A Dietician On Her Mission To Feed Everyone Healthy Cakes

In our conversation with Aahat Sajnani, a Dubai based dietician and the founder of a home run healthy dessert bakery NO DOUGH; we found out what made Aahat start a healthy dessert business and what does she want to achieve by baking nutritious treats.
Further, she talks about some of the major challenges of running a healthy dessert concept in the Dubai market and also busts a popular health myth.

Read the full interview below.

Aahat Sajnani

Please explain about No Dough Bakery business and what made you start a healthy dessert business? 

We are a whole some home bakery making made to order nutritious treats that you can eat everyday! We use whole, natural and unprocessed foods to make anti-inflammatory treats that are good for you! All our products are made with nutrient dense ingredients but with the same great taste of the “nasties”

We care for people’s health and well-being and use no ingredients we wouldn’t eat ourselves.

I am a dietitian myself and I loved making treats that taste yum, but are also made with healthy ingredients and I thought people need more of yummy healthy treats instead of just healthy but bland.

What are the challenges of running a healthy dessert business? 

Ingredients to make our products completely healthy are expensive to buy, which is why our products are usually priced higher than other run of the mill cakes and cupcakes, making it difficult for us to reach the mass audience.

Who are your target audience and what are you trying to achieve with your business?

Our moto is simple, we want to spread healthy, yummy treats to the population so they don’t feel the need to eat the unhealthy kind ever again.

Are vegan desserts healthy and what kind of questions you generally get asked from your clients?

Vegan desserts are not necessarily healthy, they can still contain a lot of sugar and gluten which aren’t really good for you. Not all vegan desserts are created equal! Ours are all vegan, gluten free & dairy free and contain no refined sugar. Even unrefined sugar can add up, so we try to keep our sugar usage to a minimum.

One health myth you would like to bust? 

All Vegan desserts are healthy! haha

How has Covid-19 changed your perspective towards healthy lifestyle?

Covid-19 has changed everyone’s perspective on health and people are now more focused and actively involve in making active changes to a healthy lifestyle which is nice to see.

Favorite healthy cake from your menu?

Banana & Caramel cake

Favorite healthy food brand

Simple Mills (USA) 


We Found Out ‘Healthy Little Secrets’ With Co-Founder Ingrid

In our latest conversation with Ingrid Alexender, the co-founder of healthy food restaurant in DIFC- Healthy Little Secrets, we found out what made them start their healthy venture in Dubai, what are their idea of healthy lifestyle, how they have incorporated the same in the menu and healthy lifestyle myths they want to bust.

Find full interview below:

When did you start your restaurant and what made you start one with a healthy food concept?

The Healthy Little Secrets brand was launched in 2018 when my husband, Leon, and I decided to import high quality organic products for retail. We created partnerships with organic farms from different countries and brought to Dubai products such as organic sprouted quinoa, organic loose leaf teas and raw sprouted but butters.

Having these beautiful ingredients on hand inspired us to launch the Healthy Little Secrets chain of cafes to spread awareness on how tasty and filling healthy food can be.

What’s your idea of a healthy lifestyle?

I would summarise it as a blend of balance, gratitude and purpose.

Please comment on the new ongoing trend that says vegan is healthy.

We believe one cannot have too many whole veggies and fruits in their diet. Plant based meals are easy to digest, provide prebiotics for our gut bacteria and are readly available at convenient prices. Highly processed vegan food, however, can be as unhealthy as any other processed foods, it’s expensive, so it should be considered a treat, rather than the foundation of a diet. Just because a product is labelled as vegan, does not automatically make it healthy.

Our menu has a plant based customisation option for almost each dish. Each dish also comes with a complimentary leafy greens salad. Plant mylk is available at no extra charge as an alternative to dairy. We love providing these options for customers and we will continue to do so, hopefully adding even more creative dishes soon.

One healthy food myth that you would like to bust?

Healthy food means bland salads with low fat dressings. It’s as true as “Vegans don’t eat enough protein”.

How Covid has changed your perspective toward health?

Like most of us, I found myself reflecting on aspects of my daily life and reassessing my priorities. I realised I had allowed an exaggerated amount of stress to dominate my mind, I had severely underestimated the privilege of working out outdoors and I postponed way too many gatherings with the people I love. It reminded me that health is not just about food, it’s also about your mind, your freedom and the quality time with your loved ones.

As a restaurant owner, do you feel UAE’s local produce is capable enough of supplying raw ingredients?

We have always aimed for local fresh produce. We value a locally grown capsicum that was picked ripe on the same day that we serve it more than one that was picked unripe in a different country and took a week to get to our kitchen. The UAE has more than 50 organic farms to choose from.If need be, the importation process for ingredients that are not produced here is very straight forward.
Some niche products are difficult to source but overall, we find what we need on the local market.

Tete-A-Tete With Tania Lodi, Founder of Tania’s Teahouse

In our latest conversation with Tania Lodi, the founder of a popular Dubai based cafe Tania’s Teahouse, we found out about her mantra of a healthy lifestyle and how she is incorporating her health and wellness beliefs in the cafe’s menu. In addition, we asked her if UAE’s local produce is capable enough of meeting local restaurants’ raw material demand.

Here’s what we found out:

What’s your idea of healthy lifestyle?

It’s all about finding a balance and eating clean. If on certain stressful days, eating a packet of chips makes you feel happy, there’s no harm in it. Just do not make it a regular occurrence.

Is vegan healthy ?

Plant-based dishes are nutritional and are essential for good health and immunity. However, everything labelled as vegan food can not be healthy. It’s our responsibility to read the label of packets and make conscious choices.

Is there any health myth that you would like to bust?

There is not much awareness about the medicinal benefits of consuming tea. People assume that tea should either be consumed with breakfast or before bed.

How do you reflect your beliefs about healthy lifestyle and wellness in Tania’s Teahouse’s menu?

Before we opened our cafe, we always found it difficult to order food as per one’s dietary preference. There will be no options if someone wants to have gluten-free or lactose-free food. At Tania’s Teahouse, we customise our food as per different allergies and dietary requirements. On our menu, we also advocate our approach towards balanced meals. We have sections of superfood, salads, toasts as well as indulgence treats.

Tania’s Teahouse.

Any particular food that you would like to highlight from the menu?

I’m proud to say we’re the first cafe in the region to have launched a curated line of nut mylk, vegan lattes with functional mushrooms. I got really into these a few months back as I suffer from a chronic pain condition called Fibromyalgia and I believe in holistic remedies to improve your quality of life (and to ease anxiety and stress as well). I genuinely felt a huge difference after implementing them into my daily routine and after doing tons of research I was astounded to see the wide variety of health ailments that these can help with!Medicinal mushrooms have been used for centuries to increase energy, boost brain function, increase metabolism, reducing stress and strengthening your immune system.
The mushrooms we use are: 

Reishi- which reduces stress, increases zenergy
Chaga– which has melanin which promotes shiny hair and glowing skin, helps cellular reiteration, fights your immune system, and gives you energy
Lion’s mane– which helps cognition and energy, increases concentration
Cordycepts– which increases physical performance, increases energy, relaxes sore muscles, and helps narrow your tracheas ( allowing your lungs to operate at higher levels)

Other supplements we include are:
Maca-natural energy booster; balances hormones, stabilizes blood sugars, and helps stabilize estrogen levels for women.
Ashwaghanda root– a great at balancing thyroid function and boosting the immune system, natural mood-enhancer, and de-stressor

Chia Later Pudding With Fruit Letter (Dhs 44)

How Covid19 situation has changed your perspective toward health?

It has taught me to slow down and find time for myself and do things that make me happy. Before COVID 19, I was always on the run and felt tired. Now, I appreciate the need to look after my health.

Do you think UAE’s local produce is enough to meet demand of local restaurants?

We try to source as much as possible from local suppliers. There are a few businesses which provide storage facilities to small businesses like ours which is quite helpful. Many more options are now coming in the market and we will be evaluating them as well.

Tania’s Teahouse is located on Jumeirah Road near to Burj Al Arab. Serves teas, coffees, desserts and healthy food. Call 04-3240021

Livefreshr: Home Cooking Made Easier and Healthier

Dubai is filled with people leading busy lives leaving them with little time to cook a meal at home. Cooking requires a lot of effort, from shopping to planning, it is a long process that eventually leads busy parents and professionals to be dependent on food delivery services.

Here enters an innovative business solution, Livefreshr which recognises a demand among people working long hours wanting to eat home cooked healthy meal. The service allows customers to choose from a wide variety of recipes. It then sends them boxes packed with neatly portioned raw ingredients and easy to follow recipe steps, which not only saves consumers’ time and money but also reduces food wastage.

In our conversation with Ashley Lane, 32, an English Expat and founder of Livefreshr, we found out more about the business and how this service not only is addressing the issues of obesity in the UAE but also promoting healthy eating habits.

Ashley Lane, Founder of Livefreshr

What made you start Livefreshr in the UAE? 

I was travelling with my partner in Australia in 2013 and while we were staying with some friends of ours in Melbourne they introduced us to the concept. They loved the idea and had been using a company there doing something similar for a few months at the time. We started discussing the idea and how that would be a great fit for a city like Dubai with lots of people working long hours but still wanting to maintain a healthy balanced diet. We were sold instantly and much to the dismay of my partner the rest of the holiday was spent planning and developing the first ever Livefreshr website!

Once we came back to Dubai it took another few months to get things kicked off and the license in place. It was at this stage that things came to a screeching halt, I was taken ill and hospitalised with it turning out that I have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I was still in love with the concept however and after a few months of recovery, I was back on my feet and we started to deliver our first Livefreshr recipe kits a short while after. This was back in June 2014 and we haven’t looked back since!

How do you think your business promotes healthy eating habits and address the issue of obesity in the UAE?

I feel Livefreshr really gives consumers in the UAE another great option that fits the gap between doing everything yourself (shopping, recipe planning, cooking) and doing nothing yourself (Deliveroo, Talabat etc.). Since the first of these takes a lot of time and effort and the latter is not a particularly cheap or healthy option we feel we strike a great balance to help those who are lacking in time but still want to be able to cook a variety of delicious, nutritious meals for themselves or the entire family each week. Couple this with portion controlled recipes to ensure you are not over eating Livefreshr can go along way to ensuring you can stick to a healthy balanced diet. Since we cater for a myriad of dietary preferences you will no doubt be able to find plenty of recipes suitable for you no matter what foods you eat.

What are the major challenges you face promoting your business?

I think the main challenges we face promoting the business with us being a self-funded small family business is definitely being able to compete with the larger food businesses in the UAE. The likes of Deliveroo, UberEats etc. all have incredible amounts of funding that allows them to operate on another level to us. However having said that we try our best and we have a great referral scheme in place that can result in customers receiving their boxes for free depending on how many referrals they can get. With some of our customers still ordering with us 5 or 6 years after they began hopefully that means we are doing something right.

What do you want to achieve with the success of Livefreshr?

All we would like to achieve is to keep putting smiles on the faces of our customers each time they enjoy one of our recipes. This is what it is all about, I think if we did not get great feedback from our customers we would have probably stopped a long time ago. If we can save our customers some time and money in the process even better

From where do you source your ingredients? 

We have various suppliers for our ingredients, from supermarkets for items we need small quantities of, to our partners Kibsons for our fruit and vegetables. Our main priority is everything must be as fresh as possible so we have various checks. Kibsons know we will not accept anything that isn’t the freshest and then our team also do quality checks as they our preparing the recipe kits.

Is UAE capable enough to provide for local produce in large quantities? 

I feel local produce in the UAE is okay, although there definitely is not the variety that is required for the recipes that Livefreshr has on our menus. My personal opinion is that the UAE climate is not the most suitable for growing produce and as such can result in a lower quality product that our discerning customer base are not accustomed to in their home countries. Having said that when always do what we can to buy as locally as possible but it all comes back to what is fresh and how that will be received by our customers.

How do you define healthy eating habits? 

My two main philosophies when it comes to healthy eating. 1. Portion control. 2. Everything in moderation. Everybody eats a McDonalds every now and again, just don’t make it a common occurrence!

Visit www.livefreshr.com to make an order and start your healthy and balanced journey towards fitness.

Here’s how the business works:

Livefreshr- How it works?

Meet the Chia Jar Family, the Forces Behind the First Custom Chia Place in Dubai

Somethings are easier said than done. One of them is setting up your own business from scratch. Having a passion for healthy food and wellness is one thing but converting it into a business is another. Meet Margaret, Adam Zargar and their little star Alexander, the proud members of the Chia Jar family. Chia jar is a family-run vegan food delivery business, located in the Jumeirah Lake Towers Dubai. The family is complete with two more special members Victoria and Herbert, without whom Margaret says, “we cannot operate.” 

The family-run vegan food delivery business is the first business in Dubai which sells everything made with superfood chia seeds and can add over 30 toppings to their jars. Each ingredient is natural, has no preservatives and processed foods. The business uses Kraft paper packaging to save the world from the impact of plastics.

The business focuses a lot on educating consumers on making conscious food choices and making their food look as delicious as it tastes.

As we spoke with the founding member of this family-run business, Margaret, a 34 years old Polish expat, shares her journey of running a vegan business in Dubai, and also throws a light on what does it mean to adopt healthy eating habits.

In Photo: Margaret, Adam Zargar and son Alexander
In Photo: Margaret, Adam Zargar and son Alexander

What made you start a healthy plant based food business in Dubai? 

I never really paid attention to what I eat but naturally I had quite healthy habits. At some point I started to feel that the food that I’m having just doesn’t give me enough energy, doesn’t make me feel good. Just opposite, it made me feel tired and heavy. That was just the beginning of my and my family journey 🙂 I also used to bring chia jars to the beach and my friends loved them which encouraged us to start. Then after visiting a Tony Robbins UPW event in London we got inspired to take the plunge. We are the first custom chia place where everything is made with superfood chia seeds and can add over 30 toppings to our jars.

Are all plant-based food healthy? 

I’m a big believer that what comes from nature is best for us. That’s why we don’t use artificial ingredients, no colouring, no preservatives, no artificial sugar etc.

What are the major challenges of running a healthy food business in Dubai? 

I would say that generally the challenge is marketing, as we don’t have a budget for this being a small family business. Second thing is that for us except promoting our brand we need to also educate our customers, increase their awareness so they can make conscious choices about their lifestyle and their food. I know if people try our jars they love them its just getting the numbers. We also made a conscious effort to be plastic free which makes it a challenge getting the right jars that could show our food off to the maximum and also be good price. Plastic is cheaper but we refuse to add to the world’s issues.

Will you open a physical store in Dubai in future? 

We have physical store as part of a kitchen but it’s not yet set up fully for dining in.

What is the motive behind running a healthy food business?

 We love our food, we have it everyday and we just wanted to share that love and passion with others. 

What’s the hot selling item on your menu? 

It’s very difficult for me to say, but it’s actually acai that my husband created , no I’m just joking I’m very proud of his creation and do believe it’s super tasty. It’s called Fabulous Ferrero, which is acai topped with avocado chocolate mousse, fresh mango, hazelnuts and home made gluten and nut free granola.

What’s your most favourite item on the menu? 

I love all of them as I was working on all of this recipes and now eating them all the time, so can’t chose only one. My husband can clearly say that for him is Fabulous Ferrero 😉 I think passionate sorbet is rather a good chia jar. 

Which is your most favourite healthy food restaurant apart from Chia Jar? 

I feel like we are very blessed in Dubai as there are so many restaurants, cuisines and practically everywhere you can find healthy options on menu.Bounty Beets is super nice 🙂

How do you define healthy food habits? 

We eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, we make juices and cook a lot. We make sure that there is enough nutrients, fiber and healthy fats. We don’t use processed food. If you see the food ingredients that you can’t even pronounce it’s most probably not good for you. 

The food from Chia Jar can be ordered directly via their Instagram page. here’s how: