Health first

Who hasn’t eaten something that didn’t agree with them? After frequent digestive discomfort, I discovered that I have food intolerances and not long after, I started missing my favourite desserts. As someone who has a sweet tooth and is a health enthusiast, I struggled to find desserts that were intolerance-friendly, wholesome and, most importantly, tasted great.

Unwilling to accept my new fate, I decided to get back into baking and create gluten-free, innovative and feel-good treats that I craved. My mission is to create a world where we no longer miss out on our favourite foods, and crave natural wholesome treats. Here are my six tips on how to lead a healthy and mindful lifestyle.

Photography by Ahmad Arditi

1. Eat plant-based food often

This doesn’t mean that you’re restricted to only consuming plant-based foods. It suggests that you should make a conscious effort to include plants as part of your weekly meals. Remember that plants go beyond fruits and vegetables. Plants are seeds, nuts, legumes, whole grains, herbs, and spices. 70 percent of our immunity comes from our gut. A healthy gut thrives on diversity as each plant food has its own mix of different fibres that feed its own unique set of microbes. Tip: try to include three-to-five different plants in your diet every day, which will help you reach an optimum of 30 different plants a week. (Hint: spices are plants, so using four throughout the day will count towards your target of 30 per week.)

2. Choose nutrient-dense over low-carb

Why? Because even though you can cut carbs and lose weight quicker, the diet is often not sustainable or nourishing. Choosing more nutrient-dense carbs is better for healthy eating than choosing low-carb diets. Tip: opt for vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains as these types of carbs will add more fibre and vitamins to your daily meals, increasing your intake of antioxidants and boosting energy.

3. Take time to be present in your surroundings and practice gratitude

I used to struggle to be present and felt like I had to pack in as much as I could to achieve my goals. I know now that it was counterproductive, and small reflections are needed to be the best version of yourself. Tip: take five-to-15 minutes out of your day to meditate (I personally like guided meditations), walk outside, and start your day with journaling what’s on your mind).

4. Educate yourself to make informed decisions

I know it can feel overwhelming at times to read about conflicting health information that tends to circulate around social media. I’ve been there many times, which led me to develop unhealthy eating patterns. Once I took the time to educate myself more on health- related topics that interested me, I was able to make informed decisions. Tip: opt for two-to-three reliable sources on the topic you’re interested in to get a better idea of what’s best for you andbiassed sources, such as dairy industry-focused brands propagating that milk is good for you.

5. Don’t take life too seriously

It’s easy to get caught up with life, from working on never-ending tasks to following a strict regime. It could work temporarily, but is that the life you want to lead? One of my favourite quotes by an Irish playwright named George Shaw is, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.” These words personally inspire me to play more. Tip: set up one-to-two meetings in your weekly calendar that say, ‘Play time’, and dedicate those moments to something you truly enjoy, whether it’s dancing, drawing, singing, playing, or baking—the list is endless.

6. Eat enough food

This isn’t a diet of control or deprivation. If you only choose the foods that are lowest in calorie density, you’ll continue to feel hungry. Tip: eat highly and satiating plant foods like starchy vegetables (yams, squash, corn and potatoes), whole grains (rice, wheat and oats), and legumes (beans, peas and lentils) to ensure that you meet your energy needs without having to consume mountains of food to simply get enough calories. Combining fresh vegetables and fruits with whole grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables is the best mix to ensure that you feel full and maintain a healthy weight.


Cover Photo Photography by Ekow A; follow @Maitha_and_treats on Instagram for more tips