News > UAE Armenians > Interview with Dubai based nutritionist dietician Dr. Jane Darakjian
Specially for Azad-Hye, Dubai
How long have you been in the UAE and in what capacity?
I have been here for 5 years. In the beginning I worked as biology and chemistry tutor at Belhoul Group, teaching meanwhile at Dubai International School. Right after receiving Ministry of Health licence I joined Belhoul European Hospital (2002) as nutritional dietary clinical consultant. Since March 2005 I joined the Manchester Clinic in Jumairah area (Dubai) as dietician and visiting physician. My work includes weight management system, anti-aging dietary treatment, family nutrition, child nutrition, holistic nutritional approach, healthy lifestyle recommended techniques, fitness and body balance consultancy.
What did you notice from the working environment in the UAE compared to other countries?
One of the best aspects of Dubai is to get the opportunity to meet and work with people from all types of cultural, social and business backgrounds. Dubai is a unique and exciting place to live. It is highly cosmopolitan and interactive society. My field of occupation holds an important status in Dubai’s present day society, a fact that keeps me enticed and completely occupied.
Have you received any media exposure in Dubai?
I have been at CNBC Arabic TV channel in Dubai Media City several times, during which I spoke on different topics, such as the importance of having breakfast, why fat substance affects some people and not others, Atkin's diet, etc. I have appeared also on Dubai TV (Vitamin program). I have lectured and published many articles, mainly pertaining to healthy diets and lifestyles. I have also been on number of radio programs in Dubai.
Do you think that overeating is a type of habit?
Yes, a sort of, as the circuits that are stimulated by high carbohydrate foods and sugars are the same addictive circuit habits that are stimulated by drugs such as alcohol, cocaine… This is why dieting sometimes is difficult to maintain.
Does nutrition consultancy involve treatment?
Yes. I prepare traditional health questionnaire for each patient to do the necessary evaluation before deciding to undertake any sort of treatment. Taking different measurements will help to this end. I work on individual level, where I can make personalized program, depending on the person’s needs. I work in group systems only during seminar-workshops as a way for introducing general introductory concepts about health, well-being, anti-stress, anti-aging targets, various nutritional aspects, etc.
What is the latest revolution in your field?
Billions of dollars are spent now on cosmetic products, food supplements, organic and natural products. Spa and massage treatment is developing too. As a member of the American Academy of Anti-aging Medicine (A4M) I am following with amazement the advancement of methods of optimizing human aging process and widening the lifespan. The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) is a non-profit medical society dedicated to the advancement of technology to detect, prevent, and treat aging related disease. It has managed to establish anti-aging medicine as a specialty. The anti-aging revolution is there now for a younger, happier and healthier life.
Are you in contact with the Armenian community in the UAE?
Yes, of course. It was amazing to meet Armenians in many business locations in Dubai sometimes by mere coincidence. I was happy to find out that there is thriving community here, with weekly schools in Abu Dhabi and Dubai-Sharjah. The Armenian Church in Sharjah is like a jewel in the crown of this community. It hosts the weekly school in the nearby building and is the focus of community life, although sometimes it is inaccessible for Dubai residents due to traffic jams that are so frequent on Dubai-Sharjah highway.
Did you receive any interest regarding diet programs or enquiries on eating habits from the Armenians?
Very frequently and at any moment when I meet Armenians. As soon as they discover my field of work they do not stop asking endless questions. Eating habits, body shape, diet, etc are popular topics among the Armenians. The main question is what they have to do to loose weight. The main issue for many (not only the Armenians) is how to achieve a proportional and beautifully shaped healthy body. I would like to mention that in 2005 I gave a seminar on nutrition to the Armenian school educational staff. I am happy to be in constant contact with Armenians and to cherish with them the individual and national achievements on all levels. Whenever I hear about the success of fellow Armenians and the developments in Armenia I feel proud and full of dignity.
What is the best quotation you have heard?
“To be upset over what you don’t have is to waste what you do have”, by Ken Keyes Jr. (1921 - 1995) a well known personal growth author and lecturer, and the creator of a self-help system named the Living Love method.
Where is the most memorable place you visited?
In 2003 I visited the location where Jesus Christ is said to be baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. The river empties into the Dead Sea. It was a memorable trip to Jordan.
What is your plan in the next few years?
My aim is to start up my own business in my field in with more challenging targets that will allow me to fulfill my capabilities in the maximum satisfying way. I am looking for a potential investor in the filed of nutrition. I have a very well prepared project that could be implemented right away.
Note: Dr. Jane Darakjian is holder of BS in Chemistry and PhD in Nutrition. She hails from a Lebanese Armenian family. Her University training has been at the Lebanese American University (Lebanon), the State University of New York (USA) and the Juridical University named after Kirk Krikorian (Armenia)
Nutritional ideas by Dr. Jane Darakjian
Every cure must involve nutritional correction: Most of the time people worldwide constantly are trying to find miracle diet to make them thin. They go to different diet programs for a period such as grapefruit diet, some meal substitutes, high protein diet … despite of feeling hungry they loose some weight. However, later after a few months they gain back more than before. It will reach a stage where they will hardly lose weight any more. The major factor they need to care about is the Balanced Combination Diet.
The simplest way to differentiate between food and nutrition is the following: Everything we eat is food but only that which is absorbed and utilized to maintain a healthy body is nutrition. You will be surprised to note that by this definition water is nutrition.
Health is wealth: becoming a healthier person isn’t just about eating healthy – it’s also about physical health. Regular physical activity is important for your overall health and fitness. It also helps you control body weight by balancing the calories you take in a food with the calories you expend each day. If you eat just 100 more calories a day than you burn, you’ll gain about half kilo in a month. That’s about six kilos in a year. For example a can of soft beverage has a minimum of 120 calories. The bottom line is to reduce the calories and increase physical activity.
New Lifestyle (from “Emirates Today” Dubai daily, 09 November 2006):
Dr. Jane Darakjian: The lifestyles of people in Dubai make them stressed, so to relieve this they go for cookies and chocolate. People also spend lots of time indoors so they do less exercise and the humidity outside makes them eat more and they go for simple sugars, such as chocolate. To solve this problem, the only answer is regular exercise. Small changes can make all the difference and now is the ideal time to get outdoors and start swimming or walking [weather in Dubai is very mild in the winter]. Just 30 minutes exercise three times a week is all you need to achieve your beach-perfect body. If you find exercise difficult, or often make excuses not to go to the gym, pick the days and times you will go each week. This way, you will get into a routine, and will ensure you make the time each week. If the gym is not for you, then take your children to the beach or park for a kick around with a football, or go to a class where you can be encouraged by the other people.
You just need the right balance between keeping fit and eating foods that contain complex carbohydrates, such as grains, vegetables and fruit. It is important to continue your new diet regime with every meal. When the ultimate goal is to lose weight, people need to take that concept with them wherever they go. So if people go to a wedding party for example and they see spaghetti that has been made with milk and butter, they should avoid it. The same applies with cake. Losing weight does not mean depriving yourself of food. You are advised to eat every two to three hours. This is because proteins take lots of time to digest in the stomach, which in turn will make you feel hungry. It is also important not to eat just before you go to bed because you need to give food time to digest, and this will slow down when you are sleeping, therefore, you will put on weight because the food was not digested and the additional carbohydrate was converted to fat. It is also advisable to go for a walk after dinner to help settle your metabolism and encourage your body to burn calories quicker. Eating and digestion are all linked together. It’s a chain, so you need to think about all of the elements.
1- Dr. Jane Darkjian, portrait
2- At the clinic
3- With H.E. Dona El-Turk Lebanese Consul in Dubai (second on the right) and Dr. Joseph Jabra President Lebanese American University (first on the right), in the Murooj Rotana hotel, December 2005.
4- With singer Koko Hayitian
You can contact Dr. Jane Darkjian at: firstname.lastname@example.org