What Does $30 Of Meat Look Like From Misfits Market?

Welcome back to another food budget topic. I have chosen to go even lower carbs on my health journey. I will write more about that in a future post. I had good success losing weight last year following 100 grams of carbs per day. I lost about 20 pounds and was able to maintain that pretty easily. But, then the holidays came, and business of life, and I slacked off. I only gained about 5 pounds back, so I am still ok with that. However, as you know I have CKD and I want to lose more weight to improve my metabolic markers even more than they already have. This is not Keto, at least not yet. I assume I may have to go Keto to get to my ultimate goal weight, but I could be wrong. For now, I am eating about 75 grams of carbs or less per day, but not less than 50 as that would put me in Ketosis. I have been doing this for about ten days and have already shed one inch off my chest and waist. I have not weighed myself, yet. I have to say this way of eating, and this time I am including my husband, and sort of my daughter as she is now an adult. She does not need to lose weight, but she likes a lot of the garbage food I am no longer buying. I will here and there let her get some, but not like she used to. I simply don’t need it in the house. The only thing I really crave is potato chips. I actually feel really good. I stay within the protein limits I have calculated for myself and my CKD. I try to stick with healthier fat options than high saturated fats. I honestly feel good. I have noticed my dry eyes and mouth have improved immensely. It does not seem to be having any negative effects on my kidneys, and the hip joint pains I was experiencing following plant-based have gone away. Those are all good things. The only thing I need to see is if it will affect my Lipid Panel in a negative way.

So, back to the title. Since we had started our extreme grocery budget challenge, which we have kind of steering away from it the past couple of weeks, but I will start again this week, I was not buying at Misfits Market. While their prices are good, I am noticing fewer and less organic options, and more items labeled natural instead. Natural can mean a lot of things. Plus, it is expensive. So, last week I made an order for 30 dollars of just meat. That is the required amount you have to purchase cold items to cash out. I picked what I wanted, but I don’t think I picked two sausages. I thought I picked one chicken, but I got two sausages. These seem to be good quality. I have had Diestel products before, and the True Story chicken sausages are awesome. The other ones I have not tried yet. So for 30 dollars, I got 5 meat items. This seems OK to me, but not great considering they are not organic, except for one. I may continue to buy from here if I find organic options, if not I probably am not going to try to incorporate Misfits into my budget.

I prefer organic meats if I can afford them on our extreme budget. I only eat beef on average one time a week, but I do like pork and chicken. I like turkey too but my husband really only likes it on Thanksgiving, lol.

Another fun challenge, along with the grocery budget, is $5 dollar dinners. I will be starting to share some $5 dollar dinner ideas for low carb. I really think it probably will be hard to get 5-dollar dinners low carb with quality meats. We will see. I have one already to share tomorrow.

The one thing I really am liking about this new way of eating is its simplicity of it. My grocery list is easy, and my meals are easy, it is just easy. I know a lot of influencers spend a ton of money on snacks and keto drinks. I don’t see myself doing that as most of the drinks I dislike, and some of the snacks are plain gross. They swear they are delicious but they most certainly are not. They are super expensive and not really that good for you. Anyway, I might share some of them too. There are a few that I have tried that I like, but there are way more that I don’t. The consistency is strange, as is the texture, and taste.

That is it for today. Come back tomorrow to see my first low-carb 5-dollar dinner option.

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Is It Still Possible To Create $5 Dinners With Inflation?

Hello, hello. You may have noticed I have not written anything in like 10 days. I took a much-needed break from blogging. I still have not had time to take the new AKF Kidney Coach Class, but I hope by the end of May I will have it done. Then I can edit the old posts, and post the new slides. I have not been feeling great the past couple of days. My new job has a lot of mental stress and it is wearing me out. You know they say the grass is not always greener on the other side. I can say for sure that is true. While my old job had become toxic in many ways, there were things I appreciated about that job. Switching to a new job did not necessarily change some of those toxic issues. Health care is a very stressful, and mentally challenging profession these days. I hope to have my certification in Medical Billing and Coding by the end of the Summer, and I can begin transitioning into that.

Back to the topic at hand. Is it still possible to create 5-dollar dinners with inflation? In November of 2020, I did a blog post with a whole list of possible 5 dollar dinner ideas. So, I decided to try and recreate them to see if they can still be made for 5 dollars or less. The first one is Chicken Fajita wraps. I have no idea why Chicken Fajita Casserole is on the list because I don’t know as I have ever made that. I am going to straight-up say this may not be doable unless you can find a really good deal on chicken since it is so expensive right now. You can always use beans instead of chicken. Anyway, I searched all of my local grocery stores to see if I could find chicken on sale at a decent price. The only place that did, and it is only a 2-day sale was my local Hitchcock’s. They have chicken leg quarters for 98 cents a pound. So, if you bought 2 pounds it would cost $1.96. Flour tortilla wraps you can not get any more for less than a dollar. In my area, the Dollar Tree has them for the best price of $1.25. The Great Value brand of Fajita seasoning mix is .62. one green pepper is .72, and one onion is.78. If you want the cheese to sprinkle on a block of Great Value cheese is 1.86. We will use sour cream instead of cheese, at 1.16 for a smaller container.

The total if you use chicken and cheese would be $6.57 and honestly, I don’t think that is all that bad considering.

The total if you use chicken with sour cream would be $5.87

To keep it closer to 5 dollars use a can of black beans at .72 for a total of $5.25 with sour cream but no cheese.

You can always make your own fajita mix if you have the 3 main ingredients, cumin, oregano, and chili powder already on hand.

I am making these tonight for dinner with chicken and sour cream. I par-boil the leg quarters for about 10 minutes. This makes it easy for me to remove the meat from the bones, plus if you have CKD it will reduce the fat, potassium, and phosphorus in the chicken.

We are still sticking by our 75 dollar per week grocery budget, for 3 people, and while it is not as easy as it was, it is still doable. Meat is super expensive right now, and we have cut back even more on meat.

Have an awesome Saturday!

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Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge: Week 13

Hello, and welcome to week 13 of my Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge. This is a year long challenge, and possibly more. If you have been following from the beginning this started as a dual challenge at 63 dollars per week, for a family of almost 3 adults now, and a challenge to see if someone with CKD, could eat shelf-stable, convenient type foods and still feel good. The latter only took a few weeks, and I quickly decided that no I could not eat those types of foods on a consistent basis and still feel well. Now, with that said I can eat shelf-stable veggies like canned veggies that are low in sodium and no funky preservatives. I don’t prefer canned fruit, but the same ingredients would apply. I can also tolerate shelf-stable tuna, and canned chicken, as long as the sodium is within reason, and there are no funky preservatives. I looked at canned beef, I think it was, roast beef maybe, but the sodium was insane, and it was expensive. I did not even bother to try it. Mainly, when I say shelf-stable I am talking about convenience foods, such as frozen meals, and ultra processed foods. Last week, I had to increase the budget from 63 dollars per week to 75, just because of how high food prices are now. The sole purpose for this challenge is to see how much money we can save, and to take account of how much food we are wasting. 75 dollars per week is about a third of what we were paying prior to starting this challenge. So far we have had to replace our fridge, and washing machine. We also just got nailed on taxes and were able to pay the balance. We did not have to finance any of this. The fridge and washing machine were not just bought because we wanted new, both of them needed to be replaced. We are not starving, we have reasonable snacks, and still enjoy the food we are eating.

Last week, I came in at I think 5 dollars under budget. I did have to pick up an extra gallon of milk part way through the week, so that money went for that. This week, I spent 25 cents over my budget, so 75.25. Food prices are still going up, and chicken is outrageous right now. Some of this is due to the millions of chickens that have been euthanized due to a Bird Flu outbreak. Chicken is my main protein that I eat. So, that is a bit distressing.

You can see the picture of my grocery haul below. Please don’t mind the cups in the sink. I shopped at Winn-Dixie and Walmart this week. I have mentioned before that I hate shopping at two stores. But, I needed some pool chemicals, and Walmart is right across the street from Winn-Dixie. Along with prices going up, there are still bare shelves for some items. You might be shocked to know, but each week I shop, whether it is Aldi’s, Winn-Dixie, or Walmart there is always coffee creamer in short supply. Onions are very high in price, too. Cheese and lunch meat have gone way up, and most other items have gone up at least a few cents as far as I can tell.

I was kind of annoyed this week, because I go to Winn-Dixie because they mark their meats way down, and my husband prefers their meat over Walmart. I don’t know why, they all taste the same to me, unless it is organic, then it is better no matter where I buy it. But, the new weekly ad prices started yesterday, yet they did not have all of the sale signs up and I had to go back and forth between the app, and store items to figure out what was on sale. This just took so much longer, and I won’t go on a Wednesday again. Two items that were super good deals this week, were the Swerve brown sugar replacement, and the organic milk. At Walmart, last week, I paid 7.50 for the same Swerve. At Winn-Dixie for this week only, it is buy one get one free. That means each bag was 4.25. The organic milk which was not in the sale flyer was 3.99 for a gallon. If you buy organic milk you know that is a good deal. I did not buy a lot of meat this week, because the prices are high, and we have a good stock in the freezer. The ham steaks were buy one get one free, and I can make them go a long way in several meals. Lettuce and tomatoes were also very high priced at Winn-Dixie. I had to get lettuce at Walmart where the price was a little more reasonable. I don’t know how much longer I will buy fresh tomatoes, and I hope my garden will produce some. I bought more canned veg this week, than frozen because one it is cheaper and two hurricane season is coming and I don’t like to fill the freezer too much in case we lose power for an extended period of time. We will use up what is in there, and then keep bare minimum on hand. The juice was buy one get one free too.

If you are on any kind of specialty diet to stay healthy, and or manage a chronic disease you are probably feeling a pinch in your budget. Healthier foods are more expensive right now, even beans and lentils have gone up in price. Do the best you can. Decrease your portions, especially if you are overweight and can afford to decrease your portions. Don’t be afraid to reach out to community organizations that may be able to help you get the foods you need to stay healthy. Not all junk food items are cheaper. They too are going up in price. Snack type foods, like chips and pretzels, even crackers are outrageous right now. We don’t drink a lot of soda, but the price for that is also through the roof. I am surprised people are still willing to pay these prices for food items that serve no purpose to health and well being. I know some people say eggs have gone up, but honestly dime for dime they are still a great deal as a protein source. The same goes for milk. I do not drink milk, but the others in my family do.

Are you on a grocery budget, or do you just spend whatever you want? Leave me a comment and let me know. Do you use any reward cards? I have the Winn Dixie rewards card and so far I have 5 dollars saved up to use on groceries. I just signed up for the Hitchcock’s card, but I have not used it yet.

Next week, my daughter and I will be taking our 75 dollar budget and shopping at our local Family Dollar and Dollar General to see what we can get. Family Dollar I know sells frozen chicken thighs, and Dollar General does have some fresh fruit and veg, albeit very expensive. We will see how that goes. These two stores are right in our town, and we could literally walk there if we had to. I am unsure of what day this will be, but probably Friday.

Disclaimer

Kidney Class Week #13

Hello, and welcome back! Have you been following along? I missed last week because we had family in from out of state and I was at the beach. You can find all previous weeks in the archives. This Kidney Class is the property of the American Kidney Fund, for which I am a volunteer Kidney Coach. Before Covid, I would present the whole class in group sessions in person. I was given permission to share the information here on this blog with my life experience, as someone with CKD, and my nursing background. Just like I would in person. Plus, now it is always here, and anyone can read it for years to come, forever even. I encourage you to ask me questions in the comments, or if you would rather it be private you can email me at healthbuddymelissa@healthbuddymelissa

This week for slide #13 is still talking about blood pressure and kidney disease. The last class was more about how high blood pressure can cause kidney disease, whereas this week it is about how kidney disease can actually cause high blood pressure. The kidneys are complicated organs and do way more than most people realize. One of the functions of the kidneys is to regulate blood pressure by reabsorbing sodium, producing renin, and managing water in the body.

Personally, I am right at the cusp of being considered high blood pressure. This is strange because my kidneys have improved back to stage 2. However, I may be consuming more salt than I should, and I know I don’t drink enough when I am at work. That is one of the reasons I refuse to work full time is because I can’t just stop and constantly drink water. I can’t have water at my med cart in the facility I currently work, so it just is not healthy for me. I know when I am dehydrated because I will get a headache, and almost every time I work I get a headache. I also get cloudy urine, a sure sign of dehydration. If you have CKD or want to reduce your risk of getting it, keeping your blood pressure in good control is vital. I have a whole page of stuff just about blood pressure. You can read them here. There are probably others in the archives too.

Read the slide below, leave me a comment with your questions, and then check out this PubMed article on the topic of high blood pressure caused by CKD.

Only these slides are the property of AKF. All other posts on this blog, are mine unless otherwise stated.

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True Story!

Hello, and welcome to another Taste Test Tuesday! Wait, I thought this was a true story. Well, it is, sort of.

A few weeks ago, I think they came from Aldi’s, but I might have gotten them at Misfit’s Market, I bought these sweet Italian chicken sausages, from the brand True Story. Now, I have tried chicken sausages before, and no one in my family liked them, and honestly, they didn’t have a lot of flavors so there wasn’t much to love.

But, these sweet Italian chicken sausages from True Story were amazing! They look really skinny, and if you didn’t give them a chance you would be missing out. I was really impressed, and my husband even liked them and he is fussy about sausage. They are organic and with good ingredients. However, like any kind of sausage, they are still quite high in sodium and fat. But, they are still better than other sausages. We had them with spaghetti sauce, over pasta. I cooked them on the side just in case no one liked them. But, they were a hit. They are a little expensive too, but honestly worth it.

This is not a paid post, and if you follow here you know I try to do a Taste Test Tuesday every week. Since I have CKD I try to find organic, or preservative-free foods to try, as those are my preference. They have tons of other items too, so be sure and visit the True Story website where you can order them. I don’t think I have seen these in stores. I am almost positive I ordered them from Misfit’s Market and the price was reasonable. I would definitely buy these again.

I am using Itrackbytes now called the Healthi app and one link is 3 bytes.

You can see the ingredient list, and nutritional info, by clicking here.

Let me know in the comments if you have tried these, or if you will try them. What did you think of them?

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Follow and like this blog to keep updated on all of my new posts. I have lots of great posts in the archives too.

Medical Monday: Menopause!

Welcome back to another month of new Medical Monday topics. If you read here often, you know this blog is focused a lot on health coaching, and help topics, plus CKD. But, I like to talk about other topics as well and Menopause is definitely a medical and a wellness topic. Chances are very good that you are either a woman, or you know a woman. I am sure you have heard all of the stereotypes about hysterical women and Menopause. This month I will discuss Menopause and how it can affect everyone’s wellness, not just a woman.

I watched a ton of videos on Menopause last night until I found one that explains it in a sensible but educated way. The video, a TED Talk, is just a basic introduction to the topic of Menopause. Watch for future posts and how Menopause affects women and their wellbeing.

If there is a subtopic related to Menopause that you would like me to talk about, leave me a comment, and I will consider it.

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Fun Friday: St. George Island Florida

On Wednesday, so I guess that would make this a Wellness Wednesday post, lol, we visited St. George Island for the second time. We had family visiting from out of state that we have not been able to see since Covid began. I love St. George Island, and as much as I adore St. Augustine, St. George might be my new favorite.

It was extremely windy, a little chilly, and the surf was rough. We did not swim, but kind of got our ankles and knees wet. It was a great day to walk the beach, sit on the beach, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Gulf of Mexico. There were maybe 10 people on the beach, and it is a huge beach. It is actually a state park, so it was only 6 dollars for the whole car to enter the park. I told my husband we really need to visit this park more often, like once a month.

Enjoy my beautiful picks and I will write again, Monday. Have an awesome weekend! We are in for some nasty weather again, tomorrow. Please respect the property of my images.

Kidney Class Week #12

Happy Thursday! I am a day late and a dollar short again this week, lol. I guess it doesn’t matter which day I post these on, but I do try to stay consistent for my readers.

This week we are on slide #12 which has to do with HTN in relation to Kidney Disease. This slide is very self-explanatory, and if you want some videos and other information, the past two weeks also were about this topic. I have tons of posts in my archives on the topic of blood pressure, so you can browse there as well. High Blood Pressure is the #2 cause for Kidney Failure, right behind Diabetes at #1. It is imperative that you monitor your blood pressure routinely, even if you don’t have the condition. Catching and treating it early will help prevent long-term effects. I recommend you learn to take your own blood pressure with a manual cuff, or someone in your family, if you have CKD, already. If you can’t technology has improved the electronic monitors greatly. Just be sure and follow the instructions in the packet, and get a cuff size appropriate for the size of your arm. Keep a log of your blood pressure and share it with your doctor, whether you visit yearly, monthly, or weekly.

I am an AKF Kidney Coach. These slides are theirs. As a Kidney Coach I run the class, take comments, and answer questions based on their program, my experience with CKD, and my experience as a nurse. This is not medical advice nor should it be taken as such. It is informative and educational. This applies only to my Kidney Coach status with them. All other blog posts are mine and have nothing to do with AKF Kidney Coach classes.

Please leave me a comment if you have CKD, love someone who has CKD, have High Blood Pressure, or just have questions about the topic. I will answer all valid questions, and spam is deleted. If you would rather not make public comments, you can use the contact form below to send me an email and I will answer you there.

Scroll down to read this week’s slide.

Taste Test Tuesday: Quest Pizza!

Hello, and welcome back my awesome readers to one of my topics that readers seem to love, Taste Test Tuesday. With my new job and all that goes with that, I had forgotten I wanted to repeat this series every week. But, if you read my Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge post yesterday, then you knew I was going to talk about this today. I will tell you at the end of the post why I ultimately chose Quest Pizza.

This Quest pizza and this is the link to the item with the ingredient and nutrition info, is quite expensive. For 2 servings it was $7.48. With that said if your family loves pizza, and maybe you are on a weight loss journey, this could be a good option for you. I didn’t even know Quest made pizzas, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw them at Walmart Sunday. I like the Quest tortilla chips, and some of their protein bars, but not all. I am fussy about protein bars, anyway, so it isn’t a flaw in the Quest product. I was looking for a healthier option pizza, for both CKD and weight loss. I could not find any WW pizzas, so I opted for one of these. Before I get to the nutrition of this Quest pizza, and no I did not look at it first, except for the fiber and carb count, I want to talk about texture and taste. I am a huge texture eater. If the texture is odd, chances are I am not going to like it, or even eat it. I chose a thin crust Quest pizza, and I fully expected the crust to come out crispy. Not only is this crust not very thin, but it also does not come out crispy after baking. So, I threw it into the air fryer for 5 more minutes. The only thing that got crispy was the toppings. I was a little disappointed by the crust, but not enough not to eat it. The cheese I am not so sure about either, but it didn’t taste bad or have a strange texture. As far as taste goes, it was overall fairly bland. I am funny about pizza sauce and this one was OK. I think if I buy it again, and actually I still have half of it left, I will sprinkle on some garlic powder. Would I buy this again? Maybe.

Now as far as nutrition goes, and now I am speaking in relation to my CKD, this is probably not a great choice. Why? I threw away my box, and I can’t really make out the ingredients on the box online, but the list is fairly long. That means it probably has additives I would normally opt to avoid. Remember, there are only 4 slices to this pizza, and 2 slices are a serving size. It is very high in fat, sodium, calcium, and protein. In this regard, this is not a healthy option for CKD as most pre-packaged foods are not. Plus, I can not account for how much phosphorus is in it, but I can assume it is pretty high. It is high in fiber, and low in carbs, and I was not hungry after I ate 2 slices. This was definitely a spur-of-the-moment buy for me. I would have been much better off using one of my Wellness wraps, a little marinara sauce, low-fat mozzarella cheese, and making my own little pizza.

So, why did I choose this particular pizza? I have not discussed weight loss at all much this year, and that is on purpose. But, I recently started following Itrackbites. It has a different name now, but I am finally coming off of my plateau and seeing results. It is similar to WW in that you get assigned a set number of points and each food item has a point value, and some are zero points, but not like WW. Anyway, I knew we would have pizza on Sunday for a quick and easy dinner. I also knew the pizza my family likes is like 13 points per slice, so I was hoping for an alternative. For the 2 slices of the Quest pizza, it was 10 points and was a much better fit for that day. That is why I chose the Quest pizza, and because I was intrigued by how it would taste.

This is not a paid post, as none of my posts are. This is my thoughts and my journey. If you would like help in your health journey email me for a free consultation.

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Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge Week 11

Happy Monday morning! It is a chilly morning here in Florida, and I did not know it was going to be this chilly. We slept with the windows open, and the fan in the window. Brr!!! But, I slept like a baby. It was just hard to get out of a nice warm bed this morning.

I hope you have been following along with the Grocery Budget Challenge. I actually have to increase our budget from 63 dollars per week to 75 dollars per week, as everything has gone up at least a little bit, and some a lot. I can not even get our basics anymore for 63 dollars per week. That is for 3 people in my home, currently. It is still a huge saving from what we were spending before I started this challenge. Now, with that said, I obviously could cut some things out, like coffee creamer, snacks, etc. But, that is simply not realistic for us, and since this is a saving money budget, not a necessity, it is totally not going to happen. When you look at the picture below, from Walmart, the big box under the veggies is actually one of the fresh pizzas they offer. These used to be 5 dollars, yesterday it was 6. Then you will see a Quest pizza, which I didn’t even know Quest offered pizzas. Anyway, that was over 7 dollars for a small one-person pizza, but I went grocery shopping after I got out of work yesterday, and we needed something quick for dinner. I did not want to eat the other pizza, so I figured I would try one of these as it was better for me. I will post my thoughts about that pizza tomorrow, on Taste Test Tuesday, and explain why it was a better option for me. But, I totally could have saved 14 dollars on just those two items, and either just went home or added some other fresh or frozen items to my cart. The Romaine lettuce seems to be mostly cut from the image, but it is there. I try to eat a salad every day for lunch. It doesn’t always happen, but I try. I also have another healthier product I tried last week that I loved. I will share that in the coming week. That grass-fed organic ground beef was actually the same price as the non-organic variety, for the same weight. In general, if I can not fit the organic beef into my budget, I just won’t eat it. My family will, but I won’t.

This challenge started out as a pantry/budget challenge. My CKD journey has brought me back to stage 2 and I personally believe a lot of that is due to dietary changes I have made. But, I wanted to see if I could tolerate more shelf-stable, pantry, convenient type foods and still feel well. It did not take long to figure out that no I could not. So, I moved back to a more fresh food way of eating, frozen, and canned are OK, for veggies and I felt better. Organic is also best for me, but it is hard to stick to a low food budget buying all organic. Once inflation starts to recede, if it does, I will go back to the 63 dollars per week.

I can say that this budget has already taught us so much about our spending and eating habits. Plus, the fact that we waste a ton of food just because it doesn’t get eaten. I doubt we have a fear of running out of food because we were buying way more than we needed and we are still eating off that.

This week started 3 days late, so last week was 10 days in length, which is awesome. Next week we have family coming to visit from out of state that we have not seen since before Covid. So, I will not be doing a budget challenge next week as I am sure that will not work at all for 5 to 7 people.

I also do not shop at several stores. I pick one or two stores for that week and that is where I go. This budget is for food items only. It does not include household items or pet food. But, on that topic, it is time to buy pool supplies to open the pool. We have had a pool ever since we moved to Florida 22 years ago. I can not believe how high the prices of pool supplies are this season. I about died yesterday. I don’t even know if it will be worth it to run the pool once we get into late July and August when maintaining the pool is already that much harder due to the heat and humidity. It might be the first year ever I refuse to afford to keep the pool open. Since I am really the only one that uses it consistently anymore, it might be more of a cost hog, than a convenience.

How are prices where you live? Share your budget strategies in the comments.

If you can not afford to buy groceries please reach out to your local community resources for assistance.

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