you would need to consider when creating a Living Will and are only examples of myself since I am the best example I can give. A Living Will can be amended or rescinded at any time, so don’t feel like once one is created you can never change your mind, or ask for changes.

Even though creating a Living Will is not something fun to think about, or something that has even crossed your mind, it does take the burden off of loved ones who would be put in the position to have to decide these things should you be terminally ill.

You don’t even need a lawyer. Legal Zoom can assist you, and there may be others. Here in Florida, they provide a sample Living Will you can use, just fill in the areas that need filling in.

Consider the pros and cons talk to your family and then make an informed decision. My family is very aware of how I feel.

Update on the food budget/pantry challenge:

This week we are using up leftovers and a bunch of pantry food items. You will see the labels and ingredients for each item below. I am very disappointed to say that I will not be eating the Stove Top Stuffing as it has HFCS and a lot of sodium, added phosphorus and added sugars. I will eat homemade mashed potatoes instead. Keep reading to learn more.

Tuesday: We had for dinner Dave’s Killer muffins as egg and sausage sandwiches. I like Dave’s products. I like their 22 seed bread better, but this is what I purchased. I did have sausage, egg, and one slice of cheese. I had a large side salad with mine.

Wednesday: I had a board meeting and my husband was going to be late. So, from the pantry, my daughter wanted Campbell’s tomato soup. Unfortunately, I did not read the label until after I had eaten 1 cup. I didn’t even consider that soup would be so bad for me. This soup is full of sodium, added sugar, and I believe added phosphorus. I did not take pics of the label but you can look it up. I almost died when I put it into my food tracker and I had consumed 40 grams of carbs in a 1 cup serving of soup that was not even filling. Good grief! I did have a side salad with it.

Thursday: We had some turkey still leftover from Sunday. So. I put 2 ounces of turkey breast on a spinach and iceberg salad, with some sunflower seeds. Unfortunately, I did not read the label for the Publix salad dressing and much to my dismay it too has a lot of added sugars. I did look up their organic version and it was much better, though you will pay more for that healthier version. I had one Hawaiian roll, again leftover from Sunday, and holy moly look at the food label and ingredients for one tiny roll. That was just lunch, lol. For dinner, I am making some pan-fried organic chicken from my freezer, carrots from a can see the label it is about the only healthy thing I have featured this week other than the organic chicken, and I will have homemade mashed potatoes leftover. My husband and daughter will be having the Cracker Barrel White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese. I was going to have that too but look at the label and the ingredients. No thank you!

This week has been an eye-opening week for me with my Pantry Challenge eating with CKD. The Dave’s bread, and the carrots, are the only two pantry items that are even acceptable. HFCS, food additives, preservatives, high-fat content, added sugar, high sodium, added phosphorus in the other items are probably not good for you if you have CKD. They are probably not even good for you if you don’t have CKD. If you do decide to eat any of the foods I mention at the very least eat only one portion or even half a portion. Always discuss food options with your doctor or dietitian, if you are even lucky enough to have a dietitian.

That is it for today. I hope you are all enjoying my budget/pantry food challenge. Let me know in the comments.

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Kidney Class: Week 4

Hello, again, and Happy Wednesday! Of all the things I will discuss in the AKF Kidney Class, this is the one thing that gets under my skin. I don’t wholly agree with the premise that the kidneys can not heal. Read the slide, it is a short one, and then read my thoughts below.

You see they repeatedly make the point that CKD can not be reversed and there is no cure, and they won’t get better. Why does that bother me? First off, when you take away someone’s hope for a possible recovery they will just give up and not try as hard as they may if they had some hope. Now, I don’t believe in false hope, either, but why does everything have to wait for dialysis and you probably won’t get better. There are cases of kidneys healing, not a lot, but they exist. It is rare, I will admit, but what did the people with healing kidneys do differently? Was it diet, lifestyle, exercise, risk management to prevent further injury to the kidneys? I see all of the time on Facebook a topic about the things that injure the kidneys and people just scoff at it, despite it being true. Then, I see whacked-out quick-fix schemes for the kidneys that people sign up for in droves. The truth is somewhere in all of that minutia. There is no quick fix to heal CKD. If it can be healed or improved, it is through hard work and dedication through education, advocacy, better food choices and I am talking about the hard stuff like giving up added sugar, an exercise regime that is safe and healthy for CKD, weight management, no smoking, no alcohol, no HFCS, more organic and affordable food options, make the food industry stop poisoning people, only taking medications that don’t harm the kidneys, and I could go on, but I won’t.

I have said this before, and I will say it a million more times if I need to, do not let anyone steal your hope. Talk to your doctor, and your health team, and insist they teach you, and you be willing to learn to make the changes they recommend that can lead to an improved CKD. Be an advocate for yourself, and for others to prevent CKD in future generations.

It is very true as we age, the kidneys, just like any other human body part naturally will have some decline, that doesn’t mean we have to be relegated to chronic illness and suffering.

Please leave your thoughts in the comments. I answer all legitimate questions and statements. I do not allow spam, so don’t bother.

I live and I thrive with CKD. So can you!

Disclaimer

I am an American Kidney Fund Coach. I have been given the OK to share their education slides on this blog. I give my thoughts, opinions, and experiences independent of their information. They in no way are saying my opinions are facts. Please, always research the information you read on the internet. There are good sources and bad sources of information.

Living With CKD: Pantry/Food Budget Challenge Week 3

Hello, hello! I hope everyone had an awesome weekend! It is freezing here in Florida right now and my Buffalo Bills lost. So, I am kind of sad today. But, don’t worry it’s alright.

Today begins week 3 of the budget/pantry challenge for my family of 3 at home. The budget is 63 dollars per week, and I hope to do it all year and save lots of money for projects I want to do. Part of the goal is also to see if having CKD limits me from eating convenient or pantry-type meals. We ate a lot from our pantry last week, and then I thought why would I eat everything and then start buying? So, this week I took a different strategy. I planned on spending the whole 63 dollars to replenish some of the fresh stuff we had eaten, and other items that we like. Meat, especially organic meat is going to be our biggest expense. I did buy some cheaper fewer quality meats this week, but I will probably have eggs or a meatless night, instead on those nights. I only list what I eat for breakfast and lunch, and what we all eat for dinner.

I have come to the conclusion that it is just easier for me to eat at work on my 12 hour days. They let us eat for free and I will just have to pick the healthiest option. I only work two days a week, so it should be fine. Yesterday, my husband made the extra turkey from Thanksgiving, used up the rest of the fresh potatoes, and green beans from the pantry. My son and dil were here to enjoy the meal. They did well and did not purchase anything extra as I asked them not to do.

Today, I went to Aldis and Publix to get my 63 dollars worth of groceries. I honestly would just avoid Publix right now because prices are so high, but we had a coupon for a specific coffee that my husband wanted, and Aldis had no coffee creamer. Coffee and creamer are kind of like luxuries in this challenge because they are so expensive. We have one of those k-pod coffee makers, so it is even more. I spent $43.97 at Aldis and $20.06 at Publix. For a total of $64.06 which is obviously over budget, but I did not account for tax in the budget. The budget is for food items only. You can see everything I bought in the image below. I recorded all the new items on my inventory spreadsheet and deducted the things used over the weekend. We still have a good supply of food.

For breakfast, I had one of my Quest protein bars that I already have a ton of. I do not like these at all, but I bought them, so they must be eaten. For lunch, I had 1 ounce of corn chips, a tuna pouch with 1 tbsp of mayonnaise, onion, and tomatoes. Plus a dill pickle. For dinner, I am having leftover turkey breast, 4 ounces of mashed potatoes, 1/2 cup of green beans, and a side lettuce salad. Yes, I am doing low carb again. The mashed potatoes are homemade so no additives or preservatives.

That is it, for today. Come back throughout the week to see what else we had from the pantry. The pantry includes fresh, frozen, and canned or convenient meals. Let me know in the comments if you are trying either the budget challenge or the pantry challenge with CKD.

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Eating From My Pantry With CKD: End Of Week 2

Happy Friday! Even though the week doesn’t technically end until Sunday, I know we have everything we need to get to then without buying anything. So, I can safely say that in week 2 I spent 19.56 from my 63 dollar budget, which means I saved $43.44. Now, next week, as we have eaten a lot from our pantry from the last two weeks, I will have a little bit of a bigger food haul to buy, but still not a lot.

For clarification, because someone asked me, The Pantry Challenge is a two-pronged challenge. It is a budget challenge, and a challenge to eat what we have and see if I can still feel well with CKD while eating shelf-stable type products. Even when I buy shelf-stable items I try to buy organic as they don’t have all of the stuff I may not want in them. My organic items are running out and the real challenge will begin. Can I still afford those items on this budget of 63 dollars a week? I may not be able to and I may have to just stop buying the shelf-stable items that make me feel junky most likely from added phosphorus in those foods. Case in point we were treated to Chinese takeout last night and yes I feel yucky today. The sodium and most likely phosphorus in the batters and sauces are not good for people with CKD.

From my last post on this topic, we are still eating leftover soup as there was so much, and meatballs and pasta. I did use a can of green beans, and my daughter used a box of macaroni and cheese from our current inventory. She also used a pizza crust, sauce, and cheese. I ate some of the salad as well.

Tonight, we are having pork chops from the freezer and broccoli. I had popcorn for breakfast, lol. Popcorn is an awesome snack, but you do have to maintain portion control because it does naturally contain phosphorus. I air pop it to avoid added chemicals in microwave kinds.

The weekends are tough for me because I work 12-hour shifts and it is hard to plan ahead, especially on Sunday. But, I am going to prep some stuff tonight to keep me fed and hydrated over the weekend. Sunday my husband is cooking the extra turkey we bought at Thanksgiving and we are having family over for dinner after I get out of work.

Monday is shopping day and I think I will go to Aldi. Their prices are slightly lower than Walmart and I will have to see if it is worth the drive with gas prices. I will share my grocery haul and the amount spent. I am hoping to be able to get good organic items and stay within my budget. We do not need meat and that is good because organic meat is expensive. I can get it from Misfits Market but with a 30 dollar limit to buy, I need to wait until I need more things.

One more little tidbit. This 63 dollar-a-week budget is about half of what we normally would spend, so even after the food we have on hand is depleted it will still be large savings if we can stick to it. All monies saved will go towards spending down debt, home improvements, and my daughter’s graduation.

Do you have CKD? Do you eat processed or shelf-stable foods? How do you feel? Drop me a note in the comments. If you would like to learn how using a Health Coach like Health Buddy Melissa, can help you learn more about your kidneys, send me an email using the contact form below.

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AKF Kidney Class Week #3

Happy Humpday! Today is week 3 of the AKF Kidney Class. I am a Kidney Coach, and each week I share another slide from the program that I would have done in person if Covid hadn’t come around. The slides are the property of AKF and I have permission to share them here on this blog. The ultimate goal is to raise awareness about Kidney Disease prevention and treatment. The writing that is on the slide is the AKF information. My thoughts, and experiences, are after the slide. I have done a lot of blog posts on the topic of CKD, so be sure and browse through the blog if you are interested.

The slide today covers the topic of what the kidneys do. They really do a lot more than you think, keep reading.

The kidneys are extraordinary organs! Two tiny bean-shaped organs do so much to maintain Homeostasis in the body. What is Homeostasis? Simply put Homeostasis means the body is in balance.

Here are some blog posts on the topics in this slide.

  1. https://healthbuddymelissa.coach/2019/03/06/how-does-salt-effect-kidneys/
  2. https://healthbuddymelissa.coach/2021/02/16/potassium-and-kidney-disease/
  3. https://healthbuddymelissa.coach/2021/03/09/does-blood-pressure-cause-kidney-disease-or-does-kidney-disease-cause-high-blood-pressure/
  4. https://healthbuddymelissa.coach/2019/02/22/foodie-friday-calcium/ I have not covered the bone disease issue as much as I could have on this blog. It is complicated, and something I need to look into.
  5. https://healthbuddymelissa.coach/?s=anemia&submit= There are several good posts on the topic of Anemia and CKD on this blog, so I just shared the results page.

Let me know what you think. Please ask questions in the comments or you can email them to me at melissa@healthybuddymelissa.coach

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Pantry Food Challenge With CKD and My Very Small Haul

Welcome to another Healthy tip on Tuesday! Today, my healthy tip, especially if you are doing a food pantry challenge, is to do an inventory of your pantry. We seriously have way more food than I even thought we did. We did a complete inventory yesterday. I am almost embarrassed to say, but I have purchased so many protein bars that I absolutely don’t love, but now I have to eat them. My husband will eat some, I hope. Protein bars are very expensive and I absolutely refuse to waste them. They are convenient for when I work my long 12 hour days, but I just don’t really care for them. From a CKD perspective please be careful. Some of these protein bars can have 30% of your RDA for phosphorus. I made a Google document for my whole pantry supply and each time we use something I will change the count. I was doing this last summer, but then the 12-hour shifts came and I got out of doing it. The point of a pantry challenge is to have no waste and to save money.

Last week I was able to save 57 dollars by shopping in my pantry. For me, my pantry is cupboards and a freezer. The fresh stuff of course I use up, but it isn’t shelf stable. That 57 dollars saved will go to dog training lessons for my crazy dog, or for me, whatever perspective you think about it. The budget is 21 dollars per person, per week. So, for a family of three, that is 63 dollars a week. It is for food items only. The real challenge is to see if shelf-stable foods can be both affordable and healthy choices for someone living with CKD. So far I have still been able to afford organic options, but that may not last once my existing inventory is gone. I do not generally shop for quick, easy, processed-type foods, either.

Today, I went to Walmart to get a very small food haul for this week. This should be all we need, but you know how that goes. Milk, Tampico, bag salad, pretzels, coffee creamer, and the lunch meat all came to a total of $19.56. So, that means for the rest of this week, which ends on Sunday we have $43.44. My son and his wife may be coming to visit Sunday, and we may get some pizza. This will probably come from this fund. I did not buy Organic milk because the price has gone up quite a bit, and I don’t drink it. Tampico is for my teenager. The bagged salad was actually 40 cents cheaper than the app said it was, woot woot! We did not technically need lunch meat, but my husband does not want to eat tuna every day, of which I have a ton, so I picked up some lunch meat.

Tonight, for dinner from my pantry I am using some pasta, chicken bullion cubes, chicken stock, a whole chicken, carrots, and onion. I am making homemade crockpot chicken noodle soup. Everything in this recipe is organic and already in my pantry.

To keep organic carrots fresh longer I peel and slice them up, and then I put them in a jar of water in the fridge. This maintains their crispness for at least two weeks. I had to chop the peppers and freeze them because they were going bad faster than we could eat them.

I cook the whole chicken all by itself, with just water, in the crockpot for six hours. Then it is fall off the bone tender. Throw that water away. I know it sounds like such a waste, and maybe it is. But, in that water is a lot of the phosphorus from the chicken. This method reduces the phosphorus in meat and I use it often. I then take the chicken apart and put the meat back in the crockpot with organic chicken broth that does not have added phos in the ingredients. I do add bullion cubes for flavor, along with Rosemary, Thyme, Organic, and my secret ingredient Paprika. If this is too salty for you use low sodium broth. I cook it for a few more hours until the carrots are soft. Then I add some pasta and cook for about 15 more minutes or until the pasta is done. I only used about 1 pound of chicken in the whole soup. It is hard to measure the protein this way, but you can kind of guess.

There will be enough of this for lunch tomorrow, and I didn’t use all of the chicken so that will be another meal this week, either for lunch or dinner. There are also still some homemade meatballs with sauce in the fridge. My husband will most likely finish those off.

Tomorrow will be the 3rd slide in the Kidney Class. So, be sure and come back to see what it is.

Tomorrow, I have a late meeting, so I might make homemade bread in the morning and we can have grilled cheese and tomato soup on homemade bread. Yum!

Please remember my kidney disease is not the same as anyone else. We are all different. What I eat you may not be able to eat. Proper portions are always the key to any specialized diet, and I am not on dialysis. If you have any questions, there is tons of information already on this blog about me and my kidney journey, or you can leave me a comment. If you would like to learn more about my Health Coaching services please send me an email to melissa@healthybuddymelissa.coach

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A Mindfulness Photography Challenge and Week 1 Pantry/Budget Challenge Review!

Happy Monday! I think I will repeat this Mindfulness challenge each month with a different theme. A very important part of Mindfulness is being present at the moment, observing your surroundings and how they make you feel. I love being outdoors in nature and all the beauty that goes with it. I also love photography. It is a great hobby that is relaxing and fulfilling. Even if you think you take awful pictures, then you don’t understand art. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and while some people may actually not like your photo lots of people will. I actually make a little bit of money off my art pieces. It isn’t a lot, maybe 50 to 100 dollars a year. I certainly am not wealthy from it. But, it does allow others to enjoy my art and purchase it on various items if they choose to. You will see a picture of one such item below.

So, the Mindfulness Photography Challenge for the month of January is to find hearts in nature. You can’t create the heart yourself. The point is to be observant and mindful of your surroundings. You can share your photos in the comments or a link to your photo if you have a blog. I will not accept spam so please don’t waste your time. I approve all comments manually. My picture is from a few years ago, so I will be on a mission to find some new hearts in nature. Please do not steal other people’s artwork. That is just rude and may be illegal.

Yesterday, was the end of two challenges we are currently doing. One of them is for the whole year and that is to try and spend 21 dollars per person, per week. For three people that is 63 dollars and it is for food items only. For week one I only had to buy flour and garlic bread. So, I only spent $5.98 The extra money not spent will be deposited into our savings. Some people do this challenge and spend all the money each and every week to build up their pantry, even though they already have a huge stash of food in their homes. This just makes no sense to me, which brings me to the second challenge, The Pantry Challenge. We have quite a bit of food already on hand. To reduce food and money waste I have decided we will use up what we have even if it is not our favorites, which is why it usually sits in the pantry or freezer. Freezer items are considered shelf-stable for this challenge. I tend to buy organic only which probably will be the real challenge as it is way more expensive. We managed to use up a lot of food that we had on hand in week 1. I will be doing inventory today and I will try to take a picture of what we have left and I will share it tomorrow. My husband and daughter did manage quite well this weekend while I was at work. They tend to not want to cook and want to buy stuff from the store. The only thing my husband purchased was garlic bread to go with his homemade meatballs for dinner last night. We also had tortellini from Sam’s that absolutely had to be used and that went with it. Plus, tons of salad items were used up. Unfortunately, some of the carrots did go bad, organic foods go bad fast. I should have frozen them. This leads me to another tip, watch your fresh items, and freeze them if you need to. I will be freezing up the peppers today.

Week 2 begins today. I already know we need milk and coffee creamer. So, they have been added to my list. I do not think we will actually need anything else. But, we will see. That doesn’t mean we won’t want something else, lol.

Today, for breakfast I had the rest of my blueberry crisp and a garden salad. Both were from the fridge. Please remember that oats are extremely high in phosphorus so use caution if you have CKD. Lunch I will have a peanut butter banana smoothie with ground flaxseed. Again, flaxseed is very high in phosphorus so use it with caution. Bananas are high in potassium. All of these items I have discussed in previous posts, and are in my pantry supply. We are almost out of fresh veggies but have quite a bit of fresh fruit still that I may have to freeze to not lose. Dinner will be leftover meatballs and tortellini. Be mindful of portion sizes. Meat should be about 3 ounces but no more than 4, unless your doctor has advised you to eat more protein. Tortellini has cheese, so you will get even more protein. Pasta sauce has potassium and sodium. Be sure to read your labels and be mindful of your portion size.

Today will be a complete leftover day!

Are you doing either of these challenges with me? Share your thoughts and results. Will you try the Mindfulness Photography Challenge?

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Who Likes Squats?

I would say most people do not like to do squats, but some people probably do. The other day I was reading an article on bone health and preventing Osteoporosis. With CKD you know how important bone and muscle health is. Squats were considered one of the best weight- bearing exercises you could do for bone health. I mean think about it, you are lifting your own weight from a seated to a standing position and then back to seated. The article stated that women in certain cultures who regularly sit on the floor have the best bone density in that study. This is because they have to get up and then down to the floor several times a day. I mean think of it this way, say you have an office job but you get up from your chair at least every hour and take 250 steps. In an 8 hour work-day, that means you would have done at least 8 squats as long as your chair is not high. Even if you have an active job, doing squats will improve your bone density.

Watch the video to learn how to properly do a squat. Start low and build up to more repetitions. Your buns and hamstrings probably will complain, especially at first, but your bones will thank you.

Now for a quick update on the pantry food challenge.

I looked up rolled oats that I used in my blueberry crisp and 1/2 of a cup contains 17 grams of protein, 66 grams of carbs, 11 grams of fiber, 523 mg of Phosphorus, 2 mg of Sodium, and 429 mg of Potassium. This makes oats a concerning food item for CKD. The recipe called for 3/4 of a cup of oats. Be sure and eat the blueberry crisp in moderation only. The homemade sloppy joe sauce was amazing! Compared to Manwich sloppy joe sauce in a can, it has much better nutrition for CKD, namely in sodium content and it contains HFCS. The frozen corn per 1/2 cup has 3 grams of protein, 3 mg of sodium, 213 mg of potassium, and 70 mg of phosphorus. Be sure and be mindful of portion sizes with the corn as well.

Today is an all-leftover dinner day. So, anything I have already cooked will be finished up today.

This weekend is the hardest for me, any weekend- because I work 12-hour shifts. On the first day I can manage a healthy meal, the second day I am too tired and with little sleep not much time to get something together. I may go ahead and prep a bunch of stuff today so I can eat healthy both days. Below are some pantry items I have thrown into my lunch bag in case I don’t get prepped for Sunday. We can eat at work for free, but I find the food generally upsets my stomach so I try not to. I have shown just the item and the labels.

The first item is for Poptarts. The list of ingredients is immense, but I forgot to take a picture. Then a bag of Cheez Its, Quest protein bar, a tun pouch, and Canola mayo I bought that Canola mayo through Misfits Market and I have not tried it yet. I think I will make tuna, and chicken salad so I have something for both days. The only real difference is that it has more Omega 3 than other mayos do and less saturated fat. The Quest protein bars I need to eat up. According to one website, one bar contains 10% of the RDA for phosphorus. I bought them and didn’t love them, but I refuse to waste them. They are so expensive. I have to eat three meals at work because I work 12- hour shifts. I will probably have my last serving of blueberry crisp before I leave for breakfast. I will also stick in a banana, and maybe some clementines. These are high in potassium so they will not work for everyone. That will avoid a fattening greasy breakfast there. If you work with CKD you know how hard it can be to stick to a diet and to get enough fluids. Fluids are an even bigger concern for me than food. As far as pantry meats go, you really can’t beat tuna. Try to buy the brand with the best ingredient list. I have tried organic tuna and I do not like it at all.

Have an awesome weekend and let me know how you plan for workdays with CKD.

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Living With CKD Pantry Challenge What We Ate 1/12-1/13

Hello, and happy Thursday. The weekend is coming and that means I will be at work. The hardest time for my family to follow the food budget is the weekends when I work. Last week I purchased lots of extra stuff for them to be able to prepare quick dishes.

The purpose of the Pantry Challenge is twofold. 1, How long can we eat out of our pantry before I need to buy more food? We have a lot of food stored up, so I assume quite a while. For us, the pantry is anything in the pantry, freezer, and anything fresh we may have on hand. The fresh stuff is already getting low. 2. Can you eat out of your pantry and be relatively healthy with CKD? I am not encouraged at all that this is gonna be true. Organic is so expensive, and we are also doing a food budget challenge. So, I am not completely optimistic.

The budget is 21 dollars per person per week. There are 3 of us, so that is 63 dollars a week. The week runs from Monday to Sunday. So far I only had to buy some flour. But, I am sure we will need creamer and milk soon. We may have to find a more affordable way to flavor our coffee.

Yesterday was a lot of fresh food use up, and leftovers. Breakfast and lunch are only what I ate, as we rarely all eat the same thing for those meals.

1/12/2022:

Breakfast: coffee with creamer

Lunch: I was out and unprepared to be hungry. I had to run into the Dollar Tree so I got a very small chocolate bar 2 squares with caramel and a Slim Jim. I made homemade blueberry crisp when I got home. From my pantry, I used old-fashioned oats, fresh blueberries, cool whip from the freezer, brown sugar, cinnamon, and lemon. This was very good and will be a breakfast or snack. Though this day I had it for lunch. According to my food tracker, 3 ounces is 152 calories, this has 2 grams of protein. From a CKD perspective, the candy and Slim Jim are going to be high in fat, phosphorus, and sodium. The rolled oats also will have phosphorus and probably sodium. I forgot to take pictures yesterday, but you could check your labels in your pantry. I still have tons of rolled oats left and I don’t like traditional oatmeal, so I have to figure out what to do with them.

Dinner: 2.5 ounces of the leftover pork loin from Wednesday. Then I used potatoes I had on hand and made Twice Baked Potato Casserole, and served it with sliced cucumbers on the side. From a CKD perspective, this is not awful. If you have issues with potassium the potatoes could be leached prior to cooking. The recipe I used is here I did not use the full amount of butter and did not have whole milk on hand. I never have whole milk. But, I used a half cup of Flax Milk, and a 1/2 cup of Half and Half instead. Both are organic and don’t have all of the preservatives and additives. You could also use light cheese, but I didn’t have any, but my cheese was organic. Light sour cream could also be used. If you don’t want bacon in it, just make some for the side for those that do. According to my food tracker, 6 ounces of the casserole is 323 calories. The pork was only 61 calories and the cucumber 6 calories. You can see how protein can add up quickly. The casserole alone has 10 grams of protein and the pork has 10 grams. The casserole may not be exact because I had to choose from options on the tracker, rather than putting in individual ingredients one by one.

My new food tracker app does not tell me all of the other nutrients, but the one I was using appears to have killed my phone. I will have to switch again. This was not a great day for lunch and better planning could have resolved that.

1/13/2022:

Dinner has not been prepared yet but has been planned.

Breakfast: I had one tiny square of my breakfast casserole leftover. I had that with an iced coffee.

Lunch: Green salad with 2 ounces of organic turkey breast lunch meat. I got this in one of my Misfits Market boxes and it was still good so I just chopped it and added it to the salad. I added a tablespoon of sweet corn and a tablespoon of sunflower seeds from the pantry. Salad dressing is where you have to be very careful. I added a tablespoon of Country French salad dressing with some croutons. This whole lunch was only 274 calories and from a CKD perspective good. I don’t have issues with potassium, so the greens are OK for me. The sodium in the salad dressing is controlled by portion size.

Dinner: I was going to make homemade hamburger buns to go with the homemade sloppy joe sauce, but I have mini-sub rolls still available. So, we will use those up instead. I will be following this recipe for the sloppy joe sauce. I don’t have tomato paste on hand, so I won’t add it. I don’t think it will matter that much. Everything else I have on hand from the pantry stock. We use organic grass-fed ground beef in the lowest fat amount that I can find. Buy low sodium options when you can, especially of bread. Bread is one of the easiest ways to get too much sodium in your diet with CKD. Use ground turkey for even less fat. I do have ground turkey in the freezer, but the ground beef is already out and ready. Watching your carbs? Use low sugar ingredients, or sugar-free. Watch for ingredients on pantry items that have phos in the ingredient list. That means they have added phosphorus. Using organic will almost always alleviate having added phosphorus in the ingredients. The only two ingredients that I have on hand that are not organic for this recipe are butter and ketchup. According to the recipe, this has 226 calories but does not state the serving size. According to my tracker app, 1 cup of homemade sloppy joe sauce with ground beef has 264 calories. You can parboil your ground beef to reduce phosphorus before finishing it up with the other ingredients. Frozen corn will be the vegetable side.

From a CKD perspective, this is more of a whole food type of way of eating with limited pantry supplies. What makes an item shelf stable? It has to be able to stay fresh on the shelf for 3 to 6 months, or longer. Like I said, I am not convinced pantry eating is going to be a healthy way to eat for CKD. Or if it is, it will not be economical.

These posts take a long time, so show me some love!

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