The word ‘juice’ is used very liberally these days. Too often, people in stores reach for such concoctions thinking they are making a healthy choice when in fact they are only consuming liquid loaded with calories, preservatives and completely devoid of any nutritional value. As part of our new zest for healthy living, we searched the city for a bar stocking the healthiest kinds of beverages.
Nestled within the Bodytree Studio in Al Bateen, in a renovated kitchen with very chic décor, you will find a lovely lady called Mira Naaman who is very passionate about juice; the real thing, though. Mira had noticed a grave trend rampant in venues that sold ‘fresh’ juices in Abu Dhabi; most were already squeezed and sitting on the shelf ready to go. ‘The juice concept is popular in the city, but I felt that we needed a place that not only did your juice on the spot, but also used all natural ingredients, organic where possible, and not doused with artificial sugar or sweeteners,’ the enthusiastic Lebanese-Canadian tells us. ‘If I have to sweeten a drink, I use dates, honey or organic maple syrup.’
Mira’s place, Nectar, sells only the freshest juices and smoothies. ‘I try to make my drinks with a nice mix of fruits and vegetables’. Since it is located inside Bodytree Studio, you can order your juice before going into a fitness class and then pick it up on your way out, when your aching limbs crave the hydration. ‘Ingredients I commonly use are bananas for the potassium, pineapple which is great for cleansing and ginger to boost your immune system. We also grow our own organic fresh wheatgrass, which can be added to any drink.’
Having a juice prepared fresh is very important, as vitamins have a very short life, especially once the fruit or vegetable has been cut or prepared. This is because they are considered a ‘live’ food; therefore storing them significantly diminishes their health benefits. Ideally, we are meant to have at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, however most people only consume a fraction of that.
One of the biggest misconceptions people have is that if something is good for you, it won’t taste good too. This is where Mira brings her innovative experience from being a chef into the mix. ‘I always test things on my husband, but it always comes down to personal taste. However, I don’t see why things that are good for you have to taste bad. There are many combinations you can use to create a healthy juice that will taste great as well.’
Nectar is open every day except Fridays 9am-noon, 4.30pm-8.30pm. Bodytree Studios, Between 26th Street and 11th Street, Al Bateen (02 443 4448).
Get fit at home
You don’t need to leave the house to trim down
This rectangular shaped motion sensor camera allows you to play games while leaping around at the same time and, more importantly, there’s a ton of titles out there for it aimed at people hoping to shed a few kilos.
Real fitness freaks will love Kinect Training, which offers fitness programmes incorporating Nike+ and measures your training from day one, testing strength, endurance and overall fitness, and it even tracks your body movements and gives feedback, showing you where you’re going wrong. Zumba Fitness Rush and the Dance Central series are also great games to get fit to, as is UFC Personal Trainer, which includes 70 MMA-inspired exercises.
Kinect from Dhs360, www.amazon.com.
Nintendo Wiis have been known to end up like gym memberships: never used and gathering dust in a cupboard. But the balance board, yoga and muscle programmes along with the cardio regimes do work if you give it around 45 minutes a day. And exercises such as the hula hoop and boxing will definitely work up a sweat. American Julie Maloney lost 100lbs using Wii Fit and you can read how she did it at www.momspective.com.
Wii Fit Dhs360, Nintendo Wii Dhs586, www.amazon.com.
Still one of the most cost-effective ways to get fit at home. One of the most popular at the moment is Zumba Fitness Total Body Transformation System, which comes with toning sticks, is available from Amazon .co.uk (Dhs240).
Virgin megastore in Abu Dhabi also has several, including Strictly Come Dancersize. www.virginmegastore.me.
Get FIT Online
We’re not talking about clicking that mouse button while on Facebook. There’s plenty of websites which can help you get healthy without an instructor destroying your self-esteem by spitting abuse in your face. Fitbug.com combines an online weight loss programme with a small device you keep in your pocket, which gives you healthy eating targets and exercise schedules. www.netfit.co.uk offers fitness tips, gym exercises, workout plans and general fitness advice with a collection of over 1,500 different strength and fitness exercises.
www.monkeybargym.com is another recommended for online fitness courses.