Healthlines: Turning the clock back

Updated 09 January 2013

Healthlines: Turning the clock back

When you exercise first thing in the morning you are giving the best part of the day to yourself. If you notice, animals naturally start the day with stretches and it is natural for us to stretch when getting up too! Taking exercise in the morning fills you with positive energy for your day. Given the choice between an extra ten minutes in bed and ten minutes of exercise, it is the exercise that will make you feel better! My mini-morning workout contains exercises for each and every part of the body to keep your body flexible and toned. To help you get started I invite you to download my award winning mini-morning workout by e-mailing: [email protected]
I have exercises for all abilities so that you can start somewhere and if you are worried about your weight or balance start with the bed exercises. Send an e-mail to get your exercise:
For bed exercise, e-mail: [email protected]
For chair exercise, e-mail: [email protected]
For office exercises, e-mail: [email protected]
If you have not exercised before, start with just a few minutes every day first thing in the morning. That way you get the day off to a good start. Everything helps and you can start gently. Also studies have shown that exercising before breakfast burns more calories.
Guidelines for amounts of exercise depend on whom you talk to, but the standard advice is at least 30 minutes on at least 3 days a week for significant health benefits. I believe you need some every day, as there is nothing your body enjoys more than routine. I am in the habit of starting my working day with exercise and finishing with exercise. If you work out regularly you do not have to push yourself too hard. We all see people pounding away in the gym but then they give up. I have found that it is those who do a little every day that do well long-term. Definitely a little every day is more effective than killing yourself for a couple of hours in one session.
Studies show that even moderate exercise makes you less likely to overeat.
After several weeks of exercise you will notice that the endorphins stay in your blood longer and your mood remains elevated for longer. Early morning exercise is so important and makes you feel relaxed and positive at the start of the day. In the Gulf where it can be difficult to get outside to exercise at some times in the year it is important to have a gym membership or live in an apartment with a gym; or if you are able to, make your own small gym in your home and invest in your own treadmill. It is not an optional extra or a luxury, it is important to your health. Having a small gym in the house is becoming popular in many countries.

Exercise and Aging
As we grow older our muscles start to shrink especially if we do not use them. Good reasons for exercising as you grow older:
Exercise gives you insurance for down the road, you want to try and be healthy your whole life.
Exercise not only strengthens and tones the body as you lose weight; it ensures that you do not end up with loose flesh.
Exercise helps you to have healthy blood flow. Healthy blood flow is so important: arteries are the rivers of life and the better your blood flow the better everything else will be. Exercise helps blood pressure. Even moderate aerobic activity five times a week can lower blood pressure by 4-9 mm Hg.

How to Plan Exercise Time
Spend time working out how you will build exercise into your daily routine. For example:
Start you day with exercise for 10 minutes every morning. My mini morning workout is ideal.
Nature is a great comforter and healer and is there for all of us. So how about an early morning or evening walk to lift your mood and benefit your health?
Busy mothers can take children for games in the park or to swim; children love it when their parents join in.
Get an exercise bike and cycle while you watch your favorite program.
Make it a rule to always use stairs for one flight.

Ask Alva
I am extremely lazy and I do not do exercise and I am overweight and always tired. My Doctor had asked me to take exercise but I do not know how to do it or what to do? Can you tell me? — Hamda

Taking exercise means moving each day. E.g. using the stairs if you are very unfit you cannot start by going for a run.
You have taken the first step by recognizing you have a problem and writing to me. Start with small steps like going for a walk every day even if it is only around your garden. Make small changes each week and you will soon be on your way to getting fit and healthy. E-mail to [email protected] for my free fact sheet about walking for exercise. Or download my mini morning workout and exercise in the privacy of your own bedroom. — Alva

Ta’ateemah: Giving Eid a Hijazi flavor

Ta’ateemah includes a variety of dishes such as dibyazah, red mish, chicken and lamb stew and bread. File/Getty Images
Updated 19 June 2018

Ta’ateemah: Giving Eid a Hijazi flavor

  • Dibyaza is made of melted dried apricots, roasted nuts, figs, peach and sugary dates to create a marmalade-like dish that can be enjoyed with or without bread
  • The dibyaza is also similar to an Egyptian dish called khoshaf, but dibyaza is often partnered with shureik — a donut-shaped bread with sesame sprinkled all over it

JEDDAH: Ta’ateemah is the name of the breakfast feast Hijazis enjoy on the first day of Eid Al-Fitr. It is derived from the Arabic word, itmah, or darkness, because the dishes served are light, just like midnight snacks.

Muslims around the world celebrate Eid Al-Fitr to feast after fasting for the holy month of Ramadan. But it is called Al-Fitr from iftar, or breakfast when translated to English, which is a meal Muslims do not get to experience during that month.
The first day of Eid is a day where they finally can, and they greet the day with joy by heading to Eid prayers and then enjoying this traditional meal.
Amal Turkistani, mother of five from Makkah who now lives in Jeddah, told Arab News all about a special Eid dish.
“The most famous dish is the dibyaza, and making a dish of it is a work of art that I can proudly say I excel at. Dibyaza is made of melted dried apricots, roasted nuts, figs, peach and sugary dates to create a marmalade-like dish that can be enjoyed with or without bread.”
She revealed that dibyaza is not a quick meal — it is usually prepared a day or two before Eid with the ingredients simmered to reach the correct liquid thickness.
No one can trace the origins of dibyaza — it remains a mystery. Some people claim it originated in Turkey, while others attribute it to the Indians.
A number of women who are famous for their dibyaza agreed that it is a Makkawi dish. This marmalade dish was developed and improved, with tiny details to distinguish it.
The dibyaza is also similar to an Egyptian dish called khoshaf, but dibyaza is often partnered with shureik — a donut-shaped bread with sesame sprinkled all over it.
Turkistani said sweet shops sell 1 kg of dibyaza for SR50 ($13), competing with housewives who make their own.


“I think it is always tastier when it’s homemade because of all the love that goes into making it. It’s also a wonderful way to greet your family and neighbors with this special dish that you only enjoy once a year.”
Her younger sister, Fatin, said: “My siblings always have Eid breakfast at my place, so it’s up to me to prepare the feast. My sister spares me the exhausting dibyaza-making, so I prepare two main dishes: Minazalla, which is a stew of lamb chops with tahini and a tomato chicken stew.
“She also serves what we call nawashif, or dry food, like different types of cheese and olives, pickled lemon, labneh, red mish — a mixture of white cheese, yogurt and chili pepper and halwa tahini,” Amal said.
Mohammed Ibrahim, 23, from Makkah, told Arab News: “It always feels unique to have minazalla and nawashif during Eid, and not just because it is followed by the Eidiyah.”


What is Eidiyah?

It is money elders in the family give to the youth to celebrate Eid and to congratulate them on completing Ramadan fasting.