Health Warrior - Hibba Nawaz

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This month, our very own Hibba Nawaz shares about her health journey and perspective on wellness. Hailing from Pakistan (a culture that emphasizes fresh foods over harsh diets), Hibba has a refreshing outlook on food and fitness that emphasizes balance overall. She is such a valuable part of our team here at Carly Cooley (and the voice behind Hibba's Corner :). I'm so excited for you to learn a bit more about her and hopefully glean some nuggets of wisdom along the way! Let’s jump right in!

1. Hi, Hibba! Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I hail from Pakistan where Nutrition is not too big but people believe in eating fresh tasteful food. Pakistan is mainly an agricultural country and one can find some amazing fresh produce there! I studied Nutrition and Dietetics in Canada and am currently working as a Nutrition Assistant at Carly Cooley LLC. My Grandma always believed in the healing power of food, which was what pushed me towards this career path. 

2. That's incredible! In your opinion, what's the most important part of a healthy lifestyle? And how has the pursuit of health (and the study of dietetics) impacted your life?

Health for me is a combination of the well being of mind, body and soul - and the most important part of a healthy lifestyle includes eating wholesome foods, getting good sleep and having a proper routine. 

Dietetics is a combination of all my interests: Health, food and helping people through my profession. It has impacted my life by allowing me to get an in-depth understanding of food and preventative care. It also has allowed me to assist my family in eating well. 

3. Sounds like it's had quite the impact! How would you describe your approach to health and fitness - and how do you consciously try and take care of your body on a regular basis? 

For me health and fitness is all about trying to create a balance! I try to improve my approach and routine on a daily basis. I try to take care of my body both internally and externally by investing in some "ME" time and eating well.

4. Can you walk us through your typical morning routine? How do you set yourself up for a healthy day from the start? 

Lately I TRY avoiding social media as soon as I wake up (emphasis on try ;) ). I also do some breathing exercises and drink a luke warm glass of lemon water.

5. "Trying" is more than half the battle. In your experience, what's the biggest barrier to overcome in terms of health? 

Laziness and inconsistency. If you get lazy, you end up just grabbing something right in front of you to eat and that mostly includes junk food. If you make a healthy routine it is important to stick to it, otherwise you don't see the positive results.

6. Good point. What is your favorite meal of the day? Any go-to recipes we could try! 

My favorite meal of the day is dinner, as that is the time when my whole family sits to enjoy a meal together (and that's also the time when I usually try to experiment with recipes). My go-to recipe is lentil curry with boiled rice (it's a Pakistani take on comfort food, super fresh and yummy).

Recipe:

Lentil Curry

1 cup red lentil (masoor dal)

4 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely grated

1 green chili pepper, chopped

1⁄2 teaspoon coriander powder

1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric

1⁄2 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon oil

1⁄2 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1 dried red chili, broken into pieces and seeds removed

1⁄2 limes, juice of or 1/2 lemon, juice of

Handful chopped cilantro (to garnish)

Method:

  • 1. Soak lentils in water for an hour.
    2. Boil water.
    3.Add lentils. When it comes back to a boil, cook for five minutes uncovered, then turn the heat down and cover, cook for 15 minutes.
    4.Add salt, ginger, chile, coriander, cumin and tumeric. Cook for ten more minutes until lentils are very soft.
    5.Turn heat down to low.
    6.In a small pan, heat oil until very hot. Add mustard seeds, when they have finished popping, add chili pieces. Pour hot oil into lentil pot and cover quickly.
    7.Turn off heat and let sit for five minutes. Add lemon or lime juice, adjust seasonings. Garnish with Cilantro and serve with boiled rice.

7. That looks so yummy! How do you go about setting health and fitness goals for yourself? And what are some goals you are currently working on?

I try to set one goal a month so I can keep a track of it. I don't use anything to measure it, but at the end of each month, I reflect on where I stand with my goal. I am currently working on exercising for at least 20 minutes everyday if I am busy and drink a glass of milk everyday.

8. Awesome. What would you say is one non-negotiable part of your weekly health routine?

My lemon water first thing in the morning and my 5 minute stretch routine.

9. Sounds so relaxing. Would you mind letting us in on one of your personal health struggles and how you've fought to overcome it? 

I used to eat when I was super stressed. I try not to do that anymore. I started choosing better options, like smoothies and fruits instead, and that has helped. 

10. It can be so hard to make good health decisions when we're stressed! Especially when there's so many opinions about what a "good health decision" is. How have you worked to overcome negative or incorrect mindsets around health and fitness? And what do you consistently tell yourself to stay motivated?

Mostly through reading credible research! Everything that the internet tells you is not always true. It's important to look at credible research journals for accurate information. I constantly tell myself that "Health is Wealth!" This keeps me motivated. 

9. What's the best advice you could give to someone just beginning their own health journey? 

Don't overthink it. Work on creating a routine for yourself and focus on moderation and variety when it comes to food.

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