Eat Healthy & Give Back – Raya 2016

Hari Raya is just over a week away.   This is a beautiful season when family & friends come together with great food and gifts.  Most popular gifts are traditional sweets, chocolates, toys and of course, smartphones and iPads are gaining in popularity too. But for many people, they are turning to more meaningful and genuine gifts to break away from excess towards healthier & ethical living. 

In the spirit of sharing, forgiveness, and thanksgiving, we have created 4 gift sets that are truly meaningful.  We have partnered with a local Malaysian social enterprise – Batik Boutique to ensure that every gift is a way to give back to the local community.

Batik Boutique gift sets

Batik Boutique is a Malaysian social enterprise that empowers women from low income backgrounds by providing them skills training and jobs.  Many of these women have traditionally struggled to provide for their families with no sustainable income source. Today, these women make beautiful hand-made batik arts to promote a modern twist on the ancient heritage of batik.  Each purchase directly benefits the artisans who made it. A portion of their profits is invested back into the communities where they work to provide healthcare, financial literacy and education.

BB Women_2

In partnership with this awesome social enterprise, we have created gift sets starting from RM15/SG$6 so there’s a budget to suit everyone!Gift set A

The Mini Treat gift set contains a Rose Skinny Cookies Snack Pack (50g) and a cotton pouch with a printed design by Batik Boutique artisans. It is a great token of appreciation for yourself, your family or as a thoughtful gift for company staff or as a door gift.  Oh yes, and you won’t believe that these Rose Skinny Cookies have no butter, no white flour nor any white sugar!

Gift Set B_2

This Sweet Delight gift set is the perfect present to offer friends and guests that deserve a token of appreciation. It is made up of a beautiful cotton printed pouch made by Batik Boutique artisans and a 100g glass jar of our Pandan Skinny Cookies. Impress your guests with these Pandan Skinny Cookies which are made with real Pandan with olive oil (instead of butter) and organic molasses and wholemeal flour (instead of white sugar and white flour). 

Gift set C_2

The House Warming Gift Set  consists of a Sticky Date Granola Pack (250g), a Satay Lemongrass Nut Mix Pack (120g), a Rose Skinny Cookies Jar (100g) and two beautiful hand-printed tea towels made by Batik Boutique artisans.   Great for families and aunts who would appreciate yummy healthy snacks and tea towels that are stylish and socially responsible. 

Gift Set D

This Grand Hamper is the ultimate hamper with 5 full sized healthy snacks (Sticky Date Granola Pack (250g),  Satay Lemongrass Nut Mix Pack (120g), Rendang Coconut Nut Mix Pack (120g), Rose Skinny Cookies (100g) and Pandan Skinny Cookies (100g), and either an elegant hand-dyed, batik, silk scarf or a hand-drawn, batik neck tie made by Batik Boutique artisans. 

A special mention to the batik silk scarves which are hand-dyed on 100% silk with eco-friendly dye.  This 100% silk scarf by The Batik Boutique is 76″ long by 20″ wide and will add just the right pop of color to your wardrobe or Raya baju. Each scarf is hand-blocked by artisans using the ancient art form of batik, a wax-resit method of hand-dyeing.  The silk is then sewn by women in Klang Valley who are working mothers from low-income housing areas.  Your purchase contributes towards the sustainability of providing women income opportunities that can support their families.  

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 11.31.01 PMWe hope that you have a safe and blessed Hari Raya with your family and friends. Thanks so much for supporting Malaysian artisans and empowering local women. 

Sticky
June 26, 2016
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Perfect Date for the Day

Rich in fibre and potassium, dates should be a staple in every pantry, especially during Ramadan. The high fibre content in dates directly impacts colon health, which means helping your digestive health and relieving constipation. The fibre in dates is known as a soluble fibre, which is essential for healthy bowel movement, so it’s a perfect snack for breaking fast with. This nutritional fact is just the beginning though Dates also improve and prevent anaemia, help bone, blood and immune system health, and given the natural sugars, boost your body with energy.

So while we have created a Sticky Date Granola as part of our Ramadan series, we also thought to share a recipe with you! While it’s different from our Sticky Date, it’s as delicious, so get baking! 

Maple Date Granola

Makes: 4 cups

Ingredients

70g pitted dates, chopped
280g oats
50g shredded coconut
70g chopped walnuts
2g cinnamon
3g vanilla extract
30g molasses – or dark brown sugar
50g maple syrup

Method
Cover the dates with boiling water and leave aside for a few minutes. In a separate bowl, mix together the oats, coconut, walnuts and cinnamon. Drain the dates and stir through the vanilla, molasses and maple syrup then pour over the oat mixture and combine well.

Transfer to a lined baking tray and bake at 160 for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir around before popping it back in the oven for a further 5. Leave to cool completely then transfer into an airtight container. The granola will last up to three weeks.

Recipe & photos courtesy of Holly Anderson 

Sticky
June 22, 2016
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Ramadan & Weight Gain: The Low Down

In our last Ramadan blog post, we focused on how to prepare our bodies for a healthy month of fasting. Now, let’s dive into understanding why it is our bodies can actually gain weight during this time, and what we can do to avoid this.

Turner

Image: CNN Turner

For many people, gaining weight during Ramadan is a real worry. But even for those who don’t face these concerns, it’s still a time where self-discipline, knowledge and awareness can really help ensure we don’t slip back into old habits.

So let’s explore two possible scenarios. The first, our actions. One word – overcompensation. The second, understanding what actually happens to our bodies when we fast – the physiological reason, our internal reaction.

Dates-in-Ramadan-Kareem

Image: Dates in Ramadan

Explanation 1: Our external actions

With tables spread full of exuberant and colourful foods, it’s understandable that after a day of fasting, you want to dive straight in. But here lies the problem when we talk about weight gain. Eating continuously, consuming large portions and choosing the wrong foods to eat at Iftar, are all our own actions and can easily be avoided. Continuing such habits can result in adnominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea, not to mention feeling lethargic which results in inactivity.

Take charge of your actions this Ramadan. Don’t eat with your eyes, listen to your stomach. Here are some tips to remember:

  • Avoid over eating
  • Chew your food slower
  • Drink lots of water before you break your fast
  • Eat soup and salad first at sundown
  • Stay away from sugary fruit juices
  • Try to avoid the sweets
  • Go for a walk around neighbourhood before bed

foodnavigator

Image: Food Navigator

Explanation 2: Our internal reactions

Two physiological changes occur in our body when we fast. The first is a fasting state, and the second, the starvation phase.

Your body enters the fasting state after eight hours of no eating. As there is no food in your stomach to provide energy, your body starts to generate energy by burning the stored carbohydrates, sugar and fats. If you are wanting to lose weight, this is good as your body can burn the fat that is inaccessible during a ‘fed’ state. Unfortunately, this is a short term solution. As easily as it comes off, it will come back, but this time, with a slower metabolism. Fasting slows your metabolic rate, AKA the rate in which your body can burn calories.

The bigger problem however lies after the fasting state, when your body enter the starvation state. Once all the cabohydrates, sugar and fats have been used to help energize your body, the next step is to turn to protein. When your body breaks down its protein it can badly damage your liver, brain and blood. Given that the Ramadan fast only lasts from dawn until dusk however, this need not be a concern. The body only enters a starvation stage after 72 hours of fasting.

media cache

Image: Media Cache

The Verdict

Weight gain during Ramadan occurs through our own actions, not a physiological change in routine. Fasting doesn’t make your body gain weight, over eating the wrong foods does.

Given that weight gain is very possible during Ramadan, how about this year, approach your fast with discipline, knowledge and awareness. Perhaps it can actually be an opportunity to focus on living a healthy and balanced lifestyle through a more mindful approach to eating.

Speaking of, stay tuned! Our next blog post will focus on exactly what to eat and what not eat to ensure your body remains a glowing temple during Ramadan.

TimesofOman

Image: Times of Oman

Sticky
June 15, 2016
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