low calorie food #1

Hello, Friday! I hope everyone has had a good week. I have not been doing a lot of food posts, but readers seem to really like them. Each Friday I will showcase a low calorie food, that is under 40 calories per serving. So far I have found about 40 but I think there may be more. If you are trying to lose weight incorporating these low calorie foods into your meal plan can help. Please remember your body needs calories to survive so eating just low calorie foods is probably not going to be a very healthy eating plan. Try to buy organic if you can.

Cucumbers is the low calorie food for today. I love cucumbers and this year we are trying to grow our own. They are very easy to grow and I am hoping for a ton. Well, maybe not a ton. Did you know the seeds and the skin are the healthier parts of the cucumber? I always peel mine, but I will try to start eating the skin. Cucumbers are fairly affordable and you don’t have to eat a whole one each time. According to my Basket app the cheapest cucumber is only 59 cents per each one at Save A Lot. That price is for non-organic. Another thing I did not know about cucumbers is that they can help the Pancreas produce Insulin. When I first read this I had to research it because I had never heard that before. It is only a theory but there are studies being done. If you have Diabetes eating cucumbers could be a good idea. One note, if you have Kidney Disease and are on fluid restrictions, 1 cucumber contains 287 grams of water which apparently is about 10 ounces of water. That is a lot of water, so consume them mindfully. There is a short video below on the health benefits of cucumbers.

According to my Nutrition Facts app 1 cucumber with the peel contains:

Water: 287 grams

Calories: 45. If you wanted it to be less than 40 just chop off a bit of it.

Protein: 2 grams who knew

Fat: .33 grams

Carbs: About 11 grams but 1.5 grams of Fiber which makes net carbs about 9.5

Sugars: 5 grams

Calcium: 48 mg. I consume very little dairy, to none, so I try to get Calcium from other food sources.

Iron: .84 mg

Magnesium: 39 mg

Phosphorus: 72 mg not bad for a vegetable

Sodium: 6 mg I found that interesting

Vitamin C: 8.5 mg

Folate: 21 ug

Vitamin A: 330 ug

Vitamin K: 49 ug

Cholesterol: 286 mg

There are other trace minerals in cucumbers.


If you would like to learn more about setting healthy eating goals for better health, use the contact form at the end of this post to ask about my new 30 day coaching plan. For the month of May I will be focusing on Hypertension and my coaching freebie will be centered around that topic. To be eligible for a free session you must be a subscriber to my Mailchimp mailing list. So sign up below to be eligible. I will also be sharing a Mother’s Day coupon code to my mailing list subscribers.

Success! You're on the list.


It’s Your heart Attack! Dealing with difficult people

Welcome to Thinking on Thursday! As I complete my Mindfulness Certification it becomes more clear that the only way to deal with difficult people is to control our own responses. There are difficult people everywhere. I would say in the work environment is where you would encounter difficult people the most. But, it can also be in families, friends, or just in the general public. There are two videos below. The first one is very good in talking about why we should learn to deal with difficult people. He very frankly states because it is your heart attack. We have all heard the phrase, stress kills. Stress management is a very important skill to have. Stress manifests in other ways besides a Heart Attack. Stress can cause stomach pains, ulcers, headaches, high blood pressure, missed work days, productivity issues and so much more.

Difficult people are everywhere. I encounter them all the time at work. I have been a nurse for 34 years and I have worked with all types of personalities. But, one must also take into account that they themselves may be a difficult person. I know I can sometimes be perceived as difficult, because I am persistent and ask questions. But, I am not trying to be difficult. I am just looking for answers to whatever I am passionate about at the time. I have had to learn to control this behavior of my own to build better and stronger relationships. Self awareness is the first step to any good relationship. Sometimes it is just an immaturity issue and other times it is a personality, domineering, manipulative type of issue.

So, what makes a person a difficult person?

1- It is all about them. They tend to be dramatic, loud, demanding and yes persistent. They tend to be the person who shares their whole life story, and it is similar to a soap opera. The whoa is me, poor me, type of person.

2- They never give favors without payback. They will always expect something in return for a good deed. There is no random acts of kindness for this type of person.

3- They live in a pity party. This goes back to the poor me, whoa is me, type of person. They are always a victim if you will. They are very skillful at manipulating others.

4- They whine, complain and gossip. This type of person is never going to be happy no matter what you do. I am sure you know at least one type of this person. They are in everyone’s business and make it a point to gather information from everyone, and anyone. They will later use any info gathered for their own advantage. This is a truly toxic type of person.

5- Last but not least the person who lives in their own little world of make believe. There is little reality to how they perceive the world.

Now, with all that said all of us can fit into these labels at one time or another in our lives. We can all be difficult and it all comes down to how we perceive the world and others, and then react to those perceptions.

So, how to deal with difficult people and avoid the stress, tension, conflict and yes even a Heart Attack?

1- Be self aware to how you are reacting to the person that is being difficult. Take note of your heart rate, breathing pattern, sweatiness, tension or any other reactions you are feeling. Take a deep breath and clear your thoughts. Be sure you are not making it worse by your reactions. This is hard, I know. How we react to people is just as important as their behavior.

2- If you need to take a time out, or walk away, do so. You can say I will be back in a minute. Or if it is something you can just walk away and ignore do so.

3- Deflect or distract away from the behavior or conversation.

4- Restate back to them what they are saying, but in a different way. Such as I am sorry you feel like, whatever it is. Or did I offend you when I did this? What have I done to offend you? Etc Good communication keys are vital to any relationship.

5- Try to see their point of view, or perspective, without agreeing with them if it is something you can not agree with.

6- Ask them to consider a time out, or walk away, if they continue to escalate.

7- Set boundaries and stick to them. This is especially difficult in the work place. I am often told I am not friendly enough at work because I do not share my family life beyond basics with anyone. I believe work relationships be exactly that work relationships, not personal relationships. This just keeps the boundaries clear especially if you are in a management, or supervisory role. My coworkers know they can talk to me about anything they need help with, but that it will be professional, not personal.

8- Don’t be part of the problem. What do I mean? If a difficult person has provoked you or said things about you, don’t retaliate. Don’t return their favor by doing the same. If you are being harassed, or bullied, however, then you need to follow the chain of command at your work place and make sure it is in the written record.

The two videos below are excellent and further explore this issue. Never think that you are not being difficult too. It often goes both ways.

Join my email list for special offers and freebies. If you would like to work on stress relief, or learning to deal with difficult people in a more structured coaching way, check out my new 30 day coaching plan. You can always contact me using the contact form at the end of each blog post.

Success! You're on the list.


pain and chronic kidney disease!

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

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

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

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

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

If you would like to learn more about Health Buddy Melissa and my coaching services, be sure and use the contact form at the end of this post. Don’t confuse it with the newsletter right below. If you sign up for my weekly newsletter you will receive my new Smoothie Popsicle recipe. It is easy and healthy and the perfect size to take along with you.

Also all members of my mailing list get a chance to receive a free coaching session each month, plus coupons and other deals. For May 2021 the free coaching is in relation to High Blood Pressure and moms get a 50% off coupon for my 30 day coaching option.

Success! You're on the list.


Yum Plum Barbecue Sauce!

Tuesday, I mentioned my Misfits Market box. When I was deciding to start buying their boxes, I was on their website learning about them and their mission. I went to their blog and noticed they had some recipes. I saved the plum barbecue sauce recipe not knowing I would get plums in my box. I modified the original recipe a bit to suit my needs, but I will share the original. I can’t put up nutrition info, because it wasn’t provided and I didn’t figure it out. A serving size is 2 tbsp and it really is quite delicious and makes a lot. Super easy as well, and can be modified to suit tastes and dietary needs. We had it with pork chops. The video below is quite lovely in describing how nutritious plums are. Not mentioned is that plums are a low glycemic fruit, so if you have Diabetes it could be a good option for you.

This weekend I will be sharing topics coming up next week, so be sure and check back.


You will need 6 plums. I only had 4, and I couldn’t help but share the plums on the adorable dog plates I found at Hobby Lobby over the summer. Chop up your plums into equal size pieces, and remove the pits.

1 cup of Ketchup. I only used a half cup because I am not a huge fan of Ketchup. Organic and low sodium was also what I used.

1/4 cup finely chopped shallots. I did not have shallots so I chopped up a sweet onion instead.

1/4 cup maple syrup. Usually I would have organic pure maple syrup on hand, but I did not this time, so Aunt Jemima butter syrup is what was used.

2 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar, I used Trader Joe’s organic red wine vinegar.

1 tsp smoked paprika. I did not have any paprika in the house, so it was left out.

2 tsp Dijon Mustard. I didn’t change this, just put it in. Did you know how healthy mustard is? Check back for more info

1/2 tsp each of black pepper and ground red pepper. Oh, and I almost forgot that I added a pinch of brown sugar, because I like it. You could always choose a sugar free, or lower sugar Ketchup.

Put all of the ingredients in a pan, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes or until thickened. Let cool for 10 minutes, but I can tell you it needs to cool much longer than that like 30 minutes. Place the mixture in a blender and blend until smooth. Put in an airtight container and store in the fridge up to 2 weeks.

Enjoy! Let me know if you make it, and how you altered it and liked it. You could always make your own Ketchup, but I already buy organic Ketchup.


I will be making a vegetable barley soup, and some different pancakes in the future. So, watch for those topics to come up.

If one of your health goals is changing you or your families eating lifestyle through cooking, or food options, use the contact form at the end of the post to message me for a free meet and greet.

Follow me on Facebook

Ask me about my Kidney class monthly.

Are you physically fit for your age?

First, what is the definition of being physically fit? If you are “Physically Fits you have a balance of cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, balance, flexibility, muscular strength, and % body fat As you can see it isn’t just about how strong you are, or how fast you can run. Physical fitness is different for all age groups and between the genders. As you get older the joints naturally start to lose some of their range of motion, muscle mass become less, and strength decreases. I will be 51 in a few days, and I can tell you even with CKD, I have worked hard to be more physically fit for my age group. Some of them I have mastered, and can do better than some in their 30’s, some I am not even close to mastering, such as a pull up. I can’t do a pull up to save my life. But, I can do 20 push ups in a minute. I have mentioned before that I homeschool my children. I only have one left, and she has decided to go into Law Enforcement. She has to be able to pass a physical fitness test to even get into the academy. I am determined to do this with her. However, she is 16 and as I mentioned I am soon to be 51. A daunting challenge, but I am up for it. I would love to work with you to help you meet your physical fitness goals. I started out 2020 wanting to walk 5 miles a day. I have reached that goal and it is time to move on to the next.

Would you like to learn your physical fitness score? Would you like to make a plan to help improve it? Email me at melissa@healthbuddymelissa.coach or use the contact form under the images to message me for a free meet and greet. You can then decide if you want to take the free physical fitness test.


Tips on Tuesday: Boil Foods to Reduce Phosphorus Levels

Updated 2/23/2021 I have been researching Phosphorus since I was diagnosed with CKD in 2017.  Phosphorus levels in foods are not required on food labels and are very often difficult to know which foods it is high or low.  Below I will give some tips, and the source so you can read the whole article, on ways to keep phosphorus levels under control. I recently found a great app called Nutrition Facts. It has the phosphorus levels for a lot of foods. It is super easy to use, too.

If you are on Dialysis your nutrition requirements will be much different than someone who is stage 3, like me, or non-dialysis.  Always consult your doctor about food choices or changes you are making.

1-  I have mentioned this before, but it is worth mentioning again, learn to read labels.  Any words with the word PHOS in the ingredients list, means there are levels of phosphorus in that food.  Try to avoid or limit these as much as possible.

2-  This kind of goes with number 1, but I put it separately to draw more attention to it.  Processed foods, that means foods that can stay on the shelf for very long periods of time, low-fat foods, and other quick easy type meals not only have the highest levels of phosphorus but this kind of phosphorus additive is nearly 100% absorbed by the body.  I love quick and easy too, but avoiding these foods as much as possible I think should be the goal of all who want to live healthier, not just CKD people.

3-  I actually just learned about this.  Boiling meat, and other food items, decreases the phosphorus content by up to 38% for meats.  It also reduces potassium, sodium, and calcium.  I just started doing this.  I do not have issues with my phosphorus levels at this time.  But, I am postmenopausal and I worry about my bone health, as well as maintaining kidney function.  So, it is imperative for me to keep phosphorus levels in check.  I simply boil for about 10 minutes then bake, or fry on the stove to finish the meat.  I am looking into whether pressure cooking and crockpot cooking of meat has the same effect as long as you do not consume the juices it is cooked in.  I will post more about that later.

4-  Remember that whole grains, which are obviously less processed than white bread are higher in phosphorus, but they can still be better for you if you don’t have issues with phosphorus.  I use multigrain bread and brown rice, but I consume them in lower amounts than the suggested serving size.  So, instead of 2 slices of bread for a sandwich, I only have one slice.  I basically half the serving size.  Nuts, seeds, and legumes are also higher in phosphorus.  See the phosphorus pyramid below.  You can read the source I used here.


If you have diet, or lifestyle health goals to meet, use the contact form at the end of the post to message me about my It’s A New Day coaching plan.

Sign up for my mailing list below, and get my weekly newsletter.

Success! You're on the list.

Happy New Year from Health Buddy Melissa: 2020 Goals

Happy New Year to all of my readers!  Before I start I have been getting comments about where to find the link to join my newsletter.  I do not currently use a service that provides a newsletter.  I am handling it all myself, saves money.  So, to receive my weekly newsletter just use the communication form at the bottom of every single post and put newsletter in the comment area.  This is currently the only way to do it.

I have created some goals for me personally, this blog and my Health Coaching business.  This blog is a conduit to my Health Coaching.  This is where you will contact me to have a free meet and greet to learn more about my services and complete a free Holistic Health Evaluation.  The process is similar to joining the newsletter, use the contact form at the bottom of every post to message me.

Here are my goals for 2020:

Personal:  Continue with my own personal growth and development.  Lose weight but only if it is healthy for my kidney to do so and if not move beyond body size to fully accept myself as I am.  Continue to gain strength and energy through exercise and healthy eating and living.  Practice my Reiki every day and get Distance Reiki clients.  Learn to have fun.  I am a goal-oriented person so even things that are fun are goal-oriented.  In 2020 I want to let go of some of that and just have some fun for the fun of it.  This will probably be my biggest challenge.  Last but not least maintain my kidney status at stage 3 or improve to stage 2 via good diet choices, exercise, etc.

Blog and Coaching:  I completed my Business Plan I just need to put it on paper.  I have a goal of making 600 dollars in profit in 2020 from my coaching business.  That does not sound like a lot, but with a limited advertising budget, I have to start somewhere.  Expand my advertising reach.  I have been doing a lot of research in this area and I think I have made a plan that will work.  Continue to create new Guided Imagery scripts, and increase Distance Reiki clients.  Create new Aromatherapy jewelry.  Create new graphics to advertise with, plus for my Kidney Coach classes.  Promote Kidney Coach classes.  Help bring a larger awareness of Kidney Disease.

I am sure I will come up with others, but those are the basics.  You may have noticed be skinny, make a million dollars, or be happy were not goals.  That is because those goals, though lofty goals, are not feasible without first accomplishing smaller more realistic goals.  I don’t actually want to be a millionaire, so that will never show up on my goal list. When I became a nurse, way back in 1987, I did so because I wanted to help people.  The same is true for when I took the Certified Health Coach Class and the Holistic Health Coach class.  That is the best goal I could ever achieve, helping people.

Happy New Year!



Sweating on Sunday: The Road to 12,500 Daily Steps

Updated 4/4/2021: I am no doing 12,500 steps every day with ease. I now am working towards building up to 1.5 mile run in 15 minutes. If you follow this blog, then you know my ultimate step goal is 12,500 steps per day.  I was at 9,500 per day and just increased to 10,000 per day.  That is 5 miles walking every single day.  I do take off one day a week, most weeks, sometimes two.  How do I get that many steps in a day?

1-  I make sure I walk at least 250 steps every hour.  My back yard is exactly 100 steps around the area.  I walk that 3 times every hour, sometimes more if it isn’t so hot out.

2-  When I work out of the home it is very easy to walk 250 plus steps per hour.   Matter of fact when I work I average 14-16,000 steps per day,

3-  Purchase a good wrist fitness tracker.  I have a Fitbit.  I was using Samsung app, but it was not consistent enough because I always had to have my phone on me.  That was unfeasible for me.  In the near future, I will be getting a waterproof Fitbit for when I am in the pool.  For now, I have to estimate how many steps I am taking in the pool when I do water aerobics.

5-  I walk every morning, at least a mile, before doing my regular exercise routine.

Some other tips that help:  take the stairs, park farther away from any businesses you visit, walk in the morning, and evening, remember to get up and walk at work if you have a desk job.  Turn on music at home when cleaning, washing dishes, or folding laundry.  I can get in at least 1200 extra steps doing this for a 15-minute cleaning session, just by marching in place.  Same with cooking dinner.

Don’t get discouraged.  I got my Fitbit in February and started at 6,000 steps per day.  That seemed like a lot, except for when I was working, and impossible.  It is not impossible, and it will just become a habit after a while.

With cooler weather coming I can not wait to get out and onto the many hiking trails in my area.   If you would like help in meeting your step goal use the contact form below to message me about my Walking Buddy plan.

I just finished my Reiki training, level 2.  I am undecided about the Master level class.  I will be practicing and once I have reached at least 200 hours I will make Reiki an option for customers.  I will do a later post on that.

If you would like to use my Health Coaching services to increase your walking stamina, use the contact form to message me. Or, you can read about my Walking Buddy plan, here.


Success! You're on the list.

Move Your Goals on Monday, Merry Monday, and National Pet Day

Did you make any goals last week?  How did you do?  Here are my results for goals set last Monday.  I did not complete 2 of them:  Go to the library to test my laptop compatibility with their equipment, and no cheating on my meal plan.  That last one is a stinker.

Goals for this week:

9500 steps per day, for 7 days.

Aerobics at least 5 days a week for 30 minutes, and 2 days of weight training.

Stick to my meal plans at least 5 days, allow 2 days to cheat.

I probably will not have time for the library goal until next week.   So, I will postpone that one.

I finished the Guided Imagery class, and it was so much fun.  I will be making that part of my plans offered within the next week.  I have one voice recording, ready for Better Sleep, for anyone who signs up for the Better Sleep monthly group session.  It will be available for purchase, after that session has ended, or if no one signs up.  I will provide views of my certificates to anyone who purchases a plan, and has a need to see it.  I will be changing the monthly group session, to a monthly support group for Chronic Illness.  The Better Sleep topic is all ready, so I will keep that one for the month of September.  When I update the Guided Imagery plan, I will update the monthly group session plan, also.

We are watching the tropics for a possible system approaching this weekend.  This may knock me out of electricity, and we may have to even possibly evacuate.  At this point it looks like a Tropical Storm, not a Hurricane, but they can be problematic in their own right.

Continue to work on the Herbalism class.  This is such a cool, and complicated class.

Keep the pool clean.  That is a given.

Next Tuesday, my daughter starts back to homeschooling.  So, this week I have to be sure all lesson plans are ready to go.  I can’t really avoid this goal, lol.

Monitor BP every day, alternating arms each day.

Did you know today is National Pet Day?  I love my pets.  They bring us so much joy, and sometimes stress, like when a hurricane is coming.  On my Health Buddy Melissa Facebook page, I will be inviting people to share pics of their pets for National Pet Day.  Why not head over there, and share pics of your pet?  That is the Merry Monday topic, for this week.  Come have some fun!  If you want to sign up for the Better Sleep, group sessions, please use the contact form below to message me.  You still have plenty of time to join.  The first session begins Wed Sept 4th.


Available Health Buddy Melissa Plans

Join the Merry Monday topic on Facebook





Happy Sunday!  Our internet is so slow today, bleh!  Normally I would do a Sweating on Sunday post, today.  But, I wanted to post some updates for my readers, and prospective clients.  As you know you can contact me anytime to start working with me. I only accept 3 to 4 clients at a time, so everyone gets the attention they deserve.  So, what is new?

1-  I made a introduction video.  However, I am not very good at taking videos of myself, and it is not the greatest.  Hopefully it will load soon, so I can share it.  I will be doing more videos in the future, keep reading.

2-  I am now certified with AKF as a Kidney Health Coach.  I will be making a video presentation for their criteria.  It will cover early symptoms, tests to have done yearly to check for kidney disease, and prevention.  It will be a lot of info, and it will be free to all readers world wide.  Watch for that.

3-  As I have stated previously, I am a LPN- Licensed Practical Nurse.  As such, I am already a Health Coach, it even says so in my Nurse Practice Act.  However, I am taking a certified Health and Fitness program, to better my knowledge mostly about fitness.  I will be making some walking videos for my Walking Buddy Program.  I am uncertain as to the timing of that, but stay tuned, soon I hope.

4-  Another thing the Health Coach Certification will teach me is about owning a business, and getting leads which lead to clients.  Some of this I already know from owning an Etsy store, Blogging, and working as an Independent Contractor Nurse, but there is so much to know.  Like, writing a Business Plan.  They definitely did not teach me that in nursing school.

5-  I am also updating my plans, to better reflect my Business Plan.  I will not be raising prices, just making them look neater, and professional.  The current ones are still valid, and I won’t change them until the new shiny one is ready.  I also need to upgrade this blog, which should happen soon.

If you would like a free meet and greet, to see if I can help you reach your Health and Wellness goals, use the contact form below to message me.  Please remember to allow 24-48 hours for me to return your message.