The UAE is catching up with the rest of the world when it comes to podcasts and there are a growing number of offerings that will help you nurture your body and soul. Check out our list of 17 that are well worth your time.
The Livehealthy Podcast
We’re a bit partial to our own podcasts, which the team here at Livehealthy HQ launched at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Hosted by Livehealthy editor Ann Marie McQueen in English, and Modia Batterjee in Arabic, and produced by multimedia editor Issa Salem, this weekly podcast features interviews with a wide-ranging field of guests from the UAE and broader region – including, so far, a dentist, a vet, a nutritional therapist, a resilience practitioner and a hypnotherapist, as well as a yoga teacher and gym founder. All have a common goal: to help us feel better mentally and physically, no matter what’s going on in the outside world.
We are big fans of Dr Nas Al Jafari here at Livehealthy HQ, which is why he’s been a member of our expert panel since we launched in 2018. A functional medical practitioner, he’s now medical director for DNA Health & Wellness and co-host (with health and wellness cultivator Irina Sharma) of the Wellevate Life podcast. Recent guests include Feng shui specialist Vinnay Nasta, vortex healer Terrie Rolands and cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra. The Instagram account is a wealth of knowledge too: recent topics will have you thinking differently about dental floss, decaffeinated coffee and why you should drink water sitting down.
The Spencer Lodge Podcast
When Dubai-based entrepreneur, author and investor Spencer Lodge was a guest on The Livehealthy Podcast, he talked about everything from cryptocurrency to Tony Robbins to human trafficking, so you can expect that his guest list includes some very fascinating personalities, whether they are ordinary people with extraordinary stories or some of the world’s most recognizable names. New episodes every Monday.
The Illuminations Podcast
Soniyaa Kiran Punjabi was ahead of the curve when she founded the first Illuminations Wellbeing Center in Dubai in 2011 (which has since added to the JLT location and opened in Abu Dhabi) so expect lots of cutting-edge conversation on the center’s podcast, too. That goes for the truth about manifestation, the relationship between gut and mental health and understanding karmic relationships, all topics covered in recent episodes.
Nabta Health is the Middle East’s hybrid healthcare platform dedicated to elective, preventative women’s healthcare (they just announced raising US$1.5 million in funding, as well). And now they’ve launched a podcast, Empowered Women, hosted by CEO founder, Sophie Smith and COO Dr Panna Morgan. Expect episodes looking into women’s healthcare in emerging markets, and interviews with a diverse group of regional and international experts. The two women are moms to five children under five years old, and openly discuss everything from periods to perimenopause.
Why This Now?
Forbes Middle East 30 under 30 2020 nominee, Aakanksha Tangri, a guest on The Livehealthy Podcast, has now launched on of her own. The founder of Re:Set, a platform that is safe, inclusive and has reached more than four million people since launching in 2019, will focus on mental health, gender, politics and pop culture on Why This Now? Expect topics less spoken about, questions rarely asked, and multilayered perspectives on issues.
That Grief Relief
In Katie Overy’s That Grief Relief podcast, people do not shy away from injecting lightheartedness into the conversation – even as they talk about the darkest period of their lives. The project was born out of Katie’s own losses. In 2010, her mother died suddenly after suffering a heart attack. In 2012, her father passed away from cancer. Three of her friends have died in the last 18 months, two of them by suicide. “We’re not joking about grief, we’re not making light of it but we can discuss it in a way that is lighthearted at times.”
Maryanne Peacock, Ellis Harwood and Jess Savage are three first-time expat moms who aim to have an honest, educational discussion about parenting. Each week they tackle sleep approaches, the process of weaning, mental health, interviews with experts, moms, influencers and more.
B for Better Health
Baraa El Sabbagh is a dietitian, sports nutritionist, personal trainer and cookbook author and in addition to writing for livehealthy.ae, she’s also a prolific podcaster. Launching B for Better Health in November 2018, she’s tackled everything from overcoming gym anxiety to binge eating to exercising during Ramadan to building a morning routine. She’s even had her husband Ali on to talk about how to manage eating with your partner.
Another welcome entry into the Arabic category, this Anghami original ocuses on stories of Saudi and Arab Women in business, tech, startups, and entrepreneurship. The podcast is hosted by Emon Shakoor founder and CEO of Saudi Arabia’s first tech-inclusion and female focused accelerator Blossom Accelerator.
The Kelly Lundberg Podcast
The Dubai-based entrepreneur Kelly Lundberg’s The Kelly Lundberg Podcast shot to the top 15 podcasts in the UAE for Entrepreneurship when it launched earlier this year. Although there have only been eight episodes, guests so far include international love and relationship coach Dr Lurve, founder and CEO of TishTash Marketing and Public Relations, Natasha Hatherall-Shawe, and CEO of L’Couture Lyndsey Doran.
Friends and former colleagues Lana Makhzoumi, who is Lebanese-Syrian-American and born in Dallas, Texas, and Maram El Hendy, who is Palestinian-Algerian and grew up in Abu Dhabi, come from completely different backgrounds. But they have chemistry, which partly explains why the two Dubai-based friends shot to the top of the podcast charts when they launched DXBabies in 2019. The pair regularly get real talking about breakups, social media addiction, work troubles and more on their weekly episodes, which they admit can be like therapy as much for them as for their listeners. Kindness and positivity are guiding lights, both as individuals and as a podcasting team. “We want content that is actually going to help people and make them feel they’re not alone,” says El Hendy. “None of us is perfect, we’re all trying to learn here.”
The Dukkan Show
This weekly podcast is all about being a “Neo-bedouin,” a third-culture kid or simply the kind of person who feels as though they can fit in everywhere and nowhere, all at the same time. With slick production values and a generous conversational style between hosts Omar Tom (OT), Reem Hameed and Mohamad Akkaoui, The Dukkan Show opens a window into how much pressure there is on 20- and 30-somethings to accomplish something big and do it fast.
The Innerfight Podcast
Marcus Smith, who retired from playing professional rugby in 2010, went on to become a high-performance coach, launch the performance company/gym Innerfight and the food delivery service Smith St Paleo. He’s still a fierce competitor and ran 30 marathons – one a day – during the 2018 Dubai Fitness Challenge. As one might expect from someone who knows how to hustle like Smith, his podcast is not only long-running but consistent with new weekly episodes. And if you are more into running, then check out The Runstrong Podcast, from Innerfight endurance coaches Tom Walker and Rob Jones.
This semi-regular offering comes from Tatiana Antonelli Abella, founder and managing director of the social enterprise Goumbook. In each episode Forward Talks features an interview with a change-maker in the UAE’s sustainability field. Neutral fuel, food waste and sustainable landscaping have also been covered.
Mama Earth Talk
This podcast was launched by the South African artist and environmentalist Mariska Nell, whose exhibition at 2019’s Dubai Design Week included a lamp she made from 913 used Nespresso pods. She also teamed up with Marita Peters, executive director of the non-profit water organization, Surge for Water, for the 30-day Waste Me Not campaign. Peters has featured in the lineup of interesting guests on Mama Earth Talk, which has fresh episodes each week that includes eco-warriors, business owners and other local experts in the field.
This podcast company is the first in the Middle East to get venture capital funding and has gone on to launch multiple Arabic and English shows. We still love the mind-expanding, sometimes heartbreaking, original podcast Kerning Cultures – occasionally broadcast in Arabic – that offers something rare in this region: long-form narrative over interviews. The result is more like a short radio documentary, and always time well spent.
All podcasts available on Apple podcasts and various other podcast providers. Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments, on our social media or by emailing [email protected]
Ann Marie McQueen
Ann Marie McQueen is the founding editor-in-chief of Livehealthy and host of The Livehealthy Podcast. She is a veteran Canadian digital journalist who has worked in North America and the Middle East. Her past roles include features editor for The National, trends writer and columnist for the Canadian newspaper chain Sun Media, and correspondent for CBC Radio.