National Kidney Month 2023!

Welcome to National Kidney Month 2023.

As you know I am passionate about kidney health and I finally just completed the updated version of the AKF Kidney Health Coach classes. I actually was pleased to see that the new classes focus a lot on the prevention of getting Kidney Disease and preventing CKD from progressing to Kidney Failure. I think this class will be much more effective for people to understand and get information from. So, you will start seeing me share the information on this blog, and people can request to do the class with me if you don’t want to wait for each slide to get shared. More about that later.

All this month, not every day, because I have other topics I like to share, but I will be sharing information from various kidney groups to highlight National Kidney Month.

My second exciting update is that I have finished my Medical Billing and Coding Classes, and now am ready to take the certification exam. I say ready, but there are a few more areas I would like to refresh my memory on before taking the certification exam. The exam can take up to 5 hours, which is hard for many reasons. I will be talking more about Medical Coding and Billing in relation to me as a nurse in future posts.

That is it for now. Come back tomorrow to see what I share.

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Meal Plan/Prep Monday

But, on Tuesday, lol. I am kind of consolidating several topics into one weekly post that has to do with budgeting, pantry challenges, budget meals, meal planning, and prepping. I will try my best to always post these on Monday.

This particular meal plan actually began this past Saturday and will end on Friday. So, even though I will do the post on Monday, a few days may have gone by. The purpose of these posts is to help you find ways to plan meals for your family while sticking to a budget. We budget our food because of several reasons, to save money, avoid food waste, and just be reasonable with what we need and don’t need. Our weekly budget for 3 adults, and sometimes we have family or friends for dinner, is 100 dollars per week. We have had to adjust it a few times since I first started last fall, due to inflation. This is only for food and does not include other household items in the budget.

Here are some tips that help me to stay on budget.

  1. Shop with grocery pickup instead of going into the store. I was doing this all the time, but sometimes I get annoyed with their choices of fresh food, so now I am back in the store.
  2. I know you have heard this one before, shop the sales, and shop in season. While I agree with this, I don’t always do this. Just because hot dogs are buy one get one free does not mean we should be eating hot dogs all week. If your goal is to eat somewhat healthy and stay on a budget, it may be a little bit harder.
  3. Buy what you know your family will eat. Don’t buy something just because it is a good deal and then you throw it away because no one really wants it.
  4. Yes, beans are more affordable than meat. But, are you going to eat them? No one in my house will consistently eat beans several days a week. Yes, we would be starving if we had to. So, they are not more affordable in my house. They are just going to go to waste.
  5. Make a list and stick to it, even if there is a good sale.
  6. Shop your pantry first and try to find new recipes or ways to use items that maybe are not the favorites of the house.
  7. Even if you don’t need to spend your budget each week, 100 dollars for me, do it anyway and have a stocked pantry for when you can’t have that money that week.
  8. Skip the junk food. I know I love potato chips too, but with some simple prep work, you can have fruit and veggies all cut up and ready to snack on. Plus, fruit and veggies, for the most part, are cheaper than potato chips and other snack items. Don’t worry we eat processed foods too, though I do try very hard to limit them. You will read more about that in the menu plan.
  9. Buy family packs of meats and then split them up into smaller portions. One portion per person per bag. Learn what proper portions are. It will save you a lot of money.
  10. Don’t take children or spouses shopping with you. Just trust me.

You will see my full Walmart grocery haul. I don’t always shop at Walmart but I do find they have the best prices right now for my area. I live in Florida, so your prices may be more or less. I will share the cost of each dinner meal for the night. I don’t meal plan breakfast or lunch. No one generally eats breakfast, but there are always options for it. Lunch is a salad, sandwich, or soup. Last Summer I did some posts on pantry kits for hurricane prep or any disaster. I had to use one today, so it didn’t expire. I will be doing more of those soon, as hurricane season is coming fast. The prices below do not include condiments, butter, oil, etc. They are pennies on the dollar and I am not going to figure that out.

Some of the items in the meal plan I already had on hand. So, I will share the price from the Walmart app that I set up my grocery pickup on. This week I only spent 91 dollars, but last week I went over by 20 dollars, so I tried to even it out. See #10 above. I do not drink soda and I feel it is a big waste of money. See #10 above, lol.

We almost always have some kind of fresh fruit, salad fixings, and canned or frozen veggies.

Saturday: pizza. On the eves that I work, even though my husband is a fabulous cook, they often want frozen pizza. One pizza feeds them both and sometimes I come home to a piece saved for me. Cost of this meal $3.98 I do not like most frozen pizzas, but this one is OK. So, that is definitely a budget meal. They can add fruit or salad if they want to, but they won’t, lol.

Sunday: Hot dogs on a bun with Cesar salad. Ok this one is a little more expensive, but I was at work and I don’t really eat hot dogs, so there were hot dogs for lunch the next day too. This meal is right around 10 dollars for all of the items. We buy the family-size Cesar Salad kit at WM and it feeds all 3 of us, plus some leftovers for the next day.

Monday: I worked the opposite shift this day, so I was pooped. We had an easy ravioli with sauce and garlic bread. Ravioli was 4.27 which is a shame of a price, it used to be so much more affordable, with sauce at 2.24, and garlic bread at 2.24. You could choose a less expensive sauce, and Dollar Tree has garlic bread for 1.25. The total for our meal was 8.75 But, there were again leftovers to have for lunch today.

Tuesday: Today, is my first day off of the week, so we will eat a properly cooked meal. Chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans. The green beans need to be used up before they expire. We used to always buy chicken breast, but I have switched to chicken thighs because they cost less and they don’t dry out as easily when cooking. I very much prefer free-range chicken and or organic. But, it does not fit in a budget right now. I buy the family pack which will range from 11-15 dollars and I split them up into smaller bags with proper portion sizes for each of us. Then I stick them in the freezer. I can get 5 meals out of that price range, which is very economical. So, even if I go with the higher price of 15 dollars for the full pack divided into 5 packs, that is 3 dollars worth of chicken for this meal. My daughter loves the Idahoan instant mashed potatoes, and you know what they are easier too. They have gone up too. I used to get them for 99 cents, but now they are 1.44 The can of green beans is 50 cents. So, the total for this meal is 4.94, and as you can see this real meal is less than the ravioli or hot dog meals. I might even throw on some gravy if I have it on hand.

Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner. I love breakfast for dinner. It is not the healthiest option but it is splendid. I always have a banana, orange, or apple on hand. Pancakes, sausage patties, and fruit for those that will eat it, so me. The pancake mix is 1.98 because I buy the Great Value brand, the sausage patties were 2.76 and I buy bananas in bunches, but according to the app they are 27 cents each. So, we will go with that. I will probably eat an orange, as well. One orange is 88 cents. Those pancakes we have had for three meals now, so that is an awesome deal. This meal will cost 5.89 a little bit more if my husband decides he wants fruit. Technically, less because the pancake mix is for more than one meal, but you get the idea.

Thursday: Chicken and rice bake with broccoli. I have not exactly decided how I want to make this yet, so the price is an estimate for the main ingredients. I already have cheese on hand and I buy it in a block and shred it myself. There may or may not be a condensed soup involved. The chicken, just like above is from my bulk chicken pack so 3 dollars, brown rice is 7 cents per serving and I make 6 servings so a whopping 42 cents, and the broccoli I buy frozen at 98 cents. This meal will cost you a whopping 4.05! Again, a homecooked meal is much cheaper than processed food items.

Friday: I work again, so another frozen pizza at 3.98

That will round out the week. We are having family over the weekend and we bought an extra turkey at Thanksgiving when they were at rock bottom price. We need to use that up before it gets too hot to run the oven. So, Saturday will be Thanksgiving in March.

Where I currently work, they feed me. It is not always a healthy option for me, so I always have fruit and a sandwich with me just in case they don’t have a salad or other option I may like and find acceptable. My husband brown bags it for lunch. You will see in the grocery haul, I allow for some snack items. Everybody can pick a reasonably priced item. But, once it is gone it is gone for the week. You will see not all of the items that I purchased this week were eaten. That is because I have items I need to use up in my fridge, freezer, and pantry. We very often eat the Cesar Salad, mentioned above as a whole meal, especially during the hot months. At 4.98 and it feeds all 3 of us, it is a good deal.

Tomorrow starts Kidney Awareness month, my favorite month to share, and I will be looking for new information to share.

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Does Exercise Reduce Cardiac Risk?

Updated 2/22/2023

It is loving your heart month, and heart health awareness.  Today, we will discuss exercise, and how it can reduce your risk for Cardiac disease, but also as it relates to people with CKD.  Remember, everyone is different, and for some people exercise may not reduce the risk.  Always ask your doctor before beginning an exercise routine, especially if you plan on doing more than a basic walking routine.  Vigorous exercise can be dangerous for some people, and for people with CKD, studies show that intense exercise may increase Creatinine levels, at least for short periods of time. If you have CKD, or Heart Disease already, be sure to talk to your doctor as to what exercises are best for you. Generally, most health care practitioners will probably be OK with walking.

I did a post on walking, a couple weeks ago.  You can find it in the archives.  Most anyone can walk, and unless your doctor tells you no exercise, then chances are good you can walk too.  Me, I have CKD stage 3, and I try to aim for 50-60% intensity of my Maximum Heart Rate.  To find your MHR you subtract your age from 220, then figure out 50% of that.  So, for my age, my MHR would be 85 beats a minute, at 50% intensity.    I try to stay in that range. This is very light exercise and it is hard to stay in that range if your goal is to increase your fitness level.

Of course, vigorous exercise is going to have a higher risk reduction.  According to medical websites, up to 25% risk reduction if you exercise vigorously, of cardiac disease risk.  For me, who works out moderately, it is only a 10% risk reduction of reduction to cardiac risk.  But, for me, I can’t risk my one good kidney for an organ that right now is functioning fine.  Now that may change in the future.  Vigorous exercise would be running, jogging, bike riding, aerobics, etc.  Moderate exercise would be walking, yard work, or golfing.  Low-intensity aerobics can also fit under moderate exercise.  I recommend anyone starting out, do a walking program first.  This will increase your strength, balance, and circulation, preparing you for a higher endurance program.

Using weights also adds to the cardiac risk reduction.  However, again if you have CKD this can raise your Creatinine levels.  So, kidney websites recommend doing Pilates, or Yoga for toning, instead of weight lifting.  I have not started either of those yet, but I intend to.

Even 15 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity will benefit your heart.  The goal is to eventually build up to 60 minutes, at least 5 days a week.  But, if you can only do 5 or 10 minutes a couple days a week, then start there.  It is important to start somewhere.  Any activity is better than no activity at all.  Your heart is a muscle, and like any muscle, it will take time, and work to make it stronger.

Know to watch for warning signals, especially if you have CKD or an already underlying cardiac disease.  You do want to have difficulty carrying on a full conversation, but you don’t want to be breathing so hard that you are gasping for air, or can’t speak at all.  That is a sign that you are working too hard, and you need to stop and rest.  Learn to check your heart rate, before, during, and after you exercise.  Remember you want to stay within the MHR, as stated above.  The older you are the lower your MHR will be, so it is imperative you always speak to your doctor before starting an exercise program, and that you learn to properly monitor your heart rate and breathing during exercise.   Walking around your house is not an exercise program.  We all walk.  Fitness walking is an exercise program.  You will expect to have some muscle pain, after exercising, especially if you are sedentary.  But, chest pain, pain in the jaw, or neck, or any intense pain anywhere, can be indicative of an issue and you should stop and rest right away.  Also, make sure you stay hydrated.  Drink before, during, and after.  Don’t exercise in intense heat.  The goal is not to be a super athlete but to decrease your risk of cardiac disease.

Watch the short video below that talks about reducing cardiac risk, and reducing the risk of cognitive decline with exercise as simple as walking.

My disclaimer is easy to remember. Nothing on this blog is intended to be medical or nutritional advice. It is for informational purposes only and to spark a conversation.

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Exciting Kidney Update!

If you are one of my followers that have followed my story since the beginning then you know I have come very far in the process of healing my left kidney.

While I am under the medical care of a GP and a Nephrologist, it is hard work that has brought me to where I am today. It is hard work to completely change your lifestyle and then maintain that change for years to come. In 2016 my left kidney failed and was probably stage 4 at that time by the symptoms I was having. In the Summer of 2017, I was stable at stages 3b to 3a and that is where I hovered for a long time. I was basically told that the kidney can not heal and I will need dialysis probably within 4 years as the disease progresses. Through the years I continued to learn more about kidney health, diet, exercise, stress, blood pressure, sleep, anemia, hydration, Vitamin D, phosphorus additives in foods, uric acid, gout, oxalates, and many other topics related to kidney health. I started to make adjustments in my life for my kidney to be healthier in relation to all of those topics. In 2021 I began to hover right around stage 2 between 58-61 for my eGFR. I was so excited! All my hard work seemed to be working. I still have blood work done twice a year, with my kidney doctor. 2 weeks ago I got my latest results and my eGFR was 67, stage 2 for sure! I really was not sure it was accurate. I mean it has been over 6 years since my left kidney failed. But, when I looked at the urine sample and the blood work there was no doubt it was accurate. One could be wrong but they both couldn’t. This is the first time in 6 years my creatinine has not been elevated in my blood. I am pretty certain he is going to want to repeat it, but since I have been trending upward for two years now I don’t see why.

I am in no way implying I am healed. My left kidney was shrunken and scarred on ultrasound when I was first diagnosed. It will never be normal size again, nor will the scar tissue go away. Nor can I stop doing all the things that have gotten me here. One virus, dehydration, too much stress, hypertensive crisis, if I get Diabetes, loss of blood, Anemia, parathyroid issues, acute injury, and so much more can cause my kidney to relapse. It is fragile, it is real life, and it is my life. I live with it every day. So for now I will relish this moment. The moment that a lot of hard work has led to an astounding accomplishment.

The only prescription medication I take is Zetia, since November of last year. My Lipid Panel was stubbornly too high, though not awful high, and I agreed to try Zetia. Zetia is a cholesterol absorbing drug. It absorbs cholesterol in the intestines so it is not absorbed by the body. It is not a Statin. I do not know if this medication is why my kidneys got the last little push by decreasing the fat levels in my blood, or not, but it is the only thing that I have changed recently on top of everything else I was already doing. There are some studies that say that Zetia may improve kidney function for people with a high lipid panel.

For now, I will relax, and enjoy this moment. But, tomorrow the hard work resumes.

I am very lucky. At the time my kidney failed, and still today, we have very good health insurance. But, it was not always that way. For many years we had horrible insurance that was too expensive to afford and didn’t cover much of anything. Like most Americans, this led to delayed treatment and diagnosis. There needs to be a change in our healthcare system. It is very broken and very unfair.

Next month is kidney awareness month. Expect some new topics and edited old topics.

My disclaimer is short and sweet. This blog is about my journey with kidney disease and helping others. Nothing in this blog is meant to be medical or nutritional advice. It is for informational purposes only and to spark a conversation.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Aortic Stenosis?

Hello, and welcome back! If you did not read my post from yesterday, and watch the video, I encourage you to do so. This is part of a series for heart awareness. Be sure to come back and read the rest of the posts.

What are the signs and symptoms of Aortic Stenosis?

The very first sign, that can be noticed early on, is a heart murmur. A heart murmur is an abnormal heart sound that can be heard through a stethoscope while listening to the heart. Sometimes, it is obvious and can be heard clearly, other times it might be faint and not so easy to hear. A trained doctor, or nurse that has training in heart sounds, will notice the heart murmur.

The symptoms would seem obvious, but trust me they can be misconstrued as something else.

  1. The three big ones and symptoms that should not be ignored are dizziness or fainting, chest pain, and dyspnea which is shortness of breath.
  2. Fatigue with little to no activity. This can be an early warning and may be a symptom of other illnesses such as Anemia.
  3. Brain fog and forgetfulness.
  4. Low exercise tolerance.
  5. Chest pain that seems like maybe it is GERD, heartburn, or GI disturbance, especially after eating a heavy meal. This may be exactly what it is, but if you are having this on a regular basis please see your doctor to make sure it is not something more serious.

All of these symptoms may be caused because your heart is not pumping enough oxygenated blood to the rest of your body.

I know healthcare is ridiculously expensive for a lot of people, and the poor and underinsured are the most affected by awful outcomes, but by treating these symptoms early and with medical monitoring, you may be able to avoid a much bigger bill when the inevitable happens, or death occurs.

It is true that as we age our heart valves become less effective, much like everything else in the human body. You may even need a heart valve replacement in your 70s and 80s, but ignoring the symptoms earlier in life and not receiving treatment can lead to open heart surgery or even death at a much younger age.

If you have CKD you are already at an increased risk for heart valve disease because of the nature of that disease. When the kidneys can’t filter waste as well it builds up in the blood, blood vessels, heart valves, and even the organs. This can lead to calcification which is calcium deposit buildup.

There are two videos below. The first one shows how blood actually pumps through your chambers and valves. It is pretty cool. The second video talks about the symptoms of Aortic Stenosis. They are both short.

My disclaimer is short and sweet. None of the information shared on this blog is meant to be medical or nutritional advice. It is for informational purposes only and to spark a conversation.

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Aortic Calcification and Aortic Stenosis!

For the rest of February 2023, because it is heart awareness month, I will discuss Aortic Stenosis. If you have CKD, like me, you are already at an increased risk for Aortic Stenosis just by the nature of the kidneys not filtering properly. This is not a disorder that should be ignored, or poo-pooed.

Aortic Calcification is just what it sounds like, calcium deposits build up on the Aortic Valve in the heart and cause the valve to become stenosed, or narrowed which limits the amount of blood flow going out of the heart to the rest of the body. The Aorta is the large blood vessel responsible for getting blood out of the heart to the rest of the body. As we age the valves in our hearts can become stiff and work less effectively. That also can cause stenosis, or narrowing.

Below is a short video that shows what this stenosis looks like inside the heart. It is a pretty cool video. I will discuss the anatomy of the heart and how it works, risk factors, symptoms, prevention, and treatment in future posts. But, I will also discuss the very complicated topic of health insurance and how people who are underinsured, or not insured at all have to cope with these medical issues with extreme stress and anxiety.

My disclaimer is short and sweet. None of the information in this blog is intended to be medical or nutritional advice. It is for informational purposes only and to spark a conversation.

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Cholesterol and Heart Disease

Updated 2/16/2023: I will be doing a newer version of this old post soon. This one was originally done in 2019. But, did you know that Heart Disease is still the leading cause of death in men and women, across all races? According to the CDC, one person dies every 34 seconds from Heart Disease. That is staggering to think about.

Cholesterol is a type of fat.  It can build up in arteries causing decreased blood flow to the heart.  Cholesterol is found in the highest amounts, in dairy products, meat, and eggs. 

I can remember the days of nursing when Cholesterol was the only type of fat discussed, that’s how old I am, and how long I’ve been a nurse, lol.   Now there are Triglycerides, LDL, HDL, etc.   Saturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and on and on it goes.  So do we need any Cholesterol, or should it just be removed from all diets?  Actually, like any other nutrition item, Cholesterol plays a very important part in the normal function of the human body.  Cholesterol helps the body build new cells.  Well, that sounds pretty important.  Cholesterol also insulates nerves and helps produce hormones.  Again, two very important functions of the human body.  We need Cholesterol.  We just don’t need too much of it.

An optimal Cholesterol level is 200 or below, but I can promise you if you are sneaking around 190, or so, the doctor is going to start the blah blah part.  You can’t live without your heart, and one heart attack can be very debilitating if it doesn’t kill you. I say blah blah because there is so much conflicting information about Cholesterol that a lot of people are just confused and tired of trying to figure it out. Don’t eat eggs, do eat eggs but not the yolk, Cholesterol might not be so bad but sugar is. I mean it can be dizzying trying to figure out what is right and wrong.

So, now comes the blah, blah, part.  You should be having your Cholesterol checked every single year starting in your teens.  Even though a lot of high Cholesterol comes from foods we consume, for some people it can be hereditary.  Even the fittest people, with excellent diets, can have high Cholesterol due to Genetics.  I am not a fan of Statins, they have a high risk of damaging the liver, and kidneys, but if I needed one I would take one.  Exercise, controlling blood pressure, and following a low-fat and high-fiber diet, can help lower cholesterol levels.  Oatmeal is a great way to increase fiber in your diet. If you really like eggs, for your morning meal, the egg yolk is where all the Cholesterol is.  So, egg whites are a better option, and only have one or two whole eggs a week, if that.   If you have Kidney Disease, as well, egg whites are a better option because the yolk is where all the phosphorus is.   Make sure you get actual egg whites, not made from egg white substance.  I don’t even know what that means, egg white substance. Cheese, milk, and other dairy products are also sources of Cholesterol. Did you know chicken, which is a leading food choice for people who want to lose weight, if you read the label chicken is actually pretty high in Cholesterol, even the boneless skinless variety? So, even leaner meats can be high in this type of fat. If you already have a risk for Heart Disease 200 mg of Cholesterol in your diet per day is what you should aim for. If you don’t already have risk factors 300 mg of Cholesterol per day in your diet is a good goal. One small chicken breast has 100 mg of Cholesterol.  If you have CKD you are definitely at risk for Heart Disease, just by the nature of your kidneys not filtering properly.

An optimal Cholesterol level is 200 or below, but I can promise you if you are sneaking around 190, or so, the doctor is going to start the blah blah part.  You can’t live without your heart, and one heart attack can be very debilitating, and it can kill you.

Take care of your heart. You only have one.

My disclaimer is short and sweet. No information on this blog is intended to be medical or nutritional advice. It is for informational purposes only and to spark a conversation.

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Valentine’s Day for CKD Patients

Updated 2/15/2023 I am continuing to delete and update old posts.

Well, really, Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone, but this post will be geared toward people with CKD. 

First, let me say I could give rats behind about Valentine’s Day.  Never have, and probably never will.  So, for me the very best gift I can receive is a plant, namely, that will bloom, to put in my garden.  I love roses the best, just saying!  But, if you are not like me and you would really love a sweet gift, and you have CKD, you know this can be a challenge.  So, I will share some options you can try as long as you take it slow.  For example, don’t eat the whole bag, just eat a serving, maybe two.  You will see two images below of my favorite treats.  I only eat a serving size, so for the pretzels 5 pretzels, and the candy, 3 candies.

If you are a chocolate lover, my research shows that white chocolate is the best option for phosphorus and potassium amounts.  If I am baking with chocolate, I choose white chocolate and half the amount.  So, if the recipe says 1 cup, I use a 1/2 cup, and of course, 1/4 cup would be even better.  Dark chocolate is healthy, but it does have a good deal of Phosphorus.  Use it in small amounts, only.  Today, I made homemade banana bread with white chocolate chips in it, yum.  I use this banana bread as a breakfast replacement, or lunch, when I am working, or outside the home.  This reduces the chance of me eating fast food, or from a vending machine. White flour is the lowest in phosphorus, but if you stick to one slice, you could use the healthier all-around flour.  Dipping fresh strawberries in chocolate is also a better option.  You could use white chocolate.

Hard candies are always a good option.  I particularly love Cinnamon candies.  They sell out very fast and often have to settle for Peppermint.  I carry hard candy with me everywhere, because I have a chronic dry mouth, and they come in handy.  If you are diabetic, of course, you need to choose a sugar-free option.

If you are going out to eat try to stick to the healthiest options you can find.  Low sodium, lower protein, etc.  A grilled chicken salad or salad and pasta is always a good option.  If you absolutely must have something more special, then only eat half of it, and bring the other half home to enjoy the day after Valentine’s Day. Plus, if you could find organic options for your favorite meal and then cook it at home, that would be even better. Organic sauces and condiments generally don’t have added phosphorus, sugars, and additives. Be sure to always read the label for ingredients with phos in them. That means there are added phosphorus additives and preservatives.

There are not a ton of options, I know, but you can still celebrate, and not feel neglected.  I say go for a beautiful rose bush you can enjoy all year!

My disclaimer is short and sweet. Nothing on this blog is intended to be medical or nutritional advise. It is for informational purposes only and to spark a conversation.

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Romantic Dinners For People With CKD!

Updated 2/14/2023: Happy Valentine’s Day 2023! Watch for an exciting kidney update coming soon. The very first recipe the butternut squash ravioli is delicious!

Hello, hello! This is my first Sunday post in forever. Today was the last day at my current job and I only did 8 hours instead of 12. No more 12-hour shifts! If you have CKD, like me, you know how difficult these long days are. I never get to stay hydrated enough, and my eating habits are bad. My new job will start within a week, I am thinking.

Are you a romantic? I am not a romantic, not even a little. That doesn’t mean I don’t like a lovely dinner once in a while. We like to eat out, but we have started a savings plan for this year, so it has to be kept to a minimum. I also don’t like crowds or standing in line forever just to eat. So, I found 3 delicious romantic meals you can cook right at home, that should be relatively good even if you have CKD. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and I am not at all prepared with a special dinner. However, I do know there are two small steaks in my freezer that I can make. I very rarely eat red meat, and these are small steaks.

Let me know if you try any of these recipes and if you like them.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Remember to love your special people every day, not just one special day. You could leave the chicken out and make this a meatless meal which is even better for CKD. You could even make the ravioli homemade, but who wants to do that? LOL. Having butternut squash stuffed in the ravioli rather than cheese, or meat will reduce the phosphorus in the food. I don’t like asparagus, but broccoli would be OK. If you have issues with potassium consider cauliflower or roasted radishes on the side. This one is very easy, but I would skip the feta and use parmesan cheese instead, fresh is best. Quinoa can be high in phosphorus so be mindful of your portion size. I don’t even care for seafood and this one sounds decadent. This one would probably be the most expensive. Parsley is very high in potassium so use it as more of a garnish.

If you need an idea for a fast and easy tablescape for your Valentine’s Day table, watch the video below.

My disclaimer is short and sweet. None of the information on this blog is intended to be medical advise or nutritional advise. It is for informational purposes only and to spark a conversation.

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Love Your Heart: Stress and Hypertension

Updated 2/13/2023

February is Heart health awareness month. This is the third week of Love Your Heart month.  Heart health and awareness should be at the top of your list.  For people with CKD, believe it or not, Cardiac Disease is the top killer.  I put Stress, and Hypertension together in one post because they very much go hand in hand.  I won’t go into all the specifics about stress, but I will share an article that you can read for more specifics.

Stress is a very broad term, and anything can be a stressor.  A stressor is a thing that causes a stress response in the body.  The very top things that cause stress are everyday life matters such as money, marriage, work, illness, family, etc.  For men, and Type A personalities, stress can be especially deadly to the heart.  The report, that I will share, states that men who have 3 stressful life events are more likely to die from a Heart Attack.  If you add smoking, HTN, and high cholesterol to the stress mix, you have a heart disaster in the making.  Plus we all respond differently to stress, and some stress is a good thing, especially if it makes you make real and positive changes in your life.  I am a type A personality, and over the years I have had to learn to say No, know my limits, and not allow my personality to destroy my health.  My job has a lot of stress. I was just offered a promotion, and had the where with all to turn it down, as much as my Type A personality was screaming at me to do it.  Knowing my limits allowed me to say no to something I know deep down will not be good for me.  These are not things that come naturally but are things you can teach yourself, as I did.  It took many years, of being a mother, and a nurse to make me see that my own personality was not helping me.  That doesn’t mean Type B personalities don’t have stress, that is not true.  We all have stress, it is how we cope with it that makes the difference.  If you have no coping skills, other than anger, hostility, or self-hate, then you don’t have good coping skills, and you need to train your brain to have some.  Mindfulness is the first step to reducing all stress.

So, how does stress relate to  HTN?  When you are stressed, remember there are many different types of stress, the body produces a rush of hormones in response to the stressor.  These hormones cause your heart to beat faster, and your blood vessels to constrict, which causes a short-term rise in blood pressure.  Hypertension or HTN is a long-term, or chronic, rise in blood pressure.  Studies have shown that stress, that is not dealt with or allowed to build up over long periods of time, leads to chronic HTN.  HTN is one of the leading risk factors for Cardiac Disease.  So, learning to deal with stress, along with other healthy choices, such as diet, exercise, and cessation of smoking, can all lead to a healthier heart.  For some people the only risk factor they have is stress.

I have other topics in the archives on Stress and Hypertension if you would like to learn more about ways to better cope with those issues.

My disclaimer is short and sweet. None of the information contained in this blog is intended to be medical or nutritional advise. It is for informational purposes only and to start a conversation with yourself, your doctor, or those you love.

Read more about stress here.

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