Friday, February 24, 2012

When your "clique" comes over for drinks...

…What do you usually serve them?
Chips, nuts, chex mix, etc.
Sometimes you order a pizza or any other junk food.

Well, last Friday, my friends came over and I realized that the drinks were enough calories so let’s try not to go overboard!

So take a look at what I served them…

Instead of the nuts and the chips, I went for cherry tomatoes, carrots and cauliflower. You can also make a cocktail sauce with light mayo.

 And instead of the high fat junk food, I made two types of salads:

Panachee with lemon mustard sauce

Pasta salad with light mayo sauce

I also made a tasty, low fat appetizer: slices of baked potatoes with melted light mozzarella on top.

Et voila!



Monday, February 20, 2012

Your Ultimate Manual To A Successful Lent!

As a wise man once said, changing one’s habits is not easy for any human being. During the lent, all eating habits change, whether in meal timing or quality of food. And the hard thing about it is that there is no rule. Everyone has their own sacrifices and their own ways of fasting. So let’s consider all options possible, from the mildest cases to the most extreme ones.


Although we always say breakfast is very important, in this case you are forced to skip it. Your day, as per your stomach, will start at 12PM. You can choose to, either have breakfast, wait a couple of hours and then have lunch, or you can begin with lunch immediately. But remember same quantities just different timing!

Don’t try to stock on food before 12AM thinking you won’t get hungry for the next 12 hours. Why? Well, when you eat, your blood sugar elevates. Insulin, a hormone, is released in order to lower that level. There will be a sudden fall in blood sugar when you finish digesting and this will make you extremely hungry. Try to keep a regular blood sugar level by eating balanced portions throughout the day.

Have at least 3 meals a day even if you’re changing your timing. Just try not to eat during late hours. Stop chewing 2 hours before you go to bed so that you can give your system time to digest the food.


Nutrition Tips: Chicken and meat can be replaced by fish, eggs, milk, laban, labneh and cheeses, as well as legumes such as beans, peas and lentils. These products are rich in proteins, calcium and iron. Lemon juice should be sprinkled on legumes to make their iron more absorbable by the body.

People who also omit fish during lent fall into this category. They can compensate with milk and dairy products. The omega 3 fatty acids can be provided by flaxseed, flaxseed oil, canola oil, tofu, soybeans and walnuts.

Cooking and lifestyle tips: You can easily eliminate chicken and meat from any dish, well, except for steak or chicken breast. For example, any stew can be made without meat such as peas and rice (bazella w riz). In fact, you can add carrots to the latter and it gives it a great taste. You won’t even feel the difference.


Nutrition Tips: Getting a full nutrition can be a bit tricky in this case. Proteins and Iron should be provided by beans and other legumes. Calcium can come from fortified breakfast cereals and dark green leafy vegetables. By sprinkling flaxseed on all your dishes, you can be certain to get your omega 3!

Cooking and lifestyle tips: People who fall under this category usually have trouble with breakfast. That’s why we’re going to give you ideas:

Thyme: you can eat it on bread or in a man’ouche. But remember a thyme man’ouche contains 500 calories.
Breakfast cereals: highly nutritious and absolutely delicious!
Olives: there’s nothing tastier than an olive sandwich garnished with tomatoes and cucumbers.
Hommos Balila: Traditional Lebanese breakfast!
Jam on bread: If you can tolerate sweet taste in the morning, jam on bread would be a great idea. Try to vary between flavors: apricot, apple, strawberry, etc.
Kaak: to be very simple, you can have those long and crunchy kaak with a cup of tea.
Spinach fatayer: they are an absolute delight and they are rich in nutrients.

Lunch is a bit easier in this case. You can vary between beans, peas, lentils, bulgur, couscous and pasta. You can prepare/eat beans and rice, lentil soup (adas b hamod), bulgur and tomatoes (bourghoul bi banadoura), penne arabiata (many meatless pasta sauces are available), etc.

Finally, dinner resembles breakfast. You can also have something as simple as a salad with toast or a baked potato on the side or any other source of carbohydrates to make you feel full.


This is the most extreme case. You should vary between normal pita bread and the protein bread in an attempt to provide yourself with all the nutrients (Carbohydrates, proteins and fat).


In this case good for you and your body!(and I say that confidently because what we usually love is bad us). And maybe you will gain good habits when you’re done J

Finally, good luck to everyone. And no matter how hard it gets, think of the hugeness of the sacrifice you’re making and what you’re getting in return and it will all seem like a piece of cake!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why do iBurp?

The embarrassing moment of burping in public!  Oh god! How did it slip? No matter how hard you try to hold it, sometimes you just can’t help it! So, where does it come from? And how can you prevent it?

Burping, belching or eructating is the release of gas from the digestive tract through the mouth. It’s actually a very natural mechanism that helps clear the extra gas from the gastrointestinal tract.
Now, why do I have extra gas? Well, it comes from swallowing air while eating or drinking. The air, a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen, gets trapped and builds up in the stomach. It rises to the upper stomach and creates a pressure causing the sensation of the need to burp.

When do we swallow air? When…

- Nervous or anxious
- Drinking carbonated beverages
- Drinking while eating
- Eating too fast
- Chewing gum
- Using a straw
- Sucking candy
- Chewing tobacco
- Smoking
- Eating chocolate
- Eating onions
- Drinking alcohol

It can also be due to indigestion.

So, when you don’t want it to *burp* just come out, be careful not to do all the above ;)


Monday, February 6, 2012

Go Nuts For Your Health!

Nuts are great.

We just eat them the wrong way!

Most of the time we have them roasted and salted, or even extra salted! They, then, lose their virtues and become harmful.
The best way to ensure you’re getting the most out of nuts is to eat them raw!

We will discuss the benefits of nuts as well as how you can include them in your diet.


Nuts are a very good source of vitamins, minerals and the famous omega-3 fatty acid. In fact they provide iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, selenium and zinc. They also contain vitamin E and B12 (folic acid). They are naturally cholesterol free and low in sodium. So can you imagine what a great food they are?

If you still can’t, then let’s continue…

Scientific evidence suggests that eating 1.5 ounces (or 45g or a handful and a half) per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may help lower the risk of heart disease. In fact, nuts are rich in mono and polyunsaturated fats (the good fats) such as omega-3 which help reduce LDL-cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and increase the HDL-cholesterol (the good one!). According to the FDA, only almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine nuts, pistachio nuts and walnuts are eligible for this claim.

This food group is also recommended in the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to stop hypertension). 4 to 5 servings a week are recommended in order to help reduce blood pressure.

Their content in vitamin E, selenium and folic acid, as well as phenolic compounds vegetable fibers and phytoestrogens, all powerful antioxidants, may help reduce some types of cancer.

Now you’re probably thinking “Nuts are rich in fat so, even if raw, I shouldn’t have them while dieting”. Well, this is not true! Studies suggest that including peanuts and tree nuts in your diet may improve compliance to the diet and eventually weight loss. This is probably due to the satiating effect of nuts. But of course, the quantities should be specified by your dietitian!


One of the most asked questions in a clinic is: “What can I snack on?” Now you’ve got your answer. A handful of raw nuts every day can replace chips while watching television.

You can also include a sprinkle of nuts in your salads or even in some recipes. Chinese food is the best example. Their recipes always contain almonds, cashew or pine nuts.

And if you’re craving roasted ones, you can always use the microwave and in 5 minutes have your own roasted healthy nuts.


A handful of nuts contain 160 calories.

Equivalent to 1 handful
14-16 halves
Pine nuts
11-12 halves

I guess now a lot of you, including my own brother, will try not to put the nuts aside while eating. And maybe you will start liking them for their virtues.