Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Spice It Up: Relationships

How To Get To Know Each Other
By Josi Salem-Pickartz

Marriage in Jordan is generally based on family arrangements, individual choices or a mix of both. Just a few years ago, in a nationally representative youth survey, less than 50 per cent of young, married Jordanians indicated that they had chosen their spouses on their own. One third had chosen their partners together with their families. As for the remaining 15 per cent of individuals surveyed, the families had selected the future husbands and wives without their sons’ or daughters’ input. In all cases, young women were more likely than men to report that their families had a significant influence on their choice of partner.

Finding out who the other person is
What happens under these diverse conditions, when young men and women meet and must find out whether they are made to tie the knot for life? How can they make sure that their partnership will succeed and what are the typical causes of later failure? In practice, the challenge for future partners is making sure that they share enough solid, positive ground with each other, empowering them to manage the normal problems, challenges and crises of marital life. In fact, when the practical demands of living together set in, falling madly in love is often followed by falling out of love. Indeed, marrying an ideal partner who will always love, understand and care for you in an eternally romantic relationship is more the material of great novels and movies than of reality.

Traditional marriage arrangements
In many cases, a marriage is arranged by the spouses’ families, with the two marriage candidates agreeing to seriously consider the option. With this approach, the engagement time is often too short, not providing many opportunities for the future spouses to get to know each other well. Furthermore, there is often little space for privacy. When the young people are part of the same extended family, proponents of arranged marriages will argue that the marriage candidates know each other already, meaning that there is no need for them to spend much time together before the wedding. The living experience of traditional marriage arrangements shows, however, often the exact opposite. Much disappointment, especially regarding the disappearance of love and affection after the wedding, is expressed by young wives. At the same time, we also find many traditionally wed spouses who are both committed to making the best of their marriage agreement. They often build good, solid partnerships.

The reasons for love and attraction
Many are the motifs that make us become interested in, become attracted to and, finally, fall in love with a person of the other sex. Genetic disposition prepares us to respond to certain features of the other person with sexual attraction, but because we are human beings, this attraction is also strongly moderated by our life experiences. During our childhood years, from our relationships with parents, siblings, peers and other important persons, we learn which personal qualities and behaviours make us feel understood, cared for and loved. We learn to value the characteristics in others that keep us feeling physically good, safe and secure, loved and appreciated for who we are and what we do; we then become attracted to persons of the opposite sex who possess similar characteristics. If, however, the above needs have not been fulfilled largely by our earlier relationships, we might actually become attracted to partners who are absolutely opposite to those important persons of our childhood. Choosing the opposite is, by itself, no guarantee for a happy partnership. We might also develop our idea of the ideal partner through the books we read, the movies we watch and the media icons we admire—especially if our real life does not allow us to experience enough love, care and affection from the people around us. Because the media is idealized, however, there is a high risk that we will never find this ideal partner or that those who we believe to meet this ideal do not pass the reality test.

Contemporary dating rituals
As a result of both the cultural restrictions for dating in public and the ongoing expansion of easily accessible communication means (the Internet, mobiles and the like), many young adults who have become interested in each other get to know each other through these media. They spend many hours with each other in cyberspace, communicating by e-mail, on facebook or on the phone. These communication means are, of course, great opportunities for people to introduce themselves to each other, but it is not enough—they can only learn about each other through words and pictures. Potential partners do not experience each other fully, with all senses. Communication and learning about each other remain thus restricted; consequently, disappointment frequently sets in when virtual partners meet in reality. The outcome can be even worse if marriage proposals result from such media-based relationships.

Creating opportunities to meet
It is important that future partners have plenty of time and numerous opportunities to meet face-to-face, getting to know each other thoroughly in different life situations before they decide on marriage. If young adults meet predominantly during family gatherings, over lunch, coffee or dinner or at parties, they will only get to know a very small part of each other. We acknowledge that many contemporary Jordanian families, as well as society at large, do not offer a great diversity of activities for young people of both genders to get to know each other as complete persons. This article is an invitation to improve this situation in order to create a better foundation for lasting partnerships.

What Flavour?

We All Scream For Ice Cream!

The secret is out! There is nothing more delicious than home-made ice cream—and it is surprisingly easy to make. Whether you want to make a yummy batch of fresh strawberry ice cream for the kids or prefer a more sophisticated flavour for an adult dinner party, you will be surprised by how quick the process is and how different it tastes from store-bought varieties. You do not even need an ice cream maker for our recipes. They can all be made in a food processor or with a basic cake mixer and bowl.

Basic Vanilla Ice Cream
500 ml whipping cream *
90 g caster sugar
1-2 tsp (5ml-10ml) vanilla essence or vanilla extract to taste
Note: If you are adding other flavours, reduce the vanilla to a few drops.

1. In a food mixer or bowl, whisk cream, caster sugar and vanilla essence or extract until slightly thickened. It is important not to over-whip the cream. It should still be liquid and runny, just slightly thicker. Taste! If you prefer a sweeter ice cream, you may want to add a little more caster sugar.
2. Transfer the mixture to a shallow plastic storage container and freeze for about two hours.
3. Remove container from freezer and whisk by hand to remove any ice crystals. Do not worry if you forget to do this—the ice cream will still be delicious!
4. Put back in freezer until firm.
5. Remove 15 minutes before you want to serve.

You can customise this basic vanilla ice cream recipe with your favourite flavours. Here are some ideas to get you started—then, you can create your own secret signature sweets!
For all variations, just follow the basic ice cream recipe to the end of stage 2, remembering to reduce the amount of vanilla.

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream
350 g strawberries
50 g granulated sugar
60 ml water
1. Put the granulated sugar and water in a pan on a low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and boil over low heat for three minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
2. Place the semi-frozen ice cream, sugar syrup and strawberries in a food processor and pulse briefly until the ingredients are mixed and the strawberries are chopped. If you prefer less sweet ice cream, add the sugar syrup gradually to taste.
3. Return ice cream to the plastic container and freeze until firm.

Mint Chocolate Chip
150 g plain chocolate
5 ml peppermint essence
A few drops of green food colouring (optional)
1. Grate or chip the chocolate (or buy ready-made chocolate chips). Crumbled flake chocolate is also delicious if you are in a hurry, but the milk chocolate flavour is not as strong.
2. Mix the semi-frozen ice cream, chocolate, peppermint essence and colouring, if used, in a food processor and pulse until the ingredients are mixed through.
3. Return to plastic container and freeze until firm.

Chill and enjoy the summer!
*Recipes tested with President or Emborg whipping cream

Find more great ice cream recipes in the Family Flavours August 2010 isuue!

By Linda Decker

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cell phones: friend or foe?

The relatively new surge and dependence on mobile phones in present-day life is often seen as excessive, unnecessary and harmful. There is much talk about the health hazards of mobile phones, including an extreme reliance and obsession among youth—especially when it comes to preteens and teenagers.

The first mobile phone
Over the past 10 years, much has changed regarding the age at which children are getting their first mobile phone. When Naomi Priestley's seventh grade class at the International Community School (ICS) was asked how many had mobile phones, it was not much of a surprise that all the students, without exception, raised their hands.

Tarek Saadi, Ericsson’s Head of Market for the North Middle East sums up the current situation by saying, “The trend has changed during the last few years from more adults using mobile phones to more teens using them.” He explains that, in the past decade, mobile usage among teens has increased by 100 fold. The picture is the same globally.

Hana Maraqa, a mother of five boys aged from nine to 26 years, explains how things are changing. "I bought Nael (26) and Mohammed (24), my two eldest boys their first mobile phones after the secondary certificate exam, ‘tawjihi’." However, her third son, Ya'sani (21), asked for a mobile phone in 10th grade, but she thought it was too early, so he went and bought it himself. The same thing happened again with her fourth son, Yazan (15), who bought himself one when he was in the eighth grade. “Now, of course, my fifth son, Abdullah (9), wants a mobile phone, but he does not have one," she remarks.

Ghalia Shamayleh (18), a university student, tells us how she received her first cell phone when she was 14. Her mama bought her a mobile phone as a means of keeping in touch. Christine Chang (15), a student at the ICS, got her brother's hand-me-down phone at 13, also for her family to know her whereabouts. At the young ages of 14 and 13, not all of Ghalia and Christine's friends had mobiles; however, now, they confirm that every single one of their friends has a mobile phone.

Parent dependence

While it may or may not be true that youngsters are dependent on their mobile phones, it seems they may not be the only ones who are. Shamayleh explains that she can manage without her mobile, but it is her mother who cannot.

“My mama gets worried if she needs to get hold of me and can’t,” she explains.
Hala Jalbout, a mama of two, has a similar viewpoint when it comes to keeping tabs on her children. She explains that she and her husband thought it was a good idea to get their children Talal (14) and Jude (10) mobile phones so that they can keep in touch at all times. "I would have never thought about getting a phone for a 10-year-old, but in this day and age, kids are going out and about,” she elaborates, “so it is just a way of staying in touch."

Mobile phones and school

Schools differ on their policies regarding mobile phones. Hala Aghabi, Head of Public Relations at the Modern Montessori School, states that the school's policy towards cell phones does not allow them. "This is because the school provides phones for the students to use in case of an emergency," she states adding that "phones have no place in the educational atmosphere". So, what happens when a student is caught with a mobile phone at school? “A teacher or principal will confiscate the phone,” she says.

Jalbout also tells us that her son's mobile phone was taken away twice this year when he took it to school. "Someone heard it in his locker ringing and both times it was taken away for three weeks," she explains. She also mentions that the school will not even release the phone to parents before the three-week period ends.

The role of the Internet

With the availability of popular social networking sites such as Facebook, some children and teens turn to their computers instead of their mobile phones when they want to chat.

"I prefer chatting with my friends online. It is faster than text messaging, more convenient because I can multi-task and costs less than calling or text messaging," notes Chang, who uses her phone for a maximum of 30 minutes a day. Similarly, Shamayleh does not spend much time on her mobile phone, but prefers keeping in touch with her friends through Skype or Facebook.

Read the rest of the article on http://www.familyflavours.com

By Laila Esmail, Yasmeen Shahzadeh & Diala Quqa

As We Grow: The Perfect Choice (Breast feeding)

Breastfeeding creates a special bond between a mother and her baby that is beneficial to both. Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby, ideally suited to his nutritional needs and body development. Whether you nurse your baby for a day or for several years, the decision to do so is one you will never regret.

Why breastfeeding is necessary Breastfeeding is, in fact, one of the most intimate bonding experiences for you and your newborn.
Exclusive breastfeeding—beginning within the first hour after delivery and continuing for the next six months—provides your child with critical nutrients and boosts his immune system, protecting him against deadly diseases.
This is why the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that exclusive breastfeeding until the age of six months could prevent the death of around a million children under the age of five each year. There is also a possible connection between breastfeeding and a higher IQ (intelligence quotient)—babies breastfed for six months or more seem to have the largest advantage. Experts say that the emotional bonding that takes place during breastfeeding probably contributes to some of this increased intelligence, but that the fatty acids in breast milk may play the biggest role in a baby’s brain developments.

Understanding your breast milk

The first milk, called colostrum, comes in small amounts and is very important for your baby—it contains vitamins and materials that help to boost his immune system. The idea that mothers are too exhausted after labour and delivery to immediately feed their babies is a misconception; the surge of oxytocin, a hormone released with skin-to-skin contact to facilitate birth and breastfeeding, helps to calm a mother after the birth of her baby.

The composition of your breast milk changes during a single feeding. The milk that comes first— the foremilk—quenches your baby’s first thirst and is rich in proteins necessary for growth. As he continues to suckle, your baby gets the hind milk, which is richest in fat for energy needs and probably the most satisfying.

Because breast milk is easily absorbed and digested, breastfed babies may need to feed every one and a half to three hours at first. Your baby needing frequent feeding is not a sign that he is not getting enough; it merely reflects that breast milk is quickly digested. You may wonder, when you look at the watery milk, how it can possibly be rich enough to feed your baby; however, and despite its appearance, the milk is rich, containing all that your baby needs to thrive, with every 30 millilitres containing 20 to 22 calories. The nutrient and sodium content of breast milk are ideally matched to the amount your baby’s maturing intestines and kidneys can handle.

Getting started Hopefully, you have had a good, easy delivery, and once your baby has been cleaned up, he will be wrapped in a blanket to keep warm. You are given the baby to hold and look at—this is a wonderful moment. You hug your baby, putting his head against your heart; your heartbeat is a familiar sound for your baby. If you talk to him, he may even open his eyes and look at you. When your baby is born, he can see as far as 30 centimetres—so he can make out your features. Now for a moment in your life you will never forget—your baby, straight after delivery, will nuzzle against your breast to find your nipple and suckle....

Nursing positions...

Read the rest of the article on http://www.familyflavours.com

By Samira M Dajani

Ramadan- What you need to know!

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic “hijri” calendar and also the month of fasting. During this month, Muslims are expected to abstain from eating or drinking during the hours from dawn until sunset.
It is time to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle by managing your eating habits. If done correctly, fasting during Ramadan can also help cleanse your body from all accumulated toxins.

Is fasting healthy?

To answer this question, we have to understand what goes on inside the body while fasting. Body glucose (stored in the liver and muscles) is the body’s first source of energy. During a day of fasting, the body starts using its stored glucose; later in the day, when all body glucose is depleted, the body will turn to its stored body fat as a source of energy.

If fasting lasts longer than a day or two, the body goes into starvation mode and starts using body protein as the source of energy; this protein comes from the muscles and, as a result, the body becomes emaciated—obviously not a very healthy thing to happen.

Since Ramadan fasting lasts only from dawn until sunset, the body has a chance to replenish the depleted body stores of energy, while at the same time losing extra fat, leading to slow and healthy weight loss. Also, any toxins stored in the body’s fat are dissolved and removed from the body.
Fasting can also help control cholesterol and high blood pressure.

What are the best foods to eat?

Balanced food and fluid intake is a very important factor between fasts. To avoid muscle breakdown and dehydration, meals must contain adequate levels of high-energy foods, nutrients, salts and, of course, water. In general, the diet should be simple and fairly similar to your normal diet, containing foods from all of the major food groups.

Both quality and quantity are important factors during Ramadan. The best foods for “suhour”, the last meal eaten before sunrise, should be ones that are rich in complex carbohydrates, such as rice, wheat, oats and lentils; fibre from whole wheat, vegetables, fruits, grains and seeds; and protein from eggs, tuna, turkey and chickpeas.
These foods take longer to leave your system, supplying your body with the energy and nutrients it will need while fasting.

Things to keep in mind

1. Avoid fatty foods, high-sugar foods and fried foods.
2. Minimize your intake of foods high in refined sugars and refined flour—cakes and pastries, for example. These are high calorie, very low in vitamin and mineral content and will leave you feeling less full.
3. Do not overeat at “iftar” (the meal that breaks the fast) and “suhour”—moderate eating will prevent heartburn and indigestion.
4. Try to fit in at least a 30-minute walk three times a week.
5. Drink as much water as possible during the non-fast hours.
6. Do not underestimate the power of fruits and vegetables. They are an excellent source of fibre, vitamins and minerals (especially antioxidants) and are mostly composed of water—keeping you hydrated and healthy during the month of Ramadan.

Who should not fast?

You should avoid fasting during Ramadan—unless your doctor advises otherwise— if you have any of the following conditions:
1. Kidney problems
2. Diabetes, especially insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM)
3. Pregnant or lactating
4. Stomach or duodenal ulcer
5. Severe asthma
6. Cancer
7. Heart disease
8. Liver problems

Common problems during Ramadan

The following are common problems that those who fast face during the month of Ramadan:
* Heartburn: This is usually caused by too much stomach acid. When no food is found in the stomach, the stomach does not release acids. So technically, during fasting hours, there should be very little acid in your stomach; however, the thought or smell of food will send the brains signals to produce more acid in the stomach. If you do experience heartburn during Ramadan, the following might help:
* Try to eat small, frequent meals during the non-fast hours.
* Avoid fatty, fried foods.
* Minimize your intake of caffeine, especially on an empty stomach.
* If you smoke, try to reduce your smoking as much as possible.
* If you are on regular antacid medication, continue taking it.
* Sleep with your head slightly raised.

* Headache: You may suffer from headaches during Ramadan because of:
* Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which is caused by not eating for a long period of time.
* Dehydration as a result of not drinking enough water.
* Lack of sleep.
* Abstinence from addictive substances like caffeine and nicotine.

By following a balanced eating plan throughout the day, you can minimize the effects of your headache.
Read the rest of the article on http://www.familyflavours.com

Wishing you all a happy Ramadan: “Ramadan Kareem”!

By Maram Haddadin