The purpose of my blog has been to share my journey as a parent, and to celebrate motherhood! Not just me, but mommies all around me as well! And with that in mind, I am starting a new section called MOMTASTIC ?! I will be interviewing inspirational mommas who are wearing multiple hats, and managing it all with panache!
For August, we have a health food aficionado Afshan Sayed, who sells her own delicious home made nut butters and spreads. She is a mom to 4 littles – nine year old Zahra, Zayd who is 7 years old, Ibraheem at 4years old, and wee baby Inaya who is 7months old. When she and her husband started opting for a healthier lifestyle, and healthier food habits, she started experimenting to find foods that her family enjoys, and that was the beginning of Aff’s Healthy Kitchen. The rest, as they say, is history. Read on to find out more.
Explain yourself in about 10 words.
A simple girl wearing several hats from wife to mother to friend to ambitious entrepreneur.
Tell us about Aff’s healthy kitchen
I make and sell home made, pure nut butters and healthy spreads. No sugar added – preservative free; I like to say that it is basically nonsense free! I have a limited menu that attracts clients from working women to concerned mothers to health conscious individuals. My most popular nut butters include the activated almond butter, rich and creamy macadamia butter and the hazelnut cacao spread which is a go-to gourmet fix for people’s Nutella craving. I also make golden paste [from fresh turmeric and a few magic ingredients] and my latest healthy offering is pure healthy ghee.
Tell us about your journey so far.
My husband and I had slowly started becoming conscious about the kind of food we were consuming as a family. Obviously, one becomes very serious about food choices after having children as you want nothing but the best for them. I then started researching ways of getting healthy but delicious food that is accepted by children and adults. And stumbled upon almond butter. It was love at first taste!! I had a few friends over who tasted and demanded that I make for them as well.
Slowly, my nut butters started getting popular through word-of-mouth and people started offering to buy some nut butter. I realized there was potential – the nut butters available in the market are expensive and have other added ingredients, and i had not seen activated nut butter yet. I am still in the growing phase but repeat orders and growth of my client base is very encouraging.
What makes your products unique?
I absolutely do not add anything additional to the nut butters I make. So you can indulge guilt free. My ingredients are nuts and nothing else. I also recommend delicious ways of incorporating nut butters to your daily meal plan. My business is all about supporting and promoting healthy eating. Simple changes to what we eat will result in noticeable health benefits.
I make activated nut butters. Nuts can sometimes make you feel heavy and bloated and may give you an upset stomach. But with activated nuts, you get all the benefits and nothing else. Let me explain – nuts [and seeds] contain phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. Phytic acid binds to minerals (such as Zinc, Iron, Magnesium, Calcium, Chromium, and Manganese) in the digestive tract, making them bio-unavailable. That means, when we consume foods with Phytic acid, our ability to absorb the minerals is impaired.
This may lead to mineral deficiencies and bone loss. In order to remove the Phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors, the nuts are first soaked anywhere from 4-12 hours, depending on the nut.
Then it is dried for another 15 hours in a warm oven or dehydrator to maintain the rawness but remove the moisture. After this, the nuts are considered to be activated and they can be absorbed and digested better by the body and can benefit us to their full potential
How do you juggle motherhood and your work?
Ofcourse, it is not easy, but time management and prioritizing is key. I make a lot of notes and to-do lists. My priority is my family and home. I have to literally steal time out to make the nut butters. Luckily my clients understand that I do not stock items and can only make to order, and are okay with waiting for it to be made.
What is the best part about your work and what were the challenges involved?
The best part is the appreciation I get from my family; the pride I see in my children’s eyes, and the positive feedback and satisfaction I get from my clients. I would say it is challenging since it is not a factory set up. There is a lot of work that goes into making the nut butters and I sometimes feel I don’t charge enough. But so far, it has been a very enriching experience.
Any advice for mompreneurs?
If you are passionate about something, just dive into it, and things will fall into place. Plan as you go and take inspiration from fellow mompreneurs. Have the goal in sight, and trust yourself and your hard work. It will go well. All the best!
What is the one most important parenting rule you live by?
I have four kids. I am allowed more than one rule, I hope. 😉 Family first. Children need our time and attention. Many believe that it is usually about the quality and not quantity. But when it comes to time with my babies, I believe it has to be a balance of both quantity and quality. Give each child enough time, and the kind of attention they require. Children grow up too fast, and we may not be able to enjoy this particular phase of their childhood later.
We as parents are quite particular about limited screen time, and our kids understand that we need to approve the content as well. This is a struggle because of peer pressure on the kids – their friends and classmates are watching a lot more, and of course the climate in Doha is not suitable for outdoor play.
One last thing – We believe in being role models through our actions. The fact is that children learn very fast and as parents, we are their first teachers. We need to be careful because children want to emulate us and be like us. So we try to be healthy positive role models for our kids.
To find out more about Aff’s Healthy Kitchen,
To read more Momtastic interviews with inspiring super moms,