Tag Archives: Ramadan

Muneera Obaidli’s Ramadan Detox Plan

22 Jul

One week or less remains before Ramadan comes to a close. The intense fasting and prayers have changed the atmosphere around here. Everything is so quiet and so still, that it inspires you to look inwards. It is perhaps the right time to detox the body along with the mind. Muneera Obaidli who has been involved professionally in the health industry for over 7 years with her health food business, Vida for Life, has created this Detox Plan for Ramadan.  I was invited to sample and provide my honest feedback about her special Ramadan menu. The purpose of this menu is to help you make the most of your fasting experience by providing meals that cleanse and nourish the body and keep it hydrated throughout the fast. It is a vegetarian and gluten – free  which keeps you bloat-free and aids digestion.

Healthy food does not have to be boring and Muneera’s meal plan stands testimony to that.

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Thai Spring Roll with almond dipping sauce

The one day package that I was requested to review had the following:

1. Fresh young coconut water

2. Green mango smoothie

3. Ramadan detox soup

4. Quinoa madrooba

5. Thai spring roll with dipping sauce

6. Buckwheat wrap

7. Cauliflower soup

8. Raw chocolate mousse

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I was also provided a document elucidating the reason behind having each meal at a certain time during non-fasting hours. While I cannot vouch for their prescribed effect as promised by the program, I can definitely comment about the taste of each meal item. I couldn’t possibly have had all the meals in a single day, so I distributed them over two days.

–> I started my day with the Green Mango Smoothie which was refreshing to say the least. I could easily taste the green mango, spinach and perhaps a green apple as well. It was filling and delicious. As per the program leaflet, Vida recommends that people fasting should opt this smoothie for ‘Suhoor’ because this smoothie will keep you hydrated, is light and easy to digest. Having  a heavy Suhoor will only lead to more food cravings the next day and people who are fasting should definitely avoid that.

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–> By mid morning, I had my coconut water which rejuvenated me and with this I also had the buckwheat wrap. The wrap has no filling in it but it is flavourful on its own. The program suggests that it is better to break the fast in the evening with this glass of fresh young coconut water which not only quenches the thirst but also rebalances blood sugar levels. It will  infuse the body with natural minerals , enzymes and electrolytes. It is also recommended that people who are fasting also drink several glasses of water with pinches of sea salt to hydrate and flush out toxins that may have released due to fasting for prolonged hours.

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–> Lunch was a hearty cauliflower soup with grilled chicken breast ( the chicken breast wasn’t in the diet plan). The soup was creamy and appetizing, and I felt satiated and enjoyed the soup a lot. The program suggests having this soup instead of refreshing smoothie for ‘Suhoor’ on days when you feel like something savoury instead of sweet.

–> Evening had me ravenous and I enjoyed the delicious Thai spring roll with an almond dip. The almond dip was something I had never tasted before and it was addictive. I was eating it in spoonfuls. The spring roll, straight from the fridge were crispy and delightful. Basically a lettuce wrap with vegetable filling made for a filling snack along with the almond dip.

–> My final meal of the day was the Ramadan detox soup with was clear soup with alpha-alpha sprouts which felt like noodles. Just a simple yet clever way to incorporate protein while tricking the mind into thinking it’s actual noodles. This was my favourite meal of them all.

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–> I skipped the dessert and thought of having it the next day after lunch.  Next day, I had the Quinoa madrooba where the broken wheat was replaced by quinoa to make it protein rich and gluten free. It was interesting but wasn’t exactly exciting. Then came the raw chocolate mousse which wasn’t my cup of tea at all. It tasted too sour. I wasn’t sure what ingredients were used to make it and perhaps this feedback will be useful to Vida to improve upon their desserts they’re offering in this detox plan. Perhaps only cut fruits could suffice to satisfy any sweet cravings. Funnily enough, in these two days I had minimal sweet cravings. It may have to do with the fact that I was consuming no gluten products all.

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( Madrooba is like a savoury porridge usually made from broken wheat, masalas and chicken, and cooked in chicken stock)

All in all it was an interesting meal combination with so many flavours and textures to try. I felt light and bloating -free in these two days and this goes on to say how much you would benefit if you try the entire detox program. Cleansing the body is a must and maybe Ramadan is the right time to get it done considering the calorie intake is already quite restricted. Every meal is well packaged and the portions are controlled which itself proves that a lot of thought has been put behind this meal plan. As per the information provided by the Vida team, they offer custom meal plans taking into consideration any kind of special health and taste preferences.

For all who are interested, contact the Vida team on vidaforlife@gmail.com or call tel: 17534999. These meals will be delivered at your door step!

Wishing all my Muslim friends a blessed and healthy last week of Ramadan.

Ramadan Kareem! Falooda Recipe and a Social Media Award for #SMDAY

4 Jul

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This is my 5th year and Bahrain is home now. The comfort and the familiarity makes me disown my expat status and feel like local. The food, the culture, the openness and the warmth are addictive which makes me wonder whether I would think about a time when I would feel like packing my bags and heading back to my home country, India. It is when I moved to Bahrain that I started writing and blogging and discovered that part of me which I never knew existed in the first place. Being a blogger allowed me to explore several avenues which otherwise would have been unapproachable. With these experiences, I gained confidence and started trusting my own abilities and after 4 + years of blogging, my efforts were recognized by the (@SMCBahrain) Social Media Club of Bahrain where my blog was awarded The Best Blog under the Kitchen and the Dining category. It makes me very happy because it was completely unexpected yet somewhere I feel fulfilled with the recognition that my blog got.

Interestingly, it is also a great time to be in this region when it is at the cusp of this amazing social media revolution. The region has begun to sit up and take notice of what social media platforms and bloggers can do and what an important part they form in the overall scheme of things. I extend my special thanks to the Social Media Club of Bahrain for taking steps towards encouraging us bloggers. This award makes us want to do more and better now.

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photo (51)

Bahrain opened my mind and my heart to the culture and its religious beliefs without ever imposing them. Ramadan is a very special time to be in the region as it provides an opportunity to witness a collective sentiment towards a common goal. It is almost like the entire island quietens down during the day and all you can hear is prayers that the winds carry with them. These years have taught me that if Ramadan is about fasting, it is in equal parts, also about feasting. Whether it is Iftar or Ghabgah, food is a the center of all discussion and a chance to sample a wide array of traditional and modern classics at all the grand buffets around the town. But most locals swear by the traditional food made at home that beats the tastiest meal in any restaurant.

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To celebrate my blog’s win and the blessed occasion of Ramadan, I was prompted to create this indulgent treat called Falooda. Most of my Indian friends would be very familiar with this dessert drink which perhaps might have also been a childhood favourite.

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This is an indulgent yet refreshing drink that pleases all the senses, instantly and together. A perfect summer dessert in a glass that is full of rose scented and flavoured milk, starchy- rice noodles, sabja seeds that make it look exotic and a dollop of kulfi flavoured icecream to give a greater depth of flavour.

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It is surprising, how unbelievably easy this is to whip up together. For all my Muslim friends who are fasting and want to eat at home, and aspire to indulge on a treat, this comes highly recommended. Primarily being only an assembling project, Falooda is delicious as it is filling after a day of fasting. It refreshes the mind and the spirit considering July is a very tough month with longer hours of fasting.

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With this I end my post on a sweet note and wish every body a wonderful weekend.

Ramadan Kareem to all the readers of Slice of my lyfe.

AND

Thank you again for reading my blog – it really pushes me to write my next post and to keep doing better.

Weight Loss Woes & Peppers Stuffed with Scrambled Eggs

24 Aug

I do not even know where to begin or how to begin. I am struggling for words to convey my utter stupidity and trust me it is not an easy task. Against all well- intentioned warnings, I embarked on a fasting project for the 3 weeks of Ramadan. With fellow Muslims who were fasting (for religious purposes ofcourse) it felt like this was opportunity I should avail myself. I had it easier because I did not shun water or coffee. Coffee killed my appetite for the short-haul and long hours of starving killed my appetite for good.  I came back home to have my only meal for the day with butter milk. Mostly these meals were vegetable stir fries with beans/lentils or Chicken. If for some reason, during the day if I felt my energy reserves sapping, I would indulge in a banana or an apple. I did this for 3 weeks and worked out on and off depending on whether I had the will power for it or not. Surprisingly, I did not feel weak at all. I felt quite energized and found that fasting kept my mind alert ( or maybe it was the black coffee that did the trick). The 3 weeks passed so quickly that it did not feel like a chore at all. It felt like an achievement for some strange reason; the knowledge that I could do without food for hours and hours and still not feel depressed was empowering. It weirdly felt right. Only the first 3 days of fasting seemed a bit difficult to tackle but after that it was really easy. Weekends were a bit relaxed but I still stuck to the 1 meal a day rule even over weekends.

Towards the beginning of the third week, I realized, I wasn’t losing any weight and on the contrary I had put on weight. A fact that was confirmed after a visit to the hospital during a random medical check up routine. I was really taken aback but not surprised ( to my surprise!!). It had to happen. Starvation lead my body to get into the famine mode and storing every bit that  was being consumed and in turn made me gain kilos. I have to admit it was depressing to say the least.

I thought Ramadan was the best time to experiment because most of the locals in office were fasting and food and water was banned anywhere around them as a way of being sensitive to their feelings. Food and water was allowed to expats in the pantry under conditions such as no aroma/smells should emanate from the food consumed in the pantry. This meant heating food in the pantry microwave wasn’t allowed until 2:30 pm. It was only after 2:30 pm that the expats were allowed food because that is when the locals were given the rest of the day off for the entire 30 days of Ramadan. Expats too could follow the suit but most often than not, we had to sit back to finish work. It wasn’t unfair, but it was a new way of working for me. My hubby had 2 years of experience behind him working during Ramadan. Generally speaking the work load is not that intense as most offices closed at 1 or 2 pm.

I digress.

The point of discussion here is against my better sense, I fasted for 3 weeks, my body got used to the new system and the result was I put on more weight inspite of eating healthy (most of the times) and fewer calories. I chose to put this up on my blog only to emphasize and re-emphasize, that starving doesn’t serve any purpose at all. Atleast for me it was an absolute failure considering the objective that I was hoping to achieve. Having said that, it felt like a torture to listen to a Bahraini colleague go on about the tonnes that she lost because of fasting. Guess it worked for her and not for me. My metabolism chugged slowly and probably came to a stop because of my stupid venture.

Since then I started eating more frequently, working out in a more disciplined fashion and making all attempts to rev up my metabolism. Hopefully, in a few weeks time I should be able to reverse the damage that I have done to my body and my system. No more of such moronic experiments for me, I have decided.

I began by eating my breakfast and I realized I wasn’t hungry for breakfasts at all and felt like throwing up whenever I had a bite or two. In order to whet my appetite ( or whatever was left of it), I tried making eggs in interesting ways. One such breakfast was a Peppers filled with Scrambled egg. It was scrumptious and was easy to wolf it down with it a glass of apple juice.

My system jolted to a start by recognizing good tasting food and since then it has been quite comfortable eating breakfast.

These Peppers are visually appealing and shout ‘ Healthy’ from a mile away. That is why I am so drawn to them. Growing up I hated them but over time I have started to love their taste and the freshness they bring to stir fries and salads. As for the scrambled eggs which were laced with mushrooms, herbs and tantalizing seasonings, they were most filling ( all the pun intended). The pepper cook slightly but their crunchiness  is retained which I believe is the highlight of the recipe. While making them I thought they would be tricky but with a friend’s help, I managed well. Served with warm wholemeal toast and some more scrambled eggs on the side, it was just the perfect start to my day.

I dedicate this healthy and delicious breakfast to one of my favourite food bloggers whose birthday it is tomorrow. Sangeeta, who ONLY blogs about healthy recipes and makes me feel like a culprit with my posts talking about only white flours, butter and sugar. She is a wonderful person with whom I have had the opportunity to interact at a personal level and I am so thankful that our food-laden paths crossed.

Happy Birthday Sangeeta! Wish you all the happiness and luck in this world. Much love!!

 

 

 

A Quick Update and some Quick to make Oats Cookies

22 Jun

I haven’t seen this space in a long time. I miss blogging at whim. It is more schedule driven. More of a weekend activity. It is now that I doubly admire all those bloggers who blog inspite of having a full-time job and blog more than many times a week. So much has been happening and I feel life is just whizzing past me. I make desperate attempts to make tiny post-it mental notes every time I observe or feel something interesting but then it slips away.  This post is more to recapitulate all the important stuff that has happened over some time now.

First things first-Mimi

Mimi has started talking so much and I see this difference after she resumed school on a regular basis.  She has a quip to make about everything. She wants to give her expert opinion about how I look, or her Papa looks or how she looks. She can ride her bike now and it is such a pleasure to see her pedaling away. Just the other day I asked her,” Mimi, what did the teacher teach you today?”  Pat came the reply, ” Quiet Mimi! Quiet!”  and yesterday I asked her the same question and she said, ” Don’t shout Mimi” So I take it that the teacher is really having a tough time getting Mimi to do what the class is doing. Recently they even got a class photograph as the term is about end on 28th of June. But I am sending her off to the Summer camp in her school that starts on 8th of July. This Sunday, she has a class performance to which all the parents are invited and they are going to perform, ‘ Incy Wincy Spider’. The entire time, we hear Mimi singing Incy wincy spider and when she’s in the mood, she’d do it with actions. I am excited to attend her first class performance and I pray everything goes well. I know she will enjoy it because she loves to sing.

I am amazed they got her to stand. ahem.. straight!

The Class photo: The caretaker had to hold her so that she didn’t run off

2. Next is this wonderful poetry festival that I had the opportunity to attend last night. Set against the romantic back drop of the Bahrain fort, it was certainly a night to remember. 15 wonderful poets with their marvellous poetry enthralled the audience. The Poetry festival is the first of its kind arranged by the Bahrain Writers’ Circle’s – Poetry arm – The second circle.  The theme was The Colours of Life and the brochure of which you can see below. Though the lights went off in between for some weird reason, it only added to the drama of the whole evening.  It was such a good break for me from my otherwise hectic work life. To listen to soul-full poetry is the best way to usher in a weekend. Some of the participants are good friends and I had rushed from work to support them. It was a delight to see them read their work.

The poetry festivals’ brochure

3. Apart from that, we were able to watch a movie in the cinema hall, along with Mimi after 2.5 years. We avoid going to the movies because Mimi doesn’t think it is interesting to sit in one place for more than a few seconds. But now that she is a little grown up, we thought it should be easier now. We thought Madagascar-3 was a safe bet and right we were. She sat through 3/4th of the movie and enjoyed it too. This is great progress as far as Mimi is concerned.

4. I have been working out quite regularly and running as well. Hopefully by the year-end when its the marathon season, I should be able to run atleast a few of them like the 11 km one in November and the 17km one in December.

5. I have recently made good friends with a Bahraini girl in my office. She is pretty as a picture but apart from that, she is very special. She loves Hindi Movies. She has watched every Yash Chopra banner movie there is starting from Kuch Kuch Hota hai ( which was the first movie she had seen and by far her favourite movie) to the latest Anjana – Anjani or whichever is running in the cinemas these days. She watches them with English subtitles but follows Hindi quite nicely. We converse in Hindi for fun in office and she does a marvellous job at some difficult pronunciations as well. She is so familiar with our Hindu customs and festivals that sometimes I find it hard to believe she is a Bahraini. She is so moved by Bollywood that in her wedding this winter, she has a Bollywood themed ‘Sangeet” . How cool is that! She is also going to wear Ghaghara-choli ( traditional Indian blouse – skirt) for her Mehendi ceremony. She is such fun company to keep in office and I hope to learn more about the Bahraini culture from her.

6. Last but not the least, I have some great tasting, quick to put together Oats cookie recipe today from the latest issue of the BBC Good Food Magazine. I find myself trying more recipes from the BBC Good Food Magazine more than the other recipe books that I have.

But these cookies are literally child’s play and that is what prompted me make them in the middle of week after coming back from work.

Cherry + Apricots+ Oats

They were such a breeze to put together, and the original recipe did not add any cherries in it, but I did because… I felt like it 🙂

The cherries gave the blonde cookies a pop of colour and the apricots lent the gorgeous texture. Full of oat-y goodness, there isn’t anything that I can say that didn’t work in this cookies favour. I took them to office the following day and they were devoured before I could count 10.

Another reason why they were devoured so quickly was because, the recipe in the magazine was meant to give out only 6 cookies. So I doubled the recipe and managed 15 cookies out of it.  Usually when I take cookies or bakes to office, I ensure I have around 20 + individual pieces. 15 cookies stood no chance at all. I managed to save some for Mimi, who liked them equally. I am going to try them with the usual good stuff such as chocolate chips and more dried fruits.

Photos courtesy : Namit Bhatia

It has been a great few weeks so far. In a few days time,  this part of the world will fold itself into a prayer and fast non stop for 30 days. Life will slow down, offices will close early, super market racks would be empty sooner as people tend to buy more than they need when they are fasting and there will be an atmosphere of prayer and sanctity all around. It is a different kind of experience to be in a Muslim country during Ramadan, albeit a wonderful one because there will tents that come up in the evening with lavish spread of food for everybody who wants to sample it.  I hope to capture the essence of Ramadan in some posts of mine and at the same time try to experiment with some local dish that is typically eaten during Ramadan.

That is all for now!

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