Doc's Healthy Weekend

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A nice weather helps boosts the energy and mood.  Especially when you start your morning with 45 minutes of jogging in Park Leopold. Nothing is better than such a physical activity in the early morning, even if it is weekend. It puts the calorie counting and stress of the week in the background of your mind.

Living Room” is a new charming eatery that has recently opened not far from Park Leopold (close to Schuman, 8 Place Jean Rey, Etterbeek). It is a Design & Eatery concept developed by a young French guy living in Belgium. It tries to combine modern design with healthy food. The modern sofas that you can sit on can be taken home. Of course, for a price. The place has two levels where you can indulge yourself with a drink or a light meal. The first floor is less recommended because it seems to be quite warm on sunny days. We tried a salad for brunch - there are new salads every week. The cheese is excellent and the homemade cookies even more. It is worth trying the cookie with green tea and white chocolate. The Japanese green tea with a mild flavour, different from the usual green tea that tastes bitter, and the apple-mango juice finished our lunch. Prices are above average.

Since we were in the neighbourhood, we visited the European Commission. It is May 9th, Open Doors Day of the European Institutions. The presentations were less abstract this time, offering a better understanding of the usually EU-related dry concepts that affect our everyday life. In some cases, we had the feeling that the activities were geared toward children. We found interesting information about Health and Food Safety, about the new laws regarding product labelling (12/2014) in all 28 EU member states. The food packaging labels need to specify the allergens (mandatory for restaurants menus as well), have a minimum font size, a list of the ingredients, and from the end of 2016 a nutrition declaration that mentions the energy value of the food, the amount of fat (saturated fats), carbohydrate (intake of sugar), protein and salt. Maybe most important is the labelling of allergenic ingredients in foods, since 70 % of the serious food-allergic reactions are caused by the food that is not labelled. Close to the European institutions different countries also presented their food variety, but I would not call all of it healthy, even if the food were very tasty.

Since we are talking about food, we went to see the newly opened Mark & Spencer shop in Toison D’Or. It offers a wide variety of British food and fashion (a Finnish buddy of mine once said – Is there such a thing as British fashion?). It seems to be quite popular because there was a long waiting line outside the store. Or was it just curiosity? 

The activity of  « Relief&Reconciliation for Syria » was explained to us by one of the volunteer, Friedrich Bokern. The Belgian non-profit organisation is combining peacebuilding with humanitarian aid for those affected by the Syrian crisis. Their initiative is worth admiring. The first Peace Centre and refugee camp school is only at 12 km from the Syrian border, in the North of Lebanon.

By the same token, the fight against injustice continues, even if on another level. The Belgian movie “La Tierra Roja”, directed by the Argentinian Diego Martinez-Vignatti who has been living in Belgium since 1997, is an ecological drama about the exploitation of trees with toxic chemicals in Argentina, which has an effect on the health of inhabitants, causing cancer and malformations in children. The tragic death of a doctor denouncing the health consequences motivates a few locals to start an unequal fight against the corrupt political system. It is worth to see the movie also for the performance of the charming Flemish actor, Geert Van Rampleberg, and the ways love helps him make the right choices.

By dr. Ioan Hanes