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 🙂
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Living the Talise Lifestyle

Healthy lifestyle and nutrition has gained so much momentum in the last years. It is great to see how everyone is much more aware how food choices affect health, wellbeing and look. I am honored to be able to share a great article about my healthy nutrition tips on the Top Food Trends 2016 written by Claire Hill on our hotel group’s very own blog. The blog is worth a look in all aspects, you may find very inspiring write ups on our luxury hotels across the globe. This is where I work! Who knows – maybe we meet in person one day somewhere in a beautiful Jumeirah hotel?
Read the article here.

Currently I am in Dubai where we have lovely winter weather with pleasant temperatures. All February I am running cooking workshops and health lectures during the first Talise Wellness Month in Madinat Jumeirah Resort, in Jumeirah Beach Hotel, in Jumeirah Emirates Towers and in Jumeirah Zabeel Saray on Palm Jumeirah. Meet me at Talise Spa, Talise Fitness and enjoy healthy choices in our restaurants. We have planned our second Talise Wellness Month (last years experience can be viewed here, here and here) with an array of healthy activities in Jumeirah Vittaveli Maldives end of March and it is safe to say we are also cooking up a visit in Jumeirah Frankfurt in spring this year. I will keep you posted.

Enjoy! xx Chef Gabi

by the way: Below pictures were taken at the iconic Burj Al Arab, our flagship hotel where Talise hosted a very exclusive Wellness Afternoon Tea including a practical cookery workshop with me.

Chef Gabi’s Wellness Tips – Chlorophyll

When I was a child my mother always was very strict with me eating some greens, ideally before anything else. (why eating something raw and ideally green before anything else is great read this).
I still remember our green juice cure, inspired by Kneipp. It was made from fresh pressed foraged stinging nettle.  And nothing else, which made the drink tasting like – erm – medicine. Well food is medicine, isn’t it? But does it have to taste like medicine? No, not necessarily. In our early years of experimenting with healthy eating, and if I say healthy eating I really mean the restrictive version of it, without exception and excuses, we didn’t care much.  At least my mother didn’t. I was a bit revolutionary about it though. (My mother can tell stories about me exchanging my healthy school breakfast she gave me with my schoolmates’ ones!).
The juice time wasn’t my favorite time of the day. Until the juice got enhanced by fresh pressed apple. Now I love it, this foamy green shot of chlorophyll and liver detox, a skin beautifier par excellence.
For those who are far away from fresh foraged nettles: Try green lemonade or the green mint drink for similar effect. Or maybe a homemade pesto? I reveal my latest green pesto recipe below – vegan and made with broccoli and kale.
We have started green juicing in Dubai in  Madinat Jumeirah (where most of my blog posts relate to as you may discover), Jumeirah Beach Hotel, in Jumeirah Emirates Towers and in the Maldives Jumeirah Vittaveli where I recently attended the launch of their ‘Wellness Month’. (below some photos from my recent Maldives work visit)
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So now my wellness tip of today: Eat (or drink) your greens. Daily. Why?

CHLLOROPHYLL

Green food nutrients support healthy blood and circulation. Iron, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin B12, pyridoxine and protein are all vital for the formation and maintenance of adequate levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells. In addition, chlorophyll, vitamin K, and calcium are all involved in blood clot formation and breakdown.
Chlorophyll helps to gently cleanse the body, balance pH levels, promote good digestion and fight free radicals. Active enzymes help digestion, promote energy production and support metabolism. Antioxidants support the immune system, healthy aging and cardiovascular function.

Stay healthy and have some green food every day. xx Gabi

Broccoli and Kale Pesto – vegan
What to Buy for 2 portions

50 g Kale
50 g Broccoli
20 g Sunflower seeds or Cashew nuts
20 g Parsley
10 g fresh Zaathar or Basil
3 g Garlic
100 ml Olive oil
zest of ½ Organic lemon
Salt & crushed black pepper to taste

Optional: 1 small green chili, seeds removed (for those who like a spicy pesto)

How to Make It
Wash, pick and pat dry the leaves. Toast the sunflower seeds and cashew nuts to enhance flavor. Rough cut the broccoli and the kale leaves. Crush the garlic.
Prepare the pesto, using a blender: Garlic, lemon zest, toasted sunflower seeds and cashew nuts, basil or zaatar, parsley, broccoli, kale leaves and the olive oil, salt and pepper.  If you decided to add that spicy touch, also throw in the green chili.

Chef Gabi’s Tip
This pesto is delicious as a dip with baked sweet potatoes, for crudités, for zucchini “noodles” or regular pasta, with a risotto, or on top of a bruschetta. Enjoy your greens!

Chef Gabi’s Wellness Tips – Jumeirah Vittaveli Maldives

On vacation, far away form the everyday business and all the distractions, shortcomings of all sorts and stressful lifestyle relaxation and ‘selfness’ are much easier to achieve and a great opportunity to start a number of so called ‘good habits’. These good habits may make it into a routine once you are back to normal life and  work too.
Being recently to Jumeirah Vittaveli in the Maldives where they celebrate in April their ‘Wellness Month’ with a number of special offerings I have to say this is one perfect place to get into the wellness vibe. Such a beautiful place. I couldn’t help shooting my signature apron in front of that view:

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Read a related article in the MALDIVES HOTELIER here.

Now on to the Wellness Tips:
Some small but essential secrets of wellness are so simple we often forget about their importance: WATER. If we drink every hour one glass of water we maintain hydration, help flush out toxins, support brain function, and much more. I have posted earlier about water and hydration here.

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In Jumeirah Vittaveli I loved the presence of these drinking water bottles everywhere: In the bathroom, living room, next to the bed, in the minibar to make tea or coffee.

Being inspired by their beautiful organic herb garden, where super green spinach leaves and fragrant holy basil grew in abundance even though the garden was quite new ( I was the first to harvest here – very honored! I heart the Vittaveli landscaping team)  I created a green lemonade, which was served at sunset. Well it can be taken any time of the day, and it tastes really good.

Basil Cucumber Lemonade
What to Buy for 4 large portions

1 small cucumber FullSizeRender
2 teaspoons honey
juice of 1 lemon
4 basil sprigs
2 handful spinach leaves
950 ml still water

 How to Make It

Dice ¼ of the cucumber and the chili. Blend the remaining cucumber with lemon juice, water, honey and basil. Serve with basil sprig on ice.

Chef Gabi’s Tip
This chlorophyll rich elixir hydrates, kick starts metabolism and supports relaxation.

If you manage to hydrate yourself by either drinking plain water, aromatic herb water, aforementioned green lemonade, or my hibiscus ice tea you can already tick off one wellness task.

If you have the chance to soak in natural sea water (or salt water in a bathtub) for at least 30 minutes per day you help detoxification through the largest organ, your skin, with the osmotic pressure through water and the cleansing effect of salt. Well, I risk you envy me now if I show you how enticing that looks in the Maldives. IMG_1013
But rest assured, it works the same way anywhere,  in Dubai (where I am back to now), Abu Dhabi, Mallorca, Turkey or at home in your bathtub.
Stay healthy and hydrated. xx Gabi

Spring – best time for a cleanse from the inside out

Although it is always good to do regular detoxes, spring is the most popular time to refresh, re-energize and cleanse the body from stored toxins. Getting rid of lazy fat deposits gained over winter, reverse the lack of exercise, increase dramatically oxygen and sunlight intake and dedicate your menu planning to all clean eats has an immediate positive impact on our overall well-being and look.

A program can be tailored and done anywhere and anytime, while at work or on vacation. Whilst during a busy schedule at work it might  be a bit harder to pursue, vacation is a perfect time to reverse some (bad) habits, maybe say good-bye to them for good and introduce healthier lifestyle choices with ease.

Talise Nutrition just got back from a work visit to the Maldives, where our beautiful Resort on Bolifushi Island introduced the Jumeirah Vittaveli’s Talise Wellness Month.

Highly recommended for a Wellness escape Talise style.

Discover your inner balance. XX Chef Gabi

Let me share with you some of my favorite detox recipes, a delicious and healthy, shown at my cooking classes at Jumeirah Vittaveli. Stay tuned, more posts about my trip to the Maldives to come!
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Beetroot TARTAR
What to Buy for 2 portions

300 g beetroot, cooked

1 tsp mustard
1 tsp capers
Salt, pepper
¼ bunch chives
50 g cauliflower
30 ml yoghurt

How to Make It

Peel and grate the soft cooked beetroot. Season it with salt, pepper, mustard and chopped capers. Finely cut the chives. For the cauliflower “Remoulade” grate the cauliflower, steam it until al dente and mix it with the yoghurt. Add salt, pepper and a little mustard to taste. Arrange on plate using a ring. Garnish with cauliflower “Remoulade”, finish with chives.

Chef Gabi’s Tip

Beetroots are an excellent food for overall health. Mostly known as a blood builder and blood purifier that help create red blood cells, beetroots help also improve the structure of the blood. Besides this it is great support  to the digestive system, large intestine, and circulatory system.

Cauliflower, a member of the cabbage family, is known as a vegetable supportive to weight management. It acts anti-inflammatory due to its content of Vitamin K and is a great source of dietary fiber and antioxidants.  Antioxidants are essential in destroying free radicals that accelerate the signs of aging. It provides also important B Vitamins like niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and thiamine.

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Talise Nutrition Healthy Cooking Classes

Meeting people from all walks of life and preparing food not only for them but together Bloomies kitchen poster classwith them, is one of the things I find is the most interesting, rewarding, and worthwhile experience in my work.  I profoundly love conducting cooking classes. And I not only teach people my way of healthy food preparation and all things around healthy lifestyle, I always learn from my guests too.

Here I was with an admittedly massive poster of myself at a cooking event in Dubai.

When there is not much time for cooking and you still want dishes that have the potential to impress – try these two. I admit the Strudel dough is better taught live and requires a bit of secret practice before you can show off with this recipe at a dinner reception. But after you mastered it it will be one of your favorites, trust me. It results in a clean and organized kitchen (the mess is cleared far ahead of the event), a relaxed host (because everything can be prepared and kept), and a perfectly delicious meal your guests will wonder how you did it.

Kale Cauliflower Strudelclass strudel
Whole spelt strudel dough, sunflower pesto

 What to Buy for 10 portions
300g Whole spelt flour
125ml Milk
1 Egg
50g Butter, melted
25g Sunflower seeds
40g Parmesan Cheese, grated
5g Garlic
25ml Olive oil
100g Kale
200g Cauliflower
60g Cherry tomatoes on the vineclass strudel final.png
20g Sour Cream
Salt, pepper to taste
½ bunch each Parsley and Basil
1 sprig Rosemary

How to Make It
Prepare the dough: combine egg, 25 g of the melted butter, flour and milk with a pinch of salt until smooth elastic dough is achieved. Wrap in cling film and rest at room temperature minimum 30 minutes.
In the meantime wash and clean the kale, rough-cut the cauliflower and steam both for a couple of minutes al dente. Kale takes 1 minute, cauliflower about 3-4.
Roll out the dough very thin, place on a flour dusted kitchen towel. Brush the dough with a little butter; place the vegetables on top, season with salt and pepper and place dollops of sour cream. Roll up tight to a sleek strudel, place on a greased baking tray and bake at 200 degrees in the oven for around 15 minutes. Place the cherry tomatoes with rosemary, salt, pepper and a little olive oil in an oven tray and bake as well for 10 minutes.

In the meantime prepare the pesto, using a blender: Garlic, toasted sunflower seeds, basil, parsley, the remaining olive oil, salt and pepper.

Serve slices of strudel with a side of cherry tomatoes and a bit of aromatic pesto.

Chilled Rose Hibiscus Consommé
Frozen yoghurt quenelle, pistachio chia crumble

What to Buy for 10 portionsHibiscus Consomme

550ml Apple juice or apple tea
500ml Water
60g Tapioka
5g Hibiscus flower dried
20g Pistachio
20g Chia seeds
400ml Greek yoghurt or labneh
½ Vanilla pod
1 Organic lemon
180g Agave syrup or acacia honey
15ml Rose water

Apple Tea (highly recommended to make it fresh):
1 l Water
4 Red or yellow apples
1 slice Ginger
1 slice Organic lemon
Acacia honey or agave syrup to taste

How to Make It
Prepare the apple tea: Wash and rough cut the apples, simmer on low heat with the lemon slice and ginger for around 1.5 hours. Allow to chill before straining.
For the Quenelles open the vanilla pod and scrape out the pulp. Mix the pulp with yoghurt, season with some honey and place portion sized dollops on a cling filmed tray fitting your freezer. Freeze for around 30 minutes.
Use the chilled apple tea or alternatively apple juice and water to prepare the consommé: Grind the tapioca (coffee grinder, mortar and pestle).  Bring 1050 ml of the apple tea or juice with water to a boil, stir in tapioca, add the scraped vanilla pod and allow simmering for around 30 minutes, lid on. Once tapioca is dissolved, remove from heat, add hibiscus, season with honey and lemon juice. Chill, strain and finish with a dash of rose water.

Serve the chilled rose tea with a half frozen vanilla yoghurt quenelle, and top it with crushed pistachio and chia seeds.

If you would like to see how I make my Talise Nutrition Flavors of Health from scratch: I am offering cooking workshops in the Talise Wellness Pavilion at Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai. Email me for more information. It would be a pleasure meeting you and cooking together!
class imagePicture on the right shows me teaching a masterclass at the Jumeirah Emirates Academy of Hospitality and Hotel Management.

Healthy Food for Running

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Dubai Holding annual Womens Run is coming up soon, hence I have been asked to give some tips how to nourish the body in preparation, during and after running a marathon.
Nourishing the body and eating smart is always a good idea. It can help in many ways to be better, support sports performance, look great, feel good every day.

Read the article here.
dscn17421As the good carbs play a role when it comes to endurance sport performance
this simple and delicious recipe might be of interest!

Stay healthy and enjoy life!

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.
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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.


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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.

HIGH FIBRE & WHOLESOME
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.).

LOW FAT and LOW SUGAR
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.

 

 

A wellbeing chef’s perspective – my top 20 favorite ingredients

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I love my ingredients – every single one for a different reason. Being recently asked what I personally would put on a top grocery list, here is what you always find in my fridge or kitchen cupboard:

 

Extra virgin olive oil – for salads and infused oil preparations. Its a pity to heat this oil however I do it – occasionally.
Raw coconut oil – for cooking, baking and for beauty (yes, I put it on my skin every day)
Fresh avocado – a super basic for salads, salsas, smoothies, spreads and raw ice cream. Exceptional healthy fat.
Green lettucevitamin rich raw ‘rabbit food’ with high chlorophyll factor, good to improve oxygen absorption and digestion
Parsley – great for detoxification and of course for taste. I sometimes juice it with apple to a delicious green super juice. It is a main ingredient in my aromatic herb oil.
Tomatoes – for everything from salads, soups and broths, base for cooking healthy complex carbs such as quinoa. A very versatile vegetable I can’t live without. See here something ideal for a summer party!
Cucumbers – for their high water content, low calories and and fresh taste. And I use the juice as skin tonic too.
Pumpkin – for color, taste, smooth texture when cooked in purees and soups and for their support in kidney function. You should try one of my most famous recipes.
Almonds skin on – for non dairy milks, for baking, in muesli and for the extra crunch in salads and their good fats. The leftover pulp when I made almond milk is good face scrub by the way.
Himalaya salt – my favorite quality when it comes to salt. It has an almost sweet and mild taste, less aggressive than many other salts and great for cleansing too.
Bird’s eye Chillies – my personal every day favorite. The little hot and spicy devils I just put often in my home cooked dishes. I keep a home made chilli oil next to the basic salt and pepper, so I can drizzle a little dash on my salads.  For those less adventurous with spicy flavors: Sometimes a hint of chili brings the little something to soups and marinades, when used sparingly.
Artichokes – a little luxury and one delicacy I buy when i come across fresh and good quality ones. Although they need a little extra attention to clean and leave a somewhat brown color on the fingers, they are so delicious and support liver detoxification. I use them cooked in salads, or just braise them with garlic, lemon zest, rosemary and tomatoes.
Naked oats – I never buy flakes, but crush the oats freshly before use in mueslis, protein pancakes, quenelles and much more. Crushed oats mixed with honey and yoghurt make a great skin treatment too.
Quinoa and Amaranth – wholesome healthy protein packed powerhouses. I cook them, sprout them, puff them, bake with the flour….very versatile and taste delicious. My signature puffed Amaranth muesli featured at the Burj Al Arab.
Black Rice – this wholesome carbohydrate is a great asset in the kitchen, it turns into a dramatic deep purple shade when cooked. Rice has an alkalizing effect.
Cottage Cheese – low in fat, high in protein I mix it into pancakes, spreads and toppings. Together with diced tomato, cucumber and parsley a super snack. You can see it here on a super healthy beach breakfast after a yoga session at Madinat Jumeirah Resort.
Acacia honey – besides agave and maple syrup great to sweeten foods when necessary. Although I have not a sweet tooth, I often add a hint of honey to anything cooked with tomato to balance flavors.
Raspberries – fresh or frozen they add antioxidative power and a lovely taste to my herb water, non alcoholic punches and desserts.
Passion fruit – high in Vitamin C and the seeds add extra crunch. I love this fruit. Just 1 added to a fruit salad or muesli lifts tastes to new heights.
Lemon – without lemons I just can’t work, similar to tomatoes. They balance flavors, prevent from browning, add Vitamin C and their fresh taste to many food preparations.

Eat healthy, be balanced and stay fit!

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