Hello, everyone. This is Sophie from Sprinkle with Soil and I’m excited to share my journey with you today.
In 1975, my parents were refugees from Vietnam who had to start from scratch in a new country. We didn’t have a lot of money, and my siblings and I learned the value of hard work at a young age. I knew then that I wanted to make a difference in the world and break glass ceilings, so I pursued a career in tech.
Growing up in an Asian-American immigrant family, I never had the privilege to travel internationally. However, my husband, who served in the military, talked to me about his tour of duty in Iraq and the rich culture he experienced there. This always piqued my interest to one day explore the Middle East and learn about their nourishing foods and authentic cultures. I didn’t grow up with privilege, but I did grow up with a strong desire to learn and grow.
As a business growth consultant, I’m always looking for ways to help my clients achieve their goals, whether that’s by increasing their revenue, improving their marketing strategies, or expanding their reach. But I also recognize that true success comes from living a healthy and fulfilling life, and that nutrition plays a critical role in achieving that goal. By incorporating the principles of Weston A. Price into my work, I’m able to help my clients achieve their business goals while also promoting healthy living and nutrition.
The work of Weston A Price is incredibly important, especially in today’s world where many people are struggling with chronic health problems related to poor nutrition. Dr. Weston A. Price’s research showed that traditional, whole-food diets that were rich in nutrients were key to maintaining optimal health and preventing chronic disease. He found that people who ate diets based on whole, unprocessed foods had less health problems than those who consumed diets based on processed foods.
Now as a business growth consultant for startups, I had the unique opportunity to travel to Dubai for the first time to help launch a startup I have been advising for nearly a year. It was an incredible experience to see firsthand the bustling business scene and entrepreneurial spirit in Dubai Internet City. Dubai Internet City (DIC) is a hub for technology companies and start-ups in the Middle East. With over 1,600 companies and more than 25,000 knowledge workers, DIC is the largest Information and Communication Technology hub in the region. As I walked through the campus of DIC, I couldn’t help but draw parallels to Silicon Valley, the technology hub of the United States, and where I was born, raised, and built my tech career these last 15 years. While the cultural differences between Dubai and Silicon Valley are vast, there is a sense of similarity in the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship that is present in both places. Whether you’re in California or the UAE, the drive to innovate, create, and change the world through technology is something that transcends borders and cultures.
My homesteading journey has taught me the importance of breaking cultural barriers and learning from different cultures. Thsi is where Dr. Weston A. Price’s work comes into play. He traveled to indigenous cultures worldwide to learn about their nourishing foods and bring that knowledge back to the West. Similarly, I want to explore the Middle East and learn about their nourishing foods and authentic cultures. It’s about expanding our horizons and learning from others to enhance our own way of living.
It is amazing to see how technology has allowed us to bridge cultures and share food from all around the world. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to fly across the world and discover these amazing ingredients and dishes that are now a part of my own recipe collection.
Shops in Dubai
But as someone who is also passionate about homesteading and nourishing foods, I knew I couldn’t just focus on work while I was there. I wanted to explore the local culture and see what kind of nourishing foods and natural resources I could find.
Dubai is known for its luxurious shopping malls, but I’m interested in the shops that offer nourishing foods and homesteading supplies. One of the shops that caught my attention is the Spice Souk. Here, you can find a vast selection of spices, including turmeric, cumin, and saffron, which are essential in traditional Middle Eastern cuisine. You can also find rare items like Yemeni honey and camel ghee, which are worth more than gold and have numerous health benefits.
That’s when I discovered some truly amazing ingredients, like saffron from Iran, dates from Saudi Arabia, za’atar from Palestine, and raw sidr honey and garlic from Yemen. These ingredients are not only delicious, but they’re also incredibly nourishing for the body.
I also learned about smen, a Moroccan fermented butter, ras el hanout, a unique spice blend from Morocco or the 7 spice mix that is absolutely essential for making authentic Middle Eastern cuisine.
As a homesteader and cookbook author who values nutritious and authentic foods, I was interested in seeking out camel milk in the Middle East because it has been a traditional staple in the region for centuries and is known for its unique flavor and nutritional benefits. I also wanted to learn more about the cultural significance of camel milk and its use in traditional Middle Eastern cuisine. Additionally, as someone who has a passion for exploring new foods and ingredients, I was excited to try something that is not readily available in the United States.
Camel milk is known for its high nutritional value and unique composition. It is lower in fat and lactose than cow’s milk, making it easier to digest for those who are lactose intolerant. Additionally, camel milk contains high levels of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, iron, and calcium.
While in Dubai, I also had the opportunity to dine with friends at Indya, a restaurant led by Michelin-starred Chef Vineet Bhatia. The food was absolutely delicious, and it was exciting to see Indian cuisine with a modern twist. It’s amazing to see the convergence of different cultures in a place like Dubai, where you can find influences from all over the world in one spot.
Along with exploring the culture and cuisine of Dubai, I also had the opportunity to do some fun touristy activities during my trip. One of the highlights for me was riding a camel in the desert. It was such a unique and memorable experience to be able to ride one of these majestic animals and see the desert landscape from a different perspective
I also went sandboarding, which is a bit like snowboarding, but on sand dunes instead of snow. It was thrilling to slide down the dunes and feel the rush of adrenaline.
The Global Village is an annual event held in Dubai, where cultures from around the world come together to showcase their traditional food, music, dance, and crafts. The event takes place during the winter months and is a unique opportunity to experience different cultures in one place.
I was particularly excited to explore the food section of the Global Village. There were dozens of stalls offering traditional dishes from countries all over the world, from Moroccan tagines to Indian chaat to Turkish kebabs. I was impressed by the variety and authenticity of the food, and it was fascinating to see the different spices and cooking techniques used in each culture.
The Global Village is not just about food, however. There were also performances from traditional musicians and dancers, as well as vendors selling traditional handicrafts and souvenirs. It was a great opportunity to learn more about different cultures and to see the diversity that exists in the world.
Dubai has so much to offer, from the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, the world’s largest mall, to the iconic Palm Jumeirah Island. It’s a city that’s constantly evolving and pushing boundaries, which is why it’s such an exciting place to visit.
And while some may see the Middle East as a place of conflict and tension, I saw a beautiful and vibrant culture that is filled with natural resources and amazing food. It’s important to look past political differences and appreciate the beauty that each culture has to offer.
And as a cookbook author, I’m always exploring new and innovative ways to incorporate whole, nourishing foods into everyday meals. By drawing on the culinary traditions of different cultures and incorporating the principles of Weston A Price into my recipes, I’m able to offer my readers delicious and nutritious meal ideas that promote optimal health and well-being.
As an Asian-American woman who didn’t grow up with many privileges, traveling to Dubai for work and exploring the local food culture was an opportunity to break down cultural barriers and connect with people and traditions that I might not have otherwise encountered. And it’s a reminder that no matter where you come from, there’s always something new to learn and discover.
There are so many amazing and nourishing foods that we can discover by exploring different cultures. It’s about crossing barriers and embracing the beauty and diversity of the world. And with technology, we can make the world a smaller place and connect with people and food in ways that were never possible before.
Thank you for following me on my trip to Dubai. It was an incredible experience that allowed me to explore a new culture and try new foods, while also giving me the opportunity to help launch a startup and connect with other business professionals.
Food is a universal language, and through my passion for nourishing and healthy cuisine, I’m able to connect with people from all walks of life. Ultimately, my goal is to help businesses not only grow, but also thrive by promoting healthy living and cultural exchange through the lens of food.
If you’re interested in learning more about modern homesteading and nourishing foods, be sure to hit the subscribe button and stay tuned for more. And if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comment section below! I read every one of them! 🙂