Hello, and welcome to One Arab Vegan. My name is Nada (pronounced Ned-a), and I’m an aspiring chef, health foodie, fitness enthusiast and animal lover.
Originally Egyptian, I was born and raised in the island Kingdom of Bahrain, and I currently live and work in Abu Dhabi, UAE. I spent my university years in the UK between Nottingham and London which is where my life-changing foray into veganism and this blog actually started. I consider myself a third culture kid with no real sense of place or home, if you’re interested you can read more about that here and here.
At the age of 12, I developed a sudden distaste for meat and became a pescetarian. Although I was eating a mostly vegetarian diet, I was by no means eating healthy – my newfound dependence on starchy carbs and dairy meant my weight would continue to fluctuate for years to come. Like many young girls my relationship with my body image was never 100% – and I took on many a fad diet from time to time in an attempt to shed pounds, all with varying rates of success. During my third year in the UK, I deemed it time to “get my act together” and went about cleaning up my diet, cutting out dairy (due to a dairy sensitivity I’d discovered the summer prior), processed faux meats and anything that came with a label. I started exercising vigorously and regularly and sure enough, the weight dropped off. Calorie counting became the norm and my quest to lose weight took over my life, even though I vehemently denied it at the time, I was exhausted, undernourished, and just plain miserable. Salvation came when I discovered plant-based eating and raw foods. Slowly but surely I did away with my restrictive eating and exercise habits, and with the help and support of my loved ones, climbed back up to a healthy weight with a renewed perspective on exercising to stay fit and a newfound passion for cooking food that was both nutritious and delicious. You can read more about my journey and my choice to pursue and continue with a vegan diet and lifestyle, here.
About the Blog
This blog started as an outlet to chronicle my misadventures in beginning a vegan lifestyle as a young Egyptian girl living abroad, homesick for the traditional tastes of Mama’s cooking but eager to create nutrition packed recipes. It evolved into a blog that celebrates my passion for traditional Middle Eastern cuisine with a healthy, plant-based twist. Here, I share with you my ongoing journey towards optimum health, my love for fitness and all things hummus as well as my occasional musings and tips on leading a vegan lifestyle in a culture that doesn’t always embrace vegans or vegetarians with arms wide open.
What this blog also spawned, is a wonderful, wonderful community. I’ve been reached out to by so many fellow vegans (both Arab/Middle Eastern and others alike) who have enjoyed my posts, made my recipes or undergone similar experiences reconciling their lifestyles with their culture and/or religion. I can’t say how much pleasure and happiness it gives me to know that if even for a few minutes, I’m able to connect with others and share experiences.