Top tips for World Vegan Month if you’re feeling peckish

Updated 02 November 2019

Top tips for World Vegan Month if you’re feeling peckish

  • It’s very easy to stay vegan and still enjoy a multitude of Arabic food staples
  • If you are seriously considering committing to veganism in the long term, then it’s worth talking to your doctor

Here are a few tips for those thinking of exploring veganism, on the 25th anniversary of World Vegan Month

Eat local…

It’s very easy to stay vegan and still enjoy a multitude of Arabic food staples. Hummus is usually fine for vegans (just check that the restaurant hasn’t added yoghurt to the tahini-chickpea mix), as are falafels (if you’re being really strict, you might want to check that the oil they’ve been fried in wasn’t used for meat dishes too) and spinach fatayer. And of course, vine leaves stuffed with rice, tabouleh, and fattoush are ideal for those keeping their meals plant-based. You’ll have to resist the grilled halloumi though, sorry.

… or eat Asian

Asian cuisine is also a great choice for vegans. Japanese, Chinese, Thai and Indian restaurants usually provide a wide range of delicious plant-based dishes that make it easy to enjoy a meal without worrying that your options are going to be severely limited by abstaining from animal products. Thai curries are usually made with coconut milk, but with other cuisines, it’s always worth checking that the sauces are dairy-free, and — with Indian cuisine — that the food hasn’t been cooked in ghee.




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Source your supplements 

A plant-based diet can meet most of your nutritional needs, but it’s often suggested that vegans should consider taking vitamin B12 as a supplement. It’s the only vitamin that isn’t reliably supplied by a varied plant-free diet, and is important to help minimize the potential risk of anemia and heart disease. The recommended dose is 10 micrograms per day.

It’s also worth seeking out foods that are rich in calcium and iron, as plant-based diets may not provide these in the same high doses as a diet including meat. Calcium-rich vegan foods include sesame seeds (also good for iron intake); beans and lentils — especially winged beans (aka Goa beans) and white beans; figs; almonds; spinach (again, good for iron); kale; edamame; and (some) tofu (also iron-rich).

If you are seriously considering committing to veganism in the long term, then it’s worth talking to your doctor about your individual dietary requirements, but generally speaking there is no reason why your health should be negatively affected by switching to a plant-free diet. In fact, the reverse is often true.




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Cleaning without cruelty

Vinegar, baking soda, lemons (the juice and the peel) and essential oils are all great alternatives if you’re worried about non-vegan ingredients in your cleaning supplies (or concerned that mainstream products may have been tested on animals). It’s easy to mix your own highly effective cleaning materials. A good one to start with is a straightforward spray cleaner for tiled surfaces. Mix two tablespoons of lemon juice with two tablespoons of organic (check for a cruelty-free logo) hand soap or washing-up liquid and two tablespoons of white vinegar. Add a cup of warm water to it all, distil into a spray bottle, and you’re ready to go.




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Skip the aquarium, head to a sanctuary

Vegans consider zoos and aquariums to be forms of animal exploitation, so they are off the list of family activities. But kids, especially, love to visit places where they can see different animals, so a sanctuary that provides rescued or endangered animals with a home is a great alternative. In Saudi Arabia, the Shaybah Wildlife Sanctuary, for example, has helped return the Arabian oryx, sand gazelle and ostrich to the Empty Quarter. All three species had been hunted nearly to extinction in the 20th century, but can now be found roaming the sands once again.




(Shutterstock)

 


Amr Diab is the first Arab artist to get his very own Times Square billboard

Arabic music star Amr Diab features on Times Square billboard. (Photo: AFP)
Updated 12 November 2019

Amr Diab is the first Arab artist to get his very own Times Square billboard

  • Amr Diab is the first Arab artist to appear on a Spotify billboard in Times Square
  • The move is a bid to promote the music and culture of the Middle East and North Africa

DUBAI: Amr Diab is the first Arab musical artist to get his face plastered on a Spotify billboard in New York City’s iconic Times Square. 

The streaming giant projected a smiling portrait of the Egyptian crooner in one of the most-visited landmarks in the Big Apple in a bid to promote the music and culture of the Middle East and North Africa.

The Egyptian singer has become the first Arab music artist to be featured on a billboard in Times Square. Supplied

“Today we are celebrating Diab’s legacy and we are proud to see him shine so brightly - literally - on the global stage,” says Claudius Boller, Managing Director, Spotify Middle East and Africa in an official press statement. 

According to Spotify, the legendary singer’s music is most streamed in the United States, followed by Sweden, Germany, the UK and Canada.

His album “Nour el-Ain” (Our Eyes Beam) brought him global success and earned him the title of “The Father of Mediterranean Music” for his style of blending Egyptian and western rhythms. 

Diab received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Big Apple Music Awards in 2009. At the 2014 World Music Awards, Diab was also awarded Best Egyptian Artist, Best Male Arab Artist, and World’s Best Arab Male Artist Voted Online.

He was also one of the first artists to headline a concert in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the Saudia E-Prix in 2018. He was part of a superstar lineup that included the likes of Enrique Iglesias, Jason Derulo, the Black Eyed Peas, One Republic and David Guetta. 

The 58-year-old singer is set to take the stage of the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre in Jan. 20, 2020.