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.
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.
Hello, hello! Before I start my grocery haul for this week I want to remind my regular readers that the Kidney Class will begin again, after I take the updated class. It might be a couple of weeks, as I have a lot going on in other areas, but I will get to it.
This week, as promised, I decided to take my $75 dollar weekly food budget and head to Dollar General. Now, a few things to note. I was not optimistic at all as to how this would go. I either thought it would cost way more, or I would get cheap less quality food. I live in a very small town in rural Florida. There is a Dollar General in almost every town around me. About 25 minutes from me there is a Dollar General Market, which really is just like a small supermarket. You can get fresh fruit, veggies, and meat. But, I am talking about a regular Dollar General that has some freezer stuff, and the one where I live actually has a tiny area for fresh fruit and veggies. In my very tiny town we also have a Family Dollar, more on that in a minute, a small Hitchcock’s, and a Sun Stop which is really a gas station with a grocery, and deli section. I will hit all four of them, eventually with my budget.
This budget began as a 21 dollar per person budget, or 63 dollars per week. It also was a pantry challenge to see if someone like me, with CKD, could eat shelf stable foods and still feel well. That only took a couple of weeks to decide no, that is not possible. Everything is so expensive now, that I had to raise my weekly budget to 75 dollars. This is only for food, and it is to save money, spend down debt, not make new debt, avoid food waste, and just learn to be more wise with our money. I have to say, so far it has been successful, and with smart food choices, and portion control, it has not effected my health.
Dollar General is quite small, and buying groceries at these types of stores is odd, because most people probably go in and just buy a few things. The self checkout area is super tiny, and there is not a lot of place in the regular checkout, only one, to put groceries. But, we made it work, albeit with people looking at us strange. You are not going to get a huge selection, and honestly I am ok with that. Too many choices is just a pain to me.
I was pleasantly surprised by the small area of fresh fruit and veg. The grapes were way too expensive for me, but they looked good. I did get a bagged salad, some roma tomatoes, and white onions. These prices were comparable to Walmart, maybe a smidge higher. But, to not have to travel the 12 miles to Walmart is a plus. I noticed that the meat section was not horrible. I could get burger patties, ground beef, chicken breast, sausage, and various breakfast meats. I am not going to ever get organic, grass-fed meats in this town, but it is meat. The chicken breast was the frozen kind, like you can get at Walmart. The price for 2 pounds I think was 9.50. But, I had to run into Family Dollar because DG did not have the Idahoan potatoes, and the same size chicken breast was 7.50 there. I did not need any chicken and there were only a few bags left, so I did not buy any. They had no ground turkey at all, which was kind of disappointing. Family Dollar did not either. There were whole freezer sections where food had been sold out.
The dairy section was also not too bad. I expected just cheap imitation cheese, but there was actual real cheese and the price was not bad. I did need milk, and that was $4.50 which I think is way too much. I don’t drink milk, so it will last close to a week. I still have shredded cheese from last week, so I didn’t buy any more. I probably will never buy coffee creamer at these small stores. It costs way too much for a small container. But, if I am not wanting to drive to save gas, you never know I might. Maybe I will give up coffee. LOL, that is a lie.
They had lots of dry beans and canned beans. We do not eat a lot of those, and I have some in the pantry for when we do. They did not have a ton of flour, and I have some in the pantry, so again, I did not buy any. I did not see any dry rice. They had a small selection of pasta, and I did pick up one box of spaghetti which was 90 cents. We decided to try the chicken pasta in the package. I am not sure if I will have that, as it is very high in sodium. It was only a dollar, though. The canned veggies were on sale for 75 cents each, and I got 6 cans. They had no Idahoan mashed potatoes, or taco seasoning. I had to get those at Family Dollar. I already tried the sweet pickles shown, and I don’t care for them, but they will go good in chicken or tuna salad. I bought one can of fully cooked roast beef at $3.50. This was a curiosity buy to see if it is worth it to have it in the pantry. Let’s face it, even if it might be affordable if no one will eat it, it makes no sense to buy it. The bread was a decent price, but the hot dog buns were way too much. Unfortunately, it was the only kind available on this day. The Armour chicken hot dogs were only 1 dollar, which I thought was a very good deal.
You can see my whole grocery haul in the image below. My grand total between the two stores was $64.15. That means I am 10 dollars under budget this week and honestly that makes DG definitely worth it. Would I shop here every week? No, most likely not, unless I had to. But, even if I shop here once or twice a month, and get my other items that I can not get here the other weeks, it is still worth it to save the gas and wear and tear on my car. If you read last week, then you know I can get my organic meat at Winn-Dixie and if I got at a good time a lot of times it will be marked down to a reasonable price. I was very unhappy with the organic milk I got there last week, though. That might have been why it was such a good deal, because something was wrong with it. No one would drink it. I had to waste it. It was well within the use by date, so that was not the issue.
Are you joining in my grocery budget challenge? Leave me a comment to let me know how it is going.
Next week, I think I will try my budget at our small Hitchcocks to see what I can get there for 75 dollars.
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.
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.
Hello, and welcome to another Self Care Saturday post. In the month of April, I am focusing on the topic of Menopause. If you did not see my first post, you can find it in the archives.
Menopause is a fact of life. It is part of the middle ages, and there are different aspects of it. Just like kidney disease, dementia, or really any other topic everyone’s journey will look different. But, there are some main topics that are more common to all women going through Menopause, and one of those is belly fat and weight gain.
I encourage you to watch the full video below. There are no gimmicks here, no easy, or fast ways to lose belly fat, but good sound discussion on the topic. I am not promoting the course that she is selling at the end, I have no idea if what she offers is good, or not.
There are a few things I would like you to pay particular attention to.
NEAT- I have talked about this before via using a step tracker, and getting up and moving every hour. I have two dogs, and one way I increase my NEAT is to take them out every hour, when I am home, from 8 am to 8 pm, even if it is raining. They love this! My back fenced yard, around the perimeter is exactly 125 steps. When I first started this I would do 2 laps or 250 steps. I now do 6 laps every hour. It is really a habit now, and I just do it. My dogs are used to it and will remind me. We play ball and enjoy the fresh air. Sometimes, when the weather is super lovely, I do my laps and then I sit on my swing listening to all of the nature around me. It truly is a beautiful part of my day.
LBT- Licks, Bites, and Tastes. You will see what she means.
The amount of protein they are promoting. If you have kidney disease or may be at risk of getting kidney disease please be very careful about consuming this much protein. I have talked a lot about getting back to stage 2, and while there are many things I think have allowed my kidneys to heal, consuming a lower end, but quality, amount of protein is one of them.
All in all, I feel like this is a good video, and lines up with articles and studies I have read. They do not promote any particular kind of diet, supplement, or gimmick. They do promote weight training, and I have discussed that before and how important it is for women to do weight training. They do talk a bit about heavy weights, and I urge you to go slow, especially if you are over age 50, and especially if you are over 50 with kidney disease. Please consult with your doctor before lifting heavy weights over age 50.
Once you hit menopause, and your estrogen begins to decline and eventually disappear, the fat you carry will shift from your hips and thighs to your abdominal area. Note, that they state the abdominal area is the last place most women will lose weight. You can’t target it via abdominal work, or decreasing sugar. It is a process, and most likely you will see results in your face, and chest, long before your waist.
You also will not need as many calories as you age. This is just plain true. So, you may not even realize how much you may be over consuming what your body needs.
If you would like to work with me as your health coach to conquer your health goals, send me a message via the contact form below.
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.
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.
Welcome back to another month of new Medical Monday topics. If you read here often, you know this blog is focused a lot on health coaching, and help topics, plus CKD. But, I like to talk about other topics as well and Menopause is definitely a medical and a wellness topic. Chances are very good that you are either a woman, or you know a woman. I am sure you have heard all of the stereotypes about hysterical women and Menopause. This month I will discuss Menopause and how it can affect everyone’s wellness, not just a woman.
I watched a ton of videos on Menopause last night until I found one that explains it in a sensible but educated way. The video, a TED Talk, is just a basic introduction to the topic of Menopause. Watch for future posts and how Menopause affects women and their wellbeing.
If there is a subtopic related to Menopause that you would like me to talk about, leave me a comment, and I will consider it.
On Wednesday, so I guess that would make this a Wellness Wednesday post, lol, we visited St. George Island for the second time. We had family visiting from out of state that we have not been able to see since Covid began. I love St. George Island, and as much as I adore St. Augustine, St. George might be my new favorite.
It was extremely windy, a little chilly, and the surf was rough. We did not swim, but kind of got our ankles and knees wet. It was a great day to walk the beach, sit on the beach, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Gulf of Mexico. There were maybe 10 people on the beach, and it is a huge beach. It is actually a state park, so it was only 6 dollars for the whole car to enter the park. I told my husband we really need to visit this park more often, like once a month.
Enjoy my beautiful picks and I will write again, Monday. Have an awesome weekend! We are in for some nasty weather again, tomorrow. Please respect the property of my images.