What we’re loving: meal plans, blasts of oxygen, and more

Eat, breathe, move: there's a twist on each of these in our latest round-up of dining options, treatments and workout routines.

Regiment, a new Dubai meal-plan company, allows you to choose from up to four options per meal, per day. With 600 recipes on offer, there’s little chance of getting bored even six weeks in. Courtesy Regiment
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Choice rules in this food regiment

Often, when you sign up for a meal plan and don’t like – or eat – what’s on offer, you can request a substitute – duck for fish, meat for veggies and so on. However, Regiment, a new Dubai meal-plan company, allows you to choose from up to four options per meal, per day, enabling you to mix up your food week. So you can indulge in a fillet mignon with balsamic glaze for lunch, knowing that it’s going to be spinach and leek soup for dinner. With 600 recipes on offer, there’s little chance of getting bored even six weeks in. Of the dishes I sampled over two weeks as part of the Navy Package, must-tries include the avocado baked with egg and goat’s cheese (breakfast); antioxidant blast juice (AM snack); Moroccan fish tagine with aromatic couscous (lunch); vegetable summer rolls (PM snack); and Thai peanut chicken with brown rice and broccoli (dinner). Every meal comes in microwaveable containers in an iced bag. The roasted tomato chickpea soup was a bit too sweet for my taste, and the sweet potato and beet chips were soggy by the time I got to them – serves me right for not choosing the healthier oats option. Valentina Sepic, the Dubai-based Croatian, who runs the programme, says all the ingredients are organic, with no additives and preservatives, and that the meals are freshly cooked each morning and loaded with nutrients. My waistline tends to agree.

Regiment has three meal plans: Navy for sedentary people; Commandos for those who exercise on a weekly basis; and Seal for muscle-builders; Dh900 for five meals over five days. Delivery across Dubai. For more information, visit www.regimentlifestyle.com; email regiment.diet@gmail.com; or call 050 508 5128.

- Panna Munyal

Rejuvenating blasts of oxygen

I was drawn to mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy after researching its healing benefits. I’ve had a surgical wound for the past 14 weeks that has not yet healed and I’m desperate for it to be over. Eager to learn more, I attended the launch of O2 Life Hyperbarics, an Australian company that manufactures and sells mild hyperbaric oxygen chambers in the UAE. After my 90-minute trial session – more about that later – I chatted with the company’s founder, Gordon Harrod, who explained how mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy (MHBOT) works and why it’s beneficial. He also recommended five sessions over the course of a week to set me on the road to recovery. MHBOT involves pure oxygen being pumped into a pressurised chamber, in which you lay for usually an hour. The air we breathe normally has about 21 per cent oxygen, yet we take in only around 6 per cent. In a mild hyperbaric oxygen chamber, the intake of oxygen is closer to 28 per cent, says Harrod. The chamber pressure (4psi) is also a key element as it helps pump oxygenated blood around the body, particularly to hard-to-reach areas such as the lower limbs. Well-oxygenated blood is crucial for feeding the body’s cells, which helps to fight disease and maintain good health. The treatment is being used to help heal diabetic wounds, fight infection, speed up recovery after a sports injury and for overall health and well-being. The best part is that it’s completely safe – in fact, hospitals and medical clinics around the world are starting to use this therapy to complement conventional treatment plans.

In MHBOT, you climb into the chamber, lay down and relax for an hour. You can take a phone, book, or laptop to keep you entertained. I also took a pillow. While the chamber is pressurising, your ears pop, like they would in a plane, but that is the only sensation you feel. After my first session I felt energised, but that feeling isn’t so obvious after a few sessions. Now, eight sessions on, I feel like there’s more air in my lungs and my skin is looking fresher. As for the wound-healing properties, it is too early to say. I signed up for an additional five sessions, but have since developed further complications with my wound and have been taking strong antibiotics. At the very least, it’s an hour in which to relax and enjoy some me time.

O2 Life hyperbaric chambers are available at gyms, spas, and medical and wellness centres across the UAE, including Bespoke Wellness at Emirates Golf Club (www.bespoke-wellness.com) and Fidelity Fitness Club (www.fidelityfitnessclub.com) in Dubai. Packages at Fidelity Fitness Club range from Dh350 for a one-hour session to Dh6,800 for 20 sessions. Bespoke Wellness charges Dh500 for a one session and up to Dh4,250 for 10 sessions.

- Amanda Tomlinson

Simple thrills at the backyard grill

To make the most of the cooler weather, my husband and I were keen to try The Backyard Grill barbecue on the terrace at Palermo at the Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club. My husband was thrilled with the selection of meat, which included sausages, steak, chicken and salmon, while I went back for a second helping of salads. The selection of salads wasn't overwhelming, but it was fresh and tasty, and there were grilled vegetables on offer. Dessert was barbecued pineapple, which disappointed some, but, being lactose intolerant, I took great pleasure in being able to finish my dinner on a sweet note. At a time when most restaurants are trying to impress with complicated menus and flashy decor, it's refreshing to find a place that takes pleasure in a casual barbecue. The Backyard Grill barbecue, from Monday to Saturday, 7pm to 10.30pm, costs Dh99 for adults and Dh60 for children, www.poloclubdubai.com.

- Amanda Tomlinson

Taking the silk route to strength

Watching videos of flexible and confident women perform graceful dance-like moves with aerial silk inspired me to try a class myself. I attended a beginners' session at Café de la Danse in Dubai and immediately enjoyed the intimate vibe of the studio. The class was held in a small room with two silk sheets hanging from the ceiling, and the instructor eased us into the routine. We stretched to Rihanna's Work, before starting with the silks. The first step was to hoist ourselves up and extend our legs straight in front of us – that itself was hard to hold for more than two seconds. But by the end of the one-hour session, I could climb up the silk rope a little bit and hold one of the basic positions – but just for a few seconds. I was glad there were only two silks for the three of us in the class – it gave us much-needed short breaks. Our hands would quickly grow numb, and our shoulders sore. While I definitely need to work on my stamina and upper-body strength, aerial silk is a fitness class I plan on committing to for the next few months. Classes cost Dh100, or Dh360 for four sessions. Visit www.lecafedeladanse.com.

- Hafsa Lodi