Ninie Ahmad: Off her yoga mat.

Her daily AFFIRMATIONS of staying optimistic especially when she's (upside) down.

Archive for the ‘Muslim vegetarian’ tag

“Since 1986, 82% people who have gone on plant-based diet, no dairy, no meat of any kind, no chicken, no turkey, eat very little fish, have begun to heal themselves. Their arterial blockage cleans up, the calcium deposit around their heart breaks up.” ~BILL CLINTON

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Since Bill Clinton blew everyone away today,
I cannot NOT share this :cool:

Please don’t give me heart time about not eating meat anymore (6 years this October, woo hoo!),
I did it to live longer :)

Written by Ninie

September 6th, 2012 at 4:21 pm

I eat clean food today and do yoga everyday to stay healthy and to still be able to control every part of my body when I am no longer 30 (and 50. And 70. And 90).

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I wish I have the answer to this..

I also know

  • half a dozen female Malaysian celebrities in their mid-30s who chain smoke, drink Coke like water and party everyday like it’s Saturday, yet they still look younger than me
  • my mom at 54 (and with seven children and does not exercise) looks younger than some of my seniors who were former athletes from my boarding school
  • my dad at 57 (and only eats free-range eggs and has not eaten chicken or anything canned for as long as I could remember) looks younger than Rosyam Nor who is only 45. And errr, in fact I think my dad actually looks a lot like Rosyam Nor Rosyam Nor looks like my dad, a lot..

The Ahmads

I don’t know about looking younger but I do know that the oldest Malaysian is a vegetarian (and THAT I don’t want to look like Nigella Lawson in her swimming suit).

.  .  .  .  .

I can only speak for myself and look up to vegetarian yoga teachers being masters to their own body at their 70’s and 90’s with no health issues and rocking arm balancing like there’s no tomorrow.

93-years-old Tao Porchon-Lynch

73-years-old Dharma Mittra

I keep doing what I have been doing and I keep eating (or not) what I have (and not) been eating as
when I grow up, I want to be and look just like them.

Love and long life (to all humans and animals).

I am healthy, compassionate and prosperous as I only allow clean, cruelty-free and organic food to build every fibre in my being.

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Since I shared my interview with Natural Health mag, I have been showered with these questions:

  • What’s wrong with eating meat?
  • What is organic diet?
  • I also want to not fall sick in years! How do I start?

This entry is strictly for those who asked..

And those who wish to initiate change in your body, our community and this country.

What’s wrong with eating meat?

Before you start with me on ‘eating meat is not a sin / haram in Islam’, let me just stop you there. In the Islam I know and believe in, NOT eating meat is also NOT a sin in Islam if you avoid eating them to live longer.

Forget about (if you have the heart to :P ) animal suffering and that worldwide livestock farming generates 18% of planet’s carbon footprint (by comparison – ALL the world’s cars + trains + plaves and boats account to a combined of 13% of gas emissions),

..meat is simply:

(summarized from What’s Wrong With Eating Meat book)

1. Full of chemicals
Animals that you eat, eat at fields that are treated with poisonous chemical (pestisides and fertilisers). When you eat meat, you consume higher concentration of chemicals that accumulated during the animal’s lifetime.
2. Full of diseases
To produce meat at highest profit, animals are force-fed, injected with hormones to stimulate growth, given stimulants, antibiotics and sedatives that cause cancer. Animals with undetected tumours and cancers will pass them to their meat-eaters. That simple.
3. Full of decay
Meat passes very slowly in human digestive system, it takes at least 5 days to pass out of human body as opposed to vegetarian food which only takes 24 to 36 hours maximum. During this time, decaying meat are in constant contact with the digestive organs and the habit of eating animal flesh in its state of decomposition creates a poisonous state in the colon and wears out human’s sensitive intestinal tract prematurely.
4. Full of bacteria
Beef, poultry, lamb and pork, even when untainted with disease, contain massive amounts of saturated fats and cholestrol that fasten clogging of arteries, hospitals and cemetaries worldwide. That is why all studies proved that meat-eaters live shorter lives.
5. Main cause of cancer, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, gallstones, kidney disease, gout, arthritis, constipation, diabetes, ulcers..
I could go on if you want.

What are ‘bad’ foods?

Bad foods are chemical-laden food with additives and preservatives (MSG, colourings, bulking agents, hormones, etc) to mimic natural flavours, to colour food to make them look more ‘natural’ or ‘fresh’ and to preserve foods for longer shelf life.

Why manufacturers make ‘bad’ food anyway?

(summarized from Avoid Chemical In Your Food book)

1. Profit
Manufactured ingredients are cheaper that natural ones so synthetic foods generate more profits from natural foods. Fruit flavourings are cheaper than real fruits, most artificial sweeteners are cheaper than real sugar.
2. Product life
Preservatives and antioxidants are used to prevent product decaying in the natural way (this is important to retailers and possibly consumers who may expect the products to last an unrealistic length of time).
3. Physical stability
- Emulsifiers are used to stop ingredients from clumping
- Anti-caking agents ensure lump-free powders
- Bulking-agents add to product weight without increasing nutritional value
4. Appearance
Products may be dyed, coloured or glazed to fulfill visual demands and expectations of certain consumers.
5. Flavours
Flavourings are used to provide a taste corresponding to product’s description when food ingredients cannot provide it sufficiently.
6. Convenience factors
Certain so called ‘convenience foods’ require additives to allow for their method of preparation (includes products to which hot water is added to serve and products that are to be heated in microwave ovens).

All the books I referred to above are available at Justlife (my favourite local organic, vegan / vegetarian and fair-trade shop) nationwide

What are organic foods?

(From Wikipedia)
Organic foods are foods that are produced using methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers, do not contain genetically modified organisms, and are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.

Organic VS ‘Natural’

(From Nature’s Path)
While both ‘natural’ & ‘organic’ mean no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives, only certified organic foods guarantee no fertilizers, toxic pesticides, irradiation, GMOs and hormones were used.

What’s in my kitchen / fridge?

What I ban in my kitchen / fridge

1. Any products with MSG (‘perencah nasi goreng’, Ajinomoto and the likes)
2. Any form of poultry, meat and shellfish
3. Instant food (instant noodle, instant porridge, instant pizza)
4. Carbonated drinks
5. Usage of microwave
6. Usage of Teflon / non-stick pans
7. Plastic containers / water bottles especially to store leftover food (generic / brand name: Tupperware. Now you know why I just don’t get advertorials anymore)
8. ‘Vegetable’ cooking oil

Hey, you asked!

Love and long life to all beings everywhere.

Interview: “I don’t know if it’s the daily yoga practice that I do or my vegetarian diet but, I hardly fall sick anymore. I really can’t remember the last time I caught fever or the flu bug, not in the last two or three years.” ~NINIE AHMAD

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In celebration of International Vegetarian Week,
October 1 – 7, 2011

NINIE AHMAD-FORGET, 28
Yoga Teacher & Founder of Upward, Saujana Resort

How long have you been a vegetarian?
Almost 4 years now (since November 2007).

Your reason for becoming a vegetarian?
I have always inspired to be a vegetarian since many of my yoga teacher friends and
inspirations are vegetarians and they always carry a different persona and energy
- more calm, collected and compassionate. During Malaysia’s Yoga Conference in
November 2007, I was given the opportunity to interview one of the biggest living
yoga legends in the world – Sri Dharma Mittra on the topic “What makes a good
yoga teacher?” He held my shoulders, looked at me in the eyes and said “You have
to stop killing animals.” He didn’t even know I was a yoga teacher (I interviewed him
as a writer) neither was I a vegetarian at that time!

Everything he said during the interview made perfect sense and I stayed up all
night reading and Googling about vegetarianism and instantly get turned off eating
meat after knowing how the food got in my plate. Not to mention, most living yoga
teachers in their 90’s (and they look no older than 50) say that, the secret to living
longer, looking younger is, stand on your head for an hour a day and to not let
your body be the cemetery for dead animals.

I have not eaten meat nor poultry ever since. Since a year ago, I also don’t wear
leather handbags and footwear anymore.

The benefit you’ve gained since becoming a vegetarian?
I don’t know if it’s the daily yoga practice that I do or my vegetarian diet but, I
hardly fall sick anymore. I really can’t remember the last time I caught fever or the flu
bug, not in the last two or three years. I’d like to believe it is both yoga and by not
consuming animals’ suffering anymore. And believe it or not, just a couple of weeks
after stopping eating meat, I was suddenly able to do super complicated yoga poses
that I never thought I could do with this body in this lifetime!

Was it difficult being a vegetarian when many people around you are not?
People would be surprised that it is not that difficult. Most restaurants in KL now
have vegetarian options or I just opt for a bowl of hearty green salad anyway. Since
I prepare most of my meals for myself and my husband at home (as that’s the only
way I can ensure my meals are not only vegetarian but also, clean, free from cruelty
and prepared with love), it is not that difficult. Whenever I have guests over, they
usually forget that they are not eating meat. With creativity (and Asian spices!), I am
lucky vegetarian food can taste just as good!

Some say that vegetarian diet may lack protein and important nutrients..
I always make sure my big meals (breakfast and lunch) would consist of lots of beans
and grains. I also love hazelnut milk which is way more nutritious (and delicious!)
than cow milk. And do you know that Brad Pitt, Christian Bale and Brandon Boyd (of
Incubus) are all vegetarians?

Many meat eaters say that vegetarians are not active and weak..
I practice Ashtanga yoga which is the most physical form of yoga and vegetarianism
is one of the fundamentals in Ashtanga practice and lifestyle. Most Ashtanga
practitioners (Asthtangis) have the strongest and fittest looking body and they are
the last people on earth to be called inactive and weak as they can stand on their
hands, tuck their legs behind their head, can light up a room with their Ujjaiyi breaths
yet staying so humble about it, compared to most bulky meat-eaters who can be
compared to crabs – hard shell on the outside but empty on the inside. And again,
which part of Brad Pitt screams not-strong?

Many also say becoming vegetarian is expensive..
It can be expensive as when we choose to only consume good food in our body, we
also tend to be aware on investing not only in vegetarian food but also, unprocessed,
organic and macrobiotic. I always say, what’s grocery bill now compared to hospital
bills later. It is a little costly as the demand is not big in our community (compared
to in North America) but I believe as handsome as a plate of organic Greek salad is
nowhere close to how expensive a plate of Foie Gras or Wagyu steak can be.

Will you encourage your friends and family members to become vegetarians?
I am lucky that my husband is also into vegetarianism, organic, macrobiotic and raw
food movement (and he does yoga everyday too!). I have never and will never force
my close friends and family members but I aspire to inspire them by leading a good
example of living a happy, healthy and cruelty-free lifestyle. So one day when I’m 50
but looking 25, I can finally say – do lots of yoga and don’t eat meat!

From NATURAL HEALTH magazine, October 2011
Available at Borders and major newsstands

Interview: ‘Breakfast like a queen.’

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From THE SUN, Thursday July 8, 2010

Yoga instructor Ninie Ahmad offers eating tips to stay healthy and trim

by Anansa Jacob

Have you ever given a thought to what it means to have a balanced breakfast? That is, if at all you take time out to have breakfast. Quite a number of people skip breakfast entirely, either because of time constraints, or because they do not think it is important.

For celebrity yoga instructor Ninie Ahmad, the idea of skipping breakfast is a cardinal sin. Although not a trained nutritionist, the vegetarian has read up a lot about nutrition and healthy living, and firmly believes that we are what we eat.

“I read this saying once: ‘Eat breakfast like a king, eat lunch like a prince and eat dinner like a pauper’,” she said. “It means that we should eat the most at the start of the day, (so) we’ll have the energy to work or be active. At night, we should eat less as our bodies will soon be resting.”

Ninie met us for breakfast at the Pappa Rich restaurant at The Gardens, Kuala Lumpur. On the menu was a selection of Pappa Rich favourites, all traditional Malaysian breakfast dishes.

We had Pappa curry laksa special with foo chok, Pappa char kuey teow, Ipoh kuey teow soup with steamed chicken, chicken porridge, otak-otak, roti bakar and roti stim with butter and kaya, half-boiled eggs and Pappa nasi lemak.

“Someone once asked me if it was healthy to eat nasi lemak, because I was seen having it every morning for breakfast,” she said. “To me, it depends on what you have with the nasi lemak. A simple one, with just boiled egg and sambal is actually okay.

“Nasi lemak is okay for me because I know I’m going to be using up all those calories throughout the day.”

She also thinks people should choose their breakfast meals carefully. “For instance, nasi lemak is a healthier choice than roti canai, because of all the bad oil in roti canai. But I sometimes crave for roti canai, so I do eat it occasionally.”

She explained that a craving is a sign that our bodies lack certain nutrients, “but if you have roti canai every morning, then that’s not a craving!”

She also pointed out the various positive aspects of the other dishes in the restaurant’s breakfast menu.

Half-boiled eggs are a good protein boost, as is otak-otak. The little bit of santan in the laksa is balanced out by the vegetables. As for the only ‘risky’ dish, char kuey teow, Ninie emphasised that moderation is the way to go.

“I’m not saying you should cut it out altogether, just that you need to have it rarely, or in small portions.”

Eating moderately spicy food for breakfast is also a good thing. “Spicy food helps raise our metabolic rate, which also contributes to weight loss,” Ninie said.

She also pointed out that Pappa Rich, which is one of her favourite places to have breakfast, also carries a range of vegetarian pau, ideal for vegetarians like her. “It’s also a healthier option for those who want to watch their diets.”

As much as possible, she tries to prepare her meals at home. She usually has organic cereals or pancakes for breakfast as they are easy to prepare.

“I normally make nasi lemak if I have a long Sunday ahead of me,” she added.

At the very least, she makes sure to have a blended fruit juice to get a burst of vitamins and fibre in the morning.

Ninie also stressed that the best breakfast is a simple, homecooked meal with a balanced list of ingredients.

“Everyone should make the effort to not only make sure to have breakfast, but to make it a healthy one.

“After all, it’s better to take care of our health now than later when we get ill from eating unhealthy food.”

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