Traditional Cuisine from the UAE

Though perhaps not as familiar to the Western palette as Asian, Italian, or Latin-inspired foods, food from the Middle East is some of the finest in the world. Rich in savory flavors and spices, Middle Eastern cuisine is about more than just hummus (although that’s delicious, too).  As international medical salesman and food aficionado Hussain al Nowais points out, among Middle Eastern cuisine, the burgeoning nation of the United Arab Emirates offers some of its most delicious. In fact, dishes from the UAE often reflect a unique, yet tasty collaboration of Middle Eastern and Asian inspirations. What does Hussain al Nowais love to sample while on business in the UAE?

Stuffed Camel

Though it may sound unusual to the foreign ear, stuffed camel is actually a delicacy in the UAE, and for good reason. This elaborate dish is prepared by placing a combination of whole chickens, boiled eggs, fish, and a sheep inside of a whole camel, which is then slow roasted over a charcoal fire. Though complex in execution, to be sure, the stuffed camel has been a staple on menus for weddings, family celebrations, and other special occasions in the UAE for years.

Shawarma

Shawarma is perhaps one of the UAE’s most popular dishes, and is commonly eaten for both lunch and dinner. Shawarma is prepared as a pita wrap made of shredded lamb or chicken, and is typically dressed with tomatoes, garlic sauce, and pickles, among other spices. For those interested in experiencing the savoriness of Shawarma for themselves without boarding a plane, know that Shawarma can be prepared with relatively basic ingredients and can be ready to eat within just 35 minutes.

Matchbous (Kabsa)

Matchbous is another exceptional menu option when dining in the UAE, although this dish isn’t exactly exclusive to the country. A highly similar version of the dish is prepared throughout the Middle East in countries like Saudi Arabia and Yemen, where it’s known as Kabsa. Matchbous is a rice-based dish topped with lamb that’s been stewed in tomatoes and seasoned with dried limes (loomi).

Khabees

Have a sweet tooth? While in the UAE enjoy Khabees, a sweet yet simple breakfast dish prepared using just flour, oil, sugar, saffron, water, almonds, and cardamom, a spice incorporated throughout a variety of UAE recipes. While iconic of the UAE, Khabees is actually a variation of a Greek dish known as halva, although Khabees uniquely requires that flour be toasted before it’s combined with the dish’s other ingredients.

As Hussain al Nowais emphasizes, these dishes represent just some of the many food items popular in the United Arab Emirates, a country that, even though known as a hub for international influences, maintains a proud tradition of local cuisine. Guests from around the world can experience the best the UAE has to offer by attending its annual international food festival, held in Dubai.

Is the Paleo Diet a Feasible Lifestyle Choice?

The Paleo diet has emerged as one of the most popular options for weight loss over the last five years, rivaling the Atkins diet, South Beach diet, and the Mediterranean diet in buzz and popularity. The diet, which only includes foods akin to what our ancestors of the Paleozoic era would have ate, is apparently designed to work in tandem with our genetic makeup to keep us fit and energetic. When we look at what comprises the Paleo diet (vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats), there’s no question that if used as an approach to weight loss, the Paleo diet will certainly help individuals achieve their goals. But is the Paleo diet a sustainable lifestyle approach? Hussain al Nowais, an international salesman that frequently travels abroad or works on location in the UAE, combines his passion for healthy living with what he experiences as an on-the-go business professional to take a closer look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Paleo diet.

Strengths

  • The Paleo diet’s emphasis on consuming lean meats like turkey, pork, grass-fed beef, and chicken offers followers a key source of protein, which can be highly advantageous for those with busy schedules. Protein is not only what builds our muscles and bolsters our immune system, it’s what keeps us full. A diet rich in lean protein will therefore limit snacking and make a long work day more bearable. Swapping out most red meats for lean meat also lowers fat consumption, and in turn, improves heart health.
  • Among the Paleo diet’s ability to help followers lose weight, it also affords many other health benefits, including clearer skin, a reduction of autoimmune diseases, better sleep patterns, fewer allergies, sustained energy levels, and more efficient work outs. Again, for the working professional who seeks to make the most of their day, any diet that can eliminate hindering conditions like poor sleep and allergies is worth looking into.

Limitations

  • The Paleo diet excludes food groups that are a part of many typical diets. These include all dairy products, (most) red meats, starchy vegetables, grains, legumes and beans, processed foods, sugars, and salty foods. These restrictions may prove too limiting for those that don’t always have time to prepare freshly cooked meals or who are frequently on the go and simply don’t have access to these foods.
  • Because the Paleo diet excludes any processed food, followers of the diet may see their grocery bills rise in cost. The reality is that fresh organic foods are more expensive than packaged, processed items; for those on a budget, fully-committing to the Paleo diet simply may not be feasible.
  • For athletes and those that are highly active, the Paleo diet’s exclusion of carbohydrates may not provide the energy needed to make it through the day. What the diet does include will definitely help sustain energy levels, but for some, carbohydrates will remain a key part of their long-term diet.
  • The Paleo diet doesn’t make any recommendations for portion sizes; this means that even though the foods it includes are healthy, followers prone to snacking may find themselves consuming too many calories over time.

Ultimately, while the Paleo diet offers many health benefits, the contents of its diet can be both limiting and costly. For those that have the means to purchase and prepare Paleo foods, the Paleo diet is an attractive lifestyle choice, but for those like the UAE’s Hussain al Nowais, who don’t always have access to exclusively fresh meals, the tenants of the diet are perhaps something to partially incorporate, rather than wholly adhere to.

Why the UAE Will Become a Leader in Innovation

It’s no secret that the United Arab Emirates is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Home to the prosperous cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, its opulence is evident on practically every corner of every street. Yet, while the UAE stands as a symbol of prosperity and success, many believe it should also stand as a symbol of global innovation. According to international salesman Hussain Al Nowais, a man who frequently conducts business in the UAE, it’s easy to see how this country is approaching the forefront of global innovation.

The UAE has made no secret of its desire to embrace innovation. In fact, UAE officials have declared 2015, “The Year of Innovation,” and have already launched a series of initiatives to build upon their current endeavors and deploy new projects to ensure that the country continues to lead the region in scientific and technological advancement. The UAE has even created a “CEO of Innovation” position that will be filled within every department of government.

Because the UAE has focused so heavily on sustaining business in recent decades, it’s already cultivated an ideal environment for attracting investment in advanced technologies. When compared to the surrounding region, the UAE leads as the top attractor of investment among the twelve other MENA nations. These investments have helped propel forward the country’s space program, which aims to facilitate unmanned travel to Mars by the year 2021. The space program will be the first developed in the Middle East. The UAE’s plan for a space program is in many ways a logical extension of its already prolific investments in space technology, which has amounted to $5.4 billion dollars in mobile satellite development and earth mapping technologies.

The UAE is also increasing efforts to pursue joint ventures with technology firms, specifically companies focused on defense technologies. Nimr Automotive, an Abu Dhabi-based defense contract company, is one example of the benefits of the country’s pursuit of joint ventures for defense technology. The UAE military purchased 2,000 advanced vehicles produced by Nimr Automotive; Nimr was also able to sell its vehicles to Lebanon and Libya.

Additionally,  just last month the Minister of Environment and Water announced the introduction of new afforestation and horticulture technologies that present more efficient ways to expand greenery, improve agriculture, and conserve local wildlife. The UAE’s novel approach to afforestation stands as a landmark endeavor among other countries in the greater MENA region.

The UAE’s commitment to innovation is also reflected through the Abu Dhabi Education Council’s recent announcement that programs intended to cultivate innovation in school children will be developed through new clubs and competitions. Participants of these programs will be taught computer coding, computer design, and lab work, among other science and technology-centered skills. Though these programs will primarily operate in participating schools as extra-curricular opportunities, three centers exclusively designated for youth innovation will be built in the city of Abu Dhabi.