I live in Dubai and wanted to start a question/thread where any others following this lifestyle could post suggestions/tips on where to find paleo nutrition/activities in this part of the world. I hope I'm not the only one!
asked byDXB (55)
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on January 18, 2011
at 04:17 AM
Hello! I'm headed to Dubai very shortly (the 28th of Jan) and spent 2 months last year living in Dibba, Oman. I did lots of traveling around northern Oman and the UAE and have spent a good amount of time in Dubai. This time around I'll be spending another 2 months there. I work for a company called Absolute Adventure. their website is adventure.ae
On to the good stuff. Here is what I found helpful while I lived there.
you can buy a whole yummy roasted chicken for 20 dirhams. I would buy one and munch on it for a few days. I highly doubt they inject it with anything as usually they're just roasting on a street corner. The yummy skin comes from all the fat dripping off the birds roasting above it.
You have a whole world of inexpensive spices at your disposal. Here in the USA, things like saffron and vanilla are super expensive. Over there, they are very reasonable. If you can't find a variety of meats or veggies, use spices to change up dishes.
you are also lucky in that there is an amazing variety of ethnicities there, therefore, there are markets and restaurants for those ethnic foods. You can find staples like coconut milk/butter/flour/cream, dried fruits, nuts, curries and who knows what else! Look up traditional Indian or Fillipino recipes and see how you can alter them to be paleo, because the ingredients will be easy for you to find. I made a paleo version of palak paneer and believe me, I would have had an easier time finding ingredients over there.
if you get sick of cooking with coconut oil, use ghee, which is clarified butter. It is used a lot in Indian cooking. You can find it at lots of supermarkets there and its yummy and has doesn't have most of the stuff we want to avoid that is in most dairy.
check out Mark's Daily Apple (just google it) for lots of recipes. I found a paleo energy bar that you can find 99% of the ingredients for in Dubai. There are tons of recipes on that website that you could easily make. I found that canned salmon and tuna was inexpensive.
If you are really worried about getting your hands on grass fed beef, you will probably have a hard time. I didn't even try when I was there. Try instead to focus on other meats that you have easy access to. Also try experimenting with meats you haven't had that you have access to. I bet the Chinese and Indian markets have some pretty interesting meat to try. Some Chinese restaurants sell meat and other grocery products. We ate jellyfish at one of the restaurants.
now as far as activities goes. I'm lucky, because I work as an adventure guide. So I get tons of exercise hiking up mountains and climbing rocks and swimming in the ocean. But, I still found that I needed to do more specific exercise. You can do lots in your own home, no matter how tiny. Push ups, pull ups, hand stand push ups and lots of other bodyweight exercises can be done in the comfort and privacy of your own home. That being said, you need more than just bodyweight sometimes, and you don't want to be inside all the time. Here are some things I did: I bought one of those big 8 gallon blue water jugs they use for the water dispensers in households. They are big and weight around 40 pounds when full of water. Those are great to use for exercising. You can put it on your back to squat the weight, or do walking lunges holding one or two of them. You could fill them with sand or rocks to make them heavier. Walking or running on a beach is great exercise. You have beautiful beaches there. Try going for a sprint session on the beach. If you are at a public swimming beach, its a great opportunity to go for a swim after your run. If you live in an apartment complex use the stairs to train. Run up the stairs and back down. Do it with a jug of full of water to make it harder. My boss lives in a small apartment in Dubai and loves to cycle. Cycling there is not really an option so he put his bike on this mount that lets the back wheel spin and he can adjust how difficult it is. He can get long rides in at home. I've heard there is a rock climbing wall in one of the malls.
I'll be there soon and can't wait! Good luck with your paleo adventure.
on April 13, 2014
at 12:38 PM
I know this is an old thread, but I just moved to Dubai and struggle with this as well. After shopping at Spinneys and Carrefour many times, I haven't seen anything labeled "grass-fed." However, I've been getting the beef imported from Australia or New Zealand, which I believe is grass-fed anyway. It's nowhere near the quality from the farms in NorCal, but it passes.
I tried to see if TropicalTraditions.com could ship meat, but it doesn't seem like they will to out here.
The food labels here are awful, and I often suspect there's garbage in things even if it's not listed on the label. I've been getting what seems like clean coconut oil and ghee. Thank god for Kerrygold, though.
Anyone out here know which brands to get for coconut oil, ghee, and coconut milk? Or has anyone now discovered how to get a hold of quality beef, poultry, offal, soup bones, eggs, or raw unpasteurized dairy out here?
Oh, and does anyone know about the Yemeni honey from the Global Village? Is it truly raw?
I almost didn't take this job because I knew how hard the food situation would be. Any help you can give would be awesome. Thanks.
on February 05, 2013
at 04:25 AM
Just read the ingredients of the Coconut water! I haven't found any coconut water out of a can that didn't contain SUGAR or other garbage yet. Unfortunately expats love their sugar here!
on February 04, 2013
at 01:35 PM
i've been there during christmas. all i say is: COCONUT WATER! ♥
on February 04, 2013
at 11:53 AM
Hey im in Dubai and living paleo. Yeah it's hard, but it's doable in this city which is full of cheap bread and crappy oils. You just have to look a little harder than you would back home. (Canada for me). Stores here don't really spend a lot of time sorting gluten-free things (if any) like back home, BUT, im finding stores are starting to get the hint. Spinneys is pretty good, so is Panda Hypermart and Carrefour if you look really hard. Spinneys does carry grass-fed beef but of course its almost double the price. Im buying my organic virgin coconut oil at Organics Food and Cafe (~$9 USD for 400ml) Pricy, but necessary. There is an online glutenfree website in dubai too. Palm oil is plentiful everywhere but I try to avoid the ones that are fortified with vitamins...I just want the pure stuff (Hayat in a tin.) Sweet potatoes are f'ing expensive, but you can get cheap African ones. It's hard to find beef liver, only lamb...and it looked pretty shaddy. I buy KerryGold Unsalted by the skid loads (almost), but it's cheap here and full of vitamins and nutrients (K2!!!) Luckily i stocked up on my vitamins from home such as my K2...I ran out of magnesium citrate so my next visitor from home will bring some over. Be careful of EVERYTHING you buy...READ the ingredients. Sometime ghee is partially hydrogenated! They LOVE their oil here, i mean an entire aisle both sides...but its 95% crap canola or sunflower oil. You'd think coconut milk would be plentiful here, but you can only buy it in a tin can, and most have added ingredients. So choose wisely.
So buy as much as you can back home, and bring it with you. I think most airlines allow lots of weight. Emirates gave use 2 suitcase per person. Bring your Nutiva coconut oil. Buy your 5-finger vibrams back home and bring them over, they are $$$ here and hard to find.
on September 27, 2012
at 11:03 AM
There is a gluten free supermarket that delivers - it is online only, and they actually have some nice paleo snacks. I found organic parsnip and sweet potato chips, with no junk, and they use organic palm oil. They also have fruit and nut bars that are paleo. Of course, a lot of what they sell is just gluten free junk. The Organic Market in Dubai mall also delivers, and they have lots of organic selections and grassfed meat, although they are pretty expensive. I have been here a little over a week so I am feeling my way around. I've heard Spinney's has grassfed meat and a good selection of produce, and I've also heard to shop at the hypermarkets, which is where most the locals shop. Carrefore has a great produce selection, although not organic, that comes from all over the world. Something told me to stay away from the China imports. They also have a nice selection of fresh spices and herbs, a large seafood department. Any other recommendations? I'd love some! I'm still trying to learn my around here.