MUSE: Life lessons from inspirational women — Shahd Al-Jumaily

Shahd Al-Jumaily is a wedding planner, talk-show host and fashion blogger. (Supplied)
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Updated 19 November 2020

MUSE: Life lessons from inspirational women — Shahd Al-Jumaily

DUBAI: The Iraqi wedding planner, talk-show host and fashion blogger talks multitasking, trust, and acceptance.

I've always wanted to depend on myself. I started my first very small business in university. I love the flexibility of being my own boss and being able to distribute my time between different things that I love. I like to multitask. It’s in my nature. Sometimes I get so fed up with a certain area in my work, so I move on and do something else and then get back to the main one with a fresh mind and new ideas.

The last three years have opened my eyes to so many things. I had a mentor, who was more of a spiritual guide, who guided me to seeing things from a different perspective. That was something that really changed my character. Sometimes there are things you can’t see unless you step outside the box you are in, and sometimes you need someone to show you the different angles.

I really admire Huda Kattan because I've seen her journey. I really admire her business mind, her way of thinking and how she started the brand from scratch. And I’m very influenced by Oprah Winfrey, I love everything she does, how she started, her journey, her story.

I’m always quiet when I first meet someone. I like to get to know what kind of person I’m dealing with before I completely open up and be myself, so sometimes people think that I have attitude or I am not a nice person. But the most important thing in any relationship or friendship is trust. I have to know that I can trust someone, that I can be myself, and that I do not need to have a filter whenever I want to share something.

Social media is very tricky. I don't think anybody should pretend they are happy when they are not, but at the same time I don't think we should spread negativity. If I’m going through a tough time or having issues, I don't think it’s right to go on social media and start talking about it just for the sake of being real because that also gives a very negative vibe. I think in these times, it is better to stay quiet.

Generally, I don’t regret things. I think there is always a positive side to everything, even if you think you’ve made a bad decision.

My mom gave me some really good advice years ago: “Don't ever think about what your parents want and don't think about what people will say, always go with what you want.” Whenever I feel stuck I remember that. Because I think, “Oh OK. Maybe I’m being hesitant because I’m worried I will disappoint someone.”

My favorite thing to hear is “I find you interesting.” It’s good to be intriguing and interesting to people.

If you have the ability and opportunity to work towards your happiness, then do it. Someone once told me, "Always look at other people's problems.” They were trying to tell me "Everybody is unhappy” so it’s OK if you’re unhappy as well. I found that to be very bad advice. Just because someone isn’t doing anything about the situation they are going through doesn't mean I have to do the same thing.

People always assume when they see someone on social media that this person has always been successful, but they don't really know the background. Of course, there are so many people who’ve had struggles that I have never experienced, but at the same time it is not always correct how people perceive you. So many people assume I have never lived in Iraq, even though I actually lived there during the war. Before, during and after. So I know what it’s like.

Men and women look at things differently. Both sides need to understand that. But just because we are different, it doesn’t mean that one is right and the other is wrong. I mean, this is true between any two people, not just men and women: We need to accept our differences. It’s sometimes good to disagree.


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.”