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יום רביעי, 31 ביולי 2013

beans and sweet potatoes rolled in a Tortilla


Beans are a very good deal for whoever wants to pursue a healthy life style. One cup of cooked beans provides 12 grams of fiber - which is half of your daily intake. Beans are low in sugar, their glycemic value is low so you don't get insolin spikes that make you hungry. You eat it and the fibers make sure you won't digest it so fast - it shall feed your blood for hours and you won't feel hungry.

Now regarding the sweet potatoes. Do you know that they are a better food source than the 'normal' potatoes? Their glycemic value is lower and they are paradise food for those that suffer from diabetes. They are a good source for potassium and potassium deficiency leads to muscles cramp, weakenss and fatique.

OK enough with lecturing - let's get to work

I prepared this sathurday a delicious and and a healthy dish containing both beans and sweet potatoes wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla - what can I say? yum, yum, delllicious.

There are two stages here:

  1. Preparing the beans mash.
  2. Adding the sweet potatoe and other goodies into a tortilla.

Stage 1 - 

We take 3 cups of beans and rinse, fill with water, bring to a boil and the simmer for 2 hours.

After two hours they should look like this

We then add 3 tsp salt + 2 tsp chopped garlic. We then consider whether to add a 4'th tsp of salt based on the taste.

Then we add 1/4 cup of oil and we continue simmering (don't forget to add boiled water when needed)

After 1-1.5 hours we stop when the beans start to stick together, and we make a mesh by pressing them down.

stage 2 - 

This stage is a twisted version of a recipe of Chef Nelly (the Cheff of GuteFood restaurant that I described here).

We take 3 sweet potatoes and cook them in the microwave for 10 minutes

We then mash them using a fork

And we add 
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds.
  • 1 tsp oregano.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper.
  • 1 chopped garlic clove.

In addition we roast one pepper  (make sure to clean the blacks... afterward!)

now all of this together with the beans should be split among 4 tortillas. Of course I bought whole wheat tortillas 

We warm each tortilla on a pan for 2 minutes and then we pour the ingredients inside. Don't forget to add some leaves. We call it here "baby leaves". 

And then roast the tortillas for 2-3 minutes - careful it could burn.

And there you go - the tortillas are ready - Bon Appetit.

This is a very yummy stuff however we need to now to sit down and calculate how much it costs... 

For the beans mash: 40 Points Plus
  • 3 cups of dry beans: 24 Points Plus
  • 1/4 cup of oil: 16 Points Plus
For the tortilla: 13 Points Plus
  • 1/6 of the above (~1-2 full tbsp beans mash): 7 Points Plus
  • 1 Tortilla: 3 Points Plus
  • 3/4 sweet potato: 3 Points Plus
Now 13 Points Plus is more or less what I eat for lunch so eating one such tortilla is instead of lunch. Half of that I eat for dinner.

  • Beans are wonderful but when you cook anything for so long it produces something called AGE (Advanced Glycation Endproducts) and this stuff accumulates in your body and disturbs its functioning. I shall write about it in detail in future blogs.
  • Adding the oil in the middle and then continuing cooking - is a wrong thing to do.
  • Using a microwave to expedite (like in the case of the sweet potatoe) is a wrong thing to do from the same reason above.
  • It was too salty.

  • I don't like the fact that I had to use so much oil. It costs me 7 Points Plus per tortilla and it doesn't give me anything in return. I do need fats but I want great fats and not canola or corn oil. I prefer to get my fats from nuts, tachini, olive oil, etc.
  • So next time I am going to halve the amount of oil.
  • I am not going to cook the stuff for so long - instead I am going to put in water for 24-48 hours before such that I won't need that much cooking.
  • And I shall add one more roasted pepper - cause 
  • And I shall use less salt.

That's it for now.


יום ראשון, 28 ביולי 2013

Preacher Curl

The following exercise works on your biceps. It's a great isolation exercise because your biceps are doing the work and it's hard to cheat and help using the back or the shoulders.

You should adjust the height of the preacher board such that you can put your armpits at the edge of the boards when comfortly seated.

Then you lift the barbel such that your arms are perpendicular to the ground. That's your starting point.

Then you lower the weight down *IN A CONTROLLED MANNER* until your arms are *almost* fully streched. You should not straighten your arms completely cause it's extremely hard to lift it from there. Also you don't let the weight throw your arms unless you want to rip the biceps tendon from where it inserts on the forearm bone which shall require a surgery and months of inactivity.

As a general rule - don't throw the weights, don't shake your body, don't overload and don't try to impress no one - cause no body cares. Size doesn't matter here. The trick is to work with less weight but in a perfect form.


יום שבת, 27 ביולי 2013

Gute Food

Thursday I had lunch with ex colleagues,

I was pleasantly surprised to find out this lovely Gute Good restaurant in the middle of Herzliya's high tech zone. This restaurant combines fast & healthy, and perhaps I should add - delicious.

It's easy to spot the place. If you arrive at ~13:00 you will see people standing in a long line starting outside of the store. But you are not going to wait in line more than 7 minutes - they are FAST.

And at the front of the restaurant there's a sticker saying it's!! Yay. I felt right at home.

There are several meals to choose from, here's their menu:

  1. Beef meat balls (low fat) in tomato sauce + organic red rice + green salad in oranges syrup + walnuts. "very nutricious, full of protein, iron and fibers that will show the cholesterol the way out" 
  2. Organic lentils balls with full tachini + full kuskus + tanzia made of organic fruits + organic quinoa salad. "balanced, full of fibers that will only do good to the stomach"
  3. 1/4 of a chicken + cooked organic humus and pearl barley + three vegetables. "loaded with vitamin B, calming and good for your brain".
  4. Green salad & quinoa: 1/2 organic eggs, fool, walnuts, black lentils, tuna, mix of seeds, smoked salmon filet, chicken breast. In addition organic bread and seasoning of your choice (tachini, hot, seasoning herbs, 
  5. Sinaya (meat pie with tahini) with azuki and organic burgol, chopped Israeli salad. "lots of protein and iron, vitamin B and fibers.
  6. Chicken breast with olive oil and lemon, mashed potatoe and sweet cabbage. "low colesterol, high in lycopen - that keeps you young"
  7. Organic tofu cooked in the oven with ginger and soy + organic red rice and soup of the day. "low fat, nutricious, full of minerals that are good for your bones.
I choose this one here - 

Organic lentils balls with full tachini + full kuskus + tanzia made of organic fruits + organic quinoa salad. "balanced, full of fibers that will only do good to the stomach"

After 3 minutes we got our plates and since the restaurant was full - we sat outside.

Here's my plate: the main plate with the kuskus with the potatoes, the carrot and the humus, in addition there were two lentil pies, at the left plate the quinoa salad and on the right oil and tachini.

What can I say - it was A B S O L U T E LY   D E L I C I O U S !!!

But I am on a diet so I couldn't finish the whole plate right?

so I left the oil cause their food has enough oil already, I did use half of the tachini though cause it's super healthy, I didn't touch the carrots cause of the high glycemic values, of course I didn't drink the water cause it gets in the way of digestion.

But I did enjoy the two lentil balls, some of the kuskus, the humus and the quinoa salad. It was fantastic. It was quite fat and it was sweet maybe because of the fruits and the sweet potatoe.

Now under the plate you can find some more details on these guys:

so from here we can learn a few things:
  • Their chef is Nelly and she has her own web site where she gives some free recepies - wow looks delicious.
  • They don't have a microwave
  • Their dishes are divided as follows: 50% veggies, 1/6 protein, 1/3 carbs.
  • No Monosodium Glutamate and other patents of the food industry.
  • No milk products.
  • They don't sell coke.
You get the point,

My understanding is that yes this *is* healthy food but it's not low in calories because they do use oil - this is how they make the stuff so yummy. I am not sure if calorie restriction advocate will be able to enjoy this place.

Overall though, this restaurant is most recommended, it proves that if you made delicious food that is both healthy and yummy and if your restaurant looks young and inviting then you are gonna have tons of high tech nerds filling your restaurant, standing in line, etc.


יום שישי, 26 ביולי 2013


No pain, no gain.

Yes, if you are into a fitness regime then you look good, you feel great but there's of course a price to pay....

I am dedicating this video to this one special lady who gets her kick out of seeing me panting, miserable, frustrated and suffering.

Every day between 6:00 a.m. and 7 a.m. I do one hour on the treadmill. 40 minutes are at a moderate heart rate (65%, 135 bpm) and 20 minutes are at an intense heart rate (75%, 145 bpm). you can consult my other blog entry right here for calculating your desired heart rate.

The thing is - I think that it's too intense, when you are in this position your brain is constantly transmitting you messages about quitting, letting go, maybe just this time, etc... and frankly I don't think such intensity is sustainable. I have to tone down in order to be able to continue getting out of bed and hitting that treadmill.


יום שני, 22 ביולי 2013

Why do you need to care about Vitamin D?

What is Vitamin D, what is it good for and how can you make sure you have enough?

In one sentence

It's that vitamin that keeps your bones healthy and you can get it from the sun.

What's so good about vitamin D?

There's one consensus - it promotes the absorption of calcium which help you grow your bones. If you don't have it then you have soft bones (kids) 

or osteoporosis  (when you are old).

There are studies that link vitamin D deficiency to hypertension, diabetes and obesity - it is yet to be proven though, but meanwhile we can enjoy a picture of... me.

other studies are connecting vitamin D deficiency to chronic fatigue and muscles aches 

Others are linking it to depression - 

But again the IOM are saying that nothing is proven except for calcium/bones problem.

Do we get enough vitamin D?

Perhaps not. This research for example shows that In the sunny Israel 1/3 of the people are suffering from vitamin D deficiency.

Testing for vitamin D

We are talking here about a blood test called 25-OHD.  Below 15 ng/mL is very low, below 30 ng/mL is 'at risk of deficiency'. 

The Vitamin D council considers the ideal 25-OHD to be between 40 to 70 ng/mL.

The Institute of medicine (IOM) recommends 25-OHD 20 ng/mL saying that going beyond 50 ng/mL could have potential adverse effect.

How much vitamin D should we get per day?

The IOM updated the recommended daily allowance (RDA) as follows:
  • Age 1-70: 600 IU daily.
  • Age 71 and beyond: 800 IU daily (cause absorption is low)

The upper limit is around 10,000 IU - too much vitamin D causes to much calcium in the blood which lead to constipation, stones in the kidneys and such. 

how much can we get from the sun?

Vitamin D is meant to be absorbed by being exposed to the sun and this is my preferred way of absorbing it. I mean - I can really feel it in my bones, I am sitting in this cool air conditioned and dark room for at least 10 hours a day. I arrive early morning and leave in the afternoon/evening. I don't get sun exposure. And I am ROTTING!! So I decided to spend 10-15 minutes daily in the sun. Yes, I leave the office at 10:00 a.m. no matter what and just spend some time outside with my sleeves folded. I enjoy it so much, it's a REAL NEEEEED.

Now if you live in a northern country then you can't get that exposure and if you live in Africa you do get more than enough however since you are probably black then your skin is 'immuned' to sun radiation and so your vitamin D absorption is lousy too.

So I happen to enjoy both worlds cause I am a coacian and I live in Israel which has plenty of sunny days.

But for those of you who live in the north or south or are black or old - here's a nice calculator that you can use in order to know how many minutes you should spend outside when your face and arms are exposed in order to get 1000 IU (25 mcg) of vitamin D.

You will be asked to provide your latitude and longitude. So just google it. For example in my case I googled "what is the latitude in Tel-Aviv".

If you live in the southern side of the world then your latitude is negative.

Here's what I got:

Recommended UV exposure of face, hands and arms at least every other day to obtain sufficient vitamin D, equivalent of 25 micrograms vitamin D, if no dietary vitamin D is available:
Processing ... (this may take a minute)Done
minimum recommended exposure time (hours:minutes)
0: 6

It means I should stay outside 6 minutes a day. I stay a bit more - cause I have this feeling that I am deficient. I shall update this blog entry once I test for vitamin D.

Can I get it also from food?

You can but I think God didn't mean that this is how you shall get it. There are so few foods that can add to your vitamin D and since I am vegetarian - I don't touch most of them.

Here's the table

So without doubt 1 table spoon of cod liver oil gets you your daily intake. In order to get such magic oil you have to go north to the scandinavian sea and murder a cod.

Or you can pay someone to murder the fish for you - like the mutta faka in this picture right here - 

or you can just buy it from those that buy it from that guy in a form of pills. This way you don't have to deal with the smell.

You can eat 300 grams of Salmon - very healthy but I can't eat this stuff cause I keep thinking about that poor Salmon.

you can also also drink 2.5 Kg or orange juice daily.... and best of all you can eat 50 eggs daily.

Are there good supplements for this?

Yes. For example this one - each drop contains 200 IU.

In summary

So I think you get my point - go out to the sun and enjoy it, it's warm, it caressing you, it's good for you :)


יום חמישי, 18 ביולי 2013

The Omron HEM 705 CP Auto Inflate Blood Pressure Monitor - a review

Just a reminder,

In my last annual checkup I was diagnosed developing a nice metabolic syndrome and in particular suffering from hypertension. I wrote about it here.

I needed a good blood pressure monitor. The one I already have was giving me all sorts of readings - I had to have a good quality blood pressure monitor. I couldn't rely on what Macabi (my health insurance company) are including in their basket.

I used this paper in order to find the best blood pressure monitor - the Omron HEM 705CP. In the paper they compared several brands and this one was 'recommended' while so many other devices got 'not recommended'. They also said that it passed the strict tests by the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) and of the British Hypertension Society (BHS) while other devices did not.

Here's table 4 from this paper:

I bought it in Amazon for 85$ + shipping - 536 IS in total...

It's a very simple monitor - even your grand mother can measure her blood pressure if she has any.

I measured here 123/55, 59 heart beat per second and it was 7:02 p.m.

It remembers the last 28 measurements - but it's also a problem because in a household where several people are suffering from hypertension and are also shouting on each other because of the stress... - you cannot say who measured what - you just see a bunch of 128 measures and you have to guess whose blood pressure was it.

The cuff that you are supposed to wrap around your hand it too small - it's for women, for old people but not for a REAL man like myself, so as long as I am not pumping my muscles I can still use it - but I mean - this is such a basic thing - to provide a wide enough cuff! duh !! 

So as you can see this issue is one more issue that only adds to my hypertension...

And then there's this printer gadget that you get together with the monitor. At first I thought - wow it's gonna record my heart beats - and there's gonna be a bunch of niddles writing down every pulse. Nada. All it does is print the history of 28 last measurements on a small stupid paper, a dedicated printer. Of course I would have preferred that the monitor shall connect through a usb to some software that runs on my computer and adds to my spreadsheet, but whoever are designing this thing thought it would be cool to have this printer. I think it's stupid.

And don't forget 4 AA batteries for the monitor and additional 4 AA batteries for the freaking printer which of course are not provided.

Regarding the accuracy of the measurements... - well I was under the impression that such a qualified device that passed the strict tests of AAMI & BHS would provide measurements with lower standard deviation - but what can I say? I get different readings, or let's put it this way - shockingly different readings even if I rest for only 2 minutes between two consecutive measurements... - oh well.

I read somewhere that it's important to measure where you arm is at the same height of your heart. I tried that - it didn't help.


יום שלישי, 16 ביולי 2013

Lost only 2.1 Kilograms this week

I am a bit disappointed.

I am comparing this second week vs. two previous diet with weight watchers. I think I lost 2.5 Kilograms on the first diet and 3 Kilograms. on the second one - on the same week - second week for the diet.

And here I am losing only 2.1 Kilograms.

How come?

Maybe I added lean muscle mass?

The first reaction of the gym coach was that this should be a result of me adding lean muscle. Oh really? Is that so? I remember that this was the excuse of my wife when she didn't lose weight on the second week of the first diet - 'I gained lean muscle mass' - yea right....

If you eat lots of healthy calories and you train like crazy then you will add between 7 and 12 Kilograms of lead body mass. That's 250 grams per week at most.  

But that's if you eat like a pro and train like a pro.

I don't eat much - I am on a diet remember so I would say that in one week I gain between 50 to 100 grams of lean muscle mass...

Maybe I was focusing too much on REAL healthy food?

While losing weight is important for me cause I want to get rid of the diabetes & hypertension risks, still - a very important goal that I have is to eat GOOD food, HEALTHY food. and it means instead of eating that diet bread, I eat whole wheat bread and instead of eating 0.5% yogurts - I eat 4.5% and I eat humus and tachini and nuts and almonds. Everything is measured yes - but I eat this stuff... Maybe weight watchers didn't take this into account? Maybe I eat too much fat after all?

Maybe weight watcher program is flawed?

Well maybe... - I mean I was told that at my weight, my height & my age I should eat 56 points per day. They have this table that explains how many points I can add provided that I do sports. Well every day I spend 40 minutes average intensity activity which gives me 5 points and I do 20 minutes of high intensity activity which credits me additional 7 points.

So in total I am supposed to eat 59 + 5 + 7 = 71 points.

And I eat only 42.1 points.

So how come I lose only 2.1 Kilograms on my second week?

I think that it's because of the weight watchers program. It's flawed! if you eat all your points then you are gonna find yourself stuck at the same weight.

In the future I intend to quantify this and really go into the details but right now this is the best answer I can give.


יום שני, 15 ביולי 2013

How many sets and how many reps

Sets & reps... - these are the most common words that you are going to hear in the Gym.

What are reps and what are sets?

The word rep is a short for repetition and one rep is one complete movements of a particular excersise. For example in this picture I am doing flat bench press, that's the exercise, yes, yes - not FAT bench press - FLAT bench press and stop looking at my belly. 

ok so the movements that I am doing are... reps. For example I do 10 reps till I can't life no more, then I take a rest and then I do the whole thing again, and then I take another rest and I do the whole thing again. So we are talking about 3 sets x 10 reps. OK?

How many Reps?

So Question #1 that I was always asked in the gym was - 'how many reps?'.

There are three types here:
  • those for strength.
  • those for building muscle mass
  • those for muscular shape and definition
If you want strength then go for low number of reps - say 3-6.
If you want muscle mass, you know to have nice big muscles - then do 7-10 
if you want to be lean such that people will see your muscles then either diet or do 15-25 reps...

I am going for the mass - as I explained - I want to be big and 'strong'... - so I am doing 10 reps. I select the weight such that I can do 10 reps for each and every set. I have a spotter such that in case I can't finish - the spotter helps me a little bit so I can squeeze a little bit more. Also the spotter is for safety - imagine what happens when you want to lift the barbell but you are exhausted... - it happend to me 25 years ago when I worked out in the Gym alone - there was no one there to spot me and I had to roll the heavy barbell over my chest to get rid of it.

How many Sets?

I am on the low side here - I do 3 high intensity sets per muscle group and then I move on. In 30-60 minutes I am out of the Gym and on with my life.

(please don't look at my belly)

Now there are many body builders, and I mean champion body builders that are exhausting their body with a system of 20 sets... - that's too much for me, I am not here to bloat my muscles out of proportion and I don't have time to spend in the Gym. I come to the Gym and I know that within an hour at most I am in the shower and I know I can have 2-3 such sessions per week and my body won't be depleted.

OK, one last picture - barbell curl - Actually I still have those muscles beneath the fat - don't you agree?


יום שבת, 13 ביולי 2013

Why do I lift heavy weights if I want to lose weight?

Hi there,

Here's everything you wanted to know about Strength & Muscles.

The first question - 


Because on previous diets I avoided training for Strenght & Muscles and this is how I ended...

Terrible.... absolutely horrible - what a wreck of a man.

Here, take this one - 

 I look old, I look sick...
And this - 

 A man that can lean and rest his head on his wife... 


This is not what I want!!

I am going to lose weight yes - but it's gonna be mainly fat, not muscles! A man should have muscles, a man should be big, thick, strong, intimidating, not a yellowish, vegetarian, skinny, glass wearing, intelligent wussy pussy.

And I am not going to train like a girl. That is I am not going to do the high-reps, low-weight deal - standing there like a shmock with 3 Kgs barbels in my hand and throwing it around - No! Not me!!

Seriously now, and girls - you better listen cause you have to follow the same routine, believe it or not.

When dieting our body has limited capacity to recover because it doesn't have enough calories to do so. If you do a light weights exercise then that's just like cardio for your body, it's an additional same-same attack on your body. Our body is a fascinating machine, when you throw at it a change it will try to slow down and if you don't need your muscles then it's going to be on the expense of your muscles.

You need to give your body a good reason to maintain the muscles and it means - you have to hit the gym and lift those weights.

One thing to remember though - I am on a restricted calorie diet, I can't add much muscles, the best I can hope for is preserving muscles. I am not going to become arnold schwarzenegger here - I am on a calorie restricted diet so my expectations are set accordingly - I am merely preserving my muscles here. If I start training for huge muscles then my body is going to collapse, it's gonna be injured, it's going to resist my efforts.

That's it,


יום חמישי, 11 ביולי 2013

big men clothing

My lovely daughter Donna (yes, the one who lost her phone), sent me a picture yesterday of the only store where I can comfortably buy my shirts - the big men clothing store in Nahalat Yitzhak Tel Aviv (under lev tel-aviv towers).

Take a look - 

It was one of those frustrating days. I *HATE* shopping but I had to buy shirts. I went to Hanger and starting looking for the biggest shirts. I took XXXL and went into the tiny fitting room where you have to stand like a huge elephant in a small cage. I put it on - too small. I tried XXXXL, or in short 4XL - too small. 5XL - they don't have....

Then I had this bright idea. My mother already told me about this big men store. I hurried there - and it was AMAZING - all of a sudden you discover big men like you. Everything is big. Even the fitting room - is a REAL room - you can sit comfortably, you have a room to run to measure. I asked them for 4XL shirt - they brought me a huge one. for them 4XL is on a different scale than for me. The shirt was way way too big so I tried 2XL - bingo. Almost all of my shirts (6 in total) are the same shirt - but different colors - pastel colors - so simple.

They told me that I fit their baby department.... Geeeez.

Here's their web site :

What can I say - they are losing a customer but I am winning my life,


יום שלישי, 9 ביולי 2013

Yayyy weight watchers gave me a star !!!

Now this feaking unbelivable,

According to weight watchers I lost 5Kg !!  And therefore I deserve a star !!!

Here's the proof

But reality is that I measured myself

Last week I was 139.6
This week I am 135.4

I lost 4.2 Kg

But since weight watchers couldn't measure me last week  - it was decided to stick to my measurement and to give me a star.


יום שני, 8 ביולי 2013

Monitoring the total Glycemic load

Each food type we eat has its own glycemic index (GI) which indicates how fast blood sugar levels rise after eating it. We are comparing that food against pure glucose. Glucose has a glycemic index of 100.

GI < 55 is considered low, 55<=GI<70 is moderate and 70<=GI is high.

  • Most vegetables have low GI - except for potatoes, beets that have moderate GI . Carrots have high GI !!! Surprise surprise...
  • Most fruits have low GI, however conserved fruits have moderate GI and beware of water melons - they have high GI.
  • Alcoholic beverages have low GI, however beer has moderate GI.
  • Nuts, seeds, almonds and such have low GI.
  • Meat, eggs and such have low GI.
  • Pasta has low GI however rise has moderate GI.

People who maintain low GI diet have much lower probability to suffer from diabetes and hard disease. High GI contribute to obesity. 

The GI itself is not enough - it's just an index! We need to multiply it by how much we eat - right? I mean if we eat tons of moderate GI sweet potatoe then that's gonna cause a higher insulin spike than if we eat one tablet of chocolate... has the GL value for any food you can think of. They define Glycemic Load as a way of expressing the food effect on blood-sugar levels. They say that if you sum up all the GL of all the foods that you eat per day then you shouldn't exceed 100. Those suffering from diabetes - should aim lower.

Now that's something that I can use!! I mean - I can add up the GL of my planned diet and make sure it doesn't exceet 100, or better yet... say 80 ??

So first of all let's measure the GL of the typical day that I described here.

The total GL for one day before starting the diet was an amazing 226 !!!

I have no idea how my body could have avoided diabetes all these years and only now after 50 years it gave up (or hopefully not?) - I was eating more than double the daily target for GL !!

Now let's go over my diet plan and see what's going on with the GL -

The Total GL for my typical diet day is thus - 91

It is more or less the recommended amount. Remember, as I said, 100 is the limit per day and for those  of us with risk of diabetes - they should eat a little less.

Nevertheless - I think people should maintain even lower GL. I know that calorie restriction (CR) society are trying to maintain Glucose levels of 80 for most of the day in order to activate life extending genes. So I think I shall have to reconsider what carbs I eat for lunch - maybe rice shouldn't be in my list of carbs and also I think that I should find a replacement for the Yogurt that I so much like.