why i hate my salad spinner!

Happy Saturday! I am glad you are here. If you watch a lot of Youtube videos, like me, then you might have been convinced to buy a Salad Spinner. One of my most favorite chefs said in one of his videos that you simply could not live without a salad spinner, unless you wanted to shake your lettuce dry for days. LOL! I am paraphrasing. I don’t remember his exact words. This post may contain affiliate links.

But, I can tell you I hate the thing, and I see no redeeming qualities to owning one. I can see a million of these things probably sitting in a garbage dump somewhere. If you want to save about 25 dollars avoid buying one.

Pro’s of owning a salad spinner:

  1. It makes a really big salad bowl, or mixing bowl.

Con’s of owning a salad spinner:

  1. Price. I know I don’t buy the most expensive brand of anything, so my 25 dollar salad spinner was probably more on the affordable side. Let that soak in.
  2. It is big, and takes up a ton of space in the cupboard, or on the counter. If you have limited space this thing is really just a monstrosity.
  3. It is loud and awkward.
  4. You can easily shake your lettuce, and not for days, for just a few minutes and get the same effect for free.

Don’t buy one, unless you really like to waste your money, or say you own the newest kitchen gadget.

I also get really annoyed by the salads I see some Youtubers make. I mean seriously, the supplements, and whatever weird extras they are adding to a salad, or taking with a salad are ridiculous. If your salad is going to be a meal I can see adding a little protein, and fat, but other than that a salad is pretty healthy already.

What is my favorite salad recipe?

Wait for it.

Romaine lettuce, good quality tomato, Vidalia onion chopped pieces. If I am feeling really spicy I will add about .12 of a cup of roasted sunflower seeds, some chopped red grapes, and a bit of chopped chicken or turkey. My favorite salad dressing is 1 tbsp. of original Kraft Catalina dressing. Full fat! Gasp! That is a whopping 258 calories. Eat some fat with your salad! Your body won’t absorb all those wonderful vitamins and minerals without some fat. Vitamins A,D,E, and K are Fat Soluble vitamins. Your body will not absorb them without some fat. Fat free dressing, fat free cheese, or whatever will not absorb these vitamins. Healthy fats can also be used such as EVOO and make your own salad dressing.

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14 Days Of Gratitude and Stuffing!

Updated 11/11/2021: The original post is from last year, and I have added a couple of Mediterranean Style turkey stuffing recipes, because it is Dementia month, and the Mediterranean Diet may help prevent it. Happy Veteran’s Day to all who have served!

OMG, I was supposed to do this post yesterday, as now Thanksgiving is 13 days away, but I posted something else, lol. So, now it will go until Black Friday. I urge you to join me in this. You don’t have to be public about it, it can be a private journal, and technically we should be grateful every single day. This is a great way to get into the habit of being grateful every day for what you have, instead of being bummed for what you don’t have. It is not easy, especially when life gets rough and ugly. For years I had painted on our front door a huge gratitude tree, and each life had a different word on it. Each year we added new things we were grateful for. I did eventually have to paint over it as it got faded and chipped, but what a wonderful thing my whole family enjoyed doing. I looked for a picture of it, but couldn’t find one. Every day for 2 weeks I will post a prompt for you and me to contemplate and then write about. With the holidays coming my topics will change a little bit.

Day 1 gratitude prompt: Open your windows and look outside. Write what you are grateful for. This one was super easy for me. I love the outdoors, and nature. I love to open my windows and let clean fresh air in. My windows are open right now, with fans in them, and I live in Florida. It finally cooled off again, so I could do this. I grew up in upstate NY and as soon as it was above freezing I would open the windows. I didn’t put fans in, and it didn’t last long like 30 minutes tops, but it infused fresh crisp air into the house airing out winter blues and germs. I walk outside, every day, even if it is raining. I don’t walk in hard rain, but soft rain is just fine. I love to watch the birds and take pictures of nature. I use an app called Inaturalist to upload pics and people identify what the image is. This is also a way for scientists to track plants and animals in my area. So, even if I already know what it is I upload it anyways. I have learned so much from this app and it is a very pleasurable and relaxing thing for me, and I am so grateful I discovered it. I am grateful for my big backyard where so much of my walking is done. I do laps while I play ball with the dog. He gets exercise and attention, and it works great for both of us. If you are not an outside person, I highly recommend you try it. Be observant and learn to love and be grateful for all of the unique things that surround you. Even if you live in the city, there has to be some small spot for nature lovers. Oh, and before I forget I now have 200 followers of this blog. I am so grateful to all of you!

Now, as I mentioned Thanksgiving is 13 days away. While we have not decided about guests and visiting, we will still have our dinner. I may have to work, I am not sure yet. Be sure and read my post on CDC and Thanksgiving. Part of our menu will be stuffing, as I am sure most people have. Now I don’t eat much stuffing, it just isn’t something I care for, especially since I am low carb. Boy, I hope I can stick to that on Thanksgiving, lol. Plus stuffing is high in sodium. Now, you could make your own, which we have done, but it takes a while and never tastes as good. Publix had these Pepperidge Farm stuffing mixes buy one get one free, so I got two. I bought them because there were no ingredients with the word PHOS on the label. Now, that does not mean there is no Phosphorus in there, it just doesn’t have any added. Bread is generally high in Phosphorus so I can assume there has to be at least some. What I do with CKD is eat only a serving size according to the label. If you have Phosphorus binders be sure to take them. When I used to work in the hospital, every year we would get so many sick people after the holidays who didn’t follow their diet or didn’t even have a diet with proper education and knowledge to follow the diet. Don’t let this be you. If you would like to learn more about my Holistic Health Coaching services, use the contact after all of the images to message me for a free email meet and greet. All new customers get one month of coaching for just 25 dollars.

Check out these 2 recipes for Mediterranean Style turkey stuffing, one, and two. Be Mindful of the phosphorus in some of these grains. Generally speaking for CKD, white bread is the best option if you have Phosphorus issues. Store-bought stuffing kits are generally high in sodium and phosphorus additives. If you can buy organic it will most likely be much lower in Phosphorus additives and may not have any. Be sure and read the label for any words with PHOS in the ingredients.

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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.

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Having A Superbowl Get Together with CKD

Updated 2/1/2022: I wrote this in 2019 and man I was not a great writer, nor that knowledgeable about CKD. It has been a journey for me and I have learned so much. So much of our lives revolves around food and family get together. That does not go away just because you have CKD or any chronic illness. I did lose that 5% of body weight, as a matter of fact, I lost almost 10%. I still have more body fat that I would like to get rid of. Keep reading to learn about the issues with that. Also, I stopped exercising 60 minutes a day and went to 30. But, I have to admit I had the best success when I was doing 60 and dietary changes too. I will be doing an updated Superbowl food post soon.

OK, let’s admit it, it stinks having a chronic illness, but it stinks, even more, when there are parties or holidays to celebrate.  To throw another wrench in it, I am trying very hard to lose 5% of my weight.  That is not a whole lot, but the doctor swears I need to.  I exercise 60 minutes, at least 5 days a week, and have cut out so much stuff.  Yet, the scale never changes, unless I am starving myself, and I refuse to do that.  It is so hard to maintain Iron, Vitamin D, and other nutrients on a restricted diet.  I refuse to go backward when I have come so far.  But, I shall keep trying.  I have started Carb Cycling to see if that will help.  I will do another post on this, when I have been on it a while, and feel like I might know what I am talking about.  The skinny is, you have a normal carb day, alternating with a low carb day.  I am aiming for 50 carbs on my low-carb days.  Today is my first day trying the low-carb day.  So far so good.  I do have to be careful, though.  Lower carb foods, in general, mean I will be eating more of some foods I may want to avoid on a renal diet.  However, as long as I stay within my guidelines it should be OK.  Anyway, back to the Superbowl.  Davita has some great ideas for finger foods for the big day.  However, some of them don’t agree much with me.  You can find them by doing a search for Superbowl foods for CKD.  Below is what we will be having, and how I am adapting for myself. Tomorrow is a normal carb day for me, so I don’t have to watch carbs as much.

Chicken Wings:  My husband makes the best chicken wings, and I am not the only one that says that.  He missed his calling and should have been a chef.  But, he does not cook with the healthiest of options.  So, for me, mine will be baked, not deep-fried, and I limit myself to 4 or 5 wings. If you parboil your chicken wings prior to frying, or baking, it will reduce the potassium and phosphorus in the meat.

Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara Sauce:  I am not really adapting these, but sticking to only 3 or 4 sticks, and that is it for me.   Or, I may slice up some extra sharp cheddar cheese, and have that instead, with no sauce.  I can add some Ritz crackers, low sodium, but only a few because they probably have added Phosphorus.  I could make my own Marinara sauce, that will control sodium and other ingredients, or use Salsa. Updated: I have learned that if I eat organic salsa, and mozzarella sticks I will not get as much phosphorus.

Tortilla Chips with Salsa:  Tortilla chips are a better option than potato chips, that is why I get them.  Low Sodium is even better. There will be potato chips also, and Queso dip but I won’t eat those.  They are for our guests.

Veggie and Dip tray:  This is where I fill up on most of my calories.  I love fresh veggies and use Ranch dip.  I make the Hidden Valley kind with the packet and sour cream.  That is my favorite.  Of course, I have to watch the sodium in that.  We will have colored peppers, celery, cucumbers, and cauliflower.

Fresh Fruit:  With Cool Whip, just yum.  Strawberries, and grapes.  Again, a lot of my calories will come from fresh fruit.

Drinks:  We will have soda, but none for me.  No alcohol will be served, but there will be lots of water or Sweet Tea.  I may make some Green Sweet Tea.  It is better homemade, and I use organic honey for my sweetener. Update: I no longer use honey for sweetening, instead I use Stevia.

Remember you need to adapt your Superbowl to your dietary needs, not mine, or anyone else’s.  If you need help in learning or maintaining your needs, and following your diet, message me via the contact form at the end of this post, for a free health coaching consultation.   Don’t forget it is Heart Month, so my Thursday posts will center around Cardiac issues.  Be sure and read the disclaimer below, check out my archives, and maybe you want me to be your Health Buddy.

Oh, and go Rams!  No Patriots fans in this house.

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The Importance of Phosphorus and Risks with CKD

Updated 1/21/2022

Phosphorus is a very important element that all human bodies require to stay healthy.  However, when you have Chronic Kidney Disease, remember I am stage 3, actually hovering around stage 2 at the time of this revision, but there are 5 stages, the kidneys can not remove the excess Phosphorus that the body does not use.  That means the Phosphorus will build up in the blood, causing other ailments like joint and bone pain, an increase in fractures, and Osteoporosis, among others. The short video below explains Phosphorus and bones. But, Phosphorus is also very important for how our muscles get energy. For stage 3, no more than 800 mg of Phosphorus per day should be consumed according to sources, though some say 900 and others 700.   If your doctor or dietitian tells you that you need more or less, then you need to follow what they advise.  Never, assume what someone writes in a post is necessarily right for you.  Later stages of kidney disease may need to take Phosphate Binders to help control the level of Phosphorus in the blood.  There are some foods that are very high in Phosphorus, some should be completely avoided, while others offer other nutrition benefits.  I will list them below.  Please remember I don’t have HTN, Cardiac Disease, or Diabetes.  If you have any of those then your requirements may differ.  There are also foods, mostly prepackaged easily prepared, and often shelf-stable foods, that have Phosphorus added in, usually as a preservative, or filler.  You absolutely must learn to read the labels on food packages.  Anything containing the word PHOS in the ingredients means it has added Phosphorus in the foods.  Food companies are not required to tell the amount of Phosphorus in foods, so this can be very dangerous for kidney patients.   Low fat or no-fat foods also have added Phosphorus for flavoring and as a filler.  The only foods labeled low fat that I eat are part-skim cheeses, and I eat very little to no dairy on most days.  I will do another post on dairy products that are lower in Phosphorus and Sodium, next week.  Note that almost all foods have Phosphorus naturally in them, usually in trace amounts.  Plant-based foods, according to Science, absorbs Phosphorus at a much lesser level than animal products. So, even though beans, nuts, and seeds are high in Phosphorus, the body does not absorb it as well as say processed foods which is 100% absorbed by the body.

High Phosphorus Foods:

Dark sodas:  All of them should be avoided.  Sodas offer no nutritional value at all.  Clear sodas are OK, for Phosphorus but still have no nutritional value at all.

Eggs:  The egg yolk is where you will find the Phosphorus in an egg.  You could eat egg whites.  However, eggs are an extremely good source of good proteins, as well as other nutrients.  So eating a whole egg a couple times a week is not a bad thing.  I use the website Eat This Much to help me calculate the phosphorus per serving in foods.  Not all foods are listed, however.

Milk, Cheese, Yogurt:  These are very high sources of Phosphorus.  Like I said I eat little to no dairy products at all.  They do have other health benefits, especially if you eat Organic.  Apparently, Greek Yogurt can be OK, I just don’t like it.

Nuts/Seeds:  Macadamia nuts are the nuts with the lowest Phosphorus levels.  However, all nuts and seeds have other beneficial nutrients in them.  I eat a handful twice a week.  I have small hands, so a 1/4 cup is a better reference point.  This includes peanut butter.

Oats/Whole Wheat:  Most flours have a good amount of Phosphorus in them, but whole grain flours are higher.  Also, oats like Oatmeal also have high levels of Phosphorus.  I eat very little bread, I do eat whole grains when I do, though, because they offer more nutrients than bleached white bread, which I avoid.

Chocolate:  Bleh that stinks, right?  Dark chocolate is a much better choice, than milk chocolate, and believe it or not white chocolate is the best.

Creamed Soups:  For obvious reasons of the cream, but because they are canned you are getting even more.  You can opt to make your own which will save some.

Meat:  Beef and Fish are high, Chicken and Turkey are lower options.  I stick to serving sizes of meat, which is the palm of your hand, 3 oz, or a deck of cards.  Of course, meat has protein, and Iron both very important, so you do need to eat some.

Processed/Packaged Foods:  Learning to cook is the best way to avoid these products most of the time.  I like creamer in my coffee, so I am sure and add that to my daily count as it is high in Phosphorus also.

I use the website Eat This Much, where I can find the Phosphorus level for most foods.  Some name brands are not there, but you can compare them with generic brands listed.  I also have an app on my phone, but it is not user-friendly at all and takes a ton of time to find the proper food.  I use it only when I have to.

If you would like to learn how to find the amount of Phosphorus in the foods you are eating, use the contact button to send me an email.

The National Kidney Foundation and Davita have great articles on controlling your Phosphorus levels, and I used them as a resource when learning about this when I was newly diagnosed.

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