Meet Ahlam From Healthy And Vegan
What inspired you to go vegan?
A girl on instagram who has an account about veganism commented on my picture asking why I am eating animal protein, stating that it causes diseases. I was arrogant at the beginning and said “I balance between animal and plant protein”. But since then I was thinking about it and started to look at her account, there I discovered many things and realized that there is no difference between our dairy industry and USA’s dairy industry. They are all the same and they just do it for business.
What inspired you to start your instagram account?
I was inspired before I went vegan because I have always liked to eat healthy and cook delicious food. So when I went vegan I was inspired again to share with people vegan recipes and I changed my account name from cook healthy and delicious to healthy and vegan. Since then my account has grown drastically.
Do you have any Arabic dishes that you have veganized? Any family-favourites?
Yes, I veganized many like basbousa, kunafa with vegan cheese, date cake, luqaimat, mamoul cookies (stuffed dates cookies) and karak drink. My sister really enjoyed the kunafa.
What is your favourite recipe that your followers loved the most?
One of my favourite recipes is an easy chocolate cake.
1 1/2 cups flour
3 tbsp cocoa
1 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup oil
1 cup water
Mix the first five, dry ingredients in a greased baking pan and make 3 holes, pour the vinegar and vanilla in the smaller holes and the oil in the large hole, then pour water over all and mix well until smooth. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 35 minutes and enjoy.
We have a lot of options especially in Dubai, there are a lot vegan restaurants and restaurants with vegan options. Even in Abu Dhabi we have many places serve vegan pizza with vegan cheese such as Pinza, Freedom Pizza and Pizza Di Rocco. Amorino offers vegan sorbets like pistachio, hazelnut, chocolate and many more. You can find desserts like brownies at Tawa bakery. It is not hard at all, everything is available. Vegan milk (rice, almond, soy, cashew and more). My favourite restaurant in the UAE is Pinza. They have the best vegan pizza.
What are your tips for someone who receives a lot of negativity after newly turning vegan?
First of all, be friendly and don’t be aggressive when you talk to people who disagree with your opinion and decisions. If you don’t react in a kind manner, others will think that all vegans are aggressive and they will never be interested in veganism again. Also, you have to educate yourself so when people question you, you can explain and prove that their opinion is not necessarily correct.
What is your tip for anyone who is looking to start a plant based lifestyle?
Start gradually and if you are unable to cut out all animal products, don’t as you might give up easily. I started cutting meat first then dairy. Cutting out meat and eggs was so easy for meat and after 1-2 weeks I stopped consuming dairy.
What are your favourite instagram accounts?
I have many instagram accounts that I love: @busyvegandubai @azizisvegan @bcz.im.happy @theveganconnection @plantbased.arabic @plantbasedkw @vegan_ksa_ @vegan_mariam