The Many Faces Of Kidney Disease!

Good morning! Have you been following along each week in my Kidney Classes? I am an AKF Kidney Coach and each week I share another slide in their kidney education program. I have not done an in-person class since before Covid. This week I am sharing two slides #7 and #8 because just sharing #7 would make no sense.

You will notice in the short video below that there are many faces of kidney disease. Not just old people get kidney disease and it is becoming more prevalent in younger people.

Read each slide, below, and then I will give my thoughts, and experiences after. These slides are from the AKF Kidney Education Class. I share each slide and then talk about my experience with CKD, and my thoughts as a nurse. I am an AKF Kidney Coach. I had to take their training class and pass their exam to be able to present this information to my readers. This is a complete volunteer position. Other posts on this blog are not AKF posts and are through my Health Coaching service.

My face is one of the many faces of Kidney Disease! In the video, they discuss 3 causes of Kidney Disease, Nephrotic Syndrome, FSGS, and kidney stones. But, there are many causes of Kidney Disease and two are the biggest High Blood Pressure, and Diabetes. Keep reading!

Playing to win to beat Kidney Disease through education, prevention, and better screening. But, who gets Kidney Disease?

Anybody can get Kidney Disease, at any age. It is true that as we age our kidneys begin to weaken, just like the rest of the aging body. So, being over 60 is a natural risk factor for Kidney Disease. But, having Diabetes and or High Blood Pressure are the two biggest risk factors for getting Kidney Disease. If you have Heart Disease you are also at a higher risk of getting Kidney Disease. Some cases are genetic, or can even be caused by infection, such as Covid with earlier strains that actually attack the kidneys. Dehydration, Anemia, and certain metabolic disorders can also possibly lead to Kidney Disease. There are studies being done on the effects of certain diets and foods and how they may damage the kidneys. It is already established that high salt content in the foods we eat, can lead to issues with kidney health, as well as a high-fat diet. Certain races of people are also at higher risk. Come back next week to continue the conversation.


Kidney Class: Introduction

Hello, and Happy Humpday. Below you will see an image which is the first slide in the AKF Kidney Class presentation. If I was doing this in person with you, this is the very first slide you would see. I will upload a new slide every Wednesday. Each slide will have an explanation, plus links to other websites, personal experiences of my own, and some things to research on your own. Since Covid, I have not done an in-person class. The AKF has given me permission to do it this way to help more people in a safe way.

At this point I would introduce myself and tell you a little about me and why I became a Kidney Coach.

My name is Melissa. I am 52 years young, married, with two almost-grown children. In 2016 my left kidney failed and in 2017 I was officially diagnosed with CKD. I became a Kidney Coach because I found the information given to me by my healthcare team to be inadequate at best and I knew there had to be better information other than watching your sodium intake and waiting for Dialysis. The AKF kidney presentation helped me and I am hopeful it will help others along with my own experiences with CKD. I am a nurse by profession and helping others learn about their illness, as well as learn to better manage it, is what I have dedicated my whole life to. If you are not new to this blog then you know I am also a Health Coach. I am currently enrolled in Medical Billing and Coding certification courses to move away from bedside nursing into a more relaxed type of nursing.

You may leave comments or questions for each slide. As a matter of fact, I encourage you to engage with me and others. I do moderate all comments, and spam is not going to get through so there is no sense to waste your time. I will answer all comments and questions to the best of my ability. The words accompanying each slide are the AKF slide wording. They are not mine and it is part of the class.

The information from the AKF class is not medical advice, nor is it meant to replace seeing a medical doctor. It is meant to educate the public about kidney disease, and promote the prevention of kidney disease and its many complications. My comments are my experiences with the disease. All kidney patients are different and just because something helped me does not mean it will help you. However, I am hoping my experiences, and those of others will assist people to advocate for themselves with their health team to ask better questions, gather information, and make good sound decisions. If I find good relatable videos about the topic I will share them.

Let’s talk about Kidney Disease!

day 7: Low Fat macaroni and cheese

Hello to all of my happy readers! Today is day 7 of my Zero Points Food Challenge, which is sort of based off of the WW Zero Point Food List. You can read the rules for my challenge, here. I do my meal plans monthly, but I have had to change this month around a bit to accommodate the challenge. I have had no red meat at all in 7 days, and honestly I am OK with that since with CKD I don’t eat much red meat anyways. Where I live it is hard to get low fat cheese, except Mozzarella, but I was able to go to Publix and find some Low Fat Cheddar cheese. You may see affiliate links in this post.

Today was a weird day of eating for me, so far. I was starving when I got up but didn’t really have time to eat anything. So, it was just coffee, but by lunch it was so hot and humid I didn’t feel like salad, or cooking, lol. See below to see what I have, and will eat today. You can see images of the items below. If you have a website and you need a sponsor, check this out.

Breakfast: Just coffee with my Premier Protein creamer. I do not count drinks in my nutrition info.

Lunch: I just wanted something light and I wanted to try the Cabot cheese that I was going to use in my mac n cheese tonight. My husband also needs a low fat diet, though he hates it, but this cheese has a really good flavor. The texture is off a little probably bc of low fat, but I think the half and half will make it creamy. I also had the Good and Gather bitesize Everything Crackers. I was very surprised at how awesome these are. I had one ounce of the cheese, 7 crackers so it fit the 3 grams or less of fat per serving, and then I made 2 cups of air popped popcorn topped with 1/2 tbsp of the Land O Lakes whipped butter.

Dinner: Will be Butterball Turkey Cutlets, 3 ounces for me. I do not use oil, or any fats to cook right now. 1/2 cup or 1 cup of green beans. For the macaroni and cheese I will be making a whole box of elbow macaroni which is 8 servings, add 7 ounces of the Cabot low fat cheddar cheese, and 8 ounces of the Land O Lakes Half and Half. The whole dish, according to my calculator has 2,220 calories, which equals 277 calories per 1/2 cup serving. At the 1/2 cup serving size it is only 5 grams of Fat. So, technically I could have a whole cup for 10 grams of total fat. Add some hot pepper flakes to spice it up while cooking. I will let you know if my husband approves.

Nutrition Info: May not be exact.

Calories: 606 calories

Total Fat: 13 grams

Saturated Fat: 5.1 grams

Cholesterol: 80 mg

Sodium: 912 mg

Total Carbs: 72 grams

Net Carbs: 64.5 grams This is a nice lower carb day for me

Protein: 51 grams This is the highest I go on protein, so if I need a snack it will have to be low in protein, probably fruit, which will add carbs and boost my calories, but I have room. Yesterday I did not have to add anything. What I ate was perfect and satisfying. If you would like to learn more about any of my Wellness Plans, use the contact form after all of the images to email me.

My food tracker app is way off on Phosphorus in foods, by like a lot. So, if you track your Phosphorus due to CKD, I recommend the website Eat This Much. It is way more accurate.

Do you have Chronic Pain from CKD, or other illness? Talk to your doctor about CBD Gummies.


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what are the causes of high blood pressure?

Happy Thursday! Today, I will talk about the causes of High Blood Pressure, or Hypertension. The two short videos below I do recommend you watch. I really wish they had stressed the importance of Stress as a cause of High Blood Pressure. All of the things they talk about can be a stressor that leads to Stress. Remember that Stress is simply a reaction to a stressor. If you didn’t get to read my series of posts on Stress, last month, they are available in the archives. I urge you to read them. Stress is a huge factor in High Blood Pressure. Everyone should consider monitoring their blood pressure at least monthly, and more often if you already have High Blood Pressure, or are borderline.

This post may contain affiliate links.


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For the whole month of May I am concentrating on Blood Pressure Awareness. If you have High Blood Pressure, or want to avoid getting it, all members of my mailing list are eligible for a free coaching session related to Blood Pressure. Simply use the Mailchimp sign up form, right below, and you will be on my mailing list. You can read more about it here. You will also receive my weekly newsletter, a freebie, special deals and offers, and content not shared here on the blog.

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National kidney month: Better food choices

March is National Kidney Month and each Thursday I will be sharing some older posts to help you make better food choices to prevent Kidney Disease and may also slow the progression of Kidney Disease. If you read my post from Monday then you know I have gotten back to stage 2 and I am so excited about that. That doesn’t mean I can slack off. I want it to stay there. Strict eating lifestyles are very hard to stick with and you will have days, or weeks where you fall off the wagon and need to get back on. But, in the long run all that hard work will hopefully pay off. One of my main reasons for becoming a Health Coach, and starting this blog, is to raise awareness about Kidney Disease both prevention and treatment. If I am able to help even one person than I am happy.

  1. I have probably talked about this ad nauseum by now, but decreasing your salt intake is one of the healthiest things you can do for your kidneys. I have to add for your heart and blood pressure as well. The typical Western Diet has way too much added salt, or sodium. The two best ways to do this are learn to cook at home with lots of different spices to add flavor instead of salt, and reduce your processed/fast food intake. Learning to read labels and takeout menus will make you more aware of exactly how much sodium is in a serving and what a serving is. 140 mg of sodium, or less per serving, is considered acceptable. Just be sure to stick to a serving. Here are some of my articles on sodium:, Using vinegar on your food can add the flavor of salt without salt. The same is true for lemon juice. Try to use unsalted butter if you must choose butter.
  2. Reduce the amount of fat you are eating and use proper portion control. This is good for heart health as well as kidney health. Again, I go back to cooking at home and avoiding processed/fast food options as the best ways to help lower your fat intake. But, you have to be aware of other ways fats can sneak in in subtle ways, such as gravy, sauces, butter, cooking oil, etc. Maintaining a healthy body weight can also come under this tip. Losing weight when you already have kidney disease can be very difficult due to the metabolic issues associated with it. Likewise if you are underweight, gaining weight may be your goal to help your kidney disease, your heart, and your brain. Choosing lower fat options of dairy products is optimal. Just be sure and check how much sugar is added because fat was removed, especially if you have Diabetes. Here are some of my articles on this topic:,,,,,,,
  3. If you already have Kidney Disease, Heart Disease, or Diabetes, know your limits and follow them. Keep a food journal to help you keep track. I use my Fitbit to keep track of my calories, fat intake, and protein intake. I have also added a sodium tracker, though I don’t use it as much as I used to. You kind of will get used to how much salt is in what foods. I use an app called Nutrition Facts to get a better understanding of how much Phosphorus is in certain foods. It took me four years to finally figure out how much protein my body needed to function at optimal level but still protect my kidney. I don’t have Potassium restrictions, but if you do that same app I shared can help you. There are some other kidney apps but I did not find them user friendly. If you don’t have a smart phone the website Eat This Much, a pen and paper can help you journal what you eat and how much.

There are many other articles in my archives, besides the ones I shared. Browse through them and see if there is anything that can help you. If you would like to learn more about my Health Buddy Melissa Coaching Service, use the contact form at the end of this post to message me for a free health assessment and evaluation after via email. Any questions can be posted in the comments, or again use the contact form.

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Updates From Health Buddy

Happy Wednesday! I have a few updates for you today.

First, I would like to take a moment to talk about leaving comments on this blog. I love comments. I love to hear what you think, want to know, or if you want to use any of my Health Coaching services. However, I do not enjoy having to moderate 100 spam comments every single day. This is really a waster of my valuable time. Plus, since comments are moderated you are wasting your time as well, as they will not be approved. I also understand the importance of back links. I will not be allowing back links to user profiles, or other questionable websites. I also will not approve comments where the comment has absolutely nothing to do with the topic you are commenting on. This includes, but is not limited to generic comments such as I love your blog, and I just found it, etc. That just tells me you didn’t actually read anything I wrote, and you just want the back link. These types of comments will not be approved.

While you can leave me a comment if you are interested in using my services, if you don’t leave a way for me to contact you this is not helpful. The best way to contact me is by using the contact form at the end of every blog post, or emailing me at Again, if you are just wasting my time and sending me spam, please don’t bother.

My business hours fluctuate depending on the needs of the potential client and things going on in my personal life. So, if you need Health Coaching services, I am flexible to what you may need.

Those who do read, and follow this blog, know that I am a certified AKF Kidney Health Coach. They are now allowing us to do virtual classes, which is absolutely great news. I can reach so many more people this way, as opposed to in my very small community. I will be doing the first virtual class in a couple of weeks, so be sure and watch for me to post the details, probably next week. This is a totally free class.

The easiest way to get updates from this blog, is to follow this blog. As I continue to learn about advertising myself, and the best options that will suit my needs both personally and financially, following this blog will send new posts right to your email.

After my son gets married at the end of this month, I anticipate being able to offer the monthly specials again. Until then, please continue to request info if you are interested in using any of my services.


Going Vegetarian with CKD, Protein

Happy Monday! Health Buddy Melissa is going on a much needed family vacation. We have all been tested for Covid, and are negative, and will be travelling to see family some we haven’t seen in years. We have masks, hand sanitizer, and proper disinfecting supplies. We are ready to go! You can still email me, using the contact form at the end of the post, if you are interested in using any of my coaching services. I will be back to taking new clients on July 13th. I will still communicate via email with anyone who has questions or comments. My laptop goes with me everywhere. I wanted to get in at least one more post before I officially leave.

Last week I talked about the bio-availability of Iron in plant based foods, and how that can affect someone with CKD. Today, I will discuss protein on a plant- based or Vegetarian diet and the challenges of getting enough Protein. I am testing taking Amino Acids with a very low protein diet. I am not suggesting others should do this, but it is worth talking to your physician about. There is a very strong study that taking Amino Acids plus a low protein diet, may help the issue of Protein metabolism and how it effects the kidneys. I will keep you posted on how it goes. As of now it has been about two weeks, and I feel very good, no issues and I have no inflammation or GI upset. I had said before that I was trying Lo Fodmap, and while there are a few of those foods that I truly need to avoid such as soy and cauliflower, most of the rest of that diet is not necessary. I do not tolerate beans, and legumes well, either.

Which leads me to the point of this post. The video below will explain that plant based protein is not as well absorbed as animal protein. Which means you need to eat a lot more of plant based proteins to get enough. If you have CKD, then this can be bothersome because most plants have quite a bit of phosphorus and potassium. Not to mention some are pretty heavy on the calories, and if you want to lose weight this adds another challenge. That does not mean you shouldn’t talk to your doctor about it. Studies are clear that eating a Vegetarian or plant based diet is very beneficial to the kidneys. That is why I am choosing to try the Amino Acid supplement with a low protein diet. This is not a Vegan diet. I have already scheduled my labs and dr appt for September. I also know to monitor my body for any changes or negative effects. Please consult your MD if you choose to give this a go. You do not want to get PEW or muscle wasting. This can be a very bad side effect of a low protein diet. It can also be dangerous. Your heart is a muscle and protein energy wasting can effect the heart. It happens quickly and you may think you are just losing weight, when in actuality you may be losing muscle mass and possibly adding fat in its place. You also don’t want to push your body into Metabolic Alkalosis the opposite of what most kidney patients have from acid buildup. Be smart and be safe.