Simply put, we are two sisters (who also happen to be sisters-in-law) with a shared passion for cooking (and eating, of course!)
Foodwise, we’ve been pescetarians (vegetarians and seafood eaters) for more than 10 years now.
Besides marrying into the same family, we share alot more in common: a love for food, visual arts, photography (and foodtography!), and traveling (with a cotton-soft spot for Europe). We’ve cooked together for years, and learned alot about food from each other in the kitchen, during nutrition courses and discussions, or whenever we’re hungry and planning the next dream meal…
Thanks to food and technology (and maybe even some more primitive forms of kitchen tools), we still cook together although we are thousands of miles apart, one of us being in Sydney, Australia (Sana) and the other living in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (Roula)!
Sana is a dietitian, and Roula is a university prof of English, so “professionally”, we take different vantage points on our culinary musings, those being:
and the literary:
However, despite the fact that our professions may seem to be very divergent, our points of view converge here in Beyond Zucchini. We’ll be expressing and “blogging about” these points of view not only through our cooking and recipe-sharing with you, but Sana, the “Nutri-Nut” will be sharing some interesting updates on nutrition info , while Roula will be the “Foodosopher” behind other aspects of food…
More about us below!
As a wife and mother, I cook up a storm for my family nearly everyday (except when we’re having leftovers, or dining out as a weekend treat). My love for food is innate—with a major obsession for cooking—and the fervor for creating healthy, wholesome meals from scratch arose from my early teens, in concurrence with my discovery of carrying familial hyperlipidemia, a genetically-induced condition of high blood cholesterol. However, I regard this condition as a positive complement for my love of food, appreciation of art, and belief in the universal principles of life.
So what do I do besides cooking, cleaning, playing with my daughter, watching Mickey Mouse, and dating my hubby? I am a part-time university professor and a full-time mom, now in the process of writing my PhD thesis in English Literature. The subject matter of my research is concerned with the alchemical nature of poetic language—pretty similar to the subject matter of my kitchen. How? Well, I actually believe that cooking has the same effect on food, with food being the “poetic language” of creative expression for our loved ones. I have also taken (and still am taking) Nutrition courses on the side, and I’ve made some voluntary contribution to the macrobiotic community and non-profit breastfeeding organizations.
My husband and I have both been pescetarians (in other words, vegetarians who eat fish from time to time) and a part-time vegans (twice a week) for thirteen years now. Our diet mainly consists of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, fish, and some naturally low-in-lactose (and fat) dairy. We are culinary nomads, overzealous globetrotters who just love traveling around the world, especially for dishing out some hidden traditional culinary masterpieces. Much of the food we have during our travels becomes an inspiration for my dishes, with a little bit of healthy tweaking here and there. Other sources of inspiration are tradition, marketplace seasonals, marriages of favorite ingredients, and well…leftovers.
I am a licensed dietitian with a BSc of Clinical Nutrition at the University of California, Davis with over 5 years of professional experience. Throughout my 9 years of education and practice I was constantly driven by my many internal factors:
- Passion for food and cooking: Growing up in the heart of a fertile land of a small town in North Lebanon called Amioun that is surrounded by endless olive fields has nourished my connection to nature and belief in using real ingredients to make heart healthy meals! This brings us to my “basic” kitchen rule: Use seasonal produce when cooking, and local when possible. Avoid preservatives, flavor enhancers (MSG), food colors, and artificial flavors ALL the time because YOU CAN and we will guide you through it!
- Pesco-vegetarian lifestyle: aren’t you just tired of preachy and pushy people asking you “Don’t you miss meat? Aren’t you hurting plants? Where do you get your protein? Where do you get iron if you don’t eat meat? What do you eat, like salads, fruits, and tofu?” well frankly I was as I’ve been there a million times! Fear no more J Stepping into our world will give you the answers and will teach you how to prepare both a convenient and healthy balanced meals using vegetable and seafood ingredients rich in Omega’s for your wellbeing!
- Dream of a healthier generation and communities: With a globally growing number of childhood obesity and chronic diseases my desire to give today for a healthier tomorrow has greatly expanded! I wish that through my nutritional background and Mediterranean cooking experience to transform and empower our blog readers into a health conscious person for you to live your greatest life journey and believe that healthy is tasty.
- Curiosity to understand the mysterious mechanism of metabolism: How many times have we heard (or maybe said) the following “I have a slow metabolism, I cannot loose weight” or “I have a super metabolism and no matter how much I eat I do not gain weight!” Truth is we all need a normal metabolism. You can look at metabolism like a power plant in your body that converts the food we eat into energy to fuel our body immediately for basic functions of survival such as breathing, digestion, blood circulation and nerve function. If you exceed your daily caloric needs for metabolism and exercise, your power plant will convert your food and store it into fat. A lot of factors contribute to bringing our metabolism into balance, famous one being exercise. But here’s another great one, Omega 3 fatty acids. Metabolism regulation is achieved through Omega 3’s role in balancing our blood sugar and inflammation reduction. They may also reduce resistance to the hormone Leptin, which researchers have linked to how fast fat is burned. So here in our blog we will introduce you to lots of delicious recipes rich in our precious ingredient!
- And of course my Levantine roots! The Mediterranean cuisine is known for its rich bursting flavors and endless meal options. What is this secret that brings about this delicious diversity to your table? Of course the ingredients are way beyond the stereotypical zucchini…
I’m sure that many of you, like me, had continuous dreams of trying to find out the “secret ingredients” of a magic potion as the witch brewed them in her huge cauldron from one of our favorite cartoon shows. In our blog we will uncover the mystery of this tingling aroma and freshness in the Mediterranean cuisine to bring these authentic Taita (grandma) flavors to your home straight from our Levant region. To top that, we will introduce you to many of our traditional recipes that have been nutritionally modified to treat your heart with so much love and care.