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A Hummus Recipe Bursting with Antioxidants

by Noor H. Salem

Certified Holistic Health Coach

While traditional hummus, which is a dip made primarily of chickpeas, does not come in the vibrant green color, this twisted version of the traditional comes with a myriad of health benefits for your physical and mental health.

Your initial response to spinach hummus might not be so great, but I assure you this recipe has won the hearts of many of my clients and friends alike. I vividly recall the first time I had some clients sample this during one of my group coaching classes several years ago. At first, all I’ve seen ahead of me were hesitant faces staring at the green dip in uncertainty. It only took a bite for them to change their minds, and in fact they came back for seconds. Whether you decide to use kale or spinach, they boost the hummus with antioxidants, Vitamin K, iron, and plenty of fiber. In addition, spinach and other greens are full of phytonutrients, and provide your body with innumerable minerals and vitamins. Best of all, if you follow the recipe precisely when pulsing the greens, your taste buds won’t really know there is kale or spinach inside. The key in this recipe is to pulse to spinach well with the water, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil. If you do decide to use kale in this recipe, it’ll definitely give it a more distinct taste than if you use spinach. If you’re a fan of kale, then this recipe is a great way for you and your kids to consume it.

The main ingredient in this all-star recipe, chickpeas, are a significant source of plant protein, again aiding in the satiety you experience after consuming this dip. Chickpeas are a wonderful source of iron and dietary fiber, too. At this point you’re probably wondering if there’s any reason not to try this green colored dip. Whether you decide to use garlic or onions, they both work as a remarkable natural antibiotic, building your immunity and providing you with heart healthy benefits. They are great for digestion, and destroy harmful microorganisms in your gut. The fresh lemon juice paired with iron from the spinach allows your body to better absorb the iron. Pairing foods high in vitamin C, such as oranges, tomatoes, or lemons, with foods high in iron allows your body to better absorb the iron. The extra virgin olive oil provides plenty of healthy fat, and is incredible for your heart’s health, hair, skin and nails. Better yet, it is a food eaten by the Prophet (peace be upon him) and mentioned precisely in my book, Sunnah Superfoods. Unfortunately, today, there are many fake versions of olive oil, mixed with other oils and ingredients you really don’t want to put in your body. How do you distinguish real olive oil from their bogus counterparts? I discuss the essential tips to purchase authentic olive oil, how to use olive oil for your hair and skin, and more in my book. Furthermore, olive oil decreases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and lowers cholesterol levels. Extra virgin olive oil provides you with satiety, and with the amount used in this recipe, undoubtedly keep you full and energized for several hours.

This mouth-watering dip works great with vegetables or pita bread, or aside your grilled chicken at dinner. I must admit, you will find that it even tastes delicious right off the spoon. If possible, chill the hummus for an hour at the least prior to serving, for optimum taste.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1/3 cup water, ice cold

1 ½ cups organic kale or baby spinach

1 1/2 teaspoons Himalayan Pink Salt

½ teaspoon rosemary, ground

½ teaspoon cumin, ground

1 teaspoon dried dill

1 medium onion (or 2-3 cloves garlic)

3 cups chickpeas (pre-soaked in water for several hours)

1/3 cup tahini paste (ground sesame seed)

Garnish: Extra Virgin Olive Oil and fresh parsley, finely chopped

Directions:

  1. Drain the chickpeas from the water.
  2. Place the extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, water, spinach, spices, and onion in your food processor. Pulse until liquefied.
  3. Add the chickpeas and tahini paste. Pulse until it’s smooth and well incorporated.
  4. Transfer the hummus to a serving platter. Drizzle with olive oil and chopped parsley. Best if served chilled. Enjoy it as a dip for vegetables or with pita bread.

 

Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, SUNNAH SUPERFOODS, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.

A Recipe for Scrumptious Lamb Biryani

by Noor H. Salem

Recently, I shared a delectable brownie recipe to include in your Eid treats. Nonetheless, many people might be wondering what to cook up with the lamb meat they may have from Eid. While it’s certainly an option to freeze it, there is no better way to prepare it than now when it’s fresh. The meat will be juicier and tender- which locks in more flavor from the herbs and spices you use to cook it.

Although it may be more difficult to find, grass-fed lamb has significantly more nutrient quality than conventionally fed lamb or beef. Grass-fed lamb is much higher than the conventional version especially when it comes to omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and Vitamin B12, which are all linked to a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease. In fact, it has 25% more omega-3 fatty acids per serving. The diet of the livestock you consume can greatly impact the percentage of vitamins and minerals in the meat that ends up on your plate. This delectable biryani recipe is extremely high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids (if you purchase grass-fed meat or chicken), fiber, anti-inflammatory benefits- thanks to the spices- digestive health benefits, cognitive health benefits and even has cardiovascular health benefits. It is not only very filling, but it will also provide you with good energy, unlike the restaurant version full of unhealthy fats- resulting in sluggishness soon after your meal.

Using butter, coconut oil, or extra virgin olive oil is frankly what I’d recommend- versus vegetable oil or corn oil. They are high in healthy fats, are natural and are not genetically engineered. They will give your biryani the same fatty taste without being detrimental to your health. Many restaurants today will use soybean oil or vegetable oil to cook food and biryani is not excluded. I’d recommend using butter, surprisingly to many, as it is much better for your health than canola, vegetable, or soybean oil. These oils are highly processed and refined and are high in Trans-Fat. They come from genetically engineered plants and seeds and are extremely devastating to your health in the long-run. If you can, try getting these oils out of your kitchen immediately. Try to also become accustomed to feeling comfortable asking restaurants what other options they can use to prepare your meal. Butter, organic preferred- in its natural state- actually comes with delightful health benefits. In fact, butter is one of the sunnah superfoods I discussed precisely in my book, Sunnah Superfoods. I share reasons of why numerous holistic doctors and health practitioners advise everyone to “put butter back on your plate,” and how this food item can be added to your kitchen. If you’d like to give your biryani the same traditional taste, definitely use butter over the coconut oil in this recipe. Besides extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil is one of the best oils you could use to uphold better health in many ways. It has a myriad of health benefits, ranging from easier digestion, gut health and improved heart health.

Besides the meat really, the spices are the star of this recipe. Whether it’s the aroma of cardamom, or the strong taste of ginger, this recipe is bursting with spices. Importantly, spices add more than just aroma and taste to your food- they have tremendous health benefits! Ginger is anti-inflammatory, aids with nausea, relieves indigestion, gives energy and aids in healing coughs and colds. Turmeric is also a wonderful anti-inflammatory spice and even gives a subtle nice color to the dish. You can completely omit or increase the amount of jalapeno peppers used depending on the spice level you and your loved ones enjoy. Try this recipe now, and watch as it becomes a new family favorite.

Ingredients:

9 cups of water, total

(Himalayan Pink Salt, 2 bay leaves, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 fresh ginger slice, teaspoon turmeric, ground mustard seed, rosemary, and 3-4 cardamom pods for the meat)

5 pounds baby lamb chunks, cut with bone (you can use chicken)

3 cups organic brown basmati rice

2 tablespoons turmeric, ground

2 tablespoons Himalayan Pink Salt

4 cloves garlic

¼ cup organic coconut oil (or organic butter)

½ raw onion, chopped

2 fresh jalapeno peppers, chopped

1-3 teaspoons ground red pepper (depending on your spicy preference)

8 slices fresh ginger

1 tablespoon ginger, ground

5 cinnamon sticks

10 green cardamom pods

12 cloves, whole

6 whole black peppercorns

1 whole allspice

4 bay leaves

½ cup fresh parsley/cilantro (for garnish)

Directions:

  1. Soak the rice for several hours if possible.
  2. Place the lamb or chicken in your pressure cooker with the meat spices and about six cups of water. Allow to cook on high heat for about 30 minutes. Strain the meat, reserve the broth.
  3. In a medium pot, heat the coconut oil (or butter), ginger, onions, and jalapeno. Stir occasionally, cook for about 5-6 minutes.
  4. Transfer the broth to the pot. Add additional 3 cups boiling water.
  5. Add the rice, ¾ of the cooked meat, and remaining spices. Cover. Cook on high heat for about 10-12 minutes, or until the rice begins to show. Lower the heat, keep covered for 5 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a serving platter. Fluff with a fork. Top with remaining meat and fresh parsley/cilantro.
  7. It tastes delicious served with cucumber yogurt and salad.

Enjoy!

Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, SUNNAH SUPERFOODS, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.

Delicious Brownie Addition to Your Eid Treats

by Noor H. Salem

The days of Eid are here-as the ten blessed days of Dhul Hijjah come to an end- pictures of delicious treats, buffets of candy and treats, and greetings are shared amongst family members and friends. Nonetheless, it becomes a time of indulgence, as many options of sweets and treats are in your surroundings. Your children end up having too much candy and sugar, causing them to become hyperactive prior to falling into a sugar crash. For that, I’d recommend experimenting with including healthy options, such as this delectable brownie bite recipe, to include alongside your traditional Eid favorites.

Dates are high in potassium, fiber, iron, and are great for your digestive system. Contradictory to what many believe, dates also balance your blood sugar spike. It’s perfect for Eid, as it’s a much better option for your children to be consuming than candy and desserts full of corn syrups. Best of all, dates were eaten often and loved by the Prophet (peace be upon him). The beans in this recipe replace the need for flour, and boost the protein, fiber, and vitamins in such a delicious treat. I advise you to soak the beans overnight, as it removes the phytic acid- which is what causes many to have trouble digesting beans to begin with. I’ve had many of my clients try this recommendation and they are now excited at the relief of getting to enjoy consuming beans and legumes. I share many more health benefits of dates, black-seeds, honey and many other super foods you should add to your kitchen pantry in my book, Sunnah Superfoods! I also share essential information regarding the best dates or black-seeds to purchase, how to store and consume them properly, and plenty of more recipes for you and your family to enjoy. Try making this scrumptious brownie bite recipe for any Eid celebration and you will have a presentable addition to your Eid dessert buffet.

Ingredients:

Black Bean Brownie Ingredients:

1 ½ cups black beans, soaked overnight

4 tablespoons raw honey or organic maple syrup

2 pasture-raised egg yolks and 1 egg

1/3 cup organic pumpkin puree

2 tablespoons organic cashew butter

1 tablespoon organic virgin coconut oil

¼ cup unsweetened carob powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt

¼ cup dark chocolate chunks (70%+, or carob)

1 teaspoon black seeds, whole

From the Sunnah Caramel Sauce Ingredients:

1 cup pitted dates (balah or ripe dates)

3 tablespoons raw honey or organic maple syrup

2 tablespoons organic cashew butter

½ teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt

2 tablespoons organic virgin coconut oil

Nut Topping:

24 whole cashews or raw walnuts

Directions:          

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease your mini muffin baking pan with virgin coconut oil.
  2. Place all brownie ingredients into your food processor and blend until very smooth.
  3. Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin pan and bake for 18-20 minutes.
  4. Let brownies set for five minutes and cool before adding the caramel.
  5. Place all Sunnah caramel sauce ingredients into your food processor and blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides.
  6. Add the caramel to the top of each brownie. Top each with a single cashew or walnut.
  7. Store extras in the refrigerator (assuming they last that long).

Try this mouth-watering brownie bite recipe, and watch as your children jump with joy with every bite. Eid Mubarak!

Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, SUNNAH SUPERFOODS, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.

 

What Are You Feeding Your Infant?

by Noor H. Salem

When it comes to purchasing commercially prepared baby food, many are distracted by the cute babies smiling on the packages, that they overlook reading the list of ingredients on the packaging all together. Or perhaps, because the food is marketed as made for infants (although I know many of you mommy’s end up eating half of it with your baby), parents automatically have this high expectation that companies will only use high-quality ingredients. Frankly, many parents feel assured when it comes to purchasing baby food, unfortunately they don’t realize there could be some unwanted additives and preservatives in the product they are purchasing.

One of my main concerns is genetically-engineered ingredients. Some ready-made baby food meals come along with thickening agents like corn flour or tapioca starch. In fact, many times water and thickening agents are used to bulk the meal- this lowers the vegetable or fruit content by and large, clearly for the benefit of profit maximization. Unless you are purchasing USDA certified organic and Non-GMO verified jars of baby food, you’re most likely feeding your baby some genetically-modified ingredients. If there is anything I’d advise you to not feed an infant, or even any of your children, it would be genetically-modified ingredients of any kind. Whether it’s jarred sweet potato puree, cereal or toddler snacks- check the ingredients for possible genetically-engineered ingredients. The crops that are most likely to be genetically modified include, but are not limited to: corn, soy, canola, papaya (if grown in Hawaii), and some zucchini. I have covered all of these in a previous article. For now, read your labels cautiously and seek alternative options to what you may be accustomed too.

More importantly, I advise you be aware of pesticides lurking on both fruits and vegetables. I have mentioned the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists on numerous occasions, and how drastically they can impact the health of infants especially. To refresh, the Environmental Working Group test fruits and vegetables annually in order to come up with a list of produce with the highest number in harmful pesticides. Effects of these pesticides include: cancer, brain damage, infertility, developmental issues and affects to the nervous system, eye health and even kidney health. I discuss this more in my book, Sunnah Superfoods. I recommend to try purchasing all the produce on the Dirty Dozen organic list- rest assured the Clean Fifteen produce can be conventionally grown. The 2017 Dirty Dozen list begins with apples being pretty high, on the top of the list. Apples are extremely high in pesticides thus I recommend all my clients and readers to purchase them certified organic. However, it’s not just apples you should purchase certified organic, but also apple juice, applesauce, baby food containing apples and any other product you purchase with apples in the ingredient list.

Feeding your baby a jar of pureed apples that are swimming with detrimental pesticides isn’t the best choice for them in the long-run- instead, peel and steam apples at home. Once they are tender, puree them in your blender and you have a delicious homemade apple puree, free of additives that are evidently unnecessary. Personally, I enjoy tossing in some strawberries prior to pureeing the apples for a twisted flavor.

I’ve experimented with making homemade baby food on numerous occasions and have been successful thus far. There is no need to purchase jars of baby food, when you can make a delicious healthy meal for your child from the kitchen of your home. One suggestion I found demanding: I would simply steam carrots, sweet potatoes, cauliflower and peas for about ten minutes. After the steaming is complete, I merely puree them in the food processor until they’re nice and creamy. After the puree cools down completely, I’d place it in glass containers will lids. This allows them to burst with a myriad of vitamins and minerals, minus the preservatives and genetically-modified ingredients. Another tasty flavor I’ve made often was a combination of pears with strawberries. It’s simple, scrumptious and pure in its ingredients as well. This same base recipe can be used for fundamentally any fruit and vegetable mix you and your baby prefer most.

While many times jarred baby food can be a great relief, while traveling or away from home, try your best to read the list of ingredients and purchase them organic if possible. I completely understand there are times in which you are traveling, perhaps camping, driving long hours, or at the top of a mountain- it’s undoubtedly difficult, if not impossible, to have a steamer and blender on hand at all times. However, for these times, I recommend organic certified baby jars and meals. Keep the Dirty Dozen list in mind and possibly in your wallet at hand. Try the suggested recipes above and you will become far more comfortable knowing what you are feeding your baby.

Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, SUNNAH SUPERFOODS, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.

Be Cautious of Your Chocolate Ice Cream

by Noor H. Salem

Everyone screams for ice cream-but I frankly wish everyone was screaming when they comprehended the ingredient list of their favorite ice cream. I must admit, as a child, I loved ice cream. However with time, as I have come to recognize the container’s block paragraph of multi-syllabus chemicals I could not pronounce, I began to question what it was I was consuming.

Caught off guard by all the marketing slogans on the front of the container claiming: it’s healthy, sugar-free, or fat-free, many overlook ingredients. Perhaps the brand name is apart of a popular weight loss company, which distracts one from reading the ingredients that may not be as healthy as most people have come to truly believe. So, what is the concern with the majority of ice cream products? These products are loaded with genetically engineered ingredients, harmful additives and chemicals not worth the excitement of your cold summer treat.

Genetically engineered ingredients, as I constantly advise, are best if avoided from your diet all together. They can deteriorate your health in the long-run and cause health consequences such as heart disease, food intolerance and allergies, digestive disorders and more. Most ice cream products and frozen treats alike contain corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup or some other form of genetically modified sweetener. The majority of the popular brands of ice cream or frozen yogurt also contain an ingredient I personally advise my clients to avoid: carrageenan. Carrageenan is a thickening agent used to make your frozen treat nice and thick, but unfortunately, causes harmful effects to your body- including increasing the risk of cancer. I cannot emphasize the importance of keeping artificial food dyes out of the food you and your family eat. Many frozen treats have artificial coloring, including red 40, red 2, blue lake 1, yellow lake 5. Artificial food colorings have been proven to be destructive to your health and can result in hyperactivity and an inability to focus in young children. It is best to avoid artificial food coloring completely and to be extremely cautious of your labels. Don’t obsess over the calories, or whether the product is a fat-free ice cream. Instead, read your labels and if you see a ton of chemicals you cannot pronounce- put it back in the store freezer. Look for ice cream that only contains the necessary ingredients to make it like milk, cream and a natural sweetener- or try the ice cream recipe below and feel free to adjust it to your preferences.

As an alternative for you and your children to enjoy, I’ve transformed my regular frozen banana ice cream into a chocolate banana ice cream- using carob powder instead of cocoa powder, for a few added health benefits. While the texture of this scrumptious treat is merely the same as the store bought chocolate ice cream, the after-feeling is frankly incomparable. This is dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, additive and preservative free, added sugar-free and most prominently guilt-free recipe. Excitingly, this has only three ingredients, while most store bought ice creams have at least fifteen ingredients.

Ingredients:

4-5 frozen bananas, peeled and pre-sliced

½ cup of milk (organic and grass-fed, or even a natural unsweetened almond milk)

1/3-1/2 cup organic carob powder, or raw cocoa powder

Noor Carob Banana Ice Cream 

Directions:

Place your bananas, carob/cocoa powder, and milk in the food processor and pulse until it’s smooth and creamy. It may be necessary that you stop and scrape down the sides, before pulsing it once again to ensure optimum smoothness.

Transfer to your desired serving bowls. Top the ice cream with your favorite berries, or fruit, nuts like walnuts, pistachios, cashews, or macadamia nuts, and anything else that comes to your mind.

 

Noor Hani Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, SUNNAH SUPERFOODS, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.

Should You Eat Dairy or Not?

by Noor H. Salem

Previously, we covered common misconceptions of dairy in the food industry and the best type of dairy products you should purchase for optimum health. While I don’t believe everyone should blindly follow every new diet fad, such as the gluten-free or dairy-free diet, I do have many clients and friends who have found relief from certain symptoms, after I put them on an elimination plan. For that, I’d like to indicate a few essential reminders to keep in mind, if you plan to try a dairy-free diet.

First and foremost, be wary of dairy-free alternatives. There are now numerous companies making cashew milk, soy milk, flax milk, rice milk, and more. We find dairy-free cheese, dairy-free yogurt, and dairy-free ice cream now popular in the market as well. Many snacks and boxed food now have dairy-free labels being stamped on the front, appealing to consumers. My concern is that many of these dairy-free products come with other additives and chemicals, either to thicken them, or to enhance the flavor and texture. Yogurts and such products may contain sugar and other flavor enhancers. Purchasing cow’s milk that is organic and grass-fed, free of any preservatives and additives, is incomparably better than purchasing soy milk, which may be genetically-modified or contain harmful thickening agents and additives.

Besides the concern of additives and preservatives, these products remain more processed than their natural counterpart. Raw organic whole cheese, organic butter, or full-fat milk- that’s grass-fed– is closest to nature and better for your body. Cheese that’s dairy-free, even if it’s clean of genetically-engineered ingredients, will still consist of more processing. Butter like spreads and sticks are also very popular, but in fact, are of the products I advise my clients to avoid completely. Butter, if organic and grass-fed, however is very healthy. Many holistic doctors are now recommending to clients, and people alike, to put butter back on their plate. Purchasing butter like spreads that are full of soy, genetically engineered oils like canola, or even artificial yellow food dye is extremely unhealthy. These genetically engineered oils are linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, food allergies and other health effects. They are not going to prevent you from weight-loss, but instead have the opposite effect. Organic butter is a natural fat that grants satiety and balances blood sugar, while these alternative spreads mess with your blood sugar spike. Organic butter has one ingredient: butter, while these alternatives come with over a dozen- mostly chemicals you cannot pronounce. For that, it’s best to try sticking with whole foods, regardless of their calories or fat content.

If you have not been diagnosed with a dairy allergy or intolerance, then I highly advise that you keep dairy in your diet. However, I’d highlight that it is best if you stick with organic or grass-fed if possible, to avoid antibiotics and genetically engineered traces. When consuming organic or grass-fed products, you will also be intaking further natural vitamins and minerals not found in alternative products. Most substitutes are enriched with vitamins, often these vitamins are lab-made and not in their natural form. There is no doubt it will breakdown differently in your body.

If you realize that you find relief from removing dairy from your diet, that’s acceptable. Just keep these tips in mind, and be sure to gear towards whole foods as much as possible.

Noor Hani Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, SUNNAH SUPERFOODS, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.

Getting Your Kids to Love Their Vegetables

by Noor H. Salem

When we look around, we see most junk food items like cereals and packaged snacks targeting at our young children. Whether it’s through receiving free stickers inside, their favorite cartoon character on the front package, or a toy in the cereal box, there is no doubt this makes it only more challenging for parents to feed their children healthy and nutritious meals. Children end up having sugar-loaded breakfast cereals, with most bursting in harmful food coloring too. When children eat meals from their school lunch, they’ll most likely consume more sugar, processed food, and a meal lacking proper nutrition. Your child may then come home and pick a fight at eating their broccoli, or reaches for cookies before dinner.

What can you do as a parent to deal with picky children who are simply distressed at even the thought of eating something healthy?

First and foremost, get your child educated! I can’t emphasize enough: don’t ever use pressure or force to feed your child a vegetable- it’ll only cause resentment. Instead, teach your child about their body and what effects food has on their mood, energy levels and even their academic achievement. Have your child make a journal, and track their meals, and how their day is- seeing the connection between food, their mood, and energy will open their eyes to making better choices.

Furthermore, allowing your child to take part in writing out the grocery list, or joining you to pick out the fruits and vegetables will cause them to increase their interest in tasting them. Allowing children to interact with preparing a snack, dinner, or simply a smoothie, will cause them to be excited about eating or drinking it. I’ve shared in depth-tips as well as plenty of child-approved recipes in my book, Sunnah Superfoods. Next time you’re whipping up dinner, let your child help wash the salad vegetables, stir the food, or take small steps in assisting you with it. Observe the difference in your child’s interest in eating healthier meals, without feeling like it’s by force or pressure.

Be sure to also read my piece on the fruits and vegetables that you should aim to buy organic and those you can spare the extra bucks and purchase conventional- without any harm to your health.  

Noor Hani Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, SUNNAH SUPERFOODS, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.

Cancer-Causing Pesticides Are Loaded on Your Fruits and Vegetables

by Noor H. Salem

In the past, we’ve discussed dealing with getting picky children to eat healthy meals. Often, parents find it extremely challenging to get their children to eat fresh fruit at breakfast, when the box of Froot Loops is screaming with drawings of their favorite cartoon characters. Feeding a family healthy takes time, and continuous effort. Getting children to go with you to pick out fruits and vegetables, or simply having them aid you as you wash a snack or prepare dinner, increases the likelihood of them eating from those items. Give it a try- and see how your child likes eating those strawberries after washing them for you.

Nonetheless, the vital question becomes: “which fruits and vegetables are essential to purchase organic when possible, and which ones can you purchase conventionally grown without any harmful effects to your body?” The Environmental Working Group, (EWG) releases an annual list of the produce highest and lowest in harmful pesticide residues. Some of these pesticides are cancer-promoting, while others affect fertility, disrupt your hormones, or even kill bees. It’s best to avoid these produce, and feed your family nutritious bursting ones instead.

In fact, the EWG mentioned in its 2017 report that just one single sample of strawberries showed 20 different pesticides! Spinach samples have been found to carry mold and DDT, which is a neurotoxic insecticide banned in the US to begin with! For that, I’d settle that you’re better off not eating any spinach, than to go for conventionally grown spinach! The list is in order of highest to lowest, with strawberries being the highest in harmful pesticides and potatoes being the lowest. The Clean 15 list is the very opposite: the produce you can be comfortable purchasing conventionally grown, as they are least likely to harbor any pesticide residues. Importantly, as I’ve discussed in other articles and in my book, Sunnah Superfoods, you want to avoid purchasing any non-USDA Organic certified corn or corn products. Much of corn sold in the US is genetically engineered, and comes with its own set of harmful health consequences. Thus, although corn is on the Clean 15 list, I would advise all my clients and readers alike, to purchase it organic.

EWG’S 2017 Dirty Dozen List:

In summary, the dirty dozen are the fruits and vegetables found to carry the highest levels of pesticide residues-harmful to your health in many ways. I’d highly recommend you avoid purchasing the conventional version of these produces.

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Peaches
  6. Pears
  7. Cherries
  8. Grapes
  9. Celery
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Sweet Bell Peppers
  12. Potatoes

EWG’s Clean 15 list:

As I’ve stated, the Clean 15 are the fruits and vegetables least likely to be contaminated with harmful pesticides. You can feel comfortable purchasing these fruits and vegetables non-organic, and be at ease that they’re not full of health spoiling residues.

  1. Sweet corn (But, remember, the issue with most corn being genetically engineered)
  2. Avocadoes
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Onions
  6. Frozen Sweet Peas
  7. Papaya
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mangos
  10. Eggplant
  11. Honeydew
  12. Kiwi
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Grapefruit 

Noor Hani Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, SUNNAH SUPERFOODS, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.

Mom’s Scrumptious Gluten-Free Bread

by Noor H. Salem

Last week, we discussed crucial facts I share with my clients to comprehend prior to following a gluten-free diet. As promised, here’s my mom’s mouth-watering gluten-free bread. It’s fairly easy to make at home and worth it in every bite. This bread is made with unbleached flour, which is much healthier for your body, than the bleached version. The mixture of seeds on top bursts it with omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, anti-inflammatory benefits, and even calcium (thanks to the chai seeds). So, evidently, the seed mix atop is there for more than just garnish. I love tossing in the black seeds, as they are one of the many food items I cover in my book, Sunnah Superfoods. They come along with a myriad of health benefits, which include: preventing cancer, and Alzheimer’s, decreasing joint pain and inflammation in the body, weight loss and balancing blood sugar.

Try this recipe, and you’ll find it difficult to purchase bread from the market ever again.

Ingredients:

Dough:

1 cup warm water

3 teaspoons dry active yeast

1 pinch organic coconut palm sugar

4 cups organic unbleached flour or gluten-free all-purpose baking flour

1 organic pasture-raised egg

1 organic pasture-raised egg yolk

1 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt

Topping:

1 organic pasture-raised egg, beaten

3 tablespoons organic whole sesame seeds

2 tablespoons whole black seeds

2 tablespoons organic whole flax seeds

2 tablespoons organic chia seeds

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place the warm water in a cup with the yeast and sugar. Allow it to sit for several minutes.
  3. Place all the dough ingredients (including water/yeast) in your food processor, and pulse until dough-like texture forms. It shouldn’t take too long.
  4. Transfer the dough to a glass bowl and allow to sit for 20-30 minutes, or until it rises.
  5. Meanwhile, beat the egg (for topping) in a small bowl. Mix all of the seeds in a separate glass bowl. Set aside.
  6. When the dough rises, transfer it to your loaf pans (this should make more than 2).
  7. Brush the top of the loaves with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with the seed mixture.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. Refrigerate any leftovers for optimum freshness.

 

Noor Hani Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, SUNNAH SUPERFOODS, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.

 

dates

The Mentions of Dates in The Quran and Hadith

by M.I.H. Farooqi

The date palm is said to have originated in the Middle East and has proven to be such a source of nourishment that it has become a popular wholesome food across the planet. In many ways, dates may be considered as an almost ideal food, providing a wide range of essential nutrients and potential health benefits. It is because of its energy value, that dates have special significance for the fasting month of Ramazan. Man can survive for long years with good health if only dates (Arabic: Tamar; Hindi/Urdu: Khajur) are eaten daily.

Many fruits and fruit-bearing plants have been mentioned in the Qur’an, but it is the date palm that finds maximum references. Under the Quranic names of Nakhl and Nakhil , it has been mentioned in 20 verses of the Quran.

In Surat Al-Nahl, Allah Says: “With it He produces for you corn, olives, date palms, grapes, and every kind of fruit: Verily in this is a Sign for those who give thought” (Al-Quran 16:11).

The Qur’an also narrates the incidence when Maryam, may Allah be pleased with her, was provided with fresh ripe dates when she was feeling pain during childbirth (Al-Quran 19:23). It is this verse that is supposed to be the reason for considering dates to be beneficial to pregnant women while experiencing contractions.

In Prophetic Traditions, many useful properties have attributed to dates. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) advised his followers to break fast with dates during Ramadan. He also advised:

‘‘Don’t miss evening meal, even if it happens to be constituted of few dates. Missing of evening meals hasten aging.”

In another hadith, taking dates in the morning is said to help in preventing poisoning.

The botanical name of the date palm is Phoenix dactylifera, which belongs to the family Palmae (Arecaceae). In Arabic, the date palm is called “Nakhl” whereas its fruit is known as “Tamar,” although in many Arab and African countries the Hindi word “Khajur” and Persian word “Khurma” have been of common usage for the date fruits.

It is assumed that the domestication and cultivation of date palm started 6,000 to 8,000 years back in Mesopotamia. Probably no other fruit plant was in cultivation at that time anywhere in the world and that may be the reason why the date palm is supposed to be the plant most associated with the development of human culture and civilization. According to an old saying in Arabic, the uses of date palm are as many as the number of days in a year.

Dates are not only sweet and delicious but they are one of the best-known nutritious diets for mankind. They contain more than 60 percent invert sugar along with a small amount of sucrose in addition to protein, pectin, tannin, cellulose, starch and fat in varying proportions. Vitamins A, B and C are also present in appreciable amounts. Furthermore, the mineral constituents present are iron, sodium, calcium, sulphur, chlorine and phosphorus. Wholesome dates are used for making confectionery, beverages, sugar and a sugary syrup — very much like honey.
Dates are reputed for their great medicinal value. They are demulcents, emollients, a heart stimulant and help in checking the loss of memory. They are also useful in respiratory disorders in general and asthma in particular. In addition, dates are laxatives, diuretics and aphrodisiacs. Thus, taking into account all of their constituents and qualities, they can be rated as a nutritious diet and a health tonic.

[Read More: “An Energizing Date and Banana Smoothie To Power You Through the End of Ramadan“]

Because of their beauty and elegance, date palm gardens are an exquisite sight. In fact, most of the poets of Arabia, Africa and even Europe have described date palms in their well-known poems. Homer, in his epic, “Odyssey,” has used the word “Tamar” (date tree) to represent beauty. Similarly, Chaucer and Shakespeare have also mentioned date palms in their writings.

Phyto-geographically, the area of cultivation of date palms extends from Western India to the East of Africa. According to the UN Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) report of 2012, top ten producing countries of dates are Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Iraq, Pakistan, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Tunisia and Libya.
However, some of the best varieties like Ajwah, Khalas, Zahidi, Muzafati, Hayati, Afandi, Helwah, Jebaily, Shalaby, Rabiyyah, Rashudiah, Safawy, Maktoomi, and Sariyyah are produced in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iran UAE and Iraq.

Total world date fruit production is about 7.8 million tonnes (2012- FAO Report) of which 87% comes from the ten countries mentioned above.

India is the major importer of dates after France. About 5 lakh metric tonnes are imported in India every year
Chemical Composition of 100gms of Dates: Energy 280 kcal 1180 kJ; Carbohydrates, 75 g (Sugars, 63 g); Dietary fiber, 8 g; Fat, 0.4 g;Protein, 2.5 g; Water,21 g; Vitamin C, 0.4mg; Manganese,0.262 mg

date

An Energizing Date and Banana Smoothie To Power You Through the End of Ramadan

by Noor H. Salem

During the last week of Ramadan, you’ve probably found your body accustomed to fasting. If you’re lacking energy during the day, try to implement some of the practical tips I’ve shared previously. I’ve mentioned consuming dates at suhoor and iftar, not only for the reward of following the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) but also for the myriad of health benefits they contain.

For more delicious and easy to prepare recipes, as well as benefits of dates, the best dates to consume, and the proper method of consumption for optimum nutrients, check out my book, “Sunnah Superfoods.” Your body loses lots of nutrients and needs to be replenished properly during non-fasting hours. Try my delicious date smoothie recipe, instead of reaching for a sugary soda or carbonated beverages. This smoothie is bursting with vitamins and nutrients, guaranteed to give you energy and vitality. It’s high in fiber, omega-3fatty acids, potassium, and anti-inflammatory benefits.

I’ve done this smoothie with and without the banana, and personally, like it without it as bananas can dominate the flavor. However, if you’re a fan of sweet drinks, and will probably not tolerate the strong taste of ginger, I’d highly recommend you toss in the banana to ensure you drink this extremely health drink, and for the potassium, fiber, and countless of other benefits alike. Another option is to add a spoonful of organic raw and unfiltered honey. It balances well with the cinnamon and ginger and adds the sweetness to this delectable and energizing drink. Make this with the intention of not only taking care of your health but to be able to have the energy to fast and worship during this month. Feel free to increase or decrease the cinnamon and ginger to your liking.

Ingredients:

6 small fresh dates, pits removed

½ medium banana (optional)

1 cup homemade almond milk (or organic milk of your preference)

1-2 ice cubes (too much ice will ruin the taste)

1 teaspoon organic cinnamon, ground

½ teaspoon ginger, ground

½ teaspoon fenugreek, ground

1/8 cup raw walnuts, coarsely chopped

a handful of organic dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. Place all the ingredients (except the walnuts) in a high-speed blender, and pulse until creamy and smooth.
  2. Pour the smoothie into serving glasses.
  3. Sprinkle them with the chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, and a dash of cinnamon.
  4. Serve chilled for optimum flavor. Enjoy at suhoor, or after having iftar during Ramadan.

Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, SUNNAH SUPERFOODS, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.

salmon

Curry Sauced Salmon Recipe to Try This Ramadan

by Noor H. Salem

We have discussed several benefits of seafood, and I’ve shared essential tips to ensure you purchase and consume the best quality of the dozens of choices readily available in stores. Unfortunately, as mentioned, a large quantity of seafood today is raised unethically, fed genetically modified feed, and is high in toxins such as mercury. When it comes to salmon especially, aim to purchase wild-caught, and check where the product is from, most likely occurring on the back of the package.

Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, essential for many organs in your body. It’s an extremely wonderful source of protein, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Selenium, Vitamin B3, phosphorus and more. Best of all, salmon tastes delicious, and pairs wonderfully with almost any vegetable or grain. I highly advise if you don’t already consume salmon often, to get it on your menu now.

The mango salsa topped Mahi Mahi recipe I’ve shared previously is not extraordinary in its presentation, but its taste as well. It’s rich in vitamins, protein, and minerals essential for your health. Nevertheless, if you are not a fan of Mahi Mahi, or prefer the fatty taste of salmon instead, this recipe will sure to win your taste buds. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and savory, tweaked a bit from the curry salmon recipe I share in my book, “Sunnah Superfoods.” This recipe contains more than three Sunnah Superfoods I discuss in depth in my book, including methods of consuming them, purchasing them and the best way to prepare them for maximum benefits.

Many times, I have clients come and excitingly share a healthy food they are eating, only to learn that they are eating wrong, thus not optimizing the benefits they take in. It’s extremely important to get educated about eating and buying food properly, to do your body and heath good. Check out my book on Amazon for more details, and be prepared to feed yourself and family healthy this Ramadan. If you are not a fan of curry, you can most definitely make this salmon with the mango salsa recipe I’ve shared last week, or see my book for other scrumptious salmon recipes as well.

Ingredients:
            1 or 2 halves wild-caught salmon (pre-marinated in apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp. turmeric, 1 tbsp. dried dill, 1 tbsp. mustard seed, ½ teaspoon cumin, 2 teaspoons ground garlic, and 1 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt)

Curry sauce:

4 tablespoons curry powder

1 tablespoon organic virgin coconut oil

2 cups organic coconut milk

1 teaspoon organic coconut palm sugar

2 tablespoons organic raw unfiltered honey

¼ teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt

1 tablespoon organic coconut flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Bake the salmon for 15 minutes, covered in aluminum foil.
  3. Meanwhile, mix the coconut oil, curry, and coconut milk in a small saucepan. Stir and add in coconut palm sugar, honey, salt, and coconut flour. Allow it to thicken with a few minutes on the stove. If it’s too runny, add an additional teaspoon of coconut flour.
  4. When the salmon is done, remove it from the oven. Top it with the curry sauce. Bake for an additional 3-5 minutes.
  5. Garnish with lemon or cilantro; serves wonderfully with brown rice, pasta, or quinoa.

Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, SUNNAH SUPERFOODS, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.

mango salsa

Mahi Mahi With Mango Salsa

by Noor H. Salem

When it comes to eating seafood, I have many clients raise their concern that they’re not sure how to differentiate between good and bad choices. Unfortunately, today, plenty of seafood is raised unethically, fed genetically modified food, and may be high in harmful toxins such as mercury. I’m here to assure you that you can still consume seafood happily, with just a few essential notes to keep in mind. First off, avoid fish that’s farm raised. In most cases, these fish are fed antibiotics and raised in unhealthy environments. Try looking for wild-caught fish, and avoid anything raised or imported from China. While fresh and wild-caught fish are always the best choice, you may have instances such as camping trips or such in which you may need to purchase canned fish. When it comes to canned fish, such as tuna, sardines, or salmon, aim for BPA free can lining, wild-caught, and most importantly check the ingredients. If you see soybean or canola oil on the ingredient list, I advise you keep it on the store shelf. Aim for consuming fish packed in water or extra virgin olive oil only. You may add spices and your own flavoring using natural ingredients in your kitchen. Grab a copy of my book, “Sunnah Superfoods,” for more essential information regarding purchasing and consuming seafood, as well as delightful and family-friendly recipes.

This recipe is extremely high in protein, vitamin C, monounsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin K, magnesium, and more. It tastes delicious alone or with a side of your preference. I recommend you serve it with a side of fresh salad, and rice or quinoa for a complete nutritious and scrumptious meal. If you’re not a big fan of Mahi Mahi, I’d also recommend the delectable taste of wild-caught salmon with this salsa.

 

Ingredients:

8 filets (4 ounces each) Mahi Mahi, wild-caught

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 lime, freshly juiced

1 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon ginger, ground

1 teaspoon dried dill

1 teaspoon onion powder

 

Salsa:

2 mangos, diced

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 orange bell pepper, chopped

½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 medium red onion, chopped

2 limes, freshly juiced

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt

¼ teaspoon red pepper

½ teaspoon black pepper, ground

½ teaspoon ground ginger

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix all the marinade ingredients in a small bowl, and toss with the Mahi Mahi. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
  3. Place on a baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil. Bake the Mahi Mahi for 30-35 minutes. Don’t overbake it or it will end up dry.
  4. Meanwhile, mix all the salsa ingredients in a medium bowl until well incorporated.
  5. Cook half the salsa in a small skillet for 5-7 minutes, or until slightly tender.
  6. Once the fish is baked, top with the cooked salsa. Serve immediately.
  7. Use the remaining salsa to garnish your side of rice, or it tastes delicious on the side as well.

Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, SUNNAH SUPERFOODS, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.

stuffed

Mouthwatering Stuffed Bell Peppers

by Noor H. Salem

Last week, we discussed wonderful benefits of bell peppers, as well as several ideas to incorporate them into your diet more often. While they don’t carry the spotlight, bell peppers are incredible sources of Vitamin C. Along with that, they carry anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants, fiber, and disease-fighting properties. As mentioned, here’s the recipe for my simple yet scrumptious stuffed bell peppers.

This recipe is high in protein, Vitamin C, and anti-inflammatory properties from the bell peppers, olive oil, and the ginger. The parsley and dill give not only a nice touch of color to the stuffing but a myriad of cancer- killing benefits. Try these bell peppers, and feel free to omit or substitute spices or vegetables to what you have in your kitchen, or whatever your taste-buds’ desire. If you don’t have bell peppers on hand, or they are out of season, use the same filling to stuff garden squash. I make that in a completely different entree, known as kusa (squash) in cooked yogurt. That recipe can be found in my book, “Sunnah Superfoods,” along with a variety of health tips and tricks.

Ingredients:

6 bell peppers (any color you prefer)

Filling:

  • 1 pound ground lamb or beef
  • 1 cup long-grain basmati rice (brown or white)
  • 1 teaspoon organic raw apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Himalayan pink Salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1 tablespoon dill, dried
  • ½ teaspoon red cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ginger, ground
  • About 2-3 cups boiling water

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix all the filling ingredients, incorporating them well.
  2. Slice the top of each bell pepper, remove the seeds to the best extent possible.
  3. Stuff each bell pepper with the filling, leaving about ¼ empty.
  4. Place the peppers face up in a deep pot- pour about 2 cups of boiling water.
  5. Cover and cook on medium-high heat for about 30 minutes, or until the peppers are tender and the rice is cooked.
  6. If it needs more time, lower the heat and allow a remaining fifteen minutes to cook.
  7. Remove the bell peppers and transfer them to a serving platter. They taste delicious with plain yogurt and hot sauce for a touch of spice.

Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, “Sunnah Superfoods,” a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.

bell peppers

The Benefits of Bell Peppers

by Noor H. Salem

Although they are a part of the nightshade family along with other peppers, don’t be deceived by the name; bell peppers are not spicy whatsoever! In fact, red, orange, and yellow bell peppers are slightly sweet, especially when they are cooked. They all work remarkably well with chicken stir-fry or topped with your salmon for dinner. Bell peppers are delightful and crunchy raw and have a nice and soft texture once they are cooked. While they are mostly used for presentation; bell peppers carry a myriad of health benefits.

Are you obsessed with oranges due to their fame of being excellent sources of Vitamin C? Well, bell peppers are extremely high in Vitamin C, too! In fact, one cup of sliced fresh bell peppers contains over 150% percent of vitamin C! They are great sources of Vitamin B6, Vitamin A, and folate. Bell peppers are wonderful carriers of carotenoids and aid in strengthening your immunity. They are also high in antioxidants, thus aiding you in reducing your risk of various diseases and cancer alike. They also have anti-inflammatory properties, which many people lack consuming sufficiently.

Try incorporating more bell peppers in your diet, whether in your breakfast omelet or raw atop your lunch salad. Not only will they add a nice touch of color to your entrees, but numerous benefits for your physical health. I occasionally enjoy slicing a bell pepper in half, cracking a raw egg in it, and baking it for about 25 minutes. You’ll end up with not just an extravagant-looking breakfast, but a high-protein, Vitamin C, and extremely energizing meal. While it looks elaborate on a plate, it’s tremendously easy to make! You may find several delicious recipes in my book, “Sunnah Superfoods,” as well. Bell peppers are incredibly perfect for dipping, too! Try them with homemade hummus, bean dip, or guacamole instead of the usual deep-fried and overly salted potato chips.

Next week I will share my delicious stuffed bell peppers recipe.


Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, “Sunnah Superfoods,” a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.

salad

A Kale Salad Bursting with Antioxidants

by Noor H. Salem

Last week I discussed remarkable benefits of broccoli, the overlooked and underappreciated vegetable. Broccoli is delicious, and extremely healthy for many organs of your body if you skip drenching it in the ranch or cheese dressing. Since many don’t enjoy eating broccoli by itself, I’ve incorporated broccoli slaw into my usual kale salad, with a few tweaks to make it unique and tasty.

This salad is bursting with superfoods, from the power greens to the anti-inflammatory spices used. The dressing is mainly consistent of extra virgin olive oil, an incredible and extremely healthy food item. In fact, it’s one of the few oils I use, and makes it on the list of the superfoods I cover in my book, Sunnah Superfoods.” Olive oil is beneficial for your health, cognitive health, digestion, skin, hair, and nails. Unfortunately, not everyone purchases pure olive oil (without even knowing it), nor do they cook and consume it properly. These tips and very important details are covered in my book, along with dozens of recipes for you and your family to try. The broccoli slaw in the salad gives the perfect crunch and pairing with the finely chopped and soft kale-cilantro base. You could almost consider this salad a tabouli, without the gluten.

This salad is bursting in Vitamin K, Vitamin C, fiber, healthy and satisfying fats, antioxidants, calcium, anti-inflammatory properties, and much more. You can make this as the side to your dinner, or enjoy it all by itself. This recipe is a delicious way of consuming broccoli stems; the part majority nonchalantly toss into the trash. I enjoy adding minced red onions at times for a flavor change.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch fresh kale
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 2 cups broccoli slaw (thinly sliced mix of broccoli stem and carrots)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, freshly juiced
  • 1 lime, freshly juiced
  • 1 teaspoon organic raw apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sumac
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon ginger, ground
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper, ground
  • 1 ½ teaspoon granulated onion
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seed, ground
  • 2 teaspoons dried mint, crushed

Directions:

  1. Wash the kale and cilantro well; place in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the broccoli slaw. Toss.
  3. Mix remaining ingredients in a small mixing bowl and drizzle over the greens. Mix well.
  4. Refrigerate it for an hour or two before serving for optimum taste. Works wonderfully with salmon, grilled meat, or all alone.

Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, “Sunnah Superfoods,” a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.

mushrooms

The Magnificent Benefits of Mushrooms

by Noor H. Salem

Do you frequently pick mushrooms out of your salad or, perhaps, order your sandwiches without them when eating out? Unfortunately, many are unaware of the incredible health benefits mushrooms carry or even how many unique varieties of mushrooms are out there for consumption.

Many are familiar with white crimini mushrooms, the small white button tops seen in almost all supermarkets. If you visit a farmer’s market or a health food store like Whole Foods, you may come across many varieties of mushrooms, both white and brown in color and in various shapes, too. Nevertheless, please don’t consume mushrooms you find growing in your backyard or while you are hiking any trail. There are a ton of poisonous mushrooms out there, and I fully advise you to stay clear of those. Although white crimini mushrooms carry many health benefits, there are other mushrooms that come with a myriad of unique advantages for your health.

Crimini mushrooms carry unique properties that strengthen your immune system. They protect against cardiovascular disease and are a perfect vegetable for those looking to take care of their heart health. Mushrooms are also wonderful in that they carry anti-inflammatory properties. In other words, I highly recommend them to my clients and readers alike, whom may suffer from arthritis and other joint aches caused by inflammation in the body. I recommend incorporating not only the popular crimini mushrooms but other unique and expensive mushrooms that you may not have heard of prior to reading this. They include reishi, shiitake, maitake, turkey tail, and chaga. These mushrooms each carry unique health benefits and can aid in decreasing inflammation in your body, strengthen your immune system, and detoxify the body. Maitake mushrooms have been proven to specifically aid in balancing blood sugar, and also strengthen the immune system. Some of these mushrooms have been proven to prevent cancer, especially breast cancer. I have some clients who are not fans of mushrooms, so I suggested Host Defense, organic and verified non-genetically modified capsules, that are easy to take and extremely remarkable in results!

Also, favorable to many, mushrooms are extremely filling, yet very low in calories. In fact, one cup of mushrooms has only 16 calories! These calories come with an amazing amount of copper, Vitamin B12, selenium, Vitamin B2, zinc, potassium, manganese, and many more nutrients. Mushrooms taste delicious fresh and cooked, and can go great with your morning omelet, lunch salad, or served as a side dish for dinner. Mushrooms are extremely easy to prepare, and again, remarkable in health benefits. I highly advise if you don’t already, begin incorporating mushrooms into your meals frequently. You may not feel the difference immediately, but in the long run, the impact will be immense.

Next week, I will share a unique and mouth-watering recipe to aid you in integrating mushrooms into your diet.


Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, “Sunnah Superfoods,” a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.

sweet potato fries

Healthy Sweet Potato Fries with a Delectable Dill Dip

by Noor H. Salem

Last week we discussed the popular myth that potatoes are fattening, and how you should avoid them if you are seeking a healthy lifestyle. I’ve debunked that myth and made clear that not all potatoes are created equal. More importantly, the way a potato is prepared plays a vital role in the nutritional value.

Deep-fried potatoes from a fast food restaurant are definitely a choice I would tell you to avoid. But making homemade potatoes, baked, actually come along with a myriad of health benefits. You can use extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil as wonderful options. I discuss which oils to avoid and which are best to purchase in my book, “Sunnah Superfoods.”

Try this sweet potato recipe at home, and you will never find yourself driving up to a fast food restaurant again. You can substitute the spices for others of your preference, and use coconut oil instead of olive oil. The lime dip is the perfect combination with sweet and savory fries. These sweet potato fries will pair perfectly with grilled chicken, salmon, or any other entrée of your desire.

Ingredients:

Potatoes:

3 medium sweet potatoes

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt

½ teaspoon red pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1-2 teaspoons dill, dried

½ teaspoon mustard seed, ground

Dip:

1 cup organic sour cream

2 teaspoons dried dill

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/3 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed

 

Directions:

  1. Slice the sweet potatoes into thin slices, about 2 inches long and ¼ inch wide. Place in a large bowl.
  2. Place the olive oil and spices in a small mixing bowl, mix. Drizzle over the sweet potatoes, and toss.
  3. Transfer the potatoes to a baking sheet; make sure to keep them single layered.
  4. Bake at 420 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes, or until they are nice and crispy.
  5. Place all the dip ingredients in a small mixing bowl and mix well. Place in a nice serving plate.
  6. Transfer the potatoes to a nice serving platter. Add the bowl of dip and a slice of lime. Best if served immediately. 

Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, “Sunnah Superfoods,” a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.

 

protein

The Protein-Bursting Salad to Replace your Meal Replacements

by Noor H. Salem

I’ve found that it’s extremely common for many to turn to protein drinks and bars to replace their meals; many of my clients have attested to trying this. However, I advise that you avoid these processed protein bars and drinks completely if you’re truly seeking a healthy lifestyle. The majority of these store-bought drinks and meal replacement bars are not only heavily processed but are full of genetically engineered ingredients and artificial sweeteners. Consuming a snack bar instead of eating a complete lunch will not only keep you feeling hungry and deprived, but this routine will not work in the long run. Instead of filling your diet with bars and drinks, keeping you hungry and unnourished, consume a healthy whole-food lunch. This could be a kale salad with nuts and grilled chicken, or a homemade tuna sandwich on good-ingredient bread.

Eating meals high in protein will not only keep you satisfied longer but will provide your body with nutrients and energy that no snack bar could duplicate. Try this delicious and very simple salad, bursting with proteins, healthy fats, fiber, and a number of sunnah foods I cover in my book, Sunnah Superfoods. This recipe is vegan, but if you’re big on meat, feel free to add pieces of chicken or meat for an added burst of protein. It’s very quick and easy to make and will taste great the next day as your lunch.

Chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo beans, are extremely high in protein, fiber, folate, manganese, iron, zinc, and copper. Chickpeas are full of insoluble fiber, thus aiding your digestive tract in getting rid of waste, and it reduces the risk of colon cancer. Chickpeas are great for your heart, too! They have been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease when consumed in one’s diet often. Chickpeas, along with other beans, do great in balancing your blood sugar. That’s one reason why you don’t feel cravings after eating a good amount of beans—they balance your blood sugar. Best of all, beans are very filling. They will definitely keep you satisfied much longer than any processed and sugary protein bar can. They taste delicious and are extremely healthy, too.

Pomegranate, one of the Sunnah Superfoods I discuss thoroughly in my book, gives this salad a sweet and tart taste. Their color gives the salad a wonderful touch, and their flavor cannot compare. Pomegranate is very high in Vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants, and potassium.

The carrots add a nice crunch to the salad, as well as Vitamin A and beta-carotene. Carrots are also high in fiber, biotin, Vitamin K, and potassium. Green onions give this salad the perfect flavor but are much more subtle than what white onions would do. Green onions are not just for garnish but are a good source of magnesium, thiamin, and vitamin K. The avocado provides this salad with healthy fats giving you, even more, satiety after eating it. Avocados are very high in fiber and many other nutrients. The extra virgin olive oil, one of my favorite Sunnah foods, adds a delicious taste and aroma. Extra virgin olive oil is healthy for almost every organ in the body; from heart health benefits to digestive tract benefits, I recommend olive oil in the kitchen of every client and friend. The apple cider vinegar gives a bit of a tart

The extra virgin olive oil, one of my favorite Sunnah foods, adds a delicious taste and aroma. Extra virgin olive oil is healthy for almost every organ in the body; from heart health benefits to digestive tract benefits, I recommend olive oil in the kitchen of every client and friend. The apple cider vinegar gives a bit of a tart taste and adds digestive benefits too. The lemon juice aids in maximizing the tart taste and adds a ton of Vitamin C to the nutritional value. I recommend you only use freshly squeezed lemon juice, and avoid shelf-stable versions full of preservatives and chemicals.

All of the spices in this salad not only add zest but come with health benefits, too. Ginger aids in digestion, has cognitive health benefits, heart health benefits, and anti-inflammatory benefits. Feel free to add other spices of your preference, like cumin, ground onion, garlic powder, rosemary, or cilantro. Try this salad instead of meal replacement drinks and bars, and see how your body will not only feel satisfied and nourished but happy. It’s a great start to a healthy new lifestyle; take the initiative today.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chickpeas
  • 1 pomegranate (remove the seeds)
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar, raw
  • ¼ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric, ground
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 1 tablespoon dill
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard seed

Directions:

  1. Place the chickpeas in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the pomegranate seeds, carrots, green onions and mix.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and all of the spices. Mix well until incorporated.
  4. Add the dressing to the chickpeas; toss until mixed.
  5. Transfer the salad to a mixing bowl. Top with the chopped avocadoes. Best if served chilled.

Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, Sunnah Superfoods, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.

sauerkraut

Scrumptious Sauerkraut: A Probiotic Bursting Food

by Noor H. Salem

While discussing numerous tips to begin the new year on a healthy note, I advise adding probiotics to your diet. Probiotics are good, live bacteria. Our bodies need this good bacterium in order to build a balanced gut flora. Consuming a diet high in probiotics is especially helpful in easing digestion, reducing the risk of food allergies, and preventing sickness. Unfortunately, today, many people are overconsuming antibiotics, not realizing that when killing the bad bacteria, they are also destroying all the good bacteria in their system. Even if you are not sick, and you haven’t taken antibiotics in the past; probiotics will help keep you healthy in so many ways!

Sauerkraut is also a wonderful food to include if you are aiming to build immunity holistically. I recommend it to my clients, along with other high probiotics foods like kefir and natural yogurts. It tastes great beside your brown rice and salmon or atop your chicken and vegetable salad at lunch. Sauerkraut has the delicious tart taste of pickles, without all of the added sodium and preservatives. Although many stores sell sauerkraut in the pickle aisle, the majority is not full of the live bacteria we need. That’s why I advise you either buy a refrigerated version or simply make this recipe at home. I enjoy making different flavors, sometimes adding a bit of pepper for spice, turmeric, and other times even fresh ginger. Ginger has a myriad of health benefits, which I cover in my book, Sunnah Superfoods. Ginger also aids in digestion, which would pair well with cabbage. You can also add a few whole black peppercorns for a kick in flavor. Get creative; there are so many flavors you can make.

Ingredients:

1 medium sized green cabbage head
1 tablespoon Himalayan Pink Salt (you may use unrefined Celtic sea salt)
1 cup water and extra Himalayan Pink Salt (may or may not be used)
2-3 mason jars (16 ounce works well)
Directions:
1. Shred the cabbage into very thin slices; place into a large mixing bowl.
2. Add the pink salt. Use your hands to squeeze the cabbage while mixing it around. Continue this until water starts coming out of the cabbage.
3. Place some of the cabbage in a glass mason jar and squeeze down with a fork. Add some of the liquid. Continue adding the cabbage until you fill up the jar.
4. If there’s enough liquid to cover the top of the cabbage, mix the water and extra salt and pour until the cabbage is submerged in it. This may fill about 3 16-ounce mason jars.
5. Close the lids very well, and keep them on your countertop.
6. Open the jars and check the cabbage after three days; if the liquid went down and the cabbage is showing, add a bit more of salt water (mix water with salt), enough to cover.
7. The sauerkraut should be done within 10 days. Remove it off the counter and place it in the refrigerator for best preservation.
8. Enjoy it with salad, chicken, and any other entrée you like.


Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, Sunnah Superfoods, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.