True Story!

Hello, and welcome to another Taste Test Tuesday! Wait, I thought this was a true story. Well, it is, sort of.

A few weeks ago, I think they came from Aldi’s, but I might have gotten them at Misfit’s Market, I bought these sweet Italian chicken sausages, from the brand True Story. Now, I have tried chicken sausages before, and no one in my family liked them, and honestly, they didn’t have a lot of flavors so there wasn’t much to love.

But, these sweet Italian chicken sausages from True Story were amazing! They look really skinny, and if you didn’t give them a chance you would be missing out. I was really impressed, and my husband even liked them and he is fussy about sausage. They are organic and with good ingredients. However, like any kind of sausage, they are still quite high in sodium and fat. But, they are still better than other sausages. We had them with spaghetti sauce, over pasta. I cooked them on the side just in case no one liked them. But, they were a hit. They are a little expensive too, but honestly worth it.

This is not a paid post, and if you follow here you know I try to do a Taste Test Tuesday every week. Since I have CKD I try to find organic, or preservative-free foods to try, as those are my preference. They have tons of other items too, so be sure and visit the True Story website where you can order them. I don’t think I have seen these in stores. I am almost positive I ordered them from Misfit’s Market and the price was reasonable. I would definitely buy these again.

I am using Itrackbytes now called the Healthi app and one link is 3 bytes.

You can see the ingredient list, and nutritional info, by clicking here.

Let me know in the comments if you have tried these, or if you will try them. What did you think of them?


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Turmeric Challenge!

I read a lot of blogs, and I have noticed people seem to like challenges. I did a Plank Challenge in December of last year. I am doing a Walking Challenge for this year. I have not updated that in a while, but I am consistently hitting the goal of 10,000 steps every single day. I post an update soon. You can still join that challenge, too.

One of the things I have noticed about myself and my family is that we don’t really have a wide palate of taste buds. What I mean by that is we love Garlic, Onion, and Salt. I have recently added Basil and lots of Lemon to our culinary cooking. But, I wanted to challenge us even more, especially my teenage daughter who I am creating a Nutrition course for High School credit, and is a very pick eater. Plus we can cut down on sodium intake if we learn to use more herbs in our cooking. One of the things I have been reading a lot about is Turmeric, and how it has anti-inflammatory properties. I am not going to take them in pill form or anything, as with all Herbs, and chronic diseases, they are not tested for efficacy or side effects. You can read about the ways Turmeric has been proven to work, here. If you have CKD then you know Inflammation can be a huge problem in managing the disease. So, for the rest of October, the challenge is to cook with Turmeric. Now, for my family it will be the dinner meal that I add Turmeric to. But, for me I may try to sprinkle some in my soup or on my salad. Some people drink it in tea, or smoothies. I may try it in a smoothie, but I probably won’t mess with my tea. I did find some organic Turmeric at a decent price at Trader Joe’s. If you can not find organic do the best you can. Next month we will try another herb. There are so many to choose from.

Join me in this challenge to use Turmeric for cooking for the rest of October. Let me know in the comments you are joining in and how the challenge went for you. I will update at the end of the month whether we liked it or not. If we hate it, it might not last long, lol. If you already cook with Turmeric let me know in the comments your favorite use for it.

I will be posting another challenge Thursday, to help my daughter learn to appreciate how lucky we are to afford healthy food, and have access to it. Be sure and come back to learn about that one.


Portion distortion: Coffee Creamer

Welcome back to another portion distortion post. If you are counting carbs, trying to lose weight, or just want to reduce your daily sugar intake then you should know about coffee creamer.

I love iced coffee! More so in the hot summer months, than the Winter months. I love McDonald’s Frappe, but at over 600 calories per serving, I only drink about once a year. Rather I save any coffee that does not get drank at my house, put it in the fridge, and when ready to have iced coffee I add a ton of ice and coffee creamer. That’s it, nothing fancy. But, it can still add up the calories, carbs, and sugars.

I really only like French Vanilla Creamer. I have tried vanilla flavored almond milk, but yuck nope it just isn’t the same in my iced coffee. Almost all French Vanilla Creamers have the same nutrition facts, namely, a serving size is 1 tablespoon. Yes, one tablespoon is a serving size! That can very quickly add up if I do not pay attention to how much I am adding. I recently started to pay more close attention to my carbs and sugar intake. I found So Delicious French Vanilla Coffee Creamer at Publix, and Publix is the only place I can find it in my area. After comparing labels I discovered I could save 45 calories in my iced coffee, and 6 carbs by switching from my regular French Vanilla Creamer to So Delicious French Vanilla Creamer. So Delicious is an organic coconut milk coffee creamer. It is more expensive, of course, but I am using way less, and my husband doesn’t like it, so it lasts quite a while for me. It is delicious in my iced coffee, and I am careful to only have one coffee per day and use only 3 tablespoons. I also like it in hot coffee and my hot green tea. But, no more than 3 tablespoons a day. I had posted a while ago about making smoothies and how I add a tablespoon of creamer in there for a little more flavor. I have not tried So Delicious yet, in my smoothies, but I am sure it will be awesome! I haven’t been drinking smoothies since I started counting carbs.

If you would like to learn more about how to learn to portion control, Mindfulness, Guided Imagery, weight management, CKD, or any other health-related topic, please use the contact form after the images to contact me for a free meet and greet.

Remember if you have CKD, Heart Disease, Diabetes, etc read the labels to be sure you know what the actual ingredients are and pay attention to Sodium as well as other nutrition info.


Burger Fervor

OK, fervor may not be the correct word in this context, but it sounds cool, lol. August 27th is National Burger Day! Hamburgers are a huge part of the American food culture. But, apparently it is a global food item. The video below will show a quick and unique history of the Hamburger.

If you have CKD, Diabetes or any other chronic illness where a hamburger may not be something you should eat all the time, there are ways to still enjoy a burger without harming your health.

Here are some ways to make a burger healthier for different dietary needs:

1- Make a burger slider. Sliders are much smaller than a standard hamburger which can be anywhere from 6-12 ounces in size. I make my burgers in 2 to 3 ounce sizes. If you must eat a burger out, see if they offer a slider option, if not only eat half and take the rest home for another meal.

2- The bun is super important for a hamburger. I personally like whole grain sandwich thins, as my burger bun. Try to choose organic, non white bun options. If you are stage 4 or 5 CKD then you will want white flour buns. If you are Diabetic choose low carb options of buns, and low fat for Cardiac Disease. Try to get the lowest sodium per serving as you can. If you absolutely are low carb simply put your burger in a bowl with lettuce, pickles, cheese and some Thousand Island dressing, and you have a Big Mac in a bowl.

3- Use more mustard and less Catsup. Mustard is naturally salty tasting but has little to no sodium. Add fresh Basil leaves to give it a lovely peppery taste.

4- Choose a low sodium cheese such as Swiss for your burger. Go for organic. Not all Swiss cheese brands are low sodium. Baby Swiss is higher in sodium, but I like Sargento as it is one of the lowest sodium cheeses I can find.

5- If you absolutely want a full size burger, add black beans, corn half and half ground beef to your burger. Or use ground turkey and half black beans or corn.

6- Add lots of veggies to your burger such as tomato, lettuce, and onions. Don’t forget some pickles though they are generally higher in sodium.

7- Choose grass fed beef if you can, with the lowest fat percentage possible, and let your burger stand on a plate with a paper towel to absorb some of the fat after cooking. Then put it on your burger bun. Grilling meat over a high heat flame in some studies shows it causes a chemical reaction that can be cancerous. If you are concerned about opt to grill over a lower heat with less flame.

You can still enjoy food holidays. Just be Mindful how you choose your ingredients, and then prepare the food.

Health Buddy Melissa is a Holistic Health Coach, Mindfulness Practitioner, Nurse, Reiki Practitioner and more. If you would like to learn more about any of my Health Coaching plans, click here. Use the contact form at the end of this post to contact me for a free meet and greet, to establish your goals and see if you would like to use my services.


Wellness Wednesday: Acne Part 2

Updated 3/17/2021 Last week I told you about a very affordable product to clean your face.  My daughter and I both use that product.  Lucky for me at age 50 Acne is not so much an issue anymore.  But, my teen daughter has to deal with it.  We found a product that she loved at our local mall.  Unfortunately, that store closed down and they did not have an online store.  The store was an organic soap store, and the product was a charcoal-based soap.  We tried some other charcoal soaps, supplied at other stores, and they just did not work as well.  My daughter was bummed.  Then, at our local Publix store, we found Zum Face charcoal sugar face scrub.  This product is not cheap and I was hesitant to try another product that would not work.  She talked me into it, and this one is a keeper.  A heads up to anyone who tries it, it makes a huge mess and makes the sink and counters black.  It washes off easy, though.  Charcoal face products help Acne by drawing out impurities from the skin.  This one is more of a mask that she leaves on for a few minutes and then washes off.  Diet modification is still something she needs to work on.  Remember to stop using any product that irritates the skin, or you have any allergic reaction to.  To learn more about how Charcoal can help Acne, click here.   If you would like to learn more about food modification and stress reduction to help control Acne, use the contact form below to message me for a free meet and greet.

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For the whole month of March 2021 I am giving away coaching sessions related to Kidney Disease. If you would like to learn more, click here.

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I Love Pizza, But I Have CKD

Updated 1/23/2022: It has been three years since I wrote this post. I can tell you that if you buy organic, low fat, and low sodium crust, sauce, and cheese, you will be saving a lot of sodium and possibly phosphorus. Organic foods also don’t have all the additives and preservatives of frozen or takeout pizza.

We are huge pizza lovers in this house.  We eat pizza at least a couple of times a month.  But, with CKD this is very hard.  Pizza is full of sodium, phosphorus, and potassium, among other things.  For me, with CKD, the three I mentioned are of the most importance.   I am going to review the 3 pizzas below and share the nutrition for each.  O That’s Good, Publix Greenwise Organic Pizza, and a homemade recipe found on the Davita kidney website.  O That’s Good pizza with pepperoni, by Oprah Winfrey, I actually thought would be the best, because the crust is made with 1/3 of it with cauliflower.  I can not find the phosphorus in that brand, but I am thinking it has to have the least due to the cauliflower in the crust.  It tastes OK enough, my husband even liked it.  But, for taste, I personally pick Publix Organic Pizza.  For the nutrition results, the following code will be used.  O is for Oprah’s pizza, P for Publix, and H for homemade.  This is per serving of 1 slice.

O:  Phosphorus:  Unsure, but most likely the least

Potassium:  Not listed on their nutrition label.  Probably comparable to the others.

Protein:  14 grams

Sodium:  740mg  This is actually very high compared to the other 2.  I thought it was for the whole pizza, but it is per slice.

Iron:  15%

P:  Phosphorus:  Again, not listed on the label, but because flour is used you can assume it is comparable with the Homemade.  Remember a lot of this element comes from the cheese, and if you use a whole grain crust.

Potassium:  This too is disappointing because it is not listed on the label.  But, again you can consider it close to homemade since you are using tomato-based products.  Eliminate this by eating a white pizza, which means no sauce is used.  I love them.

Sodium:  280 mg  This is not horrible considering cheese is loaded with sodium.  However, if you get a pizza with just mozzarella and no other type of cheese you will save some sodium.

Iron:  10%

H:  Phosphorus:  230mg

Potassium:  352 mg

Sodium:  150 mg

Iron:  No iron is listed for this recipe, but is probably consistent with the other 2.

As you can see making your own pizza is the healthiest option.  Be sure to use white flour, not whole wheat to save on phosphorus.  For me, I would rather have the healthier whole grains, and just limit the amount I eat, adding a salad to go with it.  You can also use lower sodium cheese options, less cheese, no sauce, etc.  Veggies, instead of cured meats, of course, are always a better option.  If you want to see the homemade pizza recipe, click here.  

If you would like to learn how to cook at home for your kidney disease, or any chronic illness, use the contact form to send me an email.