What Is A Living Will and Do You Need One? Plus More!

Welcome to another Thinking on Thursday topic. As promised I said I would cover topics related to retiring and other Golden Years topics. First off let me state this is my opinion, but if you do some research you will see that my opinion is helped by a lot of legal experts. I think anyone over the age of 20 should have a Living Will. At the end of the post, I will do an update on my pantry and food budget challenge, so there will be a lot of pictures.

We can not discuss if you need a Living Will without a few definitions. First off what is a Living Will? I like to keep things simple, so to put it in a simple way it is a legal document filed with your doctor, family, and anyone else who needs it making it very clear what your wishes are for your medical care should you become terminally ill. What is the definition of a terminal illness? Again, in its simplest form when someone has a terminal illness there is no cure and will cause death. That is a pretty broad statement in my opinion and if you have CKD, like me, they will tell you there is no cure. Now, I think in a lot of states this would be broken down into how long until death is expected, etc. Be sure and follow the guidelines, and understand what a Living Will in your state means.

My husband and I will each be doing a Living Will. Something we should have probably done years ago. But, when you are young you don’t think about such things, like something awful can never ever happen to you.

Again, this is my opinion and my feelings. I have been a nurse for 35 years and I know there are certain things I do not want. For example, I do not want to be kept alive with no quality of life. Quality of Life is a debatable topic, but for me, if I can not do the things I enjoy how and when I want to, I have no quality of life. If I am exhausted all the time, can’t work, can’t exercise or even walk far, am being fed by a machine, am incontinent with someone needing to clean and change me, these are not quality of life for me. If these things were short-term, and by short-term I mean less than 3 months, then I would consider it being rehabilitative, not poor quality of life. Event hat is debatable to me if the expense to do so will be outrageous and put my family in a horrible position of trying to pay just to keep me alive. I have lived an awesome life and while I don’t want to die, I don’t fear death. I do fear no quality of life, however. Dialysis is something I am still on the fence about, especially since I don’t have to confront it yet. It is life-saving, obviously, but I would have to assess my quality of life.

These are the types of things you would need to consider when creating a Living Will and are only examples of myself since I am the best example I can give. A Living Will can be amended or rescinded at any time, so don’t feel like once one is created you can never change your mind, or ask for changes.

Even though creating a Living Will is not something fun to think about, or something that has even crossed your mind, it does take the burden off of loved ones who would be put in the position to have to decide these things should you be terminally ill.

You don’t even need a lawyer. Legal Zoom can assist you, and there may be others. Here in Florida, they provide a sample Living Will you can use, just fill in the areas that need filling in.

Consider the pros and cons talk to your family and then make an informed decision. My family is very aware of how I feel.

Update on the food budget/pantry challenge:

This week we are using up leftovers and a bunch of pantry food items. You will see the labels and ingredients for each item below. I am very disappointed to say that I will not be eating the Stove Top Stuffing as it has HFCS and a lot of sodium, added phosphorus and added sugars. I will eat homemade mashed potatoes instead. Keep reading to learn more.

Tuesday: We had for dinner Dave’s Killer muffins as egg and sausage sandwiches. I like Dave’s products. I like their 22 seed bread better, but this is what I purchased. I did have sausage, egg, and one slice of cheese. I had a large side salad with mine.

Wednesday: I had a board meeting and my husband was going to be late. So, from the pantry, my daughter wanted Campbell’s tomato soup. Unfortunately, I did not read the label until after I had eaten 1 cup. I didn’t even consider that soup would be so bad for me. This soup is full of sodium, added sugar, and I believe added phosphorus. I did not take pics of the label but you can look it up. I almost died when I put it into my food tracker and I had consumed 40 grams of carbs in a 1 cup serving of soup that was not even filling. Good grief! I did have a side salad with it.

Thursday: We had some turkey still leftover from Sunday. So. I put 2 ounces of turkey breast on a spinach and iceberg salad, with some sunflower seeds. Unfortunately, I did not read the label for the Publix salad dressing and much to my dismay it too has a lot of added sugars. I did look up their organic version and it was much better, though you will pay more for that healthier version. I had one Hawaiian roll, again leftover from Sunday, and holy moly look at the food label and ingredients for one tiny roll. That was just lunch, lol. For dinner, I am making some pan-fried organic chicken from my freezer, carrots from a can see the label it is about the only healthy thing I have featured this week other than the organic chicken, and I will have homemade mashed potatoes leftover. My husband and daughter will be having the Cracker Barrel White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese. I was going to have that too but look at the label and the ingredients. No thank you!

This week has been an eye-opening week for me with my Pantry Challenge eating with CKD. The Dave’s bread, and the carrots, are the only two pantry items that are even acceptable. HFCS, food additives, preservatives, high-fat content, added sugar, high sodium, added phosphorus in the other items are probably not good for you if you have CKD. They are probably not even good for you if you don’t have CKD. If you do decide to eat any of the foods I mention at the very least eat only one portion or even half a portion. Always discuss food options with your doctor or dietitian, if you are even lucky enough to have a dietitian.

That is it for today. I hope you are all enjoying my budget/pantry food challenge. Let me know in the comments.

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Holy Fructosenomics!

OK, so I totally made that word up. But, I had already done a post last year titled What the Fructose! So, I had to come up with something. For the purposes of this post, because the topic is very complex, and there is a lot to it, I am going to make some key points I want you to know. There will be some other articles below, for you to read. If you are not used to reading medical research they might be kind of kwonky. I do a lot of research when I do these kinds of posts, and believe it or not there is not a lot of actual recent research on High Fructose Corn Syrup, you can probably guess why, ahem lobbyists. Now, with that said there is no evidence that High Fructose Corn Syrup actually causes obesity, but there is definitely a correlation. But, I found some other facts more interesting rather than if it makes you fat. I am not talking about Fructose found in fruit. I am talking about HFCS as an additive to almost everything you might eat that is processed.

  1. There is no good research that states HFCS makes you obese. However, there is very good evidence that it causes fatty liver disease, increases all types of bad fats in the body, can possibly cause CKD whoa what, causes High Blood Pressure, and wait for it causes Metabolic Dysregulation ie. Metabolic Syndrome, the one thing I told you you don’t want to have if you are overweight, or obese. So, maybe doctors have gotten this backwards all these years. It might not be Obesity that can cause Metabolic Syndrome, but rather Metabolic Syndrome causes Obesity. Woop there it is! Be sure and read the thousands of articles I will provide below.
  2. High Fructose Corn Syrup does not get broken down in the body like regular sugar. Our bodies, apparently, do not contain digestive enzymes that break HFCS down into a usable form of energy, and is rather sent to the liver to be stored as fat, and the liver tries to break it down. This makes perfect sense to me when you look at the issue of visceral, or abdominal fat being the main culprit of health and disease risk factors. If you are consuming too much HFCS then the liver can store, it will be stored as extra fat in the abdominal area, and around your organs. Insulin has no effects on HFCS.
  3. HFCS is much sweeter, and cheaper than regular table sugar. While it is true table sugar is half glucose and half fructose, the body has enzymes to break that down.
  4. HFCS is added to almost all processed foods. There are some that it isn’t but you have to read labels, and they are sneaky too. Be sure and read my other two posts on this topic.
  5. Some of my favorite products, yep calling them out, contain HFCS: Welch’s grape jelly, Heinz Catsup, Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce, salad dressings, Jif Peanut Butter, sat it isn’t so! My family hates the ones with no HFCS because they are addicted to the sweetness, so I have to buy two types, and hope they will at least try to get used to the non HFCS brands. They are more expensive too.
  6. Big companies making a gazillion dollars using cheap sweetener that almost certainly is causing us humans damage.
  7. Limiting added sugars, and especially HFCS to only 25 grams per day, or less, will help you get rid of stubborn belly fat, not sit ups, not low carb, or whatever whacky diet is out there. You will also see your cholesterol and triglycerides go down. All of these will be future topics.

Trust me, I know how hard it is to read labels, plan meals that are healthy, avoid processed foods including eating out. I have a family. They love these types of foods, and I enjoy them too, in moderation, but it is a struggle that needs to be overcome for the health and wellbeing of my whole family.

The best thing you can do for your health, and the health of your family is to stop eating foods with HFCS, imo.

Disclaimer

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31058204/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5747444/

https://www.reliasmedia.com/articles/64561-artificial-sweeteners-and-high-fructose-corn-syrup-effects-on-diabetes-and-weight

https://www.fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/high-fructose-corn-syrup-questions-and-answers

https://interestingengineering.com/high-fructose-corn-syrup-and-the-obesity-epidemic

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/why-high-fructose-corn-syrup-is-bad?

https://www.healio.com/news/nephrology/20200512/soda-sweetened-with-highfructose-corn-syrup-may-reduce-renal-blood-flow-increase-ckd-risk

https://www.mashed.com/225668/the-untold-truth-of-high-fructose-corn-syrup/

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Sugar and Obesity!

Hello, and welcome to another Healthy Tips on Tuesday post. October is Obesity Awareness Month, or improve your Metabolic Syndrome Health Marker if you prefer. You will find two videos below. I urge you to watch them both. Remember not only fat people have Metabolic Syndrome, and not all Obese people do either. But, if you are on a weight loss journey you simply can not ignore sugars.

Why can you not ignore sugars if you are on a weight loss journey, especially added sugars? I will give you some examples below, and what to try to limit your sugars to, to lose weight. Please note if you are a Diabetic this could be dangerous for you. Please talk to your doctor about Carb control, rather than sugar consumption.

Here is an example. When I look at a box of pasta, which is high in carbs, it only has 2 grams of total sugar per serving, zero of which are added sugars. The same thing with a baked potato, not sweet potato though. A baked potato has only 2 grams of total sugar, per potato, and of course none are added sugars. I used those two examples because pasta, and potatoes, are the arch nemesis of many weight loss diets. Pasta, enriched pasta especially, is a good source of nutrients, as are baked potatoes.

Now, the evidence is mixed on whether added sugars cause Obesity or not, or at least that is what the sugar industry say. I think the evidence is stark. Since the 1980’s when Obesity really started to take off, is when Americans started to eat more processed, readily available, easy to make meals. Watch the videos the stats are right there.

Quitting sugar is hard. It might even be addicting, read my post on this topic. My research shows that discretionary sugar may be the very reason you can’t lose weight. Wait, what? Discretionary sugar, what is that? After you have consumed all of the nutrients your body needs for a day you might have discretionary sugar left to eat in your day. WTH! That sounds horrible to have to try and track, understand, or even care about. Here is an easier method. For women you can eat up to 50 grams sugar, total, in a day, only 25 grams of that 50 should be added sugars. For men just double it. One thing to be careful of, though, is like for me I drink a Welch’s juice that does have sugars, but they are not added sugars. This does not mean I can drink as much as I want. I add only a small amount to my regular water to add flavor. Most processed foods, even organic processed foods, will most likely have added sugars in them. For me, right now, I am not focusing on the total sugars, but rather the added sugars. I am tracking that, ok only 1 day so far, to see if I notice any difference in weight loss, and more importantly waist circumference, as that is actually my goal. It is going to be tough to stick to 25 grams today, because it is family cookoff challenge night and I have to eat two sandwiches. But, I think the bread I bought will be OK. Yesterday, my tracking app said I ate 59 grams of total sugars, but I didn’t keep track of added sugars. But, I still lost some ounces when I weighed myself this morning.

I will be looking more into this sugar topic in upcoming posts, especially in relation to Diabetes, Cancer, Heart Disease, and Alzheimer’s Disease.

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portion distortion: Ice Cream!

Happy Monday! Welcome back to a new Portion Distortion topic. This time it is ice cream. Portion Distortion topics are part of my Mindful Eating topics to raise awareness of the foods we eat. Everybody loves ice cream. Well, unless you are lactose intolerant then you might not love ice cream. Ice cream is not only a calorie dense food, but it is also very high in fat and typically has lots of added sugar. This does not bode well for anyone wanting to lose weight, eat heart smart, or has Diabetes. Reading labels and knowing what you are consuming is a great way to raise your awareness. This post may contain affiliate links.

Publix had Haagen Daaz ice cream buy one get one free for the small containers. According to the container 2/3 of a cup is a serving size. That serving size has 340 calories, 21 grams of fat of which 13 are saturated fat, 32 grams of carbs, 32 grams of sugars of which 24 grams are added sugars, 75 mg of sodium, and 6 grams of protein and no fiber. That is not even one cup of ice cream. My serving size was 1/4 of a cup so a 1/3 of their serving size. Plus I added some pureed berries- 1 strawberry and 7 blueberries- for a total of 145 calories for 1/4 cup, 2 ounces of ice cream. You can very easily see how ice cream can be a concerning food to eat. A couple of weeks ago I got a kiddy size hot fudge sunday and it was over 600 calories! Now, I am not saying never eat ice cream. I love ice cream here and there. Just be aware of what and how much you are really eating. The images show my serving of ice cream and berries. It was really quite delicious. I do not like yogurt, and I am not sure it is even healthier than ice cream, but I may try the berries with almond milk yogurt. I will have to look at it when I go to the store again.

Do you love ice cream? What is your favorite flavor and brand? Leave me a note in the comments. Come back tomorrow to learn about my next food challenge. Don’t forget to join the Rosemary Challenge for the whole month of November.

Would you like to learn more about Mindfulness, and how it can help you in your every day life? Message me for a free meet and greet and learn about my Health Coaching services. There is a contact form at the end of every post. It is easy to fill out and will come right to my email. I respect your privacy and never share your information. All communications are private and secure. All new customers receive one month of coaching for only 25 dollars. What can we accomplish in one month? Let me help you reach your health goals. Check out my updated Meals with Melissa, and Distance Reiki plans. I will be updating all plans in the coming months.

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portion distortion: Halloween candy!

Ah Halloween week! All that candy your kiddos may collect. What is your favorite? Do you know what a portion size is, calories, carbs, fat etc per each serving? You may see affiliate links in this post, or any of my posts.

All this week I will try to stick to Halloween themes. My favorite Halloween candy is Reese’s Peanut Butter pumpkins. The ones in the image are the mini pumpkins. A serving size is two of those mini pumpkins. For those two pumpkins I will be consuming 170 calores, 10g of fat, Sodium 130 mg that is a lot of Sodium for a small amount of food, Carbs 19 grams, total sugars is 17g with 15 of them being added sugars= YIKES, protein 4 grams.

If you have CKD you can see just two pieces of candy has 4 grams of protein and 130 mg of Sodium. That is a high risk food for people with CKD. That doesn’t mean you can’t absolutely have them, but stick to just one portion and not every day.

If you are following a low carb diet, like me, this is a whole meal of carbs, almost.

I didn’t post over the weekend, because I was at work. But, we stuck to our budget menu. We just switched up yesterday, and today to better match our schedules. I did not eat the pizzas they had. Rather I took chicken salad, and 1/2 a peanut butter sandwich for dinner both days.

This week is not a challenge, but below is our menu for the week. The days may not be exact, as sometimes we have to switch them up.

Tuesday: Chicken Cesar Salad. We already have chicken breast in the freezer and the kits were buy one get one free. I won’t have the Cesar dressing in mine as it is way too much fat and carbs for me. I will use Raspberry Vinaigrette.

Wednesday: I will have leftover pork from today’s dinner, so we will have pork fried rice. The pork fried rice will have onions, carrots, and bell peppers.

Thursday: Turkey burgers. Publix had turkey burgers buy one get one free. There are six burgers in the box, so that is two meals right there for 3 of us. That means I can have them for a lunch, or for a meal next week. A vegetable will also be eaten

Friday: Totino’s pizza rolls. My daughter got them this week. Publix had them buy one get one free, the big bag, so they can be for a meal next week as well. I do not eat these. I think they are disgusting. So, I will have to share what I end up eating.

Saturday: Lasagna, meatless with homemade bread possible and side salad. I have a ton of spinach in the freezer and I may do half the lasagna with spinach and half without.

Sunday: Leftover Lasagna

Monday: Pizza rolls. Again, I will not be eating these. Friday and Monday are both work days for me, so they are an easy meal when I am not home. I will share what I end up eating.

So, after subtracting the non food items we spent 140 dollars at Publix today, and 25 dollars at Save A Lot last week. 165 dollars, that is with tax, for an average of 80 dollars per week of 3 meals a day for 3 people. Not bad!

After I do inventory next week I will decide what the next challenge will be. As we get closer to Thanksgiving I would like to start looking at turkey deals. Publix didn’t really have any today, at least not good ones.

At the beginning of November I will share the next herb/spice challenge for that month. I have already picked it, but not sharing yet. If you have been doing the Turmeric challenge be sure to check back for the new one.

If you would like to learn how to count carbs, keep a food journal, track your CKD food items, learn to meal plan, learn to cook, make a budget, menu planning, or any other food topic use the contact form at the end of this post to message me for a free meet and greet.

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Is sugar Evil and Addicting?

Happy Tuesday! Is sugar evil and addicting? I don’t think sugar in and of itself can be considered evil. However, the food industry can be.

Did you know sugar is 8 times more addicting than cocaine? How would I know such a thing? Because they did a study, and you can learn about that study in the video below.

Why am I even bringing this up? Well for one thing this is a Holistic Health Coaching blog, and I am the owner. While I am certainly no one to say my nutrition status is perfect, but I choose to continue to learn and improve to be the healthiest I can be. A couple of years ago my son took Writing course at his college, but the book they used was about food. Weird right? Well, he moved out last weekend and I found the book when going through his items. It is quite a good read. It is called Food Matters and I will be using it for a Nutrition course I am making for my 16 year old daughter. I will be using a lot of the writing topics on this blog. I intended to write about Heart Health and sugar. But, it seemed better to start with a more thorough video explaining how sugar is used by the food industry in processed foods to get us all hooked on their products. The video is not short, but he does explain it in very easy terms exactly how added sugars are making us fat and unhealthy.

Have you ever read a food label. I read them all the time, but never really paid attention to sugars. Why? I don’t know. I guess because I was more interested in protein and sodium levels due to having CKD. But, as I learn about added sugars, and the deleterious effects on health, I have started to pay more attention to sugars on labels. Look at the image below. I did not buy this food item for this post. It is always in my pantry because my kids and even my husband loves them. They are Poptarts, or toaster pastries, doesn’t matter they are all basically the same. Look at the label. Do you see where it says sugars? It says 30 grams of sugar per serving with 29 of them being added sugars. That is 58% of your daily recommended sugar intake for 2 pastries. That is insane! Plus that is only one meal and some people eat these as a snack. Plus these added sugars are in the form of Fructose or High Fructose Corn Syrup that the body does not digest properly and is very addictive according to the video and other studies.

Plus, did you know there are over 60 names for sugar that are not sugar to trick you into not knowing your eating sugar? Here is a list

The video was created by the Institute for Responsible Nutrition, and this is not a paid post by them. Stanford Health Care created the video it appears as that is where the doctor is from. But, I am looking into their options for promoting their cause. Check out their website. They have some pretty great stuff.

#eatrealfood is their slogan. Have you ever heard the saying, if your food needs a label it probably isn’t real? That is one way to start deciding how to choose healthier foods.

Now, I am not saying this is easy, or will be easy. Changing food addictions are extremely difficult, and if you live in a rural area where there are no real grocery stores it makes it even harder. You could grow your own food. I really stink at that, and you may have limited space. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try or give up. Making the healthiest food choices you can, even if it isn’t the best, is the best place to start. It is even harder when you have a family that may not be as committed to change as you are, or even friends. Be more determined for success than they are to make you fail.

If you would like to work with me to help you start your journey to healthier eating, message me at melissa@healthybuddymelissa.coach or use the contact form at the end of this post to email me. I offer a free online meet and greet.

Don’t forget there is still plenty of time to sign up for my August Healthy Kidney Class on Facebook. Go here. It is completely free, and I do at as volunteer service. I still have three spots open.

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