Are you game for healthy skin?

Updated 27 February 2013

Are you game for healthy skin?

Exercising and sweating hard can help remove toxins that lie just under the skin’s surface. This results in having a cleaner and healthier skin, said dermatologist Dr. Mohammed Dawi.
“It’s like going to the sauna and sweating the toxins out. With sports you will benefit both your skin and your figure,” he said. “Being active outdoors is best as this exposes you to the sun, which offers Vitamin D. This will help maintain strong bones.”
Shifting levels of hormones can cause breakouts, especially with teenagers. “The skin is the biggest organ in the body and it is often neglected. Every one gets acne at some point in their life, but teenagers are most likely to fall victim,” said Dawi. “As we age, our skin ages too and it gains wrinkles, stretch marks and creases,” he added.
The human skin has a mind of its own, a mind that does not react well to stress. “You can find that your skin breaks out as a response to pressure and anger. This happens when your body releases stress hormones, including cortisol, from the adrenal glands,” he said. “The cortisol hormone activates glands in the hair follicles to produce sebum that can block the hair follicle causing inflammation and acne.”
Sport is one of the best ways to fight stress. Just sweat it out, release all anger and focus on the sport itself. “Working out lowers cortisol levels in the body, which helps to reduce the stress levels. This has a positive effect on the immune system,” said Dawi. “It is like a positive circle that goes on and on. Being active will help you choose healthy, fresh food instead of bad comfort food. Unhealthy, fattening foodstuffs have a detrimental effect on your skin down. The best way to release stress is by going to the gym or by jogging in the streets.”
The skin easily attracts germs and toxins from a dirty surface and polluted air, said Dawi. “Exercising can help flush toxins out of the skin. At the same time, sweating removes layers of lotion and deodorant on the skin,” he said. “When you sweat, the water of the sweat separates dirt and toxins from the skin. While showering after a workout, it is easy to remove those without having to scrub hard.”
The added bonus of a flushed skin and a beautiful glow after working out is because of the blood and oxygen moving around in the skin. “Natural oils of the skin are produced when you exercise which help the skin look healthy and young. Those natural oils are like moisturizers to the skin,” he said. “When you exercise, your veins and lungs are distributing blood and oxygen to your muscles and skin, which helps improve the collagen production. Collagen keeps the skin smooth and plumped,” he added.
Women should not wear makeup while exercising. “Makeup can easily clog pores which makes it hard to sweat out the toxins,” he said. “Make sure you wash your face and prepare it for the best beauty regime I could ever recommend. Also make sure to eat healthy and drink a lot of water.”

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Family favorites: Toto’s famous spaghetti and meatballs soup

Updated 21 May 2018

Family favorites: Toto’s famous spaghetti and meatballs soup

This hearty dish is the middle point between spaghetti and meatballs and soup. It is a family favorite in my household, my kids love it and ask for seconds — and thirds sometimes! As any mother of picky eaters knows, this is a dream come true and I promise you, this soup will have your kids slurping from the bowl.

I was first introduced to this delicious meal by my mother-in-law, whom we affectionately call Toto, and ever since then, it’s become known as Toto’s famous spaghetti and meatballs soup in our home.

It is perfect for a satisfying iftar dish, so why not try it today?



Store bought spaghetti (Toto makes hers from scratch. If you can do that, kudos to you, if not just use store bought spaghetti).

Two peeled potatoes cut into large cubes.

Half-a-pound of minced meat.

One onion, chopped finely.

Six ripe tomatoes and two  tablespoons of tomato paste.

Five garlic cloves, crushed.

A handful of chopped coriander leaves.



Combine the tomatoes and tomato paste with one liter of water in a blender, with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture into a big pot on the stovetop and bring it to a boil, then lower the heat to let it simmer.  

In a separate bowl, add the minced meat, onions and garlic, with a dash of salt and pepper. Mix until well incorporated and roll into small meatballs.

Cook the meatballs through in a sizzling, oiled pan. Transfer the meatballs into the pot with the simmering tomato soup.

Add the peeled potatoes that have been cut into chunks into the soup.

Let it cook for 10 minutes and add the spaghetti. Continue to cook the dish until the spaghetti is al dente and serve with a garnish of freshly chopped coriander leaves.