By Nazia Hussain
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Nazia. I have known Sahar for the past 3 years both as a client and a friend and recently attended one of her courses in Creative Meditation, the result of which is this column, the A-Z of Nosh, by Naz on different aspects of food and health. In this first column I would like to provide a brief overview about me, the events leading up to this column and how I see it evolving.
I am a business consultant by day and a passionate cook by night (and whenever I have spare time!). I have been baking since the age of 10 but only realised that this was a passion that needed to be nurtured and developed. It was whilst I was on vacation in Dubai one Xmas that I realised that I had to do something about this passion for baking.
I had baked several items for some friends of mine and was visiting them Xmas morning. The three of them were tucking into the goodies when one of them remarked out of the blue, that I should consider opening a bakery of some kind or bake goodies professionally for friends and family and possibly expand from there. She was right, I knew that I couldn’t give up my day job but equally needed to do something about this passion! I returned back to the UK after Xmas and New Year with a new lease of life, realising that I had to pursue this Adventure further.
Since that momentous trip, I have come to a realisation that ‘Food brings people together’, wherever one is in the world. Food is cross-cultural and has no boundaries in terms of race, colour and religion and is a fundamental necessity of life. What one eats, however, depends on a variety of things, one’s upbringing, origin, habits, financial and personal circumstances to name but a few.
One’s reaction to food also depends a lot on some of the above mentioned criteria. A person who has never eaten hot spicy food will find it difficult to stomach red chillies with their meals. Sometimes eating patterns have to change due to medical conditions. The onset of diabetes, heart disease and food related intolerance and allergies influence what one eats and often creates a need for change.
From a personal perspective, I discovered a few years back, that I am gluten-intolerant, not allergic but if I eat anything that has gluten in it, I suffer from feeling bloated and sleepy, mood swings and weight gain. I still eat gluten when I can’t resist the temptation but am constantly finding new ways of cooking/baking with gluten-free ingredients. Recently, I discovered that one of participants on the Creative Meditation course was unable to eat gluten products and have been preparing gluten-free cakes/cookies for the class.
During the last session of our Creative Meditation Class with Sahar, we explored various aspects of creativity and the class suggested I publish a book of gluten-free recipes. That is a possibility in the future, but in the meantime, Sahar suggested a regular monthly column in PS Magazine to create a general awareness about health and food related issues. So you see Food DOES bring people together.
So what will the column be about? I liked the idea of a column devoted to food and health in particular, issues surrounding allergies and intolerances but I aim to make it all-encompassing. I am beginning the column next month with a review of an ingredient beginning with the letter ’A’ .The information provided will be of a nutritional nature and could be any ingredient (herb, spice, fruit etc.), followed by a by a recipe incorporating that ingredient.
I hope you will find this column useful and interesting!