Let’s Focus On Exercise And CKD!

This will be the last post in this series, but I am sure I will discuss exercise forever. This is another webinar I found on the topic and I encourage you to take an hour out of your day and watch it. I like this one even better than the first one I shared earlier this week. I think this one is laid out a little better and the information is a little better.

Pay particular attention to the definitions of sedentary, physically active, exercise, and physical fitness. I think the three latter terms are often mingled together and they mean very different things. Also, pay attention to the details that might make exercise unsafe for people with CKD.

How Many Steps Per Day To Improve Quality Of Life With CKD?

If you have been following along this week, then you know I have been talking about exercise and CKD. In the archives of this blog, you will find lots of walking videos, that are low-impact aerobics. Walking is my main form of exercise, whether on the treadmill, outdoors, or using some of my favorite walking videos, I walk a lot. I also walk a lot at work. But, after I was first diagnosed it was so hard to work. I was exhausted all the time, with feet, back, and leg cramps. I wasn’t even sure I would be able to work. I worked part-time and felt like it was daunting. I still work part-time but have started to pick up the number of days of the week that I work. I don’t see myself working 5 days ever, not because of CKD, just because it seems like no life at all to only have two days a week off. Now that my second child is grown I have no real reason to need to be at home so much. The more I move around the better I feel, and the better I feel the more I can accomplish. This would most likely be true for you too. I am stronger, fitter, more active, and happier. But, that is just me, one person. What do other people with CKD say on this topic?

Well, good thing you asked because that is the topic today. This study is pretty new, and it used a survey format to ask people with CKD how they felt their life was going with certain amounts of exercise. The target number of steps was at least 7,000 per day up to 12,000 per day. The average age of the participants was 40, pretty young considering most CKD studies are done on older populations, with about half being men and half women. You can read the study here, but the study showed that the more active these people with CKD were the better they felt their quality of life was. The survey that was used is from the CDC and you can see the survey questions here. Walking is low impact, easy to do, and free with no equipment needed other than a device for assistance if you need it. You can even start by sitting in a chair and marching or holding onto your walker. You will only get stronger. Be patient and take your time. I have been fitness walking for years and 12,000 steps per day are hard to achieve. It is a lot of steps. You can not expect to do it in one day, or even one year, possibly, depending on where you are at. It is a goal, and goals take time. I give myself one full day of rest where I walk way less than 7,000 steps. I need that day.

I still have days where I feel yucky, but those days are mostly related to poor diet choices, and or not staying hydrated enough. Hydration is a huge stickler for me in what positions I am willing to take as a nurse. Having drinks at work can be frowned upon, but I am not in the need to care. If I get dehydrated I feel like crap. Working for me is almost like a workout, and I hydrate before I even get there, just in case I may not have time to grab a few guzzles of a drink. Since I drive 30 minutes to work, I have adequate time to down at least 8 ounces of fluids before I get there. I try to get 16 ounces in.

Invest in a step counter. Now, with that being said you don’t need a fancy one. I used to have a Fitbit and I loved it. But, it died, and I just never replaced it. Instead, I put a free step counter on my smartphone and I take the phone everywhere. There is workout apparel that can accommodate holding a phone so it can count your steps, or just put it in your pocket or even your bra.

If you need someone to walk with you to motivate you, adopt a dog. There are so many dogs in need in the world, or just foster it. The chances are good the dog will have to go to the bathroom. If you are new to dog ownership, or older, choose a manageable breed. Basic dog training for bigger dogs is recommended if you are new to walking. You don’t need your dog dragging you around.

Always talk about exercise with your doctor, especially if you are new to exercise. Take your time. If you can only do 1,000 steps on your first day, that is fine. Do 1,001 the next day. Add a couple of steps each day.

Tomorrow, or Friday, I will share some more of my favorite indoor walking videos that you can try.

Disclaimer

Exercise and Kidney Function!

I have already discussed the importance of exercise on quality of life, activities of daily living, bone health, muscle health, etc. But, what about kidney function? That is what everyone really wants to improve kidney function. Right? There have not been a lot of Randomized Control Trials, the good ones, for people with kidney disease, and the ones that have been done focus mainly on people on hemodialysis. But, hopefully, there will be more studies done. I am sharing one study, and you can read it here, that shows how important exercise is for people with kidney disease. It can even improve kidney function. If you don’t enjoy reading medical articles, then just read the conclusion. It is really the most important part. The big issue seems to be that doctors don’t, or can’t agree on how to prescribe exercise to their patients, or feel they will be non-compliant. I say just start moving! Do something, it is better than nothing. Baby steps will lead to bigger and better steps. It will improve your strength, balance, heart, blood pressure, weight, and Diabetes, and now evidence is showing kidney function. That doesn’t even count what exercise can do for your mental health.

I have done a lot of posts on the topic of Kidney Disease. It is near and dear to my heart because I have CKD. You can find all of my older posts in the sidebar under the sections. Don’t forget to always ask your doctor before you begin exercising.

Today, I did some meal prep. I will talk more about that next week. The question is, do I think spending one whole day doing meal prep is a good way to spend a day off? I know a lot of people make videos doing this, and spend lots of time on it. Come back next week to see what I think.

Don’t forget to try some of the flexibility exercises I shared yesterday. Next week will be balance exercises.

Do you exercise routinely? Are you on dialysis? Do you have CKD? How has exercise improved your quality of life? Leave me some comments, and I will read them all. I do not approve spam, so please only leave comments related to the topic, or they never get seen.

I have not decided yet what I will write about exercise and CKD tomorrow. I guess you will just have to wait and see, like me, lol.

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Get Your Sweat On #1!

Happy Sweating on Sunday! I have not done a Sunday exercise post in a very long time. As a matter of fact, I am still not back into the habit of doing regular posts at all. That is why I am setting a goal for myself to do at least 6 blog posts this week on the topic of exercise and CKD. There is a lot of research and studies that have been done that show the importance of exercise and Kidney Disease. This week I am going to focus on that topic. I personally feel like exercise has played a huge role in my getting to stage 2 and then continuing to hover just under stage 2. When I was first diagnosed I was close to stage 4 if not stage 4, but I wasn’t diagnosed until I was already improving and at the low end of stage 3.

Today, to start off I just want to share the video below. It is about an hour long, and not the most exciting video you will ever watch, but it has a ton of information. There are a few things I want you to pay particular attention to and they are: 1. She does not have CKD I don’t believe, so when she talks from her own personal experience it is not the same as a person with CKD. 2. Listen to what she says about blood pressure and exercise. 3. I want to stress the part about no pain no gain. Listen to what she says, it is important. 4. Last but not least, hydration.

Exercise is important, and the one area, out of the 4 she discusses that I definitely am lacking in is flexibility. I am very bad about cooling down properly, and I also don’t do regular flexibility exercises. Balance is the other one. So, this week I am setting a goal for myself to do at least three days of flexibility exercises on the days that I work. I work three to four days a week, and I am not going to do aerobics on those days as I already walk an average of 10,000 steps at work. So, they are perfect days to do flexibility instead. Next week, I will focus on balance.

Anyway, set a small goal for yourself this week to start some kind of gentle exercise, especially if you do not, or have not exercised in a long time. Always ask your doctor first. There may actually be reasons, as mentioned in the video, that your doctor may not want you to exercise. However, most people can walk, and it is a great way to begin moving more.

Talk to you soon.

I have put together a few more pantry stable bag meals for preparedness. I will share them the following week. They can be stored for long periods of time and can also be budget meal ideas. It is more and more expensive to eat healthy when you have to follow a special diet.

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Meatless Monday is Affordable and Healthy!

Hello, hello. I will re-upgrading this blog within the next month. Until then you will have to look at the dull image at the top and layout, sorry. The domain name will also change. I let it lapse over the summer and am ready to start blogging again.

For some quick updates before I get to the main topic. I still have not taken the new Kidney Coach class, but you can still read the older version on this blog, as much as I got through. I hope to have that done very soon as summer winds down. I am finishing my Medical Billing and Coding classes to hopefully become certified by early next year. I am hoping this will be a supplement work-from-home job to my out-of-home nursing job. It is not hard, and a lot of it I already know, but it is boring, and they gave me a year to complete it so I see no need to rush.

If you read here often, then you know Meatless Monday is one of the weekly blog post topics I would do. I also have CKD, so limiting my meat protein intake is good. I have made it all the way back to stage 2, then dropped a bit and am hovering right at 58 or 59 eGFR.

I could literally eat this meal every Monday, and I could eat sweet green peas every day. I love them! Unfortunately, no one else in my house will eat them, so I don’t buy them as often as I could. I found these two videos below for your entertainment. The young man ate only peas for 3 days, now I don’t know about eating just peas for 3 days, but he did. He is funny, and I found him to be quite honest. The other video goes into detail about the many proven health benefits of peas, which are very healthy.

Peas are technically a legume, and I am not a fan of legumes, other than peanuts and peas. Beans make me gassy and cause frequent stools. I am not a fan of that at all. From a CKD standpoint peas are low in protein, fat, and sodium, with moderate levels of potassium and phosphorus. The phosphorus in the peas is not absorbed well by the body, though. They are also high in fiber. Be sure to read the label and get organic if you can, or peas with the least amount of additives and preservatives. Some are higher in sodium than others.

My simple Meatless Monday meal that I could eat every single Monday, is pasta, peas, and butter with some seasonings to taste, mostly garlic and paprika. If you are not a fan of avocado toast, which is all the rage right now, you could mash up some sweet peas and spread them on toast and no one would know but you. This is also affordable with a whole box of pasta costing about a dollar, and a can of peas 50 cents. I use whipped butter that is much lower in fat and it costs about 3 dollars depending on the brand for a tub. You obviously will only use part of the box of pasta, and some of the canned peas with a tbsp of butter. I also like to add lemon juice and brown sugar to the butter to make a beautiful sauce, but I don’t do that every time because I don’t always have lemons on hand. The peas on toast would be great for breakfast or lunch and are even more affordable than dinner. I like whole grain bread or the low carb high fiber wraps, so mine would be more expensive than it could be.

Let me know if you like sweet peas in the comments.

Where Have I Been?

Hello, and welcome back! I took a nice long break from blogging and did some reflecting. During that time I decided I actually quite liked blogging. I have had a blog, between homeschooling my children, the dog rescue blog, and this blog for like 15 years. But, my life is going through some changes. I am graduating my last homeschooler next month, I am getting older and bedside nursing is getting harder though I do really like my new job, and I need to start thinking about retirement age, and my elder years. Boo, what a thought. But, it is true. So, I have made some decisions in my time off from this blog.

I have decided to keep blogging here. I enjoy sharing kidney information with my readers, and all forms of other health-related topics. I also have decided to move away from paid coaching. It was never very lucrative for me as I did not have the time to invest in how much time it would take to promote such an endeavor. I have almost completed my medical billing and coding classes and will look for part-time work with that once I am certified, and continue my PRN nursing job. Even though my daughter will be graduating, I will still be assisting her through finding a job, choosing a career, and whether or not to go to college. The dog rescue keeps me very busy and that is something I love. I also love that my daughter and I have done it together. She attends most board meetings with me and I hope someday maybe she will want to be on the board. We of course continue to volunteer every week there as well.

I also finally got the Covid plague at the end of June. At first, I thought I got it from the movie theater, but after doing some tracing it most definitely was from work. I am vaccinated and had one booster last December. I was so afraid to get it because of my CKD, but it was mild, to moderate at best, and I felt fine after 3 days. I had blood work done last week and my kidneys are still hovering right around stage 2, so Covid did not do any harm. My blood pressure has also been very stable. I do not want it again, though, as getting it more than once increases the chances of long-term issues from long Covid.

I still have not taken the updated Kidney Coach class, but it is very much on my agenda. I have some extended time off at the beginning of August and I hope to get it done then.

I will try to blog at least twice a week, or more. I look forward to writing and sharing again.

I hope you will continue to follow and enjoy.

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.

Disclaimer

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 13

Hello, and welcome to week 13 of my Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge. This is a year long challenge, and possibly more. If you have been following from the beginning this started as a dual challenge at 63 dollars per week, for a family of almost 3 adults now, and a challenge to see if someone with CKD, could eat shelf-stable, convenient type foods and still feel good. The latter only took a few weeks, and I quickly decided that no I could not eat those types of foods on a consistent basis and still feel well. Now, with that said I can eat shelf-stable veggies like canned veggies that are low in sodium and no funky preservatives. I don’t prefer canned fruit, but the same ingredients would apply. I can also tolerate shelf-stable tuna, and canned chicken, as long as the sodium is within reason, and there are no funky preservatives. I looked at canned beef, I think it was, roast beef maybe, but the sodium was insane, and it was expensive. I did not even bother to try it. Mainly, when I say shelf-stable I am talking about convenience foods, such as frozen meals, and ultra processed foods. Last week, I had to increase the budget from 63 dollars per week to 75, just because of how high food prices are now. The sole purpose for this challenge is to see how much money we can save, and to take account of how much food we are wasting. 75 dollars per week is about a third of what we were paying prior to starting this challenge. So far we have had to replace our fridge, and washing machine. We also just got nailed on taxes and were able to pay the balance. We did not have to finance any of this. The fridge and washing machine were not just bought because we wanted new, both of them needed to be replaced. We are not starving, we have reasonable snacks, and still enjoy the food we are eating.

Last week, I came in at I think 5 dollars under budget. I did have to pick up an extra gallon of milk part way through the week, so that money went for that. This week, I spent 25 cents over my budget, so 75.25. Food prices are still going up, and chicken is outrageous right now. Some of this is due to the millions of chickens that have been euthanized due to a Bird Flu outbreak. Chicken is my main protein that I eat. So, that is a bit distressing.

You can see the picture of my grocery haul below. Please don’t mind the cups in the sink. I shopped at Winn-Dixie and Walmart this week. I have mentioned before that I hate shopping at two stores. But, I needed some pool chemicals, and Walmart is right across the street from Winn-Dixie. Along with prices going up, there are still bare shelves for some items. You might be shocked to know, but each week I shop, whether it is Aldi’s, Winn-Dixie, or Walmart there is always coffee creamer in short supply. Onions are very high in price, too. Cheese and lunch meat have gone way up, and most other items have gone up at least a few cents as far as I can tell.

I was kind of annoyed this week, because I go to Winn-Dixie because they mark their meats way down, and my husband prefers their meat over Walmart. I don’t know why, they all taste the same to me, unless it is organic, then it is better no matter where I buy it. But, the new weekly ad prices started yesterday, yet they did not have all of the sale signs up and I had to go back and forth between the app, and store items to figure out what was on sale. This just took so much longer, and I won’t go on a Wednesday again. Two items that were super good deals this week, were the Swerve brown sugar replacement, and the organic milk. At Walmart, last week, I paid 7.50 for the same Swerve. At Winn-Dixie for this week only, it is buy one get one free. That means each bag was 4.25. The organic milk which was not in the sale flyer was 3.99 for a gallon. If you buy organic milk you know that is a good deal. I did not buy a lot of meat this week, because the prices are high, and we have a good stock in the freezer. The ham steaks were buy one get one free, and I can make them go a long way in several meals. Lettuce and tomatoes were also very high priced at Winn-Dixie. I had to get lettuce at Walmart where the price was a little more reasonable. I don’t know how much longer I will buy fresh tomatoes, and I hope my garden will produce some. I bought more canned veg this week, than frozen because one it is cheaper and two hurricane season is coming and I don’t like to fill the freezer too much in case we lose power for an extended period of time. We will use up what is in there, and then keep bare minimum on hand. The juice was buy one get one free too.

If you are on any kind of specialty diet to stay healthy, and or manage a chronic disease you are probably feeling a pinch in your budget. Healthier foods are more expensive right now, even beans and lentils have gone up in price. Do the best you can. Decrease your portions, especially if you are overweight and can afford to decrease your portions. Don’t be afraid to reach out to community organizations that may be able to help you get the foods you need to stay healthy. Not all junk food items are cheaper. They too are going up in price. Snack type foods, like chips and pretzels, even crackers are outrageous right now. We don’t drink a lot of soda, but the price for that is also through the roof. I am surprised people are still willing to pay these prices for food items that serve no purpose to health and well being. I know some people say eggs have gone up, but honestly dime for dime they are still a great deal as a protein source. The same goes for milk. I do not drink milk, but the others in my family do.

Are you on a grocery budget, or do you just spend whatever you want? Leave me a comment and let me know. Do you use any reward cards? I have the Winn Dixie rewards card and so far I have 5 dollars saved up to use on groceries. I just signed up for the Hitchcock’s card, but I have not used it yet.

Next week, my daughter and I will be taking our 75 dollar budget and shopping at our local Family Dollar and Dollar General to see what we can get. Family Dollar I know sells frozen chicken thighs, and Dollar General does have some fresh fruit and veg, albeit very expensive. We will see how that goes. These two stores are right in our town, and we could literally walk there if we had to. I am unsure of what day this will be, but probably Friday.

Disclaimer

Kidney Class Week #13

Hello, and welcome back! Have you been following along? I missed last week because we had family in from out of state and I was at the beach. You can find all previous weeks in the archives. This Kidney Class is the property of the American Kidney Fund, for which I am a volunteer Kidney Coach. Before Covid, I would present the whole class in group sessions in person. I was given permission to share the information here on this blog with my life experience, as someone with CKD, and my nursing background. Just like I would in person. Plus, now it is always here, and anyone can read it for years to come, forever even. I encourage you to ask me questions in the comments, or if you would rather it be private you can email me at healthbuddymelissa@healthbuddymelissa

This week for slide #13 is still talking about blood pressure and kidney disease. The last class was more about how high blood pressure can cause kidney disease, whereas this week it is about how kidney disease can actually cause high blood pressure. The kidneys are complicated organs and do way more than most people realize. One of the functions of the kidneys is to regulate blood pressure by reabsorbing sodium, producing renin, and managing water in the body.

Personally, I am right at the cusp of being considered high blood pressure. This is strange because my kidneys have improved back to stage 2. However, I may be consuming more salt than I should, and I know I don’t drink enough when I am at work. That is one of the reasons I refuse to work full time is because I can’t just stop and constantly drink water. I can’t have water at my med cart in the facility I currently work, so it just is not healthy for me. I know when I am dehydrated because I will get a headache, and almost every time I work I get a headache. I also get cloudy urine, a sure sign of dehydration. If you have CKD or want to reduce your risk of getting it, keeping your blood pressure in good control is vital. I have a whole page of stuff just about blood pressure. You can read them here. There are probably others in the archives too.

Read the slide below, leave me a comment with your questions, and then check out this PubMed article on the topic of high blood pressure caused by CKD.

Only these slides are the property of AKF. All other posts on this blog, are mine unless otherwise stated.

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