We are celebrating our third anniversary at Livehealthy, and that involves looking forward as well as back. We’ve published more than 1,000 articles since launching in 2018, diving into every aspect of wellbeing. Whether it’s food or yoga or a new gym or how to live a sustainable, more environmentally-conscious life, we want to know more because you want to know more. Our most popular stories tell us a lot about what you find interesting; what you need to know about. Turns out, it can be summed up like this: yoga, how Covid has changed us, cycling at Al Qudra, Paleo, coffee, Beyond Meat, kombucha, Al Hudayriat Island and Dubai-based grey model Caroline Labouchere. Read on for how they resonated.
1) Yoga controversy
Gymnastics, contortion and social media are changing yoga – and not in a good way – This story by yoga teacher and journalist Mel Swan took a hard look at how social media has blurred the lines between a venerable ancient art and a series of contortions and gym moves with over-emphasis on the body beautiful. It was the first Livehealthy story to go viral, and it was so popular it crashed our system! The yoga community in the UAE is clearly very engaged, with strong opinions that they are not afraid to share. The comments thread went on and on. Some agreed wholeheartedly with the article, others disagreed equally vehemently, but it certainly touched a nerve and got a heated debate going.
“I was told that the tongue is connected to the heart and it reminded me that sometimes we have to speak these truths,” wrote Sanela Hasanovic. “Thank you for sticking up for yoga!”
“The only problem with this article is that it wasn’t written 10 or even 20 years ago when the trend to make yoga popular, cute and appealing to our senses was just beginning,” said Keri Magis. “There is no yoga anymore, only yoga-based exercise.”
2) Covid is changing us
Experts: Covid-19 is changing us, in good ways – How has the pandemic has made us think more about how we treat our bodies, minds and our fellow human beings? This thoughtful article by writer Devinder Bains went beyond masks and PCRs to talk about what also matters: how the pandemic has made us more vulnerable, how it has helped us realize that we need to look out for one another; how it strengthened family connections, forced us to slow down and also to respect the service workers so many had taken for granted. As @iatetheplate observed via Instagram: “We need to be positive now.”
3) Cycling at Al Qudra
How to hit the Al Qudra cycle track in Dubai – This guide to getting the best out of a great cycle track has proved enormously popular – clear evidence that cycling, whether competitively, for exercise or purely for the joy of getting outdoors, is winning many fans throughout the UAE. Writer Danae Mercer’s advice holds up too: everything from how to rent bikes, where to eat and when to go. Take it from new cyclist and formerly Dubai-based trainer Kayleigh Dawson: “I love Al Qudra because you’re out in the middle of nature and have these crazy early morning sunrises. It was also great getting over my fear of cycling.”
4) Keto and Paleo
12 keto and paleo-friendly UAE restaurants – With keto searches surging in general since Livehealthy’s launch, readers have been eager to click on our guide to the best food for the ketogenically-inclined as well as paleo. Still not sure what they are? Writer Danae Mercer spells it out: “The ketogenic diet recommends heaps of fats, moderate protein and low carbs, while the paleo diet advocates eating like our ancestors did, meaning a mix of fats and proteins and very few carbs.” The list included The Roost Rotisserie and Lowe in Dubai and Ketology and Basiligo in Abu Dhabi. Not everyone embraces the latest trends, with one commentator on Instagram urging everyone to just focus on getting back to basics: “Choose whole foods, choose clean and choose what Mother Nature has given. Diets aren’t as sustainable.”
5) Abu Dhabi coffee
The best coffee shops in Abu Dhabi to work in – There are more coffee shops in the capital than ever before: some massive spaces where the staff don’t mind if you hang out all day, others best for a drive-by. Whether it’s art, a plethora of wall plugs, great food or the coffee you are looking for, communications and partnerships specialist Alexa Mena breaks it down, writing: “You won’t find any franchises here, only independent cafes that you’ll want to go back to again and again.”
6) Beyond Meat
Where to find Beyond Meat in the UAE — Given up meat but miss the taste of meat? Here’s where to find a top substitute. At the time of publication, Beyond Meat was new to the UAE and there were vast numbers of vegans and people interested in different ways of eating and who needed to know where to find them.
How to make and buy kombucha in the UAE – There was a time when kombucha was a prohibited item in the UAE, with fans of the drink secretively sharing their SCOBYs and health officials treating the fermented cold tea as haram. Concerns about any possible alcoholic content in this fermented fungi concoction had clearly been overcome and permission granted to import, make and sell it.
8) Al Hudayriat Island
7 things to do on Abu Dhabi’s Al Hudayriat Island – This was an early guide to enjoying Abu Dhabi’s newest playground. Brand new and unexplored, when it launched in 2019 Al Hudayriat Island offered a first for the city: a five and 10-kilometer bicycle loop. The space keeps expanding, too: OCR Park, Marsana and Bab al Nojoum are all worth checking out.
9) Dog-friendly UAE
All the places you can take your dog in the UAE – The UAE is not the easiest place in the world to have a dog and information on where our canine friends are welcome is not only thin on the ground but constantly changing as attitudes evolve. We keep updating this story, including new doggie-friendly spots like Abu Dhabi’s Seva Wellness and Breathe Yoga at Pets Corner (where, yes, you both can do Doga) and Just Vegan Jumeirah in Dubai. Readers have clearly been grateful for – and even inspired by – the information. Arsalan Al Hashimi took to Instagram to write: “Love this, now I need to adopt.”
10) ‘I run slow’
Caroline Labouchere: When it comes to running, Dubai grey model likes to go it slow – Fit doesn’t have to mean fast. When Livehealthy told Caroline’s story, she was a newcomer to the world of modeling – and, as a woman of a certain age, a most unusual one at that. She is now well-established on the modeling scene, both here and abroad, and a grey influencer to boot. “I can’t understand why I would want to run fast,” she says. “It’s nice running slow. You get smells. I say hello to everybody that I come past. It’s also no pressure. You chat.” Here at Livehealthy, we really appreciated this comment from reader Rory Winsley, who wrote: “It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same out-of-date rehashed material. Wonderful read.”
Bonus: Our most popular story on the Arabic site? Translated into English, it’s We all need magnesium but what kind? This speaks to the 80 percent of us (or more) who are magnesium deficient, and also to how confusing it is once you get in that supplement aisle.
Did we miss anything? Any additions to our list? Email us.