So Derek made a really great comment on my last post about Jared and how he was able to lose an astonishing amount of weight by eating fast food – in this case Subway sandwiches – every day. The key to Jared’s success didn’t simply lie in the fact that he chose subway over any other fast food, but also in what went on and in his sub!
That being said, you can totally eat subway every day and gain weight if you make the wrong choices as well. My point is, while it is possible to eat healthy even when you’re eating out, for most of us, when it comes to managing our weight (and our health through nutrition), eating out can be a mine field! So I thought I’d share five places here in the city that not only tantalize the tastebuds but also do good for the body! I’m not listing them in any sort of ranking because I think all of them are great depending on what you’re in the mood for
1. Category: Ethnic Cuisine – Zaatar W Zeit
Hey as Dubains we all want to have great Middle Eastern fair, but most places serving up local food in the city don’t really think about it from a health angle. However, I have noticed recently that a few of the chain restaurants like Just Falafel, which now offers a baked option with whole wheat Saj bread, are starting to come around. Still the options are far and few between. That’s exactly why when it comes to healthy Middle Eastern fair, Zaatar W Zeit, tops my list! Their menu is littered with ways to make your favorite choices just a bit healthier. But more importantly, those choices do not sacrifice anything when it comes to taste – in fact in my opinion they enhance it. In fact they are one of the very few (the only one I know of in fact) places in town that actually gives you the option to get multi-cereal versions of your favorites like manakeesh, along with baked falafel and quinoa tabbouleh. Did I mention that all of it is DELICIOUS?! The one draw back is that they still don’t have a nutrition breakdown for their food. Hope that’s coming soon
2. Category: Chain Coffee Shop – Costa
As a Canadian, I LOVE my Tim Hortons, but I must say that Costa out shines all others when it comes to great sandwiches, salads and light lunches that are both healthy and yummy. The best part is that most of their fair has nutrition info right on the package so you can take a look at ingredients and calories while your waiting in line. In fact there are several choices that fall into the 300-400 kcal range and are made from wholesome ingredients, take for example their Free-Range Egg Mayo Sandwich or Tuna Melt both on multigrain breads and under 400 kcal. But they also have excellent TREAT day desserts too!
3. Category: Independently Owned Coffee Shop – Urban Bistro
Well this is a little gem I stumbled upon very recently, located in Media City this place serves free-range farm fresh eggs, gluten-free options and a lot of organic, local fair and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg either! Not to mention that the decor and overall feel of the place is SOOO inviting you never want to leave! Warning though – their portion sizes are overly large so if you want to stay within healthy portions, plan to share your meal with a friend.
4. Category: Pizza – N_K_D Pizza
If you haven’t tried this pizza yet, you are seriously missing out! While from a calorie perspective, both Pizza Hut and N_K_D come out to about the same (a 63g large slice of pepperoni pizza is 303 kcal at N_K_D vs Pizza Hut’s 75g slice which is 370 kcal) they are hardly the same when you compare them from a nutrition perspective. That’s because N_K_D prides itself on having a whole grain bread that is finished off with organic/local toppings. I’ll tell you after eating a slice of this pizza, I didn’t have the usual symptoms associated with that heavy doughy feeling in my stomach that I usually get from enjoying fast food pizza. Overall though, unless you like the thinner crust, this should still be a treat meal unless you can manage to stop at 1-2 slices, which is kind of hard to do when it tastes so great !
5.Category: Burgers – Shake Shack
Have you noticed that new HEALTHier burger joints are cropping up around the city? Just in the last month I’ve been to Elevation Burger, Burger Fuel and Shake Shack. But in the health department, New York Fries extension – South Street Burger Co. comes out on top with their small burger on a whole wheat bun weighing in at only 289 kcal. Compare that to Shake Shack’s single cheese burger which has 470 kcal and there really isn’t much in terms of competition. But if I’m being honest with my taste buds – I would have to go with the Shack. Everything they serve, including their concretes are simply delicious. Considering they take a lot of care in selecting their ingredients, I’m not too worried about the negative effects that this burger will have on my overall health either. If you want to stick within a healthy calorie range you may be able to get away with a single burger with a bottle of water. That or make it one of your treat meals – it definitely is one of mine!
Yay – it’s finally happening, Dubai is slowly getting onto the healthy restaurant food wagon! It is truly nice to see that what we, as consumers, are asking for is getting converted into better meal choices available to us when we eat out. Let’s face it, in this fast paced world that we live in, this trend is not likely to change much. So it’s great to know that restaurants are willing to cater to us by providing the healthy foods we want to see more of.
As a closing, I want to talk about Jared, and the picture I put of him on this blog post. I’m not posting a picture of an article looking at his recent weight gain just to be mean, but more because it really is about our overall choices in the long run and how they impact our health. Jared didn’t simply lose weight because he switched to Subway, but more because he changed how he was choosing to eat. I’m glad to see that he’s recognized that he’s slipped into poor eating habits and recommitted to his health. That being said, keep in mind that enjoying delicious food and eating healthy don’t have to be concepts that cannot co-exist. It all comes down to finding that healthy balance!
Happy 2013 everyone! Yes it is that time again – the New Year’s resolutions have been made, many of which have to do with weight loss of course, so it’s no wonder that the web is littered with advice and promotions to help you drop those additional pounds…
But now that the month has kicked off with the kids back in school and the holidays officially done with for a while, many of us are already struggling to get started OR maybe even thinking about throwing in the towel! One of the biggest problems with dieting is the simple fact that it DOES NOT WORK. For as long as Fad Diets have been around, to be honest, in the 10+ years that I have worked in this profession, I have yet to come across 1 person who went on a diet, lost a ton of weight and then managed to keep it off.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are hundreds of people who have lost weight and kept it off – but these people DON’T do it by DIETING, they DO IT by making changes to their eating and activity habits which become a permanent part of their lifestyles (whether or not their success involves incorporating practices from popular diets like Atkins or South Beach or DUKKAN).
Take my sister Ayesha for example, she was always picked on for being the chubby kid in school – but that all changed when she hit High School – because the prior summer she finally decided to change her eating habits (choosing to eat healthier and watching her portions) – and blossomed into this extremely beautiful teenager. Ayesha maintained a healthy weight up until her pregnancies when she again gained a LOT of weight… and low and behold, with the weight gain came the fad diets (in fact she recently told me about all the crazy things she tried – like the Hollywood 48 Hour Miracle Diet and the South Beach Diet – behind my back because she knew I would disapprove). But a few years ago, she recommitted to eating healthy, walking and taking on yoga and again she is back to a healthy weight and is maintaining it.
So my advice to you this year is to SAY NO to DIETING! I know it’s enticing when you see weight loss supplements and diets that promise to help you drop 10 pounds in just 2 days, but I can guarantee that you will be much more successful if instead of investing in these marketing ploys, you take small steps in the right direction that you think you will be able to maintain for at least the next year.
I want you to think long term because as much as we all want to lose 5 pounds every week; or think we will make it to the gym for 2 hours everyday – being unrealistic about our goals is a sure way to guarantee failure as well.
1) Focus on making healthy choices over worrying about the scale – It’s actually the things you do everyday (like choosing more wholesome foods and making sure your not skipping meals) that cause the shift on the scale after all.
2) Set realistic goals – It is important to think about the time you have and make health commitments based on these. For e.g. walking for 45 min 5 days a week beats going to the gym for an hour for 2 days and then not being able to make it the rest of the week.
3) Take baby steps – Like they say “A journey of a 1000 miles starts with a single step”. But more importantly, if say you have a goal of losing 20 lb, you also need to have a plan of how you are going to get there. If you think baby steps on a week by week basis and get the tools and support you need to achieve these goals, in 5 months you’ll have reached that goal!
Wishing everyone a Happy and Healthy Year!
‘Tis that wonderful season once again. And as always this time of year means visiting friends and family and eating to our heart’s content… and then some .
You know although I don’t celebrate Christmas, I have always enjoyed the holiday cheer that accompanies it and having additional days off to laze around with family and friends is always a welcome change. And of course, considering I am a self-proclaimed food addict – a lot of the cooler winter days off often revolve around food!
Now granted that in Dubai our winter is more like a very pleasant summer (think Florida)… it does actually get quite cold in the buildings around this time of year (considering nobody seems to remember to turn up the thermostats on the ACs). So I like to think that all that cold air (even here) warrants a few additional calories that are burned to keep body temperatures in line. And of course if you live in a cooler climate than you know that we are naturally inclined to want richer foods during this time of year to help us with this – maybe a bit too much of it, which tends to be at the root of the weight yo-yo we put ourselves on between Christmas time and our New Year’s Resolutions.
So I thought I would share 3 tips that I apply during this time of year to help me stay at status quo in the weight department even when I’m indulging on great big mugs of hot beverages and the delicious desserts that absolutely must accompany them…
1) I know it might not sound like it, but one the funnest things I do is to try and incorporate some form of activity in with my social eating – When I was in Halifax, a bunch of us would bundle ourselves up and walk about 45 min to the “Perks” on the waterfront. It was a great way for us to catch up and that hot mug of Joe along with a slice of the best lemon cake in town tasted so much better when you’re also thawing out (and we DEFINITELY burned the calories in advance). In fact after the first time we did it, it instantly became a tradition . Our Dubai tradition? Walking to the Saravanaa Bhojan Shala for stuffed parathas and dahi vadas on rainy days. Honestly, whether it’s a brisk walk to a favorite destination or a fun game of touch football with family/friends – I can guarantee that the food will taste that much more delicious when you finally get to it!
2) I also tend to pick my treats wisely (something I do throughout the year but definitely more so during holiday season) – You know, as a skinny food addict I like to think that I can eat what I want when I want to, but I don’t usually treat myself to lavish meals every day either. Considering this time of year is littered with temptations for the tummy, I tend to plan ahead of time about what and how much of a particular something I want to indulge in. This is especially true for me on the hectic weeks leading up to a busy celebration (this might not be Christmas for me – but I can tell you Eid tends to feel the same). For e.g. if you know you are invited to Aunty Fatima’s house for South African style Biryani which is something you absolutely LOVE – then it makes sense to go easy on the other stuff So think about what it is that really makes a gathering special – is it that great bottle of Bordeaux that you’ve been waiting to share or maybe it’s a slice of Nanna’s homemade mince meat pie that you’ve been dreaming of all year long… You get the idea right?
3) Last but not least, I also try to focus on enjoying the quality – what I mean by this is I take my time to savour every bite and take in the many elements that go along with good food and good friends/family. By doing this I avoid mindlessly scarfing down large quantities of my favorite dish without even having my taste buds register what it is that I am eating. This actually is one of the biggest challenges of social eating! The simple fact is that we more often than not get so lost in conversation that we don’t remember to really savour the food on our plate but end up over-eating. In order to prevent this from happening I tend to start with a smaller size plate whenever possible so I don’t get too greedy at the buffet; and then I take my time to enjoy the conversation before going for seconds. This works even better when I’m at my family’s/close friends’ place because I know I can always stop in for seconds the next day (yeah my family/friends are used to it;))…
I want to end by reminding everyone to remember to take some time in these hectic weeks to steal some time for yourselves – whether that’s by grabbing a catnap in the middle of the afternoon or stopping for a warming green tea and catching up on that page turner while your shopping for gifts at Barnes & Nobel or simply stepping out onto your deck to savour the moment and meditate – finding some time to de-stress will help keep holiday cravings at bay.
And with that I want to wish everyone Merry Holidays!
Eid al Adha is just around the corner – this is the Eid that celebrates the end of Hajj. In India and Pakistan we also call it Bakri Eid (which literally translates to Eid of the Lamb) because as a symbolic remembrance of Ibrahim’s (R) willingness to sacrifice his son (R), whom God replaced with a lamb, one of the highly recommended acts of worship for those who can afford it is to slaughter an animal and give a portion of the meat to the poor along with a portion to family, while keeping a portion for one’s self.
Considering that every year, millions of animals are slaughtered, I thought this would be a good time to talk about the importance of eating what Muslims call “tayyab” food. The Arabic word tayyab means pure/clean. And when it comes to animals, there are strict requirements for not only how they should be slaughtered but also how they should be kept/treated in order for their meat to be considered tayyab to eat. Most of us Muslims know that for e.g. animals cannot be slaughtered in front of each other, nor should they be aware that they will be slaughtered:
When Muhammed (S) saw a man sharpening his knife in the presence of the animal he was to kill, he said, “Do you intend inflicting death on the animal twice – once by sharpening the knife within its sight, and once by cutting its throat?”
They should also be treated with kindness and respect, allowed to rest and be offered water prior to slaughtering. At the time of the slaughter a very sharp knife must be used:
A hadith reported by Muslim states, “[W]hen you must kill a living being, do it in the proper way – when you slaughter an animal, use the best method and sharpen your knife so as to cause as little pain as possible.”
And God’s name must be taken, which is meant to calm the animal as well as remind us of the great sacrifice we are asking of it in order for us to eat:
But unfortunately these days with the industrialization of our food system, very few of us relate eating meat with the tremendous sacrifice of the living animals that it comes from. Sadly, not much of the meat we consume these days, including that coming from the halal meat industry (especially that slaughtered in parts of the Middle East and Asia – like Indonesia or India), can truly be considered tayyab either.
So this is an appeal to all Muslims who are planning to slaughter an animal this year, please make sure that your animal is treated with dignity and slaughtered according to the rights God has prescribed for it. I know as a child, when we used to visit India during Eid al Adha, our animals were very poorly treated. And unfortunately at the time none of us knew any better. What I do know is that this event was disturbing enough that none of my sisters could consume the meat of the animals we slaughtered.
To be honest, I really didn’t know any better until I celebrated Eid in Singapore in 2008, where I was pleasantly surprised to see how gently and respectfully 100′s of sheep were slaughtered in my sister’s neighbourhood. And then it wasn’t until last November when my brother shared the Mercy Slaughter video (above) with me, that I realized the importance of taking God’s name in the correct way at the time of the slaughter.
While it is important for us to make sure that all animals slaughtered during Eid al Adha are treated correctly, it is even more important for us to make sure that the meat we consume all year round also comes from well treated animals who are slaughtered in the right way.
Another thing we need to remember is the GRAVE SACRIFICE that animals make in order for us to have meat on our plate. So many of us (including myself) don’t relate throwing away that half eaten burger or those extra chicken wings to the animals that this meat came from.
And while I am a person who believes that physiologically we are meant to eat meat, we sure can enjoy vegetarian fair some days of the week as well! Has anyone heard about Meatless Mondays?
Wishing everyone a blessed Eid al Adha!
Ah October, while for us Dubaiyans who have just lived through the sweltering heat of summer, we are now excited about a little cooler version of summer, for those of you living in cooler areas this month means falling leaves, crisp air and everything that symbolizes the heart of autumn. October is also Breast Cancer awareness month, Canadian Thanksgiving and of course Halloween. Luckily for me I have PUMPKIN on my mind – the perfect gourd to represent all of these things!
I bet not a lot of you knew that gourds, including the pumpkin, are not only good for the prostrate (pumpkin seeds have been found to be helpful in treating Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or BPH) but also for staving off cancers including breast cancer – you can read more on this topic on Food for Breast Cancer. In fact, this year you can even support breast cancer research when you pick up the new variety of porcelain doll pumpkins, which have been bred to be pink in color courtesy of the Pink Pumpkin Patch (they aren’t GMO – they are a hybrid much like seedless grapes or watermelon – and they are still orange on the inside) from your local farmer/store. And how could we possibly leave out pumpkin when it comes to Halloween or Thanksgiving?
So of course I had to go out and get myself some pumpkin – not an easy feet in Dubai mind you. In fact all I was able to find was 2 tiny little butternut squashes from France (that cost 10 AED a piece!)
But I am determined to share a wonderfully simply way of making pumpkin (ok butternut squash) pie filling with you, which you can than use to make a dessert that’s quite guilt free:
Easy Pumpkin Pie Filling From Scratch
1 large (or several small) pumpkin(s)/squash
1 tsp. cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, mace, clove or pumpkin spice
1 tbsp. natural maple syrup or to taste
Cut the top off your pumpkin and scoop out the seeds (you can roast these by simply rinsing them in a strainer, spreading them on a baking sheet, seasoning and roasting in the oven @ 325 for about 25 min, make sure to stir them after 10 min – but I digress ).
Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out the pulp – since I had a small butternut squash I used a teaspoon and a knife – and place in a microwave safe bowl with your preferred seasoning. I only had cinnamon at home so that’s what I used.
Microwave covered on high for about 8-10 min (about 2 min per 1/2 cup of pulp) or until it’s soft enough to mash with a fork. Add maple syrup and mash with a masher - or in my case I used a fork for the 1/2 cup of pulp I had.
Viola you have homemade pumpkin pie filling! If you want to make this into a pie all you need to do is add 2 eggs and 1 (12 oz) can of low fat evaporated milk to 2 cups of the pulp and bake in a pie crust in a preheated oven @ 400 for about 40 min. But since this is Dubai and it’s so hot here, I decided to enjoy mine with some walnuts and a scoop of natural vanilla ice cream instead
And don’t forget to use the pumpkin shell to make a jack-o-lantern!
It’s that time of year again – when the kids are back in school and the routine also includes packing healthy lunches, which by the way can be a major challenge what with the usual time constraints that are now compounded by the tug-of-war on what should get packed!
Considering the fact that childhood obesity is a major concern of our times, and eating healthy really is a habit that should be developed at a young age, I thought this would be the perfect time to talk about how to win the healthy lunch battle with your kids (or maybe not win as much as come to a good compromise).
Although I don’t have kids of my own, I do remember being one of the few kids of our generation to get a healthy lunch growing up – mom, being an early childhood educator, always insisted that we take one item from each food group and NO we could NOT have chocolate milk (actually this is an acceptable and healthy option) and yes we had to eat warm cucumber sticks – yuck!
As much as I hated it at the time, not to mention rebelled against it when I finally got into university and could eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, I do still thank her for instilling a love for vegetables (that for the longest time I never even knew I had) that I have slowly come back to over the years. But I know, times are changing and kids of our generation are much more independent than we were at their age. I see this with my niece and nephew who are just getting into their teens now and who, when they were little ate everything, but are now the most picky eaters in the world – Sulmaan won’t even look at anything that has tomatoes…
So how do you get your kids, possibly super picky eaters who also want to assert their independence, to take a healthy lunch with them to school? The best way to do this is to get them involved in packing their own lunches. But it’s not that simple – because we all know a lunch packed by your kids would be nothing more than potato chips and a chocolate bar. The fine-print here is you offer them a choice from 2 healthy options like an apple or a pineapple cup; a turkey sandwich or spaghetti; and a Gogurt or a 100% juice Caprisun… you get the idea right? Letting your kids decide whether they prefer a hot lunch like Sabrina (who is overly pleased with Dim Sum and edamame) or a cold sandwich like Sulmaan (he’ll have 2 slices of turkey and cheese most days) allows them to assert their independence while still staying healthy. To get some great lunch ideas check out some of these tips offered by Dietitians of Canada.
But to make it a little easier on your self – keep in mind that:
- you don’t need to re-invent the wheel – it is a very good idea to make extra portions at dinner time so both you and the kids’ main meal is taken care of for the next day.
- you’re kids healthy snacks are also perfect snacks for the adults in the family!
- planning a menu on the weekend will also make shopping a snap and save you time during the week.
- you don’t need to feel guilty – getting the kids to pack their own lunches (and yours) teaches them to be responsible and learn what it means to be a part of a family.
If you’ve read anything on nutrition lately than you probably have heard that eliminating carbs from your diet is essential when it comes to losing weight. Kind of sad considering how much most of us love our pasta, potatoes and freshly baked bread.
But what if I told you, you could in fact enjoy a bunch of carbs and still lose weight? I know, I know you want to know what I mean when I say “a bunch”… well what I mean is 6-8 servings every day and NO, I am not including fruit and veggies in this amount. I really DO mean 6-8 servings of GRAINS every day.
I know right? (You can pick your chin off the ground now) Most of my clients are just as astonished when I tell them that they can enjoy so much of the good stuff every day even while they are trying to lose weight. But even better is when they actually DO lose weight while eating this way!
How is this possible you must be wondering? It’s really quite simple, 6-8 servings of grains a day are actually part of a balanced diet (check out Canada’s Food Guide to learn more). In fact, carbs happen to be our body’s preferred source of energy so technically we can consume up to 60% of our calories (yes that’s a bit more than half) from carb rich foods (you’d also need to include an additional 6-10 servings of vegetables and fruit to get this). Thank God because considering ethnically speaking I’m of East Indian decent – I’d be VERY hard pressed to give up my rice!
But wait a minute, you must be thinking “if this is the case what’s up with all the high protein low carb mantra that we are all hearing so much about” right?
You see the problem really isn’t with carbs per se, but rather with having the right balance of carbs, fat and protein (check out this study to learn more) For e.g. a serving of grain is considered to be 1 slice of toast OR 1/2 a bagel OR 1/2 cup of pasta, potato or rice (you can find specific serving sizes on the Food Guide as well). So 6 servings in the day might look something like 2 slices of toast for breakfast, 1 cup of pasta for lunch and 1 medium potato for dinner. BTW, a serving of pasta doesn’t necessarily mean pasta drenched in cream sauce nor does it mean potato in the form of French fries nor does it mean you should pig out on the all you can eat bread special, if you know what I mean (but please do enjoy these once in an while if it’s what you love). My point is there is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying carbs as long as you’re conscious of the amount and quality of the carbs (and actually all food) you’re putting into your mouth most of the time.
Which brings me to another key question I get asked often when it comes to carbs – the white vs. whole wheat question, you know the “which ones better” one. Honestly speaking, products made with “white” flour actually have the same amount of carbohydrate per serving as their whole grain counterparts. However they really are quite different from a nutrition point of view. That’s because in order to end up with a “white” product, you need to eliminate the husk of the original grain. And considering that it’s the husk that actually contains most of the fibre and nutrients like vitamins and minerals, you kind of lose a lot of the good stuff and all the health benefits that go along with them when you eliminate it. Also, keep in mind fibre slows down digestion which means your meal will trickle into your blood stream so you won’t get as significant a spike in blood sugar levels as you would without it. It also means you will stay more regular But that being said, this doesn’t mean that you HAVE th switch to all “brown” products ALL the time. There’s nothing wrong with having a slice of white toast or pasta once in a while. In fact it really is up to you if or how you want to incorporate whole grain products into your life. For e.g. if you don’t eat a lot of bread than deciding to stick to white bread on the few occasions you have it is not going to be the end of the world. The way I look at there’s no doubt that ideally we should be working towards 100% whole grain, but 50% is NOT too shabby of a start in the right direction!
So basically what I’m saying is you can enjoy a whole bunch (i.e. 6-8 servings) but not unlimited amounts of mostly whole grain carbs every day and still lose weight.
Now I don’t know about you but 2 slices of multigrain toast, a cup of whole wheat pasta and a medium baked potato in a day sound pretty deliciously good to me!
We went to an Iftar buffet the other day, the food was delicious and plentiful and as you might imagine I couldn’t resist trying a bit of everything until I was at the point where I thought for sure I’d pop! I honestly didn’t feel so good afterwards … Worse than this was the fact that when you’re fasting you end up doing a lot of eating with your eyes so I ended up having to throw away a bunch of food too, which really defeats the spirit of Ramadan
Fasting is also meant to help us build self-control. After all, if we can deny ourselves the simple pleasures of life like eating and drinking for the better part of a day, having the will-power to say “1 slice of pizza please” OR “1 scoop of ice cream thanks” rather than overindulging should be a piece of cake . This is exactly what Ramadan and being a skinny food addict have in common because to be honest, enjoying all foods – including the ones that aren’t the healthiest for you – isn’t the problem at all. The problem really is overindulging in even the healthiest of foods! But unfortunately most of us associate food with the feel good feeling we get when we first eat, and not with the terrible side effects that come along with overeating.
Considering June 1st has ended up landing on a Friday, which happens to be “Fight Back Friday” for Food Renegades, I thought I might post a quick, easy and nutritious breakfast recipe for those on the go (which is pretty much ALL OF US )…
To give you a little background on why I thought of sharing this recipe – the three of us are just about to take a 14 hr flight back home tomorrow, as a Skinny Food Addict the hardest part for me is the fact that you really don’t have access to nutritious food whenever your hungry. Another thing I totally don’t like about travel is airplane breakfasts – there’s something really unappealing about steam-table eggs!
So smart as we are (and keeping in mind that we don’t have any stopovers where we’d be asked to hand over our foreign food), we usually pack a bunch of stuff that we can munch on throughout the trip including a few sandwiches, mixed nuts and dried fruit. This year I thought of also taking along a great breakfast – homemade granola bars!
I actually stumbled upon this great recipe on Eating Well and have made a few adjustments keeping in mind that I really don’t like using too many processed foods (also one of the reasons that I was looking for a substitute for store bought bars ). I have basically substituted the cooking spray for a pan greased with olive oil, and rather than using a pie pan I prefer to make bars instead. I also feel that you can use whatever combination of nuts/seeds and dried fruit/chocolate chips depending on your personal preferences. The thing I love most about this recipe is the fact that you toast the grain first – I definitely am NOT a big fan of raw grain granola bars (which is my biggest complaint with the Be Natural bars- though they are one of the healthier ones available here in Dubai)
Homemade Granola Bars
|Ingredients:||1 cup rolled oats1 cup wheat flakes (since I couldn’t find these @ our grocery store I used Nestle’s FORCE – Traditionally British Toasted Whole Wheat Flakes instead)1 cup seeds or chopped nuts1/2 cup honey (preferably a local honey if possible)1 cup dried fruit or chocolate chips|
|Directions:||Preheat oven to 400°F.Spread oats, wheat flakes and seeds (or nuts) on a baking sheet. Bake until fragrant and starting to brown, about 10 min.Coat a 8″x12″ pan with first cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil.Cook 1/2 cup honey in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, without stirring, until large foamy bubbles form and it starts to darken at the edges, 2 to 4 min.Immediately turn off stove and pour the toasted oat mixture into the honey, add dried fruit and stir until completely coated.
Quickly press the granola into the prepared pan using a heat-resistant spatula coated with oil. Let cool for 30 min.
Cut into wedges and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (Makes 8 Servings)
Make Ahead Tip: Individually wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.
I know it’s challenging to find dried fruit that hasn’t got sulfites added to it, that’s especially true here in Dubai. I was lucky enough to get a hold of craisins by Basse that were sulfite-free and I opted to make my bars with pumpkin seeds this time around. The last time I made a batch of these babies I used semisweet chocolate chips with walnuts which were DELICIOUS!! I usually have one of these with a glass of milk in the morning for a complete breakfast
If you try this recipe out, let me know what you think AND how you made it to suit your taste buds…
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I know I promised a post on the 1st and 15th of the month from now on, so I want to apologize for the delay in posting this – however I had a very good reason, I promise
It’s because I wanted to talk about this amazing conference that was held @DHCC on the 17th of May on Advances in Evidence Based Integrative Medicine. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, as its name indicates the focus of Integrative Medicine is to integrate both acute (or conventional medicine) and preventative (the main focus of complementary medicine) health care in a way that meets the needs of the individual at the centre of that care.
Even though the idea of integrative medicine has been around since the 1950′s, getting conventional medicine practitioners to embrace Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) as a viable and at times better avenue for treatment for their patients is still a challenge. That’s because a lot of the times the scientific research that clearly shows the efficacy of these treatments is not there.
The aim of the Integrative Medicine Conference was to allow practitioners to share case studies that took an integrated approach to treat common ailments and the outcomes of these treatments.
Known as the father of Integrative Medicine, we were lucky to have Dr. Andrew Weil start the discussion at this conference by talking about the future of Integrative Medicine.
Dr Weil also shared some of his personal case studies with us, a couple of which absolutely stood out for me.
The first was of a middle aged mom who developed a skin condition soon after her kids left the “nest” for which the only cure that conventional medicine could offer was to indefinitely take steroids. Considering that this treatment was only somewhat effective at best, not to mention the number of side effects that come with continuos steroid use, this woman and her husband were looking for a better solution. Surprisingly they found their answer in hypnotherapy and her condition has improved significantly since.
The second was of an extremely well in-tuned healthy man who had developed a very treatable form of cancer but chose to manage his condition with CAM only. Although, as Dr. Weil pointed out, this is not something that would be advised, this particular individual was adamant about not taking conventional medicine and actually beat his cancer using only CAM.
Dr. Weil remarked that in both of these cases the simple act of believing that treatment is possible, whether that’s from within or from the reassurance of your physician, can be the most powerful medicine.
Heather focused her presentation on the effective treatment of digestive issues like IBS and GERD, which were of particular interest to me because of the fact that digestive issues are so common these days, and more importantly poor digestion usually has an effect on a person’s overall nourishment and by default overall health.
Some other case studies that really stood out were shared by Dr. Vengalis Zafeiriou, a Greek Psychologist. Dr. Zafeiriou was able to better treat patients suffering from Autism, depression and alcoholism with homeopathy. The thing that struck me the most about his findings were how quickly he was able to effectively manage these conditions in such a short time frame. For e.g. the alcoholic patient, a middle-aged woman whose profession was to make wine and had been an alcoholic for over 8 years no longer felt the need to even taste her products just 1 1/2 months after receiving homeopathic treatment. The interesting thing that Dr. Zafeiriou mentioned is the fact that prescription medications made to address psychological issues can only suppress the symptoms of the condition they are meant to treat, which means that these medications need to be used indefinitely or symptoms will return. This is the biggest difference between homeopathic treatment and conventional treatment he felt because homeopathy actually treats the cause.
The only thing that I found a bit disappointing was the fact that even though pretty much every practitioner (including Dr Weil) placed an emphasis on good nutrition as a core component of treatment, I still find that both CAM and conventional practitioners often overlook dietitians as providers of this type of counseling.
As experts in the field who have at the least completed 4 yrs of undergrad study along with 1.5 years of internship in order to be licensed to practice, in my opinion dietitians are some of the best trained specialists when it comes to offering advice on how to improve your health through nutrition.
Other than that, overall I’d say the conference was a success!
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