What Does $30 Of Meat Look Like From Misfits Market?

Welcome back to another food budget topic. I have chosen to go even lower carbs on my health journey. I will write more about that in a future post. I had good success losing weight last year following 100 grams of carbs per day. I lost about 20 pounds and was able to maintain that pretty easily. But, then the holidays came, and business of life, and I slacked off. I only gained about 5 pounds back, so I am still ok with that. However, as you know I have CKD and I want to lose more weight to improve my metabolic markers even more than they already have. This is not Keto, at least not yet. I assume I may have to go Keto to get to my ultimate goal weight, but I could be wrong. For now, I am eating about 75 grams of carbs or less per day, but not less than 50 as that would put me in Ketosis. I have been doing this for about ten days and have already shed one inch off my chest and waist. I have not weighed myself, yet. I have to say this way of eating, and this time I am including my husband, and sort of my daughter as she is now an adult. She does not need to lose weight, but she likes a lot of the garbage food I am no longer buying. I will here and there let her get some, but not like she used to. I simply don’t need it in the house. The only thing I really crave is potato chips. I actually feel really good. I stay within the protein limits I have calculated for myself and my CKD. I try to stick with healthier fat options than high saturated fats. I honestly feel good. I have noticed my dry eyes and mouth have improved immensely. It does not seem to be having any negative effects on my kidneys, and the hip joint pains I was experiencing following plant-based have gone away. Those are all good things. The only thing I need to see is if it will affect my Lipid Panel in a negative way.

So, back to the title. Since we had started our extreme grocery budget challenge, which we have kind of steering away from it the past couple of weeks, but I will start again this week, I was not buying at Misfits Market. While their prices are good, I am noticing fewer and less organic options, and more items labeled natural instead. Natural can mean a lot of things. Plus, it is expensive. So, last week I made an order for 30 dollars of just meat. That is the required amount you have to purchase cold items to cash out. I picked what I wanted, but I don’t think I picked two sausages. I thought I picked one chicken, but I got two sausages. These seem to be good quality. I have had Diestel products before, and the True Story chicken sausages are awesome. The other ones I have not tried yet. So for 30 dollars, I got 5 meat items. This seems OK to me, but not great considering they are not organic, except for one. I may continue to buy from here if I find organic options, if not I probably am not going to try to incorporate Misfits into my budget.

I prefer organic meats if I can afford them on our extreme budget. I only eat beef on average one time a week, but I do like pork and chicken. I like turkey too but my husband really only likes it on Thanksgiving, lol.

Another fun challenge, along with the grocery budget, is $5 dollar dinners. I will be starting to share some $5 dollar dinner ideas for low carb. I really think it probably will be hard to get 5-dollar dinners low carb with quality meats. We will see. I have one already to share tomorrow.

The one thing I really am liking about this new way of eating is its simplicity of it. My grocery list is easy, and my meals are easy, it is just easy. I know a lot of influencers spend a ton of money on snacks and keto drinks. I don’t see myself doing that as most of the drinks I dislike, and some of the snacks are plain gross. They swear they are delicious but they most certainly are not. They are super expensive and not really that good for you. Anyway, I might share some of them too. There are a few that I have tried that I like, but there are way more that I don’t. The consistency is strange, as is the texture, and taste.

That is it for today. Come back tomorrow to see my first low-carb 5-dollar dinner option.

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Taste Test Tuesday: WW Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Welcome back to another Taste Test Tuesday! Today, I am taste testing a WW inspired recipe I found quite by accident.

I had this rather large can of pureed pumpkin in my cupboard. I don’t even know why I bought it, as I don’t even know if I like pumpkin. I am a texture kind of eater and I could never convince myself to try pumpkin pie. So, it has been sitting in my cupboard and was close to expiring. I needed to try to figure out something I could do with it. Then I remembered I posted a video about making homemade protein bars that used pumpkin puree. Protein bars are convenient, but again the texture thing. I just can’t find one I really like enough to pay that ridiculous price. Every one I have tried I end up giving them all to my DIL. So technically, I am not wasting them. While browsing Pinterest one night, it’s like Pinterest reads my mind, a recipe for 2 point muffins popped up. It was a WW recipe and I was stunned to find out that the 2 points was for one little dinky miniature muffin. How disappointing! But, I decided to try them anyways, and using my Healthi app, previously itrackbites, I figured my miniature muffins to be 1 point a piece. I used a different brand of the one item, and I don’t know if that is why, but when you figure it up and weigh each muffin on a scale, they are one point each. Even, if you made these into a full size muffin, they are going to be less than a store bought muffin. There is no milk, oil, butter, or eggs in this recipe.

Plus, these were amazing! I mean amazing! So delicious, super moist, and my husband loved them. You are not adding any sugar, either.

Simply buy a spice cake mix, from whatever brand you like. I did Duncan Hines, because they were buy one get one free. I already had a 29 ounce can of pumpkin puree, and I only used half of it. So, one cake mix, and 15 ounces of pumpkin puree is what you need. Mix it all together. It will be very thick. Spray your mini muffin tins with some non-stick spray. You don’t need much. I put about 1 1/2 tsp in each muffin space. I baked them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes and let them cool on a rack on the counter. These are dense, but light. You can sprinkle a little brown sugar on them, and they are even more awesome. If you have a sweet tooth, try these muffins.

I have one more box, and a half can of pumpkin puree. So, next week I will try to make a homemade protein bar. Be sure to come back and see how they come out.

This spice cake mix is pretty high in fat. It also has phosphorus additives to keep it fresh on a shelf for a long time. To decrease the fat, and phosphorus, you could make your own spice cake dry mix. I might try that too, as I see myself making these often. They are great for breakfast, or an easy snack in my lunch bag.

For figuring out a Itrackbites serving size. I took the total amount of the mixture and multiplied it by .10, that will give you 3.10 ounces per serving, or 5 bites, which as you can see on my scale is 5 mini muffins. Now, I do weigh them each time, because some are a little bigger than others. The pumpkin puree is zero points on the free plan I have. Be sure and scan yours to be sure you get the most accurate point value.

Tomorrow, on Wednesday, I usually do my Kidney Coach class. I would be doing week 14, however I found out they have updated the course and I need to take it again to get the new information. I will most likely have to go back and edit the older slides, so stay tuned for that. I hope to get it done this week, or next. This week is kind of hectic for me, so it might be next week. Please feel free to still ask me questions on the first 13 weeks content.

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Beginner Weight Training For Menopause!

Hello, Sunday readers! I hope your day is going well.

Yesterday, I talked about Menopause in relation to how it shifts fat deposits more to our waistline, and can impact a ladies possibility to lose weight. I hope you watched the very good video I shared with you and read the tips I gave.

In that video, and I have talked about this before, they mention that cardio is not the healthiest exercise for women in their peri, and menopausal stages. HIIT is definitely a no no after 50, unless you are already an established athlete. Remember, exercise, and neat are two different topics. Getting in your daily step goals is your neat. Exercise is a period of time you set aside each day, or how many days you decide to exercise, and then do that exercise. Yes, exercise can be walking, which will go towards your step count, but neat is more of an intention to move some every hour. Women in peri, and menopause should be focusing more on weight training, balance, and stretching exercise. Weight training should be done 3 to 5 days a week, with balance and stretching incorporated in. I currently do 2 days a week, I am 52 and have completed the menopause process. I need to pick up my own game, as I am still of the mindset that cardio is the way to lose some of this midsection drift.

There are lots of good reasons to build muscle, and keep bones healthy, especially to avoid Osteoporosis, Osteopenia, muscle wasting, weakness, etc.

Below, you will see 3 videos. The first one explains three exercises with weights that people over 50 should not do. Please watch it, because there are trainers, mostly younger, that say their videos are for over 50 age group, but have these exercises in them. You can also read my blogpost on this topic, here. What they are saying about the shoulder exercise, is so true. I had calcific tendonitis last year, in my shoulder joint. When they say you can not lift a spoon to your mouth, they are not kidding. The pain is awful, and it takes a long time to completely heal. Just don’t do that to yourself. Bursitis, rotator cuff injuries, impingement, tendonitis, can all effect that shoulder area. The second video is truly for beginners. It is slow and teaches you correct form. Please start out with light weights, that is 1 pound, or no weights, until you have the movements down. There is nothing wrong with using your body weight, and no hand weights. The third video, looks easy, but I can tell you it will challenge you. I always watch a new video first, before I do the video. These videos are a great place to start if you have no idea where to start. You can get light dumbbells on Amazon, or pick them up at Walmart. Remember, if you can not do 10 reps with whatever weight you choose to start with, with good form, control, and swinging for momentum, then your weights are too heavy for where you are at.

Let me know in the comments where you are in your menopause journey. Are you lifting weights to lose weight, improve balance, build or retain muscle, or for bone health?

I am going to set an intention for this week to 3 days of weight training, using the videos below.

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Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge Week #12

Hello, again, and welcome to another week of my Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge. To see how this challenge has evolved from the previous weeks, please visit the archives and read. It is pretty interesting, especially how we are learning how much food we are buying that we don’t need. I have not done a shopping trip in 10 days. We had family visiting from out of state and I knew we would not be needing food, as we always eat out. They headed out right after lunch today, to get to the airport before the storms got here. I ran to the grocery stores quickly, so tomorrow I could relax before my weekend of work.

Today, I went to Winn-Dixie and Walmart. I hate going to more than one store, but it is the best way to get deals. Winn-Dixie does bogos kind of like Publix, and I do like that. Winn-Dixie had very good markdowns on meat, and I was very satisfied with that, but their creamer and frozen vegetables were much higher than Walmart. The grapes were also much higher at Winn-Dixie and I have been mostly eating bananas and apples, and I wanted grapes. I refuse to spend almost 3 dollars a pound for grapes, and they are not even organic. Walmart had the red grapes on sale for $1.68 per pound. I don’t think you can see the markdowns on the meat, but they are substantial. I don’t buy steak, or even beef, that often, but my son and his wife are coming to visit next weekend and the markdown for members was superb, so I got 2.29 pounds of certified Angus steaks for 14 dollars or something like that. The organic chicken thighs were marked down to 4 dollars and some change.

As far as pricing goes I spent just over 70 dollars at both stores. My budget is now 75 dollars per week due to how high the prices have gone. That leaves me some room if we run out of milk before I shop again, or bread. I still have not had a chance to try and make homemade sandwich bread, but I will. I noticed this time that frozen veggies have gone up quite a bit. I like to keep frozen broccoli, and a few others on hand in the freezer. WM frozen broccoli just a couple of weeks ago was .88 per bag, today it was 1.12 per bag. Snack-type foods are outrageous, as are bottled and canned drinks. I did not buy any cheese this week, because in my area they do not offer lower-fat cheeses, except mozzarella. We still have some cheese for my husband and daughter and it will easily last a week. I also did not buy lunch meat this week, as we still have tuna, and canned chicken on hand, plus some ham slices. Lunchmeat, the better quality especially, is really expensive right now. I eat tomatoes and bananas pretty much every day. That is why you see them in every single grocery haul I do. Yes, I do have CKD, but potassium is not an issue for me. Phosphorus and sodium are the ones I watch for, and preservatives. I think preservatives bother my kidneys more than my doctor thinks.

On the menu this week, well I’m not sure, lol. I have not been doing a lot of meal prep like I used to. I kind of just decide every couple of days now. We will be having some pork chops with veggies tonight. Our family brought us some awesome deli rolls from NY, and everyone is still loving them. I am on Itrackbites carb-conscious plan right now, so I have not even wanted one actually. I will make air fryer potatoes and some kind of other vegetables, maybe a salad because we have lettuce that needs to be used up. I will try to sneak in some meal prep for the weekend, tomorrow, so I don’t make bad choices for work. I will probably have tuna or chicken wraps on my 1 point Wellness wraps. It has been a rough week of eating well when we have eaten out every single day.

Check out my grocery budget haul for this week, below. Leave me a comment if you are joining in the grocery budget challenge. We have saved so much money, and we are not eating garbage food either. Remember we are a family of 3, almost all of us are adults now. Our budget is just for food for 3 people at $75 dollars per week. This is for food only, not pet food, or other items we buy, though I am frugal about that as well. If you are wondering why we always have coffee creamer, but no coffee, it is because we decided coffee is a luxury we can not go without and it is very expensive right now. It is a family treat and not included in the budget. I buy a bulk coffee from Amazon every six weeks for 24 dollars. It was very hard at first to get my family to stick to this budget, but now it is kind of routine. That does not mean, my daughter, or my husband, if they have spending money are not buying themselves junk food, but that is their money to waste. I will give my thoughts on Itrackbites in a few weeks after I have been on it for two months. I can tell you I have had good success so far.

Tomorrow, I will share some pictures from our day at the beach yesterday. It was a lovely day and I am glad we didn’t wait to go until today because the weather is nasty.

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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!

A New Food Budget Challenge And Pantry Cooking With CKD

Hello, and welcome to another Mindful Monday topic. Part of Mindfulness is being aware of what you are spending your hard-earned money on. All of 2021 we spent paying off debt, and not buying more stuff unless it was with cash as much as possible. We spent down so much of our debt and were able to save quite a bit of money including paying for all of Christmas with cash only. This year we want to buckle down even more. With about 13 years to retirement, my husband and I want to really save more and plan better for our senior years. My last child will be 18 in just a few months. Below you will learn about two new challenges for my family for the year 2022. I will share both the success and unsuccess which hopefully there won’t be. Two things that I have eliminated from our budget are my Kindle Unlimited subscription and my Sam’s club membership. Why? My Kindle is old, and slowly not working anymore. I have chosen not to buy another so I don’t need the Kindle Unlimited anymore. I have had it for like 10 years and it was well worth every dime. I went to Sam’s for the last time today and bought a bunch of stuff. We have decided with my daughter soon to have her own job and most likely eat her own food, we will not need to buy in bulk so much and I honestly hate having all that stuff lying around. I am not knocking Sam’s it is a great store and it served us well, we just don’t need it anymore.

The two challenges for 2022 are the 21 dollars per person food budget challenge and the pantry cooking challenge. Below are the rules. The food budget is only for food items. It does not include non- food items such as toiletries, laundry, etc.

  1. For the 21 dollars per person food budget challenge it is basically what it says. I will spend 21 dollars per person, with three of us that is 63 dollars per week for groceries. This is a huge reduction in our food budget and all monies saved will go directly into our savings account. Once my daughter either moves, out or is eating the majority of her meals with her own money, it will go down to 42 dollars per week. For holidays and special occasions any monies saved can go towards that. We can use existing foods on hand. I have seen some people do this challenge and they charge themselves for the food they have on hand, including in that budget. You already paid for it once why on earth would you do that? I won’t be doing that. I will probably post weekly what we ate and if the items were already on hand or I had to buy them. In the beginning we should save quite a bit because I have stocked up. However, my family tends to not follow well on the weekends when I am at work. This will have to stop. I am not sure at how successful this will be, but I love a good challenge. I will start keeping a log tomorrow of what we eat, and probably post next Monday for the week. Food is so expensive right now and I do prefer organic foods, but I may have to not have that for this challenge. I hope not, though.
  2. The Pantry Cooking with CKD Challenge will have a lot to do with #1 since I have a good stock of foood already built up. For my challenge pantry items will be any item in a can, freezer item, box, or package. That basically means no fresh foods will count. We won’t be eating just from our pantry. That is not the challenge, though it is a good one. The purpose of my challenge is to share food items, and or serving sizes of pantry and shelf stable foods that someone with CKD can eat. I do buy organic when I can, but with the food buget this may not be possible all the time. If you do buy pantry organic items be sure and check the expiration dates and rotate them appropriately. Organic foods are not typically going to last months, or years because they don’t have all of those additives and preservatives. Each time I get the time to do a post on this topic I will.

Today, I am going to share peanut butter, because who doesn’t have peanut butter in their pantry? OK, if you are allergic you probably don’t The images below for the full nutrition information.

Organic MaraNatha Peanut Butter. I bought this from Misfits Market. I love it, my husband hates it. I bought this at the beginning of December, and it expires on January 26th of this year. So, you can see it does not have a very long shelf life. However, it is only 16 ounces so it will be gone in time. I put this in my smoothies and it is delicious.

The second image is Jif Peanut Butter and my husband’s choice of peanut butter. I bought this 3-pound jar in 2021 and it does not expire until 2023. When it is hurricane season this is a wonderful item to have on hand.

Let’s compare the 2.

From a CKD standpoint, I am concerned with Fat, Fiber, Sodium, Protein, Potassium, added preservatives, and other additives.

The organic peanut butter per serving, has 3 grams of Sat fats, 65 mg of sodium, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of added sugars, 8 grams of protein, and 4% of daily potassium. The ingredients are organic peanuts, organic palm oil, organic evaporated cane sugar, and sea salt. That is it. It also says it is sustainably sourced palm oil and recycled glass.

The Jif has per serving, 3.5 grams of saturated fats, 140 mg of sodium, 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of added sugar, 7 grams of protein, and 4% of daily potassium. Of note, the Jif also has 2% of daily calcium. The ingredient list states that it is made from roasted peanuts and sugar contains 2% or fewer molasses, fully hydrogenated rapeseed and soybean oils, mono and diglycerides, and salt. It also states it contains no artificial preservatives and the package may be recycled but maybe not where you live. Certified NSF NON GMO. The sodium in Jif is more than double the organic option.

What are mono and diglycerides? They are fats that are used as emulsifiers. So, when organic peanut butter needs stirring because the oil separates, non-organic peanut butter does not need stirring. I think I will just stir my peanut butter. These additives have small amounts of trans fats, and I don’t need them, nor do you probably. However, with that said there is no sense buying a food item if no one will eat it. If your family prefers Jif, then eat it, in moderation and with proper serving sizes. My husband may eat the organic if he had to, but he doesn’t have to so he won’t.

So, that is it for this week. Be sure and follow this blog to learn along with me.

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7 Exercises You Should Not Do After Age 50!

Happy Fitness Friday, and Happy New Year’s Eve! I will be at work all this weekend, so no fun festivities for me tonight!

I talk a lot about exercise and fitness on this blog. That would make sense since it is a Health and Wellness blog. I tell people all the time you should not just jump into exercises that you have never done before without some kind of practice and guidance first. But, did you know there are actually exercises that you should not do after age 50? Now if you are an athlete, no walking around the block every day does not make you an athlete, or you are doing these exercises under the guidance of a Physical Therapist, then that may be OK for you. But, for the average every day 50 years old the 7 exercises listed below should be not done. I will try to find a video for each one, and or a picture description, since reading it doesn’t always make sense. There are several reasons for this including changes in joints, muscle strength, and it takes much longer to heal from an injury after age 50.

  1. Leg extensions on a machine
  2. Back extension on a Roman chair
  3. Pull downs or pull ups behind the head. OK, these are hard enough when you are not 50, just saying.
  4. Plyometric exercises. That one is a bummer, lol.
  5. Overhead presses. OK, I will admit I do these. That might explain my shoulder pain aggravating me. I think if you do one arm at a time rather than both, as long as you have no pain, it may be OK.
  6. Heavy weights. If you can’t do 10 reps without dying it is too heavy.
  7. Sprinting. According to the article I read some people over age 50 can do a 7 minute mile, but not most without injury. That bummed me out because I have been working on a 10 minute mile and couldn’t get to it. I can do a 15 minute mile fairly easy as long as I don’t talk, lol. Oh well I guess I have to give up the 10 minute mile goal.

I am not an athlete. I don’t even really like high-intensity exercise. I am age 52 and getting injured is not a goal of mine. But, I do want to continue to avoid muscle wasting, and issues with bone disorders especially since I have CKD. Exercise is a vital part of that goal.

Having good muscle tone, balance, and bone density are super important after age 50. You do need to exercise, just choose wisely in what you do. Weight training is an important part of that. Lightweights should keep your muscles strong as well as your bones. Walking is a great exercise and almost anyone can walk. Ask me about my Walking Buddy plan. Before anyone asks me that is not me in the image below.

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Is It Good News Or Bad News?

Hello, and welcome to another Humpday post. If you read here often then you already know a few things about me. One is that I have CKD and get lab work every 6 months, but I have been stage 2 for two cycles now. I had my lab work for both doctors done on Monday. Lipid panel for my GP and a renal panel for my Nephrologist. I have been feeling kind of yucky since I got the Covid booster and was thinking maybe I was slightly anemic. However, I am under a great deal of stress right now with my nursing job. I am thinking that is some of the reasons I am so tired. Anybody who has CKD knows stress is not a good thing. Anyway, I have a plan for that, it just will take some time.

My Lipid Panel has come down significantly. I have been fluctuating quite drastically. Whenever I try to lose more weight, by decreasing carbs, it shoots up super high. Then I modify my diet and increase my fiber intake, and it comes back down. This time was no different. I increased my carb and fiber intake and decreased fat and meat sources, and it came down, though not to normal. So, I still have to tweak my diet some. Statins will kill my kidneys for sure and I do not have any intentions of taking one if I can avoid it. So far my GP has been really good about monitoring the labs and not nagging about a statin. I have no symptoms of any heart disease so that is why she is probably not pressing the issue.

My renal panel I was slightly disappointed, but only slightly. Before January of last year’s first set of labs for 2021, I was hovering around 47-49 with my eGFR. So for 4 years that was my baseline after I recovered from the left kidney failing. I worked very hard in 2020 to lose weight, modify my diet, even more, deal with stress, and manage my CKD. The results were that in 2021 I was able to get my eGFR to 60 and 61, putting me at stage 2 for two cycles, or 12 months. I just had it done Monday, which would count for January 2022 and my eGFR had slipped to 57 and my creatinine was only very slightly above normal. Even though I had hoped it obviously was still above 60 I can live with 57 because that means that is my new baseline, 57-60 which means I still have room to improve. One very important correlation I have noticed is that when my urine Albumin is below normal is when my eGFR improves. Even though my urine Albumin was in the normal range this time, the last two times it was below normal, my eGFR decreased. This tells me having Albumin in my urine, even at normal levels is harmful to kidney function. The way to solve this is to decrease my protein intake, especially from meat sources, and processed foods, back down to 10-15% of my daily intake. I have been talking about this for some time how these foods are detrimental to the kidneys, possibly. I think the correlation is very strong in my case. Over the holiday week, I ate things I would not normally eat, prime rib, donuts, bakery bagels, chocolate, cookies, etc. My fiber intake decreased and my intake of beef and processed foods went up. Now, I am not saying I will never eat these things, but my moderation was not moderate enough. Plus, these foods are high in Phosphorus and Sodium. I think I have narrowed down the correlation between too much Phosphorus intake and how my body responds, my eyesight is worse, and my tastebuds are affected. I do not drink enough either, this time of year because it is not hot and I am not as thirsty. I have to work on this more. These types of foods are also generally void of potassium. I typically eat a lot of potassium. Typically at least a banana or potatoes every day. I have not been doing that for the last two weeks due to trying to follow a lower-carb diet. How do I know when I am not getting enough potassium? I get leg cramps, terrible annoying leg cramps. I had no bananas or potatoes in the house, but I did have mandarins. One of those relieved the leg cramps in a matter of minutes. Learn to know your body signals that something is amiss.

So, all in all, I am pleased with my labs, but I realize it could have been better if I had eaten better, exercised more, drank more water, and dealt with my stress levels better. I am sure my kidney doctor will want to repeat them in 6 months, so there is that.

Please note I am stage 3A to 2, not on dialysis, not a diabetic, controlled blood pressure without medication, take only Vitamin D and Sodium Bicarb. How I eat and manage my CKD may not be what you need. We are all different, however learning to manage your CKD, is vital to your wellbeing. If you would like to learn about how a health coach can help you, please use the contact form at the end of this post to send me an email, or you can just email me at melissa@healthbuddymelissa.coach or you can simply click on one of my available plans below to learn more.

Tomorrow, I will share my top posts for 2021, things I will be doing with this blog in 2022, changes to my life I will be making, and so much more for the new year. Be sure to come back and read all about it. If you like this content please like and share to help increase my views and search engine ranking. I will also be discussing topics for monthly posts. Next week I have a super packed week, so I am unsure how much blogging I will get done.

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Is This A Healthy Food?

Happy Humpday! My life is insanely crazy right now. I have some new projects on my plate, but more about all that in a future post.

If you read here, ever, then you know I have CKD, now stage 2 and hopefully still stage 2. Beans are a great source of protein that does not have the same Nitrogen load as meat does. This type of protein may help the kidneys not have to work as hard as an animal protein may. However, beans are high in Phosphorus and Potassium both of which may be an issue for someone with CKD. Sticking to serving sizes of `1/4 of a cup to 1/2 of a cup should be the limit. You can always ask your doctor or dietitian to be sure. I generally eat only 1/4 a cup at a time, and not usually more than once a day. However, beans are super affordable and have other health benefits besides just protein. We are starting an eating plan where we will eat 2 no meat dinners a week. This is for everyone’s health, not just mine. These meals will not be Vegan, as we will use cheese or eggs in the meals. Meat is already super expensive and with inflation, it is even worse, especially if you don’t want to eat cheap meat like me. I prefer organic, grass-fed meats. This strategy will help us to afford those more expensive meats that I prefer.

So, what about the pork and beans shown in the image, are they healthy? When you buy canned beans they are very convenient and easy to use. That particular can I must have gotten at Sam’s because it is 7 pounds of beans. I am a label reader, so I would have read the label before purchasing. I do try to buy organic canned items because they generally do not contain High Fructose Corn Syrup, but you do have to read labels if you want to avoid it. I do add a pinch of brown sugar to my beans, but they really don’t need to still be delicious.

According to the label, 1/2 cup of these beans contains 130 calories, 1 gram of fat, no saturated fat, 500 mg of Sodium, 24grams of carbs, 5 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of sugars. There are 4 grams of added sugars, which really is not that bad at all. The sodium is a little high so be sure and be mindful of that. Protein is 7 grams, Iron 10% of RDA, Calcium 4% of RDA, and Potassium 8% of RDA.

The ingredient list is pretty clean with only natural flavors being a possible concern. But, it is the last item on the ingredient list so really not that concerning at all. You can see the full label in the image below.

Plant-based foods may not have as high of bioavailability for Iron, read more about that here.

So, are these pork and beans healthy food? I would say yes! Buy some Health Buddy Melissa art! Check out the travel mug below. There is emerging evidence every day of the health benefits of eating more beans. They improve your gut biome, are low in fat, can lower blood pressure, improve blood sugar, etc.

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The Elephant In The Room

Welcome back to another Thinking on Thursday topic. While I was going to do a Dementia article today, I have been reading a lot about Obesity and how it is affecting people who get Covid. This has kind of been known in the medical field, but now others are starting to talk about it more with data becoming more available. But, in general, people don’t want to discuss the issues of obesity and Covid or any health-related issue. Did you know that body fat is important, but that you should not be carrying more than 20% body fat on your body? There will be 3 websites for you to visit and read more about this, with all of the various studies done.

Did you know, regardless of age, if you are obese you have a 48% increased chance of dying from Covid 19? Even if you are overweight, and not obese, your chances of getting a serious infection and becoming hospitalized increase exponentially. Plus, according to this article, fast food in 2020 increased by like 40%. Fast food is one of the worst things you can eat if you are trying to avoid obesity. In general, and I would say almost all, fast food is high in fat, salt, calories, and sugar.

So, when I thought about this I thought well it must be due to breathing issues due to obesity and chest wall expansion. But, it actually is way more complicated than that. Excessive adipose tissue increases inflammation which can cause the Cytokine Storm that is so deadly for people who get Covid. It also decreases Immunity, causes thicker blood which makes you more prone to blood clots, and other complicated factors. They think this is why younger people are starting to die from Covid, due to Obesity. Plus, if you are obese you are more likely to have other comorbidities like Heart Disease, Cancer, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, and Metabolic Syndrome in general.

So, why should you care? Well, for one thing, if you are overweight or obese, you may not be ready to die or be in the hospital for an extended period of time. It is imperative that you socially distance, wear a mask, and get vaccinated at least until Herd Immunity can be reached. While none of these things are perfect, used together they can protect you quite well. I also think due to the massive mishandling of Covid in the US we are most likely heading towards seasonal bouts of Covid. That means we most likely will need to learn to watch for flare-ups and take proper precautions as needed. While masks are a huge, contentious issue, I don’t see them going away any time soon.

This should be a wake-up call to anyone who needs to work towards a healthier weight and better metabolic health. Trust me I am one of those people, too. I have never been thin, and I carry the pudge around the middle especially after having children. But, I also work hard every day to modify my diet, lifestyle, and exercise habits to constantly improve. You can too! It is hard work, no doubt, but it is worth it.

https://immunityageing.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12979-020-00212-x

https://www.science.org/content/article/why-covid-19-more-deadly-people-obesity-even-if-theyre-young

https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/if-you-are-at-higher-risk

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