Hello, and welcome back my awesome readers to one of my topics that readers seem to love, Taste Test Tuesday. With my new job and all that goes with that, I had forgotten I wanted to repeat this series every week. But, if you read my Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge post yesterday, then you knew I was going to talk about this today. I will tell you at the end of the post why I ultimately chose Quest Pizza.
This Quest pizza and this is the link to the item with the ingredient and nutrition info, is quite expensive. For 2 servings it was $7.48. With that said if your family loves pizza, and maybe you are on a weight loss journey, this could be a good option for you. I didn’t even know Quest made pizzas, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw them at Walmart Sunday. I like the Quest tortilla chips, and some of their protein bars, but not all. I am fussy about protein bars, anyway, so it isn’t a flaw in the Quest product. I was looking for a healthier option pizza, for both CKD and weight loss. I could not find any WW pizzas, so I opted for one of these. Before I get to the nutrition of this Quest pizza, and no I did not look at it first, except for the fiber and carb count, I want to talk about texture and taste. I am a huge texture eater. If the texture is odd, chances are I am not going to like it, or even eat it. I chose a thin crust Quest pizza, and I fully expected the crust to come out crispy. Not only is this crust not very thin, but it also does not come out crispy after baking. So, I threw it into the air fryer for 5 more minutes. The only thing that got crispy was the toppings. I was a little disappointed by the crust, but not enough not to eat it. The cheese I am not so sure about either, but it didn’t taste bad or have a strange texture. As far as taste goes, it was overall fairly bland. I am funny about pizza sauce and this one was OK. I think if I buy it again, and actually I still have half of it left, I will sprinkle on some garlic powder. Would I buy this again? Maybe.
Now as far as nutrition goes, and now I am speaking in relation to my CKD, this is probably not a great choice. Why? I threw away my box, and I can’t really make out the ingredients on the box online, but the list is fairly long. That means it probably has additives I would normally opt to avoid. Remember, there are only 4 slices to this pizza, and 2 slices are a serving size. It is very high in fat, sodium, calcium, and protein. In this regard, this is not a healthy option for CKD as most pre-packaged foods are not. Plus, I can not account for how much phosphorus is in it, but I can assume it is pretty high. It is high in fiber, and low in carbs, and I was not hungry after I ate 2 slices. This was definitely a spur-of-the-moment buy for me. I would have been much better off using one of my Wellness wraps, a little marinara sauce, low-fat mozzarella cheese, and making my own little pizza.
So, why did I choose this particular pizza? I have not discussed weight loss at all much this year, and that is on purpose. But, I recently started following Itrackbites. It has a different name now, but I am finally coming off of my plateau and seeing results. It is similar to WW in that you get assigned a set number of points and each food item has a point value, and some are zero points, but not like WW. Anyway, I knew we would have pizza on Sunday for a quick and easy dinner. I also knew the pizza my family likes is like 13 points per slice, so I was hoping for an alternative. For the 2 slices of the Quest pizza, it was 10 points and was a much better fit for that day. That is why I chose the Quest pizza, and because I was intrigued by how it would taste.
This is not a paid post, as none of my posts are. This is my thoughts and my journey. If you would like help in your health journey email me for a free consultation.
Hello, and Happy Saturday! If you are on my Mailchimp mailing list then you already knew that I was going to do a Zero Point Food Challenge. It will begin on this coming Tuesday, and go for two weeks, but I thought I would just give a preview of what a day of eating might look like. I have been researching, reading, and watching Youtube videos of other people who have done this challenge. It is obviously based off of WW Zero Point Food List. I won’t go into all of the details now, but there are specific reasons as to why I chose this challenge, and I have some thoughts on the concept. But, that is all for Tuesday. I can tell you my challenge will not look exactly like WW. First of all I am not a member of WW so I can not speak to how their program really works. I can only go by information I have found online, my research, and what my nutritional needs are. So, this will be a Melissa Zero Point Food Challenge! Come back Tuesday! For now, this is what I will eat for today, Saturday 6/5/2021. It is a lot of images, and I will explain each meal. The pictures will show the nutrition info also. I do not count drinks, and I will explain why on Tuesday.
Breakfast: 10 green grapes, 1/2 of a medium banana, cinnamon sugar small sprinkle, and 1 tbsp. Cool Whip, not fat free. It isn’t necessary and I will explain why on Tuesday. By my calculation these are all zero point foods.
Lunch: 3.3 oz of Pork Tenderloin with Paprika, Pepper, and Basil Herbed Salt baked at 350 for 35 minutes. This is the leanest pork you can buy with only 3 grams of fat per serving, which is actually 4 ounces, and I only am eating 3.3 ounces. I sprayed the bottom of the pan with spray Olive Oil. On the side I cut up 6 cherry tomatoes and sprinkled with salt.
Dinner: Since this is a work day it will be a thermos meal, either cold or hot. I decided to do hot today. For dinner I will have 2 ounces of the Pork Tenderloin left over from lunch, a 1/2 cup of the mashed potatoes shown below, and 1/2 cup of the Happy Harvest creamed corn. I mix it all together and since I am using creamed corn there is no need for butter or gravy. If you look at the labels you will see the fat content per serving definitely makes them a free food. Some of these are packaged so the ingredient list may not be great. But, I am using what I have in the house, leftovers, or whatever is affordable. Since no one else in my house is doing the challenge I have to work around them as well.
According to my food tracking app this is the Nutrition data for the whole day.
Total Fat: 10 grams or 26% of RDA this is very low fat
Saturated Fat: 3.5 grams or 29% of RDA
Sodium: 914 mg this is a very low sodium day
Total Carbs: 74 grams. I typically allow 100 grams per day in food
Net Carbs: 65.6 grams because of 8.4 grams of Fiber
Protein: 50 grams that is my limit for the day with CKD.
Phosphorus: 486 mg
Potassium: 1658 mg
I also take a 1/2 tablet of a multi vitamin, but I do not include that in the nutrition app until the end of the day, because it skews my thoughts on what I am actually eating. I know this seams like not enough calories, and it isn’t, so I will have to figure out a snack that is low fat, and I don’t want anymore large amounts of protein or salt. I would also rather my carbs did not go over a 100 for the day. I will let you know tomorrow what I chose to add as right now I don’t know. You also have to consider that I do not track drinks. Times that I have tracked drinks, I may get an extra 100 to 150 calories from my daily drinks. Zero Point foods are not meant to be a whole diet on WW. They are meant to build your meals around. OK, so that is all I am going to say for now. Come back on Tuesday to read the full reasoning, and how I will do it, and track it, plus what I eat in a day, and results at the end.
Happy World Kidney Day! I hope you are celebrating this day by loving your kidneys just a little bit more. I have talked in previous posts about soaking vegetables to leach potassium, and boiling meats to decrease phosphorus. Today, I am going to discuss some actual studies that show that different cooking methods can help reduce phosphorus, potassium, sodium and fat. Namely soaking, boiling, using a pressure cooker, and stewing. The three main things I took away from these articles are: 1- a pressure cooker is the best method to use, 2- slicing your meat, rather than leaving it one solid piece works best, and 3- be sure and discard any of the water, juices, gravies, etc that the meat will produce. Do not consume it.
Below are the articles that I found that are the easiest to read, and the easiest to understand. There is also a video you can watch. 2 of the articles I read were from one website, and I can not upload them here. But, if you are interested in reading them leave me a note in the comments and I will try to get them to you.
Always remember to discuss any dietary changes you wish to make with your doctor, so you can be properly monitored to be sure the changes do not have any negative effects on your health.
Always remember, whole, unprocessed foods are going to give you the healthiest options of food choices.
Updated 11/12/2021: In January of 2021 we sat down and figured out our budget the Dave Ramsey way. Our budget is $528 dollars per month for groceries using that method. Some months it doesn’t go so well. Still working at it, lol. I have to say the easiest way to save money on groceries is to use the pickup option. I order online and then pick it up. There is no impulse buying and teenagers picking up things we don’t need. Now, sometimes I actually have to go inside a store.
Yay, Friday! I am happy you are here. Before I get to the two things annoying me today I will write what I am grateful for, LOL. I truly am a grateful person and do not like to complain, but I may not always show my gratefulness which I assume would apply to most people. Today’s prompt is, name one thing I learned from my mother that I am grateful for. I hate these one thing prompts. There are so many things I have learned from my mom. But, since I have to pick one it would be how to be frugal. Now, that does not mean I have always listened very well, lol. As you will see below going back to a strict budget is proving not so easy for me and my family. We have always lived on a budget, but when you have more money you spend more money, and we are no exception to that rule. But, I grew up fairly poor, and my mom was excellent at being frugal, finding deals, stretching a dollar, and saving even with meager amounts of money. I am so grateful all of that information is stored in my brain and I truly want to teach my daughter how to be more frugal and buy what you need and save for what you want. It is so hard, especially for a teenager.
So, my 50 dollar for a week of groceries did not go well for this next week, and I can blame Thanksgiving for that. Now, with that said a lot of the stuff I bought can be carried over into the second week of the budget, as we get paid every two weeks, mainly because there will be a ton of leftovers from Thanksgiving. So, I am hoping it will even out.
I have a few gripes today in reference to things that were supposed to save me money. First Amazon Prime Pantry. We signed up for this and pay for a reason, two day shipping. I made my list the other day and this morning went to place the order. My items, a lot that I needed for Thanksgiving were not going to arrive until probably the day after Thanksgiving. Even if they came on Wednesday that is 5 days to delivery, not 2. I do not appreciate paying for a service and then I don’t get to receive the benefits of the service I am paying for. So, I had to take all of those items out of my cart, and left only the items for the second week of my budget. Amazon is in my not happy bucket today. Now, I could see if it was a true emergency, but Thanksgiving is the same day every year, and Covid has been here for 9 months, so I am not accepting those lame excuses. My second complaint today is for Ibotta. They were offering a free refund on Thanksgiving items that I intended to purchase and donate. But, of course, Ibotta would not load yesterday, or today, so I didn’t get to take advantage of that either. I have stopped using Ibotta before due to it not working properly and well that may happen again. There, now I am done complaining.
My first week menu starts tomorrow, 11/21, and goes until 11/27. I also purchased my two Dollar Tree items for my challenge next week. For this first week, I spent 83.68, and yes that is obviously over 50 dollars, but like I said a lot of the items will roll over into the second week in leftovers. For the second week, I have already spent 17.71 Save A Lot had the better deals, but not by a whole lot over Walmart. Just a few cents difference for most items and Save A Lot does not always have everything I need. Remember, my 50 dollar a week food budget is for food items only. It does not include non-food items. After Christmas, I hope to be able to sit down and make a budget for non-food items we use.
I wanted to share a recipe I made yesterday that was very affordable and will feed me and my husband for several meals. I had leftover pork ribs from Wednesday’s meal. You guys that was such a bargain, We have already had the ribs for 2 meals and lunch, and I was able to freeze 3 of the ribs for the next time I make this bean recipe. So, while the ribs were 10 dollars when you get several meals and then some out of the meat it really was a steal. In my crockpot, I put a can of black beans rinsed, and a can of Cannellini beans rinsed. Now, you don’t have to rinse them, but it gets rid of some of the sodium and I don’t generally like the sauce. Then I added about a 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce and a 1/2 cup of Italian dressing. I also threw in some pearl onions because I needed to use them up. Plus, one of the ribs that were leftover, bone and all. Then I put it on low for 8 hours. You guys this was so delicious. My husband loved it and had it again for lunch. If you have CKD like me be sure and not to eat the sauce, or as little as possible. Slow cooking your food helps decrease the phosphorus in the foods and releases it into the juices. I only eat a 1/4 cup at a time, and I put it over a 1/2 cup of masked potatoes. I had a simple side salad of lettuce, green onions, and some sunflower seeds. Try this delicious, simple, affordable recipe. The cans of beans were less than 80 cents apiece and I already had the other ingredients on hand. Eating beans is a great way to reduce your meat budget and still get protein.
Below you will see everything I bought for this weeks menu plan. I could have saved at least 10 dollars by using the stuffing I had already purchased, but my husband wanted me to make his mother’s homemade stuffing. So, I had to buy all of those ingredients. Plus, the pure maple syrup for the turkey was 7 dollars. So, that is actually 17 dollars I could have saved. But, my husband likes to make his turkey that way. I thought we still had some but did not. Sorry, my clean dishes are in a part of the shot. I wanted to get everything in one shot and my teen still hadn’t put dishes away.
Menu for 11/21-11/27/2020:
Saturday: Leftover homemade pizza for lunch and Hillbilly Casserole for dinner. Come back Monday and I will tell you how we liked both of those.
Sunday: Cheeseburgers and a side, probably Mac n cheese, fruit, or a veggie.
Monday: Chicken and broccoli. I think I have a jar of Alfredo sauce so we could have that over pasta. Or, it could be a completely low carb meal.
Tuesday: Tuesday is our busiest day of the week, every week. So, I like something fast and simple. I am sure there will still be the homemade pork and beans, or we could have grilled cheese and tomato soup, or breakfast for dinner.
Wednesday: Cheese ravioli, bread and butter and a side salad
Thursday: Thanksgiving, yay gobble til you wobble.
Before I begin I want to explain my Dollar Tree Food Challenge. I have been watching different food challenges on Youtube. It is obvious you can eat at Dollar Tree. For my challenge, I wanted to compare two different foods and the nutritional value, as well as taste and overall value. I am unsure of how many places actually only offer Dollar Tree food options as a choice to eat. The two Dollar Trees that I frequent are within feet or a mile of other grocery stores where prices are very affordable and have healthier options. So, I simply don’t understand why someone would choose to eat Dollar Tree foods if you don’t need to. I find their serving sizes for a dollar to be higher than you could get the same at another store, or make your own. See my results below.
Today is day 6 of my 14 Days of Gratitude Challenge. Today’s prompt is, something I am grateful for today. Today, and probably every day I am very grateful for the internet and my smartphone. While our internet provider is not as fast as my son’s who lives in a bigger college city, it is faster than my mom’s in the sticks. Most of the time she can’t even get a signal on her phone to access the internet and her computer is slow. I can’t believe in 2020 in the USA that people still don’t have access to affordable good internet service. It just baffles me. Without the internet, it would be very difficult to find good information, and studies on CKD and other topics for this blog. Of course, this blog probably wouldn’t even exist. Having good information, quickly, right at the tips of my fingers is something I am extremely grateful for.
Now for the Dollar Tree Food Challenge. I compared Celeste pizza for one, to a can of peas. What I was looking for was comparable protein per serving size, and then all of the other nutritional info especially in relation to CKD.
First, the pizza. I am not a fan of frozen pizza to begin with but I picked it because per serving of one pizza there are 9 grams of protein. That is actually a pretty small amount of protein for a food item with sausage and cheese on it. I only ate half of this small pizza and gave the other half to my husband. So, I ate 4.5 grams of protein. The whole pizza which is about the size of 2 normal size pieces of pizza, there is 360 calories, 15 grams of fat, 7 grams saturated fat, a whopping 730 mg of Sodium, 47 grams of Carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugars, Calcium 8% of DV, Iron 15% of DV, and Potassium 2% DV. The ingredient list is so long it is ridiculous. The cheese is not real, and it has added Phosphorus as most processed foods do. So, from a CKD perspective, this is a horrible food choice. The sodium alone is 32% of DV, and the added phosphorus in this meal would be 100% absorbed by the body. While I could not locate this particular pizza on Eat This Much, similar pizzas have 22% of the DV of phosphorus per serving. On top of all that, it had a very chemical taste to it to me, and was not even enjoyable or filling. This is not something I personally would choose to consume again.
Now, compare the can of peas. First of all, it has only 4 ingredients, peas, water, sugar, and salt. That right there already makes this a better food option. Comparing the protein to the pizza, the peas per 1/2 cup serving size have 4 grams of protein. That is almost exactly half of the Celeste pizza. Plus peas are loaded with other nutritional items and is real food, not fake manufactured food. Per 1/2 cup the peas are 50 calories, 5 grams of fat, sodium is 290 mg, Carbs 11 grams, Fiber 3 grams, Sugars 4 grams, Vitamin A 6% DV, Vitamin C 10%, Calcium 2%, Iron 6%, Phosphorus 8% DV. You can’t change the sodium content of the pizza, but by rinsing the peas twice, you can greatly reduce the amount of sodium in the peas. Add butter, margarine, or other seasonings to flavor your peas and this is a much healthier food option from Dollar Tree. I will eat the peas with my dinner meal tonight. If they taste gross I will let you know, but I am doubting canned peas are going to taste like anything other than canned peas.
You can see the images below with the ingredients and nutrition labels. I am not picking on Dollar Tree or Celeste pizza. My only goal is to inform. There is obviously a market for these foods or they wouldn’t offer them. But, I do think it should raise concerns if people really only have a Dollar Tree to purchase food items from, and some of their items I could have purchased cheaper elsewhere.
Learning to read nutrition and ingredients on labels can help you eat smarter and healthier, especially if you have CKD or any other Chronic Disease. If you would like to learn about me and my Health Coaching services, use the contact form after all of the images to message me for a free email meet and greet.
Below I will share a link to a delicious roasted rosemary radish recipe. I have tried this recipe and it is delicious. It fits perfectly into my Rosemary Challenge for the month of November. But, the main point of this post is for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. While I think it is going to be a much different holiday this year, due to Covid, it doesn’t mean you can’t still have a lovely meal with recipes that fit a CKD diet.
I love tomatoes, and while I don’t have a potassium restriction lots of people with CKD do. I find radishes to be somewhat bitter when eaten raw. In small amounts it is ok, like in a salad. But, when I roasted the radishes they were absolutely delicious. You could technically mash them to replace mashed potatoes. I did mine with carrots and onions too, but that is not part of the recipe below.
Nutrition for radishes in relation to CKD:
1 cup of raw radishes has: 19 calories, basically 0 fat, 4 grams of carbs, 45 mg of sodium, 270 mg of potassium, 2 grams of fiber, about 1 gram of protein, 17 mg of vitamin C, 29 mg of calcium, 0.4 mg of Iron, and 23 mg of phosphorus. The amount of potassium in 1 cup of radishes can be considered high, so you could half it.
1 cup of raw tomatoes has: 32 calories, basically 0 fat, 7 grams of carbs, 2.2 grams of fiber, 9 mg of sodium, 427 mg of potassium, 1.6 grams of protein, 25 mg of Vitamin C, 18 mg of calcium, 0.5 mg of Iron, and 43 mg of phosphorus.
I use the website Eat This Much for nutrition info. Radishes would also be a good replacement for mashed potatoes which are also very high in potassium. Check out this recipe for roasted rosemary radishes, https://eatthegains.com/rosemary-roasted-radishes/
Update 8/13/2021: I love tomatoes. and I do eat them. I do not have issues with Potassium, however. I also really liked the roasted radishes above.
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Today is the last day of my week. So, how did I do? I actually followed it without difficulty. I did cheat one day and had a tiny portion of pork. I couldn’t help it, it smelled so good. As far as my CKD goes, I became concerned after about day 3 when I started experiencing itching. This is a possibility that I was eating too much phosphorus which I had stated in the original post was my biggest concern with eating just plants and no meat. So, I researched some of the foods I had been eating. A lot of them I kind of had a general idea how much phosphorus was in them, but I was stunned to find out broccoli was very high in phosphorus and I was eating a lot of it. So, I adjusted my portion sizes and the itching ceased. As far as the g-bombs acronym goes, I discovered I am not going to eat mushrooms everyday, ever, lol. A couple of times a week I can handle. Beans, also are another food item I am not going to consume daily. I do not care for them and they cause me to be bloated and uncomfortable. However, luckily peas are a great replacement for beans and I love peas. I still wouldn’t eat them daily, though. So, what are the points I am trying to make? Diets are tricky and are not a one size fits all thing. Just making a blanket statement that everyone with CKD should follow any one type of diet without adequate education to alter the diet to fit the needs of that individual is just a nightmare. Now, as I originally stated plant based does not mean meat free. So, my experiment was a bit extreme. I also started feeling quite tired midway through the week, so I added a B12 supplement and bought some plant based protein powder as I was not getting no where enough protein mostly due to my dislike for beans, and mushrooms. I also gained 2 pounds this week which is definitely not a goal of mine.
In conclusion I will stick with my low meat protein consumption as I have been doing for 4 years, and will have at least 3 meatless days a week. I stick to 3 to 4 oz portion sizes of good quality meats. One more thing about phosphorus, and I mentioned this in another post on the topic. Phosphorus in plants is about 60% absorbed by the body, according to my research, but phosphorus from processed foods is 100% absorbed by the body. That means if you are following a high processed food diet you should stop and start weening yourself to non processed food items. These transitions take time and patience, but you should start now. Always discuss any diet and supplement changes you make. Advocate for yourself to work with someone to help you learn to follow a diet that is healthy for you. If you do choose to follow a completely meatless meal plan be sure and discuss with your doctor the need for phosphorus binders, Anemia risk as well as being sure you get enough protein to meet your body needs. Your labs and the stage of kidney disease you are at will determine all of those things.
I think I will try a potassium restriction diet in the coming weeks. I do not have issues with potassium but many people with CKD do and they have to restrict their potassium consumption. If they are advised to follow a plant based diet this could be possibly be difficult depending on their food preferences. I know for me following a potassium restricted diet would be complicated and difficult.
Now for my weekly Portion Distortion topic. Publix had Red Baron pizzas buy one get one free this week. My daughter and husband like these on the weekends I work because they are convenient. So, I bought two. On my way out the door I grabbed a piece to eat in the car. The box says 1/4 of the pizza is a serving size. We cut ours in 10 pieces so my piece was pretty small which was good. I have to say I don’t usually like frozen pizzas, but this one had good flavor, and the crust was delicious. However, I immediately noticed how salty it was and it has 760 mg of sodium per serving. Even though my piece was much smaller than a serving size it was very salty. After I got home I looked at the food label. This is something I should do before I eat a food. High in fat, carbs, little to no fiber makes this not a great food item for CKD. There is also quite a bit of Calcium in it which is a concern for some people with CKD. Then I read the ingredients list. You will see words with the letters PHOS in several ingredients. This means this is a highly processed food with possible large amounts of the type of phosphorus that is 100% absorbed by the body. Plus, there may be MSG and soy in there. These types of foods should be consumed in very small amounts. I posted the label below so you can see it for yourself.
I have been watching a lot of these 5 dollar food challenges for the Dollar Tree. I will not do one of the big ones as I am not going to expose my body to that type of food, but I do think this is a huge area of concern for people with chronic diseases. So, be sure to check back for those.
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Be sure to read the whole post to learn what I have eaten today for my meatless challenge, and how I am feeling about it. In the 90s when I was very fit, long before children lol, one of my favorite toning videos was Buns of Steel. I had super muscular and nice legs. It is a brutal workout. I used to own the videos, but I guess over the years I weeded them all out because I can’t find them in my stash. The video below is the beginner version of the Buns of Steel, If you want your buns, and legs in shape these original videos are the way to go. However, I found a video from Popsugar, and tried it yesterday. Yall I can hardly walk today. It is tough and your muscles will definitely take notice. It is aimed at just thighs, no buns, and triceps. I only did half of it, but my goal will be to work up to the whole video. It is short and intense.
Yesterday, if you read my post, then you know I am going meatless for a week. I can tell you after only one day I woke up starving and with a headache. I am concerned about the amount of Phosphorus I may be consuming in relation to my kidney disease. I am posting a link that talks about Phosphorus in foods. This particular website says adults should get 700mg of Phosphorus. That is way less than the 900 mg I had previously read. That is very easy to reach and go over on a meatless diet. While meat does have Phosphorus parboiling it decreases it a lot. If you are a processed food eater, or convenience meals, that type of Phosphorus is 100% absorbed by the body. Just a few things to keep in mind. It is worth reading if you have kidney disease. I am not telling you not to consume Phosphorus. I am saying you should pay attention to it. Yesterday, I took a half of a multi vitamin. Today, I won’t, but I will take a Vitamin B12.
I do not typically eat breakfast, but I do eat a brunch type meal to combine breakfast and lunch. I always have coffee with creamer. I guess that could be breakfast, lol. I had leftover baked potatoes. I had a bunch of potatoes that I froze from my Misfits box. So, I put them all in the Instapot. Not technically baked, but that is what I call them. A baked potato has 59 mg of Phosphorus. I also had some mushrooms left over and pearl onions. This was really delicious my husband loved it. My mushrooms were from a jar so I rinse them before cooking to decrease the sodium. I had 1/4 cup of mushrooms for 26 mg of Phosphorus. The pearl onions had 7 mg of Phosphorus. I ate 10 green grapes that has 10 mg of Phosphorus. Then I added 2 fried eggs on top which has 200 mg of Phosphorus for 2 eggs. That is about 300 mg of Phosphorus just in this meal alone. These are estimates because it isn’t easy to get accurate data. I used Eat This Much website.
This post will combine a bunch of different topics into one. Yesterday, I shared that this week’s food challenge was for me to be completely meat-free. Why I decided on that challenge I did not explain. If you follow me you know I have CKD. Last week I was browsing through Twitter and one of the kidney organizations I follow was doing a survey on initiatives that various kidney patients would like to see them pursue in the new year. I also knew before that, that there was a huge push for a plant-based diet to be used to treat kidney disease. Some of the questions were geared around that topic. One of my biggest complaints with them using a plant-based diet to treat kidney disease, well actually two complaints, is 1- phosphorus in a plant-based diet is going to be very high levels according to research I have done, though it may not be well absorbed by the body, and 2- I feel like Anemia is a huge issue to consider for anyone on a plant-based diet, but could be dangerous for people with kidney disease. Those 2 reasons, plus the video below encouraged me to approach this topic in the form of a food challenge.
You also know, if you read this blog, that I am creating a Nutrition course for my high school child. The video below will be included in that course.
To begin I need to clarify some frustrating definitions.
What is plant-based? According to Harvard University a plant-based diet is: plant-based or plant-forward eating patterns focus on foods primarily from plants. This includes not only fruits and vegetables, but also nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans. It doesn’t mean that you are vegetarian or vegan and never eat meat or dairy. Rather, you are proportionately choosing more of your foods from plant sources. Why does this frustrate me? For one thing, not everyone classifies it the same way. Some lump plant-based in with veganism. Plant-based simply means the majority of your daily food intake will come from plants. This could mean frozen, canned, etc, especially if you live in a food desert.
What is whole food plant-based? This is a much stricter version of a plant-based diet. Foods should be of the least processed possible and probably raw. In another words in its most natural form. Why is this frustrating? Again, because so many groups and organizations are lumping all of it together, and trust me people take this stuff personally. Let me be clear. If you live in a food desert or on a fixed income, this diet is going to be very hard to follow and or very expensive. A lot in this group are also putting veganism in there. Some of these do not consume any oil in any form as it is highly processed.
What is Vegetarian? Very similar to plant-based, matter of fact I would say almost exactly with the exception that again, organizations and other entities are trying to push the Veganism movement in here. I think that is why it is now called plant-based instead of Vegetarianism. I will be doing plant-based or Vegetarian with some dairy and some eggs. Why? Because of B12. It is the best way to get that vitamin. I have no desire to be Anemic, and yes I can and will take a multivitamin but as you may or may not know there is some evidence that suggests the body does not even absorb multivitamins and are a complete waste of money.
What is Vegan? Vegan’s eat no meat at all, or any product that is derived from meat. They do not buy leather, or any fashion and beauty products derived from or tested on animals. This is a very noble goal to have. It is also not the healthiest for humans. It is awesome for animals, but some studies suggest Vegans do not necessarily eat a healthy diet just because they are not consuming meat products. Next week I will focus on this as it pertains to kidney disease. Some will say Veganism is a political movement and a lot of them are kind of aggressive about their choices as it pertains to convincing others.
I am not saying any of these are better or worse. What I am saying is that without proper education of all the issues that go with kidney disease and the complexities of it, these types of diets will only confuse people. Since phosphorus is not on food labels and is very hard to track in food items, suggesting everyone should be plant-based is complicated. I don’t want B12 injections, so I will do what my body needs to keep Anemia away. If that means I eat small amounts of meat or meat products then that is what I will do.
Now, to the next confusing part of this post. The video below is not about kidney disease. But, it is about living a healthier life into our later years. She mentions G-Bombs in the video and that everyone should be eating them every day. Of course, I had to see what G-Bombs were. Why is this confusing and frustrating? Keep reading to find out.
G-bombs is an acronym for Greens, Berries, Onions, Mushrooms, Beans and Seeds. Great, right? Let’s check some more.
Greens- If you follow some groups, greens means leafy greens. Such as mustard greens, spinach, kale, parsley, romaine lettuce etc. Well, some of us don’t actually like a lot of those greens. You may be bummed even thinking you can not meet your greens’ needs. Greens encompass any food source that is green. Yes, it is true that leafy greens are exceptionally healthy, but so are lots of other greens such as iceberg lettuce, peas, green beans, limes, broccoli, and so many more. So, go ahead and eat your greens, all greens. But, what if you have CKD? If you have kidney disease these greens are typically very high in potassium. So, be sure to eat them in small to moderate amounts. Plus, keep in mind if you are taking Coumadin, or Warfarin greens can be very high in Vitamin K which can affect the effectiveness of your medication. These things just confuse people when they are not told accurate information.
Berries- This one completely made me laugh. Strawberries, blackberries and others are not berries. They are fruit, but not berries. However, bananas, avocados, pumpkins, tomatoes, watermelon, and kiwis are. LOL, so eat your berries. I am pretty sure when they said berries in the video, as a matter of fact, I think she said strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc. Now, mind you those fruits are still very good for you but are not berries. Blueberries might be. Again, confusing to consumers of this information.
Onions- Alright I will give them this one. I don’t think there is any way to confuse onions.
Mushrooms- Mushrooms are actually very healthy and a decent protein source for anyone not eating meat. However, I don’t care for fresh mushrooms so I only eat canned or jarred. Plus mushrooms, again are very high in their phosphorus content and should be eaten mindfully if you have kidney disease. Canned or jarred may be less in phosphorus due to processing, but there is no definitive test I can find to that. They are very low in calories too.
Beans- This is my least favorite food to eat. Legumes would fall under this too, but peas are the only ones I like. I can eat small amounts of beans and that is not bad because beans, except green beans are high in potassium and phosphorus. They would need to be eaten with care if you have kidney disease. I only eat 1/4 cup at a time. They are a good source of protein but there is debate about how much of that protein is actually usable by the body.
Seeds- This is another very confusing category. You are probably eating way more seeds than you ever knew. You are probably thinking flax seeds, chia seeds and sunflower seeds. While those are seeds, again, if you have kidney disease these can be very high in phosphorus and I consume in small amounts only. Nuts can also be included according to the video, again, phosphorus is an issue. Read about seeds, here.
When you put all of this info together you can see how I, someone with kidney disease is frustrated with these kinds of recommendations. I don’t think there are enough studies showing it is safe for all aspects of kidney disease. Yes, I put all of that on my survey. Now, with all of that said, anytime you can eat a healthier diet with less processed foods and more whole foods it is obviously going to be better.
Now, for what I ate today. I made an avocado dressing to put on a baked potato and carrots for lunch. I typically don’t eat breakfast, but I did have a slice of leftover pizza. Dinner will be broccoli, sauteed mushrooms and onions and two eggs. I am not hungry and seem to be satisfied enough. I did go slightly over my carbs limit. I use Myhealthykidney, an app on my phone, and or Eat This Much website to try and figure out how much phosphorus I am consuming. Contact me to learn about my Health Coaching plans.
First let me state, for new readers, I have CKD stage 3. I do not have Diabetes or HTN. I have dedicated my Health Coaching to bringing awareness to Kidney Disease and the complications that come with it. If you would like to learn more about my Health Coaching service, use the contact form at the end of the post to message me. Holidays are especially hard for people with CKD, due to limitations in foods they can eat.
I have been a nurse for 33 years. Over those years I have had friends and patients with chronic diseases that they just never seem to manage very well. I always wondered why? Then, I was diagnosed with CKD in 2017. It is hard, very hard, that’s why. But, with determination, communication with your doctor, support services, family and friends it can be done. You can still live a full and happy life.
I follow a lot of social media groups, organizations with recipes tips, etc, I have purchased kidney cook books, and yet one thing I am always disappointed with is that they often are very high in Phosphorus. Phosphorus is not on food labels so tracking it can be very difficult. I have mentioned before that I use Eat This Much and My Healthy Kidney to help me judge the amount of phosphorus in foods.
Halloween candy can be very high in Phosphorus. The peanut butter cups I mentioned yesterday, have 78 mg of Phosphorus per serving. While that is considered low, a serving was two little pieces.. So, you can see how quickly that could add up. With the high limit of 900 mg per day of Phosphorus, or less, for most kidney patients, candy can be dangerous.
Below, I have put together some of my previous posts that cover Halloween, candy, or holiday foods. Maybe you are taking your kids trick or treating, or want to have a Halloween party. Covid can be very dangerous to those of us who have CKD. But, it doesn’t mean we should have to hide away and have no life as politicians have suggested. I am not advocating anyone to be dangerous, risky, or spread the virus. If you are sick you should stay away from people, even for the regular flu virus. I am just saying we deserve a life as much as anyone else, and safety is of utmost importance. I do not put recipe amount facts because I don’t know them for sure. If you want to use any of them for the upcoming holidays, do a little research on the ingredients to be sure they fit your diet needs. I find a lot of kidney patients complain that families don’t even attempt to honor their diet needs at holidays. Now, that is their perspective and may or may not be the whole story, however from personal experience I can say it is accurate. People are so caught up in their own wants and needs that they exclude anyone who may be different than theirs. Some other things I have noticed. People who are recovering alcoholics and people drink in front of them. People who have quit smoking and they have to sit in a room full of smokers at family events. People who have sensitivities or allergies to foods and not one meal item has been created with them in mind. These are things that alienate people and add to their loneliness or isolation. Most people will not ask what will be served or how it will be adapted to meet their needs as not to feel like a burden. These are all things that make me very sad.