Is It Still Possible To Create $5 Dinners With Inflation?

Hello, hello. You may have noticed I have not written anything in like 10 days. I took a much-needed break from blogging. I still have not had time to take the new AKF Kidney Coach Class, but I hope by the end of May I will have it done. Then I can edit the old posts, and post the new slides. I have not been feeling great the past couple of days. My new job has a lot of mental stress and it is wearing me out. You know they say the grass is not always greener on the other side. I can say for sure that is true. While my old job had become toxic in many ways, there were things I appreciated about that job. Switching to a new job did not necessarily change some of those toxic issues. Health care is a very stressful, and mentally challenging profession these days. I hope to have my certification in Medical Billing and Coding by the end of the Summer, and I can begin transitioning into that.

Back to the topic at hand. Is it still possible to create 5-dollar dinners with inflation? In November of 2020, I did a blog post with a whole list of possible 5 dollar dinner ideas. So, I decided to try and recreate them to see if they can still be made for 5 dollars or less. The first one is Chicken Fajita wraps. I have no idea why Chicken Fajita Casserole is on the list because I don’t know as I have ever made that. I am going to straight-up say this may not be doable unless you can find a really good deal on chicken since it is so expensive right now. You can always use beans instead of chicken. Anyway, I searched all of my local grocery stores to see if I could find chicken on sale at a decent price. The only place that did, and it is only a 2-day sale was my local Hitchcock’s. They have chicken leg quarters for 98 cents a pound. So, if you bought 2 pounds it would cost $1.96. Flour tortilla wraps you can not get any more for less than a dollar. In my area, the Dollar Tree has them for the best price of $1.25. The Great Value brand of Fajita seasoning mix is .62. one green pepper is .72, and one onion is.78. If you want the cheese to sprinkle on a block of Great Value cheese is 1.86. We will use sour cream instead of cheese, at 1.16 for a smaller container.

The total if you use chicken and cheese would be $6.57 and honestly, I don’t think that is all that bad considering.

The total if you use chicken with sour cream would be $5.87

To keep it closer to 5 dollars use a can of black beans at .72 for a total of $5.25 with sour cream but no cheese.

You can always make your own fajita mix if you have the 3 main ingredients, cumin, oregano, and chili powder already on hand.

I am making these tonight for dinner with chicken and sour cream. I par-boil the leg quarters for about 10 minutes. This makes it easy for me to remove the meat from the bones, plus if you have CKD it will reduce the fat, potassium, and phosphorus in the chicken.

We are still sticking by our 75 dollar per week grocery budget, for 3 people, and while it is not as easy as it was, it is still doable. Meat is super expensive right now, and we have cut back even more on meat.

Have an awesome Saturday!

Disclaimer

Menopause, Belly Fat, and Weight Gain

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.

  1. 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.
  2. LBT- Licks, Bites, and Tastes. You will see what she means.
  3. 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.

Disclaimer

Simple Sunday Quote!

I will leave you to ponder what this quote may mean to you. Leave me a comment and let me know. I suggest it will be different for everyone, the thought of what matters.

I am so much happier now that I left my job doing 12-hour shifts every weekend, to 8-hour shifts, 2 days a week. I can come home and cook dinner for my family, exercise, do a blog post, etc. Not just come home and go to bed because I am exhausted to just do it again the next day. This matters to me, money does not. If I had to work more, I don’t know that I would. I would much rather learn to live within my means as we spend money on stuff that is really not necessary. When I was diagnosed with CKD I decided life is too short to work my life away, and I meant it. I know people will scoff at that. I am blessed to have a wonderful husband who supported me in staying home to raise my kids because that matters to me. Some will scoff at that and say you are lucky. I wouldn’t call it luck, marriage is hard work and there is no luck involved. We both have had to work hard to make each other happy, and that matters. Reading, learning, training my dog, being with family and friends, gardening, relaxing in my pool, bird watching, photography, these things all matter to me, and I make space in my life for them. I do not enjoy entertaining, and I generally don’t even like company. But, I will meet my friends elsewhere to have friend time. I have always been that way and I don’t see it changing anytime soon.

Since my second child will be graduating this Summer, and I will be finishing up my classes, I may decide to work more hours, or I may not. I may get a work-from-home job. I have not decided yet, but I do know I am paying for these classes so I expect I will use them.

Don’t forget to leave me a comment about what you think of the quote for today.

Simple Self Care Saturday #1

Welcome to Saturday! The weather is beautiful here in Florida today, and I hope wherever you are it is too. Now that I am no longer working every Saturday, nor doing 12-hour shifts, I am starting a new self-care series of posts. I totally believe in self-care that is simple, easy to do, affordable, easy to understand, and uncomplicated. Self-care is something you intentionally do for yourself. Keeping it simple will aid you with making self-care a habit. What is one type of self-care that I have made into a habit? Getting up and taking at least 250 steps every hour, while awake. Now that it is a habit I feel sad if I can’t do it. For example, this week I started my new job and it was all done on a computer, in an office. I could not get up and move every hour, or I guess I didn’t think to ask to do it, and I felt so lazy by the end of the day. Not all types of self-care will meet everyone’s definition of my time. For example, having my nails and hair done is not for me, but some people find it very relaxing and self-loving.

For this first simple self-care Saturday I would like to talk about Tai Chi. I am not a certified Tai Chi instructor, and I only dabble in it as a form of energy balance. I actually love Tai Chi and I like to incorporate it with my Reiki. I am trained in Reiki. Both are types of energy healing but Tai Chi is also more of a type of exercise or intentional movement. It can improve your balance, muscle strength, all while focusing on your breathing. The movements are very slow, so you focus on the movement and the breathing. The video below is 11 minutes long, but the Tai Chi session is only 5 minutes in length and it is perfect for a Simple Saturday, or any day of the week. I try to do this routine daily, but it is not yet a habit, so I often do it a few times a week. I find it is a great cool-down routine after exercise, or after a stressful day at work to relax. Once you learn her easy routine you won’t need the video, though you may want to play some soft music, or nature sounds once you have it memorized. Try it if you are in pain, anxious, worried, etc. Once you master this first video you may wish to try some more of her Tai Chi routines, or just stick with this simple one.

Leave me a comment if you try this. What is your favorite way to practice self-care? There are so many, but you need at least one, and then do it. If you would like to learn more about my Distance Reiki sessions, click the highlighted link above, or use the contact form below to send me an email for a free consultation.

Disclaimer

10 Ways To Be Happy For A Day!

OMG, welcome back to another Self Care Saturday post. I have not done one of these in about 6 months, because I had been working 12-hour shifts every single weekend. More about how that was not making me happy below. You may have read my post last year on how to be happy for an hour. I think it takes work, to practice self-care, to be a little selfish once in a while. Studies have shown that Americans are not happy, and while everyone has their own reasons for not being happy there are some things you can try to help improve your happiness. Baby steps, from an hour of happiness, up to maybe a year. This article will explain some ways that are proven to help you be happier, but I think some of these are more long-term than just for a day. Below, are my ten ways to be happy for a day.

  1. Spend time with friends, especially friends you may not see often. This morning I went to a small local flea market with a friend of mine, and then we stopped at this cute little coffee shop to visit. It was maybe 2 hours tops that we were together, but it was lovely. I don’t generally like to spend money on only myself, but you know what, why not? I spent maybe 35 dollars total getting some awesome produce, some skin care products, coffee, and a banana muffin that we split. We even face timed some of our coworkers who are still working at the place we both left.
  2. Sit in the sun. I love the sun! Yes, I know you have to be careful of skin cancer and all that. So, for the first 15 minutes sit out with just bare arms and legs, if you can, and then apply sun screen if it is needed. The sun energizes me and makes me feel good. Plus, your body will make Vitamin D and you may not have to take a supplement. You might not sit there all day, but maybe you will.
  3. Take a dog for a walk. A nice hour walk is both good for you and the dog. If you don’t have a dog there are plenty of shelters and rescues that need dog walkers. Check them out. I promise you will be happier for it. You can even make extra money walking dogs. Check Rover.com, Craigslist, and Indeed for people looking for dog walkers. Walk several dogs, even better!
  4. The article states that just planning a trip, even if you never take it will make you happier. Bleh, no! I say plan a day trip, then take it! Whether you take it alone or with someone just take it.
  5. If you hate your job find a new one. Stress from our jobs is the number one cause of unhappiness in my opinion. You need to do something you love! Pick a day out of each week to start researching job openings, and then applying. If you need to improve your resume, or work on job skills, there are plenty of internet sources that are free that can help you. You will feel better about yourself and be happier.
  6. Learn to live within your means, or a minimalist lifestyle. What does that mean? Don’t buy stuff you don’t need. We are a junk driven society that thinks we need to have new furniture every year, and a new car every other. 50 outfits, with matching shoes, I mean it just isn’t necessary. All that stuff is not going to make you happy, so spend a day getting rid of anything that you don’t wear or use, and then commit to not buying more.
  7. Eat better foods. OK, I put this one her because I urge you to try to eat better for a whole day and then see if you feel any different. Eat whole foods, unprocessed, low salt, low fat, and low sugar. I think you will be happier with how you feel, and knowing that you are nourishing your body not just feeding it.
  8. Turn off social media. Yep, for a whole day no social media. Even better would to turn your phone off for a whole day.
  9. Do a craft, or a hobby. I don’t craft much anymore due to the arthritis in my hands, but this blog, and writing is a great way for me to find stress relief by helping others and ultimately that makes me happy. Each blog post takes about an hour of time, some longer, a few less. I also love photography, now that I don’t really paint anymore.
  10. Forgive someone. This one may actually have to be a long term goal if the hurt will take a long time to get over. But, forgiving others is for you, not for them. You will be able to have closure, resolution, and move on. Even if they deny they hurt you, or don’t accept forgiveness, you will have a weight lifted off your chest which will always make you happier. Choose a day to sit down and contemplate how you want to approach the person that needs forgiveness. Write it out and practice what you will say. Don’t worry about how they respond that doesn’t matter. That is on them. You can only control yourself.

I hope this list will help you find happiness for a whole day. Let me know in the comments, like and share if you will. If you would like to use me as a Health Coach to help you meet your wellness goals, send me a message with the contact form below to arrange a free consultation.

Disclaimer

Scary Saturday History!

Hello, and Happy Saturday! I haven’t had a Saturday off in months. So, today is a rare treat.

Did you know there have been lots of other Epidemics and Pandemics in history? Some of them were pretty scary too, being that modern medicine is what it is. Even basic cleanliness and having soap was scarce for some of these historical illnesses. Imagine not being able to wash your hands, bleh! Without gloves, face masks, social distancing or even the knowledge to know to do these things, lead to a lot of deaths.

Be sure and watch the short video below to learn about some of these very scary times in History. Don’t lose any sleep over it though.

Sign up for my Mailchimp newsletter!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

social media share saturday and sunday

I have not done one of these in a while, so I thought it might be fun. Please read the rules before participating. They are not hard. I do moderate all comments because I get a ton of spam.

To participate in the Health Buddy Melissa Social Media Share please follow these rules.

  1. The sharing will run from 1 AM Eastern time on Saturday, until Midnight Eastern time on Sunday. That means when I get up Monday morning any links shared time stamped before midnight will be accepted. That gives people a whole day and a half to participate. For now this will be a recurring thing every weekend.
  2. In the comments you need to say if you followed any of my social media links below. Please state which social media you did for me and then a link to a social media for you that you want me to follow. This week is only for follows. I will not join new social media, so if you don’t use any of the ones that I share below, then this event is not for you. I will do other types in the future. If you follow more than one of my links, simply say so, and offer four links to yours.
  3. Please don’t say you did something if you didn’t, or remove it right after you say you did it. That is really just ugly.

These are my social media platforms that I use.

  1. https://www.pinterest.com/HealthBuddyMelissa
  2. https://www.facebook.com/Health-Buddy-Melissa-364320441037546 I could especially use Facebook follows.
  3. https://twitter.com/melissasjewelry My Twitter is an old account that I share a variety of stuff on, not just this blog.
  4. https://www.tumblr.com/blog/healthbuddymelissa

You can sign up for my Mailchimp mailing list below.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

chronic kidney disease symptoms and self care management!

Welcome to Self Care Saturday! If you read this blog then you know I have CKD, and that I had a recent experience with a shoulder injury and poor pain management. Symptoms when you have CKD, and poor management of those symptoms are a huge self care problem for kidney patients. While most doctors will focus on dialysis kidney patients want management of their symptoms long before they need dialysis. I found this video below from Canada where they are more focused on empowering Kidney Patients to self advocate for self care. The video is short but so worth watching. The lady at the very end had the most powerful question be sure and hear it. If you have stage 3 CKD you will see what I mean.

Reiki may help you with CKD pain, stress, relaxation, better sleep, etc. If you are interested I am now offering Distance Reiki Sessions.

Disclaimer

Join my Mailchimp mailing list to receive my weekly newsletter with discounts and lots of info.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

day 4 Zero Points/Very Low fat food challenge!

If you read yesterday’s post then you know that I had to take a 24 hour break from the challenge to assess why I was bloated, gassy, and had much abdominal pain. I suspected it was the sugar substitutes and possible phosphorus additives in the low fat, and or sugar free items I had been eating. I suspect I am right, because after 24 hours I feel back to normal and ready to go, minus those food items. If you need to check back to day one to see my rules setup, please click here. I will add one day to the challenge to make it a full 2 weeks due to the day off. You may see affiliate links in this post.

Today, my son and his wife will be coming for dinner, so we are having a nice meal. Below you will see what I have eaten, and will eat for today.

Breakfast: Just coffee

Lunch: 1 medium banana. 1 cup cooked pasta salad with cucumbers, part skim mozzarella cheese .5 ounce, bell pepper, and 2 tbsp Raspberry Vinaigrette. I also had 15 Snyder’s Pretzel nuggets.

Dinner I will have: Extra lean pork tenderloin 3 oz with 2 tbsp of the bbq sauce shown below. Homemade coleslaw made with low fat Hellman’s mayonnaise. I will have 1/2 cup serving of that. 1 cup chopped watermelon, and 1 ear corn on the cob. I cut it off the cob and use 1 tbsp of Land O Lakes Whipped Butter.

Nutrition Info:

Calories: 816

Total Fat: 14 grams

Saturated Fat: 4 grams

Cholesterol: 75 mg

Sodium: 738 mg

Total Carbs: 137 grams

Net Carbs: 125 grams

Fiber: 12 grams

Protein: 43 grams. This is just right for me

Disclaimer

Join my mailing list today, to get my weekly newsletter with special deals.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

i am doing a zero point food challenge!

Hello, and Happy Saturday! If you are on my Mailchimp mailing list then you already knew that I was going to do a Zero Point Food Challenge. It will begin on this coming Tuesday, and go for two weeks, but I thought I would just give a preview of what a day of eating might look like. I have been researching, reading, and watching Youtube videos of other people who have done this challenge. It is obviously based off of WW Zero Point Food List. I won’t go into all of the details now, but there are specific reasons as to why I chose this challenge, and I have some thoughts on the concept. But, that is all for Tuesday. I can tell you my challenge will not look exactly like WW. First of all I am not a member of WW so I can not speak to how their program really works. I can only go by information I have found online, my research, and what my nutritional needs are. So, this will be a Melissa Zero Point Food Challenge! Come back Tuesday! For now, this is what I will eat for today, Saturday 6/5/2021. It is a lot of images, and I will explain each meal. The pictures will show the nutrition info also. I do not count drinks, and I will explain why on Tuesday.

Breakfast: 10 green grapes, 1/2 of a medium banana, cinnamon sugar small sprinkle, and 1 tbsp. Cool Whip, not fat free. It isn’t necessary and I will explain why on Tuesday. By my calculation these are all zero point foods.

Lunch: 3.3 oz of Pork Tenderloin with Paprika, Pepper, and Basil Herbed Salt baked at 350 for 35 minutes. This is the leanest pork you can buy with only 3 grams of fat per serving, which is actually 4 ounces, and I only am eating 3.3 ounces. I sprayed the bottom of the pan with spray Olive Oil. On the side I cut up 6 cherry tomatoes and sprinkled with salt.

Dinner: Since this is a work day it will be a thermos meal, either cold or hot. I decided to do hot today. For dinner I will have 2 ounces of the Pork Tenderloin left over from lunch, a 1/2 cup of the mashed potatoes shown below, and 1/2 cup of the Happy Harvest creamed corn. I mix it all together and since I am using creamed corn there is no need for butter or gravy. If you look at the labels you will see the fat content per serving definitely makes them a free food. Some of these are packaged so the ingredient list may not be great. But, I am using what I have in the house, leftovers, or whatever is affordable. Since no one else in my house is doing the challenge I have to work around them as well.

According to my food tracking app this is the Nutrition data for the whole day.

Calories: 583

Total Fat: 10 grams or 26% of RDA this is very low fat

Saturated Fat: 3.5 grams or 29% of RDA

Sodium: 914 mg this is a very low sodium day

Total Carbs: 74 grams. I typically allow 100 grams per day in food

Net Carbs: 65.6 grams because of 8.4 grams of Fiber

Protein: 50 grams that is my limit for the day with CKD.

Phosphorus: 486 mg

Potassium: 1658 mg

I also take a 1/2 tablet of a multi vitamin, but I do not include that in the nutrition app until the end of the day, because it skews my thoughts on what I am actually eating. I know this seams like not enough calories, and it isn’t, so I will have to figure out a snack that is low fat, and I don’t want anymore large amounts of protein or salt. I would also rather my carbs did not go over a 100 for the day. I will let you know tomorrow what I chose to add as right now I don’t know. You also have to consider that I do not track drinks. Times that I have tracked drinks, I may get an extra 100 to 150 calories from my daily drinks. Zero Point foods are not meant to be a whole diet on WW. They are meant to build your meals around. OK, so that is all I am going to say for now. Come back on Tuesday to read the full reasoning, and how I will do it, and track it, plus what I eat in a day, and results at the end.

Disclaimer

Join my mailing list to get content not shared here on the blog, coupons, deals, and a free smoothie recipe that is portable.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
con