Just in time for the holidays, this banana bread is a crowd pleaser… and the best part is the ingredients are unbelievably good for you!
So let me give you guys some background on this – this recipe is one that has been developed with much thought and love over several years by my recipe guru Asma Rafiq… and I’ve been asking her to share it with all of you from the first day I tasted it.
You’ll understand why once you try it
So start by creaming together:
1 stick (1/2 cup butter)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
a sprinkle of nutmeg
1 tbsp. vanilla
Then, in a separate bowl stir together:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
Now slowly add your dry ingredients to your creamed mixture making sure to whisk it all together well. And then it’s time for the good part, add:
1 cup yogurt
3 mashed bananas
1 cup chopped walnuts
Mix it all together, pour into a greased loaf pan, sprinkle with oats and bake @ 350 for 55 min. YUM!!
This recipe makes one loaf of 12-13 hearty slices which contain:
330 kcal, 3 g fibre, 6.7 g of protein and is a good source of omega 3
Watch us make this recipe:
Everyone who knows me well, knows that I really LOVE this time of the year because of the good cheer it brings with it – I mean it feels like from now until New Year’s most people shift into their happy-holiday-moods which tends to be contagious
And I totally get that there is this longing to indulge in all the seasonal treats too.. after all they’re only available around this time of year, and then there’s that nippiness in the air that seems to really stoke the appetite fire as well!
But it’s also at this time of year, when we start thinking of being with family and friends and more importantly dressing up, that the little voice in our head starts us fretting at the idea of fitting into that perfect outfit we’ve picked out for the occasion.
Now I know there’s only a few more weeks before Christmas, so I thought I’d share my most effective top 3 weight loss tips for the holidays with you, which should help you slim down just in time to avoid those dreaded spanx:
My 3 Most Effective Weight Loss Tips for the Holidays
1. Drink up
water that is… in the form of broth-based soups, teas, or straight up as is. You see as the weather cools down, we tend to forget to keep hydrated and often don’t feel as thirsty as we should. But the worst thing about it is, a lot of the times we end up confusing hunger for thirst which means we’re eating more even though we don’t need to! Solution: keep a measured bottle with you and make sure to get at least your 2L in every day from now until X-Mas. You’ll be happily surprised with the results, I promise.
2. Step away from the whipped cream
I know all those gorgeous hot drinks are calling your name at Starbucks, and I say go ahead and treat yourself… A BIT, that is. What I mean by that is, some of those concoctions have more calories than you should eat in a day! Solution: think about skipping the whipped cream and sprinkles and consider asking for just one pump of the flavour syrup when you place your next order. I’m not one to really advocate counting calories, but in this case – when we are looking at foods that aren’t all that nourishing – I’d say aim to keep your additional treats in the 200 kcal/day zone from now on, whether that’s an indulgent hot beverage, cake or other seasonal delight
3. Up your feel good endorphins
I know it’s the end of the year and it’s crunch time… not to mention the cold may stop you from being as active as you usually are… but this is the time when you really need to up your game in the exercise department – and the only way to do that is to COMMIT to doing at least 30 min of something (yoga, dancing, walking, treadmill-ing…) EVERY DAY! Coz you really don’t want the end-of-the-year-stress to = binging (the other way to up those feel goo hormones). And YES you really DO HAVE a 30 MIN window you can devote to yourself in a 24 hr timeframe. Solution: check out some of these super quick workouts you can do in the comfort of your office/living room or where ever you like really:
To give you a little background, this 10-30 min workout is by one of my favorite youtubers when it comes to exercise – Cassey Ho. What I love about her workouts are they are moderately intense and can really be done anywhere… and this SnowBunny Blast video is NO exception:
Adriene Mishler is another youtuber that I adore when it comes to workouts. What I love about yoga is it feels much less intense but it is a real workout, not just for the body but for the mind – and Yoga with Adriene certainly captures that essence. If you’re having the winter blues don’t reach for the sugar just yet, try this practice instead:
And for those of you who are looking for high intensity, this is the workout that’s calling your name, it’s 15 min so you can handle the burn:
We posted almost a month ago on FB that we’d be doing this recipe for you… and then Asma was unexpectedly swept off to Turkey for her Anniversary (may Allah bless you two always isA ameen ) – so well what can I say…
But the good news is we’ve been able to have our version of Apple Roses ready for you just in time for Thanksgiving!
So for those of you who haven’t seen the original:
Gorgeous and oh so simple, right? Well we’ve taken this recipe up a notch for you guys:
1 apple, sliced
1/2 lime’s juice
1 sheet of puff pastry, rolled out
3 tsp ground flax
6 tsp St Dalfour Apricot Jam
A sprinkle of cinnamon
1/4 cup of walnuts, chopped and divided into 6
first cold pressed extra virgin oilve oil for greasing the pan
well it’s just easier to watch it…
Each hearty rose is about 250 kcal and loaded with omega 3 fats thanks to the added flax and nuts.
And now you know what our secret weapon is for getting perfect petals every time – A MANDOLIN SLICER. I think Asma said it best when she said “this is the best kitchen appliance in the world”.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING everyone!
Let us know what you think of our changes and if you try making these share your pics with us.
Should trick or treating be banned? Or is one night – OK maybe one month – of having a sugar high really all that bad for the kids?
Whether you love the costumes or think this is a ploy for candy companies to cash in, Halloween is probably one of the most debated holidays in North America – well at least it is for dietitians… especially us Muslim ones (since we have a philosophical disagreement with the concept of it – but that’s a whole ‘nother ball game isn’t it)!
So if you’re that parent, aunt, uncle, neighbour (or fill in the blank) whose sitting on the fence spinning the roulette wheel and waiting to see which side to join this year, I hope this will help you make a more informed decision… on the CANDY part of things anyways…
To treat or not to treat
If we look at the simplest version of the facts, then it is safe to assume that:
more candy = more caloriesand more calories = more fat
and if a=b and b=c then a=c
which means theoretically
more candy = more fat …
unless of course we look at calories in vs. calories out, in which case:
more candy + more running around from a sugar high may not necessarily = more fat, right?
OK – on a more serious note, I think it is safe to say that we all know that OD’ing on candy really isn’t such a hot idea. At the same time, if you live in any neighbourhood in the US or Canada at least than you are sure to be faced with a battle between the kids – who just want to dress up and come home with loot – and your common sense.
So is Halloween really responsible for making our kids fat?
What if I told you that Halloween may just be more of an opportunity than you think…
Here’s the thing, when all is said and done, CANDY IS SIMPLY CANDY at the end of the day – and it only has as much power over you and your kids as you allow it to. At the same time showing your kids how to manage treats is one of the most important skills you can teach them in this easy access, processed food world that we live in.
So if you ask me, Halloween, like everything else, should really be less about candy and more about finding balance. Whether you decide that means you’ll be the house on the street that gives out tooth brushes or not, if when all is said and done you know you’re kids know that candy is not part of the food guide then I wouldn’t sweat it all that much.
Halloween Yin & Yang
Here are 3 tips I think will help you find your Halloween Zen:
- Make Halloween more about socializing and less about candy – go trick or treating with friends/neighbours or have a little party with some pals
- Set Limits – Make sure your child knows that they have a quota of candy they can have for the day and that there is a difference between full-size and mini candy bars
- Feast before you treat – It’s always a good idea to remind kids that candy can be had after meals just like dessert and make sure your kids are full with a healthy wholesome dinner before they go trick-or-treating
If you want to find more ways to make Halloween a little bit healthier, you can check out these great ideas from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
and don’t forget to check out our Pinterest Celebrate Board
Hope you all have a Happy Halloween!
One of the things I see parents struggle with around this time of year is picking snacks that are as quick to pack as they are nourishing to eat. Something that’s really important when it comes to keeping our little Einsteins fuelled and alert throughout the day.
So here’s a list of some of my favourite lunch box snacks:
fresh fruit is nature’s original snack as it’s perfectly packaged to travel, especially fruits like apples, bananas, peaches, plums, pears, oranges, grapes… you get the idea But if you or your kids want to slice and dip, then nut butters (know your school’s policy on these) and cheeses (cottage or cream) are great sides as well. Dried (like raisins, figs, dates, apricots) and canned fruit (packed in 100% juice) are also good snacking choices.
roasted and lightly seasoned or as butters nuts (and seeds) are a snack with staying power. Make your own trail mix by adding dried fruit and cereal, or use the butters as a dip with fresh fruit/veggies (apples, bananas, celery) or whole grain crackers/bread.
yogurt, cheese, milk, laban…. many of these can be found in individual serving sizes and are an excellent way to ensure your little one is building healthy bones and teeth plus much more. By the way I am a very strong advocate of whole organic homogenized dairy products when possible… unless it’s cheese/cream than low fat is OK
as crackers (Annie’s and Goldfish are good choices), or granola (like Jordan’s and Kind), in cereal bars (Quacker’s Chewy bars aren’t bad) or even in the form of bread for sandwiches – remember snacks can also simply be smaller sized meals (e.g. a sandwich made with one slice of bread as opposed to two) or things like dosa, idli, sushi…
carrots, celery, broccoli on their own or with dips are surprisingly a big hit with kids, and don’t forget dehydrated/freeze dried veggies like snappea crisps… you can also make them at home or buy them in bulk from any organic grocery store like Whole Foods, Sprouts, Fresh Market
this is just a fancy word for beans… and while they may not seem like something kids would reach for, don’t underestimate the tastiness of this group of protein packed foods. For example, chickpeas can be eaten as hummus or roasted and seasoned to a delicious crispiness and what about edamame, or another variation – soy nuts, lentil or bean chips…mmmm
And combining these 6 items (as I’ve tried to do for you) will give you endless snack options: dried fruit, nuts and/or cereals= trail mix, milk goes great with fruit or cereal, as does yogurt and cheese which also goes great with veggies…
The best part is as great as these are for your kids’ lunch boxes they are just as great for your work lunch box too!
Can you believe it’s already been a week since Ramadan started? That’s 1/4 way through the month! And for those of you who are joining me, 1/4 way through our Ramadan Detox – which so far has been pretty good…
Well that is of course with the exception of those darned Herxheimer reaction symptoms, and I mean not just the headache and fatigue type symptoms (which are expected when you’re not eating anything all day) but the stomach bug type of symptoms if you know what I mean 😉
To be honest I was a bit caught by surprise to have detox symptoms since I believe I eat fairly healthy throughout the year but then it also made me feel like “YAY, my body is doing some much needed house cleaning”…
Common Detox Symptoms
Now if you’re new to detoxing and have been feeling not so great this past week but didn’t really put 2 and 2 together, some common detox symptoms you may have experienced include headaches, nausea, constipation or diarrhea, intestinal disturbances (gas, bloating, cramping), flu-like symptoms (congestion, runny nose), fatigue, body aches and pains. In fact it’s not uncommon to experience psychological and emotional upset, for instance mood swings, intense emotions, strong cravings for foods and strange dreams either.
The severity of your detox symptoms really depends on how many toxins you have built up in your body. In fact those that need to detox the most usually experience the most symptoms, so hang in there if you feel like you’ve just been hit by a bus, remember this is normal…
And while these symptoms often get worse before they get better – this usually happens around day 3-4 of the detox – so since we’re already on day 7, the good news is that the WORST IS OVER!
In fact your symptoms should be beginning to subside right about now… And aren’t you glad I didn’t tell you you’d feel miserable until just now – in this case I think ignorance is bliss – YOUR WELCOME
That being said, in case you do have some lingering symptoms like I still do, remember the most important thing you can do is to make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and resting as much as you can so that your body can focus on the work of detoxing that it’s so busy doing.
Keep in Mind
Now although we aren’t doing a super intense liquid detox or anything, it is always important to keep in mind…
• If you feel your symptoms are too strong, if your symptoms show no signs of improvement or if you are unable to work because you feel sick, dizzy or faint, it could be that the detox is too much for you too soon. You may need to add more nutrients to your cleanse in order to slow down the detox process and allow your body more time to adjust. Again make sure to drink lots of water to help eliminate the toxins from your body. If you ever feel like you require medical attention, please call your doctor ASAP!
• If you are constipated, it may be wise to slow down your detox a bit as well. That’s because during detox, your organs are releasing toxins which are circulating in your bloodstream before being eliminated into your stool and if you’re constipated then these toxins have no where to go. In order to make sure you stay regular, I highly recommend that you have at least 1 tbsp. of flax daily – just mix it into your yogurt and enjoy. Exercise is also important as it helps your lymphatic system expel toxins, hence my recommendation for the detox yoga practice that I hope you’ve been doing.
NOTE: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is not recommended that you undertake a detox at this time.
Now I must say that as much as detoxing has become some what of a craze and the “trendy” thing to do, it really isn’t EASY or, thanks to those good old detox symptoms, the most PLEASANT thing either! It definitely requires mental focus, so kudos to everyone who’s trying to eat as clean as possible this month and DOUBLE KUDOS to everyone who’s following a detox for purely personal reasons – KEEP IT UP because it will pay off!!
HAPPY DETOXING EVERYONE!
*If you’re brave enough, it’s not too late to join my FREE Detox Program, simply subscribe to my mailing list and I’ll send you weekly updates!
This last year has been quite hectic for me what with travel, business and family commitments and I can definitely feel the toll it’s taken on my overall well-being so I’m really looking forward to getting a good detox in this Ramadan. In fact ideally I’d like to lose the few pounds that have found a comfortable home on my waistline no doubt due to a few too many meals on the go, nights that took too long to end, early mornings that needed a coffee jolt and of course that wicked sweet tooth of mine…
And I’m guessing I’m not alone in this department, which is why I thought I’d share my Ramadan Detox Diet with you guys
Now considering Ramadan starts tomorrow, we’d best get cracking… coz if you’re anything like me you are just about to make a mad dash for the supermarket right about now!
Ramadan Detox Diet
So first let me say that a Detox Diet is meant to achieve a certain goal – flushing your system of built up toxins – and as such it has specific requirements that need to be met in order for it to be effective. These are:
- Eliminating foods that can unbalance your gut – these include highly processed and refined foods (this includes white flour and rice) as well as caffeine
- Eliminating foods that can aggravate a system that is out of sorts like milk and foods that contain yeast or moulds like leavened breads and cheese
- Reducing your intake of foods that acidify the body like fried foods and meats
- Consuming more foods that are alkaline in nature like veggies, whole grains and fruits
- As well as adding foods that can introduce healthy bacteria back into the gut like yogurt, kefir and miso
As you can see following a Detox Diet requires a lot of discipline but luckily it’s only meant to be followed for a short period of time (well I guess that’s relative – is 4 weeks short for you?) which is exactly why Ramadan is the perfect time to tackle it!
The goal of this meal is to provide slow burning fuel for the next 15 or so hours. So I usually try and include the following:
- 1 serving of whole grains (1/2 cup oatmeal OR 1 whole wheat chapatti)
- 1 serving of fermented yogurt (1 cup laban OR 1 cup kefir)
- 1 serving of protein (3/4 cup foul OR 1 organic eggs)
- 1 serving of fruit or veggies (1 banana OR 1 cup salad)
OK I know I know you’ll be ready to eat a horse by the time iftaar rolls around – but this is the time to focus on that mental discipline… Keep in mind that after such a long fast eating a large meal will send your blood sugar levels sky rocketing so keep this meal light but hydrating:
- start with 1-3 dates
- have a glass of warm water with fresh lemon squeezed into it
- finish it off with 1 cup of broth based vegetable soup
Wait @least 30 min or ideally 1 hour after iftaar to have dinner. And keep in mind that because the goal is to detox, the focus should be on eating more alkaline foods:
- 1 serving protein (75g baked fish, chicken or meat)
- 2 servings whole grains (1 cup brown rice OR 1 cup whole-wheat pasta)
- 1 serving fruit and veggies (½ cup cooked veggies OR 1 cup green salad)
Yep you heard that correctly but when I say midnight snack I mean a healthy one and it doesn’t actually have to be at midnight… I usually consider this my post-tarawee snack:
- 1 serving vegetable protein (¾ cup lentil soup OR ¾ cup hummus)
- 1 serving fruit and veggies (½ cup fruit salad OR 1 cup veggie sticks)
Keep in Mind
DON’T FORGET to stay hydrated! Make sure to drink @least 2L of water and/or green teas through out the night.
To make it easier, I’ve made it so you can download this plan here if you want to print it out and stick on your fridge. Now I’m a girl and don’t need as many calories as the average boy would so I’ve made modifications for any boys wanting to follow along on the printable menu.
BTW I’m offering a FREE 4 Week Detox Program this month if you want to really get into it with me! It’s something I would normally charge $199 or AED 750 for and my way of saying thank you for all the support and love you’ve shown me over the years <3 You’ll get weekly updates along with recipes, tips and exercises so you can get the full benefit of a Ramadan Detox.
RAMADAN KAREEM EVERYONE!!
*So how do you join the FREE 4 Week Program? If you are already subscribed to my mailing list you don’t have to do anything! If not simply sign up and as a bonus you’ll also get my 5 Key Strategies for Losing Weight & Keeping It Off. I can’t wait for us to get started!
Can you believe that Ramadan is just a few days away?! Now I know all of us intend to not just have a spiritual cleansing but a physical cleansing during this month but by the time Eid rolls around we’ve some how managed to gain NOT lose weight!
Now most of us realize that it’s all the feasting that takes place after the fasting that leads us to this unfortunate end … And while this is partially true, there is another very important factor that is at play here as well…
I don’t know if you know this but during long stretches of “famine” – or in this case fasting – our body automatically kicks into self preservation mode. And one of the first things that it does to make sure we “survive” these hard times is lower our basal metabolic rate i.e. our metabolism slows down. Oh yeah! And everyone knows that a slow metabolism is NOT a good thing if you want to LOSE WEIGHT!
But before you throw your hands up in the air in utter dismay, let me say all is not lost… You see fasting is really about detoxing your system – that is giving your body time to flush out any toxins it’s accumulated over the year – and if you do it right, you CAN actually lose weight while you’re at it too. (I know, I know there are a lot of people out there who believe fasting is only about detoxing your spirit… but science would have to say otherwise and honestly Islam is as much about science as it is about getting closer to your Creator)
On that note I recently came across some really BAZAAR articles on how to lose weight/detox in Ramadan – one of them suggested that you exercise for an hour, 2 hours before you open your fast and then only drink -get this – ONE glass of water when you finally DO have iftaar (I wish you could have seen my face when I read that one!)… So I thought this would be the perfect time to give you guys some REAL tips on how you can detox in Ramadan.
Now first let’s tackle the obvious – unfortunately you won’t lose weight or detox in ramadan if you eat a lot of fried foods or desserts! I’m sorry but not eating all day does not give you a free pass to eat how much and whatever you want… in fact since your metabolism is shot, it’s quite the opposite!
But don’t worry, aiming to detox in ramadan doesn’t mean you have to give up all those special ramadan foods we’re so used to enjoying either – coz honestly that would just suck!
OK so enough said, let’s get to it shall we…
These are My Top 5 Tips on How to Detox in Ramadan
- Be mindful of what and how much you eat – I know I said you CAN enjoy your special Ramadan cuisine, but here’s the caveat: choose those dishes that are also wholesome . Now I know every culture has it’s own special yumminess. For example, being ethnically East Indian, we grew up with fruit salad, lassi and chole along with fried pakoras and vade… and since Hanny is Egyptian, I know lisaan asfoor is a healthy and delicious way to open your fast if you hail from that part of the globe. As for how much to have… well I’ll get into that in my next post AND you can also sign up for my FREE 4 Week Detox in Ramadan Program (info on how to do this is at the end of this post)
- Take that discipline you’ve been culminating throughout the day one step further – now we all know that even though the Prophet (S) and his companions (R) fasted through the day, they didn’t actually eat much when they opened their fast either. And if they can do it as our role models, than we can do it too… in fact I’ve found that when you approach iftaar with mental discipline you actually don’t feel that hungry and even better you don’t feel ridiculously stuffed later. So plan your iftaar ahead of time and take time to eat slowly so you’ll recognize when you are full.
- Subtract these foods from your Ramadan diet @least 6 days of the week – OK so I know Ramadan without samosas is hard for me… me love my samosas people! But rather than having them every day, I keep these kind of treats for one day of the week… Now if you are a person who gets invited to a lot of iftaars (or invite people for iftaars) than plan to incorporate your one day of treats into these days. But beside the obvious fried and overly processed foods there are also a few more foods that, if you want to get the full benefit of detoxing, I would recommend you eliminate for this 4 week stretch (especially if you regularly suffer from digestive issues, headaches, joint pain and allergies): caffeine (this includes coffee, black tea, pop and chocolate), leavened breads – especially those made with white flour (this means no fatayar), and milk. Why these foods? Mainly because if your system is out of sorts they can add to the problem. Luckily 4 weeks is often enough time to get your gut sorted out so it’s not a forever thing!
- Add these foods to your Ramadan diet to help rebalance your gut – I think during this time of year, it goes without saying that it is important to try and stay hydrated (by drinking @least 2 L of water /day) but adding a glass of warm water with half a lemon squeezed into it at iftaar; as well as yogurt with live cultures (kefir is a great option) daily will help detox your liver and rebalance your gut bacteria.
- Don’t use being hungry and spiritually busy as an excuse to stop moving – Now I’m not one for doing long periods of high intensity exercise when you’re fasting (though if you are a regular exerciser who keeps going even during Ramadan I applaud you) but I think short bouts of exercise and definitely incorporating some yoga into your nightly routine is a must if you want to effectively detox.
I should mention that taking the time to detox your system over these next 4 weeks will benefit you in so many ways (less bloating, gas, indigestion, heart burn and better skin in the long run)
Oh and don’t worry… the good thing about the human body is the second it realizes there’s no longer a “famine”, it’ll boost that metabolism back up where it needs to be!
P.S. I’ve decided that this year as one of my good deeds for the season, I will be offering a FREE 4 Week Detox Program for Ramadan (something I usually charge $199 or AED 750 for!) . So if you’re interested and you aren’t already subscribed, simply join my mailing list to get the weekly program updates! (You’ll also get my 5 key strategies to losing weight and keeping it off )
Okay so it’s super hot in Dubai. Not only that but it’s super humid too! I think summer is now in full swing pretty much everywhere – well except for Australia because they’re having winter now…
Anyways my point is even though most of us love summer, its characteristic heat and humidity can also mean feeling puffy for a lot of people or what I call Summer Bloating, which is not the best thing considering it is also barbecue and beach season.
So how do you know if you’re suffering from Summer Bloating?
Most of us associate a tighter waistband with being bloated. But water retention manifests itself in more ways than that like your rings being too tight to wear or your shoes not fitting. If you weigh yourself often (like once a week) and your scale keeps going up and down significantly in terms of pounds ( on average 1-3 lb., but some people can gain up to 10 lb.!!), this is a sure fire way to know that you’re retaining water.
If you are holding water, here are 3 things you can do about it
1) Drink water – yep I know it seems odd to think of drinking water when you’re body’s holding onto it but trust me the more you drink (well don’t over do it either, 2L is sufficient for most people), the more you’ll flush from your system. Not a big fan of water? Check out these simple homemade recipes for flavoured water minus all the additives.
2) Limit processed foods – you may not realize it, but with bbq, picnic and road trip season in full swing most of us have increased our intake of hotdogs, hamburgers chips… You get the picture. And processed food often means a lot more salt and other additives which in turn means more water retention. The easiest solution of course is to be aware of what and how much processed food you’re eating.
3) Limit refined wheat flour – what I mean is limit white breads, rolls, buns, croissants, cakes, etc. I know I know, technically white flour is a type of processed food. But considering it’s become such a staple of the 21st-century food landscape, I thought it deserved a separate mention. Especially since there’s been a lot of skepticism about eating carbohydrates, in particular wheat, lately (you know what I mean if you’ve read or even heard of “Wheat Belly” or any of the popular Paleo books). Personally, I don’t see much wrong with enjoying carbohydrates, in particular whole grain carbs like wholewheat bread, but I do agree that eating too much of the white stuff can effect your gut negatively including adding to the bloat. And again because we are in the heart of bbq, picnic and road trip season, even avid wholewheat lovers like myself end up eating more of the white stuff than we realize. So pay attention amigos.
While following these simple tips should really help minimize summer time bloat, the most important thing to remember is that at the end of the day if you are feeling puffier than usual, it is really just water weight and while it can make you feel uncomfortable in your clothes at times, keep in mind that it isn’t all that bad for you. So don’t get overly frustrated with the number on the scale if you’re up and down every week even when you’re eating healthy. It will pass as surely as the summer will come to an end.