I’m often asked about my Vegan way of life — and specifically how I integrate my health habits, exercise, and vegan lifestyle as a Qatari living in Doha. Qatar’s healthy areas have undergone a momentous journey of transformation in recent decades. The growth of new facilities, parks and open spaces ensures we can live a healthy life, and is helping to transform the country.
As a Vegan dedicated to pursuing a healthy lifestyle, I find myself taking advantage of Qatar’s investment in the health & fitness sector all the time. Here’s an insight into a day’s worth of health habits, rituals and routine.
On Saturday morning, I’ll start the day by drinking 1 litre of mineral water. At night, your body repairs itself and casts out all the toxins in the body. When you drink water on an empty stomach in the morning, you will flush out these harmful toxins, leaving your body fresh and ready for the day. Drinking water also helps in increasing the production of muscle cells and new blood cells.
Shortly after, I’ll head to the gym — armed with a green cold-pressed juice. I’ll typically take a strength class which focuses on muscle building, or I’ll join a boxing workout. Boxing is cardio, which helps keep our heart healthy, increase body strength, and also improves hand-eye coordination.
The cold-pressed juice that I consume during the class has cucumber, celery, spirulina, leafy greens, lemon and apple. Such green juices are rich in minerals and vitamins, and a better substitute than most energy drinks, which are often high in caffeine. I take my energy from the chlorophyll in green juices, as chlorophyll is a cell reviver that wakes up both the body and the mind — giving the right amount of energy, and helping digestion.
Upon returning home from the gym, I’ll prepare a smoothie. As a vegan, I make a plant-based protein shake: with almond milk, hemp seeds, sprouted vegan protein powder, almond butter and raw cao cao. It’s high in amino acids — which a lot of people consider Vegans lack — and also fibre, and other muscle building ingredients.
As part of my health habits, I also try to sit in the sun for at least 30 minutes per day, or every couple of days, depending on work. Absorbing Vitamin D from the sun is very important, and I do believe in the healing power of the sun. It can help release toxins, and works magic on the skin. I’ll also drink turmeric water throughout the day which is tasty, and has scientifically-proven health benefits, such as the potential to prevent heart disease, and cancer. It’s also an anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant.
For lunch, I’ll try to have a raw meal, as I’ll have a cooked dinner. Eating raw ensures I’m absorbing the maximum nutrients from the food, as it’s in its purest form. I’ll have a mixed vegetable wrap — substituting the tortilla bread for a collard green wrap (bread tends to slow down digestion and makes everything a little more sluggish). I’ll have it with some form of hummus, perhaps a green or beetroot variant. I’ll also add avocado, in order to ensure I have healthy fats included in my diet.
If the afternoon is your best time to be active, (as it sometimes is for me) — a walk around the neighbourhood, or even the beach if it’s possible, can be beneficial and allows me to enjoy fresh air. Furthermore, walking on the sand can significantly reduce stress levels, and relax the mind.
By dinner time, I’ll have something such as a warm quinoa bowl, with sweet potatoes and fresh kale. It’s delicious, full of nutrients, and high in protein.
We all know how important sleep is — and living in a fast-paced routine, sleep can sometimes be perceived as a luxury. But whether you own a business, study, work in shifts, etc — making a good night sleep a priority will have great benefits on your overall health. Personally, I try to sleep around nine hours per night — the amount of hours I know I can function on, without being tired during the day.
To summarise, we have to work out what is best for us, and what works for our bodies. If you’re wanting to improve health, try to create a realistic health schedule that works for you, and integrate organic, plant-based foods and drinks to fully feel the rewarding effects.