Simple Self Care Saturday #1

Welcome to Saturday! The weather is beautiful here in Florida today, and I hope wherever you are it is too. Now that I am no longer working every Saturday, nor doing 12-hour shifts, I am starting a new self-care series of posts. I totally believe in self-care that is simple, easy to do, affordable, easy to understand, and uncomplicated. Self-care is something you intentionally do for yourself. Keeping it simple will aid you with making self-care a habit. What is one type of self-care that I have made into a habit? Getting up and taking at least 250 steps every hour, while awake. Now that it is a habit I feel sad if I can’t do it. For example, this week I started my new job and it was all done on a computer, in an office. I could not get up and move every hour, or I guess I didn’t think to ask to do it, and I felt so lazy by the end of the day. Not all types of self-care will meet everyone’s definition of my time. For example, having my nails and hair done is not for me, but some people find it very relaxing and self-loving.

For this first simple self-care Saturday I would like to talk about Tai Chi. I am not a certified Tai Chi instructor, and I only dabble in it as a form of energy balance. I actually love Tai Chi and I like to incorporate it with my Reiki. I am trained in Reiki. Both are types of energy healing but Tai Chi is also more of a type of exercise or intentional movement. It can improve your balance, muscle strength, all while focusing on your breathing. The movements are very slow, so you focus on the movement and the breathing. The video below is 11 minutes long, but the Tai Chi session is only 5 minutes in length and it is perfect for a Simple Saturday, or any day of the week. I try to do this routine daily, but it is not yet a habit, so I often do it a few times a week. I find it is a great cool-down routine after exercise, or after a stressful day at work to relax. Once you learn her easy routine you won’t need the video, though you may want to play some soft music, or nature sounds once you have it memorized. Try it if you are in pain, anxious, worried, etc. Once you master this first video you may wish to try some more of her Tai Chi routines, or just stick with this simple one.

Leave me a comment if you try this. What is your favorite way to practice self-care? There are so many, but you need at least one, and then do it. If you would like to learn more about my Distance Reiki sessions, click the highlighted link above, or use the contact form below to send me an email for a free consultation.

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Is Your 401K A Scam?

Welcome back to another Thinking on Thursday topic. As I continue my research on topics related to retiring and elder years, this one came up a lot, and of course, is one I and lots of others can relate to. A scam is probably not completely accurate, but many people do not truly understand their 401K and actually end up losing a lot of their earnings long before they retire.

Most places don’t even offer a 401K option to their employees, and if they do you probably have to work full time to participate. I really am not sure I understand why because my research shows all of the burdens is on the investor, that’s you, not the company offering it to their employee. So, right off the bat, I call BS. At the end of last year, I pulled out of having any more money taken from my check and put into my 401k. Why?

For several reasons.

  1. I did not see any stability in the company I was working for and figured the would be rolling over the business to another healthcare managing company in a couple of years, just like the many previous ones before them. Rolling over a 401k is a pain, and I can’t cash it in without huge penalties, and I wasn’t vested so it didn’t even matter. Most companies don’t have you vested until at least 5 years working for that company. The new job I am starting at next week is 6 years to be vested.
  2. I have about 10 years to retirement, and while they can put my money into less risky portfolios, not all of them are set up that way. I really do not know enough about investing to take any kind of high risk with my money.
  3. The fees these companies charge are ridiculous.

If you don’t know about these things and your 401K I suggest that you learn about them. I urge you to watch the video below and if you do have a 401K start looking into what amount of fees you are paying, where your money is actually invested in, etc.

Index funds may be a much safer place to invest your hard-earned money. They have way less risk and are easy to manage so the fees are nominal at best. Read more about index funds here, and there is a short video that he ranked as the top 5, after the longer video. I do not know that they will make you rich, his title is his title.

I am not an investing coach or money coach. I am a health coach, and retirement issues are a huge part of health.

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Is It Good News Or Bad News?

Hello, and welcome to another Humpday post. If you read here often then you already know a few things about me. One is that I have CKD and get lab work every 6 months, but I have been stage 2 for two cycles now. I had my lab work for both doctors done on Monday. Lipid panel for my GP and a renal panel for my Nephrologist. I have been feeling kind of yucky since I got the Covid booster and was thinking maybe I was slightly anemic. However, I am under a great deal of stress right now with my nursing job. I am thinking that is some of the reasons I am so tired. Anybody who has CKD knows stress is not a good thing. Anyway, I have a plan for that, it just will take some time.

My Lipid Panel has come down significantly. I have been fluctuating quite drastically. Whenever I try to lose more weight, by decreasing carbs, it shoots up super high. Then I modify my diet and increase my fiber intake, and it comes back down. This time was no different. I increased my carb and fiber intake and decreased fat and meat sources, and it came down, though not to normal. So, I still have to tweak my diet some. Statins will kill my kidneys for sure and I do not have any intentions of taking one if I can avoid it. So far my GP has been really good about monitoring the labs and not nagging about a statin. I have no symptoms of any heart disease so that is why she is probably not pressing the issue.

My renal panel I was slightly disappointed, but only slightly. Before January of last year’s first set of labs for 2021, I was hovering around 47-49 with my eGFR. So for 4 years that was my baseline after I recovered from the left kidney failing. I worked very hard in 2020 to lose weight, modify my diet, even more, deal with stress, and manage my CKD. The results were that in 2021 I was able to get my eGFR to 60 and 61, putting me at stage 2 for two cycles, or 12 months. I just had it done Monday, which would count for January 2022 and my eGFR had slipped to 57 and my creatinine was only very slightly above normal. Even though I had hoped it obviously was still above 60 I can live with 57 because that means that is my new baseline, 57-60 which means I still have room to improve. One very important correlation I have noticed is that when my urine Albumin is below normal is when my eGFR improves. Even though my urine Albumin was in the normal range this time, the last two times it was below normal, my eGFR decreased. This tells me having Albumin in my urine, even at normal levels is harmful to kidney function. The way to solve this is to decrease my protein intake, especially from meat sources, and processed foods, back down to 10-15% of my daily intake. I have been talking about this for some time how these foods are detrimental to the kidneys, possibly. I think the correlation is very strong in my case. Over the holiday week, I ate things I would not normally eat, prime rib, donuts, bakery bagels, chocolate, cookies, etc. My fiber intake decreased and my intake of beef and processed foods went up. Now, I am not saying I will never eat these things, but my moderation was not moderate enough. Plus, these foods are high in Phosphorus and Sodium. I think I have narrowed down the correlation between too much Phosphorus intake and how my body responds, my eyesight is worse, and my tastebuds are affected. I do not drink enough either, this time of year because it is not hot and I am not as thirsty. I have to work on this more. These types of foods are also generally void of potassium. I typically eat a lot of potassium. Typically at least a banana or potatoes every day. I have not been doing that for the last two weeks due to trying to follow a lower-carb diet. How do I know when I am not getting enough potassium? I get leg cramps, terrible annoying leg cramps. I had no bananas or potatoes in the house, but I did have mandarins. One of those relieved the leg cramps in a matter of minutes. Learn to know your body signals that something is amiss.

So, all in all, I am pleased with my labs, but I realize it could have been better if I had eaten better, exercised more, drank more water, and dealt with my stress levels better. I am sure my kidney doctor will want to repeat them in 6 months, so there is that.

Please note I am stage 3A to 2, not on dialysis, not a diabetic, controlled blood pressure without medication, take only Vitamin D and Sodium Bicarb. How I eat and manage my CKD may not be what you need. We are all different, however learning to manage your CKD, is vital to your wellbeing. If you would like to learn about how a health coach can help you, please use the contact form at the end of this post to send me an email, or you can just email me at melissa@healthbuddymelissa.coach or you can simply click on one of my available plans below to learn more.

Tomorrow, I will share my top posts for 2021, things I will be doing with this blog in 2022, changes to my life I will be making, and so much more for the new year. Be sure to come back and read all about it. If you like this content please like and share to help increase my views and search engine ranking. I will also be discussing topics for monthly posts. Next week I have a super packed week, so I am unsure how much blogging I will get done.

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Welcome To Christmas Week!

Welcome to Christmas week, 2021!

This week I will focus on a lot of topics related to CKD and Christmas cooking, and other various holiday topics. I am quite tired today, but I have things I need to finish up for the holiday. I do have to work Christmas weekend so we will be doing Christmas on Christmas Eve this year. I have also started some new classes and I am working on getting through them. Be Mindful during this week to not overdo it and make yourself sick and worn out for the new year. Take time to relax and be present in the moments of the holiday season.

We don’t get snow here in Florida, thank goodness, but it is nice to look at snow in pictures or videos. So, I chose a couple of lovely videos I found on Youtube to share with my readers. The first one is a Christmas tree, fireplace, and snow falling outside with lovely classic Christmas music. It is quite lovely. If you have a smart TV put it on while you wrap gifts, or bake Christmas cookies.

The second video is different snow scenes with lovely piano music. The third video is a scene of snow falling live with wind, and the sound of the snow falling.

Let me know which one you like the best!

May you find peace and joy in these scenes and sounds of the season!

Don’t Go To Bed Angry!

Hello, and welcome to another Healthy Tip Tuesday! I think this issue is more particular to women than men. Women tend to ruminate and overthink things. Men just let it go, not all men, but I think in a general way this is probably true. So, my Healthy Tip for today is, don’t go to bed angry.

This is a Health blog, with help topics. Relationships, and emotions, are all part of Health. Being angry is normal, and even necessary. It is how you go about your anger that matters. Sleep is another Health issue and many people don’t get enough of it, except my teenager she gets plenty, lol. Going to bed angry is going to make you have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep. Your spouse, or partner, may be sleeping away and you are angry, and it probably is only making you angrier. A lack of sleep will effect you the next day, possibly making you grumpy, or snappy, at work or in other relationships such as with your children.

You might not even be angry at your spouse. Maybe it a coworker, neighbor, friend, or relative. The point is get it out in a constructive, mature, and healthy way. Yes, I just said that. An argument doesn’t have to be loud, toxic, rude, disrespectful, and violent. That is childish. One thing that annoys me more than anything is people who think everything is an argument, like arguments are all bad. People make them bad by infusing extremes into the argument. Just have an intelligent two sided conversation where each side gets to speak their grievance. Say your peace, let it off your chest. Do not expect, though, that just because you said your peace the result will be as you want. The point is to not carry your anger, or frustrations to bed with you, not to get everything your way.

I know for me this is particularly difficult. I am a ruminator, not necessarily angry, but I rethink things, and reassess. It is just in my nature. But, I have to stop myself, make a list of things to do or revisit, and then allow myself to rest my mind an go to sleep. I have a very active brain that has a hard time resting. But, I have to rest, and so do you. It is so important to good Health!

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what Should I eat with diverticulosis?

A quick note before I begin. I was going to talk about Fiber and how it helps prevent someone from getting Diverticulosis in the first place. However, I have been studying this topic for over a week now and there are very conflicting opinions, and test results for fiber as a preventative to getting Diverticulosis, and whether it may actually increase one’s risk of getting Diverticulosis. For that reason the fiber issue, here, will only be discussed in relation to people who already have Diverticulosis.

If you want to learn more about preventing Diverticulosis discuss with your doctor about a diet that would be best. Studies are showing that a job where you sit a lot may actually be the highest risk factor for getting Diverticulosis. More about activity in a later post So, what if you already have Diverticulosis? What should you eat? Well, some of that is a loaded topic because it probably will depend on some other factors such as other illnesses, medications, activity level, etc. But, in general if you have Diverticulosis your doctor most likely is going to advise that you avoid processed foods, eat a more plant-based lifestyle, and of course increase your fiber intake. Be sure you drink enough water, or you may end up constipated from too much fiber. This goes for anyone who eats a high fiber diet. Start slow, don’t go from 10 grams of fiber per day to 50, your gut will not be happy at all.

How much Fiber? First let me say you need to know how much fiber you are already consuming, before you decide if you need to eat more. A food diary, for a week or so, will help you decide that. Be accurate and consistent with your food dietary intake. There are apps that can help you. I use one called Track-Nutrition Calculator. If you are a female under age 50, and have Diverticulosis 25 grams of fiber, if over 50 then 21 grams of fiber per day. If you are a male under age 50, and have Diverticulosis 38 grams of fiber, if over 50 years of age 30 grams of fiber. These number recommendations are from 2012, so they may be different, or the same in 2021.

Why is Fiber Important for Diverticulosis? It keeps food and waste moving through the digestive system, not allowing backups and waste from getting into the pouches in the intestines that define Diverticulosis. It is when these pouches get food, or waste in them, that they become inflame or infected causing Diverticulitis. If you have a bout of Diverticulitis you will be told to eat a low fiber diet. That is for next week ‘s topic.

Foods High in Fiber: Fruits and Vegetables are going to be your first thought most likely. There are other foods high in fiber, that are also plant-based such as: beans, peas, nuts, seeds, legumes, brown and wild rice, whole grain breads, whole wheat or whole grain pasta. Get used to reading labels and calculating fiber per serving. Most processed, and fast food options are going to be very low in fiber if it has any at all.

I know I say this in almost every blog post that has to do with diet modification: learn to cook and eat more at home, then out. It is cheaper and healthier. You can control the fat, sodium, sugar, and fiber of each meal you eat. Check out Meals with Melissa, if you need help with meal planning, cooking, prepping, etc. If you have any other medical issues that require diet modification, be sure and speak to your health care provider before making any drastic changes to your diet.

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my #1 Tip for meal prepping

Hello, and welcome to Wednesday! Today, I am going to discuss my #1 tip for meal prepping that I use every week. If you want to learn more about meal prepping check out Meals with Melissa. This post may contain affiliate links.

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What is meal prepping? So, this may look differently for different people. But, for me meal prepping consists of having a plan, and then preparing for that plan. I do my monthly menu plan in six month sessions. Six months for hot weather, and six months for cooler weather. Here in Florida cooking is not fun during the hottest months of the year, which is August and September. Cooking really just heats up the house. Once I know my meal plan, then I can prepare or prep. Prepping begins with inventory and a grocery list. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need if you are trying to stick to a meal budget. I shop weekly, but you certainly could shop bi-weekly, or even monthly. Buy what you can afford. If you can’t afford organic, then buy the healthiest option you can, but for optimal health you should be trying not to buy highly processed or pre-made meals. If you can’t eat fresh foods fast enough, buy frozen fruit and veggies.

So, what is my #1 tip? Pick one day, or like for me 2 days, to wash, peel, chop, and even cook some foods ahead of time. Some people will make freezer meals for the week, or even month. I find my family does not like frozen meals and they do not work for us. But, I can cook a large batch of rice that can be used through the whole week. Rice is very versatile and healthy. Organic Brown Rice is best, but my husband can not have all that fiber, so we use Organic Jasmine Rice. You could pre-cook pasta, but I don’t like it pre-cooked. However, I can make a large macaroni salad, pasta salad, or potato salad and it can be eaten all week for lunch or dinners. If you know you are going to use ground beef for several meals cook it all in one day, and store it in the fridge for the meals during the week. The same can be done with chicken and turkey. Hard boil eggs on prep day for use during the week. I tend to pick meals that are large and can be used as leftovers for a day or two. My family does not mind eating a meal a few days in a row, as long as it is one they like. If you like a fresh meal every night then pre-portion the items you need for that meal on prep day. I saw a lady on Youtube actually put everything in a Ziploc bag, for that meal, in portions she needs to cook it. The ingredients are in their own bag or container. She puts what it is and the date and puts it in the fridge for later use.

Picking one day to do all your prepping will save you a ton of time, especially if you work full time and have kids going here and there. I do two days because I can’t seem to get it all done in one day. Or, maybe I don’t want to, lol. Prepare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That way you will avoid eating out, or grabbing vending machine items.

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funny friday: scare pranks!

Why do we find it so funny when someone is scared? I don’t know but we do. Today, is Funny Friday. That means it is time to relax and laugh out loud. Laughter is an important part of a Health and Wellness plan. You should get at least 15 minutes of good laugh out loud laughing a day. I hope you love the video below. Be sure and tell me in the comments if you laughed out loud, and why you think we laugh at other people being scared. I would love to hear from you.

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I am also working on updating my Walking Buddy Plan, Guided Imagery, Aromatherapy, Mindfulness, and I think I will be announcing a general healthy cooking option. So, be sure and watch for all of those. I already have Reiki, and Meals with Melissa updated. So be sure and check them out if you are interested in better Health with any of those topics.

what does your brain need to survive?

Hello, and Happy Tuesday. Today, and tomorrow, are the last two posts for the topic of Brain Health. If you want to know ahead of time what my Health topic will be in July, sign up for my weekly newsletter below. You may see affiliate links in this post, or any of my posts.

Some of the things a human brain needs to survive may seem obvious, like oxygen, and an energy source. Did you know, for example that the brain uses about 20% of the bodies oxygen and blood supply? That is astounding considering it only weighs three pounds. If there is no oxygen source, the brain will die, as such is true if there is no blood supply. Quitting smoking, and maintaining a healthy blood pressure are two easier ways to help your brain stay oxygenated.

But, what about an energy source? I read this analogy: the brain is like a car, it needs gasoline, oil, brake fluid, and other materials to run properly. The brain needs water, fatty acids, cholesterol, glucose, and omega 3’s just to name a few. Plus a whole host of other vitamins and minerals to keep it running like clock work. If you remember reading at the beginning of this month I had thought about doing a completely Zero Point Food Challenge, based off of the WW Zero Point Food list. But, after much research I realized I would be sorely undernourished in the fat area as to qualify most foods had to have no fat at all. I opted not to do that and went for a more reasonable lower fat limit with zero point foods as the challenge. You can read all about it in the archives. Our brains need fat, and yes even cholesterol, to function properly. I for one do not care for fish, so getting Omega 3s is not easy for me. I have done a whole host of posts on that topic as well. you can find them in the archives. This is also why the Mediterranean Diet is the #1 Healthy Diet four years in a row. The only thing it really makes you give up is processed foods, and red meat for most of the time.

But, you may not also realize the brain has some other needs. I urge you to watch the video below to see what I mean. The most profound thing he said that stood out to me is that our brains need a purpose to be healthy and survive. I have talked about this to friends and family the fact that I don’t think I will ever fully retire, unless I have found another purpose. This blog, and helping people learn about Healthy topics can be a purpose. Humans need to have a purpose. It doesn’t have to be to make money. It can mean many things to many different people, but our brains need it. I urge you to watch the video. I don’t want to give away what he says. I think it will really make you think.

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work your bum and get smarter!

Just in case you don’t know your Bum, is your buttocks. This post is all about exercise and how it effects your memory, and overall Brain Health. There are only two more posts in this series on Brain Health. They will come on Tuesday, and Wednesday. You may see affiliate links in this post, or any of my posts. Be sure and check out all of the series on Brain Health in the archives.

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Online CPR and First Aid Certification!

So, what does working your Bum have to do with being smarter? I am so glad you asked. Studies show that exercise, not just your Bum, improves Brain Health, and function. It helps memory, stress related issues, Depression, school, emotions, and so much more. Read more about this great information, here.

So, if you want to keep your memory young, learn new things, avoid Stress and Depression, then start working your Bum!

Below are some very interesting videos on the topic of exercise and Brain Health. They are short, so be sure to watch them.

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