Title image: Zeeshan Safdar
We’re kind of done with Masala TV. After watching chef after chef recreate every possible version of oily, creamy Shahi Tukray, we’re just not feeling it anymore. The younger, health conscious and web savvy Pakistani has started expecting way more from the food industry of late.
In walks Sahar Aman, a Toronto-based blogger of Pakistani origin, who’s breathing a new, healthier life into desi cuisine while still making it appetising for the average Junaid (we’re talking Pakola Milk and Christmas Kabuli Pulao). Two years into her blog, Aman has honed into her own unique strength: helping the desi woman find her inner glow by tweaking traditional dishes and using local ingredients. Throw in some sexy food photography, some girly lifestyle tips, and bam! We’ve officially discovered our favourite virtual hangout spot this Ramzan: The Quirky Princess
Here, the talented Sahar Aman answers some questions on food and entrepreneurship:
What’s latest in your life and career?
I’m the CEO and founder of a startup called Love to Eat It – a recipe platform for foodies and food bloggers. We’re gearing up for launch!
When’d this passion to embrace a healthier lifestyle begin?
It started with a green smoothie as drinking green smoothies literally changed my life! In 2013, I was getting married and wanted a glowing face for the big day. I didn’t want to necessarily lose a ton of weight but wanted to glow inside out and nothing makes me feel more fabulous than when I’m eating right and exercising. I came across a website called Honestly Healthy and its message really resonated with me. I started to understand that my version of healthy was all wrong (calorie counting and stupid diets). Green drinks became part of my life; and I began eating whole foods and a more plant-based diet and phased out unhealthy habits in favour of healthier ones. It takes a while but eventually you discover exactly what you need to eat in order to flourish.
What are some of the main themes you’ll be exploring in Ramzan?
Hanger! Kidding. So this year I’ll be putting together the Glow Getter’s Guide to Ramzan and basically just sharing posts about the little things I do during Ramzan, as well as all year round that help me get my glow on. I’m mainly going to be exploring how to have a fulfilling and balanced Ramzan. For me health isn’t just about what I’m eating or how I’m working out rather it’s about my state of mind. I believe working out and eating kale is as important for vitality and bliss as watching my favourite reality show with some freshly baked chocolate chip cookies!
How does one manage to eat healthy? What intentions should one begin this month if eating healthy is a priority?
There are two things that really work for me when it comes to health. Food is one part of it but like I said for me health is not just about what I eat, it’s a state of mind. The first is having a workout routine that I love. I need to move my body. I workout for wellness not weight loss. I hate going to the gym but love high intensity interval training, as well as ballet and Pilates. Finding a workout that you love and are committed to energises the mind, body and spirit. The second thing I do is block out some time on a Sunday to cook for the week. Everyone is busy so for me meal planning and prep is the foundation of healthy and clean eating! It’s so simple and doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive. All you need to do is chop and roast a ton of veggies for the week; these can be utilised with organic eggs in omelets or scrambles or tossed with spinach, protein and olive oil for the world’s easiest salads! Layer up some fruits and plain Greek yogurt in mason jars with nuts, coconut flakes and goji berries for a protein laden breakfast or make enough overnight oats for the week. Weigh, roast or grill proteins for dinner and store them in your fridge and keep a stash of frozen organic greens around to sauté in olive oil and garlic and serve with some sweet potatoes.
What are most sehri’s like for you?
I like low maintenance sehris – stuff I can pull out of the fridge! I usually stash one of my overnight breakfast buster recipes into some mason jars. The recipes are on the blog and were really popular last year during Ramzan so I’ve created a few more this year. My favourite overnight breakfast buster at the moment is my super-food mango parfait with Greek yogurt. It’s packed with protein and fibre. I’m also obsessed with frittatas because they are delicious hot or cold; I usually make a massive frittata at my Sunday meal prep and slice it up into wedges for quick and easy meals throughout the week. I actually just had a slice of frittata for breakfast! I also take some probiotics and drink as much water as possible at sehri.
Which food bloggers do you like following and why?
I love my girl The Healthy Maven’s blog. Davida’s food is delicious (my favourites are guacamole and the date balls); her balanced and fun approach to wellness is inspiring as are all the pancake recipes! As mentioned, I also love Honestly Healthy – she is my foodie hero and her plant-based recipes are mind-blowingly good! Again it’s her balanced approach that inspires me: eat well 70% of the time and enjoy whatever you want the rest of the time!
What are superfoods you are lately obsessed with?
I’ve tried plenty of super foods over the years, but the ones that have a permanent spot in my pantry are the ones I eat daily: coconut oil, chia seeds, wheatgrass powder and avocados.
What’s your favourite indulgence?
Salted dark chocolate but I eat that every week anyway! Every few months the hubz makes us biryani with a masala mix made from scratch. He has surpassed my mother (sorry mum) with his biryani making skills and it tastes amazing! So it has to his biryani or a sourdough sandwich with a side of fries. Or Napoli pizza…
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