Can Losing Weight Improve eGFR for People with CKD?

Updated 3/17/2021 When I was first diagnosed with CKD way back in 2017, one of the first things my Nephrologist told me was that losing weight would help my kidney function. Like many of us who are over-weight, I was yep here we go the fat bandwagon. But, apparently he was right. As I have been researching topics for this blog, and for my own personal knowledge of CKD, there have been a few studies on this topic. As with all things CKD there are not many studies, and they are not particularly large, and are often sponsored by companies with products to sell. But, some is still better than none. While I have very good muscle strength and do not find it difficult to build new muscle, even on a protein restricted diet, like most women who have had babies and have reached Menopause, I do carry extra weight around my middle and hips. I have never been super slim, even before children. I have always had a bulky strong look to me, and the smallest I have ever been was 20 pounds over where my doctor said I should be for my height. It is very hard for me to lose weight. I lose inches, but the weight just really takes a long time to budge. Because my ultimate goal is to heal my kidney function, or at the very least get back to stage 2, weight loss is a very important part of that goal. Through all of the trials and errors, I think I have finally found a system that will work for me, not just in the short term, but in the long term as well. It is not an easy plan, and it is not fast, either. But, when I stick to it strictly, I can lose a half a pound a day, safely. I may write an ebook, or I may make the info a pdf for my newsletter followers. I haven’t decided yet, and it will be some time before I am sure the results are not just water weight or something like that. Plus, I need to have my labs checked to be sure it is completely safe.

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I found several articles on weight loss and egfr. But, I found this one easy to read, and with lots of information. Some of it you may not understand, but you will get the idea. My husband can lose weight very fast, I can not. I am not sure why, but I am sure it probably has to do with my CKD. https://www.healio.com/news/endocrinology/20120325/weight-loss-guidelines-aim-to-curb-chronic-renal-failure#:~:text=Weight%20loss%20has%20been%20shown,and%20without%20overt%20renal%20disease.

The article above talks about how difficult it can be for people with CKD to lose weight, especially if you also have Diabetes, or HTN. I do not have either of those, but I am right at the borderline for HTN. Again, weight loss will help keep my blood pressure in a good range. Weight loss will also help egfr by decreasing inflammation, proteinuria, and hyperalbuminuria. I do not currently have any of those, but I did when first diagnosed. I do get inflammation occasionally when I exercise too hard, but some of that is normal body response. I also have a tendency to retain water in my fingers. I always have, but if I am not careful it can get worse. Most of the time it is when it is extremely hot and humid and I have not hydrated myself well enough. I have labs done at the end of next month, so I will have a good idea how my diet and exercise plan is effecting my kidneys.

The article also talks about Bariatric Surgery for those with CKD who are morbidly obese and just can not lose weight. The study showed positive results. While I am not a candidate for Bariatric Surgery, and I believe in Diet and Exercise, if you just can not lose weight due to issues with your CKD, you might want to look into Bariatric Surgery to see if it is a viable option for you.

Obesity is such a huge problem in the USA. With Obesity being a risk factor for getting CKD, or at the very least renal dysfunction, there is every good reason in the world to lose weight. If you follow my Portion Distortion posts on Mondays, you will know that most of us are consuming way more calories in portions than is recommended. I read a blog where they lost weight just by controlling their portion size. They didn’t follow any other restrictions such as Keto, low carb, low fat, a certain amount of calories per day, etc, they just ate the proper portion sizes according to package labels. Hats off to them! Now I don’t know if they were successful in maintaining that, and keeping the weight off long term. But, if you stick with something for at least 3-6 months it will hopefully become ingrained and a habit in your every day lifestyle. Of course, family and friends are huge obstacles to losing weight. You have to have more will power to succeed than their will power for you to fail.

If I stick to my plan I can lose 1/2 pound per day, and I have already lost several inches on my arms, waist, hips, and thighs, but not my chest, sadly. Vacation was tough and I did not stick to it, and gained back 5 pounds of the 6 I lost. But, I am back on track and have lost 3 of those 5 in just a week. Follow this blog to read future updates and how I am progressing on my Diet and Exercise plan. Don’t forget to read the article. It has some great info.

I am also a certified American Kidney Fund Health Coach. This is a volunteer position. Before covid came I was setting up in person classes, but that didn’t last long. Now, they have approved for us to do virtual classes, which I am very excited about. I can reach so many more people virtually. Anyway , I am doing the first class next Wednesday. It is kind of practice to see how it goes and what I need to change. Then I will be doing them publicly. I will post the info here on this blog as well as my Health Buddy Melissa Facebook page, and my personal page. The class is free, and anyone can attend that can read and understand English. The first one for the general public will be in August, after my son’s wedding. I will try to do two a month. Right now I am using Facebook events as I am familiar with that format. But, once I upgrade this blog I can do them right here. Or, Skype and Zoom are other options. I thing Google Connect also could be used, but I have no idea how to use that. So, I will have to familiarize myself with that.

If you would like to learn about using any of my Health Coaching services, please use the contact form at the bottom of this page, after the images, to contact me. Or, you can email me at healthbuddymelissa@yahoo.com Ask about my brand new It’s A New Day, 30 day coaching plan.

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Portion Distortion: Cereal

Do you love cereal? Here at my house cereal can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. But, most people eat way more than the recommended amount of cereal adding calories and sugar to their diet. Most people do not even realize they are eating at least 2 times, probably more, of the portion stated on the package. If you are trying to lose weight, or need to monitor certain ingredients in your diet due to Diabetes, CKD or any other reason, you need to monitor your portion sizes. Losing weight is the number one thing you can do to improve your egfr if you have CKD, according to studies I have read, and doctors. This is only applicable to people who are already overweight. It is not intended for people who are underweight, or suffering from muscle wasting.

In the image below is the correct portion for a bowl of Chex Vanilla Cereal, my personal favorite. 1 cup of cereal, and 1/2 cup of milk. That is the correct portion size. You also see in the image one scrambled egg, which is a high quality protein source.

If you would like to learn more about portion control, and how to implement it today to get your diet under control, use the contact form under the images, to message me for a free meet and greet. All meet and greets are done online via email.

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Plant Based Diet and Iron

A couple of things before I begin. I have been following a plant-based diet for about 10 days now. I can tell you I have no inflammation and I feel great. I also am currently losing a 1/2 pound of weight per day. We are getting ready to go on a much needed vacation, so I will try to get at least two more posts in before we go, on this topic.

Now, with all that said, Iron, Protein and B12 are my biggest concerns with following a plant-based diet and also having CKD. There is a lot of evidence that a diet based around plants can help the kidneys. However, because plants are non heme Iron sources, plus high in potassium and phosphorus, I am being proactive with this diet choice. Proactive means learning, studying and understanding symptoms my body may have. This week I started to notice my tongue was getting sore. This means I probably am starting to lose Iron stores. This freaked me out a bit, so I did eat some meat yesterday, and took a Iron supplement. Today, the soreness is gone. One of my issues with this diet, is that Iron in plant foods is not readily absorbed by the body, which means it is basically useless. This should concern anyone, as having Anemia is not fun for anyone, but it is especially concerning if you have kidney disease. So, after doing some more research, I have to be sure and take my plant iron sources with a Vitamin C source. This will not be hard to do, I just have to be more aware of it when I am eating. There are other things that block the absorption of plant sources of Iron. The short video below will explain them in a very easy way to understand.

I plan to continue this plant-based diet, hopefully forever. In the next two posts I will discuss protein and Vitamin B12 as it relates to absorption and bio-availability.

If you have questions, or concerns, please use the contact form under the video to message me.

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Menu Plan Monday: Family of 4, One with CKD

Welcome back to my second week of menu plans.  On Fridays, I go over the changes I made to make the meals more kidney-friendly for me.  We are a family of four, but one child does not eat here regularly anymore.  We are attempting to still eat healthily but cut our food budget.  I have CKD stage 3, and my husband needs to lower his cholesterol.  Eating healthy can be more expensive, at least that is the perception.  While it is true buying organic, grass-fed, etc type foods are pricier than other varieties, but it can be done with some meal planning.  Making a menu, and then a grocery list, and then sticking to that list should help you stick to a budget.  Menu plans are for dinner only.

My menu plan for 2/24/2020-3/1/2020:

Monday:  Chicken Alfredo and broccoli.  This is a workday for me, so this is a meal my family will cook for themselves.  Fruit for dessert or after dinner snack.

Tuesday:  Smothered pork chops, mashed potatoes, and green beans.  Fruit for dessert or after dinner snack.

Wednesday:  Spaghetti-O’s and hot dogs, fruit and or veggie of choice.  We had these leftovers from hurricane prep last year and they need to be used up.  Using food on hand is essential to a budget even if it isn’t gourmet.  I will still have one more can of them left, so they will probably become lunch at some point.

Thursday:  Grilled cheese and tomato soup. A side salad can be added if desired.  Fruit for dessert or snack.  Another workday for me so this is an easy meal for my family to make when I am working.

Friday:  Ground turkey with broccoli and pasta shells in a savory sauce.  This is a new recipe for us.  I would like us to eat more lean turkey.  I hope this will be a hit.  Fruit for dessert or snack.

I am only buying fruit in season, and that my family will eat to avoid waste.  No trying new fruits to just have them be wasted.  I bought apples, oranges, and bananas for this week.  I shopped at Save A Lot and Walmart. The California oranges were amazing and are almost gone with a few more days until the next shopping day.    I forgot to keep my receipt, but this week was a little higher than last due to the meat I had to purchase.  It was still well below my 100 dollars per week limit. That 100 dollars is for 3 meals a day, not just dinners.   I still have to meal plan better for when I work.  I am doing low carb at dinner time, and I have not been well prepared for that when I work.

If you would like to learn more about menu planning for chronic illness, message me for a free meet and greet with an assessment. All new customers get the first month for 25 dollars.  Use the contact form at the end of this post.

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Healthy Tips on Tuesday: My 5 Favorite Ways to Add Veggies to My Diet

Updated 3/23/2021: And you can too with these easy tricks.   You may not even notice they are in there.  It is easy to add fruits because they are sweet.  But, veggies are often crunchy and some say with little to no flavor.  After I was diagnosed with CKD I changed my diet completely.  However, I realized my husband and kids didn’t eat a lot of fruit and veggies either.  These are 5 ways I have learned to add more veggies, and one I have not tried yet but will when I remember to buy the equipment needed. Be sure and check out my Youtube video below. I will be doing a new one soon for my special for the month of April 2021. For March 2021 I am giving away 30 minute coaching sessions related to Healthier Kidneys. If you would like to learn more about that click here.

1-  Smoothies.  This is my absolute top way to add veggies to my diet.  You do not even know they are in there, though they can make your smoothies some interesting colors.  I have a small smoothie maker.  I have put carrots, spinach, parsley, kale and I keep telling myself to try beets too.  With fruit, you won’t even know the veggies are in there.  If you have CKD like me use fruits that are lower in potassium.  My small smoothie maker can not hold a lot so I don’t ever overdo it.  Berries are great options for CKD smoothies.  For veggies, green leafy veggies give the most bang for their buck but are also high in potassium.  If you take a blood thinner, greens are also high in Vitamin K which may interfere with the blood thinner.

2-  Everyone at my house loves mashed potatoes.  I have used half regular potatoes and half sweet potatoes.  Also with regular potatoes cook some cauliflower and mash it in altogether.  No one at my house even knew there was cauliflower in there.

3-  Don’t like smoothies drink V8 juice.  My husband drinks a can every morning before he goes to work.  While my kids don’t like traditional V8 juice, they do drink V8 Splash.  It isn’t as good but it is better than other things they could choose to drink.  Sometimes I even put V8 juice in my smoothies.

4-  Add extra veggies to soups and sauces.  I always add onions, peppers and sometimes mushrooms to pasta sauce.  I love straight-up vegetable soup that doesn’t even need meat.  I purchased a cauliflower alfredo sauce that everyone just loved.  You could even do this with Mac n Cheese, by adding veggies to the cheese mixture.    Even better make your own sauce using all the veggies you want.

5-  For breakfast, instead of 2 eggs I have one egg scrambled and cook up veggies to go with it.  Such as peppers, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, etc.

How do you sneak veggies into your daily diet?  Share in the comments.

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Wellness Wednesday: Acne Part 2

Updated 3/17/2021 Last week I told you about a very affordable product to clean your face.  My daughter and I both use that product.  Lucky for me at age 50 Acne is not so much an issue anymore.  But, my teen daughter has to deal with it.  We found a product that she loved at our local mall.  Unfortunately, that store closed down and they did not have an online store.  The store was an organic soap store, and the product was a charcoal-based soap.  We tried some other charcoal soaps, supplied at other stores, and they just did not work as well.  My daughter was bummed.  Then, at our local Publix store, we found Zum Face charcoal sugar face scrub.  This product is not cheap and I was hesitant to try another product that would not work.  She talked me into it, and this one is a keeper.  A heads up to anyone who tries it, it makes a huge mess and makes the sink and counters black.  It washes off easy, though.  Charcoal face products help Acne by drawing out impurities from the skin.  This one is more of a mask that she leaves on for a few minutes and then washes off.  Diet modification is still something she needs to work on.  Remember to stop using any product that irritates the skin, or you have any allergic reaction to.  To learn more about how Charcoal can help Acne, click here.   If you would like to learn more about food modification and stress reduction to help control Acne, use the contact form below to message me for a free meet and greet.

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For the whole month of March 2021 I am giving away coaching sessions related to Kidney Disease. If you would like to learn more, click here.

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Food on Friday Chocolate Cupcake Day CKD and Diabetes Variations

Before I dive into the cupcakes, a quick update.  Tomorrow, I will be sharing how you can buy Health Buddy Melissa gift cards for loved ones for Christmas, and a cool freebie for five lucky people.  So, be sure and check back tomorrow.

Now for the cupcakes.  October 18th is Chocolate Cupcake Day.  If you have CKD then you know chocolate has Phosphorus and Potassium, and store-bought cake mixes have added Phosphorus in the form of preservatives.  These added phosphates are 100% absorbed by the body and are a hidden danger for people with CKD.   So, here are a few tips to make the chocolate cupcakes more CKD friendly.  For starters make them from scratch, not a box mix.  There are tons of lovely recipes all over the web for mixes made from scratch.  Use white flour to get the lowest amount of Phosphorus and Potassium.  I don’t particularly like frosting from scratch, but that is another great way to know exactly what is in your cupcake.  Another great tip is to have a vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting or chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting.  Again, store-bought frosting is going to have phosphates added to it as a preservative.  Only eat one cupcake, and freeze the rest, or give them away.  Now at my house, they would get eaten and I would be lucky to get one.  Davita has a great cupcake in a mug recipe.  However, it uses store-bought mixes and goes in the microwave.  I don’t microwave food.  But, that is another whole blog post.  You could make your own dry mix and store it then make a cupcake in a mug when you want one.  If you don’t own a microwave, simply make one cupcake in a muffin tin at a time.  If you have food allergies, or sensitivities just alter the recipe as needed, but there are tons online for people with food sensitivities.   Instead of adding eggs to your mix, if it calls for eggs, use applesauce.  You would use a 1/4 cup of applesauce for each egg required.  That will cut way down on Phosphorus.  If you decide to make a Peanut Butter frosting, remember it may very like have Protein as well in it.  If your doctor or dietitian has recommended you avoid any ingredients I have mentioned, then please do so.  I read a very interesting article on Phosphorus in food, and I will be doing a blog post on that soon.

For Diabetics use unsweetened applesauce in place of eggs, especially if you also have CKD.  Use the mug method mentioned above, use Stevia when making your own mix, or frosting,  if sugar is called for.  You could use other sugar substitutes I just prefer Stevia.  Stevia is much sweeter than table sugar so be aware of that.

Just because you have CKD, or Diabetes does not mean you can not enjoy a chocolate cupcake.

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Low Protein Vegetarian Mac n Cheese

Updated 5/8/2021 We are big Macaroni and Cheese lovers, at my house.  Because of my CKD, this is a hard meal to enjoy.  The cheese adds Protein, Sodium, and Phosphorus in pretty large amounts.  Plus the saturated fats.  So, I came up with my own version of Macaroni and Cheese, and I love it.  No one else does, but that is Ok.  The graphic below is for 1 serving.  This dish is also low in Phosphorus about 100 grams, but that may depend on different varieties of the items used.  I use Eat this Much to estimate Phosphorus levels in food.  If you use frozen, or fresh sweet potatoes, the Sodium levels are also low.  Canned sweet potatoes have a lot of sodium, rinsing them can help.  Potassium will be high due to the Sweet Potatoes, so be careful if you are watching Potassium levels.   You could half the Sweet Potatoes.  It is also low fat, and you could use a different kind of fat instead of butter to improve that even more.  It is, however, going to be higher in Carbs.  If you have a set Carb level due to Diabetes be sure and figure up the totals.  It is low in sugar, though.  Enjoy, and let me know if you tried it. The recipe is the image below. Remember all nutrition info is an estimate and you have to tailor your needs to your nutrition.

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Type 3 Diabetes

So, I talked about Type 1 Diabetes, and Type 2 Diabetes.  Did you know there is a possible Type 3 Diabetes?  In the quest for answers to the explosion of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, studies are starting to point to a type of Diabetes being the possible link to Dementia and Alzheimer’s.  Now as far as I know this is all kind of new.  I only just heard about it and I have worked in the Health Care Industry for 32 years.  It is kind of complicated, and the articles I read were not easy to follow along.  Instead, I chose to share two videos for you to watch.  Some of this information is why Doctors are always saying to reduce sugar consumption for everyone.  Sugar is literally in everything, just like Sodium, or so it seems.  It adds flavor and can be a preservative.

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Updated: Extended Health Buddy Melissa Plan

So, I realized as I am updating my plans, that I have not been including plan prices.  So, when the plans have all been updated, there are only a couple more, I will make one updated page with all the plans in one place, along with prices.  Don’t forget I am now a Certified Health Coach, and am taking classes for Integrative Medicine.  You can contact me for information, using the form below.  I also am doing a monthly group session, starting in September, on Better Sleep.  You can read all the details in the archived posts, or contact me if you are interested.  Those classes are live, and limited to 5 participants.

Extended Health Buddy Plan:

The Extended Health Buddy Plan, is a 3 month plan.  You get 5, 30 minute, one on one coaching sessions, via email, per week, for 3 months.  There are other options such as texting, video conference, messenger, etc, but they are extras, and will be shared in the extra plan.

All clients must do a Free Meet and Greet, via email, before the basic plan can be purchased.  The Meet and Greet is done via email at an agreed to date and time.  All Meet and Greets are in English, and follow Eastern Standard Time Zones.  The Meet and Greet is meant to learn a little about each other, and what kinds of goals you may have.  I will provide you with basic questions that you will need to answer.  These are not fancy, no need to print, fax, etc.  I just ask a question, and you answer, as honestly as you can.  The Meet and Greet may go on for a day.  I allot this much time to be sure all info is gathered.

After the Meet and Greet you decide if you want to purchase another plan to continue to work on the stated goals in your questionnaire.  Please always read my updated Disclaimer provided below, before making a decision.

If you decide to purchase the 90 day Extended Health Buddy Plan, we will meet at pre-arranged dates and times, twice a week, via email to discuss your goals, any progress you have or have not made, and how to overcome any hurdles you are experiencing.  I will provide you with encouragement, tips, educational info, things to research, support, ideas, opinions, etc.  Examples of goals are:  stress reduction, sleep issues,  weight loss, chronic disease issues, blood pressure, education, social life, parenting, home work balance, learn to cook, exercise, de-clutter etc.  There are so many more.  Those are just examples that pop into my head.  Once you have told me you are interested in meeting goals, and using me as your Health Coach, a contract with a Paypal address to pay, will be emailed to you.  You must print the contract, sign it, and email it back to me.  Once I have told you I received the signed contract, you can pay for the Basic plan.  There will be a privacy form, and any medical releases that your doctor may need to address, also.  Not everyone will need the medical release form.  The privacy form must be returned with the contract, before you and I can start to work together.  I am only accepting up to 5 clients at a time.  So, be sure and keep that in mind.

All payments must be made via Paypal, and in US dollars. My Paypal account is an account I have had for many years, like 20.  It is verified, and in my husband’s name.  Do not let that bother you, he never uses the account, and I have used it for all kinds of online business.   I only speak, write, and understand English.  So, please keep that in mind as well.

With the writing of this post, this plan is now active, and ready to accept new clients.

Please use the contact form below to message me, if you are interested in a free Meet and Greet.  Another change I have made is that I will no longer post a calendar.  Dates, and times will be discussed in the free Meet and Greet session.

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