Monday, October 13, 2014

AIP Shopping in Dubai

Those of us who live in in Dubai are all familiar with the challenges of grocery shopping here. When new people move to Dubai I often get questions about where to find certain brands or items. How do you choose where to shop? Are you looking for one stop convenience? Is organic important? Do you stick to one of the big hypermarkets like Geant, Carrefour or Lulu? Do you shop for price or convenience or quality or some mix of the three? Do you like the way that Spinney's or Waitrose feel like home? Do you prefer the cultural experience of the little Indian and Filipino shops around town? Or, do you just buy what you can in whatever shop happens to be closest?

No one could say that there is a lack of choice around here when it comes to shopping, but we've all experienced the pain of finding a product we really like one week in our favorite store, only to find it all sold out the next week. The first piece of advice I always give newcomers is that if you see something you love buy at least 3 because you never know when you'll see it again.

Added to the normal fun of shopping in Dubai, shopping for the AIP diet throws a wrench into the works. For example, I still have not found a place to get organic or grass-fed offal. I've read all the posts and listened to all the podcasts about the health benefits, and talked myself into trying lamb liver, but can't find any organic anywhere.

So, I thought it would be fun to think about what I tend to buy and where I tend to buy it. Hopefully this can be of some benefit to others in Dubai or around the UAE.

  • frozen bags of cassava - great convenience food - just boil and use in place of potatoes
  • 'Wild Planet' or 'Fish 4 Ever' brand canned salmon - sometimes available
  • a brand of dried fruit from the UK called 'Bear Nibbles' that have no added sugar or anything
  • Indian snack foods, including plantain and tapioca (cassava) chips that are just palm oil and salt
  • their produce section always has a great variety- must haves are.... 
    • fresh coconut (2.5 AED for a shredded coconut)
    • blueberries are usually cheaper than elsewhere in town - even organic 
    • plantains - or something similar usually called Indian bananas or mountain bananas or green bananas
    • fresh herbs and greens - I'm still trying to figure out what some of them are
    • brussel sprouts (cheapest I've seen in town - less than 4 AED for about 15-20)
    • pumpkin - they have a great selection of Indian pumpkins
  • if you happen to just be standard gluten free, they have a huge selection of gluten free products
  • Lamb Liver - it's not organic, but it is from Australia and my research shows their lamb is antibiotic free and 90% grass fed (some finishing grains)
  • you can usually get raw honey (on the honeycomb) in the area with the cheese and olives

  • good selection of grass-fed Australian beef - - 1/2 kg of good ground beef is about 23 AED
  • Tegal brand chicken - from NZ and claims to be cage free, no hormones, no injections, no GMO - it's about 80AED for a whole chicken, but the taste is good and it makes a good stock that's full of gelatin
  • Organic salmon
  • Containers of crab claw meat
  • All of their butchers seem to know what they're talking about
  • produce section is beautiful, but often quite costly. The one produce item I buy at Spinney's is Haas Avocados as they often have them ripe and ready to eat.

Organic Foods and Cafe

  • lamb bones for bone broth - 10 AED for a kilo
  • organic steaks - I've gotten flank steaks for 18 AED
  • lots of beautiful produce if you're willing to pay for it
  • Coyo coconut yogurt - occasionally available - not AIP, but good if you can handle it
  • Salmon - in the freezer section they have individual pieces of organic salmon

Greenhart Organic Farm  

  • They have great kale, basil and eggs (reintroduction)
  • Raw organic honey
  • Their mixed produce boxes have great stuff, but lots of nightshade veggies so just ordering individual items for now.
  • Delivery is available for online orders - once a week to each part of town

Ripe Farm Shop
  • Coco Yogo - coconut milk yogurt & ice cream (although most are sweetened with agave so not AIP) and coconut butter
  • Usually have kale in stock and lots of other locally grown veggies
  • The local sweet potatoes are very good and affordable
  • Delivery is available for online orders
  • They also have pop-up markets around town during the nice weather

  • Not AIP friendly as most have nuts, but paleo friendly and yummy
  • Back when I was eating nuts I enjoyed the almond butter, paleo rawnola and the paleo chocolate cake
  • If you can have reintroduced almonds, eggs and chocolate... their paleo chocolate cake is AMAZING (going to be my wedding cake)

Down To Earth Organic Shop - I don't shop here often, but a fun place to check out. You never know what you'll find.

Dubai Fish Market
  • The newish fish market in Umm Seqeim is right in the harbor and id a great place to get really fresh fish.
  • First thing in the morning you can see the fishermen come in off the ocean, so you know it's fresh.
  • They charge based on market value & it's cheaper than the grocery stores.
  • They have a section where you can get your fish cleaned to your specifications.