do you want to learn ballroom dancing?

Hello World! The birds are singing outside my window and it is a lovely warmish Sunday morning. I have always wanted to learn Ballroom Dancing, but my husband just never wanted to. I found this cool Youtube channel where you can get ballroom dancing lessons. It is not partner dancing so that is perfect. The video below I have done twice now, and while it is only 15 minutes in length it is a great workout. My hips and abs were the muscles I felt the most after this workout the next day. If you have joint or mobility issues this may not be for you. Always ask your doctor if you are not sure. She also does not do a cooldown stretch after. Please make sure you stretch after doing any exercise. You can also stretch before but I find for me stretching cold muscles is not cool. LOL see what I did there. I have no affiliation with this young lady. It is just a video I found and I like to workout to. Let me know in the comments if you tried it. She has many others you can try as well. Remember, I am 51 and if I can do this, you might be able to as well.

What are the benefits of Ballroom Dancing? Click to read

If you are not ready for Ballroom Dancing but would like to start with gentle walking check out my Walking Buddy Plan.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

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i got vaxxed!

There is a lot of anxiety about the new Covid 19 vaccines. I was supposed to have gotten my vaccine from my job last Saturday. But, for some reason all of the doses were pulled back by the governor. I was given the opportunity to get it at my local Health Dept on Wednesday. My job also offered it Tues, but I was out volunteering that day. I received the Moderna Covid 19 vaccine. I took a Benadryl before hand and I had to be monitored for 30 minutes after due to my allergy to Penicillin. I had no issues and was allowed to go home. Wednesday night the sore arm started and continued into Thursday. It really was not any more soreness than what I might get from lifting weights. Friday afternoon I did notice I was a little more tired than usual, but was able to carry out my regular daily activities as I always do. As far as my kidneys go, I noticed no changes to the color or amount of urine I make in a day. I get my second dose the third week of February.

If you have not gotten a vaccine, or do not qualify yet, watch your Public Health Department’s website to see when you can get one.

Have you ever wanted to learn Ballroom Dancing? Come back tomorrow to see what I share. Also, I will be sharing a documentary I think all Social Media users should watch.


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3 excellent reasons why you should not eat a big mac!

Happy Food on Friday! I am not technically singling out a Big Mac, but Big Mac is the fast food choice of my teenager. The purpose is to educate her, and anyone else that consumes fast food more than three times a week, exactly what they are, and are not getting when you eat a Big Mac.

A reader sent me a message asking why I want to lose weight. The question was in reference to my new Losing Weight With Melissa subscription. I will answer this question in a blog post next week.

I found an article on MedicalNewsToday talking about what happens to your body after you eat a Big Mac. It was determined that some of the statements made about the Big Mac were most likely hyperbole. But, I wanted to point out one that the expert said probably was not true and that was that the high sodium in the Big Mac would not cause dehydration. You can read the article yourself by clicking the highlighted link, but as someone who has CKD I can affirm that indeed that much sodium in one meal is going to dehydrate me. Unless I consume an excess of liquid with it. That goes for any high sodium meal not just a Big Mac. If you have kidney disease then you should know how much sodium you are consuming.

So, what are my 3 Excellent Reasons Why You Should Not Eat A Big Mac?

1- The Big Mac is high in Fat. Not only does a Big Mac contain 30 grams of fat which is 38% of the recommended daily value for fat, but a Big Mac contains 11 grams of saturated fat. That is a whopping 38% of your whole days worth of recommended saturated fats.

2- The Big Mac is very high in Sodium. One Big Mac, not including fries or anything else you might eat with it, contains 1,010 mg of Sodium. In case you don’t know Sodium is salt. If you are on a 2 G sodium diet for kidney disease or heart disease, which is 2,000 mg, you just consumed over half of your daily allotment of sodium. If you are not on a restricted sodium diet you still are consuming 44% of your daily recommendation for salt intake.

3- Not that the first two reasons are not good enough reasons to not eat a Big Mac, there are virtually very little other nutrients in a Big Mac. You will get 3 grams of fiber which is not all that great. You will get 25% of your daily value of Iron. To me this is about the only plus that there might be to eating a Big Mac. You will get 10% of your daily allowance for Calcium. Last but not least you will get 8% of your daily allowance for Potassium. That is it folks. Now I can assume there are some other vitamins in there that are not required on the label, or there just isn’t enough of them to be on the label.

Full disclosure we eat fast food! I have already mentioned my teen’s love for Big Macs. But, it is our goal to have a healthier lifestyle by making healthier food choices. We have cut fast food down to only once a week and we are doing a spend down our debt year for 2021. This should reduce our eating out to only once a month. In some parts of the country a Big Mac can be bought for only a dollar on the dollar menu. This makes the Big Mac even more appealing to young people, busy parents, or anyone with a tight budget. To me this makes this type of food even more dangerous to the health of millions of people. Maybe you can’t cook, or don’t think you have time to cook. What are some better options that could be considered quick or convenient? Milk, tuna, eggs, tofu and quinoa are all great options if you are looking for a good protein source. If you don’t mind carbs a whole box of pasta can be bought for a dollar. Add a little salt and butter and you have a meal. Most pastas have 8 grams of protein per serving the same as one large egg. Milk is portable and can be bought in smaller cartons. If you truly want to eat healthier but still need quick options there are ways to do it. Now I know someone is going to say Milk is not healthy. There are studies that go both ways, just like everything else, but I am 100% certain it is a healthier option than a Big Mac.

What would make you stop eating a Big Mac? I asked my teen that question and she said nothing. That is my purpose in these posts to change the mindset that because she has no issues right now in the long run eating these types of foods are going to have negative effects. There are studies that show that eating these types of fast foods increases the risk of Obesity, Heart Disease, Diabetes, and yes Cancer. What if fast food companies were required to put on their packaging that consuming these types of foods can lead to Obesity, Heart Disease, Diabetes and Cancer, would that get someone’s attention more? Cigarette companies were forced to do it and smoking decreased exponentially. These nutrition facts came right from the McDonald’s website. You can also check out the ingredients which I didn’t even talk about.

They say Knowledge is Power, but there is not much power when the knowledge is not accepted as truth. Denial is a very powerful weapon against knowledge! Change is hard, very hard!

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throwback thursday 1953: the tv dinner

Happy Thursday! I have been reading and watching a lot of videos about vintage recipes and how our world of processed foods began. Did you, or maybe you still do, eat TV dinners? I was born in 1969 and yes I remember TV dinners. We didn’t have a microwave at first, so we had to wait the 30 minutes for them to cook in the oven. My mother was a single mother who worked 2 jobs, and that was one of the main lures of TV dinners.

But, the TV dinner first came about because in 1953 Swanson had a huge excess of turkeys that were not purchased that Thanksgiving. One of their food scientists came up with the idea of a TV dinner. They were not originally called that because most people didn’t own a TV. But, as the TV grew in popularity the name TV Dinner was born. Lots of women started to work outside the home and angry husbands were writing the company complaining that they were no longer getting home-cooked meals. I found that kind of humorous, lol. It obviously did not deter the concept of the TV dinner from exploding. They were cheap and convenient. I think the original was like 69 cents for a whole meal. Some people, mostly women, liked them also for weight loss because the trays were sectioned and portion control was apparently a thing back then. I can not say they were healthy though. They were loaded with salt and fat much like they are today. They might actually be worse today if that is possible. I didn’t upload a picture because I don’t have a TV dinner and I didn’t want to have copyright issues. But, I did find a link for you to read, or you can watch the video below. I found on Etsy where someone was selling an original Swanson TV Dinner box, there was no food, for 350 dollars! Wow!

There are more modern TV dinners. I found this startup called Ipsa. They are just starting out and many of their products are sold out. Their pictures are beautiful and the food looks delicious. The price is kind of high, 25 dollars for 3 servings of Pot Pie, but you are paying for the convenience of prepared food delivered to your door. Their ingredients look stellar, but I could not find a nutrition label. I guess I would have to buy a meal. This is a great idea in a Pandemic, if you can afford it.

I am starting a personal 30 day declutter challenge today. 5 days a week I am challenging myself to spend 30 minutes decluttering and purging different areas of my home. I am sure everyone can relate to this. If you would like to join feel free. Leave me a comment to let me know you are joining and then how you do each day.

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balance for brain health!

Hello, and welcome to Wellness Wednesday! I was able to get my first dose of the Modern Covid Vaccine today! I am sleepy, but that is because I took Benadryl prior to receiving it and will probably take a nap after I finish this post. If you read one of my posts over a year ago I stated that I never get the Flu Vaccine. That is true, I do not get the regular Flu Vaccine. But, Covid is different and I felt like the risk of getting the disease for me with CKD was a much bigger risk than getting the vaccine. So, I got one.

Today, I want to discuss balance and brain health. Our brain is arguably one of the most important organs we have, along with heart, lungs and kidneys. I can remember way back in the day when we used to do real yearly physicals. The doctor, or nurse, would perform different balance and reflex tests on you. I don’t see this occur anymore. Now, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t but it is probably fairly rare. A simple balance test can give a doctor so much information about your brain health.

Can you stand on one leg for 20 seconds with your eyes open? What about with your eyes closed? Obviously, the option with closed eyes is much harder and most people will open their eyes after only a few seconds. Try them both ways, on each leg. What were your results? I could easily do it on my right leg, but my left leg, while I could still do it, it was much more difficult. I am right sided dominant so does that explain it? Maybe, but maybe not. Maybe I have mild blood flow insufficiency on the right side of my brain. This is something I will discuss with my Primary Care Doctor when I get to see her. I am 51 years of age and this is the age I want to start thinking about my Golden Years. Some studies are starting to show a correlation between these simple balance tests and blood vessel insufficiency to the brain. The tiny blood vessels in the brain become to buildup up plaques causing blood flow to decrease. The study states that after the balance test was performed and results recorded, each participant was given a MRI of the brain, a brain scan. The participants who could not do the 20 seconds had blood flow insufficiency in the small blood vessels of the brain, as evidenced on the MRI.

Now the researchers that performed this study admitted that they controlled for Blood Pressure or Heart Disease, but did not take into consideration participants history of previous falls or physical activity levels. Muscle weakness can increase falls and it can also lead to poor balance. There are also some other medical conditions that can effect balance, such as inner ear disorders. But, with that said this is a cheap method to see if there are possible issues going on in your brain, especially if you are over age 40. If you can not perform the balance test successfully speak with your doctor to see if more tests are needed to rule out blood flow insufficiency to the brain. This test does seem to be regularly used for the diagnosis of Parkinson’s which is a form of Dementia.

Regular exercise, a healthy diet, no smoking, controlling blood pressure, and controlling fat intake may all reduce the risk of insufficient blood flow to the brain.

You can read the article, here.

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Don’t forget to come back Saturday and join in my Pinterest link share event. I will share your Pinterest links!

Healthy tips on tuesday: the 1 ingredient diet

I thought it would be fun to talk about the varying and different diets that are promoted and marketed everyday. I read about the 1 Ingredient Diet just yesterday and I thought well that is strange. Then I saw one of my favorite chefs had a brand new cook book coming out on this topic. So, I watched the trailer and was still like that is strange.

After some more research it seems to me the 1 Ingredient Diet is really a Whole Food or Eat Real Food Diet. You eat real, whole food, not processed or convenient meals unless they are made following the 1 ingredient rule. No additives or preservatives either, except maybe salt, because salt is a one ingredient food item. At least I think most salt is. You would need to learn to read labels very carefully. It also means no fast food, or eating out. In other words fruit, veggies, eggs, meat if it has nothing added to it would all be considered one ingredients.

But, I am a but confused because even some processed foods, such as canned veggies or beans are not technically one ingredient if you read the can, but if you had to cook them yourself the ingredients are probably things you would need to add like water and salt. Water and salt are obviously one ingredient on their own. So would canned veggies and beans be OK? What about pasta? If you buy an organic or whole food pasta it may have more than one ingredient in it, but to make the pasta homemade you would need those same ingredients. I am thinking yes, as long as the ingredients can also be declared as a whole one ingredient. But, what about pizza? One of the posts I read said he splurged on pizza before he started the diet because he knew he wouldn’t be able to have it. But, can’t homemade pizza be made with whole 1 ingredient, ingredients? I think it can.

If you were to try this diet it would take some planning and thinking. You would also have to be determined to do it. There is a 30 Day 1 Ingredient Challenge, that I saw some that dated way back to 2012. So, this diet has been around for a while. I think if after 30 days you were able to stick to this diet you would be on your way to kicking the junk food diet.

There are a bunch of recipes on Youtube, and you can find a whole website dedicated to this topic. I like the banana ice cream recipe in the video below. At the end she sprinkles something unknown on the ice cream. I assume this is Cinnamon. Just make sure it is Cinnamon the one ingredient kind, and not Cinnamon Sugar. Or is that still one ingredient combined into 2? LOL!

Here is an article from Healthline that doesn’t call it the 1 Ingredient Diet per say, Use the contact form under the video to learn more about my One on One Coaching Options.


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meals on Monday: Budget meals

Welcome to another Manic Monday! I hope everyone had a splendid weekend. It is finally sunny here. The weekend was cold and dreary. I decided I would keep my Budget Meals, or 5 Dollar Dinners here on the blog, rather than my Meals With Melissa subscription plan. I will refer subscribers to the blogposts in addition to the weekly meal plan.

Part of Mindful Eating is knowing what you are eating and eating the healthiest options you can afford. Not everyone can afford, or wants to afford the most expensive of food choices and more expensive does not necessarily mean healthier. Budgeting and meal planning are all part of Mindful Eating. As you know if you are a regular reader I have created a unique Nutrition course for my homeschooled high schooler. As I continue to research information for topics I learn so much about food, food waste, food insecurity and so much more. During the wars and The Great Depression food was scarce and even rationed. Housewives had to be creative and wise with their food and money. While researching this topic I found a wonderful Youtube channel called YesterKitchen. She makes war time and old recipes that can be made on a budget. You will see one of her videos below for Tamale Pie.

Tamale Pie can definitely be a Budget Meal. All you need is Corn Meal, Diced Tomatoes, Onions and Ground Meat. I would use ground turkey as it is way more affordable than ground beef, plus it tastes better. I also would make mine in a 9 x13 pan with the corn meal only on top. It looked kind of mushy with the corn meal on the bottom and the top. This is not a low carb meal, but corn meal is a whole grain loaded with fiber and other nutrients. Read about corn meal here. It is calorie dense and filling. You could even make this meatless and use beans instead of ground meat. If you have CKD be careful because corn meal has a lot of Phosphorus as will the beans. If you are a hunter you could even use ground venison in this recipe.

So, how would this meal break down money wise? The prices are for my area using my Basket App. I have not made this meal yet as I do not have any corn meal on hand and my meal plan is already done for the week. But, we definitely will be trying it soon.

Ground Turkey Version:

1 pound of ground turkey: $2.98 at Walmart

Roma tomatoes: You need one cup chopped and one Organic Roma Tomato is .30 at Walmart

Onion: 1 Yellow onion is .48 at Walmart

Corn Meal: You only need a third of a cup and a 12 oz bag at Walmart is 1.58

Salt, Pepper and Chili Powder you should have on hand, but are very cheap spices to purchase.

Total: $5.64 I counted two tomatoes. Dollar Tree may have Corn Meal for only a dollar

Venison Version:

All of the same ingredients and prices, except you can remove the $2.98 for the ground turkey as you got the venison by hunting. So the grand total would be $2.66

Ground Beef Version:

1 pound ground beef: $3.48 at Walmart

All other ingredients and prices the same

Total: $6.14

Kidney Bean Version:

16 oz of Kidney Beans: .72 I would rinse and drain them first leaving a little liquid. You could always buy dry and save even more by making your own.

All other ingredients and prices the same

Total: $1.81 Wow! Now that is a deal.

I am sitting down today to figure out our money budget, Dave Ramsey style. I can already tell we over spend on groceries and energy ie air conditioning. We do budget billing, so I am going to figure out what our monthly average is and work from there. We also have two car payments which means we over spend on transportation as well. This is where my focus will be. We did renew our Sam’s Club membership from 2017. We went on Sunday for our two week shop and I only spent 65 dollars for each week on food. That is way under budget to my 75 a week I had hoped to spend. The secret to Sam’s is making a list, sticking to it, staying away from the snack aisles, and staying out of the middle aisles. Some things, because it is in bulk, will last at least a month or more. So, there is that to consider as well. I spent only 55 dollars on meat for two weeks. That is a steal. I also restarted my Misfits Market. I upgraded to the bigger box and I am so pleased with the bigger box. I do have to include that into my budget. I get it biweekly which means I am spending 80 dollars a month for that. Each Saturday I do a social media share blogpost. It runs on Saturday and Sunday. This week will be Pinterest sharing. It is easy and it is free self promotions.

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self care Sunday: no covid vaccine, my 2020 fitbit stats, and exercise muscle move of the week!

All of that in one post! Happy Sunday! I was expecting a beautiful warm weekend with lots of sun. Instead I got chilly, cloudy, and dreary. I did still manage to get in some gardening. My peas are starting to come up. It is so exciting to see your hard work pay off. The big garden will be the Summer garden and my husband has decided it will be a competition between him and my daughter vs me. I intend to win! Gardening is definitely part of my Self Care lifestyle and routine. I intend to grow as much of my own food as possible in 2021. More on that later in the week, too.

I was supposed to get my first dose of the Pfizer Covid Vaccine yesterday. But, I got a text message saying the governor had pulled back all Covid doses for ALF’s in the state. I was so disappointed and can find no reasoning via news outlets for this decision. So, now I don’t know when I will get it, and more importantly when my elderly residents will get the vaccine. We did go to Sam’s though. More on that in a post later in the week.

The other day Fitbit sent me a year in review of my walking stats. I don’t recall them doing that the year before. I walked almost 5 million total steps, which equals almost 1900 miles for the year. Oh my goodness! I can’t wait to see what I do in 2021! If you want to start a walking plan and need someone to walk with, check out my updated Walking Buddy Plan. This is not a subscription plan like my Meals with Melissa, or Lose Weight with Melissa, but rather it is live walking with me and one on one coaching. It is a monthly, 30 day plan. Wouldn’t you love to be my first Walking Buddy?

My promotion for new customers has now expired. But, if you sign up for my Mailchimp weekly newsletter I will send out monthly specials and promotional codes. Plus you will get my free Popsicle Smoothie recipe, As I continue to work my way through this learning process of starting a business I will be updating my coaching plans and subscriptions. I am finally finishing up my Mindfulness Certificate, so watch for a monthly subscription for that. All subscriptions can be upgraded to one on one coaching plans. I am also working on Self Care Challenges which will be on the blog for free. Each week I am doing social media promotions, and this weekend it is Twitter. You still have time to join in. If you are interested in promoting your website or links, for free come back every Saturday to see which social media I am using and join in.

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I got a stability ball at 5 and Below last week. My teenager loves that store and I decided to purchase one. I have used it a few times since then and I can tell you it is awesome for balance, stability and working your core. It is not as easy as it looks, either. Below you will find one exercise you can work on this week with a stability ball. You obviously need to purchase one if you don’t have one. Here is one on Amazon, and one on Walmart. That is not me in the video. I do not do videos, yet. There is a lot that goes into videos.

I will be posting updated Business Hours and all of my plans will be updated with Paypal buy buttons right in the post. For now continue to use the contact form at the bottom of each post to message me about a Meet and Greet, or leave me a comment.


social saturday and sunday: tweet with me!

Welcome to the weekend! I got my first dose of the new Pfizer Covid vaccine today! I will let you know how I feel tomorrow. I did take a Bendryl, and I expect my arm will be sore.

This is week 2 of my new social media sharing weekend. This week I will be using Twitter. This is easy and a great, free way to get your Tweets retweeted. Just follow the simple directions below to join in.

  1. You must have a Twitter account with at least 100 followers.
  2. You must retweet my link first to your Twitter account. Share the link to your Twitter profile page so I can verify you retweeted my tweet. If you use a scheduler you need to state that so I know to check back.
  3. Then share a link to a Tweet you want me to retweet. All links will be retweeted by Sunday at midnight. I don’t use a scheduler, but I will scatter them so not all at once.
  4. You may share only one link, please.
  5. Leave your profile links and tweet links in the comments. All of my comments are moderated so spam will be ignored and not show in the post.
  6. Others may also retweet others but is not required. It is appreciated, though. Please do not delete my link after the event is over. I won’t do that, so please also don’t do that.
  7. Here is my Twitter profile where your links will be retweeted,
  8. Here is the Tweet of mine that I would like retweeted,
  9. Any links posted after 11 PM Eastern time on Sunday 1/24/21 will not count. You can begin as soon as you read this post. Please share the post to get more people involved which means more people seeing your link. You can follow each other on Twitter too, if you wish.
  10. Have fun! I will not retweet violent or offensive tweets.


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pain and chronic kidney disease!

Happy Thursday! It is finally sunny and warm here in North Florida. I hope that means Winter is over. I grew up in the Northeast so I know what real cold feels like. But, one of the reasons I moved to Florida was to get away from that. It is been a very chilly Winter here in Florida, and while it is a nice reprieve from the Sweltering Summer, I am kind of ready for a little warmth. You probably know by now that I have CKD. Part of having CKD just by the nature of the disease is pain and treating that pain. If you read my post a week or so ago covering medications that can harm the kidneys then you know there are not a lot of options for pain and CKD. But, there are some.

I have been fortunate since being diagnosed to not suffer from pain the way I was before diagnosis. Why? Well, because it seems most of my pain: leg cramps, and migraines were caused by Metabolic Acidosis. Once that was reversed my pain went away. Now that doesn’t mean I never have pain. I get muscle soreness after exercise, just like anyone else would. I get tooth pain, which is another whole blog post and I still get headaches every now and then. But, now I can usually find the root cause of the pain and treat it effectively. For example, this past weekend was my weekend to work. If you read here a lot, then you know I am a nurse. I had Covid patients that weekend that I was responsible for. That means I had to wear the full PPE space suit and those N95 respirator masks are tight. So tight that it left a mask mark on my face. But, I am not complaining and I am grateful we had them, because getting Covid with CKD is scarier than the headache I knew would come after the weekend was over. Now, it wasn’t just the mask. As I mentioned above Metabolic Acidosis was a huge issue for me when I was first diagnosed. Because I was over heated and could not drink enough I knew I would be dehydrated by Monday. I also knew I was stressed. All of those factors culminated in a massive headache Monday morning when I woke up. It took 36 hours to bring my body back into balance and the headache to completely go away. I say all that because knowing the root cause of your pain can help with treating the pain. Medications were of no use to me for this pain as the cause was more metabolic. In the coming weeks I will share some Integrative Therapies and how they can help manage pain.

In the video below a Nephrologist talks about pain and Kidney Disease. The doctor discusses Cannabis and CBD oil in the lecture. I won’t give away what he says so be sure and watch. His lecture is about 35 minutes long and then he takes questions. I learned some new things from this lecture.

There are many ways a Health Coach can help you make SMART goals to improve your Health.

Watch it and let me know what you think. Leave me a comment with questions or thoughts on this topic. Be sure and check out my new subscription plans, Meals with Melissa, Lose Weight with Melissa and Crafting with Melissa. They can be found in the archives.

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