Bioland, Batroun’s Healthy and Happy Spot

Summer brings out the adventurous side in many of us. I am not usually one of them but this one had a special meaning to me. I had been actively promoting healthy places/foods/trends in Lebanon because I know that there are some misconceptions about what healthy is or isnt. Combining both summer adventure and promoting healthy eating, I found myself in the mountains above Batroun preparing to have lunch and enjoy the day at Bioland The Farm with Zomato.

We got there hungry and lucky we did, because we were welcomed with a very generous spread. We started with Gluten Free Manakich, a combination of Zaatar, Jebneh and Lahm Baajin!

Gluten Free Mankoushed at Bioland Batroun

Gluten Free Mankoushed at Bioland Batroun

To give you a small background on Bioland, it was established in 2002 and has over 400,000 m2 of organic farmlands with an organic certification from the IMC.

All the ingredients needed to prepare the dishes on the buffet are sourced at the farm and put together with Chef Joe Barza, a world renowned chef, and his team!

IMG_3951

Cold Buffet at Bioland Batroun

Fassoliah - Bioland Batroun

Fassoliah – Bioland Batroun

Stuffed Cabbage - Bioland Batroun

Stuffed Cabbage – Bioland Batroun

From the tabbouleh and fatouch, to the hummus, chanklich, labneh and fasoulia, everything was so fresh, well-seasoned and full of flavors that it made it quite hard to move to the hot dishes!

I have to admit my favorite on that list was the samkeh 7arra. I didn’t quite hide it and I tried unsuccessfully to steal the recipe 🙂

Hot Buffet - Bioland Batroun

Hot Buffet – Bioland Batroun

After setting the standards so high, everyone was eager to see what was being served for dessert! Arishe, crepe, sfouf and my personal favorite in this case, the brownies topped with haleweh.

Crepe - Bioland Batroun

Crepe – Bioland Batroun

#FoodWithAView

#FoodWithAView

Eating organic food at Bioland comes with additional perks for the family. The kids can enjoy playing any type of games you can imagine, from basketball to football to spending joyful time on the swings and so on..

Kids Playground - Bioland Batroun

Kids Playground – Bioland Batroun

On top of all that, after having an absolutely delicious dessert, we did a tour of the farm, met some of its most interesting inhabitants and learned a bit more about organic farming.

Farm Visit - Bioland Batroun

Farm Visit – Bioland Batroun

At the end of the day, one of the ways I measure and assess the quality of the food and the freshness of the ingredients is in the way my body feels after a meal. Food is supposed to nourish your body and give you the energy you need to continue your day and this is exactly how we all left Bioland Batroun along with a smile on our faces for having spent a good and healthy day in nature!

Thank you Zomato for organizing the day and Bioland for sticking to your beliefs in a healthier way of life.

Bioland Farm Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

This Summer, snack on healthy chips

Summer is around the corner and everyone is rushing to get in shape, including me, but that is a yearlong challenge of mine.

It is easy most of the days, but then your friends come over for dinner or a barbecue and everything goes to hell.

So, here are some healthier chips that, you can serve with a drink or even munch on in the afternoon, without having to forget about your diet.

These are gluten-free, organic and vegan. But they are also suitable for anyone who needs a heart healthy snack. They are basically dehydrated kale flavored with tahini and sumac (my favorite one) but also available in more than one flavor. You can find these in TSC plus in Achrafieh but also in your favorite organic store (A new Earth, Live Organic …) and every week in Souk El Tayeb.

Biolicious Kale Chips

Biolicious Kale Chips

Chips can also be sweet and made of your favorite potatoes! These are crunchy and organic.. You can find these at La Vie Claire in Achrafieh or Hazmieh.

Sweet Potato Chips

Sweet Potato Chips

It is fair to say that these are the least healthy from the list since they are only kale flavored but definitely a healthier option that any regular chips! Live Organic has a wider variety of similar chips suck as Lentil Chips and Quinoa Chips, check these out!

Kale Chips

Kale Chips

Better be warned, these can easily become addictive. Fried in coconut oil and flavored with cane sugar, these are a sweet crunchy organic treat.

Banana Chips

Banana Chips

From the same brand as the sweet potato chips, these are also a healthy alternative for your regular chips. Beetroots are high in antioxidants and these chips are a good source of it since they are fried at low temperatures in sunflower oil.

Beetroot Chips

Beetroot Chips

So stock up on these healthy chips and cheers to a happy and fit summer!

My one day detox from Gracy’s

I am a regular customer of Gracy’s and I absolutely love their concept and specially the salad bar. In that spirit, I was offered to try one of their detox programs to share with them my feedback regarding the whole experience.

I chose the program that includes 4 juices along with a serving of lemon water and a serving of mint water.

Gracy's Detox Menu

Gracy’s Detox Menu

In the beginning I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to go all day without having any solid foods but I was surprised by how filling the juices were.

The bottles came labeled for breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner for the 4 detox juices. I started the day with lemon water to cleanse my body and followed it with breakfast.

The detox menu:

The detox juices for the day

The detox juices for the day

Breakfast: Orange, beetroot and mint detox juice

Lunch: Carrot detox juice

Snack: Apple, kiwi and celery detox juice

Dinner: Apple, kale and lime detox juice

Results:

  • All the juices were quite consistent and filling so I didn’t feel the need to munch on anything.
  • I felt very energetic all day and I was able to maintain my normal day schedule
  • Although it wasn’t the point of the detox, I lost 1.5 kgs of extra water weight I was carrying (just keep in mind that not everybody loses the same amount of weight, if any, after a detox day)
  • After the detox day, I had a flatter stomach which was the result of improved digestion after releasing the accumulated toxins in my digestive system

I am planning to have another detox day next week to keep the results but it is very important not to go back to eating highly processed foods after the detox plan.

Check out Gracy’s website where you can place your orders for any of their delicious meals:

You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Happy Detoxing 🙂

6 things that happened when I went on a #NoCarbsChallenge

Carbs

On a typical day, I avoid complex carbs such as pasta and bread as I find them heavy and very hard to digest. This is not to mention that I try to avoid as much as possible to have any wheat-related products for so many different reasons. Occasionally, I consume rice and potato to have an intake of carbohydrates along with some fruits when in season.

I decided to go on a #NoCarbsChallenge mainly to remove most complex carbs from my diet and see what would be the result of that.

I am a healthy person most of the time, I really care for the quality of the ingredients and food I digest and I pay very close attention to the signs my body gives me after I consume a certain food. You can say that I eat mindfully.

So what happened after I stopped eating carbohydrates for 15 days (Fruits, peas and beans were included in the diet):

1- My cravings stopped

I stopped having sweet cravings after lunch or at any time of the day. Carbohydrates increase your blood-sugar levels, only to crash back down again. This creates a rollercoaster of cravings of sugar to balance things out.

2- I felt less hungry

No carbohydrates meant more consumption of protein, vegetables and healthy fats, which kept me full for longer periods of times.

3- I was able to stick to my meal plans

Feeling full for hours helped me stick to my meal plans and not feel the need to have an extra serving for lunch or dinner.

4- I lost the water retention weight

My body has a tendency to store a lot of water which makes me feel bulky. When I stopped eating carbs, I lost a lot of that water weight and I was able to keep it off after. Do not mistake this for losing fat, but it does make your skin look smoother and you will feel much lighter.

5- I felt less bloated

Bloating is the result of a difficulty to digest certain foods. On the #NoCarbsChallenge and although I was eating more vegetables, beans, lentils and seeds, I felt the bloating subside gradually every day.

6- I had more energy and longer endurance

Finally, I was consuming more proteins and getting my energy from fat, without feeling the typical tiredness someone would get from consuming a meal high in carbohydrates associated with a need to nap after a meal. Nutrients should give us energy and not the other way around.

Has anyone been on a #NoCarbsChallenge? Share your thoughts in the comment section. You can also check some of the meals I was preparing on Instagram.

#NoCarbsChallenge Lunch

#NoCarbsChallenge Lunch

#NoCarbsChallenge Lunch

#NoCarbsChallenge Lunch

#NoCarbsChallenge Breakfast

#NoCarbsChallenge Breakfast

 

#NoCarbsChallenge Breakfast

#NoCarbsChallenge Breakfast

A testimonial: Is gluten free all it’s hyped up to be?

This is a guest post by Natalie Gensits, author of Digested – eating healthier made easier 3 ways

Is going gluten free all it’s hyped up to be?

Going gluten free seems to be the latest fashion in food. Even people who haven’t been diagnosed with celiac disease are doing it. Is the allergy real? And with diets so saturated with grains, is going gluten-free worth it?

I have struggled with airborne allergies for more than 20 years now. I’ve been through many treatments, traditional and non. Shots, medications, acupuncture, Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques. The works. Only the past 4-5 years have I started morphing my diet into one that is remotely healthy.

I’ve gone gluten-free (GF) several times. Though I don’t notice any major improvements when totally GF, I do notice considerable issues when I binge on it, even in little bits over several days. It makes me irritable, tired, constipated and much more congested. Which comes first, I’m not sure!

I love food as much as anyone, grains included. And there’s nothing like a tasty beer. But I’m accepting (still in progress) the idea that for now, my body doesn’t love or even like gluten. It’s not worth the discomfort it causes. And please remind me of this before next holiday season!

So yes, the allergy to gluten is real for many of us. If it’s not a full-blown allergy, it might be a food sensitivity or intolerance.

Why the sudden onslaught of allergies to gluten, peanuts and other foods? It may be all the genetically modified ingredients used in our foods now.

Or it may be that our bodies are wearing down from a combination of the genetically modified ingredients, pollution, stress and electromagnetic fields we face daily.

The bottom line is that we need to listen to our bodies. If you’re not feeling great, rethink your diet.

This is where my allergy journey has led me. It has been painstaking because I’m stubborn and don’t want to be told what I can eat. It’s been overwhelming with information that’s confusing and vague. And it’s led me to write a book to make this journey much simpler for others.

Digested – eating healthier made easier 3 ways discusses the symptoms many different foods can cause and substitutes for those foods. It offers ways to make going gluten free easier. And it explains how gluten or gluten look-alikes can damage your body.

Digested-The book

Digested-The book

Even if you don’t need to avoid gluten, you’ll find lots of great ways to infuse your diet with healthier foods.

We can be allergic to foods. And even if not allergic, the foods we eat can make our seasonal or airborne allergy symptoms worse. These are more reasons why healthier, mindful eating makes perfect sense.

Read more about the book, Digested – eating healthier made easier 3 ways and related blog posts.

What is mindful eating? 6 reasons why you should try it.

mindful-eating

In a culture where food is readily available every second of every day, where food advertisement and billboards push you to consume and eat at any moment of the day, we almost never stop eating.

On top of that, our culture is obsessed with dieting, so pleasurable food is almost always associated with guilt, which is almost worse than any pleasurable food you might have consumed.

In that context, what is mindful eating?

  • Mindful eating is eating while paying attention to the food you are eating, how it is nourishing your body and how it will be providing you with the energy to go through the day.
  • Mindful eating is also noticing the hunger cues that tell you when you are really hungry and when you are really full and listening to them.
  • Mindful eating is choosing the food that will bring your energy levels up and not make you lazy and tired.
  • Mindful eating is eating without any distractions like TVs and phones.

Why is it good for you?

  • It will help you lose weight by eating only when you are actually hungry.
  • It will help you avoid emotional eating.
  • By doing the above, it will heal your relationship with food.
  • It will also remove the guilt out of eating.
  • It will help you chew your food and ease in its digestion.
  • It will help you appreciate the flavor, the crunch, the temperature… of your food.

 

So whenever you find yourself reaching for food, start by taking a moment and asking yourself “Am I really hungry?”. Repeating the pattern of asking yourself this question will put you on the right track to break the habituation of eating at certain times or locations and only eating when hungry.

 

Paleo Macademia Hummus Recipe – by Sweet Revenge

MACADAMIA HUMMUS (LEGUME FREE, GRAIN FREE, GLUTEN FREE, DAIRY FREE, PALEO, VEGAN, RAW)

This is a protein rich, wholesome side dish that can be enjoyed with some paleo crackers, bread or vegetable chips.

Paleo Macademia Hummus Recipe by Sweet Revenge

Paleo Macademia Hummus Recipe by Sweet Revenge

Ingredients:

-1 cup of macadamia nuts soaked in water for at least six hours

-5 tablespoons tahini

-2 tablespoons hempseeds

-1/2 cup water

-The juice of 1 lemon

-4 tablespoons cumin

-2 tablespoons olive oil

-Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

-Drain macadamia nuts and place in processor along with the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper. Add water and pulse until mixture turns creamy, taking breaks between pulses.

-Keep pulsing until you arrive at a creamy-like texture of traditional hummus.

-Mix in the hempseeds.

-Keep refrigerated.

-Recipe feeds 2-3 people.

For more information about Sweet Revenge, check the blog post here and another paleo recipe here.

For more details on what is the Paleo diet, check the blog post here.

Thank you Maha for sharing this recipe!

 

10 important things you need to know about Bites of Delight

1- Bites of Delight is one of the few brands in Lebanon that is certified by IRI (Industrial research institute) to be gluten free.

Vanilla Biscuits

Vanilla Biscuits

2- Melissa and Issam are a power couple, in business that is. With degrees in nutrition and a family history of working with dough, they have succeeded in creating a fantastic product, Bites of Delight.

3- The products are all wheat, lactose and casein free, which means they are safe to be consumed by people with wheat and milk allergies.

4- They do not contain any cholesterol, trans fats or preservatives.

5- They are safe for people with celiac disease and can be consumed by vegans.

6- All Bites of Delights products are low in sodium and healthy.

The products at Souk El Tayeb

The products at Souk El Tayeb

7- You can find the biscuits in vanilla, chocolate, anis flavors along with chocolate muffins and thyme and olive sticks.

8- They are available almost all over the country… This is the updated list of the point of sales.

Points of Sale of Bites of Delights

Points of Sale of Bites of Delights

9- They are healthy and affordable.

10- If with the 9 other reasons you are still not convinced, I bet the taste will definitely seal the deal. Drop by their regular stand at Souk El Tayeb.

Be careful, they can be highly addictive 🙂

 

 

You can follow Bites of Delight on:

Facebook: Bites of Delight.Gluten Free

Twitter: bitesofdelight.lb

Instagram: bitesofdelight.glutenfree 

Healing Properties of Turmeric

Turmeric is a member of the ginger family that is extremely cultivated in India, China, Indonesia, and other tropical countries.

Turmeric

Turmeric

Turmeric powder was traditionally referred to as “Indian Saffron” as its deep yellow-orange color is reminiscent of saffron’s. Turmeric is the major ingredient in curry powder and is also used in prepared mustard as a coloring agent.

Even though Arab traders introduced turmeric into Europe in the 13th Century, it has become popular in Western cultures only recently. Much of its newfound popularity is owned to the recent scientific study that has characterized its therapeutic abilities.

India, Indonesia, China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Haiti and Jamaica are the leading worldwide producers of turmeric today.

Health benefits:

Turmeric has been and still is a key component of both the Chinese and Indian system of medicine, where it is used as an anti-inflammatory agent. Curcumin, turmeric’s yellow pigment has demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory activity in a variety of experimental models with effects comparable to over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents such as Nurofen without the side effects.

Clinical studies have also substantiated that curcumin exerts very powerful antioxidant effects, enabling it to protect healthy cells from free radicals that can damage cellular DNA and lead to cancer.

Furthermore, curcumin helps the body to destroy mutated cancer cells so they cannot spread through the body and cause more harm

Curcumin also:

– Inhibits the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines

– Enhances the body’s production of cancer-fighting compounds

– Promotes the liver’s proper detoxification of cancer-causing compounds

While more human studies are needed on the use of curcumin in cancer treatment, the experimental and preliminary studies are quite encouraging.

In addition to protecting against cancer, turmeric also may be able to help in the prevention of heart disease as well as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson and multiple sclerosis.

Tips to select and store:

Turmeric is available as a ground powder but, like ginger, is available as the fresh rhizome. Free turmeric should be free of dark spots and be crisp. It may be stored in the refrigerator, where it will keep for one month. Alternatively, it can be chopped or slices and stored in an airtight container for up to three months.

Color of turmeric powder is not necessarily a criterion of quality, however, try to select organically grown dried turmeric since they are much less likely to have been irradiated.

Turmeric powder should be stored in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark, dry place, where it will keep for up to one year.

Tips for use & serving ideas:

  • Turmeric is a great spice to complement recipes that feature legumes, particularly lentils.
  • Add turmeric to egg salad to give it an even bolder yellow color and richer flavor.
  • Give salad dressings an orange-yellow hue by adding some turmeric powder to them.

For the sake of simplicity, this article is kept short. If you need more details, leave a comment.

Reference: The encyclopedia of healing foods, Dr Michael Murray and Dr Joseph Pizzorno with Lara Pizzorno.

7 unexpected recipes you can make using Quinoa

Quinoa doesn’t have to be boring!

  • Cheesy Garlic Quinoa Bread:
Cheesy Garlic Quinoa Bread

Cheesy Garlic Quinoa Bread

Recipe can be found here:

http://thewholesomedish.com/quinoa-crust-pizza-cheesy-garlic-bread/

  • Chocolate Quinoa Cookies (no bake)
Chocolate Quinoa Cookies

Chocolate Quinoa Cookies

Recipe can be found here:

http://www.simplyquinoa.com/no-bake-chocolate-quinoa-cookies/

  • Quinoa Banana Bread
Quinoa Banana Bread

Quinoa Banana Bread

Recipe can be found here:

http://dishbydish.net/2014/02/27/quinoa-banana-bread-sharing-recipe-secrets/

  • Honey Lime Quinoa Fruit Salad
Honey Lime Quinoa Fruit Salad

Honey Lime Quinoa Fruit Salad

Recipe can be found here:

http://therecipecritic.com/2015/06/honey-lime-quinoa-fruit-salad/

  • Quinoa Pancakes
Quinoa Pancakes

Quinoa Pancakes

Recipe can be found here:

http://www.thetaylor-house.com/12-deliciously-healthy-quinoa-recipes/2/

  • Quinoa Pizza Bites
Quinoa Pizza Bites

Quinoa Pizza Bites

Recipe can be found here:

http://wonkywonderful.com/gluten-free-quinoa-pizza-bites-recipe/Quinoa Patties

  • Quinoa Patties
Quinoa Patties

Quinoa Patties

Recipe can be found here:

http://www.frugallivingnw.com/quinoa-patties/

Enjoy!