For Sa’id Jiryes, losing 70 kilograms was not about looking better but about recovering. His addiction? Food. The 25-year-old lost the weight over the span of one year and has now become an inspirational speaker for food addicts everywhere.

“Food is an addiction,” says the soft-spoken Sa’id. “You need to feed your brain and not your body by regulating the chemicals in your brain.” He explains that sugar, flour, alcohol, caffeine and tobacco release dopamine, activating the cue and reward system there every time you consume them. This is where the concept of “comfort eating” stems from.

He now eats four meals a day, weighing his food diligently, and abstains from snacking in between. Mama Reem, who has been worried about her son’s love affair with food since childhood, is now being mentored herself by the enthusiastic Sa’id. 

Fillet Steak

Ingredients 

1 kg fillet steak

1 tsp salt 

1 tsp freshly ground pepper 

Corn oil to brush the skillet with

Directions

1. Take the steaks out of the fridge and leave to settle at room temperature 30 to 40 minutes before cooking 

2. Season well with salt and pepper and leave for 20 minutes 

3. Sa’id brushes  the skillet with corn oil on medium heat

4. Leave the steak to cook for three minutes on each side.

Sa’id grinds some more pepper over the steaks, saying that fresh pepper is the secret behind the great flavour

5. Let the steaks rest at room temperature for five minutes before serving to ensure that the resulting juices are absorbed by the meat

Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

4 large sweet potatoes

1 large onion

1 large green chilli

1 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Slice potatoes into round slices, approximately three centimetres thick

2. Cut one large onion into long pieces

3. Slice up the green chilli peppers into circles

4. Mix everything in a large cooking pan with a drizzle of olive oil; season with salt and pepper to taste

5. Cover with foil and bake for one hour at 270°C

Veggie Side Platter

Ingredients

4 large zucchini, cut into slices

Vegetable oil

Directions

1. For the grilled veggies, drizzle olive oil in the skillet, then grill the zucchini  

2. Season with salt and pepper to taste

You can also add onions and red, green and yellow bell peppers

Stuffed Mushrooms 

Ingredients 

2 tsp onion powder 

2 tsp paprika powder

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tbsp vegetable oil

12 large fresh mushrooms 

1 medium sized onion, finely chopped

800 g frozen spinach

1 red sweet bell pepper, finely chopped

1 yellow sweet bell pepper 

1 large tomato, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Fry onion with spinach in one tablespoon of oil; add one teaspoon paprika and one teaspoon garlic powder

2. In a separate pan, fry the diced mushroom stems with the tomatoes and bell pepper in one tablespoon of oil. Add one teaspoon paprika powder and one teaspoon garlic powder

3. Mix the spinach concoction with the mushroom stem mixture and add two teaspoons of onion powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste

4. Stuff the mushrooms with the spinach mix 

5. Place in a baking tray, drizzle olive oil on top and bake until cooked