Out with the Old (a.k.a. getting laser eye surgery in Seoul)

4 Jan

2012-12-23-002

It’s been a really intense few months!  First there was my birthday, and some fixated attention on scale numbers that were inching closer and closer to my goal.  Then there was a sinus infection. And periodic checks to make sure the world wasn’t ending. And holiday parties, and holiday cheese platters, and holiday punch.  Then there was LASEK, and being unable to read anything smaller than font size 36 for a few days, if I could open my eyes at all.

Nevertheless, here I am, with my fancy new cyborg eyes (courtesy of Dream Eye Center in Myeongdong, here in Seoul: 02-779-7888).

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I’ve only had the protective post-surgical lenses out for a day and a half, now, so my vision is still not at 100%, but at least the pain is gone.  Let’s just say cooking was still easier than reading this post as I type it.  I’m hoping the last of the fuzziness clears up pretty soon, and I am looking forward to steadily-improving distance vision.  Even with some blurriness now, it’s better than it was pre-surgery without my glasses, and yesterday/today were supposed to be some of the worst in terms of visual clarity and my eyes arbitrarily deciding to go in and out of focus.

(Update as of March 30: My vision is now better than 20/20 and holding pretty steady!  The pain went away after the first few days, and my eyes got tired pretty easily for a week or two, but it didn’t slow me down for long. Definitely pleased with my vision now, and enjoying the freedom to not worry about glasses fogging up all the time.  I definitely recommend the procedure, if you’re on the fence about it, and the clinic I went to was very professional and well-organized, with staff and doctors who spoke great English and could answer my questions.)

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As for that weight goal, I’m proud to say that even post-holiday cheese platters, post-indulgences in chocolate candy, and post-surgery, I’m only 1 lb away from the Finish Line.  That’ll be a drop of over 40 lbs since mid May, sticking to this slow-carb diet.  I really recommend it, if you’ve been trying to shed some extra weight, or even if you’re simply concerned about the staggering amounts of high fructose corn syrup and over-processed carbohydrates that get packed into so much of today’s food.  You’ll be healthier, if nothing else.  My energy levels are way better, I don’t have a sugar-rush ‘spike’ of hyperactivity after eating, followed by a crash where the only thing I can functionally do is nap, I kicked my caffeine habit (and the accompanying headaches), I’m drinking far more water, and I’m eating far more fresh foods.  Granted, I wound up catching a sinus infection when the weather turned nasty cold in December, but that was the only time I had caught even the first inklings of a cold since starting the diet in May.  Not to mention I work with children on a daily basis, so am subject to the entire menagerie of mutant germs they bring in from their various schools and then sneeze all over our desks, so that’s got to be some kind of record for me.

All in all, I’m recuperating from surgery, getting over the straggling remnants of that cold, and hovering right above a weight goal I didn’t actually believe I could reach, so I’m feeling pretty good over all.  After an exhausting workday, I decided to go all out and clean out my fridge, so the curry I made for dinner was a bit of this, a bit of that, and a bit of whatever was in the drawer that I wanted to get rid of.

I still think it turned out pretty good.

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Due to quite literally being made of Whatever I Pulled Out Of My Fridge, measurements are a little vague on this. Sorry!  Also, I cook following a couple of main rules.  #1 – If it’s not bright and interesting colors during at least some stage of its preparation, I probably don’t want to eat it that badly. Rule #2? You can never have too much garlic. It’s impossible.

Ingredients

2 small purple onions, chopped (or 2 large ones, just with the soft/icky bits cleaned off)
a heaping spoonful of minced garlic
a knob of ginger, grated (I only used half of the amount shown above)
about 150g chopped beef (nothing too tough, this won’t cook or stew long enough to soften anything too chewy)
red pepper flakes
cumin
turmeric
cinnamon
coriander
1 bell pepper, chopped
a double-handful of fresh spinach, chopped
1/4th to 1/2 cup goat yogurt

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I started off by letting the onions and garlic cook slowly in a generous puddle of oil over low heat, until they’d gone soft and caramelized a bit. Then, I dumped in the ginger, turned the flame up, and added the beef to brown it through.

While the beef was cooking, I shook in a few dashes of red pepper flakes, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and coriander, all to taste, and stirred everything together. The cinnamon really added a nice undertone, at the end! The bell pepper I added after the beef had browned through, and the spinach shortly after that, just before turning the heat off and pouring in the yogurt.  If you don’t turn the heat down or off at this stage, your yogurt is likely to go all grainy and separated, which is less appetizing.

After stirring the yogurt in, I was all finished and ready to eat.  With the blisteringly cold spell Seoul has been in the middle of, this was nicely warming, yet the bright colors still gave it a sort of summery feel.  I’ve made a nearly-identical dish with chicken, but didn’t add the cinnamon in that case, and did add a few dashes of black pepper.  Goat yogurt definitely has a strong flavor, so a liberal hand on the spices helps subdue the goaty taste and keep it from being overpowering.  The cinnamon, especially, seemed to set off a touch of sweetness in the yogurt that I hadn’t tasted before.

Anyway, Happy New Year to everyone, eat something delicious today, and may your resolutions stick!

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One Response to “Out with the Old (a.k.a. getting laser eye surgery in Seoul)”

  1. Quinn January 4, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

    Just the thing for a snowy day

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