Energy Diet


All the kids in my family love our house. They think it’s a mini supermarket where they can have whatever they like: sweets, chips, chocolate, cookies, soda, etc. Not anymore.

A family visit to the fish market

A family visit to the fish market

Entering this challenge has created a lot of changes in our life, and we are still changing as we go along in this endless journey. I say endless because I hope my kids will carry on with what we started with to the next generation.

Eating vegetarian meals during the week is one thing, but sticking to a vegetarian diet for one whole day isn’t at all as easy as I thought, especially when you’re dealing with children aged 2, 4 and 6. My baby girl always asks for chicken in each spoonful — I tell her that the chicken is hiding. Another trick is to have them involved with cooking. That’s fun, but very difficult, and if you have children you know what I mean. One thing I did was to have a fruit party for the kids, which they loved. Add the magic word chocolate to fruit and you will have the best party ever.

I was taught by my mother and father, may god bless their souls, not to waste blessed food by putting the amount you want on your plate and no more. I’m trying hard with my kids to do the same. I used to eat the leftover food from my kids, but now we also have the compost bin (or the “magic bin,” as my kids call it), and I don’t have to worry about it.

I have been well known as a health-conscious person among family and relatives. So when I had a look at my kitchen, I was shocked at the amount of processed canned food we had, such as tuna, baked beans, corn and sodas.

We have a bounty of good fish in UAE.

We have a bounty of good fish in UAE.

The kids and I were depending on canned tuna as a good source of protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and it is the only kind of fish we eat. But after I read about canned food is processed, I had second thoughts. Why? Because of the heat involved in the processing and potential toxins such as Bisphenol A (or BPA), which is a chemical used mainly in cans, as well as plastic food and beverage containers, that has been linked to reproductive problems and a host of other disorders. (More information on Bisphenol A here from the Environmental Working Group – ed.)

Due to my recent research about canned food products, I have changed my mind about having canned food. I have become a better food selector for myself and my family, and decided that fresh food should be our first choice, with frozen food second, as it is likely to move faster than canned food and lose less of its nutrients in the process.

The boys and I have been diagnosed with G6PD deficiency, which is an inherited condition in which the body doesn’t have enough of an enzyme that works with the red blood cells. This leads to the destruction of red blood cells, which can be triggered by certain foods – and guess what I found: canned baked beans, are one of the triggers. So it’s definitely something for us to avoid.

The kids enjoy pomegranate from our backyard tree.

The kids enjoy pomegranate from our backyard tree.

We are also trying hard to cut down on junk food as much as we can. Having lemon, pomegranate, red berries and a new fig tree in our back yard is a blessing, and a green house with lots of vegetables and fruit is definitely one thing to consider in our new house.

As much as possible and based on the above info, I will eliminate having canned food products and replaced them by fresh or even frozen, besides having more organic food. I was scared about abandoning canned tuna, but after a visit to the local fish market (see above), I changed my mind. Local fresh fish from the deep blue sea, I could never ask for more.

“Eat and drink but waste not by excess, for Allah loves not the wasters.” 7:31 holy quran

This applies to everything: food, water, clothes, books and even your rubbish. Just be creative! And know how to deal with it.


  1. clipton
    February 15, 2011, 1:25 pm

    Thanks for the information on BPA. There are reports of BPA on cash register receipts as well:

    That said, I do not want to exaggerate public health concerns. The U.S. Center for Disease Control states, “human health effects from bisphenol A at low environmental doses or at biomonitored levels from low environmental exposures are unknown.”

    Since more research is needed, I prefer to practice “prudent awareness,” which means avoiding unnecessary exposure.

  2. boudour
    Abu Dhabi, UAE
    February 16, 2011, 3:32 pm

    it sems that avoiding is the best thing in the time been, to tell u the truth i have not eaten tuna for the last 3 weeks, for my kids, i have been trying fresh fish from the market. I was wondering if there is a sealed packs of tuna as an alternative, and if I could not find what is the best solution to solve this matter, I don’t want to delete the fish from their diet, and how will I know that the one I am using is good tuna can.
    Usually the one I use is caned tuna from Oman our nabour country , and it says that it is white meat tuna, contains tuna, sunflower oil and salt, and it says also fresh daily from the sea Ec approved 112gram drained weight , and 160 gram net weight. Do you think it is a bad issue since I know that fishing in the gulf is one of our main sources of food, but its not in the states or Europe.

    I would also like to mention the amount of tuna can my family consume in a week which is 3 cans for me and my little ones. Basically one can of tuna per day for making small sandwiches. Dose this count normal amount???

  3. boudour
    Abu Dhabi, UAE
    February 16, 2011, 3:40 pm

    i want to ask about the right amont of meat for the kids and me as well, i noticed that we dont eat that much, and i am looking for a balanced diet. we have at least 5 meals a week meat and chicken, each day for me and the kids have 250 gram of meet or chicken, as for my husband he prefers fish. i was actually depending on the tuna can. my question is is this a normal or good balanced dite, or i am not giving the right amount for my kids?

  4. lolowa
    February 19, 2011, 8:34 am

    auntie boudour, i really miss ur mini super market, and i am waiting for the second fruit party.

  5. lolowa
    February 19, 2011, 8:37 am

    can i ask u, what is the meaning of the compost bin????

  6. boudour
    Abu Dhabi,UAE
    February 21, 2011, 1:20 am

    hello lolo, i will be having a fruit party very soon to celebrate fatimas 3rd birthday party, so u r most wellcome dear. as for ur question , i am sure its hard for u to understand as i did not understand what is the meaning of that, maybe old pepole know about it, but not the young ones, once u know it, u will love it. The compost bin, is a bin used for fertilizing the left over food from ur own kitchen at home collect ur daily kitchen food waste in a container and add to the bin at the end of the day, bread, citrus, vegetables scraps, egg shells, meat scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds, meal leftovers, etc. leave it from 4 to 6 weeks, then u empty the contents into a hole or trench in the garden, it will be mixed with the soil making a fertilization to ur plants and trees. Basically u r feeding the plants at home.