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Archive for the category “Health & Fitness”

Rock Your Cesarean Birth!

A cesarean birth, also commonly known as a c-section can be a daunting, and in many cases a completely unexpected experience for an expectant mum. You may be a mum-to-be who is already planning for a c-section. Or you may not have considered this type of delivery at all, but trust me, you don’t want to be caught unawares by a last minute change of plan.

All of us hope for a normal delivery, but there are many circumstances where that’s simply not possible. If you want to arm yourself with the knowledge of what to expect way in advance and be well-prepared for any eventuality, then this workshop by Al Bidayah is for you. Details are below.

rock-your-cesarean-birthDescription :

Everything you need to know before having a Cesarean Birth

  • Preparing for a cesarean section
  • What to expect during the procedure
  • Breastfeeding after surgery
  • Going home
  • Recovery
  • Healing foods
  • Belly binding
  • Week by week recovery exercises

Time : 9 am – 3 pm

Date : 11/28/2016

Location :  AlBidayah Breastfeeding Resource and Women’s Awareness Center

Fees : SAR 500 (Lunch, snacks and study material included)

Who should attend : Mothers who know they are having a cesarean and those who are at a risk for one.

Contact details : Register here. For more details call / Whatsapp +966 59 814 6050.

Are you running a workshop in Jeddah? Contact us to have your details published to reach an audience of thousands.

Jeddah Pediatricians as Recommended by our Readers

One of the most common questions asked on our Facebook group is “Can you please suggest a good Pediatrician in Jeddah?”. Although we already have a list of Clinics & Hospitals in Jeddah, we have now compiled an alphabetical list of the best Child Specialists as recommended by our readers.

If you think we’ve left anyone out, or have feedback on these doctors, please leave a comment at the end of this post and let us know. Thank you to all of our helpful members on the Jeddah Blog group for their recommendations – you are the best!

Jeddah Pediatricians

Dr. Abdul Aziz – Erfan Bagedo Hospital.

Dr. Abeer – Saudi German Hospital.

Dr. Ali Abdel Rafey, GNP Hospital.

Dr. Aliya – Erfan Bagedo Hospital

Dr. Anita – Al Abeer Medical Center, Sharfiyah Branch.

Dr. Ansar Backer – Al Ryan Clinic, Jeddah.

Dr. Ayman – Suleiman Fakih Hospital.

Dr. Ehab – Abu Zinadah Hospital, Baghdadiah District.

Dr. Fadl Mahdi – First Clinic, behind Stars Avenue Mall.

Dr. Faisal – GNP Hospital.

Dr. Fouad – Hashem Clinic, Badriyah Towers, Khalidiyyah District.

Dr. Georgina – Khalid Idrees Clinic

Dr. Ghulam Nabi – Bugshan Hospital.

Dr. Hammam – First Clinic

Dr. Haris – GNP Hospital.

Dr. Harris – Badr Sama.

Dr. Helmy Baligh – Dr. Baksh Hospital, Sharafiyya.

Dr. Hussain Mabrook – Saudi German

Dr. Kamal Khattab – First Clinic.

Dr. Kareemuddin – New Jeddah Clinic Hospital.

Dr. Khalid Dabash – IMC.

Dr. Majed – Bugshan Hospital, Tahlia.

Dr. Mohammed Jan – Pediasure.

Dr. Muna – Hashem Clinic, Badriyyah Towers, Khalidiyya District.

Dr. Nadia Nawal

Dr. Nusrat Aman, Naseem.

Dr. Shaima Kandil – New Jeddah Clinic Hospital

Dr. Shrooq Sheeshan, IMC.

Dr. Shireen Khan Khatak MRCP – Safa Al Bawadi Clinic, Makarunah.

Dr. Soher Balkhy – King Faisal Specialist Hospital, researcher autism and developmental disorders.

Dr. Taiseer – Taha Bakhsh, Sharafiyya District.

Dr. Talat – Al Abeer, Aziziya District.

Dr. Tarek Baghdadi – Abdul Latif Plaza, 639 8565

Dr. Wafa – Bakhsh Hospital.


Mind Over Matter – Losing Weight with Kim Lyon

Would you say you are happy with your current weight? Statistics show that most people feel they are not doing enough to stay healthy. With the searing weather and sedentary lifestyle in Saudi Arabia, the aspiration to lose weight can be an arduous one.

In this month’s mental well-being article, trainee therapist and Jeddah Blog columnist Kim Lyon discusses the obesity crisis in Saudi Arabia. She outlines various methods of weight-loss, with the mind being arguably the most effective of all.

losing weight


Weight-loss clinics are mushrooming around Jeddah. Some of them arrange specially formulated meals to be delivered to your door. Others promote bariatric surgery, while yet others tout quick fixes using appetite suppressants and magical weight loss pills. There are hundreds of books on the market, countless sites on the web, and increasing numbers of applications we can bring into our homes. Yet, something is amiss.

Saudi Arabia has an alarming obesity rate. In 2008, the WHO cited 43.5% of females over twenty as being obese, and 29.5% of men. Search ‘obesity’ in the local newspaper archives and you’ll find at least one story per week. Obesity and overweight are major risk factors for diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. Obesity doesn’t do much for our mental well-being, either. It can lower self-esteem, confidence, and contribute to depression.

weight loss exercise


Healthy Living

There are several routes to weight loss. The first option is healthy living, in which you’ll develop a healthy eating plan that doesn’t require any special foods. It’ll include physical activity which may be a commitment to being more active on a daily basis.

weight loss diet


Lifestyle Changes

The second option is weight loss through lifestyle changes. This requires a commitment to changing your lifestyle, restricting your food intake and using a more structured fitness regime.


The third option is adding medication to the weight loss effort, such as ones that reduce appetite or minimize the absorption of specific nutrients. Research has shown that medication is not usually successful if administered without lifestyle changes. With this option it’s particularly important to be monitored by your physician for side effects.

weight loss counselling


Weight-loss Surgery

The fourth and final option is weight-loss surgery. These surgeries, including the gastric bypass or gastric banding, alters the amount of nutrients you absorb through your intestine, or the amount of food you can consume. Such measures should be the final resort, as long-term medical care is required afterwards. As with all of these options, surgery is not a magic fix, and also demands changes to how and what you eat.

weight loss CBT 2


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

In trying to lose weight, our self-worth may become tied to the number on the scale. Weight loss isn’t necessarily the best strategy for improving body image, as many people regain at least some of the weight they lose, with an even body image when they’ve gained back even a little weight. Before you know it, your mood starts to yo-yo along with your weight. Research has shown that lasting improvements to body image have resulted from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for body image. This is a method of counselling which helps a person change the way they think about themselves.

weight loss CBT


There is also mounting evidence for using CBT to aid any attempt of weight loss. Along with changing what you eat, it’s important to change how you think about food. This is particularly important if you use food to combat negative feelings or stress. Working with a counsellor, you’ll set realistic goals and build on them. By tracking your eating behaviours, you’ll be able to identify patterns and tackle them. Being accountable to someone, and having ongoing support in your weight loss journey, is also invaluable.

What do you have to lose?

Become Stronger, Healthier and More Confident with Martial Arts

Details of the latest Blue Wave Club Martial Arts are below:

blue wave self defence women

Do we really need Professional Therapy?

In this month’s mental well-being column, trainee therapist Kim Lyon discusses whether we really need professional therapy and points us towards many centres in Jeddah offering help from life coaching to more intense consultations. If you, or someone you know feels they need help to get their life back on track, then do share this post with them.

Imagine you are at a social event, talking to someone new. “What do you do?” They say, “I’m a psychologist.” Do you suddenly find an excuse to move away? The truth is psychology doesn’t have a glamorous reputation. Spread through the media or otherwise, an array of misconceptions exist around psychology and therapy. There is a stigma attached to seeking out a professionally-trained ear when times are tough.

Many people do not question spending a couple of hundred riyal on a personal trainer, or a tutor. Yet when it comes to their mental well-being, there may be a reluctance to spend money. Or, a person may not know where to find the help they’re looking for. They may go to the doctor and take a prescription for Prozac or some such, which may only mask symptoms.

Person Whisperer

Times are changing in Saudi Arabia. In Jeddah there are a growing number of mental health resources, and a far cry from dingy psychiatric wards. Maabar Social Consultancy and the ACT Centre are two such places in Jeddah, where discretion and confidentiality are paramount. Both are private independently run buildings, designed to feel homely and with a relaxing atmosphere. The ACT Center aims to provide a safe space for people to come and talk.

It may come as a surprise to learn of the variety of therapies that are happening in Jeddah. Cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness, meditation, art therapy, family therapy, couples counseling, and play therapy are all on offer. Reiki, energy flow and parenting workshops are also available. The website Psych Central has an excellent description of each type of therapy. Or, if you’re still unsure, stop by for a complimentary consultation.

Defense Mechanism

If you are feeling stuck in an area of your life, or your self-esteem has taken a knock, then perhaps a few sessions of life-coaching could help put you back on track. Change is never easy, but part of a psychologist’s job is to elicit and effect transformation. Many of your resolves for the New Year may have faded, but perhaps it’s time to go back to the drawing board, and make some investment in me, myself and I. Life’s a journey, so clear out some emotional baggage and prepare to travel light!

How to Say ‘No’

I would hazard a guess that most of us suffer from the ‘disease to please’. Learn to say no and to let go, in this invaluable workshop by trainee therapist Kim Lyon.

Learning How To Say No

Martial Arts with the Blue Wave Club

Activities for children are always in demand in Jeddah. Contact 2nd dan black belt Nancy Boydston on the number in the flyer below for details on her martial arts classes.

martial arts flyer

How To Walk Off Your Stress

Kim Lyon is a trainee therapist at the ACT Center. Each month she’ll be writing for Jeddah Blog about a particular  aspect of mental well-being. She offers counselling services to the expat community in Jeddah, helping to ease the stresses of moving abroad through workshops and individual sessions. An expat herself, Kim is in a good position to understand the difficulties an expat may face.

In this first blog post, Kim will be talking about the health benefits of exercise and giving us some great tips on how we can take steps to keep fit. If you are like many of us who have transportation constraints and find it difficult to get to a gym, Kim will give you some great ideas on how to get moving without even leaving your living room.

If you have any questions for Kim, leave them at the end of this blog post, and she’ll get back to you.

2015 has arrived, and no doubt many of us are resolving to be healthier this year.  Gym owners delight as people flock to sign up for memberships. While you are thinking about your good intentions for the coming months, consider also the mental benefits of working out.

Exercise is a great stress reliever. It releases feel good chemicals, endorphins, into our blood and lowers levels of cortisol, a stress-related hormone. Studies have shown that exercise can boost our memories and levels of self-confidence. Team sports can be an opportunity to socialize and learn new skills. Using energy gives us energy, though sometimes it’s a matter of getting started.

brain exercise

There are an increasing number of gyms in Jeddah, including chains such as Fitness First, Fitness Time, and Gold’s Gym. A quick Google search reveals many independent gyms across the city, too. For women, Olympia (behind Dr. Soliman Fakeeh Hospital), Gold’s Gym and some of the high-end hotels have gyms, although memberships are extremely expensive.

Thankfully, incorporating exercise into your lifestyle doesn’t have to mean long sweaty hours at the gym or spending lots of money on equipment. The Middle Corniche and Main Corniche are excellent, safe places to walk, often with the added benefit of a breeze.  Walkways have become quite popular and the promenade along the Flood Canal Street in Rawdah is a great place to walk.  If mall-walking appeals, head to Al Salaam Mall or the Mall of Arabia. Both are usually quiet in the mornings and can offer a good walk. If you fancy hiking in the desert, look up Jeddah Backpackers or the Hash Harriers. Research has shown that walking can increase our immunity, bone density and mood. It also can act as a free insurance policy against heart disease and obesity.

“Using energy gives us energy”

You don’t even need to leave your living room. Second-hand fitness equipment can be found online at sites such as, while fitness DVDs are available at Virgin Megastore. You may also want to check expat groups for fitness instructors offering private classes.

Youtube is a surprisingly great resource. Type in salsa, kick-boxing, tae bo, step-intervals – anything you are interested in – and you’ll likely find a workout or two! FitnessBlender has a huge selection of no-nonsense workouts catering for all levels of fitness.

While yoga is typically hailed as good for relaxation, we don’t all have the inclination to become human pretzels, and that’s ok. However, I would urge you to try it, because it’s such an excellent mind-body workout. has an amazing selection of different types of classes which you can stream or download, and is well-worth checking out no matter your age or ability.

Great weather for an evening walk.

Jeddah walkways are great for an evening walk or jog.

If you consider yourself a diehard couch potato, hopefully this article will prompt you to think again. Don’t follow the crowd or fitness trends. Think about what you like to do.  Extroverts might be more attracted to fitness with a social element, so might consider dance, tennis or team games, while introverts might prefer more solitary pursuits like swimming and hiking.

Please do consult your physician if you haven’t exercised in a long time. Don’t rush into a fitness program, and don’t push yourself to workout intensely everyday. Build up slowly from twenty minutes of exercise, two or three times a week. Aim to include activities you enjoy.  As with any commitment to a healthier lifestyle, it’s important to build sustainable habits.

Karimah’s Fig Frangipane Tart

KARIMAH NUTRI CARD texcorrectSweet, succulent figs, I find, are an absolute delight. When they are in season in Jeddah, I can’t get enough of them. I love their simplicity – no peeling, nor preparing. Just a quick wash, and then enjoy the freshness and richness of flavour packed with nutritional goodness which is totally unlike any other fruit.

On the way back from my local store, having indulged in figs galore, I emailed Karimah bint Dawoud, clinical nutritionist and guest blogger at JB, and author of Heavenly Bites, the Best of Muslim Home Cooking, asking if she would share a recipe from her new book, Happy Healthy Halal. Kind soul that she is, she promptly sent me the most delicious Fig Frangipane Tart recipe, exclusively to share with Jeddah Blog readers.

Find out more about Karimah, best-selling author, photographer, former model and makeup artist who converted to Islam eleven years ago on her website. She is a sought-after nutrition coach and is working on her new book, Happy Healthy Halal.

At-Teen in Arabic means “fig”. The fig is symbolic of the lands that it grows in, mainly Turkey, Palestine and Syria. We often think of figs as part of various sweets and biscuits, but these interesting fruits also have amazing medical properties.

  • They help lower high blood pressure
  • They a sweet way to lose weight; nibble on a dried fig with a cup of tea rather than biscuits.
  • They are a fast food; carry dry figs around when you are out and about and on the go outside the home.
  • They contain fibre that protects against postmenopausal breast cancer
  • They promote bone density
  • They protect against macular/eye degeneration

This recipe is part of my new book Happy Healthy Halal that features foods of the Holy Quran, and their contemporary uses. The fig is such a special fruit that it has its own chapter in the Quran called Surat At-Teen, chapter 95.

fig frangipane raw

Delicious fresh figs – Photo by Karimah bint Dawoud

Almond is a flavour that perfectly complements figs, and ground almond flour is used in the baking of many praline patisseries. Now frangipani is a sponge mix using ground almonds or pistachio nuts as well as flour, to form the sponge mix which is used as a tart filling. Frangipane or franchipane is said to have originated from France. Frangipani compliments fresh figs beautifully, and with the clever, skillful use of eastern spices we can elevate this exquisite French celebratory patisserie to a heavenly helwiyat (dessert).

Desserts are generally not healthy, however in nutrition circles there is a 80/20 rule that allows 20% of naughtiness and this dessert is certainly cheeky. As a nutritionist, I advise home baking rather than shop bought cakes as it is less convenient to make cake. You can’t just go to the cupboard whenever you feel like it and eat. You are sure of the ingredients when you bake at home, and you can always gather friends and family to sample your delicious delights.

Try the Fig Frangipane Tart recipe below and leave a comment to tell me how it turned out.

fig frangipane

Mouthwatering Fig Frangipane Tart – Photo by Karimah bint Dawoud

Fig Frangipane Tart

Preparation time 45 minutes

Serves 8


For The Pastry Crust

  • 375g/13¼oz/1.5 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 15g/½oz sugar
  • 125g/8oz /1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 5 tbsp ice-cold water
  • 1 tsp of mixed spice

For The Frangipane Filling

  • 200g/7¼oz unsalted butter
  • 200g/7¼oz  sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 200g/7¼oz ground almonds
  • 45ml/3 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 tsp of powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • 1 tsp powdered cinnamon

For The Tart Filling

  • 4-7 ripe black figs, washed and cut in half

Preparation Of Sweet Short Crust Pastry

  1. For the pastry, sieve the flour and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add spices. Cube the butter and add to the flour spice mix. Rub the butter and the flour between your thumb and fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. If you have hot hands use 2 knives to cross chop butter and flour mix.
  1. In a jug or small bowl, beat the egg together with 4-5 tablespoons of ice-cold water. Pour into the flour mixture.
  2. Slowly bring the ingredients together with your hands or metal utensils to form a dough, do not overwork it, short crust should be made quick and kept cool or it becomes elastic.
  3. Knead the dough lightly on a clean, floured work surface, then wrap it in cling film and put in the fridge at least 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Dust the work surface with flour and roll out the chilled pastry to about ½ cm/1/4 inch. Use it to line one large 25cm/10in tart ring. Trim away any excess. Don’t worry if your pastry is falling apart. This happens sometimes with short crust. Short crust pastry can be a bit crumbly and you may need to patchwork your pastry into the greased backing tin, pressing in evenly, then trim off excess around the edges. Don’t worry, it will be super when it comes out of the oven, insha’allah.
  5. You are going to have to do blind baking, which means make the tart without filling and bake first before adding the filling. This is to stop the base of the tart rising or going soggy and not cooking properly, in this case when a wet filling is used.
  6. Line the inside of the tart case with a circle of greaseproof paper and put some dried beans on top like kidney beans to weigh the paper down. Place in the oven at 180C/350F/Gas 4 for 15 minutes.
  7. Take out and cool for 10 minutes.
fig frangipane blind baking

Blind baking the tart base – Photo by Karimah bint Dawoud

The Frangipane Almond Tart Filling

  1. For the frangipane, beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and creamy. Crack the eggs into the bowl one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the ground almonds, flour and spices and mix well until combined. This is in effect a sponge mixture.
  2. Spoon the frangipane into the tart case so that it comes about halfway up the sides. Smooth over the surface with a spatula. Place the halved figs, seed side up evenly on top of the frangipane and press down lightly. The almond filling will lightly rise around it.
  3. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the sponge is golden-brown, a skewer or tip of a knife is placed inside sponge and comes out clean and the fruit is tender.
  4. When the tart has cooled to warm temperature, add a glaze of apricot or similar smooth jam using an icing spatula or blunt knife to smooth it over the surface of the tart.
fig frangipane glaze

Fig Frangipane Glaze – Photo by Karimah bint Dawoud

Enjoy alone or serve warm with healthy crème fraîche.

fig frangipane slice

A slice of heavenly Fig Frangipane Tart – Photo by Karimah bint Dawoud


Read up on Karimah’s previous blog posts at Jeddah Blog:

Karimah’s Guide to a Healthier Ramadan


Jewels of the Desert, Saviours of Ramadan


15 Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

Please join me in welcoming our newest guest writer to Jeddah Blog, Dr. Saba Aslam Epthorp. Dr Saba is a gynaecologist from Delhi, North India and has worked at Al Abeer medical centre as a specialist from 2007-2012. She has a number of versatile interests which we will persuade her to discuss with us at some point in the future, but for now she has very kindly agreed to share her tips and information on pregnancy – a must read for all expectant mums (and dads), especially for first-time parents-to-be.


To experience pregnancy is every woman’s dream come true. Some conceive naturally and others through lots of treatment and struggle.

On a visit to the doctor during pregnancy, a couple may harbour many questions, such as whether it will be a normal delivery or whether it will be a C- section. One of the most common questions patients ask me is whether they can know the sex of the baby.

Well my dear ladies, the whole process of pregnancy is much more than knowing the gender of the baby or what kind of delivery you will have. You have a full 38 weeks to carry this pregnancy, in other words it is a 9 month process. No doctor in the world can tell you on your first visit whether it will be a girl or boy, or whether you will deliver normally, or otherwise. Especially if it is your first baby, keep in mind that each course of pregnancy is different. Even if your first child was delivered normally, the second is not guaranteed to also be a normal delivery. It all depends on a variety of factors.

Baby feet


1) Confirm your pregnancy with a blood test if you have missed your periods for over 5 weeks. Always tell your doctor about your last menstrual date (if you remember).

2) If the test shows up negative you should still wait for ten days and do not take any medicines to start your periods, because sometimes, even if it is negative, you still could be pregnant.

3)  Likewise, if the home urine pregnancy test shows up as positive, that also does not confirm that you are pregnant.

4) Always confirm with a Serum Pregnancy Test which will show beta hCG hormones which are produced in large quantities in the blood during pregnancy. Non-pregnant levels are too low to show up in the test, so if this hormone level has increased and you have missed your periods, it confirms that you are pregnant.

5) Once it is confirmed that you are pregnant ladies, the next step is that you have to get your blood work done. This means that you need to get your Complete Blood Count, Routine Urine Test, Blood Group and Rh type. And you will need your screening for HIV, HbsAg, HCV and Random Blood Sugar Test.

6) All patients ask me why they must undergo these tests. Well dear ladies, it is for your own good and for the baby. When the doctor asks you for these tests, she is assessing your baseline which in medical terms we call pre-pregnancy blood work. Pregnancy brings about lots of changes in a woman, other than weight gain. For example, the heart changes, kidney function changes, blood volume , Haemoglobin, protein and liver. In non-medical language ladies, your entire body changes with the growing fetus.

7) Therefore always listen to your doctor when he/she asks you to get your investigation done. It for your own good and for baby. Regarding HIV/ HCV/ HBsAg,  it is a must-do test, which is made mandatory by the American Society and Royal Obstetrics Societies and WHO as HIV is a silent and dangerous disease which affects the baby too. If not detected during the screening in early pregnancy, and discovered only later in pregnancy then not only you but even the unborn baby is at high risk. You doctor will ask you to get yourself screened as there are ways to prevent transmission from mother to baby.

The next question I am asked by patients is why the blood group test is required. Blood group type and Rh is important in order to know your haemoglobin levels. Rh type decides whether you are A+ OR B+ OR AB+. In the event of any bleeding or complications during pregnancy, the doctor should be able to inform the blood bank in the hospital to keep your blood type ready in case you need a transfusion. Please note that this test is done only once. You don’t need to repeat it for each pregnancy.

8) HIV HCV and HBsAG is done every two years. Not more frequently than that.

9) Always be cooperative with your visiting doctor when you are asked to be examined for your blood pressure, pulse rate, temperature and weight. All this is important for your doctor to have your baseline. When you visit next, she will know how well your pregnancy is advancing.

10) Now coming to how often you should visit the doctor. It all depends on whether you are experiencing any symptoms of vomiting, abdomen pain, cramping or spotting etc. The warning signs will ascertain when you have to return for a follow-up.

11) According to the WHO and ACOG a woman must be registered. This means that you must go to the hospital and register yourself with your doctor. You must then complete at least three visits in the first three months, at least two visits in your second trimester and two in your last trimester.

In simple terms, make sure to visit your doctor every month in your first three months. Once you reach your fourth month, you have to visit twice; once in your fifth month and then in your sixth month.

12) Each visit you have to bring your previous visit reports and scan reports. The first scan is very important as it will give a clear idea of how old your baby is, and to check for any signs of any abnormality. So NEVER ignore your first scan. Even if the doctor has not specified it, as a patient you can ask your doctor to refer you for an early pregnancy scan if you are over seven weeks due.

13) Please take your medicines prescribed by your attending doctor. Do not ignore them. Apart from folic acid 5mg after food, you can take any other supplements, but avoid any other paracetamol or antibiotics as it does affect the growth of the baby.

14) If you have sadly had an early abortion in the past, or your baby had been born dead, or the baby died after giving birth, or even died after 4 years, you must tell your doctor. Giving all of your history to your doctor is absolutely vital as she will be better equipped to take care of you and your baby in this pregnancy. She will be able to advise you about precautions or don’ts in this pregnancy.

15) The most important thing is to trust your doctor because during the 9 month period it is important for us to develop a healthy relationship with the patient. In case you feel you cannot trust your doctor, then go ahead and change her.

I always tell my patients that if they think I’m not doing my job as a doctor then they can visit someone else. Since the role of the doctor is to take care of not only the mother but the growing baby too, if you cannot trust her advice and opinion then change the doctor. Of utmost importance is the health of you and your baby.



If you get any of the following signs or symptoms in first three months go visit your doctor immediately, irrespective of time and day. Do not delay.

1. Pain Abdomen; cramps, or backache.

2. Vomiting more than 3 times in a day.

3. Spotting/ Brownish red color discharge/ single episode of fresh bleeding.

4. Severe nausea, loss of appetite, severe gastritis or acid reflux.

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms from 4-6 months of pregnancy

1. Any fresh bleeding or lower abdomen pain

2. Hardening of your abdomen. Very frequent or any watery discharge or fresh water.

3. Fetal movement less than 10 times a day, ie you haven’t felt your baby move at least 10 times in a day.

Symptoms which warrant a visit to the doctor in the last three months, during which you must visit the doctor every fortnight

1. Keep a watch on any watery fluid being discharged.

2. Fresh bleeding.

3. Severe cramps at regular intervals accompanied by bleeding.

If you have any questions that have not been covered by Dr. Saba in this blog post, leave a comment at the end of this post and we will pass them on to her. Good luck – we wish you all bouncing, healthy babies!

Jeddah Youth Baseball League

Thanks to Amy for letting us know about this event. Registration is now open for the Jeddah Youth Baseball League. Details are in the flyer below:

Jeddah Youth Baseball League Registration

How to make Date Nabeez

Imagine my surprise when, while browsing the blogosphere this Ramadan, I came across a drink called Date Nabeez. Living in Jeddah for more than a decade, and I had never even heard of nabeez before, so on reading further I discovered that this was not only highly nutritious, but it was one of the favourite drinks of the Prophet Muhammad (saw).

Thanks to the wonderful author of said blog Karimah bint Dawoud, I tried making the juice and fell in love with it. I even passed on the recipe to my Dad who is now blitzing it up regularly. Suffice to say, it is fast becoming a family favourite for Ramadan.

In keeping with the Ramadan theme in this blog post, Karimah explores the history of the date palm in the Saudi region. She brings to light the amazing nutritional benefits of this fruit, and its references in Qur’an and Sunnah. Finally, she discloses her recipe for Date Nabeez. Try it, and tell us what you think.

The date palm is the symbol of Saudi Arabia and for good reason. It has been in the land for over 10, 000 years, taken by Alexander the Great to Pakistan, and the Khalifa Abdualrahman Aldakel to Spain, Andalusia. The date palm tree and two swords in saltire underneath, are the emblem of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Dates were  central to the Saudi economy long before oil.  Saudi Arabia, along with its sister country Egypt, are the top date producing countries in the world, and have been for hundreds if not thousands of years. The largest oasis in the world is in Saudi Arabia. It’s located in Al-Hassa , in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. There they grow, process, pack and worldwide-export Saudi Arabian dates of different varieties. There are over 300 varieties of dates in Saudi Arabia alone. The Al-Ahsa region boasts over 10 million palm trees. The Ministry of Agriculture has set up a factory to process its rich output of dates, amounting to five tons daily, mashallah!

date nabeez prep 14 014

Photo credit: Karimah bint Dawoud

The date palm is part of the Phoenix  family of trees. Phoeonix is the Latin name for a classification of trees that grow in various parts of the world. Like the phoenix bird in ancient roman and  Greek mythology, a bird that arises from the fire, these amazing trees often arise out of hot arid land to produce the most exquisite sweet fruits that are like multivitamin and minerals packaged in a convenient carry case. Dates are essential to have in your house during Ramadan. It is said in Islam that a house with dates will not go hungry. You cannot have Islam without dates, they go hand in hand. They are sacred foods mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah.

“It is He Who sends down water (rain) from the sky, and with it We bring forth vegetation of all kinds, and out of it We bring forth green stalks, from which We bring forth thick clustered grain. And out of the date-palm and its spathe come forth clusters of dates hanging low and near, and gardens of grapes, olives and pomegranates, each similar (in kind) yet different (in variety and taste). Look at their fruits when they begin to bear, and the ripeness thereof. Verily! In these things there are signs for people who believe.” – (  سورةالأنعام  , Al-Anaam, Chapter #6, Verse #99) “And shake the trunk of date-palm towards you, it will let fall fresh ripe-dates upon you.” – (  سورةمريم  , Maryam, Chapter #19, Verse #25)

Fasting and Dates

The Messenger of Allah, salah la alaihi wa salem, said: “If one of you is fasting, he should break his fast with dates. If dates are not available, then with water, for water is purifying.” [Ahmad] Salman ibn Amir Dhabi related that the Prophet said: “Break your fast with dates, or else with water, for it is pure.” (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi).

Nutrition in Dates

Narrated Sa’d: The Prophet said, “If somebody takes some ‘Ajwa dates every morning, he will not be effected by poison or magic on that day till night.” (Another narrator said seven dates). (Sahih Bukhari) How do we make this relative to the 21st century and Ramadan? There is wisdom in everything the Prophet Muhammad (salah la alaihi wa salem) did,  and now we have the scientific evidence to back it up. Dates are a super food and here’s why: Dates contain significant amounts of vitamins  A and K. Vitamin A is good for your eyes’ mucous membranes that get de-hydrated during fasting. They even contain chemical that protect the mouth the lungs from cancer, maasha’Allah. Vitamin K is essential for helping to regulate the consistency of the blood and helping it clot. There is something in the fibre of the dates that binds it to cancer forming substances in the intestine. They also contain loads of minerals that each have their own unique healing powers; calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), niacin, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin. For example the potassium in dates is an electrolyte, which helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure that can be affected by dehydration. Potassium is also essential for regulating the body’s water balance and  building proteins and muscle, affected by fasting. Potassium also metabolizes carbohydrates and controls your acid-base balance. The combination of  fibre minerals  and vitamins in dates are an excellent natural way to combat strokes, heart problems, stomach and indigestion as well as giving you a fat-free energy boost.

date nabeez prep 14 032

Photo credit: Karimah bint Dawoud

Nabeez (Nabidh, Nabeeth)

Every morning I soak 7 dates per person in 500ml water after rinsing them and taking out the stones. I leave them until a couple of hours before Maghrib, then blitz them in the blender, adding more water if necessary. A wonderful cream coloured, cloudy, frothy drink appears, then separates after it has been left in the fridge a while. This nutritious drink is known as nabeez, nabeth or nabidh. It is also part of the  Sunnah, the traditional ways of the Prophet Muhammad.

The Prophet Drinks Nabidh

In ‘The Book of Marriage’, in the chapter on ‘The Women Standing And Serving the Men at Wedding Celebrations’, and in ‘The Book of The Dried Fruit and Drinking what does not Intoxicate at Weddings’, al-Bukhari reported: From Abu Hazin from Sahl: “When Abu Usayd al-Sa’idi got married, he invited the Prophet (S.A.W.) and his companions. None prepared the food for them and brought it to them but his wife, Umm Usayd. She soaked some dates in water in a stone pot overnight, and when the Prophet (S.A.W.) had finished his food, she provided him with that drink (of soaked dates)”.

Furthermore Muslim narrated:

وثبت فى “صحيح مسلم” أنه صلى الله عليه وسلم كان يُنْبَذُ له أوَّل الليل، ويشربُه إذا أصبح يومَه ذلك، والليلةَ التى تجىءُ، والغَد، واللَّيلةَ الأُخرى،

“The Messenger of Allah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam) liked Nabeez (some dates soaked in water) to be made in the beginning of the night and would drink it in the morning of the next day, the next night and the next day, and another night, and the next day until ASR. If any of it remained, he would then order that it should be thrown away”.

date nabeez melon juice

Photo credit: Karimah bint Dawoud

Muslim narrated this report under “The Book of Drinks”, in the chapter on “The Permissibility of [drinking] Nabidh which has not Fermented nor become an Intoxicant”. From here, the drinking of nabidh began and the rulers allowed the drinking of wine, claiming it was permissible as long as it did not intoxicate. It is not a wine in the European sense of wine because it is not drunk when it has been fermented to the point of fermentation where alcohol is present. Islamically, this is not allowed nor necessary for optimum nutrition.

The Hadith says in  the  Translation of Sahih Muslim, Book 23: The Book of Drinks (Kitab Al-Ashriba) “Book 023, Number 4954: Ibn Buraida, on the authority of his father, reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: “I had forbidden you from the drinking (and preparation of) Nabidh in the vessels made out of leather, but (now) you may drink in all vessels, but you do not drink an intoxicant.” It is best on all levels, mind, body and  soul, to drink fresh nabeez.

It has been reported in Tibb Nabawi circles, by Indian workers on the Saudi Arabian oil rigs, that this drink is one of the best things to get a person though the day while fasting. Mixed with blended water melon at iftar time it provides the most natural best drink for revitalizing the kidneys and refreshing all the body’s organs and cells. Drunk  freshly blended, it is reminiscent of caramelized toffee in a drink form, It is lovely and this is one drink I will not put down insha’Allah.

Karimah’s Guide to a Healthier Ramadan

KARIMAH NUTRI CARD texcorrect For the very first time, I am not only thrilled to introduce our newest guest contributor to Jeddah Blog, but also totally in awe of her life story. Karimah bint Dawoud is the author of Amazon best-selling cookbook Heavenly Bites, the Best of Muslim Home Cooking and is winner of the Gourmand award Paris, France for the best Arab Cookbook of 2013.  Karimah is a Muslim Chaplain and Clinical Nutritionist who converted to Islam almost 14 years ago in her search for the truth. She was a fashion model and makeup artist in London, Paris, Munich and Zurich.

Karimah is a recently qualified clinical nutritionist, and is studying for her Master’s degree in Islamic Studies in the UK. She is a mother and a grandmother, and strongly believes that we can grow old gracefully by giving our body its rights, which includes healthy food and gentle regular exercise.

Heavenly Bites - Karimah bint Dawoud“I was  surprised and honoured that  Jeddah Blog liked my cook book post and would like to make links with my sisters across the desert sands”, says Karimah. “I love Saudi Arabia and the lovely friendly people mashallah. I went there to do my umrah, and inshallah I will come again to do health workshops and consult with individuals and companies on optimum nutrition.”

In this blog post, Karimah takes nutrition during Ramadan to the next level, and leads us through an optimum nutrition schedule during this month of fasting.


Alhamdulillah, all praise is due to Allah, the Creator of the heaven and earth and everything in between. As the month of  Ramadan is moving backwards through solar calendar once again, Ramadan begins in the heat of summer, longer days and shorter nights. And this year, inshallah, God willing, the days are going to be even longer. It’s the perfect time to take our deen, our Islamic lifestyle to another level, that includes nutrition.


It’s time to say good bye to junk foods, toxins and bad habits. Fried foods are essentially junk food in comparison to an Islamic “halal and tayyib” diet.I  know that some cultures think they wouldn’t be able to live without fried pakoras or samosas, especially at iftar time, however these fried foods do nothing for you except indulge your taste buds.

We need to think about quality a bit more and embrace a more global healthy diet. Food studies reveal that fried foods damage your body and brain in many ways. They clog arteries and lead to strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, inflamed joints, heart attacks, aneurysms and blood pressure. This is no surprise when most corn oil and rape seed oil(canola)is GMO, contain pesticides and more toxic than soya oil.[1]


Islam is a complete religion for the mind body and soul. We have been gifted  with an amazing body. Alhamdulilah, praise God.

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith (volume of wedlock, hadith 127).

Narrated `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al−`As: Allah’s Apostle( Muhammad) said, “O `Abdullah! Have I not been formed that you fast all the day and stand in prayer all night?”  I said, “Yes, O Allah’s Apostle!” He said, “Do not do that! Observe the fast sometimes and also leave them (the fast) at other times; stand up for the prayer at night and also sleep at night. Your body has a right over you, your eyes have a right over you and your wife has a right over you.”[2]

It is clear from the above hadith, that our body has rights over us.

The body needs the right fuel, to run at optimum performance. Food that provides long, slow release energy as well as vital vitamins and minerals.


All foods mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah are beneficial for our health. They are “halal and tayib” meaning they are lawful and pure, whole meal, quality foods that complement the body.

They are fresh foods, full of sun-fired vitality. However the wrong combinations of healthy foods can be unhealthy. There is a difference of opinion about Food Combining theory between qualified nutritionists and vegan raw foodies whose business often depends on them justifying mixing fruits and nuts and vegetables, and scientists who are usually paid by Big Pharma and the processed food industry.

Islamically, we are allowed to eat meat. Meat is part of the food combining equation. With a little skill and know-how we can eat from all food groups. This year we are going to try something that seems radical. This is going to take a real shift for some of us .I know many Arabs eat through the night till fajr. That’s not new, however  I am going to introduce good nutrition and food combining into this 9 hour window in which we can eat. This 9 hour, healthy banquet is a long meal. Starting with fluid and more fluid, soups, starters and salad and then the main course at suhour. What, no dessert? No dessert! Let’s save that for Eid insha’allah.


First and most important is water. Hydration is going to be the key factor in this year’s Ramadhan nutrition. We are going to have to monitor and regulate and force ourselves to drink. It is essential during this 9 hour window that we drink at least 2 litres/ 3 ½  pints of water .It can be broken down like this:

  • Iftar  500 ml water and dates, personally I will be adding a spoon of honey to my iftar water, not just for the energy but also for the healing anti-bacterial ,anti-fungal properties as well as much more.
  • Every hour after that 300ml/10oz water including suhour.

There is a wisdom in why we eat dates. They are sun-fired packages of high energy, multivitamin and minerals, mashallah. Educate yourself to love them, they are a super food.

Watery drinks do not include tea or coffee as these will deplete your body of  essential vitamins and minerals like magnesium. Magnesium helps the brain make the right connection. Coffee and tea also dehydrate you. If you must drink these things, then have an additional mug of water, and make sure you take a vegan multivitamin and mineral supplement.

There is a wisdom in why we eat dates. They are sun-fired packages of high energy, multivitamin and minerals. Educate yourself to love them, they are a super food.

Photo credit: Karimah bint Dawoud

Photo credit: Karimah bint Dawoud


Even if you must eat fried foods or soup at iftar, please make sure you eat Fruit First. Fruits are so special that they will be in paradise. The Holy Quran mentions fruits “ fakihah” as a generic term, in Arabic 14 times.[3]

1. And for them there is fruit, and for them there is what they ask for. [36:57]

2. Therein they will recline; therein they will call for fruit in abundance and drinks. [38:51]

3. Therein for you will be fruit in plenty, of which you will eat (as you desire). [43:73].

Banana, dates, grapes, figs and pomegranate are individually mentioned in other surahs (chapters).

Fruits are sun-fired foods that have a high water content as well as essential vitamins and minerals. Fruits digest quicker than vegetables, opening the digestive canal, providing energy, vitamins and minerals to the organs. Some people are more thirsty than hungry at iftar, so have water melon smoothie; agua fresca, with honey and lemon then have  another type of fruits smoothie. Melons are the quickest of fruits to digest, taking 20 minutes. Water melon can be blended or juiced including the skin and seeds which contains the minerals; magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, iron, potassium and copper. Essential!

Eat some sort of fruit salad, fruit juice or smoothie  after breaking  fast with water and dates. If time is not on your side, buy pressed fruit juice with bits, not smooth and not concentrate. If you are making it at home, smoothies are better than juices because they contain soluble and insoluble fibre. Fibre is good to combat constipation, encouraging elimination of toxins. It’s good for the digestion and the circulation systems of the body.

Keep the smoothies just fruits – no nuts, no dairy, no veggies.

Then pray Maghreb prayer. This will give your digestive tract time to open up, absorb these essential sugars, vitamins and minerals, and give you energy for the rest of the evening Insha’Allah. Sensible humans eat fruit salad for starter not dessert.

Photo credit: Karimah bint Dawoud

Photo credit: Karimah bint Dawoud


Remember to drink more water while you are preparing this next part of the meal.

Herbage is mentioned a few times in the Quran. Herbage can mean “the succulent part of herbaceous vegetation,”[4]  All edible plants are considered to be herbage.[5].

Surat  Az-Zumar Chapter 39, Verse 21

“Seest thou not that Allah sends down water from the clouds, then makes it go down into the earth in springs, then brings forth therewith herbage of various hues; then it withers so that thou seest it turn yellow, then He makes it chaff? Surely there is a reminder in this for men of understanding.”

After maghrib prayer, eat something veggie, healthy and tasty. Have high fibre salads with an amazing dressing and/or soup. Raw vegetables also have high water mineral and vitamin content. This is where you can also eat your starchy carbs. We can have vegetable curry and rice, whole meal pasta with zucchini and tomato sauce, rice flour pancakes (substitute soaked flax seeds for egg to bind), Mediterranean rice salad with scrumptious asparagus and  artichokes. Check out some vegan recipes.

Photo credit: Karimah bint Dawoud

Photo credit: Karimah bint Dawoud

There is so much choice BUT no protein at his point. Look at this list of amazing veggies from Allah’s Bounty Store.


A wonderful Saudi recipe is mahshay djajj but a combination of meat and carbohydrates is unhealthy. Yes, I know you have survived this long as a race but just think how much more fantastic you would be if we took this to another level. All the fantastic spices and nuts and raisins in mahshay but a veggie version, stuffed sweet bell peepers  and save the chicken for suhour time. This is where you get to eat your starchy carbs; black, brown, red rice , whole meal bread ,whole meal barley, oats and pasta. White flour white sugar, white rice are all refined processed foods and should be avoided for optimum nutrition.

The Prophet Muhammad, salah la alaihi wa salem never ate white flour even though it was available. In this day and age every intelligent person should know whole meal grains are best.

Narrated Abu Hazim: I asked Sahl bin Sad, “Did Allah’s Apostle ever eat white flour?” Sahl said, “Allah’s Apostle never saw white flour since Allah sent him as an Apostle till He took him unto Him.” I asked, “Did the people have (use) sieves during the lifetime of Allah’s Apostle?” Sahl said, “Allah’s Apostle never saw (used) a sieve since Allah sent him as an Apostle until He took him unto Him,” I said, “How could you eat barley unsifted?” he said, “We used to grind it and then blow off its husk, and after the husk flew away, we used to prepare the dough (bake) and eat it.”  Sahih Bukhari and Tirmidhi .

This is the best time for your healthy oils.  Olive oil is sacred oil, once again mentioned in the Quran. Use olive oil  for cooking or salad dressings. Healthy oils are essential for good mental health, helping the brain make the right connection, joint mobility, lubrication of internal mucous membranes ,everything internal, even the cell walls need oil.

Keep drinking water, maybe add a little honey. Date nabeez  is a wonderful energizing drink to have during breaks in taraweeh. If you are going to sleep for a few hours, please drink water beforehand. Allow the previous food consumption at least 2-3 hours to digest before eating again but still drink water.


This meal needs to be animal protein and vegetables but not starchy carbs like rice, pasta or bread for optimum nutrition. You could eat your mahshay chicken here but without the rice chicken with bamia or spinach would be great. Or you could have maqluba and once again eat the rice with veggies at iftar and the meat with veggie at suhour. I told you this was going to be a paradigm shift for us all.

Photo credit: Karimah bint Dawoud

Photo credit: Karimah bint Dawoud

Test show for the same calorific value, protein gives the most sustained energy. Meat takes 16 hours to digest. Animal protein is best at this time. In accordance with the Quran and Sunnah it’s best if the meat is halal and free range, free from growth hormones and antibiotics.

Animal protein contains a special iron called heme iron which is 15% more absorbent than non-heme (plant) iron. Heme iron actually helps the absorption of non-heme iron; therefore, it is a good idea to combine foods from the plant and animal kingdoms for the best balance and benefit. [6]

Photo credit: Karimah bint Dawoud

Photo credit: Karimah bint Dawoud

Iron is essential for the blood and transportation of oxygen round the body. Suggested meals are vegetable omelet and salad, Thai fish veggie soup, kofta in sauce and cooked spinach, grilled chicken and garlic beans, mince lamb and okra salad or lamb tagine with loads of cooked veg. These can be prepared earlier. I know it’s really tempting to eat starchy carbs like bread or rice with these meals, it’s a habit, a tradition, and it’s a pattern we need to break.

Starchy carbs need an alkaline stomach environment to enable the produce enzyme “amylase” to work.  The gastric enzyme “pepsin” is used to break down proteins; it cannot do so in an alkaline environment, the conflicting chemicals needed to breakdown these different food groups are disabled by the presence of the other, causing fermentation of the foods in the digestive tracts.[7] The knock on effect of this is bloating, heart burn, indigestion and wind. Worst of all, the optimum absorption of all the nutrients of the consumed food is inferior. Date nabeez is also good to drink at this time , providing pure sun-fired energy for the day ahead.

Please use the food combining chart, illustrating food groups combinations for  optimum nutrition and digestion. Optimum nutrition means optimum ibada, (worship).

And remember, “He who fails to plan, plans to fail”. May Allah make this Ramadan easy for us and a benefit to us all in this life and in Jannah, ameen.

Karimah blogs at Karimah’s Cuisina and  the muslim vegetarian, and is managed by


[1][onl;ine 13 th June 2014]

[2]      [online 13th march 2014]

[3] Quranic_Food.pdf.

[4] 0xford dictionary.[online 13th june 2014]


[6]Karimah Burns.


3Km Speed Skating Race

Thanks to the International Community in Jeddah for letting us know about this event. An exciting 3 km speed skating race will be held at the following time and location:

Time : 4:30pm – 7pm

Date : Friday 20 June 2014

Location : North area of Aya Mall, Al Mohamadiah District. Google maps : 21.661177, 39.120895

speed skating event, Jeddah

Participation : Open for All. To participate in the race you need to register here.

Awards : Special Awards from SAMSUNG. Event Organized by : Top Sport Mr. Baddr Marzoug

For further details, visit their Facebook Event Page.

Educational Guided Tour to Organic & Health Food Store

Join Detox Expert and Holistic Nutritional Coach Hanane Serhan and Holistic Life Coach Alicia Ali, on a fully guided tour to Jeddah’s  number 1 Organic and Health Foods Store.

Venturing into a Health food store without guidance and deep understanding, either in The Kingdom or any other country, can be an intimidating experience. The purpose of this Guided Tour is to empower you to be a conscious consumer for Super Health and Wellbeing, for You and Your Family.

“Let Food be Thy Medicine and Medicine Be Thy Food” 

You will Learn The Basics of:

Health Product Uses and Benefits
Organic Foods & Beverages
Medicinal Mushrooms & Sea Weeds
Juicing & Sprouting
Chemical Free Self Care Products
Holistic essentials for creating a Juicy Kitchen

The Keys to Unlocking Vitality, The Thriving Factor and Inner Balance is in YOUR Kitchen!

2 hour session will include a Q & A with facts and guidance on creating a powerful change in your shopping cart and in your kitchen.

Meeting & Greetings: 9.45 am
Where: In Front of The Store/ Check Map (see Facebook Event page below)
Ticket Price: 150 SR Per Person

Tickets can be purchased online here.

Alicia Ali, Holistic Life Coach and Hanane Melkia Serhan, Holistic Nutritional Coach and Detox Expert provide a multi array of holistic services in Saudi Arabia through their respective organizations, Your True Nature and Holistic Juicy Living. Check out their Facebook event page for further details and purchase of tickets.

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