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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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Wheatgrass is one of those superfoods that all of a sudden we have to consume to stay healthy.

I thought you need 4 stomachs to digest grass, otherwise it’s impossible to derive any nutrition from it.

I’m quite sceptic towards these food fads and at the prospect of wheatgrass simply thought: Now we need to eat grass, what comes next? Bark? Soil? Pebbles?

However, I can’t judge things before trying them myself, so I looked deeper into this wheatgrass craze.

 

Is wheatgrass a health food?

Wikipedia simply dismisses this as “Health claims”:

“Proponents of wheatgrass make many claims for its health properties, ranging from promotion of general well-being to cancer prevention. However, according to the American Cancer Society, “available scientific evidence does not support the idea that wheatgrass or the wheatgrass diet can cure or prevent disease”.[9]

Wheatgrass proponent Charles Schnabel claimed in the 1940s that “fifteen pounds of wheatgrass is equal in overall nutritional value to 350 pounds of ordinary garden vegetables”,[4] a ratio of 1:23.[7] Despite claims of vitamin and mineral content disproportional to other vegetables, the nutrient content of wheatgrass juice is roughly equivalent to that of dark leafy vegetables.“

So you can also just eat a bunch of spinach and be done with your health boost for the day.

 

Is wheatgrass tasty?

Wheatgrass is full of cellulose and thus stringy and fibrous unless you strain it through a cheesecloth which is messy.

In addition wheatgrass tastes as green as it looks, and while I love the smell of freshly cut grass, its not a palatable flavour.

So with wheatgrass you have to find a recipe that actually masks its overpowering grassy taste.

I tried a couple of wheatgrass juice recipes and in the end had to come up with my own: #Wheatgrass #Smoothie

Its very zesty tang might make you pucker, but at least it helps to finish that one wheatgrass portion.

 

Is wheatgrass worth your money?

To my own surprise I liked the wheatgrass smoothie: It filled me up like a sandwich would have, without the sluggishness. It kept me light, as it’s a small portion of already ground up goodness. My sensitive IBS tummy felt good loaded with freshness and energy.

Given that there is no scientific evidence that wheatgrass is more effective than a placebo, I would not waste my money on it.

But if you really believe in the benefits of wheatgrass, why not grow your own: It is so easy, my pet rats get fresh wheatgrass all the time from our rattie garden.

 

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Wheatgrass Smoothie: It tastes as green as it looks!

#Wheatgrass #Smoothie: It tastes as green as it looks!

 

Wheatgrass is actually pretty indigestible for humans. Hence the juicing which should remove all the cellulose. But still, its grassy taste is overpowering.

Preparing wheatgrass is a nightmare if you don’t have a juicer, as you’ll have to strain it through a cheesecloth.

I’m a practical cook, and have no patience for these complicated procedures.

So here a recipe that does not require straining, and results subsequently in a real thick smoothie. 😮

 

#Recipe: Wheatgrass Smoothie

 

Ingredients:

1 portion of wheatgrass

1 chunk of peeled ginger, dice-sized or according to taste

1 peeled & pitted lemon

2 peeled & pitted oranges

1 spoon of honey, if you’ve got a sweet tooth

1 dash of cinnamon, if you want to add a bit of spice

 

Throw all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

 

The ginger alone gives this smoothie a fibrous texture. Together with the cellulose loaden wheatgrass and the pulp of the citrus fruits you might be tempted to chew a little on this one. 😉

 

Bonus Tip: Put the wheatgrass first into the blender, as it’s so flimsy it’ll take ages to stuff it down so it mixes in. Putting the lemon and oranges on top of the wheatgrass will weigh it down.

 

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Need a nut milk bag? A cotton or linen handkerchief can work well to strain liquids.

A cotton or linen handkerchief can work well to strain liquids.

 

Depending on the complexity of your cooking, you might come across the requirement to strain a liquid free from solids.

For making nut milk for example, it is suggested to use a nut milk bag. – Although I found a much simpler method to strain coconut milk:  #HowTo make coconut milk yourself at home. –

A nut milk bag sounds complicated, but all that’s actually required is a cheesecloth.

So a cloth napkin or handkerchief can easily work. 🙂

Bonus Tip: If you treat yourself to buying a new cheesecloth, do yourself a favour and cut it round. That way there won’t be any edges flopping out, which can leak and cause a mess.

 

Michael Ventura

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