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

My Top 10 Reasons to Exercise

After having my second child, exercise became almost non-existent.  Though I felt we were active as a family, and as homeschoolers, my physical activity was few and far between.  After being diagnosed with CKD I knew a total lifestyle change was warranted.  Exercise always seemed like a chore, something I had to do, especially in the beginning.  Being out of shape I got tired very quickly and ran out of steam.  Now exercise is something I do every day because of the benefits to my life.  You will not see being skinny, or weight loss as part of my reasons to exercise.  I have moved past all that to be the healthiest and happiest I can be.

So, what are my top 10 reasons to exercise?

1-  To increase and improve balance.  Before I was diagnosed I was very unsteady and would sometimes fall.  No one was sure why and I was deemed clumsy.  A lot of it had to do with the toxins that had built up in my body, but some of it was due to a lack of exercise and balance training.

2-  To increase and or maintain muscle strength.  Anyone who has kidney disease knows how exhausting it can be, and muscle wasting is a huge risk especially for dialysis people.

3-  To increase and or maintain bone strength.  Another risk for kidney patients is the risk of bone fractures.  Weight-bearing exercises can play an important role in maintaining bone health.

4-  To keep my lungs healthy.  Exercising increases oxygen demand and keeps the lungs working efficiently.  Especially right now with Coronavirus and the ill effects, it has on the lungs.

5-  For heart health.  The heart is a muscle and probably the most important muscle in the body.  Exercise works your heart muscle making it stronger.

6-  To relieve stress.  Stress is sometimes called a silent killer.  It wears you down, and your body.  It causes damage that often is invisible.  Exercise is a great stress reliever and setting a time every day to exercise will help you make it a routine in your day.

7-  Sweating helps remove toxins from the body.  Now mostly it will be sodium, but if you have kidney disease sweat from exercise can help remove excess sodium.  Obviously, you have to be wise here.  Too low of a sodium level in the body can be just as dangerous as an excess.

8-  I like my body changes.  My body has changed over the last year and a half when I started exercising on a regular basis.  I am firmer, stronger, and leaner.  I am never going to be thin, but I can feel more fit and fabulous.

9-  Better sleep.  I work out in the morning, and some studies say don’t work out before bedtime.  But, I say if you can work out and go to sleep then do it, rather than not.  I sleep so much better when I have had a good exercise day.

10-  Brain health.  Just like with the heart, exercise increases blood flow and oxygenation to the brain.  This can only be a positive thing.  Exercise your brain!

Do you exercise?  Why?  Share your thoughts in the comments. Read about my new Walking Buddy Plan, newsletter subscribers can save 20% in one month.

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Indoor Walk To Christmas Music!

Updated 11/12/2021. Since I now work every weekend, my exercise/activity posts will move to Fitness on Friday. I have been trying to set up posts for Sundays but it just is not happening. I still have tons of posts to edit, and update, so that is keeping me plenty busy.

I love finding walking exercise videos with Christmas music.  I don’t use the Christmas ones much after January, but so much fun this time of year.  I like this young lady because she uses dance steps in her walking videos.  It is low impact, and easy enough for beginners too.  She has one from last year, and this year, both posted below.  If you have a Chronic Illness, are overweight, or have not exercised in a long time walking is a great way to start getting back in shape. Check out my Walking Buddy Plan.

If you would like to learn about any of my Health Coaching services, use the contact form at the end of the post to send me a message.

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Foodie Friday: National Coffee Day!

Updated 12/102021

National Coffee Day is Sept 29th.  Do you love coffee?  Do you have Diabetes or CKD?  You may think you can’t have coffee.  You can still love your coffee, with some very careful choices.

  1.  If you have Heart Disease or HTN, use De-Caff instead of caffeinated coffee.
  2.  If you have high cholesterol levels, or Heart Disease choose low-fat milk or creamer.
  3.  If you have Diabetes choose a sugar-free non-dairy creamer.  A cinnamon stick adds a lovely sweet flavor and in some studies shows that it helps lower blood sugar.  Don’t add sugar to your coffee, use a sugar substitute if you must.  Milk due to the carbohydrates in it may raise your blood sugar levels.
  4. If you have CKD use one of the milk substitutes such as rice milk, soy milk, almond milk or non-dairy creamer options.  These will be lower in Phosphorus than milk options.  They do still have Phosphorus in them.  If you can find one without Phos in the ingredients those are the best choices.  Use these wisely, and don’t overdo.  It is very easy to get too much Phosphorus because it is not quantified on labels.
  5. Remember to always go by guidelines given to you by your doctor or Dietitian.  Some of these products may still have Sodium, Potassium, and Protein.  Using milk products will definitely have Phosphorus, Sodium, Potassium, and Protein.
  6. If you are stage 4 or 5 CKD, some of these options may be off your list altogether. Plus you may be on fluid restrictions. Speak to your Dietititan to be sure it is safe for you to have coffee.

Enjoy your coffee, and happy Friday!  Have an awesome weekend!  See you Sunday for Sweating on Sunday.  Use the contact form below to message me for available Health Buddy Melissa health coaching plans. You can check out my Walking Plan, and Meals With Melissa.

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Memory Care: Circumlucotion

Updated 11/8/2021: I realized after I thought I picked up on the list where I left off, that I actually covered more words than I thought.

Before I get to this week’s word, I was contacted by someone who wanted to know what it means to give medical advice, and why I would not do it.  So, here is a definition for giving medical advice, medical advice is the provision of a formal professional opinion regarding what a specific individual should or should not do to restore or preserve health. Typically, medical advice involves giving a diagnosis and/or prescribing treatment for a medical condition.  Further into this topic discussing facts, or information is not giving medical advice.  I do not diagnose, nor do I treat.  I will work within a diet, or exercise regime if you already have one, except for walking. Walking is generally safe for everyone, and I do have a Walking Buddly Plan. That is part of the reason for the meet and greet, to see if you have underlying health diagnoses that need to be taken into account.   Helping you set realistic, attainable goals, and learning ways to meet those health goals, is what a Health Coach does.   You have to know your goal, or at least have some idea of your goal, and then a Health Coach helps you create realistic ways to meet those goals.  Health Coaches are not meant to replace a doctor.

OK, on to our Memory Care word for this week:  circumlocution.  Watch the very short video below and you will get a general idea of this word, then look up the word, then in your journal write the word, and the definition 10 times.  Then use it in a sentence, try to come up with synonyms for the word, draw it in a picture, or write a short paragraph using the word as many times as you can.  Go back over all the previous words, saying them out loud with the definition, at least ten times.  You should be starting to remember the ones at the beginning of the list, especially if you have been repeating them each week.  All the previous words can be found in the archives.  How are you doing so far?  Are you testing yourself each week? I hope to have time this week, 11/8/2021, to create a free printable for my newsletter followers to learn and quiz themselves. If you would like to purchase a journal with my artwork on it, see the image below.

If your goal is to improve your memory for school, better job skills, and possibly help prevent Alzheimer’s, use the contact form below to message me.

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Does Exercise Reduce Cardiac Risk?

Updated 2/7/2022

It is love your heart month, and heart health awareness.  Today, we will discuss exercise, and how it can reduce your risk for Cardiac disease, but also as it relates to people with CKD.  Remember, everyone is different, and for some people exercise may not reduce the risk.  Always ask your doctor before beginning an exercise routine, especially if you plan on doing more than a basic walking routine.  Vigorous exercise can be dangerous for some people, and for people with CKD, studies show that intense exercise may increase Creatinine levels, at least for short periods of time. If you have CKD, or Heart Disease already, be sure to talk to your doctor as to what exercises are best for you. Generally, most health care practitioners will probably be OK walking.

I did a post on walking, a couple weeks ago.  You can find it in the archives.  Most anyone can walk, and unless your doctor tells you no exercise, then chances are good you can walk too.  For me, I have CKD stage 3, I try to aim for 50-60% intensity of my Maximum Heart Rate.  To find your MHR you subtract your age from 220, then figure out 50% of that.  So, for my age, my MHR would be 85 beats a minute, at 50% intensity.    I try to stay in that range. This is very light exercise and it is hard to stay in that range if your goal is to increase your fitness level.

Of course, vigorous exercise is going to have a higher risk reduction.  According to medical websites, up to 25% risk reduction if you exercise vigorously, of cardiac disease risk.  For me, who works out moderately, it is only 10% risk reduction of reduction to cardiac risk.  But, for me, I can’t risk my one good kidney for an organ that right now is functioning fine.  Now that may change in the future.  Vigorous exercise would be running, jogging, bike riding, aerobics, etc.  Moderate exercise would be walking, yard work, or golfing.  Low-intensity aerobics can also fit under moderate exercise.  I recommend anyone starting out, do a walking program first.  This will increase your strength, balance, and circulation, preparing you for a higher endurance program.

Using weights also adds to the cardiac risk reduction.  However, again if you have CKD this can raise your Creatinine levels.  So, kidney websites recommend doing Pilates, or Yoga for toning, instead of weight lifting.  I have not started either of those yet, but I intend to.

Even 15 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity will benefit your heart.  The goal is to eventually build up to 60 minutes, at least 5 days a week.  But, if you can only do 5 or 10 minutes a couple days a week, then start there.  It is important to start somewhere.  Any activity is better than no activity at all.  Your heart is a muscle, and like any muscle, it will take time, and work to make it stronger.

Know to watch for warning signals, especially if you have CKD or an already underlying cardiac disease.  You do want to have difficulty carrying on a full conversation, but you don’t want to be breathing so hard that you are gasping for air, or can’t speak at all.  That is a sign that you are working too hard, and you need to stop and rest.  Learn to check your heart rate, before, during, and after you exercise.  Remember you want to stay within the MHR, as stated above.  The older you are the lower your MHR will be, so it is imperative you always speak to your doctor before starting an exercise program, and that you learn to properly monitor your heart rate and breathing during exercise.   Walking around your house is not an exercise program.  We all walk.  Fitness walking is an exercise program.  You will expect to have some muscle pain, after exercising, especially if you are sedentary.  But, chest pain, pain in the jaw, or neck, or any intense pain anywhere, can be indicative of an issue and you should stop and rest right away.  Also, make sure you stay hydrated.  Drink before, during, and after.  Don’t exercise in intense heat.  The goal is not to be a super athlete but to decrease your risk of cardiac disease.

Check out my Walk With Me, walking health plan. I am accepting new walking buddies, so use the contact form at the end of this post to send me an email for a free consultation. I would love to be your Walking Buddy and help you reach your wellness goals. If you need to learn how to check your heart rate, monitor your breathing, or other exercise safety measures, be sure to mention that in your email.

Watch the short video below that talks about reducing cardiac risk, and reducing the risk of cognitive decline with exercise as simple as walking.

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How To Get Rid Of Plantar Fasciitis!

Updated 2/3/2022:

As I stated last week, February is Heart Health Awareness Month.  My Thursday topics will be heart-related topics, especially in relation to CKD.  The 4 topics will be exercise, nutrition, stress, and cholesterol.  Plus, I am introducing a new monthly plan, called Walking Buddy.  That is right, I will be your walking buddy.  I will give more details in tomorrow’s post.  This plan will be strictly for people who want or need a walking partner. It is a virtual walking partner.

I got Plantar Fasciitis in early Summer last year.  Ooh, it was awfully painful.  I saw lots of websites claiming instant relief, or getting rid of it quickly.  While I hate to say something is untrue, I am telling you if you have a serious case, nothing will be quick.  It is a long, slow healing process.  But, there are things that will at least help alleviate the pain, and stress caused to your foot.  Hopefully, you only get it in one foot, not both.  I will share the things that actually work, and help the most.  It took mine 5 months to completely heal, but it can take up to a year, or longer if you don’t try some of these tips.  In the worst-case scenario, there is surgery, but I don’t think that happens very often.  So, here are the things that worked for me, in order of importance.

First, what is Plantar Fasciitis?  For most people, it means heel pain.  But, not everyone gets heel pain.  The Plantar Fascia runs all along the bottom of your foot, connecting your heel to your toes.  So, you can have an injury anywhere along there.  Mine was more towards the center of my arch.  If you have high arches, like me, you are more prone to get it, or flat feet too.  There are ways to tape and wrap, but they are very time-consuming, and I didn’t find it all that helpful.  I never tried taping but did do the ace wrap in ways meant to be helpful.

1-  Rest.  Yes, you must let it rest.  If you work on your feet all day, it is imperative that you not be on it, as much as possible, when you are not working.  This was torture for me.  By the end of the day, at first, the pain was almost unbearable.  People with CKD can only take Tylenol, which does not help inflammation.  This brings me to my next tip.

2- In the beginning especially, in the acute phase, use ice to decrease the inflammation.  You can apply ice any way you find that works, but what I found best is to put a water bottle in the freezer before I went to work, then roll my foot on it back and forth, after a long day on my feet.  Be sure to put a cloth between your foot and the ice.  This felt heavenly.  Some people find just rolling their foot on a tennis ball helps.  It did not for me.  I needed the ice.

3-  Do not exercise, as much as possible in the beginning.  When you do start to exercise again, take it slow.  It will not heal, and you can make it worse if you continue with your exercise regime.

4-  Now for the three products that I swear by.  The boot OMG, worn at night, as soon as I started wearing this, I started to see slow, but immediate results.  The little supports, I would wear in my shoe when I would work, or when exercising.  I tried the inserts first, and they not only didn’t help but seemed to make it worse.  But, those little beauties alleviated so much pain from being on my feet all day.  They are elastic, for compression to control swelling and softball support.  Just slip it over your foot and wear it all day., or night.  I bought both of these products at Walmart.  The boot was a little expensive but so worth it.  It stretches that tissue while you sleep.  Wear good shoes.  I love New Balance.  I wear them every time I walk, or work now, for long periods.  There are more expensive brands, but I find these work and are affordable.  My feet love these.  This brings me to my last point.

5-  Stretches.  There are lots of videos on Youtube that will help you do stretches for Plantar Fasciitis.  Along with the items I shared above, there were only 2 stretches, and one exercise I found actually helped.  The first stretch was actually quite difficult but really helped a lot.  You know how you stretch your fingers out away from each other?  Well, that is what you need to do with your toes.  At first, my toes wouldn’t do it.  It was like they were dumb and just couldn’t follow the command my brain was telling it.  So, I would use my fingers to force them apart.  But, slowly I was able to do it on command.  I still do this stretch on a regular basis.  The second one is similar to what the boot does.  Pull your toes towards your knee.  You can use a towel, or engage your calf muscle.  This is a great stretch for your calf muscle also.  The exercise that helped is rotating the foot in a complete circle several times, first clockwise, then counterclockwise.

If you would like me to work with a Health Coach to help you meet your health and wellness goals, use the contact form below to send me an email for a free consultation.

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Memory Care Challenge: Auspicious

Updated 11/22/2021: I am continuing to edit the older posts for this topic before proceeding to the new words. This is a very popular topic. Thanksgiving 2021 is this week, so be sure and check out my Gratitude posts from 2020. Just search for gratitude in the search box. I will be continuing the topic of Dementia into December, with some gift ideas for people suffering from Dementia.

So, this week’s word is Auspicious.  Remember, there are 100 words altogether, so this is a lengthy challenge.  In your journal write the word, and definition 10 times each, then say the word and definition out loud 10 times each.  Go back over all the previous words, reading them out loud 10 times each.  How are you doing so far?  This is our 6th word.  You can find the other words in the archives. Some more challenging ways to help improve memory and remember your words are to write a poem using the word of the week, or all the words. Draw a picture story, write a story, create a funny song. There is a short video below to help you learn more about the word, auspicious.

Taking care of your memory is such an important issue, especially with the rise in Dementia and Alzheimer’s diseases.  If you would like to work with me on other ways to improve your memory, click the contact button and send me a message to set up a free meet and greet via email. 

One great way that has proven to help prevent Dementia and improve cognition, and memory, is exercise. Check out my Walking Buddy Plan. It is affordable and walking is a great way to exercise, especially if you do not exercise, or have not in a while. You can use the contact form at the end of this post to send me an email with any questions. I am working on some free printables for my Mailchimp subscribers to help with learning and remembering the words on the list.

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Can’t Afford Organic? How To Remove Pesticides From Fruits and Veggies!

Updated: 2/2/2022: As I continue to edit old posts that I did, I came across this post. As my family is currently doing a Food Budget/Pantry Challenge for the whole year of 2022, this post became even more relevant. This refers to fresh fruit and veggies. If you buy frozen or canned, organic if you can afford it is best. This does not apply to processed foods, or convenience foods, for obvious reasons. Those foods, shelf-stable, if I choose to purchase them I do try to afford the organic varieties.

If you are like me, you may be trying to go Organic.  Organic foods are much more expensive than non-organic foods.  But, since they are supposed to be healthier I do it.  I won’t even go into the depressing article I read on how Organics were actually discovered to have pesticides.  Not yet, deep breath!  But, earlier this week, I read an article about how a new discovery of washing fruits, and veggies, is very effective in washing off pesticides.  This is good news to me.  We live on a budget, as a lot of Americans do, and buying Organic all the time is killing my grocery budget.

The report I read, which I can’t find now, was basically the same as the one I found on Consumer Reports.   I will get right to the point, but you can read all the boring mumbo jumbo by clicking that link in the sentence above.  They used bleach, regular water, and baking soda water.  Yes, baking soda, is a very cheap product to purchase.  I have stated previously that I take a 1/2 tsp of baking soda, in water twice a day, as prescribed by my doctor, and the results have been awesome for me in reversing my Metabolic Acidosis when I was first diagnosed with CKD. Now, I find another awesome way to use it.  I don’t want to wash my food in bleach, sorry.  I clean the house with it, but not to food washing.  Plain water, well ok but you know it isn’t going to remove all the pesticides.  According to the Consumer Report article, one tsp of baking soda in 2 cups of water for 2 minutes, removed some of the pesticides.  The other article I read was a tbsp of baking soda in a liter of water for 12 minutes, and most pesticides were removed.  Of course, you can’t account for pesticides already absorbed, but if you peel your fruits and vegetables that helps even more.  Be sure to rinse anything you soak in the baking soda solution.

I can not tell you how awesome I think this is, especially for people who might not be able to afford the more expensive organic items. There are other very good reasons to buy organic foods other than they are healthier to eat. But, when you live on a budget and you need to feed your family, organic might just not be feasible. If you ever wanted a cause to join, pushing politicians to make organic foods more affordable and accessible is a good option.

Use the contact form to send me a message for a free consultation.

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Memory Care Monday: Acumen

Updated 12/6/2021: As I continue to edit these old posts from when I first started this blog, I am mindful that I really stunk at this, lol. If you are a member of my Mailchimp newsletter then last Wednesday you would have received a link to the current list of words where you can print it and write in the definitions. Or, you can just copy them to whatever journal option you are using. Once I get all of the old posts updated, I will move on until all 100 words are included. I will only add a new word each week, so it will take a while, plenty of time to learn and recall them all. My newsletter goes out every two weeks and I will include a new free worksheet monthly with simple ways, or games to remember the words. Make sure you sign up for my newsletter to participate.

We are at week 4, already.  If you are following along you should be on the fourth word, there are a hundred total.  You can find the other posts by looking in the archives.  Remember, you should be writing the word, and the definition 10 times, then say it out loud 10 times.  Each week also review the previous words by saying them out loud 10 times.  You could also write down synonyms, and antonyms for the word, to help remember even better.  There are of course lots of ways to improve your memory.  If that is a goal of yours, click the contact button, send me a message to discuss my health coaching services. The word for this week is Acumen. The video below will describe the word Acumen and some ways to use it in a sentence.

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