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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 October 2018

First it was cleaning, then ironing, now it’s cooking: how I outsourced my life

I feel sporadic pangs of guilt, and worry that I am on a one-way path to Dubai princess-hood, but getting others to do what I should rightfully be doing myself seems to be the UAE way.

Coconut cream spinach with wild prawn. Courtesy Nourishing Dubai
Coconut cream spinach with wild prawn. Courtesy Nourishing Dubai

There are many responsibilities that I have passed on to someone else as I have transitioned into a fully fledged Dubai resident. I used to clean my own house, for example, but for the past few years, that responsibility has belonged almost exclusively to someone else, a lifesaver who turns up twice a week and ensures that after a long day in the office, I don’t have to worry about mopping my own floors and ironing my own clothes. For that, I am eternally grateful.

The same applies for my garden, which is tended by a chirpy Pakistani gentleman – the same fellow, incidentally, who washes my car every few days. A couple of times a week, I even shirk my dog-owning responsibilities, when I drop my pooch off to doggy day care and offload the unending task of entertaining an over-exuberant Labrador puppy. I feel sporadic pangs of guilt, and worry that I am on a one-way path to Dubai princess-hood, but getting others to do what I should rightfully be doing myself seems to be the UAE way.

The one thing I have always tried to do, however, is feed myself. As I have endeavoured to cut processed foods from my diet and attempted to be mindful of what, exactly, I am putting into my body, it being (a slightly dilapidated) temple and all, I have made a point of trying to make my own food from scratch, wherever possible, using fresh ingredients that I have selected myself.

But even that job has now been relinquished, to the kind folk at Nourishing Dubai. I was late to the meal- plan party – but it has been a complete revelation. I can scarcely explain the joy of coming home every day to find a cool box full of food hanging on my front door. I find myself rushing inside to find what treats are in store, tripping over the dog in the process.

Beef burger on mushroom bun with a side of sweet potato fries a chipotle mayo. Courtesy Nourishing Dubai
Beef burger on mushroom bun with a side of sweet potato fries a chipotle and mayo. Courtesy Nourishing Dubai

Nourishing Dubai’s promise is that all its food is gluten- and dairy-free, low on sugar, eggs and soy, and also unprocessed and anti-inflammatory. Three healthy meals are delivered to my door five times a week. And it’s basically the kind of food I imagine Hollywood starlets get their private chefs to cook for them every day.

There are hearty, protein-rich breakfasts, which include a mind-blowing cherry cardamom bircher muesli; spinach pancakes with blueberry sauce; and healthy waffles with a cashew cream. There are nutritious lunches and enticing dinners that act as a reminder that you don’t need to sacrifice on either taste or variety to eat well. Most importantly, Nourishing’s meals are proof that being healthy does not mean that you have to deprive yourself in any way. Coupled with the fact that I no longer have any decision-making to do at meal times, it’s a no-brainer.

Grass ded steak with mixed leaf salad. Courtesy Nourishing Dubai
Grass fed steak with mixed leaf salad. Courtesy Nourishing Dubai

The only problem is that I don’t know where to go from here. How will my comparatively meagre attempts at cooking ever suffice again? Now that I have become privy to the joys of Pecan-crusted chicken, lamb cabbage rolls and healthy fish-and-chips that magically appear at my door, how do I go back?

Is it unreasonable to spend the rest of one’s life on a meal plan? I fear that means my transition to Dubai princess will be complete – but I’m too busy tucking into Nourishing’s beef short ribs glazed with a honey BBQ sauce to really care.

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Read more of Selina's thoughts:

Why ageing in Dubai is a particularly painful process

Why a goodbye in the UAE can be particularly bittersweet

Paying tribute to the extraordinary life of my dad, the ultimate expat

Why eating meat makes me feel like a hypocrite

Phone etiquette? I need some guidelines please

Maybe the sisterhood does exist, after all

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