Kidney Class Week #5

Welcome to week 5 of the AKF Kidney Education Class. This week I will be sharing slide #5 and discussing the information. This one is pretty self-explanatory and I don’t have a lot to add to it. There is tons of information about CKD on this blog, and you can see the previous 4 weeks of slides in the archives. I hope everyone is enjoying these, and please leave me questions in the comments, or you can always use the contact form to send me an email. I am an AKF Kidney Coach, and this is a volunteer position, and all of their slides are their property and are shared with the express permission to do so.

I was stage 3B to 4 when I was first diagnosed in 2017. With massive lifestyle changes, dietary changes, and getting rid of bad habits I am now hovering right around stage 2 or at stage 2. I have not been given a definitive reason as to why my left kidney failed, but I was determined to make it better. So, for me, for this slide, I would like people to know that it is possible for the kidneys to get better and I wish doctors would talk to people at stage 1 or 2 so lifestyle changes can be made early rather than later. I think a routine renal panel should be included as part of every yearly physical no matter how old someone is, especially with all of the over-processed foods or society consumes. There are 5 total stages of CKD, and you can read the slide below to see what they are. If you are at stage 3 you probably are showing subtle symptoms that may be easy to ignore or blame on something else.

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A Mindfulness Photography Challenge and Week 1 Pantry/Budget Challenge Review!

Happy Monday! I think I will repeat this Mindfulness challenge each month with a different theme. A very important part of Mindfulness is being present at the moment, observing your surroundings and how they make you feel. I love being outdoors in nature and all the beauty that goes with it. I also love photography. It is a great hobby that is relaxing and fulfilling. Even if you think you take awful pictures, then you don’t understand art. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and while some people may actually not like your photo lots of people will. I actually make a little bit of money off my art pieces. It isn’t a lot, maybe 50 to 100 dollars a year. I certainly am not wealthy from it. But, it does allow others to enjoy my art and purchase it on various items if they choose to. You will see a picture of one such item below.

So, the Mindfulness Photography Challenge for the month of January is to find hearts in nature. You can’t create the heart yourself. The point is to be observant and mindful of your surroundings. You can share your photos in the comments or a link to your photo if you have a blog. I will not accept spam so please don’t waste your time. I approve all comments manually. My picture is from a few years ago, so I will be on a mission to find some new hearts in nature. Please do not steal other people’s artwork. That is just rude and may be illegal.

Yesterday, was the end of two challenges we are currently doing. One of them is for the whole year and that is to try and spend 21 dollars per person, per week. For three people that is 63 dollars and it is for food items only. For week one I only had to buy flour and garlic bread. So, I only spent $5.98 The extra money not spent will be deposited into our savings. Some people do this challenge and spend all the money each and every week to build up their pantry, even though they already have a huge stash of food in their homes. This just makes no sense to me, which brings me to the second challenge, The Pantry Challenge. We have quite a bit of food already on hand. To reduce food and money waste I have decided we will use up what we have even if it is not our favorites, which is why it usually sits in the pantry or freezer. Freezer items are considered shelf-stable for this challenge. I tend to buy organic only which probably will be the real challenge as it is way more expensive. We managed to use up a lot of food that we had on hand in week 1. I will be doing inventory today and I will try to take a picture of what we have left and I will share it tomorrow. My husband and daughter did manage quite well this weekend while I was at work. They tend to not want to cook and want to buy stuff from the store. The only thing my husband purchased was garlic bread to go with his homemade meatballs for dinner last night. We also had tortellini from Sam’s that absolutely had to be used and that went with it. Plus, tons of salad items were used up. Unfortunately, some of the carrots did go bad, organic foods go bad fast. I should have frozen them. This leads me to another tip, watch your fresh items, and freeze them if you need to. I will be freezing up the peppers today.

Week 2 begins today. I already know we need milk and coffee creamer. So, they have been added to my list. I do not think we will actually need anything else. But, we will see. That doesn’t mean we won’t want something else, lol.

Today, for breakfast I had the rest of my blueberry crisp and a garden salad. Both were from the fridge. Please remember that oats are extremely high in phosphorus so use caution if you have CKD. Lunch I will have a peanut butter banana smoothie with ground flaxseed. Again, flaxseed is very high in phosphorus so use it with caution. Bananas are high in potassium. All of these items I have discussed in previous posts, and are in my pantry supply. We are almost out of fresh veggies but have quite a bit of fresh fruit still that I may have to freeze to not lose. Dinner will be leftover meatballs and tortellini. Be mindful of portion sizes. Meat should be about 3 ounces but no more than 4, unless your doctor has advised you to eat more protein. Tortellini has cheese, so you will get even more protein. Pasta sauce has potassium and sodium. Be sure to read your labels and be mindful of your portion size.

Today will be a complete leftover day!

Are you doing either of these challenges with me? Share your thoughts and results. Will you try the Mindfulness Photography Challenge?

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A New Food Budget Challenge And Pantry Cooking With CKD

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s compare the 2.

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

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

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

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

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

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7 Exercises You Should Not Do After Age 50!

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

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

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

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

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

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Is It Good News Or Bad News?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Health Buddy Updates and A Survey!

Hello, and welcome back to all of my marvelous readers. Since it is the month of December, it is time for me to reflect on the growth of this blog, and the direction I would like this blog to go in. So, today’s post will have some updates, and a survey that is completely anonymous but will help me to steer my goals and marketing for 2022. This one is just a simple fill-in with your own words type of answer. I will be doing these surveys frequently, at least through the end of January. I already have a good idea of what I am thinking but feedback helps.

If you would please click here and take my survey. It is free and I won’t spam you. It is a Mailchimp survey and it may sign you up for my newsletter, but I am moving away from Mailchimp’s newsletter option. I really don’t care for it and I don’t get the results I want. I think getting more followers here that receive each new post is way more effective. Be sure to sign up to follow this blog and never miss anything I say, lol.

So, as I spend some time reflecting on 2021 I didn’t get my coaching business as ramped up as I would have liked to. A lot of this has to do with marketing, and personal changes in my life that sucked up a lot of time and stress to deal with. I did get some good leads with probable customers, but that is not paying customers. Of course, I would like to have at least one paying customer, lol. I think my prices are very reasonable, and I am flexible, so there are other issues at play. Traditional ways of marketing oneself are not my cup of tea, and I am not a salesman at heart. However, I do think there are some things I can do to help myself out.

Remember, right now I am a Health Coach, with a background in nursing. I work as an Independent Contractor at this time, with me being my only employee.

I need to focus more on creating good coaching plans and advertising those, instead of worrying about just blog content with plans immersed in them. I truly love to teach and if you read here often you know I have homeschooled both of my children to graduation, well the last one is almost done. I need to focus on that more, helping others learn about Health and Wellness and improving it. While I do not have the capability to do big long videos, nor am I sure I want to, I am going to do some voice-over videos for my Kidney Coach slides. AKF gave me the OK to add Kidney Coach items to this blog to reach more people, especially with Covid and social distancing. So be sure and watch for those. Outside of the Kidney Coach voice-overs, I may try to do some short cooking, meal prep, budgeting, goal setting, etc type voice-over videos. Every month I will share a Health Challenge idea. For December it is to do weight lifting 3 days a week. For January, I think I am going to focus on a no-spend budget challenge month. I will announce it soon.

I have already changed the color theme and my logo.

Read 10 interesting things about me. If you or someone you know would like to learn more about my Health Coaching service, please use the contact form at the end of this post to send me an email.

I have decided, at this time I do not want to do affiliate marketing, but if businesses reach out to me to request a review I will consider each request. I do not care to promote items, companies, businesses, products, etc without even trying them myself first. That just makes no sense to me.

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This Modifiable Dementia Risk Factor May Shock You!

Hello, and welcome to December! November just whizzed right by. If you stop by often then you know November was Dementia awareness month and I have extended it into December. I am not sure that I will still get all of the information covered, but it gives me something to talk about for next year, lol.

If you remember, the first modifiable risk factor was education, especially in early life. Today, I am going to discuss hearing loss and how it is connected to Dementia.

When I first read the study I was shocked to learn that hearing loss is a risk factor for Dementia, especially since I live in the USA and hearing aids are not covered by Medicare or even most private insurance. Plus, they are very expensive! This seems like such an easy issue to fix in some regards by just making hearing aids more accessible to people. I mean the risk is huge! We can do better than this America! The video below is an Audiologist talking about hearing loss and the risk to Dementia.

Before I talk about diagnosing and treating hearing loss, I want to talk about why hearing loss is a risk factor for Dementia. You can read the article here, but to sum it up hearing loss may lead to faster brain atrophy, can lead to isolation, depression, and decreased communication skills. Plus, loss of hearing, believe it or not, can affect balance when you walk, which can affect safety and lead to falls.

What are signs that you may have hearing loss?

  1. The most obvious would be that you turn TV, and radio up to very high levels.
  2. You might say huh a lot when talking to others. You might not understand what others are saying in a conversation.
  3. Twisting your head or body to hear better.
  4. You miss phone calls, knocks at the door, doorbells, or even alarms going off.
  5. You feel exhausted in group conversations due to straining to hear what is being said.

How do you have your hearing tested?

  1. If you are over 18 a hearing test every 3 to 5 years is recommended, unless you have existing hearing loss already. An Audiologist can test your hearing and give you advise.
  2. There are actual hearing self tests you can do on your own via phone apps. I just put one on my phone. I don’t think I have hearing loss, matter of fact mine is pretty acute, but I would like to test my husband as well.
  3. Hearing loss could be as simple as wax build up in the ear. That is why your doctor looks in there, or one of the reasons.
  4. The whisper test, and tuning forks are other ways that hearing can be tested.

How is hearing loss treated?

  1. The most common way that people think of treating hearing loss is with a hearing aid. As I have already discussed most people don’t have access or funds to purchase a hearing aid. This website has the most comprehensive information on programs to help people afford a hearing aid. Please check it out, if you or a loved one has hearing loss.
  2. Remove ear wax blockage. That one just makes sense. Just make sure you have a trained professional do it.
  3. There are some types of hearing loss that can be fixed by inserting tubes into the ears, or other procedures, to improve hearing.
  4. Cochlear implants which may actually be covered by Medicare or Medicaid are the newest option for hearing loss. I will be talking a lot more about Medicare in the near future.

The bottom line is to please have a hearing test done at least every 3 years to catch hearing loss early. I can not recall exactly when I had one done, but it wasn’t too awful long ago.

Do you have Health Goals you would like to meet? Why not use a Health Coach to help you get there? Use the communication form at the end of this post to send me a message about what goal you would like to meet. Check out my Walking Buddy coaching option.

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Mediterranean Mashed Potatoes!

I am sticking with the Mediterranean alternatives to Thanksgiving sides. If you have CKD or any inflammatory disorder or are thinking of ways to prevent Dementia, the Mediterranean Diet may be the way to go. There are not tons of butter or heavy cream in these recipes. You will find one recipe to read, and some that are from Youtube. They kind of all have the same idea with a few variations. For the first one, I would not use Pine Nuts, as they are not the best option for CKD, but I would use Sunflower Seeds instead. I also would add a few more spices such as Paprika and Turmeric.

Now, if your family might not be feeling healthier dishes at Thanksgiving but it totally would benefit your health, just make smaller dishes of the two options. That way those that want the less healthy mashed potatoes can have them, and others can have the healthier version. Please note potatoes are very high in Potassium. If you have CKD limit your portion sizes or leech the potatoes prior to cooking them. This will help reduce the Potassium in the potatoes. I love potatoes and I eat them regularly. I do not have an issue with Potassium, though.

These are kind of short posts this week, as I have family coming to visit starting today.

Mediterranean Mashed Potatoes

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Wellness wednesday: the christmas blues

Happy Day before Christmas Eve! This time of year is not always festive, bright, and cheery for some people. Not everyone gets all warm and fuzzy. There are a lot of reasons why people get the Christmas and Post-Christmas Blues.

1- Too high of expectations. When you want everything to be perfect, or expect a pre-conditioned result of what Christmas should and will look like, it is very easy to be let down or be disappointed. So, how to avoid that? Just let the day be what it will. Enjoy it, savor it, don’t try to control it. You don’t have to have the perfect tree, dinner, decorations, gifts, etc to have a beautiful Christmas Day. So many people get tied up in worrying about what others will think mode. This will only wear you down. If people are only coming to see you on Christmas because they care about all of the nonsense stuff then they are most likely not worth your time. Also, try not to make in-stone traditions. When they don’t happen you will be sad and disappointed. Rather make a compromise. For example, I hate traditions, but my husband appreciates them. So, he gets to have the tradition of the same meal each year, give or take, and the rest of us try to do something different each year. Change is hard and most people don’t like it, but it is necessary for a healthy life.

2- Knowing your limits. Some people are very social and need to be with lots of people. Others are not and feel pressured and stressed to lots of things at the holidays, such as parties, and get-togethers. Know when to say yes and when to say no. Will it enhance your life, or drain you? Don’t overbook yourself for all the holiday stuff. This year this may not be an issue due to Covid, however, be sure to not be bullied into going into large gatherings if you are not comfortable and sure you will be safe. People are selfish and don’t necessarily consider others which is sad.

3- Follow your diet. OK, so I said before I hate the term diet. It is a lifestyle choice, but some people actually have prescribed diets and the holidays can be hard. Do your best to stay on your diet so you don’t get sick. Holidays should not mean overeating things that will make you feel horrible. It really isn’t worth it. When I worked in the hospital so many patients after Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas would have to be admitted to the hospital due to not staying on their diets. You can still enjoy the treats and delicious food, just in small moderate amounts. Take some home with you to enjoy on other days. To the hosts of these meals please consider being considerate to family members on special diets and try to make meal items that are appropriate for them. What a sign of love and respect.

4- Be active! I know everyone gets tired of hearing this, move more, exercise more, blah, blah, blah. But, it really is so important for reducing stress, burning off those calories you ate. Do it as a family activity. Instead of lying around watching football, go play some tag football, go for a walk or go sleigh riding if that pertains to where you live. There are so many fun things that can be done to get everyone moving. If you don’t have anyone to walk with, check out my Walking Buddy Plan. Check out my walking stats from yesterday. It is possible, even with CKD, to be active!

5- Be social. I know this one is hard this time of year, but you could use Zoom, Skype, Facebook Messenger, or other apps to connect with loved ones or friends. You just have to be a little creative. Get out and volunteer if you can and it is safe. We volunteer at a local dog rescue. There are a million ways to volunteer though. Think of a cause you would like to support, it could be anything you care about, and then research ways to volunteer. If you are just lonely and need someone to talk to, check out my Just Text or Call Health Plan. It is #5 on the list of available plans. You could also consider adopting a shelter animal or fostering. Pets are wonderful companions. If you are older be sure and try to adopt a pet that fits your needs. You may not want a puppy who needs a lot of care and attention. Cats are great pets. If you lost someone special during the holidays it makes it even harder. Making new social contacts can help.

6- Reduce stress. I offer a number of ways to help reduce stress. Distance Reiki, Guided Imagery, Aromatherapy, and Mindfulness. There are others too like Massage, Meditation, Yoga, etc. My Etsy shop is currently closed so my Guided Imagery and Reiki plans are no longer available to purchase there. If you are interested in any of these stress-reducing topics, you can use the contact form at the end of this post to message me to learn more.

7- Get enough sleep. I think this is a given. I know if I don’t sleep enough I am ornery. If you would like to learn to sleep better use the contact form at the end of the post for a free health assessment with a follow-up meet and greet.

8- Be kind. Random acts of kindness, giving back, donating gifts or money are all great ways to lift your spirits. It doesn’t have to be expensive either.

9- Set a goal. Make a goal to keep your mind off of clutter during holiday times, especially if you know it is a hard time for you. Take a class to learn something new, start a new hobby that maybe will earn you some extra money, start meal planning to help save money, start a budget. There are so many health and wellness goals to be made and met.

If you are interested in working with a Health Coach to avoid the Christmas Blues, use the contact form at the end of this post to message me for a free health assessment and a follow-up meet and greet. All new clients get one month of coaching for only 25 dollars.

Disclaimer

Portion Distortion: Cheese

Who doesn’t love cheese?

OK, I don’t really love cheese, but I do like it in small amounts on occasion. The problem with cheese, well there are three, is that it is a very calorie-dense food usually high in sodium and fats. The other issue with cheese is that it is often overeaten in large quantities adding unnecessary calories, fat, sodium, and phosphorus. Do you know what an actual portion of cheese is? See the image below. See it in reference to the size of a quarter. The correct portion size of cheese is 1 oz. That 1 oz of cheese has 110 calories, 9 grams of fat of which 6 grams is saturated fat, 180 mg of Sodium, 30 mg of cholesterol, and 7 grams of protein. Phosphorus is harder to figure out because it is not included on labels. However, according to Eat This Much, 1 oz of cheddar cheese has 14% of the daily requirement for phosphorus and 20% for calcium. That is a lot in such a small serving of food. If you have kidney disease cheese can be a very dangerous food.

That doesn’t mean you can not have cheese, unless you are stage 4 or 5, or your doctor has told you not to eat cheese. Otherwise, eating a 1 oz serving of cheese, and keeping track of food consumption in your food diary, you should be able to enjoy small amounts of cheese. Cheeses differ in their nutrition stats, but they are generally similar. Be sure and read your labels, and use a website like Eat This Much to help learn about phosphorus in foods. If you are trying to lose weight you can see how large amounts of cheese are going to add lots of unwanted calories to your daily needs. Stick to recommended serving sizes on labels. If you are eating out try to avoid cheese dishes, or ask for 1/2 portions, or eat just half and take the rest home. It does take a bit of discipline and it is not easy, but it is so worth it in the end.

Check out my post on which cheeses are best for CKD.

If you have CKD, want to lose weight, want to start exercising by walking with me, or need to learn to eat better, and would like to learn about my health coaching services, use the contact form after the images to message me. Or, you can email me melissa@healthbuddymelissa.coach