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DIY, Health & Fitness

Health Benefits of Almond Milk

A lot of people eat almonds as it is or in a dish but almond milk has become popular over the last few years.

It might seem like a health fad but have you ever wondered if almond milk is good for you? Or what are the benefits of almond milk? Read on…

Almond Milk Nutrition

Almond milk is derived from the almond nut, which can be found in the Middle East, India & North Africa. Almond milk is a plant based alternative to traditional milk from cows.

It’s made from raw almonds and filtered water and can be flavored with a few ingredients. Almond milk is low in calories and doesn’t contain saturated fat. It’s also a suitable fat free replacement for people with allergies.

Find out the awesome benefits of almond milk for the body and skin

What Are the Health Benefits of Almond Milk?

  • Almond milk contains many nutrients like iron, zinc, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus and potassium, which are excellent for a healthy body.
  • Almond milk is a very good source of vitamin A, a vitamin essential for healthy eyes and vision.
  • Almond milk is lactose-free and suitable for vegans.
  • Almond milk is a good source of protein and calcium although not as much as traditional cow’s milk but it can be fortified with these nutrients.
  • Almond milk helps boost and maintain the body’s immune system.
  • Almond milk contains vitamin E, which helps repair damaged skin and boost skin health. You can also cleanse your skin with almond milk.
  • Since almond milk doesn’t contain cholesterol or saturated fat, it’s an excellent option for people with high cholesterol. Additionally, it is high in the same heart healthy omega fatty acids usually found in fish.
  • Almond milk contains B vitamins such as iron and riboflavin, which work together for strong muscle development and helps the body repair itself.

Is Almond Milk Healthy?

A cup of almond milk is roughly 50 – 60 calories and less than 2 grams of fat making it a great option when you’re on a fitness regimen. You can use it as a liquid base in your daily smoothies.

Best Almond Milk Brands

The best almond milk brands are natural and shouldn’t contain carrageenan, an ingredient derived from red seaweed and algae, which may cause issues for the GI tract. Some good brands include:

EcoMil Sugar Free Almond Milk

EcoMil Sugar Free Almond Milk

Australias Own Organic Almond Milk

Australia’s Own Organic Almond Milk

Both brands can be found at Choithram’s Supermarkets. Wondering how to make almond milk yourself instead? See below –

How to Make Almond Milk

You will need 2 cups of raw almonds and some filtered water.

Directions for DIY Almond Milk

  • Soak the raw almonds in filtered water overnight.
  • Strain the next morning and blend the almonds with more water.
  • After blending, strain the milk through a cheesecloth and add any flavorings you like such as vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.
  • Store in a milk bottle and use within a few days.

If you make your own almond milk, keep in mind the protein and calcium content is not as much as you require and you will need to make up for it in other ways.

Is Almond Milk Good for Your Hair?

Almond milk contains a lot of good fats, vitamin E and vitamin A – ideal for moisturizing dry and dull hair, as well as maintaining softness. Read Almond Milk Benefits for Healthy Hair.

Where Can You Buy Raw Almonds?

Raw almonds can be found in most local supermarkets packed or in the bulk bin section. You can also purchase it online HERE.

Now Foods Raw Almonds

Now Foods Raw Almonds

Health & Fitness

Control Your Chocolate Cravings with Avocado Chocolate Mousse

The avocado tree can be found in Mexico although they are cultivated in several tropical and Mediterranean regions of the world. It is aka alligator pear.

The avocado is the main ingredient in guacamole, and can also be used in smoothies, milk shakes, salads and ice cream or mixed with other dishes.

Avocados are incredibly nutritious and contain up to 20 vitamins and minerals with the most abundant being vitamin K, C, B, E, potassium (more than bananas) and folate. Additionally, it contains small amounts of iron, zinc, vitamin A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin). Can you spot some vitamins vital for healthy hair growth in there?

Avocados are also rich in fiber, can help lower cholesterol, loaded with potent antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, which are excellent for healthy eyes.

Avocado itself is a bit bland in taste for me except when combined with something else so when I came across this recipe while researching healthy ways to indulge chocolate cravings (I’m a serious chocoholic), it felt like a godsend.

The recipe has only a few ingredients, is simple to compile and takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish.

avocado-mousse-for-healthy-weight-loss

Ingredients for Chocolate Avocado Mousse

  • 3 – 5 ripe avocados
  • ½ cup almond or coconut milk (I used regular milk)
  • 4 tablespoons raw cocoa powder (I used a bar of dark chocolate instead)
  • Honey or agave syrup to taste
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

There are many recipes online but below is the one I used as a guideline. I customized it based on my personal preferences. For instance, I didn’t use as much honey as she used.

1 serving comes to about 295 calories. The great thing about this recipe is a little of it fills you up faster, which means you consume fewer calories overall when included as a cheat day dish within your diet.

By the way, you can use this as a frosting for cakes and donuts as well although not sure how that would end up tasting!

3-seed-butters-essential-for-weight-loss-goals
Health & Fitness

3 Seed Butters Essential for Weight Loss Goals

This is a continuation from the earlier article on 7 Essential Nut Butters to Include in Your Diet for Better Weight Loss. This article will look at seed butters.

Seed butters are just as nutritious as nut butters and whichever one you choose boils down to personal preference. It is made the same way as nut butters by grinding suitable seeds into a paste via a blender or food processor. Seed butters are also a great alternative if you’re allergic to nuts.

Sunflower Seed Butter

Food To Live Organic Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seed butter is an excellent source of selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, vitamin E & B vitamins. It’s also full of omega-6 fatty acids. It makes for a great dipping for veggies like carrots and cucumbers, as a base in salad dressings and in baking.

Sesame Seed Butter

sesame seed butter for weight loss

Sesame seed butter is aka tahini in the Middle East. The butter is made with toasted sesame seeds and is full of omega-6 fatty acids. The many benefits of sesame seeds were covered in the earlier article – Benefits of Adding Sesame Seeds to Your Diet. The consistency is creamy and slightly runny. Sesame seed butter is excellent for use in sauces, salad dressings and the popular Middle Eastern dish hummus.

Pumpkin Seed Butter

Now Foods Organic Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seed butter is packed full of omega-6 fatty acids as well and falls into the category of a superfood. It contains a significant amount of zinc, which can help you contribute to about one third of the recommended daily allowance for women. Additionally, it contains iron, beta-carotene, phosphorus, manganese, copper, magnesium and copper. Pumpkin seeds make an excellent snack and can be eaten whole.

You can find seed butters in most supermarkets but check the ingredient listing before purchase as there might be additives like sugar, which defeats the purpose of helping with weight loss.

How to Make Seed Butters at Home

There is a detailed recipe in the earlier article – 7 Essential Nut Butters to Include in Your Diet for Better Weight Loss as well as other healthy ingredients you can include in your recipe.

8-nut-butters-for-weight-loss-in-dubai
DIY, Health & Fitness

7 Essential Nut Butters to Include in Your Diet for Better Weight Loss

Nut butters are made by grinding suitable nuts into a paste via a blender or food processor. Nut butters are high in protein, fiber and essential fatty acids, and make a suitable healthy replacement for margarine and butter in sandwiches, toast, etc. Nut butters are also suitable for vegan and paleo diets.

Peanut butter is the most popular and easily recognizable to a lot of people but it doesn’t contain that much omega-3 fatty acids, which is required for more effective functioning of the immune system. You can acquire this by incorporating other nutritious nut butters in your diet with the best 7 being:

  • The best nut butter is almond butter, which contains the least amount of calories per serving. It also contains the most fiber out of all the nut butters. Almond butter stabilizes the blood sugar levels, which leads to increased energy and reduced likelihood of unhealthy cravings. It also contains B vitamins, vitamin E, copper, phosphorus and magnesium.
  • Walnut butter is full of omega-3 fatty acids and helps to trigger leptin, an hormone that tells the body when it has had enough to eat. Additional nutrients include biotin, copper, manganese, B vitamins and
  • Cashew butter has a high content of protein, B vitamins and protein. Cashew butter can also be added to smoothies, oatmeal, and used as a dip for crudités like apples, cucumbers, celery sticks and carrots.
  • Pistachio butter improves heart health and helps to lower LDL (bad cholesterol). They contain omega-3 fatty acids and a significant amount of omega-6 fatty acids. They also contain protein, fiber and potassium.
  • Hazelnut butter contains a good amount of omega-6 fatty acids as well. They also contain fiber, vitamin E, potassium, manganese and protein although the protein content is less than the protein content of other butters. It can be paired with other benefits or ingredients for maximum benefit.
  • Macadamia nut butter has a great flavor profile and is rich in fiber, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Macadamia nut butter has a very high fatty content so consume in moderation. Macadamia nuts can be a bit pricey though so if budget is an issue, try some other nut on the list.
  • Pecan butter is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. It contains vitamins A, B & E, potassium, magnesium, omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, as well as a lot of fiber. It can also help lower bad cholesterol but should be consumed in moderation.

You can purchase nut butters in supermarkets but it’s best to make your own at home. If you have a frying pan and food processor, you can whip up any type of nut butter in minutes. You will need:

  • 2 – 4 cups of whichever nuts you’re using. Organic nuts work best.
  • A few tablespoons of oil (I like coconut and extra virgin olive oil for this recipe)
  • A few teaspoons of sea salt but this is optional.

DIY-nut-butter-for-weight-loss

Directions for DIY Nut Butter

  • Heat up a dry frying pan over medium heat then toss in the nuts. Move around every few minutes until toasted to your preference then remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  • Some people prefer to soak and dehydrate the nuts before processing into butter. This is up to you. If you’re doing this, don’t soak and dehydrate macadamia nuts. Here’s a detailed article on how to soak and dehydrate nuts.
  • Pour into your food processor and start pulsing initially then move on to processing for 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Add in the oil slowly as you process until creamy and smooth. Go easy on the oil as nuts already contain natural oils, which are released as you process them.
  • Taste and add salt if you’re using.
  • Store in an airtight container. It should keep for up to a month in the fridge.

You can jazz up your nut butters anyway you like with some suggestions being cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, cayenne pepper, rosemary, basil, honey, maple syrup, agave nectar etc. Add in these ingredients after the nut butter is already creamy and smooth. You can also mix and match nut butters if you like. A great suggestion is pistachio and almonds.

While they fill you up and help your metabolism work more effectively, which leads to better weight loss, it’s important to keep in mind they are also high in fatty content and should therefore be consumed in moderation (not more than 2 tablespoons per serving is suggested).

An upcoming article will examine seed butters as well as their effectiveness for the body and weight loss goals.

reasons-to-replace-soy-sauce-with-coconut-aminos
Health & Fitness

7 Reasons to Replace Soy Sauce with Coconut Aminos

Soy sauce is a common condiment in Asian cooking. It’s made from soybeans and gives dishes a rich intense taste but the problem is it also has high sodium content. A tablespoon of soy sauce can contain up to 1,000 mg of sodium.

Foods high in sodium can cause increased blood pressure and has been linked to thyroid dysfunction. Additionally, a lot of soy sauce is produced using a highly chemical process.

I’ve developed a lot of interest in Asian food since the beginning of the year, which has led to including soy sauce in my diet. However, as I’ve studied it more, I’m not comfortable with the health implications. In searching for a suitable alternative, I came across coconut aminos.

Coconut aminos are derived from the sap of coconut. The sap is collected and blended with unbleached and unrefined sea salt then aged (up to 1 year) to produce coconut aminos. While not having the exact same taste as soy sauce, it provides a good balance to dishes and isn’t as salty as regular sodium sauce. It’s a dark and rich colour as well.

benefits-of-coconut-aminos-for-health

  • Coconut aminos is gluten free.
  • It contains a significant amount of amino acid, up to 17 types, which is the base for building protein in the body. They also help boost the functioning of the immune system.
  • It’s suitable for vegans.
  • It has a low-glycemic index (GI of 35).
  • It contains up to 65% less sodium than regular soy sauce.
  • It has a neutral pH, which helps to maintain proper acid/alkaline balance in the body.
  • It contains several B vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, panthothenic acid, niacin, biotin and folic acid (excellent for healthy hair growth) as well as vitamin C.

My favourite brand of coconut aminos is Coconut Secrets Coconut Aminos. The brand is economical and certified organic. I haven’t located coconut aminos anywhere in Dubai and usually get mine from iHerb. Once opened, coconut aminos should be refrigerated.

coconut-secrets-organic-coconut-aminos-dubai

You can get 10% off your first order HERE. If your order is above $40, you also get cheap shipping to Dubai for only $8 no matter the weight of your shipment.

How-Cauliflower-Can-Help-You-Improve-Your-Hair-loss-Issues-Dubai
Hair, Health & Fitness

How Cauliflower Can Help You Improve Your Hair loss Issues in Dubai

Cauliflower came onto my rader a few weeks ago via a ton of recipe videos on Facebook. They look similar to broccoli, which I find repulsive by the way, but the end results in the videos looked incredibly yummy.

I’ve seen videos for cauliflower rice, cauliflower fried rice, cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower hash browns and roasted cauliflower. The fried rice and hash browns looked quite appetizing so I decided to conduct some research about cauliflowers and find out if it’s something worth including in my diet.

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable and contains a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals. While white is the main colour of cauliflower, it is also available in orange, green and purple

Cauliflower also features on the list of 25 foods with the highest ANDI scores. The ANDI (aggregate nutrient density index) rates food on their nutrients per calorie density. The higher the score, the more nutrients are provided in relation to the caloric content. 

6-benefits-of-cauliflower-for-hair-growth

  1. Fights cancer causing free radicals in the body. Cauliflower contains sulforaphane, a chemical compound research has shown has the ability to protect the body from cancerous tumours. Sulforaphane can also be found in cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, collards, argula, radish, bok choy and watercess. 
  2. Cauliflower has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that help keep inflammation within your body in check.
  3. One serving of cauliflower contains up to 77% of the daily-recommended intake of vitamin C. 
  4. It can assist to lower cholesterol levels, maintain heart health and strengthen your immune system.
  5. A low carb alternative to starchy foods like rice, potatoes and pasta.
  6. If you are on a detoxifying diet, cauliflower aids in detoxifying the organs as well. You can include it as a midday snack while detoxifying.

Why You Should Add Cauliflower to Your Diet for Hair Growth

why-you-should-add-cauliflower-to-diet-for-hair-growthIn conducting the research for cauliflower, I found 5 vitamins and minerals that are vital to hair growth. They are present in enough amounts to make a difference when it comes to healthy hair and hair growth. They are:

Thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), panthothenic acid (vitamin B5) & folate (vitamin B9): This is a family of vitamins known as B complex. They work in conjunction with each other and often exist in the same types of foods. These vitamins are responsible for strong hair, moisturized hair and healthy follicles.

Vitamin K: This is another family of vitamins that contain K1, K2, & K3. Vitamin K contributes to bone health. Lack of vitamin K in the body manifests itself in brittle bones. Hair loss is one of the signs of brittle bones. 

Iron: Iron deficiency is directly linked to weak hair and hair loss. The right iron levels in your body means your body is working at an optimal level to grow healthy hair. Eating foods rich in iron helps keep anemia at bay. You can also do a quick test at the hospital to check your iron and vitamin levels.

Beta-carotene: Deficiency of beta-carotene can lead to hair breakage. Consuming cauliflower will especially help to encourage regrowth in thin areas of your scalp.

Sulphur: The presence of sulphur in cauliflower helps promote hair & nail growth. Sulphur powder (MSM) is one of the ingredients used in a lot of hair growth oils.

If you take any hair, skin and nail supplements, you might have seen some of the vitamins above on the ingredient listing. Now you know why. In addition to the vitamins and minerals above, cauliflower also contains vitamin C (this also enhances the absorption of iron), vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus and protein.

Cauliflower is versatile and can be eaten raw, steamed, roasted, sautéed and stir fried with the best method of cooking being sautéed as this retains the most nutrients while keeping its structural integrity. Adding turmeric to the cauliflower before sautéing also boosts its effectiveness in protecting the body against cancerous growths. I love this recipe from the World’s Healthiest Foods.

The awesome thing about cauliflower is its budget friendly. You can get a medium sized head for as low as AED 5 at your local grocery store. A head can provide a filling meal for up to 4 people.

I will be trying out a few receipes over the next few weeks and upload the results on Instagram & Pinterest. If you aren’t following the page on Instagram & Pinterest already, you can do so HERE & HERE.

Below are some of the recipes I intend to try:

Caution: If you are on anticoagulants, you should speak to your physician before adding cauliflower to your diet.

Easy-Recipe-for-a-Quick-Energy-Boost-Before-a-Workout
DIY, Health & Fitness

Easy Recipe for a Quick Energy Boost Before a Workout

I’m a fitness aficionado and make an effort to stay on top of my diet and what goes inside my body. However, one of my major challenges with this is finding the right meal to eat prior to a workout.

I’m a picky eater and I also don’t like eating heavy meals in the morning but I also need to get something in me before my tough Beachbody workouts.

I’ve tried apples, toast and cereal bars but they didn’t quite give me the energy I wanted or they made me feel heavy during the workout. Last week, I came across this great recipe on Tasty’s Facebook page. It’s so simple; it’s crazy I never thought of something like this before. It consists of peanut butter, oats, honey, chocolate chips and flaxseeds.

I’ve modified the recipe slightly in the following ways:

  • Ground flaxseeds instead of whole flaxseeds. Your body cannot process whole flaxseeds so definitely mill it a little. You can purchase whole flaxseeds and blend yourself or purchase already milled flaxseeds.
  • I added a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds and toasted pine nuts.
  • I added a spoon of plant protein powder.

I make enough of a batch to last around 5 days in the fridge and pop a few every morning before my workout. They’re awesome and keep me going throughout the 30-minute workout.

A possible substitution for the oats, which I haven’t tried yet includes coconut flakes, quinoa, chia seeds and hemp seeds. You can also replace the peanut butter with almond butter or cashew butter and the honey with agave nectar or maple syrup.

Detox Your Body with a Juice Fast for Healthier & Better Skin
Beauty, DIY, Health & Fitness

Detox Your Body with a Juice Fast for Healthier & Better Skin

In case you’ve missed it, juice fasting is the practice of consuming fruit and vegetable juices in a bid to flush out toxins and other undesirable things from the system; a sort of reboot for your body.

Juice fasting is a bit controversial because it involves denying your body food for a certain amount of time, which is viewed as unhealthy. However, practiced within reason, intermittent juice fasting can lead to excellent results for your body.

The first time I heard about juicing was when Dreamgirls came out. Beyonce was incredibly skinny in the movie and I went searching for what she did and stumbled upon juice fasting. Without doing proper research, I practiced juice fasting for about 7 days afterwards. The results were outstanding but by day 4 of the fast, everyone I saw or spoke to looked like a huge drumstick to me. Luckily, I managed to restrain myself from biting anyone. However, I vowed never to do it again.

In the last year, after much research, I’ve started juice fasting again going a round of 5 – 7 days every few months and the results are much better this time. I practice a modified version of the juice fast. I juice for breakfast and lunch and then have a very light meal like salad for dinner.

5-benefits-of-detoxing-with-a-juice-fast

5 Benefits of Detoxing with a Juice Fast 

  • For the duration of the fast, your body improves on other internal processes that were neglected previously; boosting your body’s ability to heal itself.
  • Juice fasting makes it easier to eliminate addictions like alcohol, caffeine & smoking.
  • When toxins are eliminated from your body with the juice fast, you will have increased energy levels.
  • Your skin will start to glow as nutrients are spread across your body.
  • Juicing allows your body to absorb all of the nutrients from the vegetables and fruits as opposed to the minimal quantity it does when you eat these items whole.

The Wrong Reasons to Practice Juice Fasting

  • To be part of a trend. It’s not a trend or fashion statement and if you jump on it because everyone is doing it, you will likely fail and put on even more weight.
  • Primarily to lose weight. Juice fasting is for detoxing your body and preparing it to work at an optimal level not weight loss. Of course you will lose some weight but this is only temporary until you start eating again. If you make juicing your primary mode of weight loss, you will end up putting on even more weight as you will overeat when you eventually stop juicing.

What Kind of Fruits & Vegetables for a Juice Fast?The Ultimate Book of Modern Juicing- More than 200 Fresh Recipes to Cleanse, Cure, and Keep You Healthy

This is a matter of personal preference but a good selection of fruits include dates, oranges, lemon, pineapples, grapefruit, cranberries, apples, while a good selection of vegetables include argula (rocket), cilantro, spinach, carrot, cabbage, brussel sprouts, pumpkin, capsicum, parsley, cucumber, kale, mint, radish, tomatoes, and wheatgrass. Mix and match to your taste.

A standard recipe is your fruits/vegetables, spirulina powder (dietary supplement) and some water. You can get a comprehensive combination of juice recipes from Juicing Recipes for Vitality & Health and The Ultimate Book of Modern Juicing: More than 200 Fresh Recipes to Cleanse, Cure, and Keep You Healthy (both available on Kindle & Paperback). 

Drink roughly 15 – 25 oz of juice every time you’re juicing and consume it slowly over 1 – 2 hours.

tips-for-a-successful-juice-fast

Tips for a Successful Juice Fast

  • Your body will be uncomfortable in the beginning as it goes through a withdrawal of food stage. Don’t panic and think you’re dying. If it persists for longer than a day or two, discontinue the juice fast for some time.
  • Start with the modified version I mentioned above then as your body gets used to it, you can move on to all day juicing if you prefer.
  • Use a blender instead of a juicer so you retain all of the nutrients from the fruits and vegetables.
  • While juicing, also give up smoking, drinking and coffee in order to have a more effective detox. You will likely crave these things less after your juice fasting session.
  • You can do it with a friend so you’re both accountability buddies.
  • Avoid any avenues like bars, brunches, TV shows etc that will tempt you to break your fast.
  • Take a walk every evening or engage in some light exercise like stretching for the duration of the fast.
  • Drink lots of room temperature water or caffeine free teas like bamboo leaf tea in-between your juice meals.

If you are on any medication or have any other health conditions, please do not engage in juice fasting without consulting your doctor.

healthy-superfood-with-chia-seeds-for-weight-loss
DIY, Health & Fitness

Healthy Superfood Breakfast with Chia Seeds for Weight Loss

Before we delve into the recipe, let’s take a look at what a superfood is and why it classifies as a superfood.

A superfood isn’t a strictly medical term but it’s used to refer to a group of foods that have significant doses of nutrients such as antioxidants, vitamins and minerals needed for the body to operate at optimal capacity.

It has been noted that people who make superfoods part of their diet can expect the following benefits:

  • General overall body health and strengthening of your immune system.
  • Achieve and maintain desired weight level.
  • Low in bad fats and processed sugars.
  • Rich in antioxidants that help your body fight free radicals that damage skin cells.
  • Improving your hear health.

With all the above in consideration, it’s a no brainer that you should include as many superfoods as you can in your diet. Foods that fall into the superfood category include tomatoes, oats, blueberries, leafy greens like spinach, chard and kale, chia seeds, beans, broccoli, wild salmon and dark chocolate. If there’s something on the list you don’t like, you can always mix and match with ingredients you like to develop your own recipe.

9 piece nutri bulletChia seeds originated in Mexico and are rich vitamins A, B, E & D, iron, sulpur, niacin, thiamine, manganese, magnesium and loads of other antioxidants. They swell when added to water, which helps you fill up faster. It also helps to reduce food cravings by slowing down the absorption of food into your system. 

I have two breakfast meals I make with chia seeds, which I alternate based on my mood. They are simple and take less than 30 minutes to prepare. I have outlined them below:

Mixed Berries & Chia Seeds Smoothie

This one I drink after a morning workout. You will need a handful of strawberries, a handful of blue berries, 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, 2 tablespoons of honey or agave nectar and some ice cubes.

  • Pour one-third cup of cold water in the blender or Nutribullet
  • Add in the strawberries, blueberries and chia seeds, then the honey or agave nectar.
  • Cover and blend till smooth. If too thick for you, add in a few ice cubes and blend again.

As it’s a post work out drink, I also add in 2 spoons of protein powder or acai powder. However, this is optional and up to you.

chia-seeds-for-weight-loss

Chia Seeds Breakfast Bowl

Mix 2 tablespoons of chia seeds and 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds together. Add in a pinch of salt and cover with water. Stir thoroughly then set aside for an hour. The chia seeds will swell. After an hour, add in honey or agave nectar to taste, stir and it’s ready. You can also use milk instead of water, add in ground almonds or hazelnuts and dried currants. Customise as you like but customize with healthy options.

8 piece nutri bullet

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lemon water for diet and weight loss
Beauty, DIY, Health & Fitness

How to Drink Your Way to Clearer Brighter Skin with Lemon Water

The lemon is a powerhouse fruit full of vitamin C. It is also a significant source of calcium, potassium and pectin with traces of iron and vitamin A.

It’s a citrus fruit with the inner flesh divided into 8 – 10 segments. The taste is tart and acidic, and can be a bit unpleasant to consume as it is. However, it can be used in cooking and in a variety of other ways for health and fitness benefits.

5 Reasons Why You Need Vitamin C for Better Skin?

  1. Vitamin C provides antioxidant protection and shields skin from free radical damage.
  2. It reduces the appearance of sun damage.
  3. It boosts collagen production.
  4. It also helps to detox your body, flush out toxins over a period of time and aid the digestive system in eliminating waste.
  5. Lemons maintain the pH levels in your body, which is reflected, in clear and glowing skin.

How to Begin a Lemon Water Diet

This is a simple process. Get a 1 – 2 liter bottle or a fruit infuser; add in 1 – 2 slices of lemon, fill with water and drink throughout the day. If you empty the bottle, refill and continue drinking. Try this without a break for 7 days and watch your body optimize itself.

Can Lemon Water Help You Lose Weight?

An additional benefit of drinking lemon water is it can assist with weight loss. Lack of vitamin C can hinder losing body fat. Consuming lemon water will get enough vitamin C into your body. Additionally, it can jump-start your metabolism and keep you energised. However, drinking lemon water alone will not lead to weight loss. A change in your diet and exercise regimen is also required.

What Are The Side Effects of Drinking Lemon Water?

An alternative way people consume lemon water is squeezing the juice into a glass of water and drinking it every morning. This can lead to tooth erosion and heartburn. Adding 1 – 2slices of lemon in a large bottle of water will help to combat this as the acidity is less concentrated. Apart from this, there are no known major side effects to drinking lemon water. However, if you feel discomfort, stop consuming and consult your physician.

As with all things, practice moderation. Excessive consumption will not help you lose weight or produce baby clear skin faster.

Below is a picture of my usual lemon water bottle. I consume about 1½ bottles of this everyday and my skin has never looked better.

How to Drink Your Way to Clearer Brighter Skin with Lemon Water

Do you drink lemon water? Let us know in the comments section.

DIY, Health & Fitness

3 Healthy & Delicious Smoothie Recipes to Get Through Dubai Summer

During my first summer in Dubai, I didn’t fully understand the importance of staying hydrated in this type of heat. I drank water but not enough. Eventually, I fainted a few weeks after my arrival in Dubai somewhere in Bur Dubai. So embarrassing.

The doctor gave me a stern lecture on the difference between Dubai summer and the rest of the world summer. I’ve taken hydration a tad seriously since that day.

Sometimes though, drinking water all the time can get boring and tedious. However, I’m not a fan of soda or other frizzy drinks so for the days water isn’t cutting it; I like to try one of the smoothies below. They’re refreshing, utilize local ingredients and have low calorie content. They’re also great to have around during a barbeque.

Date & Banana Smoothie

date and banana smoothiesYou will need ½ cup halved dates without the seeds, ½ cup of cold water, 4 – 5 ice cubes, ½ a banana and 2 tablespoons of Agave nectar (optional).

  • Place the cold water and dates in a blender. Leave for about 10 minutes.
  • Add in the ice cubes, banana and Agave nectar.
  • Blend until smooth and frothy.

Kardake (Hibiscus) & Strawberry Smoothie

dried hibiscus for smoothiesYou will need 3 tablespoons of dried and crushed hibiscus flowers, a handful of fresh strawberries, ½ cup of cold water, 4 – 5 ice cubes and 2 tablespoons Agave nectar (optional).

  • Place the cold water in a blender.
  • Rinse the hibiscus flowers thoroughly and add to the blender. Pulse lightly 2 – 3 times.
  • Add in the strawberries, ice cubes and Agave nectar.
  • Blend until smooth and frothy.

Lemon Mint & Parsley Smoothie

mint leaf smoothies

You will need 1 – 2 handfuls of mint leaves, 1 handful of parsley, 1 lemon, ½ cup of cold water, 4 – 5 ice cubes and 2 – 3 tablespoons of Agave nectar.

  • Place the mint leaves, parsley and cold water in a blender and pulse a few times.
  • Peel the lemon and squeeze all the juice into the blender.
  • Add in the ice cubes and Agave nectar.
  • Blend until smooth and frothy.
  • You can also replace the parsley with spinach and/or kale.

All of the above recipes should yield 2 – 3 cups. Increase main ingredient amounts as necessary for larger quantities. You can make the smoothies and freeze them for later but it doesn’t taste quite the same as when it’s freshly made. For an additional boost, you can include chia seeds and ground flaxseed. Enjoy!

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Health & Fitness

Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred Review – Does It Work?

A previous article discussed how  decadent buffets in Dubai are contributing to expanding waistlines. In the same article, I also mentioned ways to control your buffet intake for a healthier lifestyle.

However, you still need to have some sort of physical exercise regimen in your life for a healthy heart, muscles, bones and overall bodily functions. Unfortunately, a majority of expats in Dubai have a killer work schedule and don’t always have time to make it to the gym.

This is where home workout programmes come in. I’ve been using these for the last 3 years with great results, and will be reviewing all the programmes I’ve used over the next few weeks.

jillian-michaels-30-day-shredSo Who is Jillian Michaels and What is the 30 Day Shred?

Jillian Michaels, is one of America’s top personal trainers and has been featured in popular programmes such as The Biggest Loser & Losing it With Jillian. The people she has trained obtained outstanding results and she has continued to develop work out programmes that literally kick ass.

The 30-day shred programme is a 20-minute workout everyday for 30 days based on Jillian’s 3-2-1  concept – 3 minutes of strength training, 2 minutes of cardio training and 1 minute of ab work. The programme promises you will have lost up to 20 pounds by the end of the 30 days if you stick with it.

It sounds like something that is simple and effortless but far from it. The exercises while not long are designed to be intense and engage every part of your body. I promise you will sweat.

The programme is divided into three levels with 10 days assigned to each level. There are no resting periods between each set but with only 20 minutes for each workout, you don’t need the rest. However, you can stop for 1 – 2 seconds to take a breather if necessary but get right back into it ASAP. Level 1 is relatively mild but level 2 & 3 can get  intense. Getting through level 1 would have prepared your body somewhat for the intensity of level 2 & 3. Each session also contains a short warm up and cool down session.

5 Great Things About Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred Program

  1. Only 20 minutes per day. I know everyone got time for that!
  2. Intensity levels are regulated so you can go at your own pace.
  3. Only a mat and a set of weights are required (I used 2kg weights but you can use heavier weights if you want to). I also used knee braces to prevent injuries.
  4. Fast and efficient. If you need to quickly tone down for something like an upcoming wedding, dinner or other social events, this works great.
  5. Jillian breaks down each movement slowly and carefully so you are able to follow it and reenact the correct posture at home.

I used Jillian Michaels 30-day Shred primarily to tone and prepare myself for Beachbody’s Focus T25, which is way tougher. I highly recommend this for moderately fit people but don’t expect it to shed any major fat within 30 days.

jillian-michaels-30-day-shredShop Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred

As with all work out programs, it doesn’t work in isolation. Simply doing the fitness regimen isn’t enough. You will also have to modify your diet to suit the workout. Have you tried this workout programme yet? Let’s know in the comments section.

how-not-to-overeat-at-buffets
Health & Fitness

Conquering the Almighty Brunch & Various Buffets in Dubai ☺

If you’ve been in Dubai for any amount of time, I assume your waistline saw better days before you arrived. Between the brunches and decadent buffets, it’s really hard for a girl to get a handle on the arrival of the muffin top into her life.

I, for one, have a relentless addiction to desserts. I might eat 1 piece of item from the entire menu but I’ll consume 100 items from the desert section without even thinking about it. I have managed to still stay in shape though by engaging various methods.

If you’re not keen on avoiding brunches and buffets all together, here are a couple of things you can do which will help keep the spread of your waistline in check:

  • Don’t skip breakfast. Have a normal healthy breakfast before you leave for brunch especially if you plan to be there the whole day. If you don’t, your subconscious will tell you you’re dying from hunger and you’ll overcompensate by eating mindlessly.
  • Sit far away from the buffet stations. If you have to make a trip for it, you’re less likely to overeat.
  • Pace yourself. Don’t black out from the sight of so much delicious food. Start small with a salad.
  • Use the small plates and leave the gigantic ones where they are.
  • Eat slowly. Take your time with the food.
  • Drink lemon water. I sip a lot of water in-between eating, which fills me up quickly.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption. Pace yourself here too. Make each glass last at least an hour before ordering another one or stop at one and drink lemon water for the rest of the brunch. Alcohol will lower your defenses and make you think you’re impervious to calories. Here’s a quick guide on the calorie content in alcohol.
  • Try to make it to the gym a few times the following week or a 30 – 45 minute walk several times during the week.
  • Eat healthy for the rest of the week following the brunch to counter what you ate.
  • You don’t have to go to brunch every weekend. Space them out.
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Say No to Mr Muffin Top!

Doing all of the above will save you a ton of weight in the long run and you still get to enjoy the brunches and buffets anyway.