Exercise and Kidney Function!

I have already discussed the importance of exercise on quality of life, activities of daily living, bone health, muscle health, etc. But, what about kidney function? That is what everyone really wants to improve kidney function. Right? There have not been a lot of Randomized Control Trials, the good ones, for people with kidney disease, and the ones that have been done focus mainly on people on hemodialysis. But, hopefully, there will be more studies done. I am sharing one study, and you can read it here, that shows how important exercise is for people with kidney disease. It can even improve kidney function. If you don’t enjoy reading medical articles, then just read the conclusion. It is really the most important part. The big issue seems to be that doctors don’t, or can’t agree on how to prescribe exercise to their patients, or feel they will be non-compliant. I say just start moving! Do something, it is better than nothing. Baby steps will lead to bigger and better steps. It will improve your strength, balance, heart, blood pressure, weight, and Diabetes, and now evidence is showing kidney function. That doesn’t even count what exercise can do for your mental health.

I have done a lot of posts on the topic of Kidney Disease. It is near and dear to my heart because I have CKD. You can find all of my older posts in the sidebar under the sections. Don’t forget to always ask your doctor before you begin exercising.

Today, I did some meal prep. I will talk more about that next week. The question is, do I think spending one whole day doing meal prep is a good way to spend a day off? I know a lot of people make videos doing this, and spend lots of time on it. Come back next week to see what I think.

Don’t forget to try some of the flexibility exercises I shared yesterday. Next week will be balance exercises.

Do you exercise routinely? Are you on dialysis? Do you have CKD? How has exercise improved your quality of life? Leave me some comments, and I will read them all. I do not approve spam, so please only leave comments related to the topic, or they never get seen.

I have not decided yet what I will write about exercise and CKD tomorrow. I guess you will just have to wait and see, like me, lol.

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Ouch, Gas Prices!

This is a different kind of Healthy Tip on Tuesday post, but it is just as important for your overall health as any other tip, because it can cause financial stress and other stress-related issues that can affect your health and wellbeing.

If you live in the USA, then you know that the government just announced bans on Russian energy imports. Before that announcement was made, here where I live gas prices were already $4.20/gallon. Now, I am not going to go into the politics of climate consequences of oil and gas. But, you could certainly vote in favor of those topics this fall.

You are most likely going to have to conserve gas, especially if you drive a large vehicle. I think my gas tank is like 10 gallons, which means to fill my tank it would be 42 dollars. That is a huge jump from just six months ago. Since we live in a very rural area, and we have to drive at least 30 minutes to get to anything we want, you can see how expensive this could really get.

How can you conserve gas? Some of these will be related to more rural folks, than people who live in the city.

  1. Don’t drive. This is the most obvious way to conserve gas, though it is not that practical especially if you live in rural areas, but work in the city. If you can walk, or bike to work, that is an option. Car pooling when you can is another great option. We have two cars and while we both work in the same city, our schedules are no where near the same. So, that won’t work.
  2. Drive less. This will be my most obvious choice. I will try to shop in town, though their prices are high and I am not always happy with the quality of food options. I surely do not want to be buying food from Family Dollar and Dollar General. With CKD that would be a disaster for me. I will not be picking up extra shifts either, as the only thing that extra money will go for is gas. I will pray my husband does not have to return to the office for a little longer, too. Which is a good point in itself, work from home if you can.
  3. Combine your trips. I already do this, but I may have to be even more thoughtful of this. My doctor is 30 minutes away, both of them, and they may have to be more willing to do telemedicine since they don’t want to do it anymore with the pandemic winding down. I think this is totally dumb by the way, unless I need an actual physical exam.
  4. We may have to consider moving to the city sooner than we wanted to, if it persists for a very long time. The city has public transportation that we absolutely do not have access to in rural areas.
  5. Buy a smaller vehicle, EV, or only have one vehicle. First off I would love an EV, except I refuse to pay the price for one. The most affordable, the Nissan Leaf is almost 30,000 dollars. Sorry, I have never paid that for a car, nor will I. I already drive a smaller Kia, and my husband’s is not too much bigger. We used to own only one vehicle, back when it was feasible. That option really is no longer feasible, unless I was willing to leave my job and get a more local job, which I really do not want to do, but, again if it persists for a super long time, getting a job closer to home is a good option.
  6. Drive slower. Now I heard a politician suggest that on the news this morning, that going 6 to 7 mph slower would save gas. Now that is only really true if you drive at like 57 mph. Because, gas efficiency peaks at like 50mph. I looked that up. I know I am super smart, but I did not know that, lol. So, drive much slower than you are probably used to and save gas.
  7. Don’t be an aggressive driver. This just simply wastes gas on a whole.
  8. Ease into stops slower. This is something I already do, but my husband does these abrubt stops that I hate. Don’t be abrupt, it is rude, and wastes gas.
  9. Maintain your car with routine maintenance.
  10. Make sure your tires have the proper amount of pressure and rotate them.
  11. I know this one is hard, but keep windows, sun roofs, convertible tops, and moon roofs closed when you are driving at high speeds like on the freeway.
  12. Don’t let your car idle. I know I am sorry to all my northern friends who warm their cars each morning. Or, even here where we like to cool it off in the heat of the afternoon. If you are stuck in traffic for more than a minute or two, turn your car off, and then turn it back on when you are ready to move.
  13. For all of my camping friends, or people who carry lots of tools, lightening up the load saves a ton of gas. Pulling, towing, or packing up your vehicle with heavy items uses a lot more gas than if you lighten the load.

I hope this list helps you. If you have any other great tips please share them in the comments. I do not approve of spam, so don’t bother.

Stay safe and healthy!

Healthy Tip Tuesday: Sugary Drinks Are Your Enemy!

Hello, and happy dreary, rainy, Tuesday. I have talked about quitting the soda habit before, you can read it here, but what about other sugary drinks. I actually want to discuss added sugars in general not just drinks, though drinks are the main area that Americans are getting added sugars. There will be several evidence-based study links below. I urge you to read them.

Have you noticed that people are dying younger and younger? We are supposed to be the wealthiest country in the world but we are not living to ripe old ages as much and if we are we are burdened with chronic illnesses and disease. Why do you think that might be? Check out this article titled Is Sugar Evil and Addicting? Some people can actually give up sugar, or at least added sugars, while others struggle to even give up a little.

What other delicious sugary drinks are there besides soda? Tea, frappe, latte, coffee in general, juices with added sugars, sugary drinks like kool-aid, and Hawaiian punch, coffee creamer, milkshakes, frosty, and the list goes on. What about alcohol?

I will discuss three of my favorite drinks that may not be so great. McDonald’s Ice Caramel Frappe, Welch’s white grape cherry juice, and Bailey’s Irish Cream.

  1. The frappe. I love these iced caramel frappes that McDonalds offers. However, if I were to drink this more than once in a while I would be consuming for a small frappe 420 calories. There is 17 grams of total fat, and 11 grams is saturated fat. There is 60 grams of carbs of which 55 grams is sugars. Now it doesn’t specify if it is added sugar, or natural sugar, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. There is 7 grams of protein, but other than that this drink is a nutrititional wasteland. There is no fiber, or micronutrients, except for Calcium. It is fairly high in Sodium as well.
  2. Welch’s. I do only buy the 100% juice which has no added sugars, but is still high in natural sugars. I only add tiny bits of this to my water to give it a little flavor. I probably consume a half cup in total each day of this juice. Per one cup serving I would be consuming 130 calories, zero fat, 32 grams of carbs, 30 grams of natural sugars, no fiber, no high fructose corn syrup, it has some calcium, some potassium, and vitamin C. The sodium is only 15 mg per one cup serving.
  3. Bailey’s. I love this stuff. It is great in coffee, or just milk and ice. I never have read the nutrition label, and good thing I don’t have this very often either. 1 ounce is a serving size, in case you are wondering that is 2 tablespoons. That serving contains 102 calories, 6.5 grams of carbs of which 6.2 grams is sugar. 4.9 grams of fat the majority of which is saturaated fat. And then some other minute nutrients. You can see how this can quickly add to your calories and sugar intake.

If you are drinking heavily sugared drinks, are you reading the label? Are you sure what you are putting into your body or your children’s body? For example, yesterday in my grocery haul were Little Debbie Birthday Cake sticks. My daughter wanted these and they were cheap enough. I decided I wanted to eat one today, after lunch, for a snack. I almost didn’t eat it after reading the label, but I had already opened the package and tasted it. These little cakes are literally the size of a good-sized pointer finger. If I was a food producer I would be embarrassed to call this food. Read for yourself.

Here are some studies on what added sugars, and sugary ladened drinks are doing to our bodies.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5793330/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31398911/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29671076/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32891165/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30235828/

It is recommended that you do not consume more than 6 teaspoons, or 24 grams, of added sugars per day. Added sugars are labeled as such on the nutrition label. This does not include sugars found in whole foods. If you need help understanding sugars vs added sugars use the contact form at the end of the post to send me an email for a free consultation.

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Living With CKD Pantry Food Challenge

So, if you read my post yesterday then you know I have two challenges for the whole year in 2022. The budget challenge is to save extra money, and you know what my phone died last night and I had to get a new one. So, isn’t that interesting!

Anyway, I will try to post most days what I ate from my pantry in our meal plan for the week. The days that I can’t get on, will all be posted on Monday. The week runs from Monday to Sunday. I will give generals for breakfast because we all eat something different. So, mostly I will share what I ate for those two meals.

So, for the budget challenge for this week, I have 63 dollars per week to spend. I figured I pretty much had everything I need for the week but then I decided to make my own hamburger buns for some sloppy joes. I don’t have enough flour. So, tomorrow I will be picking up some all-purpose flour from Walmart. Their 5-pound bag of Organic All-Purpose Flour is $3.98. This means for the week ending 1/16/2022 I have a remaining balance of $59.02. I could have gotten a cheaper bag, and at some point in this challenge I may have to, but as long as I can get organic I will. This is the perfect time of year to make my own bread because it is cool outside. I think I shared what I ate yesterday if not submarine sandwiches and the only thing from the pantry was condiments and pretzels. We already had the sub rolls and lunch meat on hand. I ate organic turkey breast from Misfits Market. It is delicious but not cheap.

Today, this is what I have and or will eat.

Breakfast: egg casserole. This was leftover from last week and needed to be eaten up.

Lunch: Fresh green salad. I had all of the supplies on hand. From my pantry, I used croutons that need to be used up, salad dressing, and we had some Star Wars chicken nuggets in the freezer. Freezer items count as pantry items in this challenge. You can see the food labels below. These are not the healthiest for someone with CKD so be sure and eat only a portion which is 4 nuggets. I just break them up and put them on my salad.

Note: With the egg casserole that has cheese in it, and the chicken nuggets I am already at my protein limit that I like to be at for the day. So, my meat portion for dinner will have to be even less. Plus, the nuggets were quite high in sodium.

Dinner: Pork loin chops from my freezer, canned organic green beans, and I think I will make some red potatoes in the air fryer. I do not love my air fryer at all, but I think I am finally getting the hang of it and learning to at least like it. My Instapot and my Crockpot both died in 2021 and I have not replaced them yet. All of the food items for this dinner we already had on hand. I don’t have the label for the pork loin. I bought it at Sam’s in a huge log and then we cut it into serving-size pork chops. I can get at least 5 meals out of this one large loin. Extra-lean pork loin is OK for CKD in 3 to 4 ounce serving size. If Phosphorus is a concern for you, you can parboil it for about 5 minutes to decrease the phosphorus in the meat. Potatoes are high in potassium, so soak or parboil them as well prior to putting them in the air fryer. From my spice cabinet, I can add Rosemary, and Paprika to add tons of flavor to the potatoes. If salt and pepper are all you have, then use them, just be light on the salt shaker. I do encourage you to build up your spice cabinet. They add tons of flavor without added salt, most of the time, read the labels.

That’s it for today. Have a great day! Leave me your thoughts in the comments. Note the expiration date on the organic green beans. Not all organic foods go to waste faster. Please remember all CKD patients are different. If your doctor has told you not to eat any of the foods I share then don’t eat them.

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Change Your Lifestyle Today and Prevent Dementia Tomorrow!

Hello, hello, and welcome to another Healthy Tip on Tuesday. Today’s tip has to do with Dementia as this is Dementia Awareness Month. It will however be a quick post as it is late and I didn’t prepare to be out all day. Anyway, the video below while kind of boring, explains why changing your lifestyle today can prevent Dementia tomorrow.

Tomorrow I will share another gift idea for people with Dementia. Be sure and check out the other gift ideas in the archives.

Read the FINGER study here, mentioned in the video.

To work with me as your Health Coach, to help make lifestyle changes, use the contact form after the video to send me an email with your interest.

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Gift Idea #2 For People With Dementia: Companionship

Welcome to Tuesday! Yesterday, I shared to life-like Joy dog as gift idea #1. If your loved one is still able to care properly for a real pet they make great companions. No affiliate links.

Obviously, they would need to remember to feed, water, and potty the pet at the very least. A way for the pet to get exercise would also be important, plus vet services. Dogs are awesome, I love them! There are tons that are waiting for homes in shelters and rescues all across this country. But, sometimes dogs can jump and or trip an older person. There is also the risk that the dog could get out and not come back. Being sure the dog is chipped, and is wearing proper ID tags will help the dog return home when found. Getting the dog basic dog training would be a great gift idea as well. Cats are another option if your loved one can’t handle a dog.

If your loved one can not take care of a pet anymore, or maybe is in Assisted Living, there are lots of ways to provide them companionship. Hopefully, they are taking advantage of the community outings and activities. Isolation and socialization issues can lead to depression which can make Dementia worse. Visiting them as often as you can, in person, is a wonderful gift for someone with Dementia. Maybe they can have friends visit too. Sometimes these visits may seem to cause agitation after the visit is over, but usually, it is short-lived and they resume their normal daily activities. FB Live and or Messenger are great ways to use video so your loved one can see and hear you. Zoom, Skype, and other video platforms can also be used. Facetime, for iPhones and so many others, is out there now. If your loved one can still handle technology devices Amazon offers an Echo item that you can do video calls on plus many other great features. Obviously, any of these technology gifts may need assistance to use, so be mindful of that when you purchase them as a gift. You don’t want it to frustrate them or cause them to be angry.

For adults that still live at home all of the same ideas still apply. Plus, there are community programs your loved one can sign up for. Do a search for Elder Day Cares or community groups for elders in your area. Help them if they need it to find these programs, and hopefully, they will allow you to assist them. Not all people who suffer from Dementia are willing to accept help, unfortunately.

Do you have any thoughts? Leave them in the comments.

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Vintage Thanksgiving Music!

Turkey day is almost here. I have been out and about all day. There are people everywhere shopping for Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are some empty shelves, and a store I had never been in, Tuesday Morning, had lots of holiday stuff picked over and it isn’t even Black Friday yet. I was going to Black Friday shop with my daughter, but she decided after today she wasn’t really feeling the crowds, lol. I have been in three different Dollar Tree stores in the past week, for a craft I want to make for the holidays, and people are buying up everything. Did you hear they are raising everything to 1.25 at the Dollar Tree? I don’t know how I feel about that.

Does music bring you joy? Did you even know there was music just for Thanksgiving? I didn’t! Music is a great way to be nostalgic, festive, and happy. I found this Youtube video of just vintage Thanksgiving music. When you first listen to it you might think it is a mistake, but keep listening. Be sure and play this on Thanksgiving during dinner. I know I will. I think musicians should pay attention. This is a very underserved area of music. There is Christmas music, and even for Halloween, but Thanksgiving is neglected. When is the last time you heard a new Thanksgiving song come out on the radio? I will wait.

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Some Different Takes On Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole, you either love it or hate it! At my house, it really is not a hit, though my husband asks me to make it every single year for nostalgia I think. It stays in the fridge for what seems forever, and I don’t think it is the healthiest dish to eat.

However, I found some variations on the traditional dinner side, leaning towards a Mediterranean-type dish. If you have been following along this month, and next, I am talking about Dementia. The foods we eat may increase the risk of Dementia. The Mediterranean Diet may help prevent Dementia.

One thing I found interesting is that there is a Greek Olive Oil. I mean it makes sense, but I have never seen it in stores near me. But, apparently, it has some differences from Italian or Spanish olive oil.

I also do not care for Feta cheese, though it is very popular in Mediterranean dishes. I will use Ricotta or Part-Skim Mozzarella.

I think I will make a small green bean casserole for nostalgia reasons, and then one of the other variations. I like fresh green beans, but frozen would be ok for me too. This is the first year in a very long time that I don’t have to work the day after Thanksgiving. So, I can relax and just enjoy the day.

Check out this variation. I think I would just use low-fat milk as I don’t think coconut milk would work for everyone else. I also would leave off the bacon, and use one of the cheese options I mentioned above.

This one has Parmesan cheese in it, and I could totally do a fresh lower fat Parmesan cheese. This recipe also calls for organic ingredients, but if you can not afford them, then just buy what you can afford with the lowest sodium amounts.

Most of the others are a variation of the dish in the video below which is a traditional Greek dish.

Let me know in the comments if your family loves or hates the traditional Green Bean Casserole.

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Can Dementia Be Prevented or Delayed?

Hello, and welcome to another Healthy tip on Tuesday post. So, what do you think, can Dementia be prevented? Well, you might be surprised, but yes apparently it can be, at least for 40% of cases. There were two things that were not on the list that surprised me, sleep and stress management. Be sure and come back tomorrow for this week’s Family Cookoff results!

The one risk factor that you absolutely can not change is age. Dementia is more common in people over age 65 as the brain ages along with the rest of the body. But, that doesn’t mean it is inevitable that you will get the latter stages of Dementia.

I will post a link to the study that I am talking about here. It is very long, and if you don’t understand medical jargon it might not make a whole lot of sense. So, I found a short video that compresses it into 12 minutes and I will give my thoughts on each risk factor below.

There are 12 risk factors that are modifiable and are related to lifestyle changes. I especially want to point out the importance of making these changes while you are young so that you won’t set yourself up for Dementia even if you feel well at a young age.

As a society, and yes that includes me and my family, we need to reconsider the way we eat, what we eat, lack of mobility, food deserts, lack of healthcare for the poor, education disparities and so much more.

You can start modifying these risk factors right now!

  1. Education Level: Studies show that those with lower levels of education level, especially before the age of 20 increases your risk of getting Dementia. Studies also show, continuing to learn even after age 20, while it may not prevent Dementia it can slow the progress of Dementia. Reading, puzzles, learning a new language, anything that takes intense thinking, or brain usage is the goal. Lifelong learning! Just do it!
  2. Hearing Loss: This one kind of surprised me and yet it makes sense. Loss of hearing, especially in midlife, and probably due decreased communication skills was actually a huge risk factor for getting Dementia. Hearing aides are extremely expensive, and if by chance anyone important reads this comprehensive hearing coverage should be offered to all US citizens as prevention for Dementia.
  3. High Blood Pressure: A lot of these risk factors relate to Vascular or blood vessel disorders. High Blood Pressure is one such case. This one is just self explanatory and everyone should monitor their blood pressure at least monthly, if not more. The studies show that even those who have BP controlled with medication the benefits are still there.
  4. Exercise and Fitness: This is a must to prevent the risk of so many diseases. It can help prevent other risk factors too. It will increase the oxygen to your brain, help with weight loss, and it has to be moderate and consistent. Meaning you can’t just exercise twice a month. You have to exercise routinely for your whole life, though some exercise is better than nothing, I guess. You have to sweat and breathe hard!
  5. Diabetes: You knew this one would be on the list. Diabetes causes all kind of vascular changes in your whole body, including your brain. They do not talk about Type 1, but rather Type 2 Diabetes. Let’s defeat Diabetes! It is possible.
  6. Obesity: Again, you had to have known this one was coming. Obesity is a risk factor for almost every chronic illness there is. The study showed even losing just 5 pounds for people with a BMI over 25 greatly increased their level of concentration and memory.
  7. Smoking: Again, this makes sense. Smoking causes all kinds of vascular changes in the body, and the brain. The study showed that even if you smoked your whole life, and then quit in later life, the benefits for preventing Dementia were good.
  8. Depression: Especially untreated Depression. If you are depressed please seek medical attention and treatment. I know the medications can be unpleasant, but Dementia isn’t exactly fun.
  9. Social Contact: Studies show that especially in older adults who are widowed, social contact is extremely important to preventing Dementia. I am not sure if they know why, but we need stimulation even when we are older.
  10. Air Pollutants: This is a huge issue for urban areas, and for countries where pollutants are not regulated. With all the talk about Climate Change these days, I think we should be talking about cleaner air to prevent Dementia, and other chronic illnesses.
  11. Alcohol Consumption: This is not a lot of alcohol either. If you are a heavy drinker, or even a moderate drinker, you may be damaging your brain and increasing your chances of Dementia. Alcohol causes all kind of vascular changes in the body.
  12. Traumatic Brain Injury: Alright all you sports lovers, you need to protect your brain. Any brain injury, that causes trauma, can increase your chances of getting Dementia. Concussions, falls, etc can all lead to TBI.

If you have any of these 12 modifiable risk factors, it is never too late to start making changes. If you are young, and reading this, you are the future of this country and you need to be mindful of taking care of your bodies while you are young. I know personally, my family needs to change some things too.

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What Is Dementia?

Welcome to Dementia Awareness month, here on this blog! All month I will discuss topics related to Dementia and some other stuff mixed in.

I forgot to share yesterday the results of my mission to try and lose 10 pounds in the month of October. This was a challenge between my husband and myself. I lost 7 pounds, so I missed the mark, but I am still pleased with that. My husband actually gained a pound mostly due to a foot injury and inability to exercise. I think it is important to learn that if you can’t be active you most likely need to reduce your calorie intake to maintain and definitely lose weight.

My Health Challenge for the month of November will be to maintain that 7 pounds I lost. Of course, if I lose more I would be even happier. The holidays make it extremely difficult to lose or maintain weight loss. But, lucky for me this is the cooler time of year here in Florida, and that increases my activity substantially. I hate the Summer months as far as exercise goes. Did you join the challenge? Did you lose weight in October? Share in the comments if you wish.

So, we can’t talk about Dementia until we define it. Below you will find 2 videos. I really like the first one. She talks in a slow manner and explains it in a simple way. I have not watched the second longer one yet, but I will soon. At the very least watch the first one to familiarize yourself with Dementia.

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