Is This A Healthy Food?

Happy Humpday! My life is insanely crazy right now. I have some new projects on my plate, but more about all that in a future post.

If you read here, ever, then you know I have CKD, now stage 2 and hopefully still stage 2. Beans are a great source of protein that does not have the same Nitrogen load as meat does. This type of protein may help the kidneys not have to work as hard as an animal protein may. However, beans are high in Phosphorus and Potassium both of which may be an issue for someone with CKD. Sticking to serving sizes of `1/4 of a cup to 1/2 of a cup should be the limit. You can always ask your doctor or dietitian to be sure. I generally eat only 1/4 a cup at a time, and not usually more than once a day. However, beans are super affordable and have other health benefits besides just protein. We are starting an eating plan where we will eat 2 no meat dinners a week. This is for everyone’s health, not just mine. These meals will not be Vegan, as we will use cheese or eggs in the meals. Meat is already super expensive and with inflation, it is even worse, especially if you don’t want to eat cheap meat like me. I prefer organic, grass-fed meats. This strategy will help us to afford those more expensive meats that I prefer.

So, what about the pork and beans shown in the image, are they healthy? When you buy canned beans they are very convenient and easy to use. That particular can I must have gotten at Sam’s because it is 7 pounds of beans. I am a label reader, so I would have read the label before purchasing. I do try to buy organic canned items because they generally do not contain High Fructose Corn Syrup, but you do have to read labels if you want to avoid it. I do add a pinch of brown sugar to my beans, but they really don’t need to still be delicious.

According to the label, 1/2 cup of these beans contains 130 calories, 1 gram of fat, no saturated fat, 500 mg of Sodium, 24grams of carbs, 5 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of sugars. There are 4 grams of added sugars, which really is not that bad at all. The sodium is a little high so be sure and be mindful of that. Protein is 7 grams, Iron 10% of RDA, Calcium 4% of RDA, and Potassium 8% of RDA.

The ingredient list is pretty clean with only natural flavors being a possible concern. But, it is the last item on the ingredient list so really not that concerning at all. You can see the full label in the image below.

Plant-based foods may not have as high of bioavailability for Iron, read more about that here.

So, are these pork and beans healthy food? I would say yes! Buy some Health Buddy Melissa art! Check out the travel mug below. There is emerging evidence every day of the health benefits of eating more beans. They improve your gut biome, are low in fat, can lower blood pressure, improve blood sugar, etc.


Snowman Travel Mug by Health Buddy Melissa available on Redbubble


is this a healthy food? Mindful eating

Hello, and welcome back to Mindful Monday. As part of my Mindful Monday and Mindful Monday posts I will be sharing some of my families favorite food items, and some that I just want to talk about, as to whether these are healthy food items, or food at all. Before I get into it I need to make any potential new customers aware that I have a Tropical Storm heading towards me. The weather will start to go down hill tomorrow. For the most part we will get heavy rain, wind, and possible tornadoes. I may lose power, but obviously I am hoping not. Unless the system rapidly intensifies in the Gulf evacuation will not be needed. We woke up yesterday morning to a leak in our roof from the already heavy rains we have been experiencing for a month now. I noticed my neighbor also has a tarp on their roof, so all this rain is starting to affect us all. Keep us in your thoughts and I will try to keep posting every day. Next week I really am hoping to do a live video shot to put up on Youtube, but maybe you will get to see some Tropical Weather instead, lol. I am glad that I got to eat all of my fresh peaches, straight off of my peach tree before these high winds come. You may see affiliate links in this post.

Today, I am going to discuss Smartfood White Cheddar Popcorn. It is my all time favorite popcorn of any popcorns. I am ashamed to say I could eat this whole bag if I didn’t have portion control. But, beyond my personal love for this popcorn is it a healthy food. The definition of a healthy food is: healthy foods provide nutrients to sustain a bodies well being and energy levels. Water, carbs, fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals are the key nutrients in a healthy food. So, lets look at the label of Smartfood popcorn and decide if I think it is a healthy food.

There are 7 servings in one bag and 160 calories per serving. A serving is about 2 1/2 cups, so that is a nice generous serving size. If you ate the whole bag you would consume 1120 total calories. So, yes it definitely will give you energy.

Each serving contains 14 grams of carbs. So if you are a Diabetic and have been told your snack should be 15 grams of carbs or less, one serving of this popcorn could be a snack for you. However, if someone consumed the whole bag it would be 98 grams of total carbs. There are 2 grams of fiber per serving. So, technically you could subtract 14 grams of carbs to get a net carb total of 84. So, yes it contains carbs for energy and even some fiber. Not too bad.

Fats: There are plenty of fats in here, but you could say it is probably too much to be considered healthy. Each serving contains 10 grams of fat, and 2 are saturated fats. There are no trans fats so that is good. If you ate the whole bag you would get 70 grams of fat, and 14 grams of saturated fats. That is not so great at all.

Protein: There are 3 grams of protein per serving and if you ate the whole bag it would be 21 grams of total protein. If you have CKD this could be a dangerous snack, especially because it is so easy to over eat it. On the note of CKD. There are no PHOS additives listed on the label, so that is a positive for this snack food. However, popcorn naturally has some Phosphorus and milk products are used, and that also contains Phosphorus. So, don’t be tricked into believing there isn’t any. Phosphorus is not a required item on food labels, something to lobby for if you have Kidney Disease.

Other Vitamins and Minerals: Sodium 200 mg per serving, that makes this a high Sodium food. Potassium 50 mg per serving which states is 0 percent of RDA. I find that strange since milk and popcorn both contain Potassium naturally. Calcium 2% of RDA. Iron 2% of RDA for one serving.

Ingredients: You can see the label below, but you will see they are not awful. There is some maltodextrin in there ie sugar and that would be why there is 2 grams of sugar per serving. In all there are 8 ingredients and as far as processed foods go I don’t find that to be incredibly horrible. There is milk used in this product so if you have issues with milk this won’t be a good option.

So, all in all what do I think? I think if you eat one serving that this could be a Healthy Food snack option. It is kind of high in fat so eat some veggies with it to help absorb the vitamins and minerals in your veggies. A win win. I certainly would try not to eat the whole bag, but like I said it would be very easy to. So, if you don’t have portion control this could be very unhealthy. , and would be more of a meal than a snack.

Do you love White Cheddar Popcorn, or do you have another favorite snack food. Obviously, air fried popcorn is the healthiest type of popcorn. Stay safe if you are in the path of Tropical Storm Elsa!


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Portion distortion: potato chips

Did you know that potato chips are America’s #1 snack food, raking in billions of dollars in profits every year? News alert I love potato chips! I have always loved them ever since I was a teenager. You probably do too. They are easy to pack in a lunch with a sandwich, and a quick snack in between meals. But, what exactly is a portion of potato chips and do they have any nutritional value at all? Well that depends on your definition of nutrition. If you read the label of the Lay’s Stax potato chips I bought for my daughter today, you will see that there are 6 portions in the can.

Each portion, about 12 chips contains the following:

150 calories, 8 grams of Fat of which 2 grams is saturated Fat. So if you eat half of the can you are consuming 24 grams of Fat and 6 grams of saturated Fat. That is a lot of Fat!

190 mg of Sodium which is 8% of your daily amount in just 12 chips. This is a high risk food for people with CKD.

17 grams of Carbs in just 12 chips and only 1 gram of Fiber. This is a high risk food for anyone wanting to lose weight, or has Diabetes.

2 grams of Protein in 12 chips. So, if you ate half the can you would get 36 grams of Protein. That is not a lot of Protein.

Potassium 180 mg per 12 chips. That means just eating 12 chips is a moderate intake of Potassium for people with CKD.

Plus look at the laundry list of ingredients. Plus potato chips are deep fried in Oxidized Oils. Read about how bad Oxidized Oils are, here. Deep frying at high temperatures causes the release of a possible cancer causing agent called Acrylamides. Read about Acrylamides, here. These alone are very good reasons to cut back on deep fried foods at high temperatures. I will be doing some more research on Acrylamides because it is a naturally occurring chemical reaction that occurs with certain ways of cooking foods.

I am not saying never eat chips. I am never not going to ever eat chips, but I can eat one portion every now and then. If you love chips, like me, here are some other options to consider. Tortilla chips with salsa, popcorn with light butter and salt, bell pepper with ranch dip or celery and cucumbers, or lightly salted pretzels. Now you still have to read labels and portions because some of these may not be good options for you, especially in regards to Potassium intake. I generally try to avoid snacking all together, and just eat my 3 meals a day.

Part of Mindful Eating is being mindful of what you are putting into your body. Knowing correct portion sizes can help with that, as well as reading nutrition labels and ingredient lists.

Tomorrow I will be sharing this week’s 5 dollar dinner idea. Later this week I will roll out my first paid subscription plan called Meals with Melissa. Stay tuned for that. I have updated my Paypal account so it is current and ready to go. Come back and check it out.

What is your favorite snack food? Leave me a comment. If you would like to learn more about my one on one Health Coaching services, please use the contact form below to message me.

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portion distortion: Ice Cream!

Happy Monday! Welcome back to a new Portion Distortion topic. This time it is ice cream. Portion Distortion topics are part of my Mindful Eating topics to raise awareness of the foods we eat. Everybody loves ice cream. Well, unless you are lactose intolerant then you might not love ice cream. Ice cream is not only a calorie dense food, but it is also very high in fat and typically has lots of added sugar. This does not bode well for anyone wanting to lose weight, eat heart smart, or has Diabetes. Reading labels and knowing what you are consuming is a great way to raise your awareness. This post may contain affiliate links.

Publix had Haagen Daaz ice cream buy one get one free for the small containers. According to the container 2/3 of a cup is a serving size. That serving size has 340 calories, 21 grams of fat of which 13 are saturated fat, 32 grams of carbs, 32 grams of sugars of which 24 grams are added sugars, 75 mg of sodium, and 6 grams of protein and no fiber. That is not even one cup of ice cream. My serving size was 1/4 of a cup so a 1/3 of their serving size. Plus I added some pureed berries- 1 strawberry and 7 blueberries- for a total of 145 calories for 1/4 cup, 2 ounces of ice cream. You can very easily see how ice cream can be a concerning food to eat. A couple of weeks ago I got a kiddy size hot fudge sunday and it was over 600 calories! Now, I am not saying never eat ice cream. I love ice cream here and there. Just be aware of what and how much you are really eating. The images show my serving of ice cream and berries. It was really quite delicious. I do not like yogurt, and I am not sure it is even healthier than ice cream, but I may try the berries with almond milk yogurt. I will have to look at it when I go to the store again.

Do you love ice cream? What is your favorite flavor and brand? Leave me a note in the comments. Come back tomorrow to learn about my next food challenge. Don’t forget to join the Rosemary Challenge for the whole month of November.

Would you like to learn more about Mindfulness, and how it can help you in your every day life? Message me for a free meet and greet and learn about my Health Coaching services. There is a contact form at the end of every post. It is easy to fill out and will come right to my email. I respect your privacy and never share your information. All communications are private and secure. All new customers receive one month of coaching for only 25 dollars. What can we accomplish in one month? Let me help you reach your health goals. Check out my updated Meals with Melissa, and Distance Reiki plans. I will be updating all plans in the coming months.


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Portion Distortion: Cheese

Who doesn’t love cheese?

OK, I don’t really love cheese, but I do like it in small amounts on occasion. The problem with cheese, well there are three, is that it is a very calorie-dense food usually high in sodium and fats. The other issue with cheese is that it is often overeaten in large quantities adding unnecessary calories, fat, sodium, and phosphorus. Do you know what an actual portion of cheese is? See the image below. See it in reference to the size of a quarter. The correct portion size of cheese is 1 oz. That 1 oz of cheese has 110 calories, 9 grams of fat of which 6 grams is saturated fat, 180 mg of Sodium, 30 mg of cholesterol, and 7 grams of protein. Phosphorus is harder to figure out because it is not included on labels. However, according to Eat This Much, 1 oz of cheddar cheese has 14% of the daily requirement for phosphorus and 20% for calcium. That is a lot in such a small serving of food. If you have kidney disease cheese can be a very dangerous food.

That doesn’t mean you can not have cheese, unless you are stage 4 or 5, or your doctor has told you not to eat cheese. Otherwise, eating a 1 oz serving of cheese, and keeping track of food consumption in your food diary, you should be able to enjoy small amounts of cheese. Cheeses differ in their nutrition stats, but they are generally similar. Be sure and read your labels, and use a website like Eat This Much to help learn about phosphorus in foods. If you are trying to lose weight you can see how large amounts of cheese are going to add lots of unwanted calories to your daily needs. Stick to recommended serving sizes on labels. If you are eating out try to avoid cheese dishes, or ask for 1/2 portions, or eat just half and take the rest home. It does take a bit of discipline and it is not easy, but it is so worth it in the end.

Check out my post on which cheeses are best for CKD.

If you have CKD, want to lose weight, want to start exercising by walking with me, or need to learn to eat better, and would like to learn about my health coaching services, use the contact form after the images to message me. Or, you can email me

Portion Distortion: Corned Beef and Cabbage and CKD

Updated 3/7/2022: Sign up for my newsletter below, and on March 17, 2022, I will have a special offer for my newsletter subscribers.

Happy St Patrick’s Day.  This is the day that everyone is Irish, and wears green.  But, what about the most popular meal served on St Patty’s Day, Corned Beef and Cabbage?  Can you have it if you have CKD?  Of course, you can!  You just have to calculate how much you can have.  To do that you need to know the nutrients in Corn Beef, or at least the ones concerned with CKD;  Sodium, Potassium, Phosphorus, and Protein.  Read on to find out that info.  I will break it down according to how we made it.  I am unsure of the spice package my husband used, so leave a little more room to add some more Sodium.  I used Eat This Much, to figure out the amount of each item.  Don’t forget if you add anything to it when eating it, like Catsup, Mustard, Butter, whatever you have to consider that as well. Also, cooking methods, leaching, etc can change the nutrient values in food.

For 1 oz of Corned Beef, that is not a lot of corned beef folks, so if you eat 3 or 4 ounces be sure to multiply the amount by 3 or 4 depending on how much you eat. The nutrients are as follows and may not be exact so plan wisely.

Protein:  8 grams

Phosphorus:  31.5mg

Potassium:  38.6 mg

Sodium:  254 mg

Carrots, one serving is 1 cup:

Protein:  0.7 grams

Phosphorus:  25.2 mg

Potassium:  230 mg

Sodium:  50 mg

Potatoes, one serving is 1 cup:

Protein:  8 grams

Phosphorus:  210 mg

Potassium:  1553 mg   this is a very large amount

Sodium:  22 mg

Cabbage, a serving size is 1 cup:

Protein:  2 grams

Phosphorus:  50 mg

Potassium:  294 mg

Sodium:  12 mg

Since all kidney patients are different, one item may bother you more than others.  Like, for me Potassium is not an issue, but Protein and Sodium are.  Phosphorus is a complicated nutrient that I think more education should be centered on. So use the info to adjust how much you eat to stay within your limits.  If you do not know your limits,  or how to calculate what you are eating, message me using the contact form below, to set up a free meet and greet to see if I can work with you to help you learn how to track your intake.   Remember I am not a Dietitian, I am a Health Coach with a background in nursing, and a Kidney Patient.   I will assist you to learn how to calculate what you are eating, find resources that will help you to learn how much nutrients are in each food item, keep a food diary, etc.   Or, if you need to learn to communicate with your doctor to advocate for yourself in making health decisions, like requesting a Dietitian referral, requesting easier to understand education tools, etc.

Check out my Meals with Melissa subscription plan. It is not geared towards CKD, but rather a family, but I include tips to make it more CKD friendly, and one on one coaching can further assist.


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