In a world where we tend to indulge, it’s important to have people around to help us put our ice cream laden spoons down and pick up something more… substantial instead. This is where dietitian Hyatt Al Sayegh comes in, with her blog Fork Fed, that’s designed to educate and inspire readers to live a healthier lifestyle starting with the way they feed their bodies.
Though Hyatt insists her introduction to the nutrition world was an “accident”, after deciding to switch majors from biomedical engineering to biochemistry during her university days, the Arizona State alumna found her passion for nutrition through her studies “the more I read and learned about it, I became more interested, and turned it into my love for helping people.”
Through her work, she helps people realize that nutrition is a way of life, and the field pertains to way more than the ingredients you cook with; “nutrition is a community service, it’s not just about losing weight. It should be taught to the malnourished nations as well, but we tend to forget this since we’re so overfed.” Overfed we are, and Hyatt notices this with her day job as a Community Clinical Dietitian at the Dasman Diabetes Institute, regaling us with facts regarding the extreme trends of the hungry nation’s eating habits; “like many other countries, eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and bulimia are as much an issue as obesity and diabetes. We need to raise awareness and find balance in our food to prevent such conditions.”
What can Fork Fed do for the community?
I want to educate everyone, and provide tools to make better lifestyle decisions. We all have difficulties with weight and different health conditions, but once you have the tools, you can tackle it them anywhere and at anytime, and these tools are especially important for people to utilize during different occasions such as vacations or parties so that no matter what they’re doing, or how much fun they’re having, they can always be in control of their food and not have it the other way around.
What are the biggest mistakes you find people make when it comes to everyday diet?
I’m guilty of this too, but eating quickly is the biggest mistake many people make. When you eat fast, you don’t realize how much you ingest, which could lead to overeating. I advise people to put their utensils down between every bite, which slows down your meal and gives your body time to decide if it’s full or not. We also don’t drink enough water—sometimes, when you’re really hungry, you might actually be thirsty without knowing it because your body can’t always differentiate hunger from thirst. Drink water when those sneaky cravings attack, and they’ll probably go away!
How about when they’re trying to diet for weight loss?
Go local whenever you can – by staying local, you’re avoiding a lot of pesticides and additives. Stay away from anything packaged or boxed, and canned foods are a huge no-no. Products such as these, especially cereal, pack a lot of hidden sugar and sodium. And always remember – portion size is everything. A helpful tip: Use an appetizer plate to reduce portions, and enjoy your desserts with teaspoons!
What’s your favorite cheat meal (if you ever do cheat!)
French fries – they’re my weakness. I don’t care where they come from, and I know this sounds bad coming from me, but the greasier, the oilier, the better.
Your go-to healthy snack?
A banana with a handful of almonds –With the mixture of the carbs, with the fat and the protein, I feel like I had a proper meal.
Your go-to healthy eatery in Kuwait when you don’t feel like cooking?
I like to order lunch from Lebanese restaurants like Leila and opt for their light chicken with tabbouleh. I also like Napket and Salad Creations because you have the option to make your own salads, and of course, places like November Café and Gia have nice healthy salads to munch on as well.
Any words of encouragement to the serial weight watchers out there?
Everyone is different – there isn’t a “one size fits all” diet plan out there – you need to listen to, and respect your body. Be patient, it takes time and nothing happens overnight. The longer it takes for you to get to your goal, the more likely you are to keep it off, and don’t forget about balance: if you mess up with one meal, make up for it with the next one instead of going all out.
Trying to watch what you eat? Nourish your body and mind by following Fork Fed’s segment on 248am at www.248am.com. Check out Hyatt’s grocery tour services and contact her at www.fork-fed.com. Follow Fork Fed on Instagram @fork-fed.