Salmon Mood!

Salmon is a highly nutritious oily fish; rich in proteins, omega-3 fatty acids (the good fats), and vitamin D. Despite it is rich in the good fats; it’s also a source of cholesterol.

Salmon is consumed raw (in sushi and sashimi) and is used as a basic ingredient in several tasteful dishes, sandwiches, salads, omelets, mousses, quiches and pasta dishes.

Alert: For all pregnant women, it’s very important to know that despite fish is highly nutritious; it might contain some unhealthy toxic substances, mainly mercury. Mercury, coming from sea water contamination, can accumulate and sit within the fish meat, specifically that large in size fish; thus if eaten can pass through the placenta to the infant causing a disruption in the nervous and brain development. For more info regarding the topic check out one of our previous posts: Can I Eat Fish when I am Pregnant?

Have a look at this delicious Tagilatelle Creamy Salmon Dish. I’ve tasted it at “La Estancia”, an Argentinian steakhouse in Beirut, despite it is famously known for its freshly prepared Argentinian meats, this tasteful salmon is not to be missed.

Some Salmon Recipe Ideas:
Ginger-Scallion Crusted Salmon
Salmon with Brown Sugar and Mustard Glaze

The Anabolic Diet and Bodybuilding

The Anabolic Diet and Bodybuilding

A couple of questions were asked on sports nutrition, what to eat for gym, mainly for bodybuilding etc. Thus, we decided to interview a bodybuilder for this matter to inform us about what type of food he eats and what is the lifestyle behind it all. And so, we were introduced to what is called “The Anabolic Diet” and were given a book ( The Anabolic Diet by Dr. Mauro DiPasquale); here’s the information gathered from the interview.

The Anabolic Diet

The Anabolic Diet is a High Fat High Protein Low Carbohydrate approach that works on maximizing the production and the utilization of testosterone, growth hormone and insulin; where the body’s metabolism shifts from a sugar burning/fat producing state to a fat burning state.

The diet calls for a high fat/high protein/low carbohydrates from Monday through Friday (5 day phase):
-55-60% Fat
-30-35% Protein
-5% Carbs (30g)

Then after on Saturday and Sunday; comes the Carbohydrate Loading phase:
-5-10 % Fat
-20-25% Proteins
-The rest is carbs

How Does it Work?

The carbohydrates are being limited throughout the week and suddenly reintroduced during the weekend that in turn affects the insulin levels and response. During this period the muscles are loading glycogen (the form of sugar found in the muscles), yet at the same time the amino acids (the substances that form the muscles) get introduced in the cells. Levels of the hormone serotonin will increase that leads to relaxation during the weekend.

Thus, when the body builder goes back to the gym on Monday the body will be working on burning the glycogen and the fats within that result in a high fat burning state and muscle growth. And throughout the week glycogen is limited, fat burning is maximized thus gains are favoured.

The Physical/Metabolic Benefits of the Anabolic Diet

-Increase lean body mass without steroids
-Decreasing body fat (promoting lipolysis: fat burning & preventing lipogenesis: fat production)
-Increase strength
-Increase endurance
-Cyclical Ketogenic Diet ( the Carbohydrate loading during the weekends prevents ketones production thus prevents ketoacidosis)
-Staying in Shape all year long (the body’s fat would be distributed evenly within the body)

Moreover, it has other benefits where it decreases mood swings, it’s convenient, increase energy and no hunger. As stated by our interviewee: “The best thing is that you never have cravings, I don’t feel hungry and sometimes I forget that I have to eat”.

The Anabolic Diet Phases:

1.Start-up phase: The first month of the diet usually is for adaptation, where the body tries to adapt to the new formulation and changes occurring; reaching the calories that maintain body weight.
2.The Mass Phase: The second month, increase in muscle mass and in weight; where the body weight increase by 15% the ideal weight (ie. Body fat not more than 10%)
3.The Cutting Phase: usually before a contest, where the bodybuilder cuts 1000kcal – 500kcal per day before the days of the contest to decrease the surface fats to get the smooth muscle look.

Sample Diet:

Here’s a sample diet according to our interviewee:

-Eggs + Butter + bacon or Awarma with Eggs

-Pieces of high fat cheese with nuts

-Salad (green leaves)
-Fried Chicken or Chicken Liver or Sausages or Tuna in Oil or Kafta
-With Butter, Mayonnaise etc…

-Tuna can or High fat cheese

-Pepperoni or any high fat cold cut
*Read labels: some cold cuts, sausages contain high amounts of carbohydrates

A concluding note:

There are lots of common questions that are usually asked concerning this diet such as: the body’s needs for glucose, fats and getting fatter, cholesterol and heart disease, the good fats and the bad fats etc.
According to our interviewee, it’s important to stress the importance of cholesterol friendly mono and poly-unsaturated fats (the good fats) and cholesterol lowering supplements such as fish oils etc. Thus, before starting such a diet, a full physical check up is needed with a physician and monitoring follow-ups are a must; monitoring cholesterol levels or any changes especially with predisposed people.


We have narrated the story and introduced the “Anabolic Diet” yet before initiating with any diet, refer to your doctor/ dietician or any other health provider, and act accordingly.

*Photos courtesy of Strawberry Blu.

Diet and Anaerobic Exercise…

Anaerobic exercise is short duration high intensity activity such as heavy weight lifting, sprinting, and sprint swimming which builds up body muscle mass.

The traditional beliefs concerning the diet were mostly based on having a high protein diet, considering eating more proteins would result in bigger muscles. Yet, there’s no sufficient scientific data concerning this issue.

Athletes and body builders must know when and how much to eat and drink before, during and after anaerobic exercise. To get the most of the exercise a balance between carbohydrates, proteins and fats is necessary.

It is very important for athletes to have 3 healthy meals and 2 snacks per day with the correct composition of 50% Carbohydrates, 20% proteins and 30% fats and that is so to preserve muscle glycogen stores.

Furthermore, large meals are best eaten before 3 to 4 hours before resistant training to prevent the competition between the muscles and the digestive system for energy; this competition between the two systems would result in lethargy, cramping and diarrhea.

Small snacks are recommended before 2 hours of the exercise to help the body utilize the correct amount of glycogen and after 1 to 2 hours of exercise to help the body replace the glycogen stores. Snacks after anaerobic exercise have to be composed of carbohydrates and of proteins to help the muscles recover, example:

– Fruit and yoghurt
– Fruit Milkshake
– Cheese Sandwich
– Meat Sandwich
– Peanut Butter, Nuts and Dried Fruits
– Salad with carbs and proteins ex: Tuna pasta salad (light dressing)

Finally, fluid balance is essential for anaerobic exercise, water intake must be maintained before, during and after exercise to prevent dehydration. During anaerobic exercise the body is exposed to internal heat stress that if sustained for more than 30 minutes, electrolyte replacement is essential through carbohydrate sport drinks ingestion.

Open Sesame…

Sesame is a flowering plant… its seeds are rich in oil. The seeds are further processes to give sesame oil or stone grinded to give sesame paste know as Tahini…

Seeds, oils or pastes are greatly used in cooking… especially in the Lebanese cuisine…Seeds usually sprinkled on breads and pastries, while oils and tahini are usually used in appetizers such as the “Hommos” or in dishes such as the “Kebbe Karnabiyeh”…

Nutritional Benefits:

Sesame is rich in minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium…) and in vitamin E, thiamin, healthy proteins and dietary fibers. It contains some phyto-nutrients such as omega-6 fatty acids and flavonoid anti-oxidants and it’s also a rich source of poly-unsaturated fatty acids…

Sesame helps prevent high blood pressure, protect the liver from oxidative damage
(sesamin and sesamolin) and helps strengthen the heart and the nervous system (Vitamin E).

1 tablespoon of sesame (~10g) = 52 Calories.

December… Byblos and Peanut Butter…

On a cold December night… having a walk with my friend “Peanut Butter”… next to the wild boiling sea water of Byblos….

“Peanut Butter”
I was eating peanut butter…

“Blue Strawberry”
mmm… I hate peanut butter… unless it’s within a cake or a biscuit or anything…

“Peanut Butter”
Oh come on… I prepare peanut butter myself at home…

“Blue Strawberry”
At Home???? That’s interesting… so tell me…How do you actually do it at home????

Preparing Peanut Butter at Home:

Step1: Roast the peanuts
1.Spread the peanuts on a baking pan.
2.Bake the peanuts in an oven for around 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn them.

Step2: In a food processor
1.Pour the peanuts in a food processor with metal blades.
2.Cover the lid and turn on the processor.
3.The peanuts are now being chopped; a powdered mixture will be formed

Step3: Keep on processing
1.Keep on processing until a buttery mixture is formed
2.To get a desirable smooth peanut butter texture a longer processing period might be needed.

Step4: Taste
1.Add salt, sugar, honey etc. depending on your desired peanut butter taste.

Step5: Storage
1.Store in the fridge for around 2 days before consumption, so the mix turns into paste.

Nutrition and Health:

Peanut butter is rich in MUFA (mono-unsaturated fats) that are the good fats and the antioxidant Resveratrol. Thus, it helps protect against heart diseases, if consumed moderately. It is also rich in Vitamin B3, Proteins, Magnesium, Folic Acid, and Dietary Fiber.


Some People are “Allergic” to peanuts, thus traces of peanut butter (peanuts) consumption would lead to:

1. Itching, swelling, of the skin, lips, tongue, and throat.
2. Shortness in breathing (the individual can suffocate).
3. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting.
4. Heart attack.
5. Loss of consciousness.


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