Jan 28, 2012

Are you Balanced?

Have you ever thought of pursuing a healthy and more balanced lifestyle, but didn't want to sacrifice the taste of food or engage in hours of tedious (boring) sessions at the gym?

Well take a trip down to Balance Cafe at the Oasis Center on Sheikh Zayed Road to experience a whole new side of being healthy.  Balance Cafe's philosophy on food and life is simple.  The food you choose to eat directly reflects on your  physical and mental well being. They blend ancient Ayuverdic concepts and "Yogic know-how" with macrobiotic foods to give us a modern spa-oriented tradition.  There is a lot going on at this Cafe/Cooking School/Spa/Pilates/Yoga concept.....I encourage everyone to pay a visit.  You won't be disappointed!
Ayurveda diet recognizes six tastes and it's important to have all of these 6 tastes in your diet every day.
  • Sweet – sugar, honey, rice, pasta, milk, etc.
  • Sour – lemons, hard cheese, yogurt, vinegar, etc.
  • Salty – salt, any salty food
  • Pungent – chili peppers, cayenne, ginger, any hot spice
  • Bitter – leafy greens, turmeric, lettuce, etc.
  • Astringent – pomegranate, beans, lentils, etc.
These six tastes are listed in the order they are digested in your body.  Including all six tastes in your diet contributes to feeling satisfied at the end of a meal. Cravings are often caused by not having all of the tastes in your daily diet. Many people often omit the bitter and astringent tastes. When you have something bitter or astringent at the end of a meal, it actually reduces  your desire for sweets. Incorporating an Ayurvedic diet into your lifestyle will improve your health and its also a great way to shed off some extra pounds.

We were served some house-made gluten free bread and rolls with mint chutney to nibble on while we waited for our food. Gluten free bread tends to be a bit too crumbly for my liking, but this one was moister than most I've tried before. Then we enjoyed this delectable Goat Cheese and Sundried Tomato Tart with Beetroot reduction and pesto. It was a nice simple presentation, and a generous portion size for a starter.  This could be a decent lunch portion. We were also given this gorgeous grilled King Prawn compliments of the chef!
We then strategically ordered our mains, since there were four of us, it made sense for us to order enough for us to share (plus more).  The menu had an eclectic mix of everything from Vegetable Biryani to Club Sandwiches and Brown Rice Fettuccine to Pan Seared Dory.  Each menu item is well thought out and planned according to the special diet and health code of this restaurant. The Vegetable Biryani was a popular item at our table this evening.  My friend Karoline, who typically can't eat spicy food, had just returned from a trip to India. Having been too scarred to try any of the ethnic food on her visit, we convinced her to give this one a try, low and behold, she LOVED it! All the authentic spices were there, but it was light, and not overwhelming to the foreign palette. 
The main course that stood out to me was this Pan Seared Mustard Coated Cream Dory served with  spinach onion relish and tomato vinaigrette. The fish was cooked very well, moist and flavorful, but nice and crispy on the outside.  
 Everyone insisted we try dessert,  it is "Ayuverdic" dessert, which can only mean it's kind of healthy, right?  Here are my faves: The lemon tart was sweet and tangy.  The crust could've been a little more dense, it ended up being a bit too flaky, but the rest of the flavors were on point.  The Baked Yogurt came highly recommended, and really was out of this world.  I had never tasted anything like it before....skeptical at first, but quickly jumped onto the band wagon with this one.  It's unique texture and flavor is something I would recommend and will go back for....
In addition to all this fabulous and healthy food, they also hold cooking classes at this one of a kind location.  They have classes that teach you everything from Thai food to Italian, Indian to Healthy Options.  With an all star line-up of chefs from Mango Tree, Carluccio's, Zafran, and Balance Cafe of course, you can't go wrong!  With a state of the art teaching facility, it would be a great activity to organize with a group of friend, and then at the end not only will you have gained a wonderful experience but you will get to enjoy all the delicious food you've prepared.
Leaving no stone unturned, the "Balance" concept really is about making better lifestyle choices.  They also have a Balance Wellness Club/ Spa which offer classes ranging from Yoga to Pilates, plus a variety of special treatments and massages at very reasonable prices.  This place is a hidden gem, so make sure you come down to the Oasis Center to check it out for yourself!

For more information about the Wellness Center and Cafe check out the web-site below:


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