Meal Plan/Prep Monday: Week 2

Good Monday morning! Welcome to week 2 of my meal plan/prep challenge. The reason this is a challenge is that I am trying to stay within a 100-dollar-per-week grocery budget for 3 adults, and when we have company for dinner. While this is absolutely feasible, it is difficult to do when everything is so expensive, especially if you have a chronic disease. Last summer I did a few posts where we tried to stay under 75 per week. It was OK, but with inflation, we had to increase our limit. The budget is for food only. Another thing we don’t always include in the budget is coffee. Coffee is something that my husband and I both agreed is a must and will not include it in the budget unless I am buying smaller packs at the grocery store. In general, I buy coffee on Amazon where I get the best deal, but it is like 30 dollars. You will see coffee in the grocery haul below, which was done on Friday of last week. I spent 19 dollars over, and if you read last week’s post, it is because someone else was shopping with me. This is the #1 way to not stick to your budget. Try to shop alone, or just say no.

There are several good reasons to create a food budget and stick to it. For us, it is the easiest place to cut spending from, allowing us to save more money for fun things, or to pay down debt. Don’t worry we are not starving. The hardest part is I like organic, grass-fed meats, and of course snacks. We all like snacks, unfortunately. Snacks are very expensive and everyone likes something different. This is an area I need to continue to work on. I would much rather buy more actual food, than snacks.

Leftovers are always for lunches, and we always have sandwich options, soup, fruit, and veggies.

I don’t really prep a lot of meals. My husband does not like frozen meals, and he does not like leftovers frozen and used later. But, I do prep fruit, and fresh vegetables, so they are easy to just grab and eat. You will see a bag of oranges in the image. I cut them into small wedges and put them in the fridge. I did not buy bananas this week. All veggies are washed and cut for easy use. I am going to start cutting onions ahead and putting them in the fridge, and lettuce as well. We always have canned and frozen veggies on hand. I don’t keep a ton of food on hand anymore. I find it doesn’t get used and it just goes to waste.

My menu plan always starts on a Saturday and ends on Friday. I do not always shop on the same day. It all depends on my work schedule. This week I have a Dr. appt in the city where Aldis is located. I am going to shop there this week and see if there is a big enough difference in the number of food items I can get as compared to my local Walmart. If it is I may consider the drive to Aldis a good idea.

We had bought a second turkey at Thanksgiving when they were marked way down to move. I don’t remember the size, but it was a good-sized turkey for 11 dollars. We had that on Saturday for dinner for our monthly family dinner. Today is Monday and I still have enough meat left to make sandwiches for lunch. You can make broth and soup, but it is really warm here right now and soup is not desirable. I may not eat all of the items in the food haul. I may eat a variation or smaller portions if needed.

Meal Plan for this week:

Saturday, March 4th: Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, dinner rolls, green beans and my son brought ice cream for dessert.

Sunday: Tacos. I eat a taco salad.

Monday: Pizza a note about frozen pizza and CKD. Most of them I don’t like, this Walmart brand one shown in the image is pretty good. However, normally I only eat one piece and have a big salad. Last week I ate two pieces and had a massive headache. The preservatives or extra sodium, or both, were most likely the reason for my headache. So, if you have CKD and you experience headaches after eating processed foods, cut back your serving size or avoid if possible.

Tuesday: Macaroni salad with egg or tuna. We are quickly moving into warmer months and our Summer menu. We eat a lot of salad and sandwiches. I hate to use the oven. I did get a new, larger air fryer for Christmas and I am hoping it won’t warm up the house.

Wednesday: Pizza I will not eat pizza this day.

Thursday: Big Mac in a bowl. This is one of our favorite warmer month recipes. You will see it a lot. You will see in the picture I spent the extra few dollars to get the three-pack of organic ground beef. To me, it is worth it if I am going to eat red meat.

Friday: This will be a new recipe for me but as you can see there is a whole carton of half and half in the picture. I will probably make this a few weeks in a row so it doesn’t go to waste. I tried it in my coffee, but yuck. I will be making my own alfredo sauce. I tend to not like the store-bought jar varieties, even the organic ones. This meal will be chicken alfredo, pasta, and broccoli.

I threw away my receipt by accident so I don’t have the prices for each meal. I promise next week I will.

These posts are one of my most popular topics on this blog. If you would like me to write about something in particular, let me know in the comments. Wednesday will begin the weekly slides for the new AKF Kidney Classes. I finally got to the new class and am ready to begin teaching it. I will post a new one each Wednesday. If you would rather do the whole class at once, you can contact me below and I will work with you to set something up.

My disclaimer is short and sweet. None of the 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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Food On Friday: Ezekiel Bread

Updated 3/4/2023 this post is from 2019. I have not bought this bread in quite some time. With inflation it is just not economical to buy bread only one person in the house will eat.

Welcome to Food on Friday!  Today, I am going talk to you about, Ezekiel Bread.  The kind I buy is the whole grain kind.  There are other varieties, but this is the one I chose to start with.  This is my first time trying this bread.  This is not a paid post.

First, let me start by saying this is not the most delicious bread I have ever eaten.  Matter of fact it isn’t delicious much at all.  So, if flavor is super important to you, this particular bread may not work.  This bread is also the first Organic bread I have tried.  No one else will eat this but me, lol, at my house.

So, why did I buy this bread?  There are several reasons, and they are listed below.

  1.  I follow a low-sodium diet.  Most sandwich bread, or rolls, has at least 140mg of sodium per slice.  So just the bread for a sandwich would have at least 280mg of sodium.  So, I stopped eating bread, for the most part.  With Summer coming, and it is brutal in Florida, we don’t cook a lot with the stove or oven.  That means sandwiches are on the menu.  If I toast this bread, I like it even more, and it makes a nice sandwich for me.  One slice of this Ezekiel bread has only 75mg of sodium.
  2.  I like that it is Organic, very low fat, has a low glycemic index, a good amount of Iron, and Fiber per serving.

There are some downfalls, though.

1.  Besides flavor, this bread is kind of high in Phosphorus, 8% per slice.  So, one sandwich and I am at 16% for the day, and that percentage is for someone who does not have CKD.  So, I have to make sure I am paying attention to other Phosphorus I may get throughout the day.

2.  It is not cheap, but I don’t find most of the non Organic good bread is cheap either.  I can remember when bread was .25, that is how old I am, lol.

3.  It has to stay refrigerated.  This is a pain for me because it is just one more thing taking up space in the fridge, but I deal with it.

4.  Because it is Organic, with no preservatives, it has a much shorter shelf life.  In the Summer months this will not be an issue, because like I said we eat sandwiches.  But, I probably will not buy this in the Winter months, because I just won’t eat it fast enough.  Which brings me to the last point.  We live in Florida.  We get hurricanes, and even without a hurricane, losing power is always possible.  As such, we have had to evacuate once, in the 15 years we have lived here.  We had no power for a week.  This bread would most likely not survive that, as I wouldn’t be able to refrigerate it, without a generator.  I will be doing a post, probably next week about disaster preparation, for people with CKD.  I did one before, on my homeschool blog, but it needs updating, and lots of new info learned.  I can tell you there are not a lot of Organic foods I can stock-pile due to shelf life that are OK for CKD.  So, that has to be kept in mind.

You can read the rest of the info about Ezekiel Bread, by looking at the images below.

My disclaimer is short and sweet. None of the information I share 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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I Have CKD But No Insurance!

Today is day 2 of National Kidney Month. Maybe you are at risk of getting CKD or were just diagnosed, and you do not have any health insurance. This can be a daunting feeling as you will need regular medical monitoring moving forward. There are some options, that may be helpful, and I am going to go through them. The #1 thing you can do, in my opinion, is to make the lifestyle changes necessary to help you either prevent getting CKD or prevent the progression of CKD for as long as possible.

As you know, I have CKD. You can read my history all the way back to the beginning of this blog. I was underinsured for many years of my adult life, some by choice, and some not. I truly feel my kidney disease could have been diagnosed many years earlier than it was had I been under proper medical supervision. I am very fortunate now, and for the last 10 years or so to have very good insurance. Before Obamacare, or the ACA as its technical name, pre-existing conditions, and many other limitations were put onto the American people via the health care industry. It made lower income families much harder to afford needed medical care, even just basic prevention. I feel like a yearly urine test falls under prevention for CKD.

Here are some options to consider if you are underinsured, or uninsured, but may be at risk for CKD, or already have it.

  1. You could buy urine dipstick test strips and monitor protein in your urine. These are available online and at drug stores. Just be sure to follow the directions to get accurate results.
  2. Many clinics and labs offer a sliding scale fee for those eligible.
  3. Care Credit is a credit card for medical care. Of course, you have to apply and be approved, and pay it back with interest. We actually have used this for pet care, and when my son needed very expensive dental surgery.
  4. Health Savings Plans. I don’t feel like these would work well for someone who is only making minimum wage, but I also don’t know much about them. My husband had one and after a year it had 150 dollars in it and he bought new glasses. So, maybe more of a supplemental thing.
  5. KEEP Healthy from the National Kidney Foundation. This is a free screening done for the public. You have to visit the screening site. If you are at risk for CKD you can get the urine screening for free. The other items in the screening are available to everyone who visits.
  6. Since pre-existing conditions can no longer be excluded if you are uninsured and find out you have CKD you could sign up for your employer-based health insurance. Of course, this most likely will not be free. There used to be a time when employers would offer health insurance to single adults for free, I remember, but I am pretty sure not many do anymore. Yes, I am old, lol.
  7. Florida actually has a pretty extensive Medicaid Insurance Plan. There are 3 options for adults, and one for children call CHIP. If you are not a senior, disabled, or a child the requirements to be approved are pretty stiff. You can read more here, and here.
  8. You can visit a Community Health Center. I am in a rural area, but when I looked up my zip code, down at the bottom of this page, there are actually several near enough to me should I even need this option. These health centers are in rural areas and underserved areas.
  9. Another option is your local Public Health Center. They may not be able to manage your CKD, but you may be able to get some prevention tests for free and counseling as to where to get affordable health care.
  10. The last option and I find this kind of depressing is Medicare. It doesn’t feel like there is a lot of hope for underinsured, and uninsured people at risk and with CKD. Once you reach stage 5 you can sign up for Medicare despite your age. Stage 5 is considered End Stage Renal Disease. Medicare covers 80% of medical costs. So, you would still have to pay the other 20%. I found this webinar from AKF on Youtube. I encourage you to watch it.

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

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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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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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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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The Biggest Kidney Development In 20 Years!

Hello! It is still National Kidney Month, and I meant to talk about this topic weeks ago, but I got busy with other things and it didn’t happen.

I am not going to go into all the mumbo jumbo of a clinical trial, there is a video for that, lol. The video below will talk about the clinical trials for Farxiga and the results. I will keep it simple and state it met all of their standards with flying colors! The FDA has now approved Farxiga for the treatment and prevention of kidney decline in CKD patients with or without Diabetes. This is huge!

Now, before you get too excited there are some caveats. It is for stages CKD 2-4, and you can not be on hemodialysis. You can read the drug information here, but if you are on a low sodium diet, and which person with CKD is not on a low sodium diet, then you need to proceed with caution as Farxiga can cause you to be dehydrated, and cause volume loss. Make sure you discuss all aspects of this drug if you decide to ask your doctor about using it. The people in the clinical trials were on ACE Inhibitors, or ARBS, most likely to control blood pressure. So, I would be curious to know how Farxiga would work for those of us who do not take those medications. Not all of us do, though it is a typical standard of care for most people with CKD. Also, and most important in my mind, is that Farxiga can cause a type of genital infection, that can lead to gangrene, in the genitals. Yes, you read that correctly. You would need to pay extra attention to this very sensitive part of your body for any signs of infection. You also can not have Polycystic Kidney Disease or autoimmune kidney disease to take Farxiga. There are other drugs in this class of medication, but only Farxiga has been FDA approved for the treatment of CKD. Farxiga is made by Astrazeneca.

Now, my thoughts on Farxiga. Would I take it to slow the progression of my CKD? Absolutely, if what I was currently doing did not already have me back hovering at stage 2. I also do not take Ace inhibitors or ARBS, so I probably would be disqualified from using it. I do not want to be on hemodialysis, ever, and so this would be something I would consider. I would request my doctor make adjustments in my plan of care, such as sodium restrictions, and I would request closer monitoring for side effects.

Be sure and watch the videos, read the links, and educate yourself before talking to your doctor about taking Farxiga.

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

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Meatless Monday Pasta and Sweet Peas!

Updated 2/6/2023

For some quick updates before I get to the main topic. I still have not taken the new Kidney Coach class, but you can still read the older version on this blog, as much as I got through. I hope to have that done very soon as summer winds down. I am finishing my Medical Billing and Coding classes to hopefully become certified by early next year. I am hoping this will be a supplement work-from-home job to my out-of-home nursing job. It is not hard, and a lot of it I already know, but it is boring, and they gave me a year to complete it so I see no need to rush.

If you read here often, then you know Meatless Monday is one of the weekly blog post topics I would do. I also have CKD, so limiting my meat protein intake is good. I have made it all the way back to stage 2, then dropped a bit and am hovering right at 58 or 59 eGFR. You could always opt to do meatless meals daily by having one of your meals, either lunch, or dinner be meatless.

I could literally eat this meal every Monday, and I could eat sweet green peas every day. I love them! Unfortunately, no one else in my house will eat them, so I don’t buy them as often as I could. I found these two videos below for your entertainment. The young man ate only peas for 3 days, now I don’t know about eating just peas for 3 days, but he did. He is funny, and I found him to be quite honest. The other video goes into detail about the many proven health benefits of peas, which are very healthy.

Peas are technically a legume, and I am not a fan of legumes, other than peanuts and peas. Beans make me gassy and cause frequent stools. I am not a fan of that at all. From a CKD standpoint peas are low in protein, fat, and sodium, with moderate levels of potassium and phosphorus. The phosphorus in the peas is not absorbed well by the body, though. They are also high in fiber. Be sure to read the label and get organic if you can, or peas with the least amount of additives and preservatives. Some are higher in sodium than others.

My simple Meatless Monday meal that I could eat every single Monday, is pasta, peas, and butter with some seasonings to taste, mostly garlic and paprika. If you are not a fan of avocado toast, which is all the rage right now, you could mash up some sweet peas and spread them on toast and no one would know but you. This is also affordable with a whole box of pasta costing about a dollar, and a can of peas 50 cents. I use whipped butter that is much lower in fat and it costs about 3 dollars depending on the brand for a tub. You obviously will only use part of the box of pasta, and some of the canned peas with a tbsp of butter. I also like to add lemon juice and brown sugar to the butter to make a beautiful sauce, but I don’t do that every time because I don’t always have lemons on hand. The peas on toast would be great for breakfast or lunch and are even more affordable than dinner. I like whole grain bread or the low carb high fiber wraps, so mine would be more expensive than it could be.

Let me know if you like sweet peas in the comments.

My disclaimer is short and sweet. None of the information on this blog is intended to be medical or nutritional advice, nor to replace seeing a medical professional. It is for informational use only.

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