Healthy Habits, for your Ramadan this Year.

 

As the summer heat slowly creeps into the island, with it comes the holiest, and the most celebrated month in the Muslim world: Ramadan! It is a month when all Muslims around the world fast from sunrise to sunset. Yes, no food no water until we hear the Adhan of Al Maghrib prayer (The call for the evening prayer, which is right at sunset).

Ramadan is also more about self control and abstaining from what the body desires, and turning into feeding the soul with what brings us closer to God. Mainly Ramadan if done properly, will help to purify Muslims souls and serve as a reminder on how one should be all year round.

For 29 or 30 days, Muslims around the world, skip breakfast, lunch, while they enjoy a huge meal at sunset called Iftar (Breakfast), then they only have about 8 to 9 hours, when they can eat as they please just to get back into the fasting mode with the next sunrise. The question most people have is: How to make the most of the few hours of eating you are allowed to have each night? Some people make sure to fill in every inch of their stomachs, and believe it or not, some may even end up in the hospital, because they have eaten way more than what they need, or what they can handle! As most Muslims practice self-control during the day, at night time (which is when the body usually goes into a slower mode), they go crazy! Understandable yes, healthy? Absolutely not!

To have a healthy, and happy Ramadan, most nutritionists recommend the following:

  • Take it easy at Iftar.

Braking fast is one of the most important meals in Ramadan, not only because that’s when you can finally eat, but also because the body has been in a slow mode, and has been resting for hours, so it is important to take it very easy and not shock the body with a huge meal. The Prophet Mohammed (SAW), actually advised to fill a third of our stomachs with food, a third with water, and leave the third empty.

  • Dates First.

Most Muslims already do this and it is great because dates are a potassium dense food, which aids in hydration and restores electrolyte balance. Water is a great addition too, because it is balanced in macronutrients, and the combination of dates and water is perfect for restoring energy. It is highly recommended to take a little break after the dates, before indulging in other foods.

  • Snacking:

It is recommended to eat at least two small snacks between breaking fast and the last meal before going to sleep. Since the window of eating is very tiny, it is better to focus on faster digesting food, such as:

– Proteins with high absorption factors, like egg whites, fish, skinless chicken, and whey protein.

-Nutritious carbohydrates such as fruits and whole grains.

-Good fats such as avocadoes, nuts, and seeds.

  • The last meal.

Also called “Suhour”, should be properly balanced, and should help maximize energy for the next day.

It should include items high in complex carbohydrates, fiber, slower digesting protein (such as the casein in Greek Yogurt), and good fats. This is ideal to slow gastric emptying too.

  • Refrain from trans-fats and refined sugars.

It is very common for Muslims to have lots of fried or sweet food for Iftar, which is not a great idea, as these types of food will be driving your hunger. In addition to spiking your insulin (Which is a horrible way to wake up the body from its sleep), they activate the pleasure and reward centers of the brain, and make us feel good, so obviously we end up eating more and more, just to wake up the next day STARVING!

Ramadan is a great way to cleanse your lifestyle, from feeding the body the right nutritious food, to feeding the soul with what matters the most to you!

 

Ramadan Kareem!

Ramadan Kareem!

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Today is the seventh day of Ramadan, the Holiest month in the Islamic calendar. Ramadan is the month in which the Holy Quran was revealed. It is a month when all Muslims around the world fast from sunrise to sunset. Yes, no food no water until we hear the Adhan of Al Maghrib prayer (The call for the evening prayer, which is right at sunset). Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, so you can imagine how big of a deal it is. For me, Ramadan would mean fasting a little more than 15hours, in this weakening  heat, with a toddler running around the house, demanding to have his daily routine undisturbed, and needs to be kept entertained at all times and of course safe and whole. This is not my first time fasting with Adam, last year he was 5months old, he wasn’t walking or even crawling yet, he wasn’t eating solids or talking! This year the fasting experience took a completely new meaning -since Adam is now 15 months- and it is not a joke people! This is torture! Imagine you wake up in the morning, still very sleepy but can’t have that cup of coffee, then you feel your energy level dropping down while your little rascal is just getting started! These were some of my thoughts this morning, they kept on floating in my mind until I STOPPED myself, disgusted by my own thoughts, and I redirected my thinking to the million other people who do this every day -not just a month every year- Who don’t do it by choice! I sure know that at 6:32pm, I will have a table full of treats and good stuff waiting for me to dig in, but they don’t, of course they wish they could, but here is the thing: THEY CAN’T! Here I am, complaining about how tired, hungry, thirsty I am (because I am fasting), while millions of other people, have to go through this every day of their lives! Ramadan is sure the holiest arabic month, and the month when the Quoran was revealed, but most importantly, it is the month where everyone is supposed to feel for others, to know what it is to be starving or thirsty yet can’t do a thing about it! Since I became a mother, my perspective of life completely changed, I became not only Adam’s mom, but somehow, the mother of all children in this world! No one chooses their parents or their children, so yes God gave me Adam, but any of those unfortunate kids could have been mine, and the thought of having one of my kids feel what i have been feeling every day since Ramadan started, kills me, it breaks my heart, it tears me up! No kid should ever starve! So at exactly 6:32pm, when i would take a date and say a prayer -because God said that anybody who fasts and says a prayer while breaking his fast, his prayer shall be answered- So yeah I say a prayer, I pray that every kid in this world have something in their plate. Something to fill their tiny stomachs! Something to keep them from feeling what I felt today and every day of Ramadan!

So Ramadan is more about challenging yourself in being good, being better, because you have no excuse, Satan has been locked up, and it is just you, the good you, versus the bad you! From the minute you wake up, you have to work on yourself: be kind, be generous, be humble, be honest, be nice, be right… etc! No gossip, no cheating, no laziness and a whole list of NOs! Because remember, you will not be able to blame it on Satan, if you cannot do it, then you are the only sinner!

Ramadan is also about family, my memories of Ramadan as a kid, consist of family gatherings and friends visits; a thing that I miss so much, miles away from home! I remember going with my parents to visit relatives that we haven’t seen in a long time, because it is Ramadan! I remember my dad taking out the phone book, and call all his brothers, sisters, cousins and even distant relatives, because it is Ramadan. I remember my mom making sweets and taking them to her sister, because it is Ramadan!

It is amazing what this month can bring to us, how can it make us a better us, even if it is just once a year! Because it is far better being good at least once a year than never be! So Thank You Ramadan.

Ramadan Kareem.

Ouiam