National Day a proud moment for all Saudis

Updated 23 September 2012

National Day a proud moment for all Saudis

King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al-Saud founded modern day Saudi Arabia on Sep. 23, 1932. On this day we celebrate our National Day, a day of pride for all Saudis. Our country achieved great feats in a very short time. King Abdulaziz united a fragile country and build one of the fastest growing economies in the world. When oil was discovered eight years after Saudi Arabia was founded, it became a major player in politics and economics.
Last week I started writing a piece about our National Day, and I wanted to write about how our youth would celebrate it. In the Kingdom, the youth will drive around the streets, flying the Saudi flag, singing and dancing. Later on, I decided to write about how our youth living abroad are celebrating it. How would they present the history of Saudi Arabia to the people abroad?
Just when I had put down the main points for the article, I received an e-mail from Saleh Hunaitem Al-Ghamdi, a Saudi Aramco employee. His e-mail was full of many encouraging stories about what Saudi students and trainees have done while in Houston, Texas, to give the American instructors and their classmates a better idea of the Saudi culture. Saudi Aramco-Total Petrochemical Company (SATORP) sent the trainees to Port Arthur, Texas for an on-the-job training.
The Saudi trainees decided to have an open introduction party for the American staff. Many activities took place. They played the Saudi national anthem, drank Arabic coffee, ate traditional Saudi food and danced a traditional Saudi dance. The students were there for three months, but the best impression the students made in Port Arthur was during the party they threw for everyone. All had a good time, and a show of patriotism was the best impression the students gave to instructors and staff.
Celebrating Saudi National Day abroad is a remarkable and joyful event for Saudi students, especially in the US. The genuine love for a country is an amazing sensation. And when you are celebrating your National Day abroad, then it becomes a different feeling, because it reminds us of our homeland and families whom we miss.
I saw many Saudi students at American campuses that initiated National Day celebrations on their own. I met two Saudi students, Faris Alsaydalani and Abdullah Alatiq, at George Mason University in Virginia.
They told me they started preparations to celebrate Saudi National Day and had invited many of their classmates from different nationalities. Saudi students mark this day as an opportunity for public relations and to speak about Saudi Arabia and its culture.
However, with the celebrations there are certain duties which young Saudi men and women abroad have to fulfill. The young Saudis have to know that showing patriotism by celebrating National Day must be in parallel with their hard work. Saudi Arabia is in need of highly qualified graduates to run the complex infrastructure in many areas of the Kingdom. Patriotism is also proving others your seriousness in pursuing higher education and potential for hard work. Upright behavior is another way to show how patriotic you are.
When you treat people of other cultures with integrity and respect, they will respect you and respect your culture, and will gladly join you in celebrating your National Day.


Saudi vegan bodybuilder slams diet myths

Nutrition is the most important part when it comes to bodybuilding, then comes type of exercise, and good rest. (AFP)
Updated 29 November 2020

Saudi vegan bodybuilder slams diet myths

  • Ali Al-Salam, who stopped consuming animal products in 2017, says certain steps must be completed to have an athletic body

JEDDAH: The vegan diet has risen in popularity in Saudi Arabia in recent years and has been a constant topic of debate among Saudis, attracting the interest of many, including athletes.

Ongoing debates about whether the vegan diet is sufficient for normal people, let alone bodybuilders, abound, but one Saudi is answering them physically.
Veganism is a lifestyle that excludes all animal products from diets, clothing or any other purposes.
Over the years, a number of studies have found that people who eat vegan or vegetarian diets have a lower risk of heart disease, but other studies have also placed them at a higher risk of stroke, possibly due to the lack of vitamin B12, an essential vitamin that reduces the risk of anemia and neurological diseases.
Speaking to Arab News, 33-year-old Saudi vegan bodybuilder, Ali Al-Salam, who first started his vegan diet three years ago when he was suffering from high blood pressure, highlighted that the consumption of animal products is a deep rooted idea among bodybuilders and athletes.
“We always hear that in order to build muscle, we must consume animal products. In some parts of the world, there are people who can only have a small amount of animal products yet they live their lives healthily and comfortably and are not suffering from malnutrition — on the contrary, they have a lower level of chronic illnesses.”

When I consumed meat and animal products, I suffered from high blood pressure; it was 190 over 110, and I wasn’t even 30 yet. Two weeks into the vegan diet, it went down to 150. The vegan diet did what couldn’t be done with medications for me.

Ali Al-Salam, Saudi vegan bodybuilder

He said it also opened his eyes to what goes on in the dairy and meat industry; he began researching in 2016 and decided to become vegan in 2017.
“I was just like every other athlete, I used to consume a high amounts of protein. I remember in the last days before turning vegan, I used to have 10 egg whites and a piece of steak for breakfast to fulfil my protein needs. This made me think, ‘is this the only way to consume protein?’ And from then on, I started researching and got introduced to the vegan diet at a larger scale,” he said.
“When I consumed meat and animal products, I suffered from high blood pressure; it was 190 over 110, and I wasn’t even 30 yet. Two weeks into the vegan diet, it went down to 150. The vegan diet did what couldn’t be done with medications for me.”
He explained that bodybuilding does not solely rely on protein, and that there are steps that must be completed in order to reach an athletic body. Nutrition is the most important part, then comes type of exercise, and good rest.
“When we talk about good nutrition, it does not just rely on protein. Yes, it is important, but the amount of calories in general is more important,” he said.
“Let’s say you needed 200 grams of protein, does that mean if you consumed 200 grams of it, you would gain muscle? No. You need all the basic nutrients to reach a certain amount of calories in general,” he added.
He highlighted that as soon as people register for gym memberships, they immediately look for supplements because they think they cannot reach the needed amount of protein.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Veganism is a lifestyle that excludes all animal products from diets, clothing or any other purposes.

• Over the years, a number of studies have found that people who eat vegan or vegetarian diets have a lower risk of heart disease.

• But other studies have also placed them at a higher risk of stroke, possibly due to the lack of vitamin B12, an essential vitamin that reduces the risk of anemia and neurological diseases.

• Vegan athletes have more endurance, strength and faster muscle recovery, because the vegan diet is rich in antioxidants.

• Animal products sometimes cause inflammation, that your body needs to recover from in the first place.

“I’m talking about non-vegans here too, where their protein intake is already high. Marketing plays a big role here. People link protein to animal products because our society grew up with this idea as well.
“Can a vegan build muscle? Yes, when they eat right, exercise correctly and rest well. The misconception about protein stems from amino acids. People think vegan food lacks amino acids, and only animal products are full of them and that is far from the truth,” he added.
When comparing vegan athletes to regular athletes, he said vegan athletes have more endurance, strength and faster muscle recovery, because the vegan diet is rich in antioxidants which helps greatly in recovery, and because “animal products sometimes cause inflammation, that your body needs to recover from in the first place.”