Three women, one goal: Tasty, healthy meals in a box

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Updated 02 March 2016

Three women, one goal: Tasty, healthy meals in a box

To provide convenient and nutritious dining programs for health conscious people, three mothers, Rawan, Sara and Nora run a healthy food business called “The Health Box”. They believe that nutrition is a big part of any good fitness program as without proper nutrition any workout is destined to fail.
Sara had a catering business before she got interested in fitness, while Nora and Rawan enjoyed living a healthy lifestyle. All three of them are certified fitness trainers who not only love eating healthy food, but also care about its taste.

In conversation with Arab News, Rawan shared how she and her team pioneered healthy eating through their entrepreneurial drive.

Tell us how you started The Health Box?
I always loved desserts and had a sweet tooth, but as a fitness trainer I wanted to follow my eating plans and avoid sugary foods. Since, I can’t live without chocolate I decided to experiment in the kitchen to create recipes that are satisfying just like any other brownie. However, my goal was to make healthy desserts that even kids would enjoy and it worked.
Eventually, I started testing it on friends and family who all fell in love with it and our clients from the gym started ordering it. Then after introducing training concepts with Nora called SWEAT Box, she suggested we make healthy post-workout meals such as sandwiches as she was already popular for her homemade healthy sandwiches.
Later Sara’s love for cooking emerged again and that’s when the three of us decided to start The Health Box. We knew the demand was there, and there weren’t any reliable high quality healthy meal plan providers in Jeddah so we saw an opportunity to be the first healthy food suppliers.

And what is The Health Box?
The Health Box is a center for healthy gourmet food service, where we offer a variety of programs that provide meal plan packages tailored according to each person’s dietary needs or fitness goals.

As a founding entrepreneur of a company, how has the experience been for you and what were the challenges?
The experience has been amazing, although we made lots of errors. The most important thing is to learn and not make the same mistakes again. I don’t think there were any unexpected challenges because every day was a challenge. Finding reliable suppliers that can provide us with high quality food and be consistently available was one of the challenges.

Tell us about your menu, any popular dish?
Our menus are diverse that fit any healthy lifestyle our clients are interested in. We offer Paleo, Whole30, vegetarian, vegan and balanced dishes to fit all individual needs. We believe there is no one diet that fits all. We also try to introduce authentic dishes that are close to home like our popular spiced quinoa bukhari prepared in the traditional Saudi way, which people love and enjoy the most.

Where do you buy organic food from?
When we want to buy organic products, we buy from the local organic supplier Organica.

How do you manage to promote healthy eating?
As fitness trainers, we are passionate about eating healthy and it is important to feel properly fueled for training sessions that will make us feel good inside and out. We want everyone to get this great feeling of energy for which we try our best to promote healthy eating with the help of social media. We always give out health tips through our Instagram and Snapchat accounts (@the_healthbox).

Who are your customers?
Our customers are those who understand the value of healthy living and feeling better. They are those who want to lose weight, gain weight in a healthy way or those who just want to maintain their weight but live a healthy life. We cater to all needs through different programs.

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs and business leaders?
1. To be in a business you are truly passionate about because then only you will succeed and work hard to make it work while enjoying it too.
2. If you are going to partner up with somebody, they should be just as passionate and dedicated as you are and share your interesting ideas or else that partnership won’t work.
3. To be unique you have to be competitive and make your ideas exceptional.

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Expert advice for dealing with stressed-out skin

Updated 21 October 2020

Expert advice for dealing with stressed-out skin

DUBAI: If you felt like as soon as lockdown hit, your typically flawless complexion went haywire, you’re not alone. The effects of the current situation can affect more than just your mental health — it can also take a toll on your complexion. “Stress affects the skin in many ways,” said Dr. Costi, cosmetic dermatologist and FOREO brand partner, to Arab News. “Stress causes our body to produce more cortisol, the stress hormone, which can lead to several skin issues.” 

The increase of cortisol not only causes our body to produce more oil, which leads to breakouts, but it also increases inflammation. Costi explained, “Stress reduces our immune system causing inflammation to flare up. So if you already had a skin condition like psoriasis, eczema or dermatitis, it will get worse.” Furthermore, by causing inflammation in the dermis, stress directly affects the skin’s natural aging cycle, leading to premature wrinkle formation.

To deal with stress-related skin issues, the doctor suggests maintaining a healthy skin regimen by paring back our routines, thoroughly cleansing the dermis and exfoliating regularly. “Clean your skin diligently, followed by an adequate moisturizer for your skin type,” he said.

Costi also stressed (excuse the pun) the importance of regular exercise. “By staying active and sweating regularly, you are releasing toxins from your body and stimulating your blood circulation, which has the biggest effect not only on stress but also on your overall wellbeing,” he said. And don’t forget to incorporate a healthy diet into your daily life. “Drink plenty of water, limit your caffeine intake and eat a varied and seasonal diet of fruits and vegetables,” suggested the doctor. 

Here are more expert tips for dealing with stress-related skin concerns.

Breakouts

Acne and oily skin are the most common side effects of stress. “Breakouts are often the result of pollution and clogged pores, which have only one solution: A very good cleansing, toning and exfoliation treatment, morning and night,” expalined Costi, suggesting formulas with salicylic acid. “You can opt for a sonic brush, such as Foreo’s Luna 3, to blast away any dirt or makeup residue,” he added.

Dryness

According to Costi, “dry skin can lose its glow and look wrinkled.” Those who have dry skin should look for products with AHA and retinol to soften fine lines and boost collagen. Just don’t forget to apply sunscreen when using these products as they can make the dermis more sensitive to the sun. 

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Redness

Those who have irritated, sensitive and flushed skin need to be gentle with their dermis. The doctor suggests paring the skincare routine way back and sticking to natural and soothing products like niacinamide and squalene.  He also swears by the Foreo UFO 2 facial treatment, which offers a Cryo-Therapy option. “It’s heaven for irritated skin,” he proclaimed.

Dullness

Should your skin need a little boost, El-Habr suggests reaching for a vitamin C-infused serum followed by a hyaluronic acid moisturizer. “Apply a hydrating mask at least twice a week,” he said.