x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Live'ly Health and Nutrition Lounge

Handy advice for a better life.

Andrew Henderson / The National
Andrew Henderson / The National

Handy advice for a better life. WHAT I TRIED One of several new food delivery services in Abu Dhabi, targeted at helping you lose weight through calorie counting. WHAT I HOPED FOR After several months on rival Nutrislim (which I initially was very happy with), I got a bit bored. I was hoping for a service that would offer food that was a bit more flavourful, with more western and vegetarian options. My goal was to lose a bit of weight and fat, but without giving up nice-tasting meals.

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT As with other services in town, I had an initial appointment with the programme's dietician, during which I was given a session to measure my Body Mass Index, fat percentage, water content and muscle mass. I also discussed my eating and exercise habits with the dietician, which was a far more satisfying experience than those on similar programmes I've tried, mainly because the dietician took into account my personal lifestyle choices. For example, rather then tell me that alcohol was just wasted calories (as I know), she suggested that perhaps after I gave up enough of my afternoon snacks for my glass of wine, I might realise that I preferred the snack. After the meeting, I was given a month-long meal plan that would include 1,100 calories a day - that would have been 1,200 but since I was unwilling to give up my glass of wine, I would lose 100 calories. I would receive my three meals plus two snacks delivered daily to my office, and to my home on weekends.

MY HESITATION This programme is a bit more costly than its competitors, and I wasn't sure that it would be worth it. After getting bored with my old programme, having very few vegetarian options and generally being something of a picky eater, I wasn't sure that a food delivery service was meant for me. Maybe, instead, I needed to practise a little self-discipline and count my own calories? THE REALITY Each week, you submit a form (via e-mail, the Live'ly website, or directly to your delivery driver) stating your daily meal requests for each day. You can choose from two breakfast options, two snack options, four lunch options (including an appetiser) and three dinner options (once again with an appetiser), plus two 330ml bottles of water. There is also a daily vegetarian option for lunch and dinner, and overall the menu offers excellent variety - new dishes seem to be added each week. You are advised to drink two litres of water a day and you can snack freely on any vegetable except carrots, beetroots or starchy items. You can also drink tea or coffee - without milk - but no more than three a day. Like last time, some people in the office mocked me for doing the plan, walking in with my little green bag of food. On the first day, my deskmate made me spill out my bag's contents for examination, which is where the mocking ended - the food looked amazing. I am now on my third month with the service and can honestly say that I've only been disappointed by a few of the meals. This programme, in particular, seems to really load your calories into lunch and afternoon snacks, and provide you with a smallish dinner. While I worried at first that I would get hungry as the evening went on, I realised that I feel so much better eating the bulk of my food earlier in the day. Every four weeks, you receive a follow-up consultation with the dietician, and another body analysis. After my first four weeks on the programme, I had lost more than 2kg.

THE DETAILS The food, consultation with the dietician plus a body analysis and follow-up visit costs Dh3,300 for four weeks; Dh3,800 for four weeks for the gourmet option. The company has recently been offering a special discount which is worth asking about. There are also several other personalised plans available with fewer meals or modifications. For an appointment in Abu Dhabi, call 02 643 3301; in Dubai, call 04 348 1008. You can view their online menu at www.lively.ae. Kerri Abrams

Make your own business cards Jetting off for an important meeting and left all your business cards at home in a jam jar? Or are you leaving town with a temporary mobile and can't be bothered to invest in a whole pile of new cards? Here's a snappy solution: tucked away in the arrivals area of Terminal 1 at Dubai International Airport, there's a business card machine that's so deliciously retro it's almost stylish.

1 Put in your money. It costs 10 dirhams for 30 cards. 2 Make your selections. You can choose between Arabic and English. Then you take your pick from a wide variety of formats and logos (a falcon is our personal favourite, but there is also, oddly, a bomb with a fuse). 3 Punch in your information. You have to toggle between upper and lower case. 4 Wait for your cards. The machine was true to its promise of "less than two minutes". You may have to print two batches - the crop was off on some of ours. But the machine also prints out the mobile number of the technician - who is reachable - in case you have a problem. 5 Pass them out. They're not the world's most professional solution, but the heavyweight paper is of good quality, and the old-school format will impress your friends.