Category Archives: Health

Sunday Morning Escape

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Bike1

You might have visited every city in the country, but if you have not experienced Lebanon by bike then you have definitely been missing out. Three years ago, my friends got me a bike, they were certain that it was going to end up in the garage with layers of dust covering it. To everyone’s surprise, from that day, I have been biking every single weekend.

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Sunday for me, has drastically changed from a lazy day (±200 calories) to the most active day of the week (+2000 calories). On an average, we cover around 60-70 Km per ride, taking anywhere between 3-5 hours, depending on the number of stops we do. Our rides are not competitive, we are not in it to win a championship, but rather escape, be active, enjoy the outdoors and Live Love Lebanon.

When is the best time to go biking?
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My journey starts every Sunday at 6am. I wake up, grab a light breakfast (usually a small sandwich), pack my bike and gear and head out for my ritual ride. The ride usually starts at 8am and ends by 1pm, just in time for Sunday lunch. Before you start, find yourself a biking partner, it’s always more fun and a lot safer when you have someone with you. Every week we set out to discover a new location in the country.

What’s beautiful about bike rides, is that you get to see the places you usually miss out on by car. You can go into the narrow streets, stop and admire anything you find interesting along the way, enjoy the scenery, discover new places and take lots of amazing pictures.

What type of biker are you?

There are plenty of locations to enjoy different types of rides. City rides, sea side rides, mountain rides, uphill rides, and my personal favorites are the offroad rides.

Beginner:
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If you are a beginner, haven’t been on a bike for a long time or panic around cars, I would advise you to stick to relatively closed circuits, where cars aren’t swarming around you, like the Dbayeh Marina, Raouche, Beirut Waterfront or Amchit seaside boulevards.

Average:
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If you are an ok biker like most people, then you can venture a bit and hit the streets, the best place to ride is the on the old sea side road Jbeil – Amchit – Batroun – Anfeh. It’s relatively a straight path with few slopes, not many cars use that road on a Sunday morning, the scenery is breathtaking, and there are many places where you can stop and relax along the way. You can stop at the beach and have a swim, fuel up with a lemonade in the old Batroun souks or even get a glass of beer and chill at Colonel Beer.

Advanced:
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If you are an advanced biker, you can burn few more more calories by riding uphill in the Metn area, starting in Baabdat and moving up to Ain El Sefsaf or even shoot for longer rides in the Bekaa valey from Taanayel to Qaraoun.

Thrill Seeker:

Thrill seekers can go into remote rocky areas in Wata El Joz, Keserwan and enjoy an offroad experience. Of course you need a mountain bike and some extra protection gear to endure the ride.

How much does it cost?
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If you don’t have a bike, you can always purchase one, you don’t need an expensive bike. You can get a mountain bike that works both for city rides and offroad for $500-700. If you don’t want to invest in a bike just yet, there are plenty of bike rentals in Beirut, Gemmayze, Jbeil, Amchit and Batroun. You can rent a bike for as low as 7,000 L.L.

All in All:
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In Lebanon, we have the perfect landscape and weather for outdoor activities. Unfortunately, our roads are in terrible conditions, there are no bike lanes and car drivers have no respect for bikers on the streets. This is the main reason why I bike very early on Sundays, to minimize as much as possible the risks of getting hit by a car and avoid heavy traffic.

With the upcoming municipal elections, electoral programs should focus more on making the cities open and fit for healthier outdoor life, encourage people to go out, be active and use less and less their cars. Of course we can always dream of having a bicycle highway, like the one Germany just opened. It’s a 62 miles bicycle road that connects 10 western cities including Duisburg, Bochum, and Hamm, as well as four universities.

Sukleen Still Defending Naameh Landfill

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naameh

I honestly have no idea who advised Sukleen and Sukomi to organize a press conference to defend the Naameh landfill and then sponsor the story on Facebook. It’s like asking for bad publicity and hate comments and I’m sure the person handling their social media is going through hell right now.

The real problem has always been with our government not just Sukleen so I’m not sure why they are dragging themselves into that. Nevertheless, if they insist on proving that the Naameh landfill is perfectly fine, let them present scientific proof and documents to back their claim.

More importantly, let them sit with the Naameh residents and explain to those in the video below who’s to blame for the situation they are in.

مطمر الموت الصحي

ما لا تريدك سلطة الفساد أن تعرف عن ما يسمى من قبلهم بالطمر "الصحي".. شاهدوا للنهاية..#طلعت_ريحتكم وقتلتونا

Posted by ‎طلعت ريحتكم‎ on Friday, April 8, 2016

The Ultimate Guide to Dealing With Garbage in Lebanon

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If you’re having trouble dealing with the garbage situation in Lebanon, follow the below guidelines:

1- Keep a picture of our current Environment Minister with you at all time. It’s a very efficient blocking tool.
2- Make use of all these mosquitoes to create new local dishes. Mosquito Hrisse can be our new local secret on Snapchat. Chou we2fit 3al Fattet Shrimps?
3- If you can’t stand the smell and have to take out your garbage, throw if off the balcony.
4- If you risk getting caught, build a small catapult, install it on the roof and throw your garbage to your neighbor’s roof.
5- Urinate to mark your “garbage” territory so that no one else throws trash in your spot.
6- Keep a picture of a fried rat and show it to any rat you spot on the street. That way, he will get scared and stay away from you. (Make sure to look him in the eye).
7- Snapping at a party by rotating your camera stupidly and making your followers dizzy can be made much easier with mosquitoes around.
8- Buy a net mask and wear it at all time to avoid swallowing mosquitoes. If you can’t afford masks, try to negotiate with the mosquitoes and ask them kindly not to enter your mouth, or bribe them with a couple of blood drops.
9- There’s no need to feel guilty if you fart during a date or in public, just blame it on the garbage piles and fart at will.
10- The new waves of mosquitoes arriving are harmless and are part of the celebrations prepared by the government to mark the 100th anniversary of the invasion of locusts (jarad) during WWI. If you spot suited up mosquitoes, don’t be afraid.

If all else fails, follow the genius solution proposed by one of Mr.Lebanon’s candidates.

What The Naameh Residents Are Going Through Because Of The Landfill

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mka

The garbage crisis is first and foremost a health crisis and Naameh residents are the most affected by this crisis. Residents neighboring the landfill should have been given a financial indemnity as promised and moved outside the area long time ago.

No one should be allowed to live near this poisonous and toxic landfill. The air is contaminated with various toxic substances, the water is contaminated by the landfill, the flies roaming around the garbage and over your food can get you food poisoned or severely sick, and there’s an increasing rate of cancer among the residents as they are left exposed to untreated chemicals.

The Naameh landfill should have never reopened and residents have every right to block the road. The cost to maintain the Naameh landfill is one of the highest in the world and the garbage is not even being treated properly. Moreover, “The combination of organic and dangerous trash in the landfill has created toxic liquid known as leachate, which is much more polluting than sewage water” according to Lebanon Eco Movement President Paul Abi Rached.

All those living near the landfill should relocate the soonest and all medical and relocation expenses should be paid by the government. This should be the Health Ministry’s top priority.

مطمر الموت الصحي

ما لا تريدك سلطة الفساد أن تعرف عن ما يسمى من قبلهم بالطمر "الصحي".. شاهدوا للنهاية..#طلعت_ريحتكم وقتلتونا

Posted by ‎طلعت ريحتكم‎ on Friday, April 8, 2016

To Control Mosquitoes, We Must Dispose of Trash Correctly

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mos

The Environment Minister tweeted today that “the rise in the number of mosquitoes is the result of higher seasonal temperatures and a environment embracing bugs”. While we all are aware of that fact, someone should also remind the Minister that we need to keep our cities clean and get rid of any standing water or uncovered trash to control flies and mosquitoes.

Uncovered trash is all a mosquito needs to start a family, so imagine what hundreds of tons of uncovered piles of trash over a 9 month period can do.

I think we need to start a petition the soonest to introduce the “In-Denial” ministry.

#AddictNotCriminal: Lebanese Hospitals To Refrain From Reporting Drug Addicts To The Police

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drug

The above statement was shared by Embrace Fund and translates to the following:

The Ministry of Public Health officially urges all Lebanese hospitals to refrain from their usual practice of reporting drug addicts to the police upon their arrival to the Emergency Department.

This practice discourages many young individuals from seeking treatment and in many cases leads to tragic consequences.

As stated in the memo below, the law mandates treating individuals suffering from drug addiction as any patient who has the right to quality care and respect of his/her privacy, without any stigma or discrimination. The law is also designed to encourage addicts to seek treatment and rehabilitation, rather than be criminalized or punished.

This means that in the event of overdose, the hospitals will no longer need to report the cases to the police and will treat the individual as a patient not as a criminal. This is great news and a huge step forward as these individuals should get help and not be interrogated the second day.

Just to give you an idea on the systematic arrests of drug addicts in Lebanon (preventive detention) and the flagrant violations of basic human rights, I recommend you read this article published last year on Legal Agenda.

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Here’s a small excerpt:

One of the major and critical obstacles is the phenomenon of systematically arresting addicts during preliminary investigations. A 2010 study of legal prosecutions conducted by NGO Skoun (Lebanese Addictions Center), showed that in 90% of cases the Public Prosecution Office arrested the addicts during the preliminary investigation.[5] The average period of administrative detention (which takes place before the case is referred to the competent public prosecution’s office) lasted 6½ days, which exceeds the maximum period of 96 hours allowed by law. In a more recent case (2013), a suspected drug user was detained for 20 days in the Antelias police station, a flagrant violation of Article 47 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The delay occurred on the pretext of administrative congestion within the Central Anti-Drug Bureau (which has investigative jurisdiction), and in the Baabda Palace of Justice (home of the Public Prosecution Office with jurisdiction to settle the case). The Central Anti-Drug Bureau merely sent an investigator to the Antelias police station to conduct the necessary interrogations with the detained suspect, but this did not result in his release. In fact, the suspect was only released after a long toil in which one request after another were presented to the Investigating Judge in Baabda.

Yet Another Environmental Disaster: Jiyeh Sea Filled With Garbage

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trash1

The old Lebanese proverb “أعمل منيح وكب بالبحر” should be changed into “يا بهيم حاجي تكب بالبحر”. As if Israel’s deliberate bombardment of fuel tanks in Jiyeh back in 2006 wasn’t enough to pollute the waters, some assholes (Lebanese) have been dumping recently large piles of garbage into the Jiyeh sea.

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The discovery was made by a woman (Dr. Halima Kaakour) who usually swims there every morning and the underwater pictures and videos being shared are horrific.

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Civil Defense volunteers worked on cleaning the waters for hours last Friday but it will take them days if not weeks to take out all the dumped trash.

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Jiyeh’s coast is one of the most beautiful in Lebanon and some of Lebanon’s most popular beach resorts are found there.

The Proper Way To Detox

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lemall Detox Juice Stand At Le Mall Sin el Fil

Even though detox or “cleansing” diets are becoming more and more popular in Lebanon, I was never really tempted to try one. I’ve read a lot of articles on detox diets and the sure thing is you cannot detox your system just like that because that’s not how things work and mainly because your body is already getting rid of toxins no matter what you eat or do. There’s no secret recipe or detox wonders that will do a better job than your own body, and that’s why you should approach this whole detox thing differently in my opinion.

I was at LeMall Dbayyeh last week when I spotted a detox stand offering super fruits, or in other terms healthier and more nourishing cold-pressed juices with no additives, for customers to taste. The stand is a collaboration between LeMall and Succo Beirut, which is a place that I recommend for healthy snacks and fresh juices. Their carrot-walnut bread cake is really good and I love their granola bowls. They also have delicious energy balls that come filled with dates and almonds.

Of course it’s always good to see malls in Lebanon promote a healthy lifestyle but awareness is very important when it comes to detox diets and I’m glad there was a detox specialist at the juice stand to explain detox to customers and answer their questions because there’s a lot of ambiguity and confusion around this issue. I asked her myself few questions and her approach, which I agree with, was to promote a healthy eating rather than introduce detox diets to lose weight quickly.

Detoxing shouldn’t be about cleaning your body or losing weight quickly because you could be harming yourself in the process and you’ll likely just gain those kilos back really quick. Personally speaking, the only type of detox diet that is worth trying is one that follows a strict clean-eating approach, whereas you avoid processed and sugary foods and replace them with healthy options. Also, if you consume alcohol or desserts heavily, you could detox from these two only for a while and shops like Succo Beirut or Fresh Healthy Cafe (I love that place!) could help out by offering fresh juices and healthy snacks.

All in all, there are tons of articles out arguing about the benefits of detox and whether it works or not. I believe it all goes back to what every person wants but I highly recommend that you talk to a specialized person before trying any of these diets. The stand will be at Sin el Fil this week till Sunday so go check it out and ask questions if you have any.

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Would you try a wheatgrass juice?

He’s Gay? Why? What’s Wrong With Him?

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gay2

What happens when a Lebanese guy decides to come out? This animated video by the Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health explains a young man’s struggle and how the majority of Lebanese still perceive homosexuality as mental illness, even though the Lebanese Psychological Association and the Lebanese Psychiatric Society both declared in 2013 that homosexuality is not a disease and does not require a treatment.

Watch and spread the word because homosexuality is not an illness nor a trend.

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Seriously? Two Syrians ARRESTED For Having Aids

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aids

Update: The two Syrians who were arrested were accused of criminal transmission of HIV. Whoever posted this news in the first place should have got the whole story correct because the title was disgraceful and misleading. Read the clarification [here]. Thanks Patty!

Why would you arrest someone for having AIDS? Since when is it a crime to have AIDS? If anything, they should be sent to a hospital to be diagnosed and treated. The article is saying the arrest was done based on a “Lil Nasher” episode on Al Jadeed but no further details were given.

If these guys are involved in criminal activities or criminal transmission of HIV, then I could understand the arrest. Otherwise, this title is pure ignorance.