Foodie Friday: Superbowl Meatballs

In case you haven’t heard there is a big football game this Sunday.  I have to work and it figures because it is a really good game this year.  If you have Diabetes, CKD or any chronic illness, then you know how hard going to parties can be.  If you are having a party or attending one, modify the meatball recipe below provided by Davita to suit your needs.  I personally would not use Canola Oil, but Olive Oil instead.  And I would make my own Chili Sauce as bottled versions are generally more filled with salt and other additives that someone with CKD may not want.  I have provided a link to a homemade chili sauce recipe too.  It is super easy to make.  If you have Diabetes choose sugar-free jelly.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs recipe

Homemade Chili Sauce


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Wellness Wednesday: Stretches for A Stiff Neck and the Serratus Anterior

Well, as I mentioned the other day I have strained my Serratus Anterior.  A muscle I knew was there but have never felt like it had been even worked let alone strained.  Then I started doing push-ups.  As I stated I was adding one push-up per day to see how many I could do.  This was not a good idea.  But, I think it was the Diamond Push-Ups that strained the said muscle.  If you don’t know where the Serratus Anterior is located.  It is a relatively small muscle that sits under your Pecs and runs out to your side and to your armpit along the ribs.  I can assure you if you strain this muscle sneezing will feel like you died.  Pushing is not much fun either.  I think this started from an old shoulder injury that worsened since I was lifting weights, and probably had poor form due to the injury.

I mention the stiff neck and headaches because the Rhomboids are muscles at the base of your neck and upper back that help with shoulder movement.   These muscles help with shoulder movement and exercises.

As I have Kidney Disease Tylenol is the only medication recommended.  I also use peppermint oil diluted in coconut oil, or Bengay to assist with pain.  Heat helps a lot too, though some people may prefer icing the strained area.    I have a back brace that I have been wearing high up under the breast area, and this is uncomfortable but helps wonders.  The stretching, however, is what has helped the most.  The Serratus Anterior muscles have some awkward stretches so be sure and read carefully to be sure you are doing them correctly.  The Rhomboid stretches are self-explanatory.  You will find the stretches in the links below.  My ultimate point is to go slow when exercising.  Don’t rush results and give your body time to adjust to each new exercise before adding reps or weights.  Resting the area is vital to healing.

If you would like to learn about meeting your wellness goals by using a Health Coach, use the contact form at the end of this post, to send me an email.


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Healthy Tips on Tuesday: My 5 Favorite Ways to Add Veggies to My Diet

Updated 3/23/2021: And you can too with these easy tricks.   You may not even notice they are in there.  It is easy to add fruits because they are sweet.  But, veggies are often crunchy and some say with little to no flavor.  After I was diagnosed with CKD I changed my diet completely.  However, I realized my husband and kids didn’t eat a lot of fruit and veggies either.  These are 5 ways I have learned to add more veggies, and one I have not tried yet but will when I remember to buy the equipment needed. Be sure and check out my Youtube video below. I will be doing a new one soon for my special for the month of April 2021. For March 2021 I am giving away 30 minute coaching sessions related to Healthier Kidneys. If you would like to learn more about that click here.

1-  Smoothies.  This is my absolute top way to add veggies to my diet.  You do not even know they are in there, though they can make your smoothies some interesting colors.  I have a small smoothie maker.  I have put carrots, spinach, parsley, kale and I keep telling myself to try beets too.  With fruit, you won’t even know the veggies are in there.  If you have CKD like me use fruits that are lower in potassium.  My small smoothie maker can not hold a lot so I don’t ever overdo it.  Berries are great options for CKD smoothies.  For veggies, green leafy veggies give the most bang for their buck but are also high in potassium.  If you take a blood thinner, greens are also high in Vitamin K which may interfere with the blood thinner.

2-  Everyone at my house loves mashed potatoes.  I have used half regular potatoes and half sweet potatoes.  Also with regular potatoes cook some cauliflower and mash it in altogether.  No one at my house even knew there was cauliflower in there.

3-  Don’t like smoothies drink V8 juice.  My husband drinks a can every morning before he goes to work.  While my kids don’t like traditional V8 juice, they do drink V8 Splash.  It isn’t as good but it is better than other things they could choose to drink.  Sometimes I even put V8 juice in my smoothies.

4-  Add extra veggies to soups and sauces.  I always add onions, peppers and sometimes mushrooms to pasta sauce.  I love straight-up vegetable soup that doesn’t even need meat.  I purchased a cauliflower alfredo sauce that everyone just loved.  You could even do this with Mac n Cheese, by adding veggies to the cheese mixture.    Even better make your own sauce using all the veggies you want.

5-  For breakfast, instead of 2 eggs I have one egg scrambled and cook up veggies to go with it.  Such as peppers, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, etc.

How do you sneak veggies into your daily diet?  Share in the comments.


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Sweating on Sunday: Muscles Targeted in Pushups

Updated 4/18/2021 So, last week I moved away from using light dumbbells to trying bodyweight exercises.  Since I have CKD I am not allowed to lift heavy-weights, so I thought pushups would work better for muscle toning and increasing strength.  After increasing the number of reps by one each day, I started to notice pain under my right breast.  So, I stopped for a day to see if the pushups were the issue.  It appears it was and when looking at the image below you can see why.  I probably overworked a muscle that I don’t think dumbbells target, the Serratus Anterior.  It is not worth the pain as I have to lift residents at work also.  So, for now, while it heals I will go back to dumbbell work and then do a lower number of pushups for a few weeks before adding more reps. Update: That injury has healed and I have moved up to narrow arm pushups, or triangle pushups for my April 2021 Triceps Challenge. So far I have had no more pain in the serratus area.

Pushups are a great way to tone and strengthen with no equipment needed.  You can do them anywhere and they are quite effective. The muscles targeted in a standard pushup are: pects, delts, triceps, abs, front serratus, and corocorabrachialis. Do you do pushups?   The image below source

Don’t forget about my Walking Challenge.  Follow along with Health Buddy Melissa’s Facebook page.  You can use the contact form at the end of this post to message me with questions or to sign up for my weekly newsletter. That challenge has now ended. For 2021 my goals are to run a mile and a half in 15 minutes, and do at least 12,500 steps per day.


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Thinking on Thursday: What is Pettifoggery?

Welcome to Thinking on Thursday.  These posts will be aimed at Brain Health and ways to improve it.

I know for me, in my 50’s, Brain Health becomes even more important than in my 20’s.  I have been following some of the impeachment trials, mostly because we use it for History in our Homeschool classes, but the other night a term I had never heard of before came up.  Pettifoggery.  Do you know what pettifoggery means?  You might be able to figure it out if you look at the two words separately.  Pettifoggery means, to bicker or quibble over trifles or unimportant matters.  To think that people running an Impeachment Trial were accused of this is funny.

Learning new words and their meanings is a great way to improve Brain Health.  I  used to do a post on Mondays, called Learn a New Word a Week.  Learn a new word each day is even better.  Write them down somewhere and study them to remember them.

If you would like to learn more about my Health Coaching Services, use the contact form at the end of this post to message me. Read about my giveaway here.


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Wellness Wednesday: What is Coronavirus?

You may have seen on the news talk about a new Virus called Coronavirus.  Coronavirus is not new.  But apparently is usually transmitted from animal to animal.  This new Coronavirus has been confirmed to be transmittable from human to human.  This new virus is apparently quite strong and can lead to Pneumonia.  There have been several deaths in China, where the Virus began.  The first known case is now in the USA in Washington state.

Preventing getting and spreading the Virus is just like any other Virus.  Good hand washing, don’t touch your face, good hygiene, stay home if you are not feeling well to prevent spreading, get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, avoid stress or manage it, wear a mask, visit your doctor if symptoms are severe or persist.  There is currently not a vaccine for this strain of Coronavirus.

Read more about it here.


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Moving Beyond Body Size Monday: Am I Ugly?

That is a completely rhetorical question and I am way beyond the age of caring what people think.  But, the question is a two-fold topic.  One, and most importantly, 10,000 people a month ask that question each month either by a search engine or posting to social media.  The video below is a TED talk video and you will see why I asked the question.  Two will people just look at the meme and comment without actually reading the article that goes with the meme?

We are cruel to ourselves, and we tolerate the media, other people’s opinions, and perceptions to define how we should look, feel and act.  Why do we care so much?  Why can’t we just love ourselves and be comfortable with the way we look no matter what other’s say.  Watch the video to learn more.  It is short, about 15 minutes and it is very much worth it.  This is not an affiliate post but is part of my new series on Mondays:  Moving Beyond Body Size.




Sweating on Sunday: Week 2 of Walking Challenge

These stats are for the week of Jan 9-15, 2020.  If you would like to join the Walking Challenge, simply walk 10,000 steps or 5 miles per day and post in the comments each week on this blog, or on my social media.  You can start anytime and just extend your year from your start date.  If you would like to check out my Walking Buddy plan, click here, scroll down to #11.   If you are interested in learning more about the challenge, or to ask about the Walking Buddy Plan, either use the contact form below, or email me at Walking can be indoors or outdoors, and attainable any way you see fit such as an Aerobics video, hiking, walking, fitness walking video, walk at work, etc.  It would be great if you walk a lot at work to add 2000 steps of non-work walking into each day.

So, how did I do for week 2?  I wear a Fitbit to keep track of my steps each day, then I add them all up at the end of the week, and divide by 7 for my daily average of walking and miles per week.  There are 2,000 steps in a mile for this challenge.  Different devices use different steps per mile.  I walked a total of 87,817 steps for the second week.  That is an average of 12,545 steps per day or an average of 6 miles per day.  So, far I am above my goal of 5 miles per day.  I hope to keep this going, of course.

Below is an indoor Fitness Walking video to help you out on cold, or rainy days, or if you just don’t enjoy walking outdoors.



breathe: learn about asthma!

Updated 5/4/2021: Be sure and sign up for my Mailchimp newsletter to receive a Mother’s Day 50% off code for my 30 Day Coaching Plan.

When I was a kid I had exercise-induced Asthma, which I did not realize meant my Asthma was not well controlled.  I actually don’t ever remember seeing a doctor for Asthma as we had no Health Insurance, but I do recall at one point in time having an inhaler so I can assume a doctor prescribed it to me.  It used to make exercising extremely difficult growing up.  I thought I outgrew it as I didn’t need an inhaler anymore and I just learned to stay away from tiny particles that would get in my lungs and cause symptoms.   What is Asthma?  Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes episodes of wheezing, coughing, breathlessness, and tightness in the chest.  It can happen in boys and girls, but after age 15 it is more common in girls and women.  There is no known cause, but there are ways to help avoid Asthma attacks.  Since Asthma affects the bronchial tubes in the lungs it can be very dangerous to ignore Asthma.   On my next doctor visit, I  will be discussing Asthma with my doctor, if only to give him a heads up that I have been having symptoms and to discuss options.

Now that I am older I feel like Asthma is returning, which it probably is because it never really goes away it just kind of gets better.  Some studies show women after Menopause have less likelihood of getting Asthma especially if they don’t take Estrogen replacement drugs.  For me, that does not appear to be the case.  I have to be very careful about smoke, pollen, pollutants, dust, mold, certain pet danders and other small particles that get in my lungs and cause me to have cold-like symptoms that seem to take forever to go away.  I will probably have to start running air conditioning the whole year rather than opening windows.  I hate that, though.  I love the fresh air coming in.  But, since I have CKD and I want to avoid steroid medications I will do what I have to keep symptoms under control.

I no longer have exercise-induced Asthma I work out quite fine.  However, if you have Asthma and you want to exercise be sure and discuss with your doctor so they can prescribe medication for you to take before exercising.  If you have CKD or Diabetes discuss those medications in relation to those illnesses as well.

Here are some other tips to help prevent an Asthma attack:

1-  Know your triggers and avoid them or wear a mask if you can’t avoid them.

2- Keep your home clean and dust-free.  Wear a mask when dusting.  Vacuum all rugs at least once a week.  Clean window fans at least monthly and try to buy a Hepa Filter.

3-  If you can remove rugs and put down tile or wood floors, do so.

4-  If dander bothers you keep your pets well-groomed and clean.

5-  Don’t let cockroaches take up space in your home.  Eliminate them as quickly as you can and seal up cracks in your home to prevent them from entering.

6-  Be careful what chemicals you clean with and use a mask to clean if you need to.

7-  Don’t smoke and don’t let others smoke in your home or vehicle.

8-  If you are say raking, mowing or other tasks where pollutants or small particles may get on your clothes wash your clothes as soon as you are finished.  This goes for visiting homes of others who may have pet dander on their furniture.  Remove your clothes as soon as you get home and wash them.

9-  Take medications prescribed to you as prescribed.  If you are having side effects or you think the medication is having adverse reactions to other illnesses discuss it with your doctor to see if something else can be prescribed.  Never just stop taking medications for your Asthma.  If you have an attack and you can not get relief call 911.

10-  If you live in highly polluted cities, wear a mask, or if possible move to the countryside.

If you would like to work with a Health Coach to help you make healthy goals to help with Asthma, or any other issue, use the contact form below to message me and sign up for a free meet and greet.  Or email me at

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Tips on Tuesday: Essential Oils for Fleas and Ticks

We have two dogs and one cat, so keeping fleas and ticks off of them is super important.  Fleas and ticks are pests that can cause diseases, extreme itching, sores, other skin disorders and just plain torment your pet, and you should the little pests take up residence in your home.

We use Comfortis but have cut back on it some as it is extremely expensive, and the price keeps going up.  So, we decided to use Essential Oils in water, in a spray bottle.  Now I did read that you could use alcohol-free Witch Hazel but I didn’t have any of that.  The following recipe is what we used, and if you don’t want to try something new ask your Vet first.  You only need to spray on a little bit and rub it on the pet’s body.  I also spray daily on their collars.  It smells nice too!  All the Essential Oils are good quality oils and are undiluted.  Do not use undiluted EO on yourself or your pet, unless directed to do so.  Always use a carrier oil or water.

Spray bottle


2 drops Cedarwood EO

5 drops Lavender EO

5 drops Lemongrass EO

2 drops Peppermint EO this will also help soothe any hot spots or bite areas.

3 drops Orange EO

We used a pretty large spray bottle filled 3/4 with water.  If it is not effective I may add more oils due to being a larger bottle.