$63 Dollar Per Week Grocery Budget Challenge: Start Of Week 6!

Hello, and welcome back! If you have been following along then you realize I changed the title It used to be a duo challenge with the first part being could I, with CKD, eat pantry shelf-stable type foods and still feel good and healthy. After 5 weeks, the answer is no, I can’t. Those types of foods, unless I buy organic which I can not on this budget, are too high in fat, salt, sugar, and added phosphates. None of which is good for someone with CKD. So, that part of the challenge is over and decided. With that said there are some options that can be worked in like peanut butter, nuts, seeds, frozen fruit, beans, and canned or frozen veggies. Be sure and read the label and ingredients list prior to buying these items. For example, last week I save a couple of dollars by buying a cheaper French salad dressing. I did not read the label before buying. Today I went to put it on my salad and did read the label. Much to my shock 2 tbsp contains 13 grams of fat and High Fructose Corn Syrup. I will never buy this dressing again, and I am not even sure I will eat it.

For the remainder of this year, I will continue the 63 dollars per week Food Budget Challenge.

This is the start of week 6. I will be starting a new job probably within the next 7 days, so I may have to adjust my start and stop days. You also may remember that I went way over budget last week buying Superbowl stuff. The good news is, we have tons of leftovers, probably enough to feed us lunch all week, or most of the week. We also still have in the freezer mozzarella sticks and a package of hot dogs. Plus, a bunch of other things we didn’t use last week. We also did not cook the macaroni and cheese, I just forgot. For my challenge, The Pantry is anything in a cupboard, on a shelf, or in the freezer.

You can see everything I bought in the image. Aldis seemed just as expensive as Publix this week. So, unless I need to be over there I will shop at Walmart or Save A Lot from here on out, which is only 10 miles from my home, as opposed to 35. The only meat I purchased was the Boston Butt which I am not sure you can see well. It is a good chunk of meat and will make a lot of meals.

No one in my house will eat beans, except me, and I don’t eat them a lot. So, as this challenge goes on and the meat inventory gets depleted, this budget will be a real challenge. We may have to have a few meatless meals a week. Good thing they like eggs.

The only fresh veggies I bought this week are carrots and onions. My Instapot died and I didn’t buy a new one yet. So, I am going to prep the whole bag of potatoes extra from last week’s haul, and the carrots by baking them all up or freezing them. Because, I love to pop a carrot and a potato in my Instapot for an easy lunch, but I forgot I don’t have one. I did buy fresh fruit, because I hate canned fruit, and will use frozen only in smoothies. I got a bag of apples and some bananas. I eat a banana every day until they run out, even with CKD. I bought no salad stuff this week. It just doesn’t get eaten well this time of year. Some of this stuff I don’t eat, like the pizza, and chicken tenders. Once in a while, I will, but not this week.

One thing I like to do when we are having Alfredo Sauce, like tonight, is I use creamed-style corn as my sauce instead. Gravy will work too as long as it is low sodium and doesn’t have phosphorus additives in it. This will be tonight’s dinner. I will cook up the chicken breast with some onion, mushrooms, and frozen peas with carrots. Then, I will cook the creamed corn in a separate pan, and add half of a cup on top of my chicken and veggies. No one else will eat it this way but for me.

Some meal ideas I have floating around in my head for this week are Chicken Alfredo which is a definite for tonight, Spanish rice with ground turkey, cream of chicken lemon pork chops, taco soup, bbq fish. All of the ingredients for these meals I already have on hand. We should not have to buy any other food items until next week.

I spent $60.25 on groceries this week, but it could have been much less had I not bought the Boston butt.

If you would like to learn more about meal planning, and grocery shopping with CKD, use the contact form at the end of this post to send me an email and arrange for a free consultation.

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Holy Fructosenomics!

OK, so I totally made that word up. But, I had already done a post last year titled What the Fructose! So, I had to come up with something. For the purposes of this post, because the topic is very complex, and there is a lot to it, I am going to make some key points I want you to know. There will be some other articles below, for you to read. If you are not used to reading medical research they might be kind of kwonky. I do a lot of research when I do these kinds of posts, and believe it or not there is not a lot of actual recent research on High Fructose Corn Syrup, you can probably guess why, ahem lobbyists. Now, with that said there is no evidence that High Fructose Corn Syrup actually causes obesity, but there is definitely a correlation. But, I found some other facts more interesting rather than if it makes you fat. I am not talking about Fructose found in fruit. I am talking about HFCS as an additive to almost everything you might eat that is processed.

  1. There is no good research that states HFCS makes you obese. However, there is very good evidence that it causes fatty liver disease, increases all types of bad fats in the body, can possibly cause CKD whoa what, causes High Blood Pressure, and wait for it causes Metabolic Dysregulation ie. Metabolic Syndrome, the one thing I told you you don’t want to have if you are overweight, or obese. So, maybe doctors have gotten this backwards all these years. It might not be Obesity that can cause Metabolic Syndrome, but rather Metabolic Syndrome causes Obesity. Woop there it is! Be sure and read the thousands of articles I will provide below.
  2. High Fructose Corn Syrup does not get broken down in the body like regular sugar. Our bodies, apparently, do not contain digestive enzymes that break HFCS down into a usable form of energy, and is rather sent to the liver to be stored as fat, and the liver tries to break it down. This makes perfect sense to me when you look at the issue of visceral, or abdominal fat being the main culprit of health and disease risk factors. If you are consuming too much HFCS then the liver can store, it will be stored as extra fat in the abdominal area, and around your organs. Insulin has no effects on HFCS.
  3. HFCS is much sweeter, and cheaper than regular table sugar. While it is true table sugar is half glucose and half fructose, the body has enzymes to break that down.
  4. HFCS is added to almost all processed foods. There are some that it isn’t but you have to read labels, and they are sneaky too. Be sure and read my other two posts on this topic.
  5. Some of my favorite products, yep calling them out, contain HFCS: Welch’s grape jelly, Heinz Catsup, Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce, salad dressings, Jif Peanut Butter, sat it isn’t so! My family hates the ones with no HFCS because they are addicted to the sweetness, so I have to buy two types, and hope they will at least try to get used to the non HFCS brands. They are more expensive too.
  6. Big companies making a gazillion dollars using cheap sweetener that almost certainly is causing us humans damage.
  7. Limiting added sugars, and especially HFCS to only 25 grams per day, or less, will help you get rid of stubborn belly fat, not sit ups, not low carb, or whatever whacky diet is out there. You will also see your cholesterol and triglycerides go down. All of these will be future topics.

Trust me, I know how hard it is to read labels, plan meals that are healthy, avoid processed foods including eating out. I have a family. They love these types of foods, and I enjoy them too, in moderation, but it is a struggle that needs to be overcome for the health and wellbeing of my whole family.

The best thing you can do for your health, and the health of your family is to stop eating foods with HFCS, imo.

Disclaimer

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31058204/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5747444/

https://www.reliasmedia.com/articles/64561-artificial-sweeteners-and-high-fructose-corn-syrup-effects-on-diabetes-and-weight

https://www.fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/high-fructose-corn-syrup-questions-and-answers

https://interestingengineering.com/high-fructose-corn-syrup-and-the-obesity-epidemic

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/why-high-fructose-corn-syrup-is-bad?

https://www.healio.com/news/nephrology/20200512/soda-sweetened-with-highfructose-corn-syrup-may-reduce-renal-blood-flow-increase-ckd-risk

https://www.mashed.com/225668/the-untold-truth-of-high-fructose-corn-syrup/

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happy thursday!

OMG, I almost felt like Frosty the Snowman for a minute! It is still chilly here in Florida, which I am getting really bored with. If you have been following along then you know I homeschool my daughter and she is starting an untraditional Nutrition course designed by me. Yesterday, was the first day and we did inventory to see what we had and what we needed. She also had to decide on a healthy meal that she would prepare for the upcoming week. She chose Chicken Cesar Salad, which could also count as this week’s 5 dollar dinner because everything comes right in the kit. At Aldi the kit was 2.99 and you could get two servings out of that, and if you really tried three. That is a great deal. I said everything was in there, but there is no chicken. We had one piece of chicken leftover and we threw it in there. A nice healthy filling dinner for my fast food, junk food, processed food loving teen. Not a bad start. If you have CKD go light on the Cesar dressing, I only used about a tbsp. Creamier dressings, as you will see in the video below have more calories, phosphorus and other additives than a clear dressing. You don’t get a lot of cheese with these salad kits, so that shouldn’t be an issue especially if you are sharing it with another person. Also a note about Mrs. Dash and other low sodium seasoning mixes, they are generally high in Potassium, so be sure and read the label for Nutrition info and ingredients. My menu plan is all set for the next week and if you would like to get my menu plan, grocery list with basic prices, and two recipes a week, then check out my new subscription plan Meals with Melissa. You get all of that, plus I will message you twice a week to see how it is going, what you might need help with and what kinds of meals you would like in the future. I also add general Nutrition info to each recipe. All that for only 10 dollars a month!

This is not what I intended to post about today, but I did not have time to research what I was going to write about. The three in the video are kind of boring, but they did put together an awesome meal for people with Heart Disease, Diabetes or CKD. A couple things I would note, I am not a Dietitian, but I have been counting my protein long enough to know their chicken breast was not 3 ounces. While they did say a portion should be 3 ounces, that one was not. Cut it in half, and always weigh your meat if you are unsure. Basil is very strong in flavor, and to me they put way too much. But, if you like zing in your food Basil will get you there. I like to use Red Wine Vinegar as it tastes like salt but contains no salt. I loved the Alfredo Sauce they made, and I can’t wait to try that. I do not care for traditional Alfredo Sauce, and it isn’t really good for people with CKD anyways.

I will be back tomorrow. Have a great evening! Drop me a comment if you think you will try their Alfredo Sauce.

I am looking at adding a Facebook Instant Messenger Chat box, so be sure and watch for that if you would like to chat with me. I do have a chat box on this blog, but it is not convenient and I don’t find it works well.

If you would like to learn more about me, and my Health Coach services, use the contact form at the end of this post to message me.

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What the Fructose!

If you read this blog then you know I have had my own struggles with weight loss especially since reaching menopause. You also know I promote organic foods, when possible, and decreasing sugar. So, if you read my post from the other day about sugar being addicting then you got a good feel for the science. However, more explanation is needed especially when it comes to Fructose and sneaky names for sugar on food labels. Not only should you check for how many added sugars there are foods you buy in the supermarket, but also at the ingredients on each label. If you are having a hard time losing weight, or have Type 2 Diabetes, Pre-Diabetes, or Metabolic Syndrome, watch all of the videos below and learn about Fructose, High Fructose Corn Syrup, added sugars and how the body metabolizes sugars. You may have to pick your jaw up off the floor. None of them are long, and if you are at a high risk for Cardiac Disease pay particular attention to how high sugar amounts are leading to Cardiac Disease. This is not a paid post and I get no credit for sharing the videos. They are to help my readers learn.

There is one link, here, and the video is awesome, but be sure to read it all too. Do it last, though, after the other videos. It will make more sense.

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Is sugar Evil and Addicting?

Happy Tuesday! Is sugar evil and addicting? I don’t think sugar in and of itself can be considered evil. However, the food industry can be.

Did you know sugar is 8 times more addicting than cocaine? How would I know such a thing? Because they did a study, and you can learn about that study in the video below.

Why am I even bringing this up? Well for one thing this is a Holistic Health Coaching blog, and I am the owner. While I am certainly no one to say my nutrition status is perfect, but I choose to continue to learn and improve to be the healthiest I can be. A couple of years ago my son took Writing course at his college, but the book they used was about food. Weird right? Well, he moved out last weekend and I found the book when going through his items. It is quite a good read. It is called Food Matters and I will be using it for a Nutrition course I am making for my 16 year old daughter. I will be using a lot of the writing topics on this blog. I intended to write about Heart Health and sugar. But, it seemed better to start with a more thorough video explaining how sugar is used by the food industry in processed foods to get us all hooked on their products. The video is not short, but he does explain it in very easy terms exactly how added sugars are making us fat and unhealthy.

Have you ever read a food label. I read them all the time, but never really paid attention to sugars. Why? I don’t know. I guess because I was more interested in protein and sodium levels due to having CKD. But, as I learn about added sugars, and the deleterious effects on health, I have started to pay more attention to sugars on labels. Look at the image below. I did not buy this food item for this post. It is always in my pantry because my kids and even my husband loves them. They are Poptarts, or toaster pastries, doesn’t matter they are all basically the same. Look at the label. Do you see where it says sugars? It says 30 grams of sugar per serving with 29 of them being added sugars. That is 58% of your daily recommended sugar intake for 2 pastries. That is insane! Plus that is only one meal and some people eat these as a snack. Plus these added sugars are in the form of Fructose or High Fructose Corn Syrup that the body does not digest properly and is very addictive according to the video and other studies.

Plus, did you know there are over 60 names for sugar that are not sugar to trick you into not knowing your eating sugar? Here is a list

The video was created by the Institute for Responsible Nutrition, and this is not a paid post by them. Stanford Health Care created the video it appears as that is where the doctor is from. But, I am looking into their options for promoting their cause. Check out their website. They have some pretty great stuff.

#eatrealfood is their slogan. Have you ever heard the saying, if your food needs a label it probably isn’t real? That is one way to start deciding how to choose healthier foods.

Now, I am not saying this is easy, or will be easy. Changing food addictions are extremely difficult, and if you live in a rural area where there are no real grocery stores it makes it even harder. You could grow your own food. I really stink at that, and you may have limited space. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try or give up. Making the healthiest food choices you can, even if it isn’t the best, is the best place to start. It is even harder when you have a family that may not be as committed to change as you are, or even friends. Be more determined for success than they are to make you fail.

If you would like to work with me to help you start your journey to healthier eating, message me at melissa@healthybuddymelissa.coach or use the contact form at the end of this post to email me. I offer a free online meet and greet.

Don’t forget there is still plenty of time to sign up for my August Healthy Kidney Class on Facebook. Go here. It is completely free, and I do at as volunteer service. I still have three spots open.

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Tips on Tuesday: Boil Foods to Reduce Phosphorus Levels

Updated 2/23/2021 I have been researching Phosphorus since I was diagnosed with CKD in 2017.  Phosphorus levels in foods are not required on food labels and are very often difficult to know which foods it is high or low.  Below I will give some tips, and the source so you can read the whole article, on ways to keep phosphorus levels under control. I recently found a great app called Nutrition Facts. It has the phosphorus levels for a lot of foods. It is super easy to use, too.

If you are on Dialysis your nutrition requirements will be much different than someone who is stage 3, like me, or non-dialysis.  Always consult your doctor about food choices or changes you are making.

1-  I have mentioned this before, but it is worth mentioning again, learn to read labels.  Any words with the word PHOS in the ingredients list, means there are levels of phosphorus in that food.  Try to avoid or limit these as much as possible.

2-  This kind of goes with number 1, but I put it separately to draw more attention to it.  Processed foods, that means foods that can stay on the shelf for very long periods of time, low-fat foods, and other quick easy type meals not only have the highest levels of phosphorus but this kind of phosphorus additive is nearly 100% absorbed by the body.  I love quick and easy too, but avoiding these foods as much as possible I think should be the goal of all who want to live healthier, not just CKD people.

3-  I actually just learned about this.  Boiling meat, and other food items, decreases the phosphorus content by up to 38% for meats.  It also reduces potassium, sodium, and calcium.  I just started doing this.  I do not have issues with my phosphorus levels at this time.  But, I am postmenopausal and I worry about my bone health, as well as maintaining kidney function.  So, it is imperative for me to keep phosphorus levels in check.  I simply boil for about 10 minutes then bake, or fry on the stove to finish the meat.  I am looking into whether pressure cooking and crockpot cooking of meat has the same effect as long as you do not consume the juices it is cooked in.  I will post more about that later.

4-  Remember that whole grains, which are obviously less processed than white bread are higher in phosphorus, but they can still be better for you if you don’t have issues with phosphorus.  I use multigrain bread and brown rice, but I consume them in lower amounts than the suggested serving size.  So, instead of 2 slices of bread for a sandwich, I only have one slice.  I basically half the serving size.  Nuts, seeds, and legumes are also higher in phosphorus.  See the phosphorus pyramid below.  You can read the source I used here.

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If you have diet, or lifestyle health goals to meet, use the contact form at the end of the post to message me about my It’s A New Day coaching plan.

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phos

Wellness Wednesday: Transfats and Alzheimer’s Disease

This week starts a whole series on Alzheimer’s Disease.  There is so much information to learn about Alzheimer’s prevention, risk factors, and care after getting the disease.  I read a new article just last week on Transfat and how studies are showing how it is linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.  The video below will start you thinking about it, and lead to more discussion next week.  Leave me questions in the comments if there is anything you want to know more about. Transfats are supposed to be outlawed in the US now, but there are some sneaky ways food processors can get it in.

A Health Coach can help you to learn about the prevention of Alzheimer’s.  To learn more use the contact form below to message me for a free health assessments with follow up conversation via email.

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I Love Pizza, But I Have CKD

Updated 1/23/2022: It has been three years since I wrote this post. I can tell you that if you buy organic, low fat, and low sodium crust, sauce, and cheese, you will be saving a lot of sodium and possibly phosphorus. Organic foods also don’t have all the additives and preservatives of frozen or takeout pizza.

We are huge pizza lovers in this house.  We eat pizza at least a couple of times a month.  But, with CKD this is very hard.  Pizza is full of sodium, phosphorus, and potassium, among other things.  For me, with CKD, the three I mentioned are of the most importance.   I am going to review the 3 pizzas below and share the nutrition for each.  O That’s Good, Publix Greenwise Organic Pizza, and a homemade recipe found on the Davita kidney website.  O That’s Good pizza with pepperoni, by Oprah Winfrey, I actually thought would be the best, because the crust is made with 1/3 of it with cauliflower.  I can not find the phosphorus in that brand, but I am thinking it has to have the least due to the cauliflower in the crust.  It tastes OK enough, my husband even liked it.  But, for taste, I personally pick Publix Organic Pizza.  For the nutrition results, the following code will be used.  O is for Oprah’s pizza, P for Publix, and H for homemade.  This is per serving of 1 slice.

O:  Phosphorus:  Unsure, but most likely the least

Potassium:  Not listed on their nutrition label.  Probably comparable to the others.

Protein:  14 grams

Sodium:  740mg  This is actually very high compared to the other 2.  I thought it was for the whole pizza, but it is per slice.

Iron:  15%

P:  Phosphorus:  Again, not listed on the label, but because flour is used you can assume it is comparable with the Homemade.  Remember a lot of this element comes from the cheese, and if you use a whole grain crust.

Potassium:  This too is disappointing because it is not listed on the label.  But, again you can consider it close to homemade since you are using tomato-based products.  Eliminate this by eating a white pizza, which means no sauce is used.  I love them.

Sodium:  280 mg  This is not horrible considering cheese is loaded with sodium.  However, if you get a pizza with just mozzarella and no other type of cheese you will save some sodium.

Iron:  10%

H:  Phosphorus:  230mg

Potassium:  352 mg

Sodium:  150 mg

Iron:  No iron is listed for this recipe, but is probably consistent with the other 2.

As you can see making your own pizza is the healthiest option.  Be sure to use white flour, not whole wheat to save on phosphorus.  For me, I would rather have the healthier whole grains, and just limit the amount I eat, adding a salad to go with it.  You can also use lower sodium cheese options, less cheese, no sauce, etc.  Veggies, instead of cured meats, of course, are always a better option.  If you want to see the homemade pizza recipe, click here.  

If you would like to learn how to cook at home for your kidney disease, or any chronic illness, use the contact form to send me an email.

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