what does your brain need to survive?

Hello, and Happy Tuesday. Today, and tomorrow, are the last two posts for the topic of Brain Health. If you want to know ahead of time what my Health topic will be in July, sign up for my weekly newsletter below. You may see affiliate links in this post, or any of my posts.

Some of the things a human brain needs to survive may seem obvious, like oxygen, and an energy source. Did you know, for example that the brain uses about 20% of the bodies oxygen and blood supply? That is astounding considering it only weighs three pounds. If there is no oxygen source, the brain will die, as such is true if there is no blood supply. Quitting smoking, and maintaining a healthy blood pressure are two easier ways to help your brain stay oxygenated.

But, what about an energy source? I read this analogy: the brain is like a car, it needs gasoline, oil, brake fluid, and other materials to run properly. The brain needs water, fatty acids, cholesterol, glucose, and omega 3’s just to name a few. Plus a whole host of other vitamins and minerals to keep it running like clock work. If you remember reading at the beginning of this month I had thought about doing a completely Zero Point Food Challenge, based off of the WW Zero Point Food list. But, after much research I realized I would be sorely undernourished in the fat area as to qualify most foods had to have no fat at all. I opted not to do that and went for a more reasonable lower fat limit with zero point foods as the challenge. You can read all about it in the archives. Our brains need fat, and yes even cholesterol, to function properly. I for one do not care for fish, so getting Omega 3s is not easy for me. I have done a whole host of posts on that topic as well. you can find them in the archives. This is also why the Mediterranean Diet is the #1 Healthy Diet four years in a row. The only thing it really makes you give up is processed foods, and red meat for most of the time.

But, you may not also realize the brain has some other needs. I urge you to watch the video below to see what I mean. The most profound thing he said that stood out to me is that our brains need a purpose to be healthy and survive. I have talked about this to friends and family the fact that I don’t think I will ever fully retire, unless I have found another purpose. This blog, and helping people learn about Healthy topics can be a purpose. Humans need to have a purpose. It doesn’t have to be to make money. It can mean many things to many different people, but our brains need it. I urge you to watch the video. I don’t want to give away what he says. I think it will really make you think.


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This week’s $5 Dollar dinner idea

This could be for a lunch as well. Some of these items I bought before this week, so I didn’t remember exact prices. So, I used my trusty Basket app to let me know what prices were at my local store.

My family loved these little mini pizzas. You see four in the image, but I only ate two. They were very filling for me. You could easily make them ahead, freeze them, and use them in lunches for work or school as long as you have access to a microwave.

All you need is:

Thomas English Muffins: 2.49

Pizza Sauce: 1.19

Mozzarella Cheese: Borden brand is the cheapest at 1.89

That comes to $5,57. You could use a generic brand of English Muffin to bring the price down a little bit. If you have an extra dollar the pepperoni at Walmart was only 1,00 You get 6 muffins per package. So, a family of 3 could each have 2. We toast the muffins first, then add the sauce and cheese and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. You could put these in an air fryer as well.

For those of you who have CKD most breads will have phosphorus in them. I can not find where Thomas English Muffins have any on either app that I use. Mozzarella cheese per 1 ounce has 132 mg so use very sparingly. Pepperoni per 3 ounces also has just over 130 mg of Phosphorus. So, again be careful with how much you are eating.

This is obviously not a low carb dinner idea, with 26 grams of carbs per muffin. However, if you watch your carbs the rest of the day you certainly could enjoy a mini pizza muffin. That is what I did.

For some exciting news my Buffalo Bills are going to the playoffs, woot woot! Are you a Bills fan?

The new vaccine has come to my area, and I am hoping as a health care worker and someone with CKD I can get the vaccine. I will keep you posted. If you can get the vaccine please do so.


Do you need help with learning to cook, budgeting, meal planning, etc? Check out the category Meals with Melissa! I also offer a subscription plan for Meals with Melissa.

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14 days of Gratitude: Day 12, Plus My Dollar tree food challenge and a few updates

Updated 11/20/2021: We are almost to Thanksgiving 2021. Have you been practicing being Grateful? I have!

Welcome to Tuesday! I hope everyone is having an amazing day. I am so loving the weather in Florida right now. 70’s during the day, and 50s at night. Windows can be open, fans in the window. I love it!

Thanksgiving is 2 days away, and it will be much different this year, but I will post more about that on Thanksgiving. But, I am doing so food prep today. This year I am making homemade stuffing, check back Thursday to see how that went, homemade apple pie, again check back, and I am making homemade cream of mushroom condensed soup. It is super easy, and I am hoping super delicious. That of course will be for the green bean casserole. I am making that later today, and will share the recipe and results tomorrow.

Today, I am grateful for my car. For many years, like 15, we had only one vehicle to save money. I worked night shift, and my husband worked the day shift. It was hard, but it worked and it saved us a ton of money. It allowed me to work less and homeschool my kids, basically on one income, and a quarter. I was so happy, though, when we were able to buy a second car. I do not take my car for granted, and I protect it like it is gold. Because in a lot of regards it is. I hate working the night shift and I never want to do it again. I can shop, or take my daughter places without issues. I am so very grateful for that. If you live where you can access the bus or an Uber, then a car might not be important. We are very rural and have no access to any of those options.

Today, is Dollar Tree Food Challenge Day. You may have seen some of these on Youtube from other people. Mine is different. I am not going to buy 20 dollars worth of Dollar Tree food and then try to make meals out of it. But, each week, or so, I will buy two items and then compare them to each other, and taste them. Some I even eat completely. This week I chose Baker’s Best soft pretzels and Arctic Classic Cookies N Cream.

First, the pretzels. You can put these in a microwave, but since I don’t own one we baked them. You can see the ingredients below, but honestly I was impressed by the ingredients list. They have less than 1 gram of sugars and added sugars. That is impressive. I left the salt off of one pretzel for me, because I knew these were going to be salty. These were delicious and exactly what I expected a soft baked pretzel to taste like. There are six in a box, for a dollar, and to me, this is a steal of an item from the Dollar Tree. My daughter and husband love these. My daughter dips them in melted butter, and my husband dips them in mustard. I don’t dip, lol.

Now, for the Arctic Classic Cookies N Cream. On the label it says it is a frozen dairy dessert. I grew up in the ’80s and this tastes like Ice Milk that we used to get. It honestly was not awful, but definitely not like ice cream. I only ate a few teaspoons, because if you look at the ingredients the second ingredient is High Fructose Corn Syrup. So, I simply was not going to eat this. It was only a dollar so I don’t feel horrible throwing it away, but my husband might not mind the HFCS. I left it to see if he wanted it. I guess I could put it in very small amounts in a smoothie, but I honestly don’t even think I would do that.

You can see both product pics below.

I have a couple more updates. My Rosemary Challenge is almost over. I am so thrilled that I added this herb to my cooking skills. I do find I do not care for it on meats, but it really adds awesome flavor to veggies. In the image below is what I ate for dinner last night. I added Rosemary and Lemon Pepper seasoning to the steamed veggies and it was so delicious. Check out that adorable plate I found at Hobby Lobby. I bought the whole set. I don’t switch out for the seasons, we just use them all year. I can’t afford that kind of nonsense, and even if I could I wouldn’t bother. That plate is 8 inches across. I try to always eat on those as it keeps my portions in check. There are large ones, too. The mashed potato serving is only 1/4 of a cup, keeping my carbs in check, and the chicken thigh was 3 ounces even. I weigh all of my meats, and try to eat 2-4 ounce portion sizes. This keeps my protein in check and allows me to still eat low-carb and not get too much protein for my kidneys. I have been really bad about my carbs lately. I have not gained any weight, and have maintained the 11 pounds lost. But, I need to lose more, so I need to pay more attention. Remember I eat 70-100 mg of Carbs per day. That is Low Carb, not Keto. Keto can be very dangerous for anyone with Kidney Disease. I eat a ton of veggies. Update 11/20/2021: Since this post, I have lost 20 pounds and have managed to maintain plus or minus 2 pounds.

If you would like to work with a Health Coach to learn more about eating Low Carb, making meals to fit into your needs, or any other Health needs, please use the contact form after all of the images to message me.


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this week’s food challenge 11/4-11/10/2020

It is time for the second Health Buddy Melissa Food Challenge. This time only I am participating. Neither my husband or daughter agreed to even try, which is a little disappointing, but oh well. Starting tomorrow I will be meatless for 7 days. No meat at all. I can have dairy, but no meat. I don’t eat much dairy at all, just a tiny bit of cheese. I have not made a menu for the week, for this challenge, because I will be winging it. I will be adapting their dinners to meet my challenge. So, whenever I do a new post I will update what I ate for the days that proceeded that post. I will also update how difficult it is with being on a low carb lifestyle. I am thinking it is not going to be easy, or I may gain some weight or be very hungry. Only the week will tell. Wish me luck!

Would you like to join the meatless challenge? It is easy, just leave me a comment and post how you did, if you want. If you want you can do a blog post with the challenge and put the link in the comments. If you do this please put a link to this blog. Tomorrow come back to learn about G-BOMBS.

Do you want to stop hiding from yourself, and be the healthiest and best you can be? Message me for a free meet and greet to learn about my coaching services. All new clients get one month of coaching for just 25 dollars!


$25 dollar save a lot food challenge! What did we buy?

I finally got my car back at 3 PM today. In the images below you can see everything we bought, plus the receipt. I crossed the two items that were not part of food, and the total came to 25.42. Now, if you didn’t need milk, or creamer, it would have added 5 more dollars to get food. Since we almost always have cheese milk could have been eliminated. But, my husband considers milk a necessity, so it had to be part of the needs pile. You will see after we bought what we absolutely needed, the bigger pile, I was able to get creamer, a bag of carrots and bananas. Bananas were dirt cheap. My daughter wanted green grapes, but not only did they not have any, they would have been most surely too expensive. The fourth item was a box of juice pouches that my daughter wanted. She could drink water, but we had some money left, and that is what she chose. Part of this challenge, for me, is teaching her how her food choices can effect her health and budget. Plus, what if she only had access to a Save A Lot? Learning to adjust items for what is available is hugely important. They did not have Totinos Pizza Rolls that would fit the budget, so she picked 3 cheese and peperoni pizzas. We bought no meat, because we have some already on hand, but eggs could easily substitute for meat, plus we always have peanut butter in the pantry. When we start exhausting our supply on hand, I will have to increase the budget from 25 to 40, which is still a significant reduction in our grocery spending normal budget. These challenges are only for food and does not count non food items which will be removed from the receipt. This food, plus what we have on hand, will go until Monday. The only item that could be added to our inventory list was the bag of carrots.

Tonight’s dinner will be Chicken nuggets, salad and pasta. I have homemade marinara sauce still in the fridge for the pasta. My husband is the only one that will require it. My daughter will eat it with butter and salt. Any pasta left over will go for tomorrow’s meal, pasta salad. The chicken nuggets are super easy. I have bread crumbs already. I cut the chicken into nugget sizes, dredge in egg and bread crumbs then fry in oil. Salad will be just some of the bag salad, some cucumber, tomato and cheese. I already have tomatoes on hand from my Misfits delivery last week. We also already have salad dressing on hand. I don’t make one big salad, as I find it goes bad much faster that way. I make individual bowls of it and then bag everything back in the freezer. I am low carb so my chicken will be just pan fried with garlic and seasoning, no pasta for me tonight, and a salad.

I got a small cabbage head in my Misfits delivery, so I made some coleslaw for lunches. I like coleslaw, and for the record I only like mine, served over a baked potato. That will be my lunch for the next few days. My husband may have some as well, just not over a baked potato. If you would like my coleslaw recipe, leave me a comment. I truly make the best coleslaw.

Use the contact form to message me to ask questions about any of my coaching services. I put Turmeric in my smoothie this morning. I didn’t even know it was there. Are you taking the Turmeric Challenge?


Wisdom on Wednesday



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