Ramadan & the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting for everyone

I am admittedly a foodie at heart and by profession, being a chef. When food does take center stage of your life and work, it may sound weird talking about fasting in a food related blog. However, the appreciation of something grows with the absence of it, isn’t it? Taking a periodical break from food can be very, very rewarding in many ways: Physical, mental and spiritual.
With Ramadan starting soon, this is a golden opportunity also for non-Muslims to re-think food intake. I often tune in with the spirit of Ramadan and mindfulness, performing an inner cleanse with something we call “Intermittent Fasting” even though I am not following this for religious reasons.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

It is giving your digestive system a break from the (hard) digestive work.
During a fast your body has the chance to clear stored toxins, rejuvenate, lose extra body fat, and heal.

A fast can be performed in many ways:  A full day and a full night,  or just a full day (like in Ramadan, from sunrise until after sunset), you can fast a few full days in a row, or only a few more hours than you usually would not eat (like during the time you sleep). Whatever suits you better, it is worth giving fasting a try.
As it is always hard to break a routine, it will be difficult in the beginning, but after a few days you will adjust to the new pattern. What else is in there for you? And I can assure you your taste buds are super sensitive after they have “rested” for longer than usual. Eating the simplest foods will be a special treat. Having said that – how to break such an intermittent fast the best and healthiest way?

We will talk in more depth about this theme in our next free health talks series:

15th May 9.45 – 10.30 am at Talise Cafe Madinat Jumeirah
16th May 10.45 -11.30 am in Talise Cafe Jumeirah Beach Hotel
18th May 6 – 6.45 pm in Talise Fitness Jumeirah Emirates Towers.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

xx Chef Gabi

p.s. Peonies from my garden at home in beautiful Bavaria 🙂

Eating Healthy in Ramadan

Summer in Dubai. Hot climate.  2015 the high temperatures started early and this year Ramadan falls amidst the hottest period of summer. Muslims observe strict fasting on food and beverage from sunrise until sunset during the holy month of Ramadan.  When breaking the fast and during the night the intake of food and beverage can make a huge impact on health and wellbeing. Even though I am always advising in my cooking classes and consultations on the advantages of regular healthy food and liquid intake, I believe in this very specific fasting period healthy food can be enormous beneficial.

soup 1


What to Buy for 2 portions

60 g broccoli
300 ml vegetable stock or water
Salt, pepper, nutmeg
1 slice fresh garlic (less than a clove to not over power )
1 tsp pumpkin seeds oil
1/4 bunch chives or spring onions green, finely cut

optional: 4 cherry tomatoes, 20 g smoked tofu, cut in cubes and skewered on a bamboo stick

How to Make It
Steam the broccoli for 3-5 minutes. Blend with water or vegetable stock and garlic. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and serve with a drizzle of aromatic pumpkin seeds oil and freshly cut chives. Divine!If you would like to do a little bit extra garnish, pan fry the skewer with cherry tomatoes and smoked tofu in a little bit of olive oil and serve with the soup.  This is optional, a bit more work but worth trying, especially if you have guests.
Chef Gabi’s Tip
This smooth-textured low calorie soup has a delicious fresh taste, a chlorophyll and vitamin packed appetizer, lunch or dinner.

If you wish to know what else to do with broccoli, per se a very healthy vegetable, read my blog post a bout Chlorophyll and  try my raw and vegan Broccoli Pesto here. Lovely to dip crudites in it, or wholesome bread, flax crackers or with zucchini pasta.
More soups I can recommend if you are fasting or not are the earlier published
Cauliflower Soup with Beluga Lentils
Carrot Soup with Oat Quenelles
Potato Vegetable Soup with Marjoram (Bavarian taste alert!)
and keep this one for winter: Red Cabbage Soup

Stay healthy this Summer & during Ramadan. xx Chef Gabi


Healthy Eating Tips for Ramadan

To ensure good health and fitness during the time of fasting, Talise Fitness and
Talise Nutrition have teamed up with health tips around the holy month of Ramadan.
Ramadan 1 new
A booklet of healthy lifestyle tips will be available in any Talise Fitness comprising my recipes, a meal plan recommendation and below generic tips to help maintain good health and optimal nutrition.

I hope you enjoy reading my tips, stay healthy and energized.

Wishing you all a peaceful and blessed Ramadan.


When breaking the fast in Ramadan, the quality of the food for Iftar and Suhoor is very important.

Ramadan 1 new
Food provides our bodies with the fuel source to manufacture energy. We often forget the importance of a healthy food in producing energy. The key to having a diet which produces high levels of energy is to avoid refined foods. Basically the more food is refined, the more energy deficient it becomes.

Ramadan 1 newThe second element related to diet is the amount we eat. Digestion takes up over 50% of our energy reserves. So overeating is one of the largest energy drainers on the body.


Ramadan 1 newFinally is lifestyle. Balance is the key. The most important element to lifestyle is ensuring adequate sleep. Sleep is when our bodies repair.
Look after yourself, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and maintain a positive, happy outlook on life. Your body will produce bounds of excessive energy, heal itself and you will feel and look ten years younger.

Add variety, but avoid volumes. Maintain balance. Embrace healthier foods.

VARIETY Ideal is eating a rainbow of colors, including black as for example black berries over purple like red cabbage and purple potatoes to white e.g. white radish or dairy

POWER PROTEIN We recommend to eat high quality, low fat protein. Prefer low purine meats such as white fish and poultry over red marbled meats prepared with very little fat (grilled, steamed, baked). For vegetarians: mushrooms, soy bean products, pulses, eggs, dairy, nuts and super grains quinoa and amaranth provide high quality protein.

Many vegetables are fibruous, and hence help digestion and detoxification. Look for broccoli, green beans, spinach leaves, savoy cabbage, pak choy, kale.

Eat a small to medium amount of good carbs which support slow and constant energy supply into the bloodstream, digestion and detoxification in all hulled starches and whole grains such as unpeeled rice, or quinoa, nuts and seeds. Avoid or reduce the bad carbs like white sugar, white flour, peeled rice etc.).

Avoid cream sauces and soups, deep fried and breaded foods, fatty cheeses, creamy desserts, and all things made with white sugar and white flour. Have fruits for dessert instead, and pick the wholegrain bread rolls from the basket.

BALANCE A 35 % raw 65% cooked food ratio is beneficial to avoid pH imbalance or over acidity. Have Something RAW in the beginning of a meal – you can start with a salad and a light dressing, or have some crudités with light dips, a cold soup (gazpacho) or fruits (for Suhoor).

MODERATE Eating very slowly and chewing well helps to consume moderate portions and optimal nutrient absorption. Don’t “clean the plate” – stop eating when you feel you are satisfied.



Healthy Iftar Treat – My Dates Cake

I feel very lucky to have friends here in Dubai with a lush dates palm garden. I recently was invited at their place to join the family for Iftar.
And look what I walked away with – packed with dates from their garden. So nice!

There is also delicious home made dates jam and lovely arranged platters of different dates which I had to promise to bring to my mother when I fly to Bavaria soon!


The shiny yellow dates are my new favorites: Their flesh is similar soft as a very ripe Khaki fruit and their sweetness is incredible. Like pralines with date ganache filling.
D e l i c i o u s .



In the hot summer season I am always delighted by refreshing yet nourishing and wholesome dishes. Being blessed with a new batch of dates, I went through my recipes for another dates preparation to share with you. Below recipe is good to prepare in advance (think daytime fasting but prepare food to serve for Iftar after sunset). Especially for the smoothie I recommend to start 1 day ahead for the maceration. The composition has a great taste and the right balance of sweetness, rich soft and creamy textures, and a fresh citrus and rosemary flavor. 
I think this could make a perfect sweet treat for your Iftar. Ramadan Kareem.

Dates Cake and Rosemary Lime Smoothie
1 cake (makes approximately 8 larger or 12 smaller portions)

What to buy
For the smoothie:

500 ml cream
1 bunch fresh rosemary
3 organic limes (juice and zest)
150 g Acacia honey or agave syrup

For the cake:
300 g whole spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
300 g carrots, grated
4 eggs
160 g butter
80 g acacia honey or agave syrup
1 pinch of salt
1 organic orange (zest only)
200 g dates, chopped

butter for the cake form and 3 tablespoons cocoa blossom sugar for the finishing touch

How to Make It
Bring the cream with rosemary stalks to a boil. Simmer the liquid on low heat for around 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and combine with the lime juice and zest, add honey to taste. Keep the liquid with the rosemary stalks for minimum 6 hours in the chiller to get optimum flavor. Then remove the rosemary and transfer the flavored cream either into an ice cream maker if you have one. Otherwise it works equally well to pour the cream into a container with a lid and keep it for couple of hours in the freezer. In this case you will blitz the frozen rosemary cream in a blender short before serving.
When you make the cake preheat the oven at 170 degrees Celsius. Divide the eggs. Whip the egg whites with a sprinkle of salt; add 50% of the agave syrup or honey and then the egg yolks with the orange zest. Continue to whip until thick foam is achieved. Fold under the flour, baking powder, carrots and 50 % of the chopped dates. Transfer the dough into a buttered cake form. Bake the dough for around 20 minutes. You can do the cake check: It is ready when a wooden skewer does not carry any dough when you stick it in. Remove the cake carefully from the form and chill it at room temperature. Mix the remaining dates with cocoa blossom sugar, sprinkle over the cake and caramlize the surface carefully with a blow torch. Cut the cake in portions and serve with the iced smoothie on the side.

Read more about dates here and have a also a look what else to use rosemary for. Enjoy!

Sharing my recipes – Cooking Classes

I love to share my recipes. Not only because I am not seeing cooking meant to be a secret science behind closed doors. Also I believe we don’t give away our souls with recipes. It is a creative thing. Food and food recipes constantly develop and change. There are always new ideas waiting to come live.  So why not share the current favorites?
There is a funny thing about recipes: You can give the same recipe to 5 people and let them execute it, what is on the plate can be 5 times different! Sometimes a cooking demo gives much more confidence. And consistency, if desired. One can see how a dish is developed, get involved in the steps needed to build and complete it, learn how to mise-en-place for it and lastly serve and present it. And you can always pick up some extra tips and hints that come along during such culinary sessions.

Written recipes are helpful – in particular in the beginning. In my cooking classes I always hand out recipes….and then we do the cooking, tasting, some dertours and extras. This is when a recipe becomes more: A story. At this stage you are half way to an even more interesting field, to creativity. You will start to enjoy free style cooking, based on the stories you have in mind.

This week we concluded the “season” for cooking classes in Madinat Jumeirah with a few really lovely group team buildings and demos that have been very nice and fun – thank you all for attending! I hope to see you back after the Holy Month of Ramadan.
Meanwhile please keep reading my Blog. I will continue to share tips, thoughts and recipes around healthy lifestyle.
Ramadan Kareem.