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Stress-free for mental wellbeing

WSB Admin 20/12/2019 0

By Dr. Norizzati Azudin

Mental health is crucial at each stage of life. This includes emotional, psychological, and physical wellbeing. The one aspect contributes to this is the stress we face in our daily lives. How do we stay mentally healthy and stress-free?

  • Travel. Once in a while leave your usual routine and surroundings as escapism. It can as near as road trip to Taif. You don’t need to fly all the way to New York.
  • Food. Believe it or not, food that you consume everyday contribute to your stress. Reduce excessive salt, sugar, and oil in your daily intake. Fresh food is the best.
  • Water. We were always told to drink a lot of water but how does that affect your stress? Studies shows that dehydration increases the stress hormone.
  • Coffee. I am addicted to coffee. We all are. Caffeine does contribute to stress. Does not mean that you should not drink it at all, just reduce the number of cups. Two per day, perhaps?
  • Time. Do you experience a higher level of stress if you did not manage your time well? Time management is one trick to reduce stress. Plan every day  ahead, especially what are you going to do tomorrow.
  • Exercise. You can only tell your mind to be ‘calm’ when your body’s stress hormones are stable. This can only be done through moderate physical activities. Three times a week is good enough. This is our ‘fight or flight’ hormones that will protect harm to our body, including from stress.

  • Laugh. When was the last time you laugh with your friends? Do you realize, you never stressed when you laughed? Call someone, watch a movie, or listen to stage comedians for this.
  • Yoga. It is the most powerful relaxation techniques. Your body will directly be in a state of calmness and peace. Self-relaxation at its best.
  • Talk. Mental health campaign is not going anywhere without this assistance. Talk to someone; family members, good friends, or psychiatrists if necessary. Keeping your worries and stress will not help if the rest above have failed.
  • Sleep. Eight hours a day is the best, seven is minimum. No matter how busy you are, try to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time as well. Our body especially the brains need sufficient relaxation. This is the last step to try before praying to God every day for the best.



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Unemployed to employed… How it changed my life

WSB Admin 20/12/2019 0

By Anna Christy

I came to Saudi Arabia after my wedding in 2015. My husband was working in one of the reputed companies in the kingdom. Back in India, I had a busy life. I was working as an assistant professor at a college and was enjoying all the benefits of my job. The love and respect of students, a pretty good pay, weekend trips, paid holidays, I loved everything about my job. Even before the wedding, my fiancé and I decided that we will stay together no matter what. As he was working in Riyadh with a pretty good pay scale, we decided that it is better for me to resign my job and join him rather than him leaving his job.

So I resigned from my job and came to Riyadh with him on a visit visa. New experiences, new places, late-night dinners, daily shopping, long drives, cooking experiments, sightseeing, spending quality time with my husband, everything was great. I was happy and content with the new life, being a stay at home wife. I resumed doing bottle art, making art pieces and started getting recognition from family and friends.

Everything was perfect, except for one thing. I started missing my professional life. I was a teacher with a busy schedule. I had so many things to do in India, I was independent, I had responsibilities…

Here, I had nothing as a professional. I would wake up at 5:30, make light breakfast, send my husband to work at 6:30. Then I would go to bed again, without setting the alarm. Some days I would wake up at 12 pm, some days at 2 pm. When I woke up, I started cooking dinner and for the next day’s lunch. By the evening, 6:30 or 7 pm, my husband returns from work, I would make some traditional Indian snacks. Then we would go out for shopping or for a drive. Some days, we have small get-togethers with friends. Some days, we host the gathering. Some nights, we go out for shopping at 10 pm, then come back to sleep at 1 or 2 am…. This was my routine. The once well-organized life became very unorganized.

I started to think seriously about getting a job. I started applying to the university, various hospitals in the province, schools, private medical centres…. but nothing worked out. I passed all the interviews. But the problem was my visa. As I was on a visit visa, I couldn’t join for a job anywhere. The employees were not ready to issue a new visa.

Time passed by and I got adjusted with my life. I firmly believed that I wouldn’t get a job anymore.

In October 2018, the company where my husband was working decided to shut down their projects department. Long story short, he lost his job. They had him released and he was free to find another sponsor. In the same month, my visit visa was about to expire. So I went home, hoping that everything will be alright soon and I will be back in the city within a couple of months. But God’s plan was different.

In December he got another sponsor. Thank God. Then I expected my visa to be ready soon. But it wasn’t. Each day I woke up with a hope that this day my visa will be sanctioned. But there were some hurdles. My husband started a small firm in the construction field. He was adamant that this time he won’t bring me in visit visa. He tried for a family visa. For some reasons, the process went on and on. I was hoping that we could spend the new year together. But I was forced to be in India till July 2019. It took 9 months for me to come back to this country. This was the first time I was away from my husband for such a long period. I don’t have words to explain it. I missed him so much and It was painful.

In July, I came back to this country on a new visa. I got my iqama. Yay!!! I thought, this time I will get a job for sure. I started applying for the same jobs which I couldn’t join long back because of my visit visa. But still got rejected because of no openings at the moment. Months went by. My routine was the same. Wake up, cook, eat, shop, sleep…

I started feeling worthless as I was doing nothing productive. Previously I had an excuse that I don’t have an iqama and that’s why I’m not getting a job. But now, I have an iqama, and still,  I’m unemployed.  Again, I believed that I won’t get a job in this country. But I didn’t give up. I sent my CV, wherever I could. I googled every day to find jobs nearby. If someone sees the sent-box of my email account and my LinkedIn message box, they will be shocked. How many job applications and enquiries I had sent out ! On LinkedIn, I sent requests to anonymous people who are working in my field. Some people say that they woulld inform me if any openings arise. Others tried to convince me that the expat life is very difficult these days and it’s better to leave this country. Some people don’t even reply. This continued for some months.

In November, I applied for the job of a teacher in one of the international schools near my home. The pay is less. The environment is different. But still, I applied. They asked me to come for a demo class. It went smoothly. And on December 3rd, I joined the school as a teacher. Yes. At last in Saudi Arabia, I was granted a job. Thank God.

Today I wake up at 5:20 am, after prayer, prepared and packed breakfast for me and my husband. He dropped me off at 6:45 am and left for work. He came back at 1 pm. Picked me from school and we both went home together for lunch. After lunch, I’m taking a nap and when I wake up I will do the chores. This is my new routine. My life is a whole lot better now.

The pay I signed up for is very less compared to the pay that was offered to me when I was on visit visa. The job I’m doing is teaching kids below 10 years. I was an assistant professor in a professional college for 2 years. The scene is different. There are a lot of things to complain, to be worried and see the negative side if you want to. But still, I’m happy and thankful. When I look back at the days when I felt worthless and depressed, I can feel how different my mindset and my life is now. Interacting with innocent tiny humans has made my life sweeter. I enjoy every bit of it like how I enjoyed every bit of my college teacher life in India. It’s not about the money you earn or the position you hold. It’s about your inner healing, self-acceptance and the feeling of being worthy.

I have learned a few simple but important lessons from this.

  1. Don’t give up on yourself. Try hard. Don’t lose hope.
  2. Appreciate the simple things in life. Try to find happiness in everything.
  3. Be content in what you have. Look back and see why things are different now.
  4. Don’t compare your life with your friends’ life. Everyone’s life is different. They have their stress too. Maybe you don’t know it.
  5. Sometimes things don’t go as we planned and expected. But hang in there, Trust God. Better things are coming.


Happy New Year 2020.

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Healing through your feelings… Inner child… always with us…

WSB Admin 20/12/2019 0

By Hanoof Alhosan

Today, we’d like to share with you a very beautiful and simple exercise to help release old emotions, beliefs and patterns of behaviour.

When growing up every child experiences contradictions in the outer world. To a child, our primary caregivers may seem super hero’s but they are only human. What they say and do can sometimes create fear and other disturbing emotions when they are not aware. White lies and people doing the opposite of what they say, for example, can leave us feeling very confused and that confusion can carry on into adulthood if it is left unaddressed.

‘Don’t tell lies or you’ll be punished,’ father tells you one minute, then the next he tells you to tell the person knocking on the front door, that he is out.

These everyday occurrences create splits inside us, a mistrust of authority both outside and inside. When under stress, we may even feel that nothing people say is real and that our authentic voice won’t be accepted. Caught in a web of social conditionings, we become trapped underneath, calling or screaming to get out. We may try to suppress our sense of unease in many ways but emotions such as guilt continue, a sense of not feeling okay and of the other not being okay, which might appear as anger. The responses from our childhood continue into the present, as though our age and circumstances haven’t changed.

The child is still living inside us, calling out for us to heal. Through bringing awareness to our emotions, we can recognize and choose to release the unhelpful reactions and beliefs that hold us back. We can then begin to bring more freedom and wholeness into our lives.

Now, let us begin with the training by finding a safe outer space, turning off your mobile phone and anything else which might disturb you. Inform anyone nearby that you require a few minutes peace and quiet, then shut the door.

Then, sit in a chair, with your feet on the floor and with your back straight, preferably not leaning against the back of the chair, as it may restrict your breath. Place your hands in a comfortable position, on either thigh and breathe deeply several times. Now close your eyes and allow your body and mind to slowly slow down and relax. Keep breathing, slowly breath in and then let the breath go, feel life entering you as you breathe in, then feel any stress or worry leave you, as you breathe out.

Now, put one hand on your belly, a place where many of our early feelings reside, with whichever hand you prefer.

As you keep breathing consciously into the belly, allow yourself to observe any emotions that arise. There is no need to react to them, simply observe what arises. You may begin to feel emotions, or even see images that connect you in the present, to those old feelings that have lived inside you for so long.

As an emotion arises, allow yourself intuitively to name it.

Perhaps it is fear, what is the fear of or about?

A fear of being judged, or of not being enough, for example.

Allow the fear and sit with it. Feel the emotion and observe any accompanying thoughts, images or stories, remaining calm. Really see and feel the emotions you’ve named.

Then say:

Although I feel scared/fearful of being judged, I choose to love and accept myself. I choose to protect myself deeply.

Breathe, keep on consciously breathing, as you allow the difficult emotion to be seen and felt, then notice how the feeling changes as you say: I choose to love and accept myself, I choose to protect myself deeply.

Breathe, gently, allowing your emotions to change, as you make this new choice about how you wish to feel.

When you feel ready, move to another emotion.

As the emotion arises, again allow yourself to intuitively name it. For example, you might feel anger.

See the emotion, sit with it, without judgement.

Then name what the emotion is directed toward. For example, I am angry about being not listened to. Keep breathing and keep your hand on your belly. Allow yourself to calmly observe any accompanying images or stories, as you see and feel the emotion.

Then again, say:

Although I am angry about not being listened to (remember, here you are naming the emotion you have chosen to address and the object to which it refers).

Then again, say:

I choose to love and accept myself, I choose to protect myself deeply.

Keep breathing and allow the emotion to be seen by you and to be released, through the power of choice.

If you feel able and wish to proceed, repeat the procedure again, as many times as you would like.

When you feel that you’re ready to stop take a deep breath and with your eyes still closed, see yourself surrounded in a golden, protective light. A beautiful golden light of love and acceptance, that allows only what is for your highest good to enter the space around you, a protective space that supports you to fully become the loving being that you are.

When you feel the meditation for today is complete, open your eyes
We recommend that you practice it 11 times a day.

Have a loving day

Alhana Almutlaq Institute for therapy and education

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Five tips for the New Y(ou)ear

WSB Admin 20/12/2019 0

By Rositsa Dorovska

Just recently I read the TV anchor Mel Robin‘s bestseller, “The 5 second rule“. Although I’m not a fan of self improvement literature, I gave it a try, because I like the concept. It seems especially useful now when we are approaching the new year and ’tis the season’ of resolutions and challenges for the upcoming 12 months ahead. Nevertheless, these promises often last as long, as the holidays, sometimes.  Afterwards, we often experience a drop in motivation and determination. The main idea of the book, for those who haven‘t read it, is a method to overcome the procrastination, the indecisiveness and the feelings failure, on a daily basis. From the small tasks, we are postponing, through the fear of trying new things, accomplishing new ideas, to the establishment of life-changing habits.

What you need to maintain a successful lifestyle, according to the book and the real-life stories, represented inside, is only 5 seconds away. Obviously, this is the time gap between being struck by a great idea, innovation, desire to act, and the moment, when your inner voice would appear and demoralise you for so many reasons – shame, lack of confidence, low self-esteem. You have these 5 seconds, either to act or to abstain from any change, even if that change is for good. Moving forward is always a choice and the obstacles are our own prejudices and fears, in most of the cases. Whether it is about something small, like cleaning the closet on time, meeting a deadline for sending an article (with love to my dear editor) or doubts to submit it at all, due to insecurity, or it‘s a matter of major significance – a decision to relocate, to marry someone, or decide to finally divorce them, to give up on a life-threatening, bad habit, like any addiction.

As I mentioned, this is not a book recommendation. My point is to open up about the difficulties we are all facing, with ourselves. Very often we tend to blame the others, the weather, the bad boss or colleague, but it‘s our reaction to the problems, that really matters. And it‘s good to think about it now, on the edge of one outgoing year, when we are traditionally pledging to change something.

Leave your actions to speak, not your words

To give a twist on the 5-second rule, I can add some advice from personal experience: Keep the shout-out for dessert! Sharing plans with our close circle is normal human behaviour, we are all craving for approval, at the end of the day. But the energy of others’ expectations, can be really tough on one‘s motivation and performance. Not to mention the negative expectations, driven by envy or underestimation. So, if you have big ideas in mind, keep them for yourself, at least, at the beginning.

How to use the first 5 seconds immediately

Type down your goal, this is the fastest way to reach them. It‘s proven, that the smart ones are making notes, whilst, the rest are memorizing. Those trendy bullet journals are not only for decoration, use them purposely.

It‘s all about creating a routine

To boost your creativity, sometimes you need just a trivial schedule, to stick with. Repetition is the mother of learning. This works for our general productivity and for our daily habits, as well. You may not feel like working out or eating healthy today, but if you did it yesterday, and last week, or during the whole month, you will get used to that lifestyle. They say it takes 21 days to create a new habit, but probably much more time is needed for a significant change.

Persistent not perfect

Perfection is unattainable, however, even for the perfectionists. Rather be persistent and avoid the distraction from focusing on your priorities.

Small steps do matter

You will be surprised to observe the reflection of the small, messed up areas of your life onto the bigger picture. Once you sort them out, you will feel more organized and confident. Mel Robbins’s book gives many examples, like getting up on time, instead of snoozing, afterwards delaying, then missing deadlines, working extra hours, instead of spending quality time with family and friends, neglecting your health… Now imagine the opposite – waking up on time… I suggest you could continue with the next steps by yourself. It‘s all up to us!

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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

WSB Admin 20/12/2019 0

By Rana Habaishi

IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) was once thought of as a psychosomatic illness because IBS symptoms are very often accompanied by high levels of stress and anxiety.  Many people will remember that around 20 years ago people presenting with IBS symptoms were told: “it’s all in your head”.  Now we are beginning to see those with mental health symptoms being told “its all in your gut”!

We now know that up to 95% of serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in feelings of happiness or depression, is made in the gut by certain gut bacteria.

Emerging research has revealed that serotonin has an important role in gut immune modulation, metabolic processes and gut inflammation.  Serotonin in the gut even has a role to play in the development of osteoporosis, with a recent mouse study showing that the inhibition of serotonin in the gut assisted with bone formation and remodelling.

Serotonin is known as a gut “kinetic”. That means that it helps with the movement of the stool through the digestive tract. Too much serotonin and movement is excessively increased, too little and movement is excessively decreased.

Naturopaths have long known that IBS occurs due to dysbiosis in the digestive tract. Dysbiosis means there is an imbalance of gut flora making up the microbiome. In a dysbiotic gut, there may be an overgrowth of certain bacteria or yeasts or not enough of a particular beneficial bacteria in the digestive system.

Like many things that Naturopaths have known for a long time, this is beginning to be validated by modern research.

Do I have to live with IBS??

The short answer is NO!

The term IBS encompasses a range of digestive symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, gut spasms, excessive gas, diarrhoea or constipation. According to the ROME IV criteria for diagnosis, a patient needs to have had recurrent symptoms at least once per week for 3 months or more to be diagnosed with IBS. However, once diagnosed there is often very little treatment offered at the doctor’s office and many people are told to “just live with it”.

Unfortunately, with the rising popularity of the low FODMAP diet, many people are ill-advised at the doctor’s office (or by Dr Google) to avoid FODMAPs long term. I often see people that have walked out of a doctor’s office with a low FODMAP diet sheet or app, who have proceeded to spend many years avoiding FODMAP foods. This not only impacts severely on the patient’s ability to enjoy life; it also creates a further microbiome deficit. The clinical result of this is a patient with a severely restricted diet, a severely restricted life, and a more chronic set of symptoms.

FODMAPs are also known as prebiotic fibres. These are fibres that the body can not digest and what the gut bacteria use as fuel. When gut bacteria metabolise prebiotics they create a host of bi-products that can be either useful or harmful to the body. The kind of bi-product that is produced depends on the type of bacteria that is there. So, while reducing FODMAPs may be useful in the short term to reduce the available food to a dysbiotic gut, it also reduces any available food for beneficial bacteria to grow, which is highly detrimental in the long term.

How I treat IBS

There are four classifications of IBS;

IBS-D: Digestive symptoms with a predominance of diarrhoea

IBS-C: Digestive symptoms with a predominance of constipation

IBS-M: Digestive symptoms with mixed or alternating between constipation and diarrhoea

IBS-U: Digestive symptoms that are neither classified as constipation or diarrhoea

The treatment will vary according to the type of IBS and the presenting symptoms. However, from a naturopathic perspective getting the microbiome balance back is the primary focus in treating the root cause of IBS.

Up to date research has shown that the majority of IBS is caused by SIBO.

In the short term, I will try to reduce painful and debilitating symptoms. I may use soothing herbs such as aloe, marshmallow and slippery elm.  Herbs such as chamomile and Lemonbalm are wonderful gut tonics that also help with symptoms of anxiety and nervous tension.

I may need to use bowel stimulants for IBS-C in order to help kick the bowel into motion.  I may need to use digestive enzymes and bitter herbs such as gentian to stimulate digestion.  I may use a low FODMAP protocol short term to reduce symptoms and identify the main triggers. However, at the same time, I will ALWAYS be attempting to address the root cause, by dealing with any SIBO, or gut infection and working to rebuild and rebalance the gut microbiome using probiotics and specific prebiotic fibres.  There are particular fibres that I use such as partially hydrolysed guar gum (PHGG)  that help to regulate and balance bowels.  This helps with all IBS types.

There is often chronic nutrient depletion in cases of IBS, so supplementation of key nutrients like zinc, B vitamins, vitamin A and D is often needed until the digestive system is repaired and nutrient absorption is restored. Sometimes, gut microbiome testing is needed to stubborn cases.

My background

I am now officially working with clients to help them to create a healthier and happier life, reduce stress, have more energy, and reach their health goals by dealing with their stress level and understanding their emotions.

 I am supporting clients to make step-by-step, easily integrated food and lifestyle choices. I have always had an interest in holistic health and wellbeing, and enjoy sharing this knowledge with my friends, colleagues and family.

I wanted to increase these skills and learn, in a formal training program, how to live a better life through eating well and taking care of myself. And I have received very detailed and careful instruction on how to counsel others. It’s an exciting time!

My target market are people suffering from an emotional eating disorder (binge eating, weight management and fixing unhealthy lifestyle habits).

The reason I’m focus on this target market is that I was a victim of emotionally destructive eating habits from losing my dad which lead to imbalanced hormones and several tumours, that I got rid of once I fixed my eating habit after dealing with my emotions

Rana Hubaishi
Certified Health Coach
Training and Education
The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, New York City
Professional Training and Certification in emotional eating
Certification and Accreditation
American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP)
Board Certified and Accredited Member
Contact Information
Phone: (966) 544-554522
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Gotta move…

WSB Admin 20/12/2019 0

By Arlen Gargagliano

How can you possibly enjoy THAT?” is frequently a reaction I get when I tell people I like to run.

“Well,” I begin my explanation, “it’s a mind clearer.”

And this, my friends, is why I like to run.

                                                                            Views while running… in a Saudi desert

When I run, I let the rhythm of my feet be the constant, while the sounds and sights vary. I put on tunes and let myself dive into them.  The weather often envelops me, as do the views. At the same time, I start to sort things out.

Or not.

See, that’s the beauty of running: you can do what you want to do to make it work for you.

Now I’ve been focusing on the mental aspects, while, as you may or may not know, there are also many physical benefits to running. For example, it can help you:

  • Maintain a healthy weight;
  • Strengthen your muscles; and
  • Improve your cardiovascular fitness.
Views while running… in New Rochelle

But you probably knew this already. So, for those of you are in the midst of tossing around ideas about your possible running routine, let me tout some other advantages:

  • Running is portable—you can do it so many places;
  • Running is economical—you don’t have to join a gym to do it; and
  • Running is independent—you set your own schedule and timing, as well as goals.

And some tips for getting started:

  • Be realistic: set a goal that you can achieve, say three times a week for 20 to 30 minutes—which is a perfectly good amount of time;
  • As far as when, give yourself a time that works, say early morning—maybe after kids have gone to school—or whenever you can make that time for yourself;
  • Don’t overdo it! If you feel pain, stop;
  • Do warm-up and stretch afterwards;
  • Do be safe and thoughtful in considering your location of running—as well as the time of day; and
  • Don’t be hard on yourself; if you set a schedule, and miss a day, it’s okay. But then get back to it!

Remember, like any form of exercise, running only works if it works for you. After all, if you’re not a running fan, you could apply these same rules to a walking routine.

The key, after all, is that you gotta move!

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Have a spa day at the Saray Spa!

WSB Admin 20/12/2019 0

By Gladys Manalo

Spend a lot of time using Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and texting, emailing, and chatting? To detox from your iPhone, go to Saray Spa at Marriott Hotel Diplomatic Quarter, which concentrates on your head, eyes, neck, shoulder, hands, and feet to decrease strain from your gadgets use. Saray Spa is your gateway to health!

The Saray Spa inside the Diplomatic Quarter, will surely bring you miles and miles away from your worries. Saray Spa helps you maintain your current level of health and wellness as it features fitness gym and wellness room, wooden sauna, aroma steam room, ice fountain, invigoration shower and an outdoor meditation area for yoga. You will be inspired by the nature surrounding and make you feel that you are away from Saudi Arabia. In addition, they also offer luxurious hammam rituals, skincare and different kind of massages for your desires and massages depending on your body needs.

There are not enough positive words in the dictionary that I can praise the spa & hospitable staff for relaxation. The staff are very responsive to any inquiry; Arnel, their massage therapist is very experienced and professional. He is truly caring, compassionate and spends time explaining all the questions that you may have. He can give you what your body needs after a consultation. Arnel has many guests requests as he is really doing a great job!

The fitness centre, located next to the spa, completes your wellness experience with sports and fitness facilities. No worries if you are even new to the gym, Saray Spa Fitness studio have a skilled professional and licensed trainer, Mr. Jonel, and surely, he could design a programme that suits your abilities and provides the exercises you need that can develop your overall fitness.

It is not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself and to make your happiness a priority. It is necessary- and the best thing you could do is to get a ride and check out Saray Spa! Make your day, work out and get a massage!

“Just a short trivia, Saray Spa came from the origin of the Spa Group Name Caravanserai, it was a roadside inn where travellers could rest and recover from day’s journey. Saray has traditional oases of rejuvenation for the weary traveller along the ancient Middle East and the Far East. “


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Relaxing with a Pet….

WSB Admin 20/12/2019 0

By Deepa Thomas-Sutcliffe

“Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer.” – Dean Koontz

Most of us live pretty stressful lives where we are time-starved and often in a rush to get the many tasks at work and home done. There are many ways to relax but, in this article, I will talk about relaxing with your pets.

Playing with or petting an animal is extremely therapeutic as it increases levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decreases the production of the stress hormone cortisol. Research shows that pet owners with high blood pressure could keep their blood pressure during times of stress compared to non-pet owners. Pet owners also have increased odds of surviving a heart attack. Eating in the company of your pet can improve your eating habits. Having a pet dog will increase your fitness with the regular walks they require.

A good relationship with your animal friends may spill over into better relations with humans. An animal doesn’t care who you are or what outfit you’re wearing; they want to play and be around you. Taking care of an animal can also teach responsibility and stimulate feelings of trust, openness, and companionship.

Loads of great reasons for why you should get yourself a pet. Some people may have lifestyles that don’t permit the responsibility of a pet but there are options they can consider too. You could foster a stray till they find their forever home, pet-sit a friend’s dog or cat when they are out of town or even just walk a friend’s dog regularly. If none of these suit you, just consider putting food and water out for the local strays and enjoy a few strokes or cuddles with them. You could even volunteer with the wonderful Riyadh Animal Shelter.

I am privileged to be a doggy mum to 2 very handsome and affectionate doggies – Sandy and Puppichino. They are the centre of my world and I love to come home from work or a meal to their wagging tales and loving cuddles. If they think I am working too hard on my MBA, they will both come and nudge me for strokes, bring me their toys and generally force me to take a break. Walking with them in the parks or wadi is quite therapeutic and they get so excited when we say the word “walkies”.  Hugging them or stroking them is definitely uber relaxing and I love to go to sleep with their little doggie snuffles and snores telling me all is right in the world.  Click here if you would like to read about how my furbabies came into my life

I hope this article inspires you to consider bringing home a pet, try to adopt one from a shelter or the street for unconditional love and loyalty…




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Keto diet – Is it for you?

WSB Admin 18/12/2019 0

By Sally Kennedy and Rima Al-Faour

Introduction by Sally Kennedy: As most people now are aware of the perils of weight, healthy eating and staying their best, we hear more and more about diet options. Which is right for us? How do you choose and what is the “science” behind each. 

I am fortunate to have a daughter who just graduated in Nutrition… I asked her. “In the past few years Keto diets have become more popular……Both for weight loss and health benefits. *Can you give a brief explanation what the basic foundations of Keto are?”
Ketogenic Diet
A ketogenic diet is a very low-carb and high fat diet (estimate of caloric intake from <10% carbohydrate, 15-25% protein and 55-65% fat). The reduction of carbohydrate intake switches the body’s metabolism from burning glucose to the metabolic state of ketosis, in which the body burns fat for energy. The name “keto” comes from the fact that the process of burning fat produces compounds from the liver called ketones, which are used as an alternative energy source for the body when blood sugar supply is low. Intermittent fasting or time restricted feeding can help speed up this process.


Ketosis has gained popularity for weight loss, and many studies have shown that keto diets result in more effective weight loss and are easier to maintain than low fat or low calorie diets. The metabolic state of ketosis allows easier access to fat stores to burn off. Other less obvious benefits include reduction in hunger and appetite control, and increased energy and focus.

Diets inducing ketosis have been shown to have many therapeutic uses and have been applied in the treatment of many diseases, such as epilepsy and diabetes. They have also been shown to have a positive influence on age-related and metabolic disorders and may be associated with improved biomarkers such as insulin, glucose, inflammatory markers, lipid profiles and metabolic hormones.

A ketogenic diet can be used to control blood sugar and in the management and sometimes even reversal of type 2 diabetes. As the diet naturally lowers blood sugar level, this therefore reduces the need for medications.

What to eat on a keto diet

The two main sources of energy from diets are carbohydrates and fat. The most important thing when on a keto diet is to avoid eating too many carbs (carbs below 50 grams per day, and under 20 grams per day for maximum effect). The fewer the carbs, the more effective. It is also important to make sure you have enough natural fat (such as meat, olive oil, avocado..) to feel satisfied. Remember this is not a low fat diet, eating too little fat while also cutting down on carbs will make you feel tired and hungry. Make sure you stick to eating good quality, unprocessed, real low carb foods such as meat, fish, eggs, vegetables and natural fats.

What to eat:

  • Meat (unprocessed meat)
  • Fish and seafood (fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines.. are great)
  • Eggs
  • Natural fats like butter, olive oil, coconut oil.. etc. Do not opt for inflammatory vegetable oils such as corn or sunflower oil.
  • Vegetables (mainly those grown above ground) such as leafy greens, cauliflower, cabbage, avocado, broccoli..etc,
  • High fat dairy (butter, cheese, cream..) Although using milk sparingly in coffee is not a problem, milk however is better avoided as it is high in lactose, milk sugar.
  • Nuts… These also are to be consumed in moderation as its easy to overeat! The two nuts most keto-friendly are macadamias and pecans.
  • And finally, berries. Of all the fruits, a moderate amount of berries is ok on keto.

What to avoid

  • Sugar: all soft drinks, fruit juice, sweets, candy, cakes, cookies, breakfast cereal… etc
  • Starchy carbs: Potatoes, bread, pasta, rice. This includes wholegrain products as well. Legumes (lentils and beans) are also high in carbs and should be avoided.
  • Fruit: Although ok once in a while, fruit is actually very sweet and rich in natural sugar, which will kick you out of ketosis if over-consumed,

Remember it is important to read labels for hidden sugars as many ready prepared or packaged foods do contain a lot more sugar than you think!

There are many food replacements and ways to have treats on keto diets including dark chocolate, keto breads and desserts made with almond or coconut flour and specific sweeteners such as stevia, xylitol, monk fruit sweetener..

Can anyone use these diet plans? 

Ketogenic or low carbohydrate diets appear to be very safe for most people. However, the groups that need special consideration are:

  • Type 1 Diabetes: Ketogenic diets can drastically improve blood sugar control. For those with type 1 diabetes, a ketogenic diet can induce the state of ketoacidosis, which is very dangerous. However, a closely monitored plan with monitored insulin doses and a low carb diet CAN help maintain steady blood sugar and result in fewer blood sugar fluctuations with extreme highs and lows.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: For someone with type 2 diabetes and not taking drugs, there is very low risk of low blood sugar and they can benefit significantly. Those with type 2 diabetes and on medication such as insulin will need guidance. A strict low-carb diet may improve their condition and will therefore require to adapt pre existing diabetic medication with the lifestyle change. It is possible to eventually come off insulin completely if the lifestyle is maintained and blood sugar levels remain stable.
  • Breastfeeding: Because mothers breastfeeding lose sugar via the milk, in some very rare cases following a strict ketogenic diet can be potentially dangerous, leading to ketoacidosis. It is therefore recommended to follow a moderate low carb diet (at least 50 grams of carbs per day) if one wants to maintain this lifestyle. This can be done by simply having two to three pieces of fruit a day.
  • High blood pressure: A ketogenic diet can be very effective in lowering blood pressure. However, if you are on medication and the diet there’s a risk of low blood pressure and medication dosages will need to be monitored and adjusted. It is important to get enough fluid and salt on a keto diet.

*Can a person stay on these diets indefinitely?

Yes, this can be a lifestyle one adopts and can even cycle in and out of.


Low carb and ketogenic diets have gained popularity and are effective for weight loss and are believed to be beneficial for longevity. It has been used very commonly, since the 1920’s, as medical therapy for epilepsy. Many studies show that low carb diets positively impact multiple risk factors for lifestyle related diseases such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Other benefits include improved focus, concentration and energy.


So… She recommends Keto diet…I will do it… and let you know my success!!

Sally Kennedy



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WSB Inspiring Woman: Pauline Khan – WSB Director

WSB Admin 18/12/2019 0

Introduction by WSB Founder Sally Kennedy: As the new year of 2020 starts WSB is entering a new chapter as well. Transition is part of life here is Riyadh…..people come and leave more frequently than in most places…..the wonderful aspect of this is the number of exceptional people you can meet, work with and keep as lifelong friends.

WSB has been fortunate to have Alayne LoNigro as director for the past few months bringing professionalism, vision and lots of new goals for us to aspire to. She will be relocating from Riyadh earlier than expected so we are transitioning to a new director – Pauline Khan. You may have heard of Pauline for her work with the organization Feed the Need… amazing effort we all supported. Now she has agreed to join Women’s Skills Bureau bringing her determination, tenacity and heart to challenge WSB to new success and endeavors. We welcome her and look forward to her leadership.

Tell us about yourself?
I was born into an expat family and have had the privilege to travel the world from day 1. That privilege can become striking whilst living in New Delhi for example therefore my humanitarian feelings developed at a very young age… As a result, I knew from a very young age that I wanted to help others. In my teens, this transpired into volunteering in orphanages and senior citizen’s homes in Hong Kong – where my father was based at the time, then I decided to study law and a Masters in Human Rights became the obvious thing to do before qualifying as a solicitor in London. There I worked on international human rights group litigation cases for 8 years, this combined my passions of helping others and travelling – often to remote and incredibly interesting places…

What brought you to Riyadh?

My husband did. When he first told me he was offered a job in Riyadh, I said no, never, because what on earth would I do there?… And the rest is history as I have now been here for over 5 years!

How did you get involved in Feed The Need?

A wonderful lady in Bahrain – who was running Feed the Need there – inspired myself and Saima Amin to start Feed the Need in Riyadh. We started off with one fridge open to workers and street cleaners to select water and snacks at their convenience and ended up with fridges all around Riyadh and Jeddah and a number of other projects supporting underprivileged families and workers. Unfortunately in May 2019, for a number of complicated reasons, our license was not renewed.  I look back at this time fondly remembering how many wonderful talented women volunteered over a period of 4 years to feed hundreds of people… Truly amazing what can happen when communities unite!

Can you share with us how WSB’s mission resonated with you?

It is such a privilege to be joining the WSB’s team and the network of professional women that goes hand in hand with it. Even before I moved to Riyadh I had heard of the WSB and its work is so important in the Kingdom. I truly hope I can contribute to this wonderful organization and that women from different nationalities, backgrounds, sectors, etc. can come together and help us grow and develop alongside the changes that are happening in the Kingdom.

How do you balance being a mum/ a spouse and a working woman? 

Balancing work and personal life is always a challenge but I have found it especially difficult here where the transport and childcare is not what I am used to coming from London. Somehow you make it work, being very organized (and being able to function with minimal sleep) has helped me juggle house chores and work whilst still being around every day for my 3 beautiful children!

Where can creative women go to network in Riyadh?

When I first moved to Riyadh someone told me ‘If you want to enjoy your time here, say ‘yes’ to everything’ and I think my advice goes along those lines… Say yes to the coffee morning you may be dreading, say yes to the conference that sounds boring, go to the desert with your friends, go walk in the DQ with your neighbours… as all these will be opportunities to meet and network with new and interesting people. You never know who you’ll end up meeting until you show up!

Do you have a quote or motto that you live by?

Ohhh, I have many but will stick to this one by Dr Martin Luther King “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

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