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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.

Simple Nut Butter Cookies

By Noor Salem

Last week we talked about peanut butter and whether it was a healthy addition to your diet or not. This recipe may be made with any nut butter your heart desires. I made this with almond butter and tried it with sunflower seed butter, walnut butter, and peanut butter. Of course, the taste and texture will differ immensely for each. Try them out, and see which you like best.

As a recap: while peanut butter and other nuts/nut butters are high in fat, I remind my clients these are in fact wonderful fats for your health. These healthy fats curb your cravings, keep you full longer, have cardiovascular benefits, have vital antioxidants and nutrients, allow you to better absorb nutrients, are great for your memory, and have anti-inflammatory benefits.

Attempt to make this delicious nut butter cookie recipe, and revisit a childhood favorite without the harmful ingredients this time. Aim to purchase unbleached flour and organic ingredients when possible. If you are using coconut oil as a substitute for the butter, you may find it better to melt it completely. You may substitute the chocolate chips with cranberries, chopped nuts, or any other favorite add-in topping you prefer. This cookie will assure you that dessert does not need to be full of sweets.

Ingredients:

½ cup organic unsalted butter or organic coconut oil, softened

½ cup organic brown sugar

½ cup organic coconut palm sugar

¾ cup almond butter (or any nut butter of your choice)

1 organic (pasture-raised if possible) egg

1 1/3 cup organic unbleached flour

Pinch Himalayan Pink Salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder (I only use aluminum-free)

1 cup organic mini dark chocolate chips (or any add-in of your choice)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Beat the butter/oil with the brown sugar and coconut palm sugar. Add the almond butter and egg; mix well
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add it to the butter mixture
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips (or other topping)
  5. Scoop and form dough into balls; place on a baking sheet
  6. Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until golden brown
  7. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely

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.

Peanut Butter: To Eat or Not to Eat?

99939-featuredMany of my clients question whether peanut butter is a healthy choice to add to their diet or a food that’s better to avoid. Unfortunately, the majority of people pair peanut butter with unhealthy jams or jellies, and extremely processed toast bread. Or perhaps greatly enjoy peanut butter cookies, which may be full of bleached and enriched flours, added sugars, and unwanted preservatives.

While peanut butter and other nuts/nut butters are high in fat, I numerously remind my clients these are in fact wonderful fats for your health. These healthy fats, from sources like raw nuts or seeds, extra virgin olive oil, fatty fish, grass-fed butter, avocados, nut butters, organic coconut oil, and so forth, do not only provide slow absorption and satiety, but they also contain polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. These healthy fats curb your cravings, keep you full longer, have cardiovascular benefits, have vital antioxidants and nutrients, allow you to better absorb nutrients, are great for your memory, and have anti-inflammatory benefits. I’m sure you’ve experienced eating peanut butter, only to feel full for several hours afterwards. Yes, you may thank the fat content. Besides being high in healthy fats, nuts are also high in protein and essential minerals. So should you purchase “all natural,” “organic,” or regular nut butters? Well, the issue isn’t with the nuts, but also the hydrogenated oils and other ingredients added.

Many popular brands carry “simple” versions of peanut butter, but unfortunately even these may include genetically modified oils, sugar, and salt. Although there are many great brands I can recommend, like Once Again Nut Butters, I cannot easily tell you to avoid certain brands completely. The easiest way to recognize if your peanut butter is a good option is to simply read the ingredients. If you find partially hydrogenated oil or fully hydrogenated oil on the ingredient list, hasten to put that back on the shelf. It’s recognized as a trans fat, and frankly you don’t want to be putting that into your mouth, let alone your body. Partially or fully hydrogenated oils literally means hydrogen was shot into the oils in an industrial manner to change the compounds and make these oils solid at room temperature. This allows the food to last longer, stay softer, and taste better. Inconsolably, it’s a lose-lose situation. Yes, the product may last much longer on the store shelves or in your pantry, or it may be smooth and moist when you bite into it, but it’s not the best choice for optimum health.

Hydrogenated oils are linked to various health risks, including heart disease, high cholesterol, and even allergies, and they are one of the ingredients I advise my clients to avoid for themselves, and especially for younger children. I assure you that your peanut butter, or other favorite nut butter, will taste just as great without the hydrogenated oil. Look for unsweetened peanut butter, again by merely reading the ingredient list. Although it’s preferable, cashew butter, almond butter, and sunflower seed butter don’t need to organic. Make sure to read the label though for unwanted ingredients. Conversely, I would recommend you purchase peanuts certified organic. The USDA organic label will assure you the product is free of hydrogenated oils, sweeteners, genetically modified ingredients, and other harmful additives.

Importantly, if you purchase peanut butter and see the oil floating on top, it’s actually a great sign! This means the product does not include any hydrogenated oils, or any other oil. Many organic nut butters are pre-stirred, so don’t make this visual the only factor in your decision making when purchasing them. Also, do not toss out the oil at the top, but instead stir it in slowly with a butter knife.

Aside nut butters, eating raw nuts for a snack is indeed a great choice. As I’ve stated, they grant you satiety, reduce cravings, and taste great, too. Purchase dry roasted nuts or raw nuts, and toast them yourself at home. You simply place them on a baking sheet and allow them to toast on low heat for several minutes. Please be aware though, some nuts require more baking time, thus it’s not best to mix them for baking. While almonds just take ten minutes to reach their peak taste, other nuts like walnuts or hazelnuts will require longer oven time. Pistachios and smaller nuts like pine nuts will quickly toast as well, so once again, try to separate them when toasting. Once all your nuts toast, toss them into a bowl and mix them. Add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and Himalayan pink salt for a perfectly delicious snack. You may store any extras in an air-tight glass container for future cravings.

Debunk the myth that nuts are not healthy and incorporate more of them into your diet. You can toss almond butter into your morning smoothie, or atop your steel cut oats. Or you can just make a cashew butter sandwich or eat it with celery as a snack. There is a myriad of ways you could consume nuts really, get creative! Next week, I will share a delicious nut butter cookie recipe you can make in a short period of time. They’re a wonderful replacement for store-bought cookies full of unhealthy fats, refined sugars, chemicals, and bleached flour. They’re kid-approved, and will make a great snack for your child and spouse alike.

For now, read your nut butter labels, consume raw nuts more often, and don’t give up on your way to a healthier lifestyle.

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.

18-14

Savory Barley Soup

Whether it’s a cold winter day or you’re just a huge fan of soup, this savory barley soup will certainly win your heart. This soup is high in dietary fiber, vitamin K, protein, folate, vitamin A, and B vitamins. It’s extremely filling and has a unique yet scrumptious taste. Try this recipe instead of canned soup you may be accustomed to. It’s fairly simple to prepare, and contains many health benefits.

Barley is one of the Sunnah Superfoods I’ve covered in my book. It is a great replacement for white rice which is stripped of its nutrients. Barley is in its whole form and is full of fiber, B  vitamin, and selenium. Cook barley and serve it with your favorite dishes as a replacement for white rice, pasta, or other grains. It’ll provide a boost of vitamins, minerals, and heart health benefits. Are you curious as to why I specified that you soak the barley overnight?

This soup has nutrients from every angle, and provides you with the perfect combination of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and great taste!

This soup has nutrients from every angle, and provides you with the perfect combination of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and great taste!

Soaking the barley reduces the phytic acid, thus makes it easier to digest. Phytic acid also binds to essential minerals in your gut, like calcium, zinc, iron, and magnesium. This means your body will not absorb these minerals from your food, consequently lowering the nutritional intake from your meal. I had many clients who usually have trouble digesting grains. They’ve found much comfort after soaking them overnight. It’s easy and quick to do; give it a try and see if it helps you.

When it comes to bone-broth, I frankly don’t recommend you purchase any kind that comes in a box or can. The majority are extremely high in refined sodium. Atop that, you’ll most likely find genetically modified soy ingredients in the product. I provide a delicious and easy homemade bone broth in my book, and it has become a staple in the diets of many of my clients. Bone broth has a myriad of health benefits that will surprise you- ranging from autoimmune diseases to more basic sicknesses like the flu.

Kale, a leafy green, comes along with 1108% vitamin K in just one cup. That’s right, kale is a scrumptious super food. Kale also contains over 15 nutrients per serving. It’s very high in antioxidants and carries anti-inflammatory benefits as well. I highly advise you try adding kale into your diet in any way possible. This soup is the perfect method for those who can’t handle kale’s strong taste when it’s fresh. If you’re not a fan of kale, you may simply replace it with chopped spinach or Swiss chard.

Are you wondering what pink salt is? Well, it’s one of the only salts I use at home. Yes, it’s literally pink in color, but not drenched in any added color dyes of course. I highly recommend that my clients and you alike, only use unrefined salts, like Celtic sea salt or Himalayan Pink Salt. There are many more options of unrefined salts as well that you may find in a supermarket near you. Himalayan Pink Salt is in its natural form and comes along with over 80 essential minerals and nutrients. It gives food wonderful taste, and no, it won’t color your rice or quinoa pink. I must mention, there are forms of unrefined salt that won’t be pink in color. These are great to use too. The problem with the popular salt sold for less than a dollar is that the majority of the substance in the bottle isn’t just salt, but anti-caking chemicals, dextrose, and additives to preserve it as well. These salts are processed, bleached, and evidently stripped of all the wonderful nutrients and minerals found in salt, naturally. These are the salts that aren’t good for your blood pressure and probably found in many of the packaged junk food items out there. Avoid this type of table salt and add unrefined salt to your kitchen pantry.

Apart being a wonderful protein source, chicken carries vitamins and minerals you cannot simply obtain from a plant based diet. Chicken is an excellent source of vitamin B3, selenium, vitamin B6, phosphorus, and choline. Chicken carries cardiovascular benefits, and purchasing certified organic chicken will increase the omega-3 fatty acids.

Turmeric increases the anti-inflammatory benefits in this delicious soup, and personally I love the color hue it gives, too. Add more turmeric to your meals, as it’s great for you in many ways. It aids in proper digestion, has anti-cancer properties, carries anti-inflammatory agents, and is great for your heart, too. The cloves in this recipe also aid in digestion, and are in fact high in vitamin K and fiber. Best of all though, just two teaspoons of cloves carry more than your daily value of manganese. It’s incredible! Ginger is one of my favorite spices and aids in digestion, stomach discomfort, colds, and much more.

What’s not to like about this soup? It gives a punch of nutrients from every angle, and provides you with the perfect combination of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and great taste!

Ingredients:

5 cups homemade bone-broth

1 tablespoon turmeric

2 tablespoons Himalayan Pink Salt

6 cloves, whole

1 teaspoon ground ginger

4 cups organic frozen kale, chopped

6 carrots, chopped

Chicken deboned (from a whole chicken)

1 cup barley, soaked overnight (to make this gluten-free use organic brown rice, millet, or quinoa)

Directions:

  1. Place bone broth, water, and all ingredients in a pressure cooker.
  2. Cook on high for 20-25 minutes.
  3. Turn off heat. Allow pressure to release before opening the pot.
  4. Serve warm.

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.

18-13

Making Healthy Choices While Traveling

By Noor H. Salem, contributing columnist

With spring break around the corner, many people are planning exciting vacations. Whether it’s a road trip with the siblings or a family trip afar, you can still enjoy your time while keeping your health in check. Below are a few tips I share with my clients to stay on track, even while traveling.

  1. Plan Ahead

Planning ahead is not as complicated as it sounds. Yes, you may perceive that turning the car into a drive-thru is much easier than planning a healthy meal, but the effect on your physical and mental health would differ drastically. Simply plan out the family snacks and meals and look for options along the roadway. If you are visiting family in another state or country, get their assistance in familiarizing yourself with the area. They may direct you to a supermarket, farmer’s market, or even a restaurant with healthy options. Planning ahead would also entail simple preparations, like packing snacks to keep you going.

  1. Pack suitable snacks

Unfortunately, the majority of packaged snacks come along with many ingredients that result in negative health consequences. I recommend you purchase organic dried fruit, raw nuts, nut butters, organic oatmeal, and other organic and non-GMO verified snacks. If you’re taking a road trip, purchase some celery, carrots, broccoli, and your other favorite vegetables. Place them in a cooler, and snack on them when hunger kicks in. Celery and carrots go great with nut butters, boosting the protein and healthy fats of your snack. If you’re traveling, stick with options like nuts, clean ingredient snack bars, and oatmeal. Once you reach your destination, find a nearby supermarket that is suitable to grab fruits and vegetables and other healthy alternatives of your choice.

  1. Do some research

I know what you’re thinking: “it’s a vacation, I don’t have time for homework!” The fact of the matter is; you’ll thank yourself while traveling for taking a few minutes to do this. Simply research healthy restaurant choices, grocery stores like Whole Foods, and even a park (if weather appropriate) nearby your destination. Check (and confirm) if your hotel has a fitness center, or look for a botanical garden, park, or trail. If appropriate to your vacation, look for adventurous outdoor activities that involve physical movement. Atop that, look for close by restaurants that may suite your eating habits. The majority of restaurants have wonderful websites with detailed menus. Research your travel destination and see what restaurants are in your area. Try avoiding fast food by all means. Worst case scenario, if that’s your only option; opt for a salad without their dressing, croutons, or cheese. I know, you might as well walk into a nearby grocery store and purchase some lettuce. It might sound like a joke, but why not? Add in some tomatoes, cucumbers, avocados, and red onions, and you’ve just made yourself a salad. If you have a kitchen in your hotel, why not cook up a quick meal? Quinoa with vegetables is fairly easy and quick to make. It’s high in protein and fiber, and will grant you satiety, along with a boost of nutrients. If you prefer not to cook, again, search for a restaurant with better options.

  1. Relax

Your family went to that upmarket restaurant, ordered some scrumptious food items, and you broke your food rules. Don’t ponder over it! Many times my clients claim one slip up or “cheat meal” causes them to go off track completely. Don’t let that be the case. Enjoy the meal, don’t regret it (as it truly does not help in any way), and move on to making a better choice next meal. Especially while on vacation, many of my clients frankly tell me that they enjoy meals with family and friends, and prefer to eat with the group. That is completely fine, and once you return home try to get back on track with your wonderful and healthy habits.

Try these tips, whether during spring break or another vacation penciled in your calendar soon. Observe the difference it makes to plan ahead and be prepared. Most importantly, enjoy the quality time with your family and friends, as that’s the most significant part of all.

Editor’s note: 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.

18-12

Scrumptious Homemade Bread

By Noor H. Salem, Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach

When you walk into the average supermarket today, you’re most likely going to run into 40 or 50 options of bread. Every bag is screaming its own marketing tactic, to assure you it’s the best for your health. Unfortunately, the majority of store-bought bread is nowhere near natural anymore. They are full of bleached flours, high fructose corn syrup, dough conditioners, preservatives, and genetically modified oils to keep them soft, fluffy, and shelf stable. Bread does not require three dozen ingredients, nor does it require preservatives to make it tasteful. Instead, try this easy and scrumptious homemade bread recipe, which I accredit to my dear mother. Once you recognize what you put in bread at home, you’ll cease from purchasing store bought bread.

You want to ensure you’re only purchasing unbleached flour, to avoid the negative health affects that come with the bleached version. This recipe can easily be made gluten-free by swapping the organic flour for a gluten-free version. Please make sure your gluten-free flour is organic and non-GMO verified, otherwise you may run across some genetically modified ingredients.

The seeds in this bread all come along with astonishing health benefits, including but not limited to: protein, omega-3 fatty acids, essential minerals, and fiber. Chia seeds are extremely high in protein, calcium, antioxidants, magnesium, phosphorous, and B vitamins. They are high in good quality protein and contain a good balance of essential amino acids. The percentage of calcium and phosphorous makes them a wonderful food to strengthen your bones. Sesame seeds are high in copper, calcium, and magnesium. They should be more than just garnish on your food! They are very beneficial for those who suffer from joint pain, particularly arthritis. Due to their high levels of zinc, they aid in building stronger bones as well. Flax seeds are a wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acids, which many people are deficient in. They are also high in fiber, antioxidants, and magnesium. They have been proven to fight against heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and stroke. There is no doubt these seeds are wonderful additions to your diet and I recommend my clients consume more of these super seeds often. The black seeds are one of my favorites and I’ve written about their benefits as well as holistic remedies in my book, Sunnah Superfoods. Black seeds help prevent a myriad of health issues and cure many more. I advise almost every one of my clients to add them to their meals habitually.

Try this mouthwatering bread recipe and then take a walk down the bread aisle at a supermarket and read some of the labels. You’re going to realize the ton of chemicals and preservatives are not only harmful to your health, but they’re not vital to enjoy appetizing bread.

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 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’s actually in your cereal?

By Noor H. Salem, Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. There’s no doubt it’s important to provide your body with energy, but the type of food you eat can very much impact your day-long energy and mood. Today, the majority of people consume breakfast cereals, sugary frozen waffles, and instant oats for breakfast. It may be much easier and convenient to dump cereal and milk in a bowl, but you must be aware of what you’re feeding your family.

That box of colorful cereal swimming in sugar, chemicals, and preservatives is not the best thing to eat early morning, let alone feed a child. It especially concerns me when parents feed their children colorful breakfast cereal, and then question why the child cannot concentrate in school. Food dyes such as yellow 6, red 40, blue 2 and green 3 are in no way, shape, or form, natural. They are literally food dyes; think paint in the art classroom! They have been linked to hyperactivity in children- this answers why many children are unable to focus in school. The majority of kids’ cereals are advertised as being good sources of fiber, vitamins, or minerals. The problem is the majority of these nutrients are synthetic and fortified. Atop that, these cereals are extremely high in sugar or even worse, high fructose corn syrup. That’s aside the concern of the genetically modified ingredients and the harmful additives found in many popular breakfast items.

Unless you are purchasing cereal that is certified organic and with the non-GMO verified label, you are most likely consuming some genetically engineered ingredients. The majority of cereals contain corn or corn meal as one of the first few ingredients. Many others contain soy, another crop that is most likely genetically modified. Genetically modified food has been linked to cancer, autoimmune disease, infertility, allergies, reproductive disorders, and autism. If you really love cereal, and can’t imagine going by your day without it, don’t despair. Simply look for the USDA Organic label, or the non-GMO Verified label on the box.

TBHQ is a chemical with the name that sounds like a science experiment: Tertiary butyl hydroquinone. Unfortunately, TBHQ is found in food items you may have sitting in your kitchen pantry at the moment. TBHQ may be found in fast food, cereals, frozen meals, or snacks, such as crackers. It’s usually added to foods with iron to avoid discoloration, change in taste, and to prevent rancidity. Some studies found that this additive has increased the risk of tumors, kidney enlargements, and hyperactivity. The National Library of Medicine claims that TBHQ has been reported to cause some instances of vision disturbance. By all means, an additive such as TBHQ is much better out of your kitchen and body!

Other wonderful alternatives to feed the kids and adults alike would be homemade smoothies, steel cut oats with berries, or eggs. Eggs are a wonderful source of protein, and grant satiety. Scramble in some organic spinach and other veggies of your choice for a boost of fiber, vitamins, and minerals to start your day. When purchasing oatmeal, do avoid the instant oats that happen to be already flavored. They will most likely contain sweeteners and additives that are not necessary to give it delightful flavor. Instead, purchase oats and add in berries, organic honey, or spices of your preference. You’ll instantly recognize that you’re able to whip up a tasteful bowl of oats without buying them premade.

Breakfast is definitely an essential meal of the day, and starting your day with a balanced meal will ensure you have more energy. Next time you’re in the breakfast food and cereal aisle, instead of being deceived by the marketing claims on the front of the package, turn over the box and read the ingredients. You want to be cautious of what you’re bringing home and feeding your family  and reading the label is a step towards better health.

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.

18-10

 

Extraordinary guacamole

By Noor H. Salem, Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach

Avocados are perceived as a high-fat food, but the fact of the matter is they do not lead to weight-gain or obesity. Many people are afraid of eating fat; they worry that since it is high in fat content, it will lead to weight gain. Fortunately, this is not the case, with avocados, extra virgin olive oil, organic butter, almond butter, organic coconut oil, nuts, or seeds.

Let’s go back to the basics: there are good fats and bad fats. If you are fearful to reach for the olive oil because it’s a complete fat, let me assure you that your concerns are unjustified. Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest fats in the world and it happens to be a food eaten by the prophet (peace be upon him). In fact, in many traditions, the prophet advised we eat olives and use of its oils. Today, modern studies prove the numerous health benefits in olives and olive oil, which I cover precisely in my book. Unhealthy fats would include but are not limited to hydrogenated oils (trans fat), butter-replacement spreads, fried sweets, deep fried potato chips, and so forth.

I have seen numerous clients reach their ideal weight goals by eating healthy fats and more importantly, without feeling hungry or deprived whatsoever. Why? It’s due to the fact that healthy fats from sources like raw nuts or seeds, extra virgin olive oil, fatty fish, grass-fed butter, avocados, nut butters, and organic coconut oil amongst many others do not only provide slow absorption and satiety, but they also contain polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. These healthy fats curb your cravings, keep you full longer, have cardiovascular benefits, have vital antioxidants and nutrients, allow you to better absorb nutrients, are great for your memory, and have anti-inflammatory benefits. These are just some of the benefits coming from these wonderful, whole food sources that taste great too. The recipe below contains both avocados and extra virgin olive oil, providing you with these wonderful benefits.

Anyone who has read my book, Sunnah Superfoods, can attest to how often I use avocados in my recipes. It’s no coincidence that they carry a myriad of health benefits, too. Avocados contain polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. They have many heart health benefits, cognitive health benefits, and best of all they taste great.

Move aside the myth of avocados being a fattening food and try this delicious recipe. This guacamole will provide you with satiety, healthy fats, fiber, vitamin C, and much more. The onion provides a wonderful taste, along with folate, copper, and potassium. Onions are a natural antibiotic, so consuming them more often will strengthen your immune system. They prevent bacterial infections and lower blood pressure. This dip is extremely high in vitamin C, due to the lemons and limes. I enjoy keeping the pulp in the lemon and lime juice, as they carry unique health benefits, and great taste, too. Aside generating the scrumptious taste, the spices I’ve included carry anti-inflammatory properties, selenium, and magnesium. I’ve discussed pink salt on numerous occasions, but to summarize: try using it or unrefined Celtic salt, as they are the natural form of salt. I advise that you avoid refined and bleached salt as much as possible. The avocados and olive oil provide satiety, wonderful taste, and creaminess to a unique guacamole version.

Ingredients:

6 large ripe avocados (peel and remove core)

1 red onion, peeled

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed (with pulp)

¼ cup lime juice, freshly squeezed (with pulp)

1 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt

1 teaspoon turmeric, ground

1 teaspoon mustard seed, ground

1 teaspoon rosemary, ground

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

Directions:

  1. Place all the ingredients except the tomatoes and cilantro in a high speed blender. Pulse until smooth.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes and cilantro; garnish with a bit of both.
  3. 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.

18-9

Flavorsome Quinoa Pilaf

noor quinoa

Quinoa is a wonderful high protein grain. Quinoa is one of those foods you can incorporate into almost anything. Atop that, it comes along with a myriad of health benefits. For those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease, quinoa may become your favorite grain alternative in the kitchen. Again, the best thing about quinoa is that it has a very subtle taste, so it’ll work well with whatever you incorporate it with. You may use it in dessert, for breakfast as a porridge, or with vegetables for a high protein dinner. Aside from being high in protein amino acids, quinoa is very high in dietary fiber. It comes along with a wonderful dose of B vitamins, iron, and magnesium. For those who are anemic or have low blood iron, quinoa is a wonderful food to add to your diet.

This is one of the easiest recipes in my book, Sunnah Superfoods. If you’re on a busy schedule and need to prepare dinner quickly, this is a great option to choose. It works great as a packed meal for lunch and tastes great next day. You can swap out the peas and carrots for any vegetable of your choice. The spices may be alternated as well, but be sure to add enough spices to cover up its bland taste.

This is a good non-meat protein meal. However, if you’re a huge fan of meat, you can add grass-fed organic ground beef or lamb. This recipe has the right combination of protein, vegetables, healthy fat, and taste.

Ingredients:

2 cups quinoa, red or white

3 cups frozen peas and carrots

1 ½ tablespoon Himalayan Pink Salt

1 teaspoon ground mustard seed

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon garlic powder, ground

1/8 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon organic apple cider vinegar

Handful fresh baby arugula, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Rinse the quinoa well. Place in a cooking pot with 6 cups of water. Cook covered on high heat for about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add in peas and carrots; stir. Allow to cook uncovered for another 7 minutes.
  3. In a mixing bowl, add the remaining ingredients except arugula. Mix well.
  4. Once quinoa and vegetables are tender, transfer to a serving dish. Drizzle with the dressing. Mix lightly. Garnish with arugula.

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.

Wawa-Wee organic fruit syrups combine taste, health and charity

irfan_wawa-wee

By Mahvish Irfan

TMO Contributing Writer

Nadia Khan, a 35-year-old mother of four home-schooled children between the ages of 3-12, was looking for a way to make cow’s milk palatable for her youngest son whom she had just weaned from nursing.

Fed up with finding nothing but unhealthy junk from big brands in the grocery stores, including Hershey’s and Nestle’s syrups that were full of high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, preservatives, and colors, and yet contained no real fruit, Nadia decided to make her own organic syrup.

She stopped by the local farmers’ market, purchased a few cartons of organic strawberries, came home, looked up a recipe online, tweaked it to her taste, and proceeded to boil and strain the strawberries, adding organic sugar in the end.

Her strawberry syrup became a sensation amongst family and friends. Everyday, her son kept asking for “wawa-wee,” his way of pronouncing “strawberry,” and she found great encouragement from others to start producing professionally. After all there was nothing else like it in the market, and in less than two years, Wawa-Wee organic strawberry, peach and blueberry syrups were born.

The Muslim Observer sat down with Nadia to discuss her journey turning her homemade syrups into a business venture, the many lessons she learned along the way, and the process of trying to hit the shelves of gourmet grocery stores like Whole Foods.

Did you ever think you’d be where you are today? What are some surprising things you’ve learned in this journey?

It’s really exciting to see an idea that I played around with in our home kitchen develop into an actual high quality food product ready for retail shelves. We’ve hired a licensed co-packer to manufacture for us, we’ve obtained our permits from the California Health Department, our organic certification, and set up our social purpose corporation. There were some surprising things I learned along the way. When I first started, I envisioned selling a product that would be identical to the one I made at home. I quickly learned that no large-scale manufacturers had the facilities to wash, chop and boil fresh fruit and then strain it. That would simply be too labor intensive and cost prohibitive.

I had to hire an experienced food chemist to convert my home recipe into what’s called a “manufacturer’s formula.” For large-scale food production, the primary concern is always food safety and shelf life.  How long before my food product would start to degrade? My food chemist warned me that as the syrups sat on store shelves over a period of months, they would lose their fruit taste and begin to taste like sugar water. Hence the addition of natural flavors. Natural flavors are added to products to maintain freshness and flavor throughout their shelf life. There are food scientists called “flavorists” who identify the naturally occurring chemicals in fruits that give them their smell and taste, and then they create concentrated versions of those tastes and aromas. The source of natural flavors, as opposed to the source of artificial flavors, has to be something derived from “nature.” That’s not always comforting. In my research, I learned that the most common source of strawberry flavor comes from a gland in a beaver’s butt! I refused to negotiate on the “cleanness” of my ingredients. I wanted my syrup to be something Muslims, Kosher-keeping Jews, vegetarians, even vegans would be comfortable consuming. I obtained letters from the suppliers of the natural flavors used in my syrups stating that they are all vegan—not derived from any animal by-products. Another consideration was color: I discovered that strawberry concentrate actually has a brownish tone rather than the bright red hue consumers have come to expect, so I was going to have to add some sort of color to the syrup. One common source of red coloring is from a certain species of crushed red beetle. I wasn’t too keen on that! The source of my natural color is purple carrot juice.

Making a premium-ingredient organic product is not cheap. The reason Hershey’s, Nestles and these other companies can sell their syrups so cheap is that their number one ingredient is high fructose corn syrup, which is a lot cheaper, and more destructive to health, than organic cane sugar, and their fruit taste comes from nothing but artificial flavors and colors. There’s not a hint of real strawberry in it! I didn’t want to make that type of product.

For every bottle of Wawa-Wee that is purchased, an orphan in need is fed. Tell us more about the social responsibility behind your brand.

In a regular corporation, the primary objective of the board of directors is always maximizing profit for the shareholders. If the board doesn’t deliver in that objective, they are answerable to the shareholders. In a social purpose corporation (SPC), however, the social objective is clearly stated in the bylaws and is just as important as profit maximization. In my present situation, I am both board and shareholder, but if my company grows, as I pray it does insha-Allah, the very fact that I am incorporated as an SPC means that I won’t have to worry about prospective shareholders hindering me from my social objective.

IMG_4279Social purpose is part of the very DNA of my company. Supporting orphans through GiveLight Foundation was always in the forefront of my mind when I first began to seriously consider turning my homemade syrups into a business venture. It has been my hope to establish some sort of sadaqa jariya that is pleasing to Allah Most High, one that continues to benefit orphans long after I leave this world. GiveLight seemed like the perfect fit for my new company. It was started by my friend Dian Alyan after she personally lost 40 relatives in the tsunami that devastated southeast Asia ten years ago. Today GiveLight supports over 800 orphans in ten different countries, and it is largely volunteer-driven, so you know your money is going directly to benefit the boys and girls who need it most.

What’s your favorite flavor? And, your favorite way to eat it?

I don’t have one favorite. I love blueberry on pancakes, strawberry in milk, and peach in soda. But the other day I tried peach in my milk and it was delicious! And strawberry soda float is the classic that my brother used to always order at Ghirardelli’s. We would tease him, “They have so many dessert options here! Why do you always get the same thing? You’re so boring!” But then his strawberry soda would arrive and it would taste so good that we would guzzle it down and he would have to order himself another one. I can honestly say that a float made with Wawa-Wee Organic Strawberry Syrup tastes even better than the one on offer at Ghirardelli’s.

What are some other ways to Wawa-Wee organic fruit syrups?

[You can use the] syrup on everything: pancakes, waffles, crepes, ice cream, yogurt, and cheesecake. We were mixing it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to make salad dressing. My children’s favorite way to use it was to mix it with seltzer water and top it with a scoop of ice cream to make a float.

Which stores can consumers purchase your syrups? Which stores will you be in in the near future?

We currently sell through our website, www.wawa-wee.com, and a handful of small retailers, such as ice cream shops. I’ve been so busy with my website orders that I haven’t had time yet to focus on pitching to retailers. There is one market in Brooklyn called Balady that carries Wawa-Wee. For those planning to attend the Reviving the Islamic Spirit (RIS) conference in Toronto this month, there is a vendor called Salam Shop that will be selling our syrups. In the near future, we hope to be at big box retailers that cater to the natural, health conscious crowd, such as Whole Foods Market.

Should we expect to see any new products soon?

I have lots of ideas. Once Wawa-Wee grows into a recognized brand name, we might add pancake mixes, yogurts, sodas, juices. The sky is the limit!

Any advice for budding entrepreneurs?

My motto throughout this process has been, “It doesn’t hurt to ask.” There are so many questions you feel afraid to ask because it might sound dumb, you don’t speak the jargon, you’re afraid of being told, “no.” Allah Most High is the Source of all success. Do not fear His creation, and do not have anxiety over your livelihood. If you have an idea, just run with it.

To learn more, treat yourself to a visit to wawa-wee.com. You can also find Wawa-Wee on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Eating Wisely While Dining Out

Photo credit:  Photodune

Photo credit: Photodune

By Noor H. Salem

With long work hours, and very long to do lists at home once work is over, more and more people are relying on restaurants to prepare dinner for their families. While it’s fine to dine out occasionally, and it can be an enjoyable experience with friends or family, don’t allow that to be an excuse to sabotage your healthy eating habits. In fact, you can still balance both, without taking any fun out of your outing. Being aware of main restaurant food items and what they consist of will allow you to make better choices.

When it comes to dining out, many food items that are thought to be healthy, can in fact be very misleading for many. Take the famous caesar salad for example. Ordering a salad with romaine lettuce, cheese, dressing, and croutons is not my definition of healthy. Not to mention, the majority of caesar salads come with romaine lettuce as the only vegetable. You’ll be lucky if they toss on a few slices of tomatoes. The majority of commercial ranch or caesar dressing come along with soybean or canola oils, monosodium glutamate (MSG), a ton of refined sodium, and another twenty or more ingredients you can’t pronounce. The majority of soy and canola crops are genetically modified, and neither are the best oil to dump on top of your romaine lettuce. The sodium used in these dressings will definitely not be Himalayan Pink Salt or unrefined celtic salt, which are two salts which I recommend my clients to cook with. Instead, restaurants use refined, bleached and overly processed sodium, which comes along with anti-caking preservatives you don’t need to be putting inside your body. Himalayan Pink Salt and unrefined celtic salt are actually unrefined, and come along with over 80 trace minerals! It’s amazing; and they come along with other health benefits too. Eat all the vegetables you can imagine, but dumping these dressings on there takes away the entire concept of healthy. Those crunchy innocent looking croutons actually come along with health sabotaging ingredients. The majority of commercially prepared croutons come along with hydrogenated oils, monosodium glutamate and other artificial flavorings, an inflated amount of sodium and preservatives to keep them shelf stable, and crunchy by the time they reach your dinner plate. Try avoiding these, and opt for a different salad that contains more vegetables. I highly advise you skip the dressing, and go easy on the cheese.

As I’ve mentioned in previous columns, restaurants are meant to thrive economically. Evidently that’ll cause them to not always use the best quality food. Soups can be extremely high in sodium, unhealthy oils, and artificial or natural flavorings. They will undoubtedly include ingredients and additives that you will not find in your kitchen cabinet, and even worse, possibly not ingredients you’ll find in nature either.

When it comes to drinks, do avoid sodas and carbonated beverages to the best of your ability. these are a given, the greater number of people are aware they are not health promoting, even if they happen to drink them. However, many aren’t aware that diet sodas are in fact worse for your health than regular soda. those artificial sweeteners made in chemical labs are not natural, and have numerous health effects. they are proven to cause more cravings, and some have been correlated with a higher risk of cancer. How about smoothies and items marketed as healthy? It depends. I would advise you either watch them make your smoothie if possible, or simply ask for the list of their ingredients. Do they use a prepared fruit syrup that is full of high fructose corn syrup, food coloring, and natural or artificial flavorings? Or do they actually put real fruit in your smoothie? Just be more conscious and ask; it’s okay to ask and is definitely better than being oblivious about what’s in your drink!

Of the many recommendations, I always advise my clients to look up the menus and deciding on what to order before heading out the restaurant. Majority of restaurants now provide nutritional information online. Beware of high sodium dishes, deep fried items, and those extremely high in saturated fats. Try sticking to whole foods, like salads, proteins, and vegetables. If you’re stuck between two options, try picking the best of the worst. Again, try avoiding those salad dressings; go for hummus or guacamole dip instead. Do your best in choosing wisely, and don’t’ stress over it- enjoy quality time with your friends and family.

Editor’s Note: Noor Salem is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, and is CEO of her own wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition, LLC. Noor specialized in women’s health, weight loss, and food intolerance versus allergies. She offers individual and group health coaching programs, and is a speaker on the topic of holistic health at workshops and seminars. The views expressed here are her own.

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Last year’s Halal Fest an appetizer for 2015

By Carissa D. Lamkahouan
TMO contributing writer

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Photo credit:  Facebook

Photo credit: Facebook

Canton, MI—For a food festival, running out of eats isn’t part of the plan. However, when that scenario played out last year during the first annual Halal Fest Michigan, festival organizer Mostansar Virk took it as a sign of success.

“We were actually only expecting about 1,500 people but approximately 4,500 showed up,” said Virk, chief executive officer and founder of Halal Fest Michigan. “It was a huge hit. I was completely shocked at how many people showed up.”

The festival was staged at Heritage Park Amphitheater Pavilion in Canton, Mich., an area which boasts one of the largest Muslim communities in the country. The 2015 event, which is set for Saturday, Aug. 8 from noon-7 p.m., will be held at the same venue.

And now with this year’s event right around the corner and already buzzing with lots of online interest and robust advance tickets sales, Virk is making sure the upcoming festival doesn’t feature a repeat performance.

“Last year we had around 11 food vendors who came and we ended up running out of food around 6 p.m., but this year we have around 20 or so who will participate and we’ve asked all of them to make sure they make food for about 800 people,” he said. “We want to make sure that we have enough food for everybody and that it’s amazing food, as well. Nobody should go home hungry.”

Virk, a Michigan-based entrepreneur, said he came up with idea to hold a halal food festival after hearing disparaging remarks about halal food on the news.

“Two years ago there were people on TV speaking really awfully about halal food, saying that’s it’s foreign to America and something we shouldn’t have here,” he said. “I took that to heart because I eat halal food and I have children who eat halal food. In that moment I knew that if we have people speaking ill about halal food then I though I’ll have a halal food festival and be open with it and I’ll invite everyone and we’ll see how it goes. And it was amazing.”

In retrospect, Virk said the festival’s success shouldn’t have come as a complete surprise. Food has long been a way to bridge cultures and to bring people together, which are two important reasons Virk created Halal Fest Michigan in the first place.

“I wanted to showcase Muslims and show people that we’re not all Arabs or Africans and we’re not all about war and terrorism. Muslims are everybody,” he said. “Food makes it sort of easy to have that conversation.”

And while there is a religious aspect to the festival, it is halal food after all, Virk said the event welcomed non-Muslims and there was no pressure to discuss Islam.

“You don’t have to have a conversation about Islam if you’re eating together, you can just enjoy the food,” he said. “I just wanted people to sit down together and have conversations they wouldn’t have had otherwise with people they might not have met otherwise.”

And come they did, enjoying the wide variety of ethnic and American-style food till the last bite was gone.

“Food is a huge aspect of our culture and we had so many varieties to choose from like Indian, African, Middle Eastern, Asian. We had halal American food, as well, like halal subs and chicken wings.”

Though halal food was the festival’s star attraction, Virk said there were plenty of family-friendly activities to keep the little ones busy when they weren’t sampling all the savory dishes. Children enjoyed carnival rides, face painting, henna art and more.

Now, with his attention turned to Halal Fest Michigan 2015, Virk promises a “bigger and better” event and encourages all those who can attend to make plans to come out and enjoy some delicious halal food.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.halalfestmichigan.com. Tickets are $5 per person and children under 7 are free. A family of five entry fee is $15, however this discount is only available online.

Full-price admission can be purchased at the door on the day of the event.

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