Yo, Food Is Expensive! Budget Meals In 2022

Hello, and welcome back! As you can see I still have not upgraded the blog back to the way it was, but I am getting to it. My car needs new tires, and my daughter graduated, I am sure you can relate that sometimes there are more important things to buy than hobby items. But, I do want to get back to a regular blogging routine, and what better way to start than to talk about food, inflation, and budget meals. I hope to provide a new budget meal every week. It might not be on Thursday but on a different day. If a recipe is mine I will say so, if it isn’t I will share a link to the original recipe and how I may have changed it for my own needs. Cooking at home, even if it is more time-consuming, is one of the best ways to save money on your food budget, especially if you eat out a lot for lunches, or take out for dinner. Not only will it save money, but in general it is way healthier as well. I have CKD and if you read here you already know that. I have been able to get back to hovering right around stage 2 and I think a lot of that was accomplished by eating a less processed diet. I do still eat out, it is one of our favorite things to do as a family, and I do still like certain processed foods, but I have greatly limited, and or managed my intake of these types of foods. Homemade meals are generally lower in salt and food additives that may affect the health of the kidneys.

This meal is a meatless meal, but I will share how you could add some meat and still it could be affordable. But, if meat is not in your budget leave it out. This meal has plenty of calories, fat, and protein, all the things you need from a meal. You could add a side salad to beef up the intake of fresh veggies as well.

The recipe is for scalloped potatoes, and using my Walmart app the total in my area would be only 6 dollars for the whole meal.

Here is the breakdown and I get to 6 dollars because I am not going to use the full amount of some of these items. So, they can be used for another meal yet besides. This is also not a quick meal. It takes an hour to bake and forever to peel potatoes, lol. But, it is baking in my oven right now and it smells amazing.

3 lb bag of Green Giant red potatoes 3.78 You will only need a pound and a half so 1.89.

1 yellow onion is 94 cents.

A 2 lb bag of all-purpose flour is 1.16 but you will only use 3 tbsp which I guess is about 5 cents or less.

A package of 4 sticks of Imperial margarine is 1.48, but you only need to use one stick and that is .37 cents.

1 pint of 2% milk is only 54 cents.

An 8 oz bag of shredded cheddar cheese is 2.20, but a block is 2 dollars, and the Dollar Tree has cheese for 1.25.

That is all of the ingredients and this 6-dollar meal which should feed 4 people very easily with the possibility of leftovers is in the books. Dollar Tree has small packs of bacon, and turkey sausage that could be added for some more flavor, if it is within your budget.

BTW I just took these out of the oven and they are delicious!

Let me know if you make these. Here is the recipe that I used. As far as CKD goes if you have issues with potassium, soak your potatoes first for two hours, and rinse prior to cooking them in the dish. Use less cheese if you need to avoid the phosphorus and calcium.

I will definitely be making these again.

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.

Homemade Bread In The Crockpot?

Hello, and welcome back! I am so glad if you are here reading this. Who doesn’t love homemade bread? I know we do, but I hardly ever make it, especially this time of year.

The recipe is not mine, and I think I will tweak it a little the next time I make it, which will be very soon. With three of us in the house, my daughter didn’t care for it at all, but my husband and I both liked it very much. All crackpots are different and this only took 2 1/2 hours to cook trust me it goes fast so be sure and watch it. I put it on warm after that time as it appeared done while I cooked the rest of our dinner. That was not a good idea as the bottom became very crusty and hard. I just cut it off, but still. I actually think I will just put it in the air fryer for a few minutes next time, at the end with some melted butter so the top gets a little crispy. I sprinkled Rosemary on the top as the directions say and it was so good.

This bread was so easy to make. Try it and see if you like it. Let me know how it comes out and how you changed it, if at all. Making your own bread may reduce the number of preservatives and other additives in store bread, plus it was so cheap to make. I did use white all-purpose flour because I had that on hand and I am the only one that likes wheat bread. White flour is best for people with CKD because it has less phosphorus. According to the website with the recipe 1 slice has 170 calories, I assume it is per slice, it wasn’t real specific. They are large slices though, so cut them in half to make two pieces if you need to.

Do you love aprons, farm decor, and rustic items? Check out my rooster apron below, available at Redbubble.

https://www.redbubble.com/i/apron/Colorful-Rooster-by-Missy69/57648519.6ZXWR?asc=u&epik=dj0yJnU9cTR2bl9NTGliQ19CcWdIcVlkLUd6b3N4eDhyaHJSRjAmcD0wJm49YkozWTlQVEFsVFV6WENzYzlZZWhIZyZ0PUFBQUFBR0xWOXRn

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.

Disclaimer

63 Dollars Per Week Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge, Start Of Week 8

Hello, and welcome to Friday. If you have been following along, my family of 3 is doing an extreme grocery budget challenge hopefully for the whole year of 2022. The amount of money we saved has already afforded us a new washing machine paid in cash, not on credit. I have had two weeks that I went over, one on purpose, and one was an oops because I just didn’t pay attention. Each week I allow myself to spend 21 dollars per person or 63 dollars. We are using up existing inventory that we have on hand, but I do not want to run out of food completely, so each week I spend the 63 dollars. This is only for food and does not include household items, or dog food. So far we have not had to buy any condiments, or spices, from the last Sam’s Club grocery haul back in December before this challenge began. We also have allotted other money for special occasion dinners when my son and his wife come to visit. There has been some minor grumbling from my family, but for the most part, we all see the benefits to this budget, and since we are eating well it is fine. That doesn’t mean they don’t spend their own money on a soda here and there, or other snack items. So far I have been able to include fresh fruit, and a savory snack such as popcorn, crackers, or pretzels. I generally would rather discourage snacking altogether. Starting today my start and end day has changed. This week and next will be from Friday to Thursday. After that, I am not sure. Today is also the end of week 7. My husband was gone all week so it was a mish-mash of eating for me and my daughter. We generally ate easy light meals.

In the picture below you will see all of the items I bought this week. Not pictured are ice cream sandwiches that had to be put in the freezer right quickly. I did go to Aldis again, even though it is not close, because I had to take my daughter to an eye appt, right near it. With all of the stuff going on in Ukraine, and gas prices going higher, we will need to adjust where we grocery shop in the coming weeks.

I spent $41.61 at Aldis and again this time they did not have the coffee creamer that my husband will drink, nor did they have pizza sauce. So, I went to Publix and spent $15.44 and got creamer, pizza sauce, and the ravioli were buy one get one free. I forgot I had ravioli on my meal plan so I am glad I saw them at Publix. The creamer was 3 for 9 and that was a very good deal. So, my total for this week was $57.05 which means I am under budget this week by $5.95 woot woot. I noticed at Publix that some of their prices are still pretty reasonable, but some items are way through the roof. I forgot to get eggs, so if I end up needing them I will have a little room in the budget to get them.

On my meal plant this week and in no particular order is:

Cesar chicken salad

BBQ fish

Air fryer ravioli with sauce

Turkey teriyaki

Breakfast for dinner

Cheese quesadillas with tomato soup

Tonight, there are still 3 hot dogs left in the package. So, we will be having a hot dog each, on a bun, with a nice salad on the side. I want macaroni salad but my husband probably wants a green salad.

Creating and sticking to a budget is difficult. If you would like to use a health coach to help you use the contact form at the end of this post and send me an email for a free consultation.

Disclaimer

Living With CKD: Eating From My Pantry And Food Budget Challenge End Of Week 5

If you read my post from Monday, which was the start of week 5, then you know I went way over budget this week due to the Super Bowl party we will be having. Even though it is small, and just us, all that extra food added up quickly, and some of it I had on hand! Going over budget once in a while is not a huge big deal, and we are lucky enough to be able to do so. Food prices are so high right now and I was disappointed with the prices at the store I chose to shop at this week. But, we have used just about everything I bought this week, or will by Sunday, plus finished up leftovers from last week and used items from the pantry that have been there for a while. If you are new here this is a food budget challenge where I challenge myself to spend 21 dollars per person per week. That means I can spend 63 dollars per week on groceries. I have CKD, so the second part is more of a self-study to see if I can eat more affordable shelf-stable foods with CKD and still feel good. If you have been following then you know that no, unless I buy organic, and low sodium options, I do not feel good when I eat these types of foods. This makes it harder to stay on a budget because I refuse to sacrifice all of the hard work I have done to get my kidneys back to stage 2. But, I know I can eat nuts, seeds, legumes, and beans and they are shelf-stable and feel OK, as long as I am mindful of portion sizes due to phosphorus. As we move on with this budget challenge, through the year, as our pantry winds down, plant-based protein sources will be vital. I just am not sure how my family will do with that since this is a challenge, not a necessity. So, I guess I need to rename this challenge because I have answered that question.

My husband is adjusting well to the new budget challenge. He only ran out of milk once. My daughter, however, not so much. She is very much into the more expensive and unhealthy convenience meals. At least I think they are expensive considering they are low-quality nutrition in my opinion. Next week I will be back on track and will head to Aldis again because so far that has been where I get the best prices, and they have organic options for less. I really do like Misfits Market, especially the way they do it now, but this time of year we do not eat as much fresh produce and it goes bad too fast. Obviously, throwing food away is not part of this budget. But, if you have never tried Misfits check them out. They have a great mission.

What did we eat this week? It was pretty much as I stated it would be.

Monday was a bagel, egg, cheese, and bacon sandwich. This is a favorite at our house. I eat only one and will have fruit or a salad on the side.

Tuesday was homemade scalloped potatoes and ham. I used this Taste of Home recipe. I modified it a little. I did not use 2% milk because I don’t buy that. But, I did have Half and Half that needed to be used up and it was the exact amount needed. I also didn’t use Thyme, I don’t like it, or parsley because I didn’t have any on hand. However, I did use Rosemary and sprinkled Paprika over the top. If you have never cooked with Rosemary, it is the bomb! You only need a very tiny amount to get a ton of flavor. This was a huge hit and I will definitely make it again. For CKD it probably is not something you want to eat often. I leach the potatoes by soaking them for a while, then rinsing, prior to use. This leaches out a lot of potassium and phosphorus. I would probably use skim milk the next time to save on the fat content. Ham is ham and not something I eat more than a couple of times a year. This made a ton of food and fed us for lunch and dinner a couple more days.

Wednesday I had a board meeting so I needed something fast. I mistakingly bought from Sam’s a huge tin of their Member’s Mark chunk chicken. They usually are small cans but for some reason, this one was one big can. I knew I had to use this up, but I wasn’t sure how. I know some people put it in soups and casseroles, but I am not crazy about it like that. So, I decided to make chicken salad wraps with some pretzels on the side. We like the low-carb, high fiber wraps. These are going to be higher in phosphorus as they are whole grain. Be mindful of your portion sizes with CKD. I add celery, and onion to the meat, plus some mustard and light Mayonnaise. We are now out of light Mayo and I will have to use full fat because we have a huge tub of it from Sam’s to use up. I drain and rinse the chicken to reduce the amount of sodium. This was really good, easy, and economical. It made a ton because of the large can size and we are still eating it for lunch today I will take some for my lunch tomorrow at work. I stick to a 2.5-ounce portion size.

Thursday Leftover scalloped potatoes and ham with green beans. I forgot to say we had fresh asparagus on Tuesday. I didn’t like it, though, so I probably won’t buy it again.

Friday today we will be having Chicken Alfredo over pasta with broccoli. I buy frozen broccoli and steam it. The Alfredo Sauce, in the pics below, came from Misfits Market. It was not cheap, and it has been in my pantry for a while. I don’t care for Alfredo sauce, but the others in my family do. I will probably only use half the jar, so we will be having this again soon. I also had Rao’s organic pasta in my pantry, also from Misfits. It isn’t cheap but it only has one ingredient. You can see the information for the Alfredo sauce below. Compare it to a non-organic variety here, and see the difference mainly in the ingredient list. While it is true it is cheaper to buy in bulk, when you are on one of these budget challenges you will have to buy smaller amounts. I bought a very small package of organic, boneless, skinless chicken breasts and I think it was 6 dollars for a pound. That is expensive, true, but I am getting organic which I prefer. Sometimes I can get Publix Greenwise brand, which is organic, on sale at a decent price, but that was before all of this inflation crap.

Saturday my family will eat this tomorrow as well when I am at work. Cook once eat twice, or thrice, that is a good way to do this.

Sunday Superbowl junk food fest, lol. The menu will include pigs in a blanket, mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce, tortilla chips with salsa, fresh veggies with ranch dip, pickles, and of course they have to have soda. I don’t drink soda it is Pepsi and dark soda is a bad choice for anyone with CKD.

Who will you route for in the Superbowl? I have no team favorite as my team didn’t make it, nor did my husband’s. So, I have picked the Bengals to win.

Disclaimer

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.

Disclaimer

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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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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Meatless Meal #3

Hello, and welcome to another Humpday! I hope this Christmas week 2021 is seeing you healthy and merry! I had shared a couple of weeks ago that I was skeptical about getting the Covid booster shot. I got Moderna, and my daughter got Pfizer the first two shots. I listed why I was skeptical, but on a spur of the moment yesterday, I had to go to Walmart anyway so I decided to see if they could do them. They got us right in and we are both now boosted. I knew I was going to spike a high temp, I always do, my immune system is hyper-responsive apparently. But, I knew some of my friends who don’t usually get high temps did with the booster. So, I was prepared for it. It took about 8 hours but at bedtime, my temp was 103. With CKD you aren’t supposed to take Ibuprofen, and Tylenol is pretty useless against a fever that high. So, instead, I took a baby Aspirin and 2 Extra Strength Tylenol and went to bed. I kept water by my bedside for hydration, which is important with a fever. I woke up once to use the restroom and my temp was still 102 so it didn’t do much. I put a cool cloth in my armpits and went back to bed. This is an old trick we old nurses know. You can put them in the groin area as well and on the forehead. I still had a low-grade temp when I got up this morning, but it is now gone. I had little nausea and a lack of appetite for lunch and dinner yesterday. Interestingly I did not get a sore arm this time. All in all one day of feeling cruddy for extra protection against the scourge of society was worth it.

One of our Christmas week traditions is we drive around and look at Christmas lights. I hope my husband will still want to do this once our last child leaves the nest. We go out to dinner first, and if you have CKD like me, that is always a challenge. This year I am going to eat salad, a meat source, and veggie. I will steer away from potatoes and bread, I hope, lol.

If you were here last week then you know that I am trying to encourage my family to eat two meatless dinners a week. My husband is less than enthused, and my daughter is OK depending on what the nonmeat is. For example, she isn’t going to eat beans plain and simple. So, today I decided to do a meatless lunch. Yes, I am the only one that ate it, but oh well, hopefully, they will come around. I am trying to eat beans at least a few times a week. Lunch is a meal I can make and they can have it or make their own, so they had their own, lol.

My lunch consisted of beans on toast. This is something that a lot of people in England enjoy for breakfast. I always thought what a strange breakfast and for people to actually want it seemed strange to me.

My lunch consisted of 1/2 cup of pork and beans with a sprinkle of brown sugar, Dave’s 22 seed thinly sliced bread, 10 red grapes, 1 cutie mandarin, and a tablespoon of Cool Whip topping. I warmed the beans with the brown sugar then I kind of mashed most of them down like a refried bean consistency. I then spread some of the bean mixture onto the two slices of bread and put them together like a sandwich sliced in half. You can see I sampled it before I took the picture. I have to admit this was very good. I was totally surprised. The rest of the beans I just ate on the plate. I cut all the grapes in half and put the mandarin in the bowl. I sprinkled one sprinkle of salt on them and then the Cool Whip. There is nothing better than sweet and salty. It is a very light salty taste as it is just one shake of the shaker. The bread and cuties were both organic. The grapes are really not that good, probably because they are out of season, but I won’t waste them. This was very filling and should hold me until dinner. If it doesn’t I will have one of my favorite snacks salt and vinegar almonds. If you are a potato chip lover give them a try.

Nutrition info for the above meatless meal: Calories 351, total fat 5 grams, saturated fat 0.5 grams, sodium 641 mg, total carbs 65 grams, fiber 11 grams, net carbs 54 grams, protein 14 grams, vitamin a 10%, vitamin c 33%, calcium 18%, iron 17%

As you can see this is a higher sodium meal if you have CKD try and buy beans with no sodium added. Organic beans should be lower in sodium than non-organic varieties. Or, you could make your own from scratch. Beans and whole-grain slices of bread are higher in phosphorus, so if that is a concern for you be sure and take your phosphorus binders or consult with your doctor about eating these foods first.

I am going to try to avoid any more carbs for today. We will see how that goes. Some days are better than others. I am not Diabetic but I do have a goal to lose baby belly fat that I have been carrying around for many years. Reducing sugar and carbs is the best way to do that.

Let me know what you think. Do you do meatless meals to try to cut down on meat consumption and or your grocery bill? Maybe for better health or environmental reasons.

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