Sweating on Sunday: Step Aerobics

I had mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I had picked up the duration and intensity of my workouts.  My labs have all been good, and my kidneys are stable.  I now lift weights twice a week, instead of once, and have started doing step aerobics.  Now, I do not yet own a step.  I used to, but I must have gotten rid of it.  I am too cheap to pay too much for one, so until I find one at a bargain price I will just do the steps without it.  Trust me you still are getting a great workout, and honestly, if you are new to step aerobics or clumsy learning the steps first, off of the step is a good idea.  It is very easy to trip and fall, and injure oneself.  I like the Cher video below.  I used to do this way back in the ’90s and surprisingly stored away in my brain I still remembered the steps.  The teacher of this video has a much more difficult video.  I tried it today, and it is very hard to keep up.  I don’t give up, though.  I do 30 minutes of the step video, starting at the 9-minute mark, and then a 15-minute fitness walking video.  That way I get a 45-minute routine and I don’t get bored, which is very easy for me.  I will do this for a while and then change it up again.  I really like Zumba and the line dancing videos too.

Remember to stay in your target heart zone for exercise.  Step aerobics is not low impact and your heart rate will go up pretty quickly especially if you are a beginner.  Stay on the floor and leave out the arms if you need to.  It is still great for balance and brain training to learn harder choreography than just walking.

On Friday I wrote about how I made our weekly meal plan more kidney-friendly for me.  Sunday, today, is technically a new week, but I added it to the Friday post.  We are having BLT’s and I had talked about the bread, however, I am going to try an egg wrap to replace the bread.  I will let you know how that works out.  I am doing that because I am doing low carb after lunch to see if it works with weight loss.  Stay tuned.

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Foodie Friday: Holiday Party Vegetable Casserole for CKD

It is the time of year when eating can negatively affect those with CKD or Diabetes.   I have gone to a mostly plant-based diet because I feel best when I eat that way.  I don’t have Diabetes, but I do have CKD.

This recipe is from Lord Byron’s Kitchen, that I altered to meet my needs.  I am making this tonight and it makes a lot.  I will serve some to my family and the rest will go for lunches over the weekend when I work outside the home.  I use frozen veggies that are best for CKD.  I like to buy the big bag of frozen veggies that have Cauliflower, Carrots, and Broccoli in the bag.  I could also use corn, green beans or squash.  Remember that the green veggies are going to be higher in Potassium, so you may need to exclude them.  You can also make your own Cream of Chicken, or Mushroom soup.  I personally don’t care for Cream of Mushroom and use the chicken or celery version.  I can also buy low sodium and low fat as well.  For the recipe, I don’t add the salt, and I used Italian style bread crumbs instead of the French Fried Onions because I didn’t have any.  Making homemade bread crumbs, or French Fried Onions would save on preservatives added and phosphorus.   I also didn’t add as much cheese as the recipe called for.  I was already close to my protein limit so I didn’t need the added protein in the cheese.  Vegan cheese could also be used, but I have not tried that yet.  Cheese is also very high in sodium.  This can be made ahead and frozen for holiday parties.  I hate going to a party and there is nothing there I feel comfortable eating, or I have to starve all day just to be able to eat.  Can you relate?  Let me know if you try it, and how you like it.  I could not find serving sizes on the website with the original recipe.  I can safely assume 1 cup would be a good serving size for this type of dish.


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My Top 5 Halloween Candy Picks for CKD

Update 10/29/2021: I have been stage 2 for over six months now!

If you read this blog then you know I am stage 3A, stable and want to keep it that way.  I would actually be thrilled to be stage 2 again, but doctors discourage that thought.  Starting with Halloween begins the holiday seasons of stressful parties, eating, over-eating, and not feeling well.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  I will be focusing on tips for the holidays probably right through New Year’s.  I do not love chocolate, but every now and then I want some chocolate.  Of course, Halloween means tons of chocolate lying around.  Tootsie Rolls did not make my top 5 picks, because they are not a favorite of mine, but if you are a chocolate lover Tootsie Rolls could help your craving.  I do have Dark Chocolate a couple times a week, in a single serving size, because it contains a good amount of Iron.  I will also eat White Chocolate if I am craving chocolate.  It has about 50mg less per serving of Potassium and Phosphorus.  However, because Phosphorus is not on the label it is hard to estimate exactly how much is in there.  For that reason, any chocolate needs to be consumed sparingly.  Potassium is clearly marked on labels.  If you have CKD and have Diabetes then looking for your favorites with sugar substitute is best.  Luckily these days there are lots of options for Diabetes, compared to even 10 years ago.  Holidays don’t have to suck or make you sick just because you have a Chronic Illness.

My top 5 Halloween candy picks for CKD are:

  1. Cinnamon discs
  2. Hot Tamales
  3. Orange Cream discs
  4. Werther’s Origials
  5. White Chocolate Kit Kat but only if Phosphorus is not an issue.


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Do you know what’s in your sweat?

Updated 2/7/2021 OK, so I am going to keep this simple, because there is so much more to what is in sweat, and who sweats what. Some people sweat way more than other people, some without even trying hard.   However, as a basic information tool, here is a question.  Do you know what is in sweat?  I think most people assume when they sweat they are losing large amounts of Electrolytes.  This is apparently not completely true. The main purpose of sweat is to regulate our body temperatures, and therefore sweating is very important. The short video below is from a deodorant company, but it explains why we sweat in a very simple way. For a longer and more complex explanation of sweat, I promise it is interesting, see the second video. Check out my Walking Buddy Health Plan.

In a very basic way, from least to most this is what sweat is comprised of:  Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium, Bicarb, Ammonia, Sulfate, Lactate, Amino Acids, those are all in very , very small amounts.  Sodium, Chloride and Water are the three biggest things contained in sweat.

Now that doesn’t mean go off your Sodium restricted diet, because you sweat, but if you have CKD, like me, you can see where sweating, through moderate exercise, may help aid the kidneys in getting rid of some excess Sodium.  If  you are not having an excess of Sodium, say your blood levels of Sodium are low, than in the reverse you need to talk to your doctor about normalizing your Sodium, and Chloride levels.  Having a low blood Sodium level can be very dangerous, and should not be taken lightly.  Over exercising, or drinking too much water, can cause your Sodium levels to decrease.  That is why it is so important to be aware of your body, any unusual symptoms, and work with your Health Care provider to be sure you are getting the right amount of exercise.  Not too much, and definitely not too little.  If you have kidney disease, you should have your Labs checked at least yearly, and maybe more if needed.  I do mine every 6 months.  When I was first diagnosed I had to go every 2 weeks.  Most Americans consume way too much Sodium, even when trying to restrict the amount in their diet.  However, in other cultures, Sodium is not necessarily increased in the diet.  If you are sedentary, especially with a Chronic Illness, always talk to your doctor about exercise, before you begin.  If you are sweating a lot, you need to maintain hydration, so as not to get dehydrated.

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healthier Easter Apple Treats

Updated 3/18/2021 OK, so technically these can be for any day of the week, but Easter is coming, and I thought I would share some healthy apple treats.  I used to hear the saying, ” An apple A day keeps the doctor away,” all the time.  I don’t hear it so much anymore.  I wonder why, as apples are one of the healthiest fruits you can eat.  Now if you are diabetic apples do contain sugar, and therefore carbs, so they must be counted in a daily allowance. The Glycemic Index for apples is 39, and anything below 55 is low. Plus, apples have lots of fiber.  I read that you can decrease the total carbs in apples by subtracting the total fiber, to get net carbs. This is not really for people with Diabetes, but more for people who may follow a lower carb diet for weight loss.   Cool!  Apples is one of two fresh fruits we keep in the house.  Bananas are the other, but that is for another day.

What about apples is so great?  Apples are high in fiber, which can reduce cholesterol, fill you up and help you lose weight.  Apples are full of antioxidants which decrease inflammation, can help vision, reduce risk of cancer, and boost immunity.  Here is one I did not know, apples phytochemicals, and polyphenols which can help with Asthma, or other respiratory disorders.  Don’t remove the skin!  The skin of an apple contains half of the apple fiber, and half of the polyphenols.  If you don’t buy organic fruit, make sure you wash it in baking soda and water to help remove any leftover pesticide residue.  This will make your apple even healthier. Be mindful of adding extras like ice cream, chocolate, or other high sugar and fat toppings.

Anyway, I found a website with a  bunch of yummy desserts you can make using apples.  You can find the original post here, and the links to the recipes.  Here are some of them that I am considering for my Easter treats.  Apple pie oatmeal cookies, apple coffee cake, oatmeal stuffed baked apples, apple cake, caramel apple shake, etc

Remember, if you have CKD, or Diabetes, you still need to eat in small amounts, and not over indulge, even for healthier treats.  You can still enjoy Easter dinner, with family and friends, without causing harm to yourself.

If you would like to learn more about using a Health Coach to meet your dietary goals, use the contact form at the end of this post to email me.

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Sweating on Sunday: Weight Bearing Exercises

Updated 3/14/2021 Osteoporosis is a common ailment as we get older, especially for women.  At the end of this article will be some sources for you to learn more about preventing Osteoporosis.  Keeping bones strong, and even possibly building new bone, takes weight bearing exercises at a high enough impact.  I walk a lot, but I have to consider that it might not be enough to alleviate my risk of Osteoporosis, and bone injuries.

So, what are weight bearing exercises?  Generally any activity that your feet are having impact with the floor, ground, or hard surface.   Walking, running, treadmills, elliptical machines, aerobics, dancing, these are all considered weight bearing activities.  Swimming, gardening, bike riding, etc are non weight bearing activities, though still very good for you as they build strength, balance, and burn calories. Walking and elliptical machines may not be intense enough to be effective, but if you can get the intensity high enough it can work, like adding inclines, or going faster.  While all of these activities can address the bones in the lower body, you have to consider the bones in the upper body.

That is where weight lifting, and exercise bands come in.  Now, I am not talking about lifting super heavy weights, light dumb bells, exercise bands, or tubes will work.  I am not sure if Isometric exercises would be effective for bone growth, but they are great for toning for people who may not be able to tolerate lifting weights.  All of the bones need weight bearing exercises.

These exercises may not be healthy for everyone.  You should always discuss with your health care provider to be sure, and they may recommend a Physical Therapy evaluation if you already have bone issues, or are at risk.  Don’t injure yourself!  That is what you are trying to prevent.  Always remember everyone is different, and not one blanket statement, or program will work for all people.

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