Ahlaam Ali about vegan diet and other vegan issues

Ahlaam Ali is a published author and a certified nutrition and weight loss consultant, as well as a hypnotherapist practicing in the UAE and internationally. Ali works holistically with her members to create a plan to empower them with physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. She works with various specialists ranging from orthopedic surgeons to endocrinologists, to design wellbeing programs based on her members’ medical history, lifestyle, activity levels, food preferences and food intolerances.

With globesity and mental health being a very pertinent issue across the world as well as closer home, Ahlaam Ali was inspired to create an award winning life changing Holistic weight loss and fitness program – Powwer™ Living. The results of Ahlaam Ali’s programs have been outstanding and have contributed significantly towards her winning the Middle East Business Achievement Award from amongst 250 companies across the Middle East.

Ali regularly writes health and wellbeing features for specific newspapers and
magazines, addressing the most pertinent issues experienced in this time of increasing lifestyle illnesses! Artizzan cheeze is an initiative by Ahlaam Ali, a delicious; gourmet plant based cheese and is made from fermented tree nuts. There is a range of meltable, grateable, spreadable, nut and coconut based cheeses for all occasions and for vegans, vegetarians and lactose intolerant people as her website says.


How long have you adopted a vegan diet? What was the reason behind it? What are the awareness levels these days as far as adopting a vegan diet goes?

It’s been four years now and I love the clean healthy feeling. I wouldn’t say I am 100% vegan but I am on a journey and that is what we need to understand. Nobody was born vegan and some of us have made the journey some of us are on our way. Let each person take their time and get there. Let’s encourage every individual that sets out on this path!

What are the limitations if any of a vegan diet? Is the world ready for vegan cooking?

As such I don’t see any limitations to vegan cooking to be honest except the limitations in our heads! We are lucky to have so many ingredients available here and it is so easy to replace ingredients these days. To switch from non vegan and vegetarian options to vegan is actually quite simple once you get your head around it!


What exactly is vegan consultation and how do you go about it? Are there many takers for this service these days?

Yes there is definitely a market for Vegan meal plans these days. I help people transform their bodies and mind whether choose to be vegan or not. I include a lot of wholesome and holistic and healing ingredients in their meal plans which in turn keeps them healthy and helps heal their various aches and pains, inflammation in their bodies and their overall health improves.


Please tell me about your online vegan workshops if any, how is it convenient especially in these times?

I have been conducting personal workshops before the pandemic and now it’s mainly online classes to help people create a vegan meal using holistic organic ingredients and creating three course meals that the entire family can enjoy!


Vegan cooking/ vegan restaurants; how easy/difficult it is; what are your previous experiences with it?

Eating out a is a bit of a challenge for me as I am also gluten free and have some other food intolerances that tend to creep in when you eat out! Although having said that there are always some good restaurants you can get to as long as it is a pure vegan restaurant not just a restaurant offering vegan options.


What is the secret of a good vegan kitchen?

Well first of all keep it free of all animal products of course. Then keep it free of preservatives and keep it as holistic as possible with growing your own herbs wherever you can. I grow my own mint, Holy Basil, Regular basil, Moringa, Chillies and a few other things that I use in my daily cooking.


What about the suppliers, are there enough currently and easily accessible?

Yes there are quite a few suppliers in the market although they have had to be educated over the years. But they have realized the importance and emergence of Veganism as a whole new way of eating and they have stepped up to the challenge!


How can restaurants/ hotels/ cooks… communicate the approach of veganism to others?

Firstly they need to decide if they are vegan or not. Then they have to try and offer their goods at the best price possible. Yes ingredients are not cheap however they can try to offer it at the best price possible. Some restaurants are jumping on to the vegan bandwagon just to make a quick buck and cash in on the movement.


What are the challenges for chefs/restaurants with an increasing demand for vegetarian or vegan menus?

The challenge is to keep the menus varied and affordable so people can keep coming back for more.


Tell us about your two most popular vegan preparations.

My favourite is a delicious Smoked Mac and Cheeze made with Gluten free pasta and Smokey Cashew cream and avocados. My second favourite is my Quinoa pizza that I make with lots of spinach, asparagus, broccoli and my own mozzarella cheese that melts beautifully!!


How does it help local farmers/suppliers?

Always opt to buy all your produce that is grown locally, this helps keep the local farmers in business and it also reduces your carbon foot print as the fruits and veggies you buy have not travelled thousands of miles before they get consumed. It is our responsibility to keep the local businesses growing and support them as much as possible.


Future Plans?

I am planning to take my cheeze creations all over the world and am looking for the right partnership. I have the creativity and the business acumen. However I do not have the time in a day to do everything. As I want to take my business all over the world, ideally it’s best to bring on board a business partner who can make this business grow strategically and internationally!


Recipe of avocado ice-cream:

What you need

1 avocado, peeled and chopped
1/2 can of Coconut cream
1 lime juiced
2 tbsp of creamed cashew
2 tbsp Maple syrup
6 leaves of Basil
4 tbsp of Dark chocolate chips

1. Place everything into a blender except the chocolate chips and blend.
2. Pour the resultant mixture into a container that will go into a freezer.
3. Stir in the chocolate chips and freeze till it solidifies.
4. Serve on it’s own or with a piece of chocolate brownie.


Jyoti Balani