laugh out loud for brain health~

Welcome to Wellness Wednesday. Today, is the last post in my Brain Health series, and I think I saved the best for last. If you would like to know in advance what each month’s Health Topic, and Health Challenge will be, then be sure to join my Mailchimp mailing list below. I send a weekly newsletter with all kinds of good stuff. This post, and any of my posts, may contain affiliate links.

You probably have heard the saying, laughter is the best medicine. Well, apparently it is good for your brain health too. Of course it is hard to quantify what is funny and what isn’t, because we all have different opinions on what is funny. Some people find offensive things to be quite funny, while others find that material just offensive. Kids, pets, pranks, etc can be quite funny, and entertaining. Maybe you have a favorite sitcom that just brings you to tears. I personally love the Carol Burnett Show, especially when Tim Conway is on. There is even something called laughing yoga, and a study was done on that topic. Apparently it is being used with people with Dementia as it seems to help improve their wellbeing. Laughter can help with Depression, Pain, and other neurological disorders, though it is not completely certain why, and more tests definitely need to be done. But, in the end if laughter can help our Brain Health, just do it. There is a link below on some small studies done on laughter and Brain Health. Be sure to read it, it is very interesting. Some physicians are being encouraged to prescribe to their patients 30 minutes of laughing per week. I am not quite sure how they came to that particular dose, because I would think it should be every day.

Below, you will see some videos that hopefully will make you laugh out loud! One video is actually about how laughter works.


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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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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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Throwback Thursday 1980’s Halloween fun!

This post is a fun post. It has nothing to do with Brain Health, or does it. Memories are an important part of Brain Health. Nostalgia and remembering times of the past help you with recall. It can be lots of fun too. I think I will make this a recurring weekly post as it is very popular. As a matter of fact, and I am not sure why, but Halloween has been trending on this blog. I have done several posts on Halloween, mostly about candy and CKD, but some other fun ones too. Be sure and check them out in the archives. This post may contain affiliate links, as may any of my posts. The two videos below are on 80’s Halloween commercials for kids, and a very special Halloween special for kids that I adored and still do.

Let me know in the comments if you like these types of posts. I think they are fun and refreshing. I love to think back to the days of my teen years.

Be sure to check out my updated Reiki Wellness Plan, and my updated Meals with Melissa monthly meal plan service. I am working on updating all of my Wellness Plans, so be sure and check back often. You will also see down below a sugar skull face mask. That is my art work applied to a face mask. You can purchase it at Redbubble by clicking the link under the image.


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how well do you know your brain?

Continuing with my Brain Health theme until the end of this month, how well do you know your brain. The brain is a very complex organ and scientists are learning knew things every day. Below you will find a video on the structure and function of the human brain. You may see affiliate links in this post, or any of my posts.

The previous two days I discussed learning new things for Brain Health, and diets for Brain Health. Be sure and check them out in the archives if you are interested.

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eat for your master control center!

In case you were wondering the Master Control Center is you brain. The brain controls all functions of the body. It is obviously the most vital organ of the body and keeping it healthy is vitally important. Food plays a big role in Brain Health. I think it is often overlooked as food is overlooked in the treatment of most disease. You may see affiliate links in this post, or any of my posts.

Diet, exercise, and sleep are vitally important to Brain Health. But, today I will focus on Diet. There are 3 diets that have been shown to help improve Brain Health, and the Mind Diet has been shown to decrease the chance of getting Alzheimer’s by up to 35%

I did a post on the MIND Diet, so you can click to read. I also did a post on the DASH Diet. You can also click to read. Along with those check out my post on Trans Fats. While Trans Fats have been banned in the USA apparently they can still sneak it in, so be sure and read labels. Watch for hydrogenated oils, refined oils, or partially hydrogenated. Those may indicate there are Trans Fats in a food source. Canola Oil is a highly refined oil that raises some red flags for Brain Health, but a lot of Kidney recipes include them. I tend to stick to Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

I work with Dementia/Alzheimer’s residents, and I also have a family history. It is a devastating disease and avoiding it is prudent, if possible.

Cholesterol is another hot topic about Brain Health. You can read more about that here.

But, with all of that said, the Mediterranean Diet takes the #1 spot for Brain Health, and apparently has for some years. The 3 different diets I mentioned are all just a tiny bit different, but one thing they focus on is reducing the consumption of animal products, and eating whole foods rather than convenient, or pre-packaged foods that sit on a shelf for very long periods of time. Red meat, especially, should be limited to maybe once a week, or even just a couple of times a month. You may ask why? It is the saturated fats found in these meats that make them unsavory for Brain Health. Pork products can also be considered a red meat depending on the type and fat content. Now, I actually quite like pork, I could care less about beef except once in a while I want it, but pork I like. I try to stick to the leaner cuts with less than 3 grams of total fat per serving. These are not always easy to find, especially when you live in rural areas like me. They also tend to be more expensive, which always baffles me. Why are healthier food choices more expensive than garbage food? It’s a conundrum, I know.

I do not eat fish, except Tuna, and that is only on occasion. I am trying to add more, but I just don’t care for it. So, I have started taking Fish Oil capsules. I only take 2 a day, much less than most people take, but they can cause me bloating and gas, and well yeah who wants that. I am getting used to beans and my low fat food challenge showed me that I can quite easily eat more Vegetarian type dishes for one meal, and then have chicken at dinner. I limit my protein intake due to Kidney Disease, so I don’t get too much anyhow.

On the Fish Oil note I have noticed a nice decline in my blood pressure since I started taking them. Since I have not changed anything else I am thinking the Fish Oil is decreasing inflammation in body helping to decrease my blood pressure. It had been creeping up for a bit now and had me quite concerned. I will let you know if the trend continues.

Anyhow, with all of that said there are several videos below on the Mediterranean Diet. Note that it is not just a diet, but a lifestyle, where regular exercise is part of the diet. I encourage you to watch them and start making small changes today. You will notice as you go it will become easier to start removing some of the non-healthy food items from your diet. A note about nuts, seeds, and beans, they are higher in phosphorus than other foods so be sure and eat proper portion sizes and take your phosphorus binders if they are ordered for you.


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Be mindful of your brain: learn a new language

Hello, and welcome to Monday! These last 9 days in June will be dedicated to Brain Health. Dementia and Alzheimer’s are diseases of the brain. Along with general Brain Health I will focus on Dementia and Alzheimer’s as well. But for today’s post I am going to discuss Language Learning and how it can help improve Brain Health. You may see affiliate links in this post, or any of my posts.

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First lets start with some basic definitions.

Dementia: a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning,

Alzheimer’s: progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age, due to generalized degeneration of the brain. It is the most common cause of premature senility.

You will see I made that middle or old age in bold. You can get Alzheimer’s even in middle age that means 40-65! Keeping your brain healthy is vitally important!

Cognitive Decline: from the CDC, Subjective Cognitive Decline (SCD) is the self-reported experience of worsening or more frequent confusion or memory loss. 1,2. It is a form of cognitive impairment and one of the earliest noticeable symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Even just learning new vocabulary can have a profound effect on Brain Health, but learning a second language is even better. You will find several videos below explaining how the brain functions when you are bilingual.

Here is a study for you to read.

For me I have dedicated, starting today, to learning Spanish. I do already know some basic words from when my kids were learning it. But, I never could speak full sentences. That is my goal! I have no idea how long it will take me, but I am almost 52, so it will be a bit. According to the video below, I think he said 30 weeks on average. So, maybe by next year this time, lol. I have downloaded an app called Mondly and it gives me daily lessons. If I find that too easy, ha ha, I have a workbook that I found on Amazon Kindle, and I have the Kindle Unlimited so I got it for free until I return it. Wish me luck!

Will you join in the brain challenge? What are you willing to commit to learn?


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chronic kidney disease symptoms and self care management!

Welcome to Self Care Saturday! If you read this blog then you know I have CKD, and that I had a recent experience with a shoulder injury and poor pain management. Symptoms when you have CKD, and poor management of those symptoms are a huge self care problem for kidney patients. While most doctors will focus on dialysis kidney patients want management of their symptoms long before they need dialysis. I found this video below from Canada where they are more focused on empowering Kidney Patients to self advocate for self care. The video is short but so worth watching. The lady at the very end had the most powerful question be sure and hear it. If you have stage 3 CKD you will see what I mean.

Reiki may help you with CKD pain, stress, relaxation, better sleep, etc. If you are interested I am now offering Distance Reiki Sessions.


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Low calorie food #4: sweet peaches!

Hello, and welcome to Friday! I have had an especially stressful week, and I am glad it is almost over. It is my weekend to work, so I may not add any new content until Monday. I have been performing Reiki on myself, for stress relief, and it is fabulous. You may see affiliate links in this post.

At the end of last Summer we planted a peach tree. It was kind of already big in my opinion, but I had no idea if it would produce fruit, especially the first season after planting. To my surprise it did produce fruit and they are so sweet and juicy. They are small, but that is OK too. This peach tree really didn’t need much care at all. I will have to prune it at the end of the season, and I don’t think they produce fruit twice, so that should be soon. I still have a bunch on the tree that are not ripe enough yet. If the rest all come ripe at the same time, I can freeze them for use later in the year. There are only about 20 peaches in total left on the tree.

The image below is mine of the actual peaches I have picked so far. You can watch the video below to learn more about the Health benefits of peaches. You might be surprised. Some people don’t like the fuzzy skin, but honestly when they are very ripe you don’t even notice it. Peaches are a good source of Vitamin A. According to my Basket pricing app 1 pound of peaches in my area are 1.49-2.99. They are in season now, so it is the best time to enjoy them!

Nutrition according to my food tracker app for 1 small peach:

Calories: 51

Total Fat: 0.3 grams, so basically a fat free food

Saturated Fat: Zero

Cholesterol: Zero

Sodium: Zero

Total Carbs: 12 grams

Net Carbs: 10 grams

Protein: 1.2 grams

Vitamin: 14% of daily RDA

Vitamin C: 24% of daily RDA

Calcium: 1.3% RDA

Iron: 1.8% RDA

Phosphorus: 26 mg this is a low Phosphorus food item if you have CKD

Potassium: 247 mg this is pretty high for a small piece of fruit. If you have CKD be mindful of this.

I sprinkle cinnamon on top of mine to add a dessert type flavor.


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The zero point food challenge has ended!

Happy Thursday! Today was another super busy and unusual day. Then my internet went out around 2 PM and just came back on. I hate it when that happens, especially when I have not done my internet work yet. Anyway, I have decided to end the Zero Point Food Challenge today, instead of Tuesday. Continue reading to learn why. You may see affiliate links in this post. Be sure and check out my brand new Distance Reiki Wellness Plan. I am accepting clients now!

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I have decided to end the Zero Points/Very Low Fat Food Challenge early, because:

  1. I have learned a lot of good information from this challenge and I feel I can continue the good habits I have adopted without difficulty.
  2. I lost 3 pounds in 8 days. That is pretty good.
  3. It is very time consuming to get all of the meal plan, nutrition info, and pictures each day to add to this blog.
  4. There doesn’t seem to be that much interest in this considering the amount of time I am spending on it.

I really did enjoy this challenge. I have eaten a ton of carbs, but mostly from whole foods, and I still lost weight. I think this pretty much shows that a whole food diet, even high in carbs, can be healthy and support weight loss. I did not change my exercise habits. I also was consuming way less fat than I may normally. I probably will return to not eating as much dairy as I have been. I feel like I am certainly getting too much Phosphorus, and lower fat foods have other additives that may not be healthy. If I do decide to have cheese, or milk, I will just have it in very small amounts rather than the lower fat options. Except mozzarella, and ricotta. Those I do not mind in the lower fat variety, or cottage cheese. The others are just a strange texture and really have no flavor. One thing I miss a lot is nuts! I love nuts, and while I only eat them in small amounts the amount of fats in them led me to avoid them for this challenge. My husband absolutely hates the whipped butter, which just makes me sad. But, I will continue to use it and he can have the other. I also miss cooking with Olive Oil. Olive Oil is a healthy fat, and I use it only in small amounts while cooking. I will do that again in small amounts. Another thing I noticed is that I think I am not eating enough Potassium on this diet. Maybe because I ran out of tomatoes, and bananas, lol, but I have been having leg cramps. I have not had leg cramps in years. So, I will be sure to always have them on hand. Not all people with kidney disease can’t eat potassium. I think my body needs more than the average kidney patient. Father’s Day is Sunday, check out this awesome Hair Growth Combo Kit.

If you enjoyed this challenge, and maybe even tried eat, leave me your thoughts in the comments. Coming up next Monday, Brain Health.


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