Portion distortion: Alcohol

Updated 5/4/2021 So ya’ll know it is New Year’s this week, right? While most people may not have, or go to a party, they might choose to have a small family event at their homes. Below you will see a ton of videos on alcohol and how it effects the body. Because, I have CKD and I focus on that a lot, I will talk about that in relation to alcohol. A portion of various alcohols is equal to 1 beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits which I assume means whiskey, brandy, etc. The link below will explain all of that better than I can. My point only is that 2 drinks is considered drinking in moderation. Alcohol can have very negative effects on the kidneys, especially if you already have CKD. 1- Alcohol raises blood pressure and everyone who has kidney disease knows raising your blood pressure is a no no. 2- Alcohol dehydrates you which makes the kidneys work even harder than they already do, especially if you already have CKD. Alcohol can increase your chances of getting kidney disease too. Those few sentences are good enough reason to not over indulge on New Year’s or any other time. Also below you will find videos with recipes for non-alcoholic drinks. That Pina Colada sure looks like my new breakfast drink, lol. Loving your body is more important than having so called fun and abusing it. Stay safe!

Read more about portions or single serving sizes of alcohol, https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohols-effects-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/what-standard-drink#:~:text=In%20the%20United%20States%2C%20one,which%20is%20about%2040%25%20alcohol If you would like to quit alcohol and find healthier alternatives to enjoying life and de-stressing use the contact form at the end of this blog post to message me, or you can email me at melissa@healthbuddymelissa.coach


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This week’s 5 dollar dinner idea

Happy Healthy Tuesday! If you saw yesterday’s post you may be curious as to what that was all about. That was not the topic I intended to write about. However, Sunday afternoon as I was driving to work I was listening to a radio show. The gentleman was saying how people like sensational stories, even outright lies at times, and will click on such stories more than truthful stories. So, I thought I would test it out by making a outrageous claim. I posed it as a question rather than a blanket statement or misleading truth. That post, which was only a couple of sentences received the second highest amount of views for the whole month of December. So, I guess the radio host was correct. So, what about the question I posed. Can you lose 100 pounds in 30 days? No, of course you can’t, and if you can you are probably in a very malnourished condition which would be extremely dangerous to your health. I looked up Bariatric Surgery stats to see how much people can lose in a month after Bariatric Surgery. The highest amount I found was 60 pounds in a month. I was curious to know what the percentage is for regain after Bariatric Surgery. According to this report, after 2 years 50% of Bariatric Surgery recipients have gained back all of their weight. Weight loss is a hard and complicated topic. A lot of times it is the brain that needs fixing to achieve successful weight loss. Lifestyle, diet, and exercise habits also must form new habits. It is a marathon not a sprint. If you would like to hire me as a Health Coach to reach your health goals, use the contact form at the end of this post to contact me.

Last week I shared that I would start sharing a weekly $5 dollar dinner idea. I get so tired of reading the unhealthy 5 dollar dinner ideas. Affordable meals don’t have to be unhealthy. Now, they might not always contain meat, or a fancy veggie, but that doesn’t mean they can’t. It does take some planning, and deal searching. We are having spaghetti with meat sauce and a side salad.

The ground turkey was $1.98

The jar of sauce was .98

The Barilla Pasta was $1.25

Not Shown is a bag of Dole salad mix which I bought last week for .99 at Dollar General Market. Everything else was purchased at Walmart. So, the grand total was $5.17 If you absolutely only had 5 dollars to spend you could leave the side salad out. The veggie pasta has pureed spinach and zucchini in it. You can see the nutrition labels for each item below and they are all pretty clean. The Barilla pasta even has the amount of Phosphorus listed. This is a huge plus for anyone with CKD. I was impressed with the sauce from Walmart brand with only 1 tsp of added sugar. That is a good sauce. Try to buy the healthier whole wheat or veggie pastas, to get the extra protein and veggies, if you can not afford to get meat or veggies. This will feed all three of us and will probably have at least pasta left over which can be used for lunch tomorrow. There should be meat sauce leftover as well.


Happy Feet!

Welcome to Tuesday! I hope everyone had a fabulous Monday. Today, for gift idea #13 I am paying homage to feet.

I have had painful feet my whole life, long before I ever was diagnosed with CKD, so I know what it is like to live with painful feet. I have also suffered from Plantar Fasciitis which took forever to heal and set me back a lot with my fitness goals. So, today I am paying respect to our feet. Our feet provide balance and mobility. We need to love and protect them. I am a nurse, so when I am at work my feet bare the brunt of the stress. I rarely sit and go home with achy feet. I also love to walk barefoot so keeping my feet clean is of utmost importance. If you are a Diabetic then you should have already been taught the importance of taking good care of your feet.

I don’t personally like my feet to be touched by others, but a good foot massage is a great gift idea. A way to soak the feet is another great gift. If you have Diabetes be careful of the temp because you may not have good feeling anymore. Here is a whole page of foot soaking options. Some are super fancy with all kinds of cadillac features. I just use a simple basin with warm water and peppermint oil If you have CKD and choose to use Epsom Salts, be sure and ask your doctor first as the Magnesium may be absorbed in the feet to the body. Once my feet are done soaking, and dried, I apply a peppermint lotion. Are you noticing a theme here? I love peppermint! It makes achy muscles feel better. I put peppermint lotion on my forehead when I have a headache. I like the Teatree brand, but there are tons to choose from.

To enhance this gift idea even more, a pedicure gift set would be a lovely idea. If you want the Hummer of a Happy Feet gift idea, then a good pair of shoes is the ultimate gift. I love Crocs, Sketchers on the Go and the ultimate would be a pair of Orthofeet which I do not own a pair of, but I almost forced myself to buy when I didn’t think the Plantar Fasciitis was ever going to go away and it was really inhibiting my mobility. New Balance ultimately helped cure my Plantar Fasciitis.

Believe it or not we are still eating Lasagna! Casserole type meals are definitely the most economical because they make tons of leftovers. I think I will freeze the rest as everyone is getting bored of it. Tomorrow I will do the next Dollar Tree food challenge item. Also, below see my Fitbit walking stats for the past two days. If you would live a virtual walking buddy ask me about my Walking Buddy program.

If you are interested in learning about any of my Health Coaching Services, please use the contact form at the end of this post to message me, or email me at melissa@healthbuddymelissa.coach


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Herb Of The Month, This Week’s Food Challenge And Gift Idea #2 For CKD

If you have been following along then you know each month I am picking a new herb to try for the whole month. I tend to always cook with onions, garlic, salt, and pepper. For October it was Turmeric. I really like Turmeric on meat. For November it was Rosemary. If you are serious about limiting your sodium intake, give Rosemary a try. You only need a little bit and it adds a ton of flavor, especially to soups and boring veggies. For the month of December I have chosen Dill. Everyone knows about dill pickles. But, there are so many other beneficial ways to use dill in cooking and seasoning. I have already found some recipes to try. Be sure to come back and check for those in future posts. Below there is a video about the health benefits of dill, and a link to read. I include the link because the video does not explain that in order to reap those benefits you would need to consume a cup of fresh dill. I don’t know anyone who eats that much dill. But, again, if you are trying to decrease your sodium intake, as a herb it will add a ton of flavor, I hope.

This week’s food challenge is a little bit different. Today, I compared Barilla Lentil Pasta, to regular white pasta. You can see the images below with all of the information from the box. Like other pasta, 2oz dry pasta is a serving size, with 180 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, no sodium at all, 24 grams of carbs but with 6 grams of fiber that makes 18 net grams of carbs, 13 grams of protein, 2% of RDA for Calcium, 15% RDA for Iron- that is spectacular btw, and 10% RDA of potassium. I discovered this pasta the week I went completely meatless. I didn’t try it though, until today. The nutrition profile is very good and it only has one ingredient, red lentils. I don’t care for lentils so I thought this would be a good try. So, what do I think? It is ok, a good meatless substitute. I think I will have to cook it a little longer because aldente just doesn’t work for this pasta. 2 oz definitely did not fill me up either, and I would have veggies or a large salad with it. As far as taste, it was a little different than regular pasta, but once I added a smidge of butter and some lemon pepper seasoning it was delicious. I would buy this again. However, I do not think I am going to convince my family to eat this, and at 3 dollars a box it might not be economical. Although If I am the only one eating it, it will last me several meals. Overall this was a good, healthy purchase.

My second gift idea for people with CKD, or any Chronic Disease is some lovely house slippers. I found the Cardinal ones from Landsend and I loved them. But, when I clicked the link the cardinals were gone. They had other lovely options though. There are some lovely, and not so pricey choices at Amazon. People with CKD and other chronic diseases are often cold. A lovely pair of slippers would make a wonderful gift. Slip-resistant slippers, and or indoor-outdoor slippers are also wonderful gifts.

Remember, you can always give the gift of a Health Coach, like me. Check out my Walking Plan! Contact me for more information!

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Read about Dill

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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Halloween and Kidney Disease!

First let me state, for new readers, I have CKD stage 3. I do not have Diabetes or HTN. I have dedicated my Health Coaching to bringing awareness to Kidney Disease and the complications that come with it. If you would like to learn more about my Health Coaching service, use the contact form at the end of the post to message me. Holidays are especially hard for people with CKD, due to limitations in foods they can eat.

I have been a nurse for 33 years. Over those years I have had friends and patients with chronic diseases that they just never seem to manage very well. I always wondered why? Then, I was diagnosed with CKD in 2017. It is hard, very hard, that’s why. But, with determination, communication with your doctor, support services, family and friends it can be done. You can still live a full and happy life.

I follow a lot of social media groups, organizations with recipes tips, etc, I have purchased kidney cook books, and yet one thing I am always disappointed with is that they often are very high in Phosphorus. Phosphorus is not on food labels so tracking it can be very difficult. I have mentioned before that I use Eat This Much and My Healthy Kidney to help me judge the amount of phosphorus in foods.

Halloween candy can be very high in Phosphorus. The peanut butter cups I mentioned yesterday, have 78 mg of Phosphorus per serving. While that is considered low, a serving was two little pieces.. So, you can see how quickly that could add up. With the high limit of 900 mg per day of Phosphorus, or less, for most kidney patients, candy can be dangerous.

Below, I have put together some of my previous posts that cover Halloween, candy, or holiday foods. Maybe you are taking your kids trick or treating, or want to have a Halloween party. Covid can be very dangerous to those of us who have CKD. But, it doesn’t mean we should have to hide away and have no life as politicians have suggested. I am not advocating anyone to be dangerous, risky, or spread the virus. If you are sick you should stay away from people, even for the regular flu virus. I am just saying we deserve a life as much as anyone else, and safety is of utmost importance. I do not put recipe amount facts because I don’t know them for sure. If you want to use any of them for the upcoming holidays, do a little research on the ingredients to be sure they fit your diet needs. I find a lot of kidney patients complain that families don’t even attempt to honor their diet needs at holidays. Now, that is their perspective and may or may not be the whole story, however from personal experience I can say it is accurate. People are so caught up in their own wants and needs that they exclude anyone who may be different than theirs. Some other things I have noticed. People who are recovering alcoholics and people drink in front of them. People who have quit smoking and they have to sit in a room full of smokers at family events. People who have sensitivities or allergies to foods and not one meal item has been created with them in mind. These are things that alienate people and add to their loneliness or isolation. Most people will not ask what will be served or how it will be adapted to meet their needs as not to feel like a burden. These are all things that make me very sad.












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$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?


Turmeric Challenge!

I read a lot of blogs, and I have noticed people seem to like challenges. I did a Plank Challenge in December of last year. I am doing a Walking Challenge for this year. I have not updated that in a while, but I am consistently hitting the goal of 10,000 steps every single day. I post an update soon. You can still join that challenge, too.

One of the things I have noticed about myself and my family is that we don’t really have a wide palate of taste buds. What I mean by that is we love Garlic, Onion, and Salt. I have recently added Basil and lots of Lemon to our culinary cooking. But, I wanted to challenge us even more, especially my teenage daughter who I am creating a Nutrition course for High School credit, and is a very pick eater. Plus we can cut down on sodium intake if we learn to use more herbs in our cooking. One of the things I have been reading a lot about is Turmeric, and how it has anti-inflammatory properties. I am not going to take them in pill form or anything, as with all Herbs, and chronic diseases, they are not tested for efficacy or side effects. You can read about the ways Turmeric has been proven to work, here. If you have CKD then you know Inflammation can be a huge problem in managing the disease. So, for the rest of October, the challenge is to cook with Turmeric. Now, for my family it will be the dinner meal that I add Turmeric to. But, for me I may try to sprinkle some in my soup or on my salad. Some people drink it in tea, or smoothies. I may try it in a smoothie, but I probably won’t mess with my tea. I did find some organic Turmeric at a decent price at Trader Joe’s. If you can not find organic do the best you can. Next month we will try another herb. There are so many to choose from.

Join me in this challenge to use Turmeric for cooking for the rest of October. Let me know in the comments you are joining in and how the challenge went for you. I will update at the end of the month whether we liked it or not. If we hate it, it might not last long, lol. If you already cook with Turmeric let me know in the comments your favorite use for it.

I will be posting another challenge Thursday, to help my daughter learn to appreciate how lucky we are to afford healthy food, and have access to it. Be sure and come back to learn about that one.


Kidney Health Class

Join me on my Facebook event page for the August Kidney Health Class. This class takes about 2 hours to get through, and space is limited to 5 people plus me of course. Once people start signing up I will start making posts about how it works. There is plenty of time for questions, and answers. This class is geared more towards preventing kidney disease and slowing progression once someone has kidney disease. It is the copyright property of the American Kidney Fund, for which I am a volunteer Kidney Coach with that organization. Please visit the event page, here, and sign up if you would like to attend. I plan to do these monthly, and on other platforms once I figure out the best way to do it. I will try to post the date for each month, by the first week of each month. I will do different days and times to try to accommodate everyone who may wish to attend. I hope to see you there.

I am also taking part in the American Kidney Fund 37 mile walking challenge in the month of August. The goal is to walk 37 miles in August. I walk about 35 in a week, so I am almost to the goal. I am looking for sponsors. If you would like to sponsor me, or you can join the challenge yourself. I would be honored. You can visit my fundraiser page, here. If you sponsor me, and you own a business, I will do a free blogpost about your business on this website. Please use the contact form below the images to message me if you are interested. I will not advertise hateful, or illegal businesses.

Cytokine Storm and Covid-19

If you follow the medical news you have probably noticed that there is a lot of talk around something called a Cytokine Storm and how it is possibly the cause of the worst symptoms for Covid-19 patients.

As the country, and the world starts to re-open it is even more imperative for people to protect themselves from getting this horrible virus.  Of course, the best way to do that is to stay at home as much as possible.  If you already have chronic inflammation or a chronic illness, you are already going to be at a higher risk of getting Covid-19.  I tried to pick the easiest to understand sources for you to watch and read to learn about what a Cytokine Storm is.  It is a normal response to a germ, but the storm part is the abnormal part and the part that does all of the damage to the organs of the body.

Please watch, and stay home and safe if you can.  If you would like to ask questions, I will try my best to answer, but a lot of it is very clinical.  I am especially interested, as someone with CKD, to the lab tests that may catch the beginnings of a Cytokine Storm.  I will be keeping them in mind to talk to my doctor about it.

Don’t forget to sign up for my free distance Reiki session. Learn more here.




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