Badly Constipated By Traveler’s Constipation!

It’s been eight days since we arrived in Auckland and I think I had only pooped thrice! Yep, my worst traveling nightmare came true and this disorder has never once left me alone whenever I travel – near or far!

I have taken everything that is supposed to beat constipation but nothing seems to help. My diet here has been pretty high in fiber. I start off my day with psyllium husk, followed by smoothie made from a combo of fresh berries, orange, green apple, celery or parsley, avocado and baby spinach. Then I have a slice of high fiber bread and more fruits. But still I am badly constipated and darn bloated! I have been taking Forlax – the laxative that Cass has been taking and it only helps me evacuate the following day. And the next day will be another day of bloating and constipation again.

I admit that I have not been drinking as much of plain water that I normally do when I am in KL, for fear of using toilets when we are traveling. And to top it up, I think I have a sluggish bladder ever since Cass was born. I have had three C-sections and I developed incontinence after the birth of Cass. Thank God it was only for 2 days.

Traveler’s constipation—a most unwelcome side effect of any getaway, courtesy of travel-induced changes to your diet, weird timing of your meals, and limited access to restrooms. Here’s how to prevent this uncomfortable disorder.

Take your probiotics
Start popping probiotic supplements a few days before send-off. These healthy bacteria, found in foods like yogurt or kefir, can help reduce gas and bloating, issues that usually crop up because you consume less fiber and exercise less on holiday than you do at home. Your best bet may be probiotic capsules, which can have up to 10 times more probiotics than fortified foods.

Chew these before takeoff
Swallow some activated charcoal tablets before flying the friendly skies to help absorb gas, suggests gastroenterologist Patricia Raymond, MD. All that gum chewing and candy sucking you do to pop your ears could cause “jet bloat,” she says. The higher the altitude, the more the gas in your body expands.

Pack your own food
You know nothing backs you up more than a greasy (and admittedly delicious) truck stop snack, but the discomfort it will cause you later simply isn’t worth it. Whenever possible, pack a whole-wheat sandwich, a bag of trail mix, and easily portable (and fiber-filled!) fruits like apples and bananas.

Drink up
When you arrive, drink plenty of water and consume at least 25 grams of fiber on a daily basis to keep things running smoothly. (Check out these easy ways to get more fiber.)

Take advantage of the hotel breakfast
“Eating stimulates the reflex that causes stuff to move forward in the gut,“ says Joanne A.P. Wilson, MD, a gastroenterologist and professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC. And when nothing moves, you won’t go. Give your system the kick it needs early with breakfast, even if you eat it on the beach.

Beware of laxatives
If you need to get things moving but don’t want a laxative-induced accident far from home, bring along milk of magnesia or prune juice, or sip on hot tea for a gentle, safe way to give your system a kick.

Make it an active trip
Experts agree that when you’re active, so are your bowels. Try that tandem bike, hit the slopes, or even walk along the beach in the morning—just be sure to drink plenty of water while doing it.

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Lunch Today – 5 December 2014

Cass is such an easy-going child.  She is not as persnickety when it comes to food, unlike her 2 older sisters.   She will even be happy if she is given just Honey Stars or bread for lunch or dinner!  But would I do that?  Only if I am super duper busy and unwell to cook.

Today is the first day that Alycia and Sherilyn are away.  With just Cass, cooking for her is such a breeze!

This morning, I bought a piece of chicken keel to boil radish soup. Yes, only 1 piece of chicken keel vs. 4-5 pieces if I were to prepare soup for 2 more kids.

Actually,  I ain’t in the mood to cook anything today due to sleep deprivation (I got up at 4:30am to prepare A & S for their early morning flight) but I forced myself to make a trip to the mini mart to buy chicken for the soup as well as some veggies for tonight.   I had to finish cooking all the perishables in the fridge before we leave for Auckland on Tuesday.

For lunch, I blanched some Japanese colorful noodles (which tastes like ‘min sin’) for Cass.   The colors of the noodles come from vegetables.

Seasoning for the noodles is pretty simple and just a few — sesame seed oil, a dash of organic soy sauce, toasted sesame seeds, fried onions, seasoned Korean seaweed and some radish soup.  The turmeric chicken was left-over from dinner last night.

 

 

And my baby girl noshed away this bowl of noodles in a jiffy, as though it was some tasty, MSG-laden noodles from a Japanese restaurant!

Tonight’s dinner will be grilled chicken drumsticks, blanched veggie and radish soup.  No wonder friends of mine with just 1 child are so free!   Cooking for just 1 child is sup sup sui!!  *feeling proud of smug*  HAHA!

 

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Runner’s Knee

A few weeks ago, I had a sharp pain on my left knee cap each time I squatted down.   Sometimes there was a cracking sound and the knee felt cold and numb. The pain went on for about 10 days. The funny thing is that when I did my usual run in the morning, I did not feel the pain. The pain only came about each time I squatted down.   I was really upset and worried, fearing that I may be in a similar situation as the mil who has pain in her knees. I thought that my knee cartilage needed help or that I may have developed a mild osteoarthritis of the knee. I googled for an answer and found out that I had Runner’s Knee. So much for my love for running all my life, I have now succumbed to Runner’s Knee!

The hubs advised me to pop his Glucosamine tabs but I was reluctant. I eased the duration and intensity of my run each morning. Instead of running 5 rounds each morning, I brisk-walked 3 rounds and jogged 2 rounds at our condo jogging trek. I also spent some time doing knee exercises before I started running. On some mornings, I just did 4 rounds of brisk-walking and 1 round of running. After approximately 10 days, the pain was gone when I bent my knees! I was so relieved! Now that it is the school holidays, the timing is right for me to use the gym.  I now spend half an hour on the air-walker every morning.   Air-walking does not put so much pressure on the knees as running and jogging. I can also increase the duration of my exercise and sweat more when I work out on the air-walker.

What is Runner’s Knee
As the name suggests, runner’s knee is a common ailment among runners. But it can also strike any athlete who does activities that require a lot of knee bending — like walking, biking, and jumping. It usually causes aching pain around the kneecap.

Runner’s knee isn’t really a condition itself. It’s a loose term for several specific disorders with different causes. Runner’s knee can result from:

Overuse. Repeated bending of the knee can irritate the nerves of the kneecap. Overstretched tendons (tendons are the tissues that connect muscles to bones) may also cause the pain of runner’s knee.

Direct trauma to the knee, like a fall or blow.

Misalignment. If any of the bones are slightly out of their correct position — or misaligned — physical stress won’t be evenly distributed through your body. Certain parts of your body may bear too much weight. This can cause pain and damage to the joints. Sometimes, the kneecap itself is slightly out of position.

Problems with the feet. Runner’s knee can result from flat feet, also called fallen arches or overpronation. This is a condition in which the impact of a step causes the arches of your foot to collapse, stretching the muscles and tendons.
Weak thigh muscles.

Symptoms of runner’s knee are:
Pain behind or around the kneecap, especially where the thighbone and the kneecap meet.

Pain when you bend the knee — when walking, squatting, kneeling, running, or even sitting.

Pain that’s worse when walking downstairs or downhill.

Swelling.

Popping or grinding sensations in the knee.

 

What’s the Treatment for Runner’s Knee?
Regardless of the cause, the good news is that minor to moderate cases of runner’s knee should heal on their own given time. To speed the healing you can:

Rest the knee. As much as possible, try to avoid putting weight on your knee.

Ice your knee to reduce pain and swelling. Do it for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days, or until the pain is gone.

Compress your knee. Use an elastic bandage, straps, or sleeves to give your knee extra support.

Elevate your knee on a pillow when you’re sitting or lying down.

Take anti-inflammatory painkillers. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like Advil, Aleve, or Motrin, will help with pain and swelling. However, these drugs can have side effects, like an increased risk of bleeding and ulcers. They should be used only occasionally, unless your doctor specifically says otherwise.

Practice stretching and strengthening exercises if your doctor recommends them.

Get arch supports for your shoes. These orthotics — which can be custom-made or bought off the shelf — may help with flat feet.

 

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Going Green And Raw

I have been going green and raw for the past few days.  Firstly, I am not feeling 100% up to the mark, no thanks to the flu bugs  loitering in our home. No matter how hard I try to eat clean, I somewhat succumbed to the virulent bugs.  But the good thing is – the infection is a very mild one and definitely does not warrant medication.    Secondly, I am trying to steer clear of oily and heaty food to up my immune system.  We have an overseas trip coming up in just 2 weeks.   The girls ain’t following exactly what I eat but are sticking to non-oily, non-spicy and non-fried food.

Today’s lunch is salad with eggs (organic) again! :)

Besides stuffing myself full with greens, I have also been working out hard at the gym the past few days, sweating it  out really well and I am so happy that I am finally picking up the momentum again since months ago.  I have not hit the gym for almost 2 months as during school-going days, I would be too early for the gym. The gym is only accessible at 7am and I am always done with my run at the condo’s jogging trek by 6:50am.  Besides sweating buckets, I have also been getting a good dose of morning sun the past few days.   The morning sun shines right at me as the position of the air walker that I normally work out on faces the morning sun directly.

This Hakka Lui Cha was my lunch yesterday.  As you can see, the composition of this healthy dish is mainly veggies, chick peas and peanuts  in blended mint broth.  While I gobbled down this bowl of green stuff,  my girls ate soupy noodles with eggs and minced pork.

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Pork Bolognese With Fennel and Bay Leaves

I made a big pot of pork bolognese sauce the other day.  I used part of the sauce to whip up a penne pasta dish for the girls’ dinner and kept a portion in the freezer.   I used the thawed portion for making cheat pizza (from wraps) last Sunday.  How handy was the frozen pork bolognese on a day where we could not do any cooking!   We were having some renovation works done to our wet kitchen, thus have not been able to cook for the past 5 days.  My girls commented that my cheat pizza with pork bolognese tasted way better than the ones sold at restaurants!  Getting compliments like this spurs me to keep cooking and gradually, I have developed the  love to cook, albeit only simple menus.  I have never really liked cooking out of  sheer laziness and lack of time but it is out of love for my girls that I cook no matter how busy I may be :)

My pork bolognese sauce tasted incredibly flavorful this time as I had thrown in a handful of dried basil leaves and a packet of fresh fennel herbs to cook with the sauce.

 

 

Fresh fennel…

 

 

 

Fresh fennel emits a very aromatic flavor to your food. Its green, feathery fronds look a lot like dill but the fennel herb has a much stronger aniseed flavour. It can be used to spice up your sauces, meat and salads. If only I have a garden, I would fill my garden with pots of fennel, basil, peppermint and an array of herbs :)

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Health Freak Mommy’s Breakfast – 4 November 2014

This is what I had for breakfast this morning…

Roasted pumpkin wedges, carrots, aubergine and garlic with olive oil and salt. And I ate them cold.  Straight from the fridge and I like it this way :)  In fact, I like food eaten (certain food, not all) straight from the fridge.  I wonder if anyone has this quirk like I do!

I do not normally eat this sort of stuff for breakfast but today, I am feeling crabby.  My aunt flow is giving me superdy duperdy painful stomach cramps like miscarriage kind of pain, with heavy pressure at the lower abdomen area since yesterday.  Darn the fibroid in my uterus.  It is causing me heavy aunt flow with blood clots too.  This month is really bad.  So bloody, so much blood clots and the pain is really crap!

Anyway, whether I am feeling great or in pain, life has to go on.  While I ate breakfast, I read the newspapers and went through the clock with Cass.  She is sitting for her final exam today and tomorrow.

What did you have for breakfast today?

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Health Freak Mommy’s Breakfast – 28 October 2014

My quirky and absolutely healthy mid-morning breakfast today!  I call it quirky coz I tossed in some tortilla chips into my yoghurt for the crunch and saltiness that I craved for this morning. My first breakfast is always fruits on empty stomach followed by a cup of fresh milk with coffee half an hour later.  And the absolute first form of food that goes into my body every morning is apple cider vinegar and psyllium husk (concoction added with Ribena for ease of swallowing).  Yucky but works like a charm in combating constipation and for a flawless complexion.

Plain unsweetened low-fat yoghurt with chia seeds, toasted almond flakes, pumpkin seeds and organic tortilla salsa chips. Absolutely low in carbs and high in protein.   The zero-sugar tortilla salsa chips that tantalize my taste buds seem to be able to ward off my desire to have something sweet and sinful.

 

 

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Maple Syrup Health Benefits

This morning I bought a bottle of organic 100% pure maple syrup from the mini mart.  I could not decide if I should buy it or otherwise as I think forking out RM34.90 for a 250ml bottle of syrup is just too expensive.  At the mini mart, I was also hunting for agave nectar (which is slightly cheaper) but it was out of stock.  In our household, we do not use white sugar.  We use healthier alternatives like agave nectar, palm sugar or organic raw brown sugar.  With no other choice, I bought the bottle of 100% pure maple syrup, simply because the new chicken recipe that I found requires maple syrup and I am very eager to try cooking this crock pot chicken drumstick cooked with maple syrup and dijon mustard.  It looks very easy to prepare and sweat-free too.

Besides using maple syrup to cook the new chicken recipe that I have in mind, I can also drizzle some maple syrup onto my sugar-free skinny yoghurt which I take on most weekday mornings.

 

 

 

 

 

Why is maple syrup one of the best sugar alternatives?
This healthy sweetener is 100% natural, pure and free of any coloring or additives. Boiled down directly from tree sap, which is harvested from the maple tree towards the end of winter, pure maple syrup is an unprocessed, authentic product of nature. White sugar, for example, is typically derived from sugar cane, and processed and purified before being sold. Because maple syrup is not processed, it contains higher levels of potentially beneficial minerals, including calcium, potassium, sodium and copper, making it the best sugar alternative.

A previous study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007 found that maple syrup contains polyphenols such as abscisic acid (ABA), which is thought to stimulate insulin release through pancreatic cells very much the same way berries increase sensitivity of the fat cells to insulin, which makes the syrup beneficial for those with metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

Maple syrup is one of the many wonders of the world and far more than a simple sweetener. Maple syrup is not only rich in essential nutrients such as manganese as well as zinc, but 34 new beneficial compounds discovered just a few years ago have been confirmed to play a key role in human health.

 

 

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Overnight Oats With Fresh Coconut Milk

This bowl of overnight oats is probably the last thing you want to eat for breakfast. But looks can be deceiving. My bowl of chilled oats for today’s breakfast tastes awesome! It reminds me of the Bircher Muesli that I often eat at hotels for breakfast, sans the grated apple.

 

 

 

 

 

Health Freak Mommy’s breakfast of overnight oats today composes of chia seeds, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, ground hazelnut, fresh coconut milk and zero sugar.  All the nuts and seeds were raw and soaked with the oats and milk, except for the ground hazelnut.   The fresh coconut milk was added in last, at the time of eating.  This breakfast is suitable for diabetics and diet freaks too as it is sugar-free, low in carb and high in protein. This is just so good. Eating clean just can’t get any better!

 

 

 

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Recycling Chicken Breast Meat

We all know that breast meat is lean and  healthier  in comparison to other parts of the chicken.  Lean chicken meat is one of the best sources of protein and perfect for health freaks on a low-carb and low-fat diet.   The problem with us is when we are served chicken, no one would touch the breast meat.

Below is a common sight whenever we have roast chicken.

 

 

I normally keep the breast meat and deep freeze them for ‘recycling’ at a later date.  I use it in fried rice, fried noodles, fried vegetables, pizza, salad, sandwiches and wraps by shredding the meat.

These are my chives wraps with the ‘recycled’ chicken breast meat.  I saved the sauce that came with the roast chicken and spread it on the wraps.   Added fresh sweet corn kernels and a slice of cheese before baking it for 15 minutes in the oven.

 

 

Oops!! The toothpick from one of the wraps came off and I could not join both ends back as the baked wraps had turned crispy and was easily breakable.  Alycia loved it anyway.  Taste is all that matters, not the appearance :D

 

A simple  yet yummy lunch for the girls on a day when I was just too busy to crank up the stove…

 

 

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