do you know what today is?

It’s Friday! Well yes, obviously. But, did you also know that is The Day of the Mushroom? A whole day to celebrate mushrooms!

Mushrooms are not something I love to eat. But, I am trying to learn to love them. It is more of a consistency issue for me as opposed to taste. I have seen where you can buy mushroom powder for smoothies. Maybe I will not mind that so much. Mushrooms are incredibly healthy and can be a protein replacement for Vegans and Vegetarians. Mushrooms contain all 9 of the essential amino acids needed by the body. Mushrooms are also low in fat, sodium, and calories. Of course how you prepare them can effect that. If you have Kidney Disease mushrooms are particularly high in Phosphorus and possibly Potassium. Sticking to proper portion sizes will be of importance. My family loves hamburgers and I think I want to try a Portabello mushroom burger the next time. Mushrooms can also be used for medicinal purposes. Below you will find a video about mushrooms, and a video with a delicious mushroom recipe for you to try. You can even grow your own mushrooms, or forage for them. Try to purchase whole food mushrooms, not highly processed mushroom food items.


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tis the seasonings!

Happy Wellness Wednesday! My daughter already ate lunch so I will have to do the Dollar Tree food challenge item tomorrow. It is a damp, rainy and chilly day here in Florida. We did get in a driving lesson and a dog training session before the rain came, so now on to the school day. This gift idea is is more of a knowledge type gift idea. Last week I posted about herbs and spices as a way to cut back on sodium for people with CKD. However, as I found out my Lemon Pepper seasoning I use all the time has some sodium in it. Now, it is very strong and I only use small amounts, but it still has hidden sodium in it. So that got me to thinking that I could probably make these seasoning mixes myself and just keep them in the pantry. Most of them are made with common herbs and spices that would be included in a spice herb gift kit. However, if you really want to go organic and avoid all preservatives and additives, buy from a specialty website like Mountain Rose Herbs. I also shared the gift idea of growing an herb garden in which case your loved one could dry and save their own herbs. But, what if you wanted to learn to make herb and spice blends to give as awesome gifts? The video below will show you how easy it really is to do it and avoid all the extra stuff you may not want. The lovely lady in the video offers some great learn to cook options on her channel. You will need jars to put all your herb and spice mixes in, and here are some to choose from. If you are cheap like me, I mean frugal, you could just save old jars to use. But, since this is a gift idea I would recommend buying the lovely jars.

I hope you have been enjoying my gift idea series. It will come to an end on Friday. There are so many great gift ideas for people with CKD and I hope I have been able to narrow it down a bit. Because today is Wellness Wednesday, and I believe laughter is the best medicine be sure and watch the funny kitten video below. I hope it puts a smile on your face as it did mine.

Starting next week my year in review will begin, as well as into the first couple of weeks of January. I will be rolling out some new Health Buddy plans, so be sure to watch for those. If you think your loved one, or yourself, would find benefit in working with a Health Coach use the contact form to email me. Be sure and check out my Fitbit walking stats from yesterday and ask about my Walking Buddy program.


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Gift Ideas 3 and 4 for people with ckd, plus my weekly meal plan

I totally forgot to post gift idea #3 yesterday, so today I will do 3 and 4. Before I get to that I want to mention that today was grocery day. I really do quite hate grocery shopping, lol, and I hate going to various stores to get better deals. I can tell you one thing. There is no way I can only spend 50 dollars a week if I want to shop at Publix, which I do because I love their Greenwise products. It is just too expensive. But, I may have to sacrifice the budget a little, because when you start reading ingredients I really do much prefer organic items. For example, I needed Ricotta Cheese. Aldis, where I went first, had none at all. So, I went to Publix. I was going to get the one that was 4 dollars cheaper, and then I read the ingredients. Nope, spent the extra 4 dollars. But, with that said I don’t need to buy everything organic. I like grass-fed meats, and organic cheeses, and some other things. But fruits and veggies, honestly I don’t really notice any difference as long as I rinse them well. That goes for frozen too, but I do always check the ingredients on anything I buy. I might be able to do it if I did just their buy 1 get 1 free offering, but those are all processed foods almost completely and that is what I don’t want. So, I did go to Aldi’s first, and unfortunately, the Aldi’s near me is not really all that affordable. I save more at Save A Lot and Walmart in the smaller town near me. But, that is the point of me challenging myself. I learn through keeping track of where I really do get the most for my money. I went over budget and spent 70 dollars. Some of that was for baking stuff for Christmas cookies which we give as gifts. But, I left it in the budget for my daughter to see how easy it is to go outside the budget especially at holidays. I will subtract it from next week, and only have 30 to spend. I don’t know, though because our inventory of meat, and veggies are just about used up, so I may need to spend more. I did stick to my list though and bought no extras.

My meal plan for 12/4-12/11 just dinners.

12/4- Leftovers. There is pork, coleslaw, and sweet potatoes

12/5- Homemade pizzas. Aldis had flatbread so I bought those. We already had cheese and sauce. I have some leftover mushrooms and onions for mine, and my daughter will put pepperoni on hers. This is a work day for me, so I don’t worry about my carbs too much as I am constantly moving. Same with 12/6

12/6- Ravioli, bread and butter, salad. I am not sure how I will handle this meal, being low carb. I will share what I decide.

12/7- Chicken alfredo and broccoli. I bought some chickpeas to make a sauce for me, as I don’t like Alfredo. I am not sure it will be low carb, though, maybe.

12/8- Grilled cheese and tomato soup. This is our busiest day of the week and we always have something quick and easy. I have some of my Ole tortilla wraps still and I will just make grilled cheese with one of them.

12/9- Pancakes with sausage. I can tell you already I only eat 1 pancake. They are high in carbs and sodium.

12/10- Homemade lasagna. I probably just won’t eat the pasta. Side salad, and texas toast. No Texas toast for me either.

12/11- Leftovers

For my 3rd gift idea I chose a robotic vacuum. Now, technically I would like one of these, but it is not at all something I need. I have a teen who sweeps, lol. But, if you have CKD, especially stage 4 or 5 housework can be exhausting. This is a bit of a pricier gift, but I picked one with 5 stars, and it is on sale. It is on Amazon, click here. Obviously, you don’t have to pick that one. It is just an idea.

Gift #4 is a great cookbook with great recipes for CKD. I picked this one, because I have read this one, and I loved it. Please note, I have noticed that a lot of these kidney cookbooks do not focus on Phosphorus. Be alert when cooking as to Phosphorus amounts.

There you have it. 2 more great gift ideas for anyone with CKD on your gift giving list. Come back tomorrow for gift idea #5. If you would like to learn more about any of my health coaching services. Please use the contact form at the bottom of this post to message me.

It is difficult to follow a limited protein, low sodium, and a low carb diet at the same time. Plus, be mindful of potassium and phosphorus.


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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

Burger Fervor

OK, fervor may not be the correct word in this context, but it sounds cool, lol. August 27th is National Burger Day! Hamburgers are a huge part of the American food culture. But, apparently it is a global food item. The video below will show a quick and unique history of the Hamburger.

If you have CKD, Diabetes or any other chronic illness where a hamburger may not be something you should eat all the time, there are ways to still enjoy a burger without harming your health.

Here are some ways to make a burger healthier for different dietary needs:

1- Make a burger slider. Sliders are much smaller than a standard hamburger which can be anywhere from 6-12 ounces in size. I make my burgers in 2 to 3 ounce sizes. If you must eat a burger out, see if they offer a slider option, if not only eat half and take the rest home for another meal.

2- The bun is super important for a hamburger. I personally like whole grain sandwich thins, as my burger bun. Try to choose organic, non white bun options. If you are stage 4 or 5 CKD then you will want white flour buns. If you are Diabetic choose low carb options of buns, and low fat for Cardiac Disease. Try to get the lowest sodium per serving as you can. If you absolutely are low carb simply put your burger in a bowl with lettuce, pickles, cheese and some Thousand Island dressing, and you have a Big Mac in a bowl.

3- Use more mustard and less Catsup. Mustard is naturally salty tasting but has little to no sodium. Add fresh Basil leaves to give it a lovely peppery taste.

4- Choose a low sodium cheese such as Swiss for your burger. Go for organic. Not all Swiss cheese brands are low sodium. Baby Swiss is higher in sodium, but I like Sargento as it is one of the lowest sodium cheeses I can find.

5- If you absolutely want a full size burger, add black beans, corn half and half ground beef to your burger. Or use ground turkey and half black beans or corn.

6- Add lots of veggies to your burger such as tomato, lettuce, and onions. Don’t forget some pickles though they are generally higher in sodium.

7- Choose grass fed beef if you can, with the lowest fat percentage possible, and let your burger stand on a plate with a paper towel to absorb some of the fat after cooking. Then put it on your burger bun. Grilling meat over a high heat flame in some studies shows it causes a chemical reaction that can be cancerous. If you are concerned about opt to grill over a lower heat with less flame.

You can still enjoy food holidays. Just be Mindful how you choose your ingredients, and then prepare the food.

Health Buddy Melissa is a Holistic Health Coach, Mindfulness Practitioner, Nurse, Reiki Practitioner and more. If you would like to learn more about any of my Health Coaching plans, click here. Use the contact form at the end of this post to contact me for a free meet and greet, to establish your goals and see if you would like to use my services.


Sweet, Sweet Basil!

Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope all is well with my readers. Today is Self Care Sunday. So, why am I talking about Basil? Well for a couple of reasons. One, part of self care is eating good nutritious foods. Two, also part of self care is relaxation and self confidence. Both of these can come from growing a garden of your own. I am not good at growing summer crops. I have tried, I suck! Namely because I simply don’t have the time to water and fertilize as a summer garden requires here in Florida. I am quite good at growing flowers, and herbs, though. I think I will try a winter garden. My local store had no seeds at all. I am assuming due to Covid people are growing a lot of their own food, as there is always tons of seeds this time of year.

Basil is so super easy to grow and care for. It is delicious and nutritious. I must make a note here. If you have CKD Basil is a green, and greens are high in potassium. You do only need to eat very small amounts of Basil to get tons of flavor, but be sure and speak to your doctor about proper amounts if you have issues with potassium. Also if you are on Warfarin, Coumadin or other blood thinners, Basil is very high in Vitamin K which can counteract your blood thinners. Again, speak with your doctor or pharmacist about consuming greens and how much.

If you live in cold climates, Basil likes 70 degrees or warmer, simply grow your Basil indoors. I have quite a bit of Basil right now, so I will freeze some for smoothies, or cooking. Some people put it in water, or oil in ice cube trays and freeze it. I just chop it up and freeze it. If you are trying to decrease your sodium intake, Basil is a wonderful herb to add tons of flavor in very small amounts. There are other varieties but I like the Sweet Basil the best.

Basil is high in Vitamin K, Iron, Magnesium and others too. It has little to no calories at all, and no sodium. Even though it does have about 16mg of potassium per 2 tbsp chopped, it is lower than many other leafy greens.

Below are 2 links for your reading pleasure, and some videos about caring for and growing Basil. As I said it is very easy to grow and care for. You can even give it as gifts if you get a ton of it. I have added a link for Basil Essential Oil. Be sure and read about safety before using it.

I find gardening very relaxing. There is something about feeling the earth in your hands. As your plant grows and you gain confidence you can try other plants in your food garden. Amazon has several books on growing plants in pots, if you can not have a garden in the ground. If you would like to learn more about my Health Coaching services use the contact form at the end of the post to message me.

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My CKD Friendly Fruit and Veggie Smoothie

Happy Friday! I hope everyone is well. I have posted before how I love smoothies. So, I put together a recipe for a CKD friendly fruit and veggie smoothie. Please remember the nutrition info is estimates only. Especially for Phosphorus which is incredibly difficult to find accurate amounts for. I use the website Eat This Much to get a general idea of Phosphorus amounts. The creamer I can not find Phosphorus info, but the ingredients says it has a potassium and phosphorus additive, so that means the potassium amount I gave is probably a bit higher, and the phosphorus as well. You can always just not use the creamer, but even milk alternatives have phosphorus additives. I like the flavor that the French Vanilla creamer adds. Also replace the banana with strawberries or other low potassium fruit, if potassium is an issue for your. I also use parsley or kale, instead of spinach. It just depends what I have on hand. If you need some protein in it I have used flaxseed or cashews. I also freeze my smoothies for when everyone else at my house is eating ice cream. Also please remember if you are on a blood thinner, ask your doctor about eating leafy greens, and if you are prone to kidney stones, spinach in high amounts can increase oxalate levels.

Enjoy! If you would like to learn about any of my Health Coaching services, please use the contact form after the images to message me.


Summer Heat and the Kidneys

Updated 3/7/2021: Check out my March 2021 coach giveaway. Well we were going on vacation to upstate NY where the temps were in the 70’s. Living in Florida we were sure we would be cold, so we packed some light fall type clothing. When we were half way to our destination we got a call from my FIL stating that the governor had decided that all Floridians would need to quarantine for two weeks upon entering the state. So, we decided to stay a night in NC with my sister, and then we went to South Florida, to Captiva Island for a four day mini vacay. I can absolutely tell you S FL this time of year is swealtering. While I don’t expect people who don’t have CKD to completely understand all the idiosyncrasies of keeping a body in homeostasis with kidney disease, I do expect it from my family. At any rate on Saturday it was horribly hot,and humid, with no clouds and full on sun. I think my husband was kind of annoyed because I wanted to stay in the AC the hottest parts of the day. He got over after I explained it to him, but I just find it amazing that I still have to explain things. So, that lead me to this blog post so others can understand how heat and the kidneys do not mix. Now that does not mean I don’t go out in the heat. That is not true. I mow, swim, exercise, volunteer, and work. I live a normal life just with some needed modifications to avoid the negative effects of heat, especially excessive heat and humidity. It is uber important to stay hydrated, rest if I need to, and to be diligent in recognizing symptoms of getting too hot. Dehydration, and low blood pressure are all side effects of being too hot, especially for people with CKD. Low blood pressure can be just as dangerous as high blood pressure. If you feel woozy, fatigued, or have an unsteady gait your BP may be low. Loss of Sodium through sweat is one way that BP can become low. There are times that I have to bring a salty snack with me, when I know I will be in excessive heat for a longer period of time. Tons of water also, has to be with me and available at all times. It takes some planning, but is doable.

Below are some videos, and one article all about staying healthy in the hot days of Summer. I found it quite interesting that the article focuses on people getting CKD due to Climate Change due to over heating and dehydration as temps continue to rise each year. It is not super long and definitely worth the read.

Please remember that alcohol and caffeine can worsen Dehydration, as well as sugary drinks. Avoid them at all cost especially if you have kidney disease. Certain medications can also make being in the hot sun more dangerous than for those who do not take medications.

Be safe, cool and hydrated. Take care of yourself and educate those around you as to your needs. You don’t have to give up Summer fun just because you have CKD. Check out my post I wrote on What is in Sweat to read in adjunct to the other info on this post.

I am still technically on vacation, just vacationing closer to home, which is completely OK with me. I have plenty to do. I got tons of shells while at Captiva Island and I feel the crafting bug coming on. My son is getting married at the end of July, and that is enough said, lol. I have homeschool planning to do for my daughter, as well as getting her portfolio ready for her evaluation in August. Not to mention painting and gardening that need to be done. Yep, I will be plenty busy on this vacation.

If you are interested in learning about any of my Health Coach services, please use the contact form under the videos to message me, or email me at Please remember if you are stage 3 or less, you may not need to restrict fluids or potassium, but if you are stage 4 or 5 you may need to restrict those things. It is always best to speak to your doctor about these issues when you are stage 4 or 5.



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Low FODMAP and CKD Friendly Hummus

Hummus is celebrated in the month of May.  People who suffer from Chronic Illnesses may not get to enjoy such celebrations.  I have been following Low FODMAP for a few weeks now, due to bloating, stomach pains, and irregular stools.  It has helped me immensely.  But, following it, plus a CKD friendly diet makes it difficult.  I have to do a lot of research and tweaking.  My husband has IBS/Diverticulosis, so I am now doing low FODMAP for all dinner meals, to see how it may help him.  He is hesitant to try foods that seem “healthy,” whatever that means.  He really liked this hummus, and though I was not sure if the texture would work for me, it was quite delicious and the texture was creamy, and light.  Please note, peppers and carrots are lower in potassium than other vegetables, but they do have potassium.  If you are following a low potassium diet be sure to figure up how much you will be consuming.  Most hummus is made with leafy green veggies which are very high in potassium, or chickpeas and cauliflower which are high in phosphorus.

This hummus was extremely easy to make.  It took a total of maybe 20 minutes.  This is low sodium, lower potassium, lower phosphorus, low FODMAP, and low protein food.  The crackers I used, shown in the image, are low FODMAP as they have only 1g of sugars.  Be sure and read labels when preparing your hummus.  The carrots and bell peppers are organic.  While I do not consume a lot of dairies, lactose-free allows me the protein source plus much-needed calcium.

This is not a sponsored post for Nutribullet.  But, I do love mine.  I use it for all kinds of smoothies, and pureed items.


2 cups of carrots.  I used shredded because I had them on hand, it is was easier than chopping.

Red, and Orange Bell Peppers:  About 1.5 cups.  I do not use green peppers as they are only Low FODMAP in small amounts, and they definitely bother me.

I use everything seasoning because that is what I like, and it is low sodium.

Lactose-free cream cheese 2 tsp.


  1.  I roasted the carrots and peppers at 350 for 15 minutes, with the seasoning on them.
  2.  I then put the roasted veggies in my Nutribullet and blended until there were no chunks.
  3. You could stop here if you like that consistency.  It did not work for me, and I wanted a little protein in there.
  4. So, I added 2 tsp of this lovely lactose-free cream cheese.  It made a nice, thick, creamy consistency.  You could always add more, or less to suit your needs.
  5. Serve with crackers or use as a sandwich spread.

Enjoy!  Leave me a comment if you try it, and let me know what you think.  This makes an easy, nutritious lunch for me at work.


Recipe showcase


Low Protein Vegetarian Mac n Cheese

Updated 5/8/2021 We are big Macaroni and Cheese lovers, at my house.  Because of my CKD, this is a hard meal to enjoy.  The cheese adds Protein, Sodium, and Phosphorus in pretty large amounts.  Plus the saturated fats.  So, I came up with my own version of Macaroni and Cheese, and I love it.  No one else does, but that is Ok.  The graphic below is for 1 serving.  This dish is also low in Phosphorus about 100 grams, but that may depend on different varieties of the items used.  I use Eat this Much to estimate Phosphorus levels in food.  If you use frozen, or fresh sweet potatoes, the Sodium levels are also low.  Canned sweet potatoes have a lot of sodium, rinsing them can help.  Potassium will be high due to the Sweet Potatoes, so be careful if you are watching Potassium levels.   You could half the Sweet Potatoes.  It is also low fat, and you could use a different kind of fat instead of butter to improve that even more.  It is, however, going to be higher in Carbs.  If you have a set Carb level due to Diabetes be sure and figure up the totals.  It is low in sugar, though.  Enjoy, and let me know if you tried it. The recipe is the image below. Remember all nutrition info is an estimate and you have to tailor your needs to your nutrition.


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