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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Health Talk Series at Talise Nutrition

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Talise Nutrition offers a new series of health talks! Topic for the month of April is

DETOX

Even if your diet is good, a cleanse can restore your immune system and protect yourself against environmental toxins that pave the way for disease bearing bacteria, viruses and parasites.
According to many healing experts, detoxification through special cleansing programs may be the missing link to disease prevention, especially for immune-deficiency diseases like cancer, arthritis, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome and candida.
In the animal kingdom and in traditional cultures, routine fasting which allows the body time to clean itself out has been normal practice. Just think how many showers you take in a year to clean the outside of your body and then how many cleanses you do in a year to clean the inside of your body?

There are excellent cleanses that can be done with food ingredients – learn our top tips to detox building up to a purer, cleaner, leaner and radiant You.

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The events are free for everyone and the talks take place in

Madinat Jumeirah Talise Café on Sunday 16th April 9.45 – 10.30 am
Jumeirah Beach Hotel Talise Café on Tuesday 18th April 10.45 – 11.30 am
Jumeirah Emirates Towers Talise Fitness on Wednesday 19th April 6.00 – 6.45 pm

I  am looking forward to seeing you there!

Live healthy, feel good and look great – from the inside out.

Yours in wellness,

xx Gabi

 

Antioxidants & Arctic SuperFoods

With the Dubai weather getting slowly a bit chilly  – this is what we call the 22 degrees Celsius at night and is our actual “winter” – we start thinking of all the winter flavors. My favorite soup comes to my mind – red cabbage cappuccino. Sounds awkward, but please do try the recipe, it is so good! And the purple color is so unusual! The soup comes also with a benefit of low calorie count, great for a little pre Xmas weight loss. Did you know that this color is a sign of the presence of one highly sought after antioxidant? Antioxidants are highly beneficial to enhance the overall well-being, better ageing, health, beauty, and performance – all relates to the food we eat. So all that dark, purple and violet hues  in vegetables, fruits and berries should be part of our kitchen repertoire. The best antioxidative berries are blueberries.  The real  inside and out dark blueberries, the ones that leave your tongue dyed like a Chow Chow 🙂
These gems are unfortunately very seasonal when you want to get them fresh. Unless you have discovered already the powder form …. arctic berries powder. This is the new super food kid on the block. Below link leads you to the product information too. Expect my soon to be revealed new food menu in our Talise Cafes in Madinat Jumeirah and Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai c o l o r f u l. There will be always something purple…

xx Chef Gabi

I hope you enjoy reading my latest interview on Bilberry Blog!

5 Minutes with the Dubai based Raw Food Chef Gabriele Kurz

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Gabriele Kurz

A vegetarian take on Bavarian cuisine

We have been pioneering healthy lifestyle and cooking ever since I can remember. However – being brought up in a place where staple food is clearly much on the meat side and the cuisine rich and heavy this is not so obvious.
I am from Bavaria. Vegetarians and health food enthusiasts were a minority when I was a teenager. Nevertheless my mother had a well run Bio Hotel with exzellent vegetarian food since the 1980’s there, amidst the alpine area of Berchtesgaden and despite a beer brewer, meat eater husband. Well. That must be why she created lovely recipes of Bavarian food with a healthy and vegetarian twist. Let me share one favorite of mine with you, which I learnt is nowadays a new hype in New York City too. I claim we have invented it though! 😉 I can proof it: When I opened my vegetarian restaurant in Dubai, in Madinat Jumeirah, I had exactly this dish on the menu in 2008, much loved by our guests.
Trust me it is a worth trying dish. So delicious. Serve it with a side of potato salad. Recipe here. If you are missing the “weeds” used in this recipe, go for the classic lambs lettuce. You will love it too! The recipe can be prepared, and tastes also very good when cold. Ideal for Iftar preparations, as we have still the holy month of Ramadan.
Stay healthy during Ramadan and the hot summer. xx Chef Gabi (currently herself in Bavaria hence the Bavarian flavored Blog post).

Celery Schnitzel
2 portionsimage
What to Buy

1 small Celery root, sliced in 0.5 cm thick, and steamed al dente
20 g whole spelt bread crumbs
20 g whole spelt flour
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 egg
20 ml cream
salt, pepper to taste
1 tbsp coconut oil for frying

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How to Make It
Season the steamed celery slices with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Then dip each slice in this order in:
Cream
Flour
Egg
Breadcrumbs.

Preheat a non stick pan. Bake the Schnitzel in coconut oil on both sides until golden and crispy.

Chef Gabi’s Tip
Place the celery Schnitzel after baking on kitchen tissues to absorb extra coconut oil.
I serve them with a lemon slice and potato salad. But they also make a great center of a sandwich with pickles for example.

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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

Healthy Food on the go

What to do when you have busy schedule and want to maintain a healthy eating pattern on the run? I have written a book about food suitable for all busy bees out there, however it is in German language only, so here is a simple, wholesome and delicious dish out of it for all English speakers. It can be easily packed and taken along. Enjoy!

Buckwheat Taboulehimage

2 Portions

What to buy

50 g buckwheat
150 g tenderstem broccoli and 150 g cauliflower
150 g mango
Salt
2 tablespoons olive oil1 small chili
½ vanilla pod
1 lime (juice)
cress for garnish

How to Make It

Toast the buckwheat slightly in the oven.
Wash the broccoli and cauliflower and shred them. Peel the mango and dice it. Deseed the chili and chop it. Mix all ingredients and season with lime juice, olive oil, salt and vanilla. Serve topped with cress.

Chef Gabi’s Tip
Buckwheat is a gluten free grain providing high dietary fiber, eight essential amino acids, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc and copper. The grains are a rich supply of flavonoids, particularly Rutin.

Delicious Edible Wellness – raw vegan!

Being a cookbook author myself writing and developing recipes is one of my most loved tasks. I am currently experimenting a lot with raw, detoxing, vegan food for our Talise Spas. Because Spa food is by nature a light, detoxing, skin beautifying treat.

What more I need to say, take a look at my delicious edible wellness!

dessert1` parline salad and soup smoothie tartar vegchips2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am very proud that a selection of the dishes will be available soon through Talise Nutrition at Jumeirah Talise Spas in Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts. I will keep you posted!

Have a blessed Ramadan everyone, be balanced, stay healthy, radiant and fit.

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.

 

 

Healthy eating on the rise

This week I was extremely honored to be invited to a panel discussion at the Hospitality Business Summit Middle East. The topic:  ‘The perfect menu – trends in dining’.
Healthy eating has become a mainstream trend. But definitely not one of those trends that lasts only one season. It’s a lifestyle followed by many. Good to see it broadly influencing the food offerings of the business.
This is why Talise Nutrition is one of the 3 core pillars of Talise, Jumeirah Group’s Wellness brand. Healthy food is an essential source for a healthy body. Because we are what we eat. Together with Talise Fitness and Talise Spa it is the destination of good living:

Eat – Move – Relax.

Hospitality Business Summit june 2014

 

Delicious Cardamom Saffron Cookies

Baking the healthy way! It is the season for cookies and here is one new favorite of mine, definitely with Arabian flavors, and wholesome of course. They are quickly made and so delicious. If you wish to try your hand on baking, here is the recipe:

Cardamom Saffron Cookies

What to Buy for 40 small cookiesimage
1 g Cardamom seeds, roughly ground with mortar and pestle
0.1 g Saffron
150 g Butter (room temperature)
80 g Acacia honey
Organic orange zest (from 1 orange)
50 ml Orange juice
225 g Finely ground whole spelt flour
1 pinch Salt
100 g Finely ground almonds
1 Egg
120 g Dark chocolate

How to Make It
Warm up the orange juice and dissolve the saffron in it. Whisk the butter with honey, cardamom, orange zest, and a little bit salt to a creamy texture. Add the egg and continue stirring. When mixed well add flour, almonds and saffron-orange-mix and fold under. Form small cookies of the soft dough mixture with the help of a piping bag on a baking tray lined with pergament paper and chill for a minimum of one hour or over night before baking.
Bake the cookies at 180 degrees Celsius for 5 – 7 minutes. Once the cookies are chilled, dip the tips in melted  dark chocolate.

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Chef Gabi’s Tip
They taste best freshly baked. However I recommend to keep the remaining cookies in an airtight container and refrigerated for further use.
Enjoy and have a lovely winter day!