AKF Kidney Class Week #3

Happy Humpday! Today is week 3 of the AKF Kidney Class. I am a Kidney Coach, and each week I share another slide from the program that I would have done in person if Covid hadn’t come around. The slides are the property of AKF and I have permission to share them here on this blog. The ultimate goal is to raise awareness about Kidney Disease prevention and treatment. The writing that is on the slide is the AKF information. My thoughts, and experiences, are after the slide. I have done a lot of blog posts on the topic of CKD, so be sure and browse through the blog if you are interested.

The slide today covers the topic of what the kidneys do. They really do a lot more than you think, keep reading.

The kidneys are extraordinary organs! Two tiny bean-shaped organs do so much to maintain Homeostasis in the body. What is Homeostasis? Simply put Homeostasis means the body is in balance.

Here are some blog posts on the topics in this slide.

  1. https://healthbuddymelissa.coach/2019/03/06/how-does-salt-effect-kidneys/
  2. https://healthbuddymelissa.coach/2021/02/16/potassium-and-kidney-disease/
  3. https://healthbuddymelissa.coach/2021/03/09/does-blood-pressure-cause-kidney-disease-or-does-kidney-disease-cause-high-blood-pressure/
  4. https://healthbuddymelissa.coach/2019/02/22/foodie-friday-calcium/ I have not covered the bone disease issue as much as I could have on this blog. It is complicated, and something I need to look into.
  5. https://healthbuddymelissa.coach/?s=anemia&submit= There are several good posts on the topic of Anemia and CKD on this blog, so I just shared the results page.

Let me know what you think. Please ask questions in the comments or you can email them to me at melissa@healthybuddymelissa.coach


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Wisdom on Wednesday

Hello, and welcome to another Wisdom on Wednesday quote day. Actually, because my life is crazy right now, this will be a dual post but they both relate to the same quote. I have no idea who to attribute this quote to, but it is a good one.

Keep your head up, God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers. This is especially powerful if you have Faith, or believe in God, whoever you call God.

When life is too easy we become complacent and relaxed. Some stress is not all bad, and hardships in life. They bring great lessons and build character.

Chronic illnesses, and other medical issues, will test you and wear you out. All this month I have been talking about Obesity. Like most months, I did not get to cover all of the topics I wanted to. But, one thing I see recurring on social media is people criticizing, making fun of, bullying, chastising, and downright being ugly to people they consider fat, or obese. They make money off this shit. Off of someone else’s pain. That says a lot about someone’s character and the people who support these so-called content creators. This is not content, it is garbage.

Anyway, enough of my soapbox issue for the day. I wanted to put Obesity into this post with the quote because for a lot of people losing weight is a very complex and difficult issue. For a small part of the population, because most people do just overeat and not exercise, weight loss is more than a challenge for them. They may have medical reasons that they have gained weight, and those reasons make it even harder to lose weight. Now I am not saying they shouldn’t try, because even losing 10% of your body weight can improve health markers by a lot.

Here you will find 7 medical conditions that can lead to obesity, and here other factors that can lead to Obesity.

I know how hard it is to lose weight, especially while trying to balance home life, work-life, and a chronic illness. It is extremely challenging but worth it. If you are Obese and you want to start to exercise more check out my Walking Buddy Plan. It is the best way to begin exercising to prevent injury and increase stamina in a safe way.

Be sure and read through my other posts on Obesity. There is some really great info there. Tomorrow I will be talking about how to keep the weight off once you lose it. This is a lot of times even more challenging than losing the weight to begin with.


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what Should I eat with diverticulosis?

A quick note before I begin. I was going to talk about Fiber and how it helps prevent someone from getting Diverticulosis in the first place. However, I have been studying this topic for over a week now and there are very conflicting opinions, and test results for fiber as a preventative to getting Diverticulosis, and whether it may actually increase one’s risk of getting Diverticulosis. For that reason the fiber issue, here, will only be discussed in relation to people who already have Diverticulosis.

If you want to learn more about preventing Diverticulosis discuss with your doctor about a diet that would be best. Studies are showing that a job where you sit a lot may actually be the highest risk factor for getting Diverticulosis. More about activity in a later post So, what if you already have Diverticulosis? What should you eat? Well, some of that is a loaded topic because it probably will depend on some other factors such as other illnesses, medications, activity level, etc. But, in general if you have Diverticulosis your doctor most likely is going to advise that you avoid processed foods, eat a more plant-based lifestyle, and of course increase your fiber intake. Be sure you drink enough water, or you may end up constipated from too much fiber. This goes for anyone who eats a high fiber diet. Start slow, don’t go from 10 grams of fiber per day to 50, your gut will not be happy at all.

How much Fiber? First let me say you need to know how much fiber you are already consuming, before you decide if you need to eat more. A food diary, for a week or so, will help you decide that. Be accurate and consistent with your food dietary intake. There are apps that can help you. I use one called Track-Nutrition Calculator. If you are a female under age 50, and have Diverticulosis 25 grams of fiber, if over 50 then 21 grams of fiber per day. If you are a male under age 50, and have Diverticulosis 38 grams of fiber, if over 50 years of age 30 grams of fiber. These number recommendations are from 2012, so they may be different, or the same in 2021.

Why is Fiber Important for Diverticulosis? It keeps food and waste moving through the digestive system, not allowing backups and waste from getting into the pouches in the intestines that define Diverticulosis. It is when these pouches get food, or waste in them, that they become inflame or infected causing Diverticulitis. If you have a bout of Diverticulitis you will be told to eat a low fiber diet. That is for next week ‘s topic.

Foods High in Fiber: Fruits and Vegetables are going to be your first thought most likely. There are other foods high in fiber, that are also plant-based such as: beans, peas, nuts, seeds, legumes, brown and wild rice, whole grain breads, whole wheat or whole grain pasta. Get used to reading labels and calculating fiber per serving. Most processed, and fast food options are going to be very low in fiber if it has any at all.

I know I say this in almost every blog post that has to do with diet modification: learn to cook and eat more at home, then out. It is cheaper and healthier. You can control the fat, sodium, sugar, and fiber of each meal you eat. Check out Meals with Melissa, if you need help with meal planning, cooking, prepping, etc. If you have any other medical issues that require diet modification, be sure and speak to your health care provider before making any drastic changes to your diet.


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Mask up, again!

Hello, and welcome to another Wellness Wednesday! This is not the topic I was going to discuss today, however in light of all the new information, and the fact that this is a Health blog I decided to talk about it. This is information and my thoughts. I am in no way, telling people to either get the vaccine or not. This post may contain affiliate links.

First, some background on my experience. I have Kidney Disease. I do not typically get the Flu Vaccine because the couple of times I did get it I got sick anyways. But, Covid was a different story for me. Covid attacks the kidneys and destroys them. I only have one so the risk of not getting the Covid vaccine was too great. I work in Health Care. I have taken care of people with Covid, and I have been exposed by people with Covid. I was fully vaccinated as of March 10 of this year. You can read about my experience with the second Moderna shot. Either my daughter, or myself, have been disinfecting our frequently touched areas every day for over a year, until May that is. We stopped wearing masks in public after the CDC said we could, as all of us are now fully vaccinated, including my teenager. Even though I work in Health Care I have never tested positive and I get tested a lot. Almost exactly 4 weeks ago, a fellow coworker and friend of mine, who is not vaccinated sat in my office doing paperwork with her mask off the whole time. I still wore my mask as I knew she was not vaccinated but required to test weekly. I only removed my mask when drinking from my water bottle. Three days after that I learned that she tested positive for Covid, and then three days after that she was admitted to the ICU with Covid Pneumonia. My job rapid tested me 4 days after I was exposed, and I was negative. One week after my exposure I started experiencing a mild scratchy throat. My job advised me it was ok to come to work and they would rapid test me again. Again, I was negative. Towards the end of my shift I could tell I was coming down with something and left early. My husband and daughter also got sick, though milder than I did. We all got a PCR test on the same day and were all in various stages of something. We all tested negative. Because I work in Health Care I was advised to self quarantine until my PCR test came back negative. There is a point to this keep reading. We went back to wearing masks after this, even before we were advised to do so. I have also gone back to disinfecting daily.

My friend did not have the Delta variant. But, now 3 weeks after her illness we have an outbreak at my work. I do not yet know if it is the Delta variant, but they believe most likely it is. I have heard of other outbreaks in my area where vaccination rates are very low, below 30% in some spots. Today, I had to go get PCR tested, again, due to the outbreak at work. I go to the Health Department, and the line which typically is one or two cars, had about 20 cars in line. Again, I do not know if any of the new cases are the Delta variant, but I can presume because of how fast the cases have exploded in the past few weeks.

If you have been paying attention then you know the CDC just issued new mask rules telling the vaccinated to mask up again indoors in communities with high spread of Covid. Unvaccinated people should have never stopped wearing masks indoors. Indoors does not mean in your own personal home, though if there is an outbreak in your home that may be prudent.

My point to all of this is what the CDC said that the new Delta variant has changed the game for mask wearing.

Some key points I would like to make.

  1. Being vaccinated does not mean you can’t catch Covid. Your chances are much smaller, and you most likely will get a milder illness and not need hospitalization. Nor will you most likely die if you are vaccinated and get Covid.
  2. The vaccine protects you, and those around you because it was thought the vaccinated could not spread it if they did get it. However, the new Delta variant they say has a 1,000 times the viral load of the other variants. It was also stated in tests that a vaccinated person had just as much viral load in their nose as an unvaccinated person with the Delta variant. This also means that vaccinated people, with that higher viral load, can transmit the virus to other people. That is why the new mask guidance came out, because the new variant is stronger and more dangerous.
  3. The longer it takes to reach Herd Immunity the higher chances of the virus infecting people and mutations will continue to occur. A virus needs a host to live. Humans are the host for Covid. If Herd Immunity is reached then the virus can no longer have a host and no longer can mutate. The video below explains virus mutation quite well.
  4. We already know that asymptomatic people can spread Covid.
  5. Children under 12 do not have a vaccine offered to them as yet. This puts them at a huge risk for getting Covid. The original variant did not seem to effect young children much and it was possible they could not spread it. We do not know if the Delta variant will react the same way to children. We have lost over 600,000 people to Covid in the USA alone, whether you agree with how that data was collected, or not, it is the statistic. Are we prepared to start losing large numbers of children to this virus?
  6. If you absolutely do not want to get the vaccine, or can’t for some reason, masks work. They act as a barrier to the virus entering your nose or mouth where the virus can grow and you will become infected. They also act as a barrier to the virus leaving your nose and mouth if you are infected. That protects others. Masks are most important when indoors especially with close proximity to others, if there is not good ventilation, or if proper disinfecting is not taking place. They are not perfect, nor are they 100%, but they are an awesome tool. Even before Covid I would wear a mask during regular Flu Season to avoid getting it. They work for any respiratory illness you may wish to not get. You may wish to wear eye protectors if you are in an area with high community spread and you are indoors.
  7. I had to quarantine and miss 3 days of paid work due to being directly exposed to someone who was positive for Covid they weren’t wearing a mask. I know I personally can not afford to do that every time someone exposes me. Your own place of business may have different rules, but because I work in Health Care and I got symptoms, I had to quarantine until I got a negative PCR test, not a rapid test.

I tend to ramble, but I hope you see my points. The videos below are short and explain it even better. I urge you to watch them and keep an open mind no matter your decision. Please talk to your health care provider also, to learn more and what is best for you.

Stay safe and healthy!


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eye see you!

Today starts the first of a series on Eye Health. Today, I will cover the function of the eye, and some common disorders of the eye. This post may contain affiliate links.

If you read this week then you know Hurricane Elsa was barreling towards us. We did dodge a bullet as wind shear tore it a part starting last night at 11 PM. This afforded me a good nights sleep. The weather has been nasty all day with wind and rain, but it could have been so much worse. Lots of rain! I am glad it is over, and I am good with no more rain for a bit. It has been such a wet Summer so far.

I am keeping this post kind of short, because it is still quite windy and the power keeps blinking. The two videos below are interesting to watch.


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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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day 2: Let’s Talk about drinks baby!

Welcome back to Hurricane Preparedness Week! This is day 2 and I want to talk about drinks, especially if you have CKD. But, these options are great for any family who wants a sort of healthier drink option. I did a post last year on this topic, and I am adding to it this year. There may be affiliate links in this post.

Today, my daughter and I went to grocery shop and since it is Hurricane Preparedness Week here in Florida, and certain items are tax exempt, the stores were pretty crowded. The only thing we actually bought that was exempt was batteries. You can see the full list here. This week I used my new Flipp app, and my Basket app to see where the best deals were on the groceries I needed. I don’t generally like to shop at multiple stores but people swear it will save me money. So, today I did it, and actually I saved enough money this week to purchase a PUR water filter container for in the fridge. We bought a new fridge without the water filter built in and have been using bottle watered. With CKD I have to be sure to not be drinking too many impurities and we have hard water. This was the most affordable option and we don’t have to use all those water bottles now. We do still stock up on water during Hurricane Season, we just don’t need as much now and we donate what we don’t use at the end of the season.

Drinks are something that can not only suck up your daily allotment of fluids, if you are on dialysis, but also added phosphorus and sodium. Sometimes even Potassium if you don’t read labels well. Below you will see a picture with all of the drink options I basically use. You don’t see the Stur in the image, from last years post, but I do still have some of those left as well. My daughter likes them too so I saved some for her for this year. I will mention each of them. I do drink coffee once a day, and sometimes tea.

Premier Protein Shakes- I started out by trying the Blueberry Oats shake. I liked it so then I tried Cinnamon Rill, and Caramel. The Cinnamon Roll is my favorite and I can hardly ever find it where I live. I might have to order it on Amazon, lol. I technically only use these as a coffee creamer alternative. It is healthier and I use only 2 tbsp which is an oz. The Equate brand is exactly the same as the Premier Protein, or at least I don’t notice a difference except for the price. I bought the big package this time, because one it is more cost effective, and it is also shelf stable until you open it. With 20-30 grams of protein per container, it could be a meal replacement for me. Be sure to read the label as it does contain 50% of your daily Phosphorus, and that can build up if you aren’t careful. These are perfect for me for Hurricane Season, and my family too if they want them.

V8 +Energy: I decided to try these some time ago. While I would not drink the whole can in a sitting, it does have quite a bit of caffeine, I add about an oz to my water to add a little flavor. The whole can only has 50 calories and 12 grams of carbs. The ingredients are pretty good too.

Blue Raspberry Drink Enhancer: When I tell you that you only need a very tiny squirt to get a ton of flavor, I am not kidding. These are easy to transport and come in tons of flavors. I also crush up ice and add this to the ice for a sneaky snow cone trick.

Welchs and or Juicy Juice: If I want a little taste of fruitiness in my water, I add an oz of one of these juices. These are the only 2 that I buy anymore. I like Ocean Spray too, but I can’t find the flavor I want so I stopped buying it. These are 100% juice, and low sodium. They both also have no added sugar.

That’s it! Those are my drink options. You do not see soda, as I hardly ever drink soda, and if I do it will be a Sprite or Diet Sprite. No dark colas! If we had to evacuate we would just get water wherever we end up. If we stay through a tropical system we will have bottled water and everyone will have a cold refreshing drink that is not too unhealthy. My daughter does like the powdered sweet tea and I always have some on hand for her. But, she also drinks water, and can use any of the options shown as well.

To stock up simply buy an extra one each week, or bi-weekly when you shop. Then be sure not to drink them.

We also keep coffee filters on hand just in case we lose power and I need to make some coffee an old fashioned way. I really do like my coffee in the morning.

What drinks would you, or do you stock up on for disaster preparedness? Let me know in the comments.


Would you like to learn about any of my Wellness Services such as Reiki, Guided Imagery, Goal Setting, Meal Planning, Walking Buddy, etc? Use the contact form at the end of the post to message me with your questions. I am revamping all of my plans through the month of June, so watch for them here on the blog.

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10 risk factors you can control!

Happy Wednesday! As we come to the end of May and the end of Blood Pressure Awareness Month, it is time to start putting it all together. You can read all the posts on this topic in the archives. There is a ton of helpful information there. This post may contain affiliate links.

So, what are the 10 risk factors you can control?

  1. Everyone hates it when a medical person says this, but controlling your weight, if you are over weight or obese, is the #1 risk factor you can control to prevent High Blood Pressure. Now, for a small population, due to reasons outside of their control, weight loss may not be a risk factor they can control. BMI, and hip to waist ratio are other tools, besides just a number on a scale that can help you determine your risk.
  2. Reduce your stress levels. If you visited this blog at all in April then you know I talked about Stress reduction. Stress is a huge risk factor for High Blood Pressure and learning to control it is vital. Check the archives to learn about managing Stress. A Health Coach can help you. Check out my 30 day coaching plan. One thing I have discussed recently is that pain is a definite stressor and having adequate pain management is vitally important. Talk to your doctor if you have pain! Come back later this week to read about what annoyed me in the news today on the topic of Stress.
  3. Be Active. Exercise has been proven to help prevent and reduce blood pressure. However, be careful if you are new to exercise or have an underlying illness. I have CKD and recently I have started running. I have also noticed that my blood pressure has creeped up in that time when it was very well managed without medication. My doctor OK’d this increase in intensity, but I have gone back to low impact and the fat burning zone to see if it makes a difference in my blood pressure. I check my blood pressure most days of the week using a manual cuff and stethescope. I keep a log for my doctor to review.
  4. Eat a healthy diet. Now I know there is controversy around what is healthy and what is not. Lower sodium, lower fat and less processed foods I think most could agree would be healthy. Adding fruits and veggies is always going to be healthier than eating fast food, or otherwise less healthy food options.
  5. Eat less salt. This kind of goes with #4. Talk to your doctor but most experts on this topic, if you search it, say 1800 mg per day is all you should be getting for most people. Back in the day when I worked on a Cardiac Unit is was 2000 mg per day. So, it has decreased over the years.
  6. Limit your alcohol. I did a whole post on portion distortion alcohol and I think it is plain that most people do not understand the serving size of alcohol. If you are a man you should not drink more than 2 servings a day, and only 1 serving a day if you are a woman.
  7. Stop smoking. I don’t think that really needs explaining.
  8. Cut back on caffeine. Caffeine is found in coffee, some teas, energy drinks, chocolate and possibly other products I am not aware of. Not everyone is sensitive to caffeine raising their blood pressure, but if you consume a lot of it you might want to consider cutting back.
  9. Monitor your blood pressure. This really isn’t a lifestyle change, but more of a habit you should get into. Even if you are young and healthy regular monitoring of your blood pressure is a good idea. Even if you only have it checked every few months. If you are already at a high risk of getting High Blood Pressure, or already have it, monitoring your blood pressure is vitally important. You may not even know it is high, like for me, because you might have no symptoms. Even the smallest increases in blood pressure can have negative effects on the body, especially if the blood pressure goes unnoticed that it is high.
  10. Find a support team. This should include your doctor, family, friends, a Health Coach. Anyone who can help you adjust your risk factors. It is not easy making lifestyle changes, trust me I know, but doing it can prolong your life, prevent diseases, or complications from diseases.


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FDA halts J+j covid vaccine: What you should know

Happy Wednesday! Yesterday, on my way to volunteer I heard over the radio that the Johnson and Johnson Covid vaccine was being halted due to a possible rare side effect. This particular vaccine is the one shot vaccine. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, the two shots, have not had this particular side effect. Read about my experience with the Moderna vaccine. Apparently there were 6 cases of a stroke like illness all in women under age 50 after receiving the Johnson and Johnson one shot Covid vaccine. There have been over 6 million doses given. So, you may be wondering why it was halted.

Since the reaction appears to be in a very specific set of people, women under 50, the FDA will review the cases to see if this particular group should be advised not to get that vaccine, and instead receive the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. They also will investigate if there needs to be more education to Health Care workers of symptoms to watch for, or questions to ask before giving the vaccine. In my mind this should already be occurring, but maybe it isn’t. When I got the Moderna vaccine the real issue was allergies. Because I am prone to allergies and reactions I had to have extra monitoring time after getting the shot. Because all of the women who had this rare reaction to any other indicators of risk for a blood clot. Why those questions? If you smoke and take birth control it increases your chances of having a stroke exponentially. Just one of those risks will also increase your risk.

What are the ingredients in the J and J vaccine? Click here to read.

Does this mean you should refuse getting a vaccine? I would say no. Educate yourself on whatever vaccine is offered to you and then make an informed decision. You may choose to get one vaccine over another or speak to your doctor first to see if you have any increased risk factors, and may need closer monitoring post vaccine. Most experts agree the best way to get out of this Pandemic and return to normal is via vaccine.


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are you stressed out?

Everyone experiences Stress, some good, some bad. How people respond to Stress is what makes us different. Stress can drive some people, and drag others down. There is no right or wrong Stress, or way of dealing with it. The trick is to learn to make Stress work for you, not against you. Stress is also different for different age groups. Since I tag myself as the Middle Aged Health Coach, my topics of discussion will center around this age group.

April is Stress Awareness Month here at Health Buddy Melissa. In the coming weeks I will discuss a lot about Stress. What it is, how it effects the body, and how to better manage it and even use it as a tool.

My coach freebie for the month of April is I am giving away 10 coaching sessions for 10 different people. How do you get these free sessions? See below.

How to claim a 30 minute coaching session for free:

  1. Your session has to be related to Stress.
  2. You must be at least 18 years of age, read, speak and write English.
  3. You must have a valid email address
  4. You must use the contact form at the end of this post to message me with the subject as Stressed Out.
  5. Allow me 24 hours to receive your initial email and respond. Once I have your request I will send you an intake form that you fill out and return to me via email. You may have to print it and scan it to return it.
  6. I will review your intake form and make an appointment with you to review it with you. This can be done via email, Facebook messenger, Zoom, or Google Chats. After the meet and greet we can decide if you want to proceed with the free coaching session. I will provide you with dates and times available to do the session. It is your responsibility to show up for your session. My business email for all client conversations and information is a paid gmail secure email.
  7. I do sign participants up for my Mailchimp newsletter.
  8. After your 30 minute session you can always choose to continue to work with me as your paid Health Coach.
  9. It is as easy as that.

Please follow the directions laid out above to receive your free coaching session.

Check out my short video to see how a Health Coach can assist you with Stress. These videos take a long time to make and I am still new to it. I really can’t do long live videos because I don’t have the correct equipment to do so. Maybe in the future.


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