From the silver screen to social media, Saudi star celebrates clean eating

Reem Al-Habib is in her element in her vegetable garden. (Photo courtesy: Reem Al-Habib)
Updated 09 January 2018
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From the silver screen to social media, Saudi star celebrates clean eating

JEDDAH: Health awareness has risen in recent years, but do we really know how safe what we consume is?
Saudi director, actress and healthy living advocate Reem Al-Habib, a passionate supporter of clean eating, makes a point of educating herself and others about what she and her family consume through her various social media channels. Al-Habib, who trained as a lawyer, has starred in a number of TV shows on television networks and even in feature films. She is a strong advocate of women starring in Saudi Arabia’s rising film industry and her passion for clean eating is just as strong.
A working mother of two, she grows her own food and has launched her own YouTube channel on clean eating and how to be green. Called Fasila Organics, the channel has 41,868 subscribers and is a treasure trove of content related to gardening, healthy eating guides as and question and andwer sessions
“A good friend of mine hated eating vegetables and always complained of hair loss. I tried to encourage her to grow her own plants but she went for the easier option, buying from the market,” Al-Habib told Arab News.
“Her doctor told her she has consumed a lot of toxins and he was concerned. I became intrigued to know why.”
Al-Habib set out to find out about production processes in farms and to educate others via her YouTube channel.
She talks about how easy it is to grow your own food and gives tips on how to do so. Her video on the dangers that American company Monsanto poses to the agricultural system went viral and has more than 600,000 views.
“One of the most profound issues I have with having to buy produce from markets in my city was not knowing if they’re safe to eat,” Al-Habib said.
“I’ve always wanted to eat healthy and organic, but once I noticed that three-quarters of the produce we buy in markets are sprayed with pesticides, I had other ideas. I knew growing my own vegetables at home was the best option.”
She is currently working on content to teach children how to grow food in schools and is giving workshops in various institutes. She has constructed a school curriculum teaching young children about the health benefits of growing your own food, using their love of the great outdoors as a tool to help kids to stay active and understand how to care for plants.
She says with the right tools, the proper amount of nitrogen in the soil, planting and irrigation, growing your own food is easier than one would think.
“Planting gets you the beneficial bacteria. Rodents won’t attack healthy plants. You’ll only find moths, caterpillars, beetles, lady bugs and other insects that are beneficial to the plants,” Al-Habib said.
“There could be some insects that could be harmful to the plant but aren’t transferrable to humans. I don’t use chemicals and I don’t recommend using them.”
She is very active on social media — she regularly streams live feeds to her 13,200 Instagram followers on her account @reem_alhabib — and engages with her fans. Her passion is evident from her following and in the care she gives to her plants.
In her live feeds, she helps followers better understand supermarket food labels, and promotes healthy products that are tried and tested.
“I create curiosity and educate people. I’m a consumer and I need to know what I’m eating. I ask questions and it’s up to companies to answer them,” Al-Habib said.
“We don’t have a farming culture and we just eat what we can find, so it’s understandable that we don’t know much about farming, but it’s not an excuse anymore.”


Expert calls for self-examination for early detection of breast cancer

One in every eight women will suffer from breast cancer in her lifetime. (Shutterstock)
Updated 23 October 2018
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Expert calls for self-examination for early detection of breast cancer

  • Women in Saudi Arabia have become more aware of the disease and receive support from their families

JEDDAH: In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Dr. Amel Merdad is providing a helpful guide about the disease to women .
Recent statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that more than 1.2 million breast cancer cases are diagnosed worldwide each year. Breast cancer kills more than 500,000 women a year. The disease ranks second in cancer incidence, after lung cancer, worldwide.
One in every eight women will breast cancer in her lifetime.
The evolution of scientific research and increased awareness have contributed significantly to the increase in recovery rates, as a result of early detection of the disease.
Ten percent of breast cancer cases occur as a result of genetic mutations inherited by the generations in a family.
The incidence of breast cancer increases with age, and it usually occurs after age 40. The average age of breast cancer patients in Saudi Arabia is 48 years and it is so worldwide. Dr. Merdad provided her advice on early screening methods. “Periodic self-breast examination helps women to be aware and familiar with their breasts so they can take care of them, being healthy and not only pretty.
Dr. Merdad added that self-breast examination is to be done once a month on the sixth or seventh day of the menstrual cycle from the age of 20 and forward. “In the case of menopause, self-examination takes place on the same date every month,” she said.
She also gave these useful guidelines:

Self testing
Stand in front of the mirror and look at the breasts to check for anything unusual, such as the presence of lumps or differences in the size of the breasts or the presence of swelling or changes in skin or nipple.
Put your hands behind your head to notice in the mirror for any difference in the lower part of your breasts. Put your hands on your waist and bend forward slightly with the pressure of the shoulders and elbows forward to check for any change in the shape or size of the breasts.
Lift your left hand and use three fingers from the right hand to examine the left breast in a circular way from the outer edge of the breast and in the direction of the nipple, focusing on the area between the breast and armpit and area under the armpit.
Repeat this step with your right breast. Press the nipple gently to observe any abnormal discharge. Repeat the previous steps while lying on your back.

Screening
Age 20-40 years old: Self-examination is recommended monthly. Also check with your doctor every three years. An ultrasound is recommended for the breast examination only if necessary.
Age 40-65 years: Self-examination is recommended monthly and check with the doctor every year. Mammograms are indicated once every one to two years for all women.
More than 65 years: Monthly self-examination and check with your doctor annually. Schedule a mammogram every two to five years.
Dr. Merdad said that taking care of a woman psychologically plays an important role in enhancing the cure rate.
“To all women. Protect your health, have a great life, and screen yourselves for breast cancer,” she added.