Adapting Paleo diet to suit UAE living

HDaleSince switching to a paleo diet two years ago, the Abu Dhabi-based nutritionist Heather Dale says she’s lost 14 kilograms.

Now, she’ encouraging others to adopt the eating scheme through her new book, Paleo Nutrition, and a series of workshops in Abu Dhabi.

It’s based on the premise that our digestive systems have not evolved much in the 10,000 years or so since farming practices began. Hence, for health benefits, we should really be following a diet akin to that of our hunter-gather ancestors.

In essence, this consists of meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and berries. Off the menu are processed foods, grains, dairy products, sugar and caffeine.

One might fear that this sort of diet could mean a succession of bland, joyless meals, but Dale’s book is full of tasty, paleo-compliant recipes that she believes confounds this assumption.

It includes instructions on how to cook the likes of mustard-glazed chicken thighs and sweet potato pancakes. At her workshops, she teaches participants how to make these meals.

Most of all, she has the UAE grocery shopper in mind, and focuses on dishes that can be knocked up from the limited range of goods available in this country.

“There is a lot of paleo information available on the internet, but a lot of it was written in the West,” explains the 36-year-old from the US.

“People have said to me they find it very frustrating living here as often they cannot find ingredients for these online recipes. So I’ve really designed recipes we can make while living here.”

As well as helping with weight loss, Dale says that eating paleo will lead to other health improvements, such as reducing eczema, acne and arthritis.

“A decade ago, everyone thought a low-fat, restricted calorie diet was the solution. But in reality, it’s about balancing blood sugar levels and managing hormones. And the paleo diet does exactly this.”

Hugo Berger

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