My line of work and website are dedicated to all things food. Anyone who reads my posts, who knows me knows that I am passionate about food. Like everyone else, I believe that food is a basic necessity, a pleasure, and a nutrient to both our bodies and souls. I also believe that food connects us to our roots, to our community, our cultures, and is at the base of our social relations. Extending this further, I even find food to enable us to reconnect with our humanity, our collectiveness and sameness despite the peripheral differences! I spend a lot of time telling anyone who would listen to go back to the kitchen, encouraging you all to get back to home cooked meals, asking the world to go back to cooking from scratch. I talk with much love about food and cooking, about the pleasures food brings into our lives, and tell you all, over and over, to allow yourselves to discover the many rewards of cooking and baking. Now while I still want you to do that, and my views about food as such will never change, I do however understand the significance of balance and the importance of social responsibility.
Like everything in life, even the best things will turn against you without the right balance. While food is such a pleasure, when not done right food can become the cause of many health issues. Both sides of the pole – overeating/ under-eating, dieting/letting loose, starving/binge eating, or even unhealthy/over healthy – are dangerous zones to our health; even life threatening at times! Therefore, since I am always telling you about the pleasures of food, it is only balance that I include the other side of the coin. Also since I feel very blessed, it is only balance that I give some love back to the community that embraces me. Social responsibility is another word for love. It is loving your community, the people, and extending support to the different groups and for the different needs.
November is Diabetes Awareness Month
Diabetes is a health issue that is alarmingly increasing in rates around the world. Millions of people are lost to diabetes each year. As it happens, in the Gulf region the rate of diabetic patients is astoundingly high! 25% of the population in the UAE are diagnosed diabetics! The saddest part is that, while diabetes used to be a disease that affects the elderly, it is now very common in young children! Many of the diabetic patients are, in fact, children!
While diabetes can be hereditary, and some can be born diabetics, a lot of the increasing rates are in: Type 2 diabetes, which is mainly caused by a sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise! It is due to bad eating habits and lifestyle choices that type 2 diabetes is on a constant rise. Come to think of it, most children are inactively glued in front of screens gobbling down crisps and candies! In any given day these children’s most activity is excitement over winning level 8 on the ipad! These same children eat fast food junk, candies, and crisps all day long, and when thirsty, they go for a soda!
As someone with a family history with diabetes, as a mother who worries about her children, and as a food enthusiast, this disease resonates with me. I have therefore decided to do something about this. I have decided to join those who are working super hard to raise awareness about this disease. There are many initiatives around the region who are really putting their heads together and getting to work in order for all of us to benefit and to prevent this awful, life changing disease from continuing to rise in rates.
One of these initiatives is the DECIDE Diabetes Initiative, with whom I have teamed up, together with Dr. Wafa Helmi Rida, who is working hard on helping diabetic patients, parents and caregivers of patients, learn how to take control of the disease. Dr. Wafa has been conducting extensive research on different foods and their effects on diabetic patients. Through this project, we are hopefully going to bring you a series of demonstrations, about healthy, diabetic-friendly cooking, where we will explore cooking methods, recipes and portions for diabetic patients. We will kick off this project with a press event and the first diabetic-friendly cooking demonstration this Tuesday Nov. 13th at the beautiful Kitchen in Miele Gallery. After this press event we will hopefully be bringing you a series of demonstrations for you to attend, which I will announce ahead of time here on the blog.
There are many resources online about Diabetes – including Type 2 Diabetes, Prevention and taking control of diabetes – that you can check out. Education is the best way forward, and the only way to take control of this disease. Please do read about it, and do help raise awareness, you will be helping and encouraging so many others to take control.
On another but same note,
Since eating habits develop in childhood and are cemented during teenage, and since most eating disorders develop in teens between the age of 13-17 years of age, I have designed a workshop – as part of my Little Chefs Programme – that aims at raising awareness of Healthy Eating & Eating Disorders among teens. This workshop is geared towards schools and Groups of Teenagers. When the majority of eating disorders take place among teens, it is vital that we raise awareness on this issue, and educate the teens about Healthy Eating, Body Image as well as Weight & Health management. Diabetes is one of the many side effects of some eating disorders, along with heart disease and many other life threatening diseases. Therefore, it is very important that teens are aware of the serious health effects of bad eating habits, fad diets, and extreme weight loss/gain.
In this workshop, I get together with the students/ teenager groups and we discuss all these health issues covering healthy weight & health management, then train them in simple healthy cooking techniques (alternative cooking methods) that they can utilise in their cooking as young adults and throughout their lives. All these skills will enable them to monitor their eating habits, activity levels as well as equip them with healthy cooking skills, to ensure they lead a healthy lifestyle now and as adults.
I have kicked off this project with Greenwood International School students. This is the first group of students, and I will be holding more sessions with the school, and other schools. If your school is interested in this workshop, please get in touch with me to arrange your students’ sessions. You will be doing these teens a huge favour. You can find a document I have prepared on this topic on this link.
I hope that this post encourages you to do something about raising Diabetes Awareness during November. This is the month of Thanksgiving too, and we give thanks by counting our blessings, being socially responsible, as well as through supporting others. Even if only through inspirations! So give your thanks to all your blessings and get socially responsible, support a cause. You can simply help us spread the word.
- 5 things EVERYONE can do to support diabetes awareness
- Healthy Eating For Diabetes
- Diabetes Type 2 Prevention
- 6 steps that help prevent type 2 diabetes
- Photos from Eating Disorders workshop with Greenwood International School session 1
- Read more about “Eating Disorders Among Teens” in the document: “No Body Is Perfect”
- Find a “Kids Healthy Eating” Parents Guide on this link.
On a separate and completely different note, I was a guest on the Dubai Eye Radio Station on Wednesday 14th, on the Siobhan Live Show 1:00 – 2:00 pm. We talked about Technology & Food and it was so much fun, if you had missed the radio show you can listen to all 4 parts on the links below: