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Category Archives: Wellness

 

The LASIK eye surgery procedure

The LASIK eye surgery procedure

 

I know it sounds scary, but the success rate is 100% in most eye clinics.

 

The procedure is for short sighted people in their 30s, because that’s the age around which your eyes set and chances are low they change after the procedure.

 

The logic is simple:

You can wear glasses your entire life and when your eyes get far sighted by senility, you can continue with those super expensive bifocal glasses.

Or you can do the Lasik treatment and when your eyes start getting far sighted you can buy a pair of reading glasses from the supermarket.

 

The procedure itself takes only a couple of minutes. After which you can see.

 

Like when I lay down I couldn’t see any detail of the ceiling. Then I looked into the laser machine – right, left – then I looked up and I could see!

 

Of course you’re not allowed to walk about right away and observe the world in new awe. You first have to wear some ridiculous goggles to protect your eyes from dust.

 

But I remember the first time I went out after the eye laser surgery:

 

As we drove down the road, it was like a new world had opened up to me.

 

Whereas before landscape was a blur like a Van Gogh painting, I now could see detail! Beforehand trees were brown stumps with a green cloud on top, now I could see every single leaf!

 

I thought getting eye laser surgery meant not having to wear glasses and getting a vision like when wearing contact lenses.

 

But my eyes are super sharp now. I can read posters across the road. My eyes are also more sensitive to light, so I feel much more confident driving at night.

 

Gone are the days of not finding my glasses, because guess what without my glasses I can’t see them! Gone are the days of polishing my glasses and still getting scratches that are sitting right in front of my eye. Gone are the days of no spontaneous sports or activities, because what about my glasses? Gone are the days of blurred vision whenever you don’t wear your glasses.

 

To be able to see and with such quality of the picture! I still look at things around me in awe. 🙂

 

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It is hard to believe, with all its probiotic goodness: But because yoghurt contains lactose it’s a no-go when you change to a low FODMAP diet.

I cannot remember a day that I didn’t eat yoghurt. The only reason would be that I’m in a country where they don’t do yoghurt, like when I was travelling South East Asia.

Or where they don’t know how to make yoghurt, like in South Africa. Thank goodness for Amasi, which by the way contains less lactose, as that is what the yoghurt cultures eat: lactose. So the more sour your fermented milk tastes, the less lactose it contains. To me, a big fan of kefir and buttermilk and such, a fair trade.

So yes, I like yoghurt, but if I want to eliminate FODMAPs from my diet, I need to find a replacement, for two reasons:

1) The lack of calcium causes my fingernails to break, so I need to find an extra source of this mineral.

2)  What I’d actually miss about yoghurt is the yummyness with which it binds together my muesli.

You can read the answer to 1) here: #FODMAP #Tip: 5 calcium rich alternatives to dairy

As to 2) I think I found a good compromise: Replacing milk with coconut milk for the low FODMAP diet, I’m left with coconut pulp. It has a lovely yummy consistency and can be used just like yoghurt. It has no sourness to it, so less sweetening is required, and the coconut oil is filling. It is of course nutritionally completely different from yoghurt, hence 1), but for the time where no yoghurt is allowed it works well as a substitute.

Would you believe this is not yoghurt: Coconut puree makes for a great substitute.

Would you believe this is not yoghurt: Coconut puree makes for a great substitute.

Check out my low #FODMAP muesli recipe for breakfast: Banana, Buckwheat Granola and Coconut Puree.

This tastes as healthy as it looks: Low FODMAP breakfast cereal.

This tastes as healthy as it looks: Low FODMAP breakfast cereal.

 

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I’m a muesli fan, and I enjoy my muesli with yoghurt.

During the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet however, both wheat and lactose need to be cut out.

So here’s an alternative breakfast cereal recipe, low FODMAP and still yummy:

 

Being a muesli fan, this works as a low FODMAP alternative for me: Diced Banana, Buckwheat Granola and Coconut Puree.

Being a muesli fan, this works as a low FODMAP alternative for me: Diced Banana, Buckwheat Granola and Coconut Puree.

 

Add in equal parts:

Diced Banana

Buckwheat Granola

Coconut Puree

 

You can use any other fruit of the season or a combination of fresh fruits or fruit salad.

I use the buckwheat granola as is. Some prefer to soften it by letting it soak, but I like it crunchy.

The coconut pulp is a leftover from making coconut milk. It works well as a yoghurt replacement.

 

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If you want your belly to stop grumbling, try cutting out wheat for a while.

If you want your belly to stop grumbling, try cutting out wheat.

 

I love bread! Not white bread, proper brown whole wheat bread.

And I love muesli! Not the sugar loaded clusters, but the proper bran flakes type.

And I love couscous and pasta! Or at least the sauce for it… 😉

 

All of these however contain wheat. And thus need to be cut out during the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet.

 

Finding alternatives to wheat is quite simple if you switch to the usual replacements: rice, corn, oats.

But I already eat brown rice as a staple with my lunch or dinner.

And I already snack on corn chips and corn flakes – watch out that they’re indeed wheat free and preferably non-GMO by the way.

And I already enjoy my porridge every day.

 

So I don’t want to just add more of the same staple I’m already eating in order to replace wheat. If I want to get through this FODMAP diet I need a bit more variety.

A great opportunity to try out some new, more exotic, and supposedly super, foods:

 

Sorghum and quinoa taste great as couscous and pasta substitute.

Buckwheat and amaranth make for a great breakfast cereal, and millet can be cooked into a delicious gruel.

As for bread, well, being German I can tell you that from steam bread to crisp bread, from spelt to rye, from potato to carrot to beer bread, everything is possible. Find a great bakery or supplier of wholesome flour and bake it yourself.
Or be creative and swap bread for a different ingredient altogether: How about a saladwich?

 

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Calcium is an important mineral for the human body, as it helps maintain healthy teeth and bones and prevent osteoporosis.

Calcium is an important mineral for the human body, as it helps maintain healthy teeth and bones and prevent osteoporosis.

 

When I came to South Africa, I couldn’t find acceptable yoghurt at first, as most supermarket yoghurts are loaded with preservatives and emulsifiers.

So I didn’t eat yoghurt for a while, because I boycott products with additives. As a result, my fingernails started to break. Thank goodness I found Amasi.

However, as I have IBS, it’s part of the low FODMAP diet to cut out dairy for a while.

In order to keep my fingernails, I did some research on:

 

How to Get Enough Calcium Without Dairy

The total recommended daily allowance (RDA) for calcium is 1000 mg.

 

Eggs

One large egg provides 28 mg of calcium, 2.6% of the Daily Reference Value (DRV). But more importantly, eggs are a good source of vitamin D and when fortified maybe the only source of vitamin D we need.

Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium, without enough vitamin D, the calcium you eat won’t have any beneficial effect.

 

Leafy greens

“If your lactose intolerance is severe and you need to avoid all dairy foods, you can get plenty of calcium from leafy green vegetables,” suggests Barto. Vegetables high in calcium include rhubarb, spinach, broccoli, and certain greens like kale. For example, one cup of cooked spinach has about 250 mg of calcium.

 

Beans

Beans are a fantastic source of calcium in plant-based diets.

Especially Soybeans are high in calcium with 175 mg per cup. Accordingly tofu is generally regarded as a high calcium food.

 

Fish

The amount of calcium in milk is 125 per 100 g. As calcium percentage of the RDA this is 13%. Comparing with Fish, caviar, black and red, granular, in 100 g it contains 275 mg of calcium. As a percentage of the RDA this is 28%.

Sardines do not only contain high amounts of calcium (383 mg per 100 g, that’s 38% DRV) and vitamin D, they are also less contaminated with mercury than other fish.

 

Nuts and Seeds

Almonds and brazil nuts contain about 100 mg of calcium per serving and are recommended snacks for people on low carb diets.

Just a tablespoon of sesame seeds delivers 88 tasty mg of calcium and an ounce of chia seeds has 179 mg of calcium.

 

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In my search to find yoghurt without preservatives I came across amasi.

 

I grew up with buttermilk and kefir, so when I discovered amasi, I was delighted. It’s taste is creamy mild and has a refreshing tang to it.

 

My favourite amasi uses only goodness in their ingredients: full cream milk, amasi culture

My favourite amasi uses only goodness in their ingredients: full cream milk, amasi culture

This is what I like to see in the ingredients list: Only goodness.

 

Amasi is fermented milk and what those cultures eat away in the process is the lactose. So amasi is naturally low in lactose, giving IBS sufferers like me a bit of a break.

 

In addition, 2 litres of amasi cost around R20, which means it costs less than half of what you pay for supermarket yoghurt in South Africa.

 

Bonus Tip: Shake it up!

Amasi comes in a handy bottle, perfect for liquid yoghurt. All you got to do is shake it up a little.

The amasi turns so creamy and fluffy, you’ll want to gulp it down like a milk shake.

 

Pour it over fruit salad or muesli, soften up a curry, use it in salad dressings, make lovely smoothies and deserts. Bake with it.

Use it instead of milk, yoghurt, cream, sour cream, kefir or buttermilk.

You can also feed it to your pets as a healthy source of calcium.

 

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In Europe I used to go to the cheapest supermarket and buy 100% yoghurt.

 

In South Africa simple yoghurt is surprisingly expensive and full of stabilisers and preservatives.

“Ingredients: Low Fat Milk, Stabilisers (milk), Yoghurt Cultures, Preservative (pimaricin).”

 

While Whoolworths hail their yoghurt as preservative free, it still contains stabilisers and they added emulsifiers and whey powder instead.

“Ingredients: Full cream milk – Stabiliser (Plant-based stabilisers – Emulsifier) – Milk solids (Whey powder) – Yoghurt cultures – Bifidobacterium (HN019) culture.”

 

What’s going on? Clearly it’s possible to make yoghurt without all those unwanted additives?

 

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