Thanksgiving Turkey Mediterannean Style!

Hello, and welcome to another Food on Friday topic. Since it is the month of November, and in the USA that means Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving means turkey, and it is Dementia month on this blog. Well, you get the idea of today’s topic.

Studies show that following the MIND Diet, and or the Mediterannean Diet may help prevent Dementia. So, I thought I would try to find a video on how to make a Mediterannean style Thanksgiving turkey. Now, I am not sure my husband will go for this. He is responsible for cooking the turkey, not me. He enjoys it! I know it’s crazy! But, I can certainly put the idea in his head. I am not a huge lover of Greek yogurt, but I can half the amount and increase the Olive Oil, instead. I found some of the seasoning blend, mentioned in the video on Amazon. That is not an affiliate link. Turkey is very low-fat meat, especially if you eat only white meat, and avoid the skin. Watch the video below to learn how to make your own Mediterannean Thanksgiving Turkey. Turkey does contain Phosphorus, as do most meats, naturally. So, be mindful of your portion sizes if you have CKD and especially if you have issues with phosphates.

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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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My top 10 ways to de-stress!

It is the end of Stress Awareness Month. I hope you have enjoyed and or learned some things from my posts. I did not get to touch on the Brain and Digestive Systems as they relate to Stress. Stress can affect all parts of the body. Today, I would like to share my top 10 ways that I use to de-stress.

  1. Walking in Nature. This is number 1 for a reason, because I truly believe in it. Yesterday, I talked about Earthing. I will be incorporating walking barefoot into my daily nature walk. It doesn’t have to be done anywhere special, I do it right in my own yard. If you live in the city there has to be a park or nature trail somewhere close by. Make your walk even better by not having any distractions and using your five senses to be more Mindful. Stressed at work? Walk on your lunch break. Fresh air will help clear your mind and refresh your thoughts.
  2. Exercise. This can go right along with #1. Aim for at least 30 minutes for 5 days a week. 60 minutes is even better. Exercise does not have to be strenuous to reap the benefits. A nice walk, Yoga, or Swimming are gentler kinder exercises. I personally love to put on the Disco music from the video below when I need to burn off some steam or get some good house cleaning done. If you are angry a more upbeat, intense workout may be very helpful. Well I can’t share the video it is blocked. But, if you search for Workout Music Source Disco Hits you will find it.
  3. Meditate. I try to Meditate every day. Just sitting and being still and not thinking about anything. Maybe some soft drum beat music in the background, nice candles, etc.
  4. Mindfulness. Mindfulness is different than meditating in the sense that you want to be in the moment noticing your surroundings and how you are reacting to them. It is a great way to be more grounded, have self control, know your limits, etc.
  5. Clean the pool. Yes, you read that write. I clean the pool to relax. I generally vacuum it every time I use the pool. I am in the sun, and the cool water allows me to think and reflect. I truly love it.
  6. Gardening. Another top favorite for me. I love planting, nurturing, and then reaping the rewards. I am really good with flowers. This year I am giving it a go at a vegetable garden. There is so much to learn. I also enjoy making garden decorations and tiny fairy gardens.
  7. Art. There are so many forms of Art to try and so many that I enjoy. I love to paint, etch glass, crochet, make jewelry, and others too. I have some Arthritis in my hands so it makes some of these more difficult now. I have not been doing a lot of Art lately, other than my Photography, which I also love.
  8. Reiki. Reiki is a Healing Energy of which there are many. I do self Reiki on myself at least a few times a week, and the dogs are great guinea pigs, lol. They actually love it. I offer Distance Reiki as part of my coaching plans. If you would like to learn more about Distance Reiki for Stress relief, use the contact form at the end of this post to message me. I would love to help you de-stress with Reiki.
  9. Guided Imagery. When I took my final exam for my Guided Imagery certificate I decided to do one for Better Sleep. I got an A and I still use it for myself to this day if I have a hard time falling asleep. Guided Imagery is where you use your imagination to guide you through a pre-made script to help with Sleep, Stress, Anxiety, Anger, Weight Loss and so much more. Guided Imagery is included in my coaching plans. Contact me for more information.
  10. Venting. There is nothing like a good vent, or rant, without judgement. Having someone you can vent to is a great stress reliever. Sometimes just getting something off of your chest can find relief from Stress. If you need someone you can vent to without judgement or hurt feelings use the contact form to message me.

These work for me. There may be other ways to relieve Stress and may work better for you. Some people like a massage or bubble bath. I did a post on Essential Oils, which can also be helpful. We also volunteer at a dog rescue and that too is a great stress reliever. Well most days, lol. I can not stress enough the totality of a good diet and good sleep for Stress relief on the body.

My May freebie will be about Hypertension, and will be available to my mailing list only. So, if you have High Blood Pressure, want to avoid having it, or love someone who does sign up for my mailing list below to take advantage of some free coaching. I will also have a 3 day special for just Moms. You have to be on the mailing list to be eligible.

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Also in May will be my new Health Challenge. In April it was Triceps for some good tank top arms. May will be Calves, because they are important for running, and I have started running. I will post the challenge soon. It will be posted to this blog. Anyone can join in.

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essential oils for stress relief!

Welcome to Herbs on Tuesday! I haven’t done one of these posts in a long time. But, plants offer a wide variety of potential options for people suffering with mild to moderate stress. Essential oils are created from the herbs and plants. They are very potent and powerful. Do not take them lightly because they come from a plant. It is extremely important to buy essential oils from reputable sources that have a safety history, and good practices for creating their oils. I personally like Eden’s Garden, and Mountain Rose Herbs. Essential oils are not regulated by the government, nor have their been enough randomized trials to say they are absolutely safe for everyone. If you are pregnant, a child, have psychosis, trauma, or severe anxiety, severe depression, or any chronic illness you should only use essential oils under the guidance of a trained Aromatherapy expert. Essential oils can also interact with medications you may take, so it is vital that you always tell your doctor of any herbal, or essential oils you use. I took a certificate class on Essential Oils and while they are a great tool, caution should be used if you have any of the conditions I mentioned.

Lavender is probably the most popular essential oil used for stress. There have actually been studies done that show it’s efficacy. I think I am allergic to it, so I don’t use it, but my daughter uses it in a diffuser.

Another thing to consider with essential oils is pets. Some essential oils like Eucalyptus can cause your pets to become sick if they inhale it without realizing it, say via you using your diffuser. So, be sure and consider the safety of your furry friends when diffusing them, or other people that may react negatively to them.

Essential oils can be used in a diffuser, as a massage oil or cream, in shower products, and some people do choose to ingest them though few studies have shown this to be safe. Just putting some on a cotton ball and sniffing it can be enough. There is Aromatherapy jewelry, too. I personally grow Peppermint and it is great for indigestion for both humans and my dogs. I love Peppermint shampoo when I have a headache. I can put it in Coconut Oil and massage on achy muscles too. Not to mention fresh breath!

But, for Stress in particular there is quite a long list of choices of Essential Oils that can be used. Jasmine is by far my favorite, and it is also extremely expensive. According to Healthline there are 18 in total that can be used for Stress or Anxiety.

Essential Oils can make you more sensitive to the Sun, so you need to know which ones cause Photosensitivity. Also, when using a new oil on the skin, you should test it in a small area that will not be noticed should you have a skin reaction.

You can use Aromaweb, and NCCIH to learn more about the profiles, or monographs as they are called, for Essential Oils. Proper mixing ratios is vital if you choose to make your own. Also, never apply undiluted Essential Oils to the skin, or ingest. It is probably best to buy from a trusted company that shares their mixing ratios on their label with proper administration guidelines also on the label. The video below is for basic information only. It does not provide any safety or risk information for the oils it discusses.

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happy thursday!

OMG, I almost felt like Frosty the Snowman for a minute! It is still chilly here in Florida, which I am getting really bored with. If you have been following along then you know I homeschool my daughter and she is starting an untraditional Nutrition course designed by me. Yesterday, was the first day and we did inventory to see what we had and what we needed. She also had to decide on a healthy meal that she would prepare for the upcoming week. She chose Chicken Cesar Salad, which could also count as this week’s 5 dollar dinner because everything comes right in the kit. At Aldi the kit was 2.99 and you could get two servings out of that, and if you really tried three. That is a great deal. I said everything was in there, but there is no chicken. We had one piece of chicken leftover and we threw it in there. A nice healthy filling dinner for my fast food, junk food, processed food loving teen. Not a bad start. If you have CKD go light on the Cesar dressing, I only used about a tbsp. Creamier dressings, as you will see in the video below have more calories, phosphorus and other additives than a clear dressing. You don’t get a lot of cheese with these salad kits, so that shouldn’t be an issue especially if you are sharing it with another person. Also a note about Mrs. Dash and other low sodium seasoning mixes, they are generally high in Potassium, so be sure and read the label for Nutrition info and ingredients. My menu plan is all set for the next week and if you would like to get my menu plan, grocery list with basic prices, and two recipes a week, then check out my new subscription plan Meals with Melissa. You get all of that, plus I will message you twice a week to see how it is going, what you might need help with and what kinds of meals you would like in the future. I also add general Nutrition info to each recipe. All that for only 10 dollars a month!

This is not what I intended to post about today, but I did not have time to research what I was going to write about. The three in the video are kind of boring, but they did put together an awesome meal for people with Heart Disease, Diabetes or CKD. A couple things I would note, I am not a Dietitian, but I have been counting my protein long enough to know their chicken breast was not 3 ounces. While they did say a portion should be 3 ounces, that one was not. Cut it in half, and always weigh your meat if you are unsure. Basil is very strong in flavor, and to me they put way too much. But, if you like zing in your food Basil will get you there. I like to use Red Wine Vinegar as it tastes like salt but contains no salt. I loved the Alfredo Sauce they made, and I can’t wait to try that. I do not care for traditional Alfredo Sauce, and it isn’t really good for people with CKD anyways.

I will be back tomorrow. Have a great evening! Drop me a comment if you think you will try their Alfredo Sauce.

I am looking at adding a Facebook Instant Messenger Chat box, so be sure and watch for that if you would like to chat with me. I do have a chat box on this blog, but it is not convenient and I don’t find it works well.

If you would like to learn more about me, and my Health Coach services, use the contact form at the end of this post to message me.

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tis the seasonings!

Happy Wellness Wednesday! My daughter already ate lunch so I will have to do the Dollar Tree food challenge item tomorrow. It is a damp, rainy and chilly day here in Florida. We did get in a driving lesson and a dog training session before the rain came, so now on to the school day. This gift idea is is more of a knowledge type gift idea. Last week I posted about herbs and spices as a way to cut back on sodium for people with CKD. However, as I found out my Lemon Pepper seasoning I use all the time has some sodium in it. Now, it is very strong and I only use small amounts, but it still has hidden sodium in it. So that got me to thinking that I could probably make these seasoning mixes myself and just keep them in the pantry. Most of them are made with common herbs and spices that would be included in a spice herb gift kit. However, if you really want to go organic and avoid all preservatives and additives, buy from a specialty website like Mountain Rose Herbs. I also shared the gift idea of growing an herb garden in which case your loved one could dry and save their own herbs. But, what if you wanted to learn to make herb and spice blends to give as awesome gifts? The video below will show you how easy it really is to do it and avoid all the extra stuff you may not want. The lovely lady in the video offers some great learn to cook options on her channel. You will need jars to put all your herb and spice mixes in, and here are some to choose from. If you are cheap like me, I mean frugal, you could just save old jars to use. But, since this is a gift idea I would recommend buying the lovely jars.

I hope you have been enjoying my gift idea series. It will come to an end on Friday. There are so many great gift ideas for people with CKD and I hope I have been able to narrow it down a bit. Because today is Wellness Wednesday, and I believe laughter is the best medicine be sure and watch the funny kitten video below. I hope it puts a smile on your face as it did mine.

Starting next week my year in review will begin, as well as into the first couple of weeks of January. I will be rolling out some new Health Buddy plans, so be sure to watch for those. If you think your loved one, or yourself, would find benefit in working with a Health Coach use the contact form to email me. Be sure and check out my Fitbit walking stats from yesterday and ask about my Walking Buddy program.

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Gift Idea #6 For People With CKD

Happy Sunday my wonderful readers. Today is gift idea #6 for people with CKD. Seeds!

Why? Well for one thing people with CKD have to avoid salt, so adding different spices and herbs to food adds tons of flavor. Two, if they are more homebound due to their CKD it will give them a great hobby that has awesome rewards. I would start with an Herb kit because most herbs grow well indoors, require little care, and get great benefits. I grow Parsley, Basil, and Peppermint right now. If you think your loved one would rather not garden you can always get them a multi-spice and herb collection already dried and ready to use, like this one. It even has free spice refills for 5 years! I might want that one, lol.

If you choose to get seeds it is suggested that you buy Heirloom Seeds. Read about that here. You can buy your seed kits, here.

I really love gardening and am going to step it up in 2021. If I get good at it, it can save me a lot of money and I may even have extras to share with others. It is relaxing, rewarding, not too strenuous if you maintain just a small garden or do container gardens.

Please remember to learn about the herbs and spices you may eat with CKD. Some are high in Potassium and should be used in small amounts. Some herbs are also high in Oxalates which can cause kidney stones. Always do your research, or ask your doctor. If you would like to work with a Health Coach to help you learn about Kidney Disease, use the communication form at the end of the post to send me an email with your interest.

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Herb Of The Month, This Week’s Food Challenge And Gift Idea #2 For CKD

If you have been following along then you know each month I am picking a new herb to try for the whole month. I tend to always cook with onions, garlic, salt, and pepper. For October it was Turmeric. I really like Turmeric on meat. For November it was Rosemary. If you are serious about limiting your sodium intake, give Rosemary a try. You only need a little bit and it adds a ton of flavor, especially to soups and boring veggies. For the month of December I have chosen Dill. Everyone knows about dill pickles. But, there are so many other beneficial ways to use dill in cooking and seasoning. I have already found some recipes to try. Be sure to come back and check for those in future posts. Below there is a video about the health benefits of dill, and a link to read. I include the link because the video does not explain that in order to reap those benefits you would need to consume a cup of fresh dill. I don’t know anyone who eats that much dill. But, again, if you are trying to decrease your sodium intake, as a herb it will add a ton of flavor, I hope.

This week’s food challenge is a little bit different. Today, I compared Barilla Lentil Pasta, to regular white pasta. You can see the images below with all of the information from the box. Like other pasta, 2oz dry pasta is a serving size, with 180 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, no sodium at all, 24 grams of carbs but with 6 grams of fiber that makes 18 net grams of carbs, 13 grams of protein, 2% of RDA for Calcium, 15% RDA for Iron- that is spectacular btw, and 10% RDA of potassium. I discovered this pasta the week I went completely meatless. I didn’t try it though, until today. The nutrition profile is very good and it only has one ingredient, red lentils. I don’t care for lentils so I thought this would be a good try. So, what do I think? It is ok, a good meatless substitute. I think I will have to cook it a little longer because aldente just doesn’t work for this pasta. 2 oz definitely did not fill me up either, and I would have veggies or a large salad with it. As far as taste, it was a little different than regular pasta, but once I added a smidge of butter and some lemon pepper seasoning it was delicious. I would buy this again. However, I do not think I am going to convince my family to eat this, and at 3 dollars a box it might not be economical. Although If I am the only one eating it, it will last me several meals. Overall this was a good, healthy purchase.

My second gift idea for people with CKD, or any Chronic Disease is some lovely house slippers. I found the Cardinal ones from Landsend and I loved them. But, when I clicked the link the cardinals were gone. They had other lovely options though. There are some lovely, and not so pricey choices at Amazon. People with CKD and other chronic diseases are often cold. A lovely pair of slippers would make a wonderful gift. Slip-resistant slippers, and or indoor-outdoor slippers are also wonderful gifts.

Remember, you can always give the gift of a Health Coach, like me. Check out my Walking Plan! Contact me for more information!

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Read about Dill

Turmeric Challenge!

I read a lot of blogs, and I have noticed people seem to like challenges. I did a Plank Challenge in December of last year. I am doing a Walking Challenge for this year. I have not updated that in a while, but I am consistently hitting the goal of 10,000 steps every single day. I post an update soon. You can still join that challenge, too.

One of the things I have noticed about myself and my family is that we don’t really have a wide palate of taste buds. What I mean by that is we love Garlic, Onion, and Salt. I have recently added Basil and lots of Lemon to our culinary cooking. But, I wanted to challenge us even more, especially my teenage daughter who I am creating a Nutrition course for High School credit, and is a very pick eater. Plus we can cut down on sodium intake if we learn to use more herbs in our cooking. One of the things I have been reading a lot about is Turmeric, and how it has anti-inflammatory properties. I am not going to take them in pill form or anything, as with all Herbs, and chronic diseases, they are not tested for efficacy or side effects. You can read about the ways Turmeric has been proven to work, here. If you have CKD then you know Inflammation can be a huge problem in managing the disease. So, for the rest of October, the challenge is to cook with Turmeric. Now, for my family it will be the dinner meal that I add Turmeric to. But, for me I may try to sprinkle some in my soup or on my salad. Some people drink it in tea, or smoothies. I may try it in a smoothie, but I probably won’t mess with my tea. I did find some organic Turmeric at a decent price at Trader Joe’s. If you can not find organic do the best you can. Next month we will try another herb. There are so many to choose from.

Join me in this challenge to use Turmeric for cooking for the rest of October. Let me know in the comments you are joining in and how the challenge went for you. I will update at the end of the month whether we liked it or not. If we hate it, it might not last long, lol. If you already cook with Turmeric let me know in the comments your favorite use for it.

I will be posting another challenge Thursday, to help my daughter learn to appreciate how lucky we are to afford healthy food, and have access to it. Be sure and come back to learn about that one.

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how to make sweet basil herbed salt

As I continue to learn how deceitful the American Food Industry really is, and how they use clever marketing to woo us into buying their crap, I realize I would rather make my own. There is a lot to learn, and it is time consuming. We have been using Himalayan Pink Salt for some time. While it is made to sound like some miracle cure for the body, it really is a marketing gimmick to get you to pay quite a bit more money for it over 89 cent table salt.

Now, with that said, Himalayan Pink Salt does appear to possibly be better for you, but only a teeny bit. You would have to consume a ton of it to get any real dose of the trace minerals in it. However, white table salt has no trace minerals as they are stripped away during processing. Apparently, like anything else that is white in the food world.

I find it has much better flavor than white salt. You need less because it has more flavor. If you are on a mission, like me to avoid high processed foods, and you can afford it, then go for some Himalayan Pink Salt.

A while back I had blogged about planting Sweet Basil. Now it was quite large and I had to prune it to keep it from flowering. I was unsure what I would do with all of that basil. I like basil in food, but it can be overpowering if there is too much. So, I decided to make my own herbed salt, instead of buying it from the store. This was super easy you guys, I mean way easy. If you don’t have a Basil plant just buy some from the store. After I harvested the Basil I rinsed it really well. I did not use the stems, just the leaves, but you certainly could. I then let them air dry on a towel until all the water was evaporated. Then using a spoon I simply pressed the leaves lightly to express the oils in the leaves. Then just add them to the Himalayan Pink Salt, put the lid on and let it sit for two weeks in a dry dark cupboard. I would take it out and shake it every few days to help express some more oils. This is the best herbed product I have ever used. You do not even need much, the Basil adds so much flavor. I used finely ground Himalayan Pink Salt. I was going to put Parsley in there too, but I forgot and ended up freezing all of that for smoothies. You could add a few drops of lemon or lime if you wanted, also.

Learn about Himalayan Pink Salt, here.

Watch the video below to learn about Basil infused oil. I may try this next, when I get another large batch of Basil.

If you would like to learn more about me and my coaching services, please use the contact form after the video to message me.

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