Matcha Chia Seed Pudding

Shout out to @heidi_jones_coaching for mentioning using matcha powder in chia seeds. I thought I would give it a try and came up with the below. You can also use cocoa powder if you are looking for a chocolate fix or any other powdered spice for a flavour change.

Recipe

1/4 cup chia seeds

1 1/3 cup coconut milk

1 tsp matcha powder

Add to a jar and shake to blend. Place in fridge and shake again in 10-15 minutes as the seeds will have settled. Leave over night or at least a couple of hours.

For sweetness I add 1/2 tsp maple sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract with seeds Extras

A base of chopped bananas (1/2 banana per serving)

Chopped roasted almonds and coconut flakes with a smattering of pomegranate seeds topped it.

Serves two

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Chocolate Nicecream

I scream, you scream, we all scream for #nicecream seriously though, how easy is this recipe? Simple ingredients, antioxident rich and delicious! This recipe is great for using up ripe bananas or sneaking in your daily fruit requirement. And let’s be honest it is also significantly less expensive than the free from icecreams here in Dubai. AED47 for a small tub? No thanks.

Recipe

3 ripe bananas, frozen

3 heaping tbsp cocoa powder

1 tsp honey, can omit if vegan

2 tsp vanilla extract with seeds

Blend all together until smooth add in

1 tbsp cocoa nibs

1/2 cup chopped, roasted almonds Blend together. Can keep in a sealed container in the freezer for two weeks. Serve with your favourite topping or as is. Enjoy!

Serves 4-6

Diet Fads – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

South Beach, Atkins, Paleo, Keto, that weird maple syrup, lemon and cayenne pepper drink diet all seem to make their rounds. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center defines a fad diet as:

“A fad diet is a diet that promises quick weight loss through what is usually an unhealthy and unbalanced diet.

Fad diets are targeted at people who want to lose weight quickly without exercise.

Some fad diets claim that they make you lose fat, but it’s really water weight you’re losing.

Fad diets that are restricted to certain foods may work, but most are boring or unappealing. This can make them difficult to follow on a long-term basis. And some fad diets can actually be harmful to your health.”

Most sources will refer to fad diets in similar language to UPMC.

You should always seek the advice of a medical professional. But it is also important to note that in most countries dietitian is a protected title whereas nutritionist is not. Of course always check what your jurisdiction is regulating. For those who do not have dietary restrictions, or have figured out how to eat around those restrictions, it is good to have a food plate as a reference.

Below I have added the Healthy Eating Plate from Harvard University. Why do I like this over the food pyramid and others? It adds water consumption and exercise as part of the healthy eating plate. The food pyramid excludes this. In my university nutrition class we had to do a one week food diary, nobody included water as a part of their food diary and as a result we were all docked points. This taught us a lesson; water consumption is just as important as food consumption and it should be linked. The Healthy Eating Plate is also less vague than the previously used food pyramid and makes a difference between the types of oils, vegetables, grains and meat products. Check out the Harvard site for more info.

So what can you take away from this? Speak with a professional. If something is too good to be true it probably is. Eat healthily and drink water!

Harvard Food Plate

Copyright © 2011, Harvard University. For more information about The Healthy Eating Plate, please see The Nutrition Source, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, http://www.thenutritionsource.org, and Harvard Health Publications, http://www.health.harvard.edu.

Pomegranate + Raspberry Popsicles

Hot summer days in Dubai need a cool simple treat like these pomegranate raspberry popsicles.

Recipe

6 tsp pomegranate seeds

6 tsp coconut milk

1.5 cups frozen raspberries – I blended half the raspberries as is and the other half with a 1/2 cup coconut milk

Fill each popsicle form with one tsp pomegranate seeds and one tsp coconut milk, freeze for 30 minutes Then scope in 1 heaping tbsp of the pure raspberry mix in to each form and top with the raspberry coconut mix. Freeze again for at least an hour.

I used the popsicle forms from IKEA they are easy to clean and store. The extra raspeberry mix can be used in a chia seed pudding or kept in the freezer for future use. Enjoy!

Bejeweled Celery Salad

How could you not want to gobble up a jewel toned salad topped with amazing pomegranate seeds. Bejeweled salads are the future. Yummy!

Recipe

3 medium stalks celery, finely sliced with the leaves on

1/2 yellow pepper, chopped

1/8 red onion, chopped

Mix all together and add a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing (I do a 3:1 ratio) and threw in a herb mix. Garnish with pomegranate seeds et voila. A refreshing summer salad. This would also go well with roasted chicken or baked salmon if you want some protein with your meal.

Serves 2 as a starter or 1 for a main

Hummus for days

Snack time for champions! Hummus is my favourite easy to make super nutritious dip.

Recipe

1 can chickpeas, drained and “washed”

1 large garlic clove, crushed

2 tbsp tahini

3 tbsp olive oil

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/3 cup water, more or less depending on desired consistency

Salt and pepper to taste

Blend it all up until smooth and serve with julienned veggies, flatbread and olives. Hummus can also be made the day ahead.I find hummus from the day before has time to absorb more flavour. Yummy!

The Dirty Dozen vs. The Clean Fifteen

The Dirty Dozen vs. The Clean Fifteen if that doesn’t sound like a cheesy spaghetti western then I don’t know what does. But we aren’t talking about drawlin’ cowboys here instead we have fruit and veggies on the stand. The dirty and clean list refers to how much contaminants (pesticides etc.) each fruit or vegetable may contain. The list is originally from the Environmental Working Group and is an excellent guide. Your best bet is to buy organic fruit and veggies to make sure that they are contaminant free but let us be honest that can get expensive. So here are some alternatives.

  1. Grow your own. Whether you have a proper garden, balcony or windowsill try to grow something. This is something the whole family can be involved in and also teaches children where their food comes from.
  2. Buy local. Visit your farmers market, buy farm direct or have a produce swap with friends.
  3. Buy on sale. Sign up for your local organic store mailing list and ask if they have discount days. Produce like apples and potatoes can last a while if stored properly. Berries can be frozen for future use or you can even make a home made jam.
  4. Meal planning. Try out recipes that have a heavier focus on clean foods.
  5. Pick your battles. Fruit and veggies are still better than overly processed foods so even if the cost of organics is too high for you mix and match your dirty and cleans and use the guide to decide how much of each you would eat. Maybe you will decide to eat more of the “clean” produce and supplement with “dirty” produce. For example instead of eating apples, grapes and berries try pineapple, kiwi and mango.

Dirty 12, Clean 15 copy

Forest Berry Smoothie.

Last smoothie I promise. This is a super refreshing summer smoothie with berries and cucumbers. Perfect for a patio date or tricking your kids or husband into eating more greens. I also like to decorate it a bit either with a berry skewer, watermelon hearts or even a cucumber stick as a stirrer. The possibilities are edible endless.

Recipe

1.5 cups frozen mixed berries, partially thawed

1 small cucumber, chopped

2 tbsp old fashion oats

1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (I like it with pulp)

1/2 cup water

Blend until smoothie. Do not over blend. Serve in a pretty glass with decorations if you are feeling fancy. Serves one.

Living Sustainably in Dubai + else where

I came across a rather smart and simple article, on BuzzFeed no less, about how tiny changes can help you to change the earth without becoming a vegetarian or vegan. I already do a lot of these: reusable shopping and produce bags, water in reusable bottles, hang dry laundry etc but it did get me thinking. For how many people is this completely new? How many people will read this article and be enlightened? I live in Dubai which is a city not exactly known for its sustainable lifestyle. Though the movement is growing as more people learn about being sustainable.

I thought I would go through the list and give it a Dubai commentary. Enjoy.

  1. Shop at farmers markets where you can. The Ripe Markets are probably the most famous farmers markets in the UAE and with good reason. The also have farm shops and pop ups.
  2. Set up your own little herd garden. Visit the Dubai Garden Centre for some inspiration and advice, afterwards you can even visit the very cute Roseleaf Cafe for some yummy food.
  3. Avoid plastic cutlery. This can be as easy as telling the food delivery company/take away not to give you plastic cutlery. I know that in Dubai a lot of us get meals delivered so try to at least wash your own cutlery. Or have the maid to it, this is Dubai after all. But seriously, stop! We use so much plastic cutlery in Dubai try to switch to biodegradable options. Both Spinneys and Carrefour have biodegradable/ wooden options in the same aisle as plastic cutlery and plates.
  4. Use less energy at home. Summer is coming up so I understand that this is not as easy as if you were back home but think about what is sucking the power and increasing your DEWA bill. Turn off the lights when you are not in that room. Finished with the PC or laptop? Shut it down. Close the blinds when you are not at home. Turn off the water tap while brushing your teeth. Close the windows when the AC is on. Simple things like this can save energy and reduce your DEWA bill.
  5. And seriously, stop using your dryer. It may be unsightly but hang your laundry to dry. And it ties in with the above as the dryer uses a lot of energy. Plus your clothing lasts longer if you do not use a dryer.
  6. Recycle! Okay so in Dubai this is a bit tricky. Dulsco has a recycling program for commercial and private companies. Green Truck also has a monthly subscription for AED100 per month (residential) and they also take electronic waste.
  7. And resell or donate things that still have life in them. Dubizzle or Take My Junk. Nuf’ said.
  8. Drink tap water. The official government line is that the desalinated water in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is fit for drinking, even unfiltered, and for washing. Here is the article which supports this. I drink tap water but boiled for tea and cooking. And when it is cooled I use it for everything else and I am still living.
  9. Try to use less water at home. Shorter showers, water/energy efficient appliances, turn off the tap while brushing teeth etc the list is endless and it still hurts my heart to see people watering their grass during noon in the summer heat.
  10. Buy smart products. Or just edit the settings so that it goes into sleep mode earlier if it is not time to replace your electronics.
  11. Remember your reusable shopping bags. You can get these at the check out in any of the major retailers in the UAE. Some of my bags I already had 6 or 7 years. Just remember to clean them every once in a while.
  12. In fact, start replacing everything with reusable items. I got my reusable produce bags at Organic Foods and Cafe and they are brilliant. I also use old jars for holding my mueslis and other things I need to take along or keep in the fridge. I am moving away from plastics and this is my preferred alternative.
  13. Source your meat sustainably. My preference is to go local but as the UAE is not known for its sprawling ranches I look at what the animal was fed. Grass fed is better than corn fed. Hormone free is also important. Check out Spinneys or my go to Organic Foods and Cafe for great meat options.
  14. Learn about natural cosmetics. Visit Organic Food and Cafe’s cosmetics/nutrition area for advice, Holland & Barret also has some great cosmetics and nutrition solutions.
  15. Explore ethical fashion. Big retailers like H&M and Gap have jumped on the sustainable fashion bandwagon with organic cotton ranges but an alternative is to visit flea markets or clothing swaps and of course not purchasing loads of fast fashion. Instead curate your wardrobe. The Media One Hotel is holding a clothing sale and swap Tuesday 25th April 2017 from 6-10 pm at #gardenon8 plus there will be a complimentary drink and pampering. Winning. 
  16. Make the most of all your products. Squeeze that last bit of toothpaste or lotion out of the bottle. Then cut it open. Yes. Cut. You will usually have one or two applications left.
  17. Make your own cooking essentials. Veggie stock, beef stock, granola … so many things can be made at home with what you have. Sometimes it takes a couple minutes on google and a sprinkle of imagination.
  18. And learn how to cook up all that leftover fridge food. Start with making a stew. Apples, bell peppers and carrots? Make a stew. Add some milk (dairy or whatever), some stock, cayenne pepper and simmer until the veg is soft then blend it and season to taste. Extra pasta or rice can also be thrown in. Too many assorted veg and a random chicken breast? Make a massive mixed salad. Just, you know, make sure the chicken breast is cooked through.
  19. Get yourself a reusable coffee cup. This is easy peasy. Head over to Starbucks, Cariboo or Costa and pick up one of their cut travel cups. Grocery stores also carry travel cups though at a lower price point.

So don’t be lazy. Realise that there are options to living sustainably in Dubai and that even something small can make a difference. I made 2017 the year that I do not buy new clothes (other than something I can swap, underwear and shoes I can buy but only to replace something). I also am trying to take the metro when possible. This works for me but not for everyone. So try your bit. Start by buying the reusable produce bags, use a reusable coffee cup or enjoy your drink in store. Have fun!