Why going gluten free isn’t a fad, its free health care

Posted by Amy Freeman

bread

Post by Amy Freeman

I thought I would follow up last weeks post with some points on why I believe gluten isn’t necessary as part of anyone’s regular diet. This kinda leads on from why I believe that the ‘Paleo’ or ‘Whole Food’ nutrition is benefiting everyone not just for improved body composition, but for overall general health and wellbeing.

Gluten free seems to be a term that is thrown around a lot these days which has some people interested and others rolling their eyes thinking it’s another fad. Gluten is the protein in wheat and cereals that gives dough it’s elasticity and therefore bread it’s addictive, soft, chewy, air light texture.

So why is gluten getting such bad press now?

Well in the 2009 study published in Gastroenterology, it showed that celiac disease has increased in 50 years from 1 in 650 people to 1 in 120 people.

This is largely down to the difference in the wheat we are now consuming compared to our parents and grandparents.

In order to meet the demand for factories with the amount of processed food, the increased population and increased general consumption, wheat farmers now use a hybridized grain that grows fast, is bug resistant and contains new proteins that were never in original wheat plants. These new proteins are not easily digested causing widespread gluten intolerance, high rates of celiac disease, increased inflammation and really bad side effects.

After seeing the transformation in many clients that had never thought gluten had been an issue for them until they cut it out and all of a sudden saw bloating disappear and health issues lessen, I believe that many people have an intolerance of some kind to it and luckily most people I know whether friends, family or clients seem to be aware that they do feel better overall when they don’t have it as part of their regular diet.

It is also very apparent in supermarkets these days with the vast amount of gluten free products this is becoming a very adopted way of living for people and I can say i have noticed that the cost of gluten free products (in Kuwait) now compared to 2-3 years ages also validates that. 2-3 years ago it was a ridiculous amount of money for quinoa and gluten free flour options and after studying the supermarkets at places like Sultan Center and SaveCo, the prices are substantially lower than they used to be because of the many more market players of gluten free products.

So for those that may not be aware of some of the classic side effects that gluten can cause on your body this may help identify some tell tail signs:

– Bloating after eating bread, pasta or wheat based products. Bread for most is a standout.

– Irritable bowel episodes

– Constipation and or diarrhea

– Inflammation in the joints. I’ve even read celiac websites that have said white specs have showed up on an MRI of a patients brain that was found to be gluten and the cause of the patients migraines.

– Severe acne

– Headaches/migraines

-Skin irritation/Eczema

Just to finish be aware that when you opt for some gluten free products, they often will have more sugar, fat and fillers in them to make up for the lack of texture and taste from real wheat so always read the ingredients and make sure you are aware of what they are using instead of wheat and don’t be blinded by the gluten free label. This is kind of the same as fat free products. When something is taken out it has to be replaced, just be aware and make sure that you aren’t replacing your wheat with a chemical concoction of god know what.

Happy Training Kuwait

Post by Amy Freeman, a Strength and Conditioning Coach from New Zealand and currently a Personal Trainer at Inspire Pure Fitness in Kuwait.

Photo by jmlpyt


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Another Slow Juicer Option

Posted by Mark

kuvings

Turns out the Hurom brand of slow juicers isn’t the only option for slow juicers in Kuwait. I spotted the above two Kuvings slow juicers at SaveCo and although they cost more than the Hurom (KD124 and KD109 compared to KD99 for the Hurom), the model on the left does accept larger pieces of fruit and according to this comparison video, can also yield more juice than the Hurom. For those of you who don’t know, slow juicers are preferred by some people because they tend to retain more nutrients during the juicing process when compared to normal juicers.


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A’s Chicken

Posted by Mark

aschicken1

I’m always on the look out for new places where I could pick up a healthy meal from and since trying A’s Chicken last week its now one of those places I’ll be frequenting often. I’ve already had them three times so far and even though their menu is super small that’s really not an issue. How small? They basically have only three main items, grilled chicken (1/2 or whole), grilled taouk and a chicken wrap.

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I’ve only had their taouk (which is grilled chicken cubes) and I always request it to be spicy. It comes with french fries, a not very garlicky garlic sauce (thats a good thing),a soft drink and costs KD2. The french fries obviously isn’t healthy so if you can’t resist them just tell them not to include it. The reason I like them other than the fact the spicy chicken taouk is delicious is because whenever I’m in the city and need a quick meal I can just pass by them and pick up my taouk. The only downside is the fact that you need to call 30 minutes ahead so it’s not fast food. Also I wonder if they can replace the fries with a bit of salad? I’m already swapping the soft drink with a bottle of water so if they can swap the fries with salad that would make this an even better meal. I need to check this next time I place an order.

A’s Chicken is located in Kuwait City in an alleyway next to Solo Pizza and behind Solo Tacos. They don’t have dine in just takeaway and delivery so if you want some grilled protein you can call them on 22412124 or find them on talabat.


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New Restaurants Opening Soon

Posted by Mark

alfredo

Instead of separate posts I figured I would combine all these into one. First up is Alfredo’s Gallery Restaurant which is opening soon in Avenues Phase III. According to their Facebook page they were originally supposed to open back in April but I guess they ran into some issues. According to a sticker on their store front as well as their homepage, Alfredo’s Gallery is the birthplace of the Fettuccine Alfredo.

wokhay

The second restaurant thats opening is Wok Hay located outside the main entrance to Green Island right next to the new Egyptian restaurant that opened Abou El Sid. Wok Hay is an Asian dining restaurant and according to an employee I saw there it should be opening up any day now. Wok Hay is owned by Ruby Tuesday Inc. and last year they shut down all their US locations after running into financial difficulties.


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The Blendtec Q-Series Blender

Posted by Mark

blendtec1

Recently I went on a blender hunt since I wanted to replace my Philips blender which started to struggle making my smoothies. I started checking out the two best blender brands, VitaMix and Blendtec. Just like the great SNES vs Genesis battle there is a similar one between VitaMix and Blendtec. You have to choose sides, it’s either VitaMix or Blendtec and you can’t have both. Both brands have excellent blenders and no matter which one you choose you can’t go wrong. After watching countless videos on YouTube of people comparing the two blenders and basically just watching people blend stuff, I came to the conclusion that both blend extremely well but I was choosing Blendtec. Why?

– I liked the way Blendtec blenders looked like compared to the VitaMix blenders. Looks aren’t everything but if I was going to spend so much on a blender and bond with it then I wanted to like everything about it including looks. For people with low kitchen cabinets the VitaMix might not fit underneath because the VitaMix jars are tall and thin while the Blendtec jars are wide and short. The Blendtec blenders also look like modern kitchen appliances while the VitaMix have an old school look which is probably why they’re so popular with hipsters.

– I’m a huge a fan of the Blendtec informercial series “Will it blend?“. In the show the company founder tries to blend random objects in their blenders and he’s blended everything from iPhones and iPads to glow sticks and McDonalds meals. If it can blend an iPhone, it can blend my smoothie.

– The local Blendtec dealer is Mabrook, the same dealer as KitchenAid and I’m already a customer there.

There really weren’t that many models to choose from at the VitaMix and Blendtec dealers and both of them carried only the business range. The Blendtec dealer had only three models, the Blendtec Xpress, the Q-Series which was their midrange unit and the Chef which was their top of the line model. I ended up going with the Q-Series because I loved the size of the unit, the way it looked and the soundproofing features. The fact that Starbucks also uses the same blender didn’t hurt either.

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The blender came in a huge unmarked brown box with just a small label on the side describing the contents. Inside the large box was the blender, two jars, some manuals and a CD. Setting up the blender was as simple as plugging it in and turning it on. It works right out of the box just like a regular blender. The “Q” in the “Q-Series” stands for quiet since the unit has sound proofing inside the case around the motor as well as a noise preventing cover that closes down over your jar. It’s meant for coffee shops and juice bars where they have to keep the noise level down as low as possible so as not to annoy the customers. The controls are fairly basic at first glance, 6 touch buttons on the top and a large power switch on the front but the 6 buttons on top are all customizable and programmable. The blender has 9 blending speeds and 30 pre-programmed blend cycles. Using the supplied “Cycle Chart” you can set up any of the 30 available pre-sets to any of the buttons on the blender and if there is a specific custom cycle you want you can take the blender to the dealer and they will program it into the blender.

I use one of the factory set smoothie cycles that is just 23 seconds long and consists of the following cycle: Starts off at speed 3 then goes to 5,1,3,5,3,6 and finally ends at speed 7. During the blending process the units LCD display will show you what speed the blender is on and how many seconds left for the blending process to be completed. The same blue LCD screen also displays a smoothie counter, kinda like how your car has the odometer, the Blendtec blender has a lifetime counter. As of this post I have made 95 smoothies in the two weeks I’ve had my blender.

blendtec4

There is literally nothing this blender can’t blend and no matter what I’ve thrown at it the blender has never even given the slightest sign of a struggle. My Q-Series blender has a 3.8hp motor and I haven’t used anything higher than a speed 7 even though it goes up to speed 9. I really didn’t realize how much my older blender used to struggle when making smoothies until I tried it again a week after getting my Blendtec. Not only did my old blender struggle but it also used to take around a minute to blend a smoothie. On the other hand I had a smoothie party last week and I was blending smoothies left and right flipping between two jars like a pro and blending nearly 3 smoothies a minute. I love this blender.

There are some downsides though. First is the fact the blender came with the regular 4-side jars and not the newer 5-side WildSide+ jar which is supposed to blend even quicker. The other negative is the fact the lid of the jar leaks when I clean the jar. To clean the jar all you do is fill it up with a bit of water and add a drop of soap. You then mount the jar on the the blender and use the “Pulse” button until the jar is clean. Only issue is unless I’m really holding down on the lid really hard it ends up leaking water from the top. I haven’t had any issue when blending my smoothies just when cleaning the jar but still, it’s annoying to have to keep wiping my blender down after cleaning a jar. The last issue is the price.

Before I mention the price I have to say, this blender is not for everyone in the same way Subzero fridges and Viking ranges aren’t for everyone. If you want a really good blender at a great price then I highly recommend the Philips which I previously had. But the Blendtec is one of the best blenders you can buy period and it’s commercial grade which is why it costs a staggering KD375. Even the Blendtec Xpress which is the entry level blender at the local dealer is still KD193. But good blenders cost a lot of money and it’s not just Blendtec or blenders, commercial grade appliances be it a fridge or a toaster will cost considerably more than regular plastic appliances. The VitaMix blenders I checked out locally were expensive as well with their entry level Drink Machine Two-Speed going for KD260 while their Vita Prep 3 is for KD359.

I love my blender.


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Gia Expanding

Posted by Mark

gia

Gia, my favorite little cafe in Salmiya with all the quinoa salads is going to be expanding by taking over the space next door. They’re going to close down over Ramadan and use that time for the renovation. Currently the place is always packed in the evenings so the expansion should reduce the chance of not finding a place to sit. Check them on out on instagram @giakwt


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Seedless Watermelons in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

seedless

I was at the Saveco Supermarket yesterday and spotted seedless watermelons. I have no idea why no other supermarket has thought about getting seedless watermelons to Kuwait, it’s the most amazing thing ever.

seedless2

The melons are mini sized and they weren’t cheap at around KD1.5 per kilo so my melon ended up costing around KD3.5 which is still a lot cheaper than the KD99 heart shaped melon at Sultan Center. I’m really loving Saveco.


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Finger Sushi – 24 Hour Sushi in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

finger1

A couple of days back I had just finished having lunch at Salhiya and as I was leaving the area by car I spotted the Finger Sushi sign on one of the buildings. I hadn’t noticed the sign before and since I was driving I made my friend note down Finger Sushi on my phone so I could check it out later once I got back home. That same evening around 1AM while watching the movie Non-Stop, I came across the note Finger Sushi on my phone and decided to see if they had a website or instagram account I could check out. I ended up finding both and right away what caught my attention was the fact that they’re open 24 hours a day. Me and my friends always have a hard time finding a place that isn’t McDonalds that is open after midnight and a 24 hour sushi place is exactly what we’d want late at night. So I paused the movie and gave them a call just to confirm that their dine-in is open 24 hours and not just the delivery and the guy on the other end of the line said I could come by any time of day and eat. So I decided once the movie was over I would head to Finger Sushi and try it out.

finger2

It was just after 2AM when I left my house and headed into the city. I put some Chet Baker on and took the scenic route arriving at the restaurant around 2:20AM and obviously, I was the only one there. There menu is very basic with just 7 makis, some salads and a handful of side dishes. By 7 makis I actually mean one kind of maki but you get to choose if you want it salmon, crab, shrimp, tuna, chicken, meat or vegetable. I decided to go with the salmon maki and asked them to make it spicy, the chef recommended I choose the red colored rice if I wanted it spicy but I decided to stick with white for the salmon and ordered another spicy crab maki with the red rice. I asked the chef what the sweet salmon salad was and he told me it was similar to the popular salmon avocado salad except with a different sauce. I ended up going with that as well and a side order of edamame. The cashier asked me if I wanted chopsticks which I replied yes to and he then asked me if I wanted soya sauce which I also said yes to. Turns out both are chargeable items costing 100fils each.

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While waiting for my order to get ready I took some photos of the place trying my best to make it look cooler than it actually is and while I was admiring my handiwork, the waiter calls me up and hands me over a tray with my order. All the items I had ordered were nicely packaged so I took a group photo and then opened the packages for one more round of photos before I proceeded to munch away on the food.

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I started off with the edamame which is impossible to go wrong with and once I was done with the edamame I started on the sweet salmon salad. This honestly was the worst thing I ordered and I have no idea why the chef would even compare it to a salmon avocado salad at other restaurants since its nothing like it. The salad was mostly lettuce with four or five small cooked and dry pieces of salmon covered with Lays chips. Not even the sauce could rescue the salad from disaster so save yourself the disappointment and skip the salads all together. Once I put the salad aside I started on the makis.

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According to the chef all their makis plates come as six pieces with each two pieces having a different sauce on top. I’m sure you could stick to one sauce if you want to but for your first time you’d probably want to have the three different sauces so you could get an idea of what they all taste like. The makis also all come covered with crispy tempura. I personally wanted to order my maki without the sauces and the crispy tempura but since I was going to write about the place I decided to keep everything as it was. All three sauces tasted fairly similar and they were strong enough to overpower the flavor of the whole maki. It didn’t matter if there was crab or salmon inside I couldn’t tell the difference. On the other hand the red rice gave it an interesting flavor since its prepared using rose water.

Overall it was pretty much what I was expecting from a 24 hour fast food sushi place along with a bill that fit the experience:

6 Piece Salmon Maki – KD1.200
6 Piece Crab Maki – KD1.200
Sweet Salmon Salad – KD1.000
Edamame – KD0.750
Soya Sauce – KD0.100
Chopsticks – KD0.100

Total: KD4.350

finger6

It’s the perfect place for late night munchies and I would go back again with my friends when every other place is closed. But, I would save my money and avoid the salad next time as well as having the makis without the crispy tempura or the sauces. Finger Sushi is located in the same building as Opera Cakes and Sahara Hotel which is on your left hand side once you leave the Salhiya area [Map]. They’ve been open for just over a week now and you can find them on instagram @fingersushi or online at fingersushi.com.


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Heart-shaped watermelons at Sultan Center… for KD99 each!

Posted by Mark

watermelon

Sultan Center are now selling heart-shaped watermelons for a ridiculous price of KD99 each. According to Sultan, only 120 pieces of these heart shaped watermelons exist and 40 were sent to Russia, 40 to Japan and 40 made it to Kuwait. I have no idea who would pay KD99 for a watermelon but they seem to think there are 40 people in Kuwait who would.

Thanks Abeer


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Abou El Sid Opening Soon

Posted by Mark

elsid

The popular Egyptian restaurant Abou El Sid is opening soon in Kuwait right outside The Green Island entrance. I haven’t been to Abou El Sid before but I just checked their website and the interiors of the restaurants in Egypt look authentic yet chic so I’m hoping they carry that design over here as well. Even the music sounds very cool (based on whats playing on their website). No clue to the exact opening date though, will update this post once I find out. [Link]

Update: Even though it still says opening soon outside it turns out its actually open already. They’re currently opening from 5PM to 11:30PM and the official opening will be on June 1st.


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