Howdy & Assalamu Alaykum 🙂
Approximately 8 days until Ramadan 2017! YAY!
“And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night]. Then complete the fast until the sunset.” Qur’an 02:187
This year will be my 7th year fasting since I embraced Islam. Thus, I decided to write a post on healthy tips for a healthy fast.
Ramadan is the month of fasting for Muslims. Fasting is one of the 5 pillars of Islam, so it’s extremely important. Fasting helps us grow closer to Allah (meaning the One God) and it is prescribed for us as a means of learning self-restraint. It also helps us with our health, moral character and spiritual renewal.
Note: I practice these tips throughout the year, however, they are especially beneficial during fasting or intermittent fasting by non-Muslims and Muslims alike.
6 TIPS FOR A HEALTHY RAMADAN FAST
- Water: Hydration is in my opinion, the most important part of fasting. Drinking plenty of water between Iftar (When we break our fast) and Suhoor (before we start fasting) will help reduce your chances of dehydration. In hot climate, you will sweat more, thus, it is important to replace the fluids you lost during the day by drinking water and also eating foods that hydrates (like watermelon, cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce! yum!)
- Drink water even if you are not thirsty!!!
- Avoid caffeinated drinks like sodas, teas, coffee, etc. Caffeine increases urination, so does soda, which can lead to dehydration (soda dehydrates in general, so a big NO).
- Hydrating foods include: Watermelon, cucumber, strawberries, lettuce, celery, radishes, green peppers, cauliflower, spinach, star fruit, broccoli, grapefruit, baby carrots, cantaloupe, zucchini, and much more.
- Energizing meal: Consume the right foods during Suhoor to have long-lasting energy and hydration. Complex carbs are great for this as it helps us sustain energy throughout the day. Low-fat dairy and unsaturated fats should also be included.
- Examples: Unsalted Nuts, olives, salmon, seeds, legumes (beans, lentils, ect), fruits and vegetables, as well as low-fat dairy and unsaturated fats like avocado.
- My Suhoor Meal: For Suhoor I tend to eat warm oatmeal or overnight oatmeal (made with water, I don’t drink dairy or any milk, but you can use low-fat milk or yogurt) with strawberries or banana. I eat lentil soup with fresh vegetables and egg whites with avocado. I make sure to drink as much water as I can.
- Balanced Meal (Iftar Meal): It is of utmost importance to replenish the energy lost by eating a balanced meal. Make sure to eat complex carbohydrates, protein, and fruits and vegetables. This will give you energy and help bring your low blood glucose to a normal level. Make sure to replenish the fluids in your body by drinking liquids such as water and juice, this will help balance your electrolytes and replenish what was lost during the day.
- Avoid over eating. I know fasting can be difficult and the scent of food and the hunger makes you want to eat everything in the fridge but chill. You can avoid over eating by eating slowly as it will help you listen to the signals in your body that indicate you are full.
- Avoid fried and processed foods that are high in fat and sugar.
- Eat whole grains which give the body energy and fiber.
- Grilled or baked lean meats, fish, egg whites etc are best for healthy protein, legumes are also a good source of protein.
- Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit. Traditionally, Muslims break their fast with dates, dates provide a good source of carbs and it helps bring up your blood glucose levels, you can also drink fresh juice, or eat other fruits or a bowl of soup and WATER!
- NEVER SKIP SUHOOR: we all have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, well Suhoor is just as important (so wake up and eat!!)! This meal will help your body stay hydrated and fueled for a long day of fasting. Do not deprive your body of the nutrients it needs, skipping this meal will only make it harder for you to fast and also harder for your body to stay healthy and energized.
- Exercise: Walking after Iftar will help you avoid weight gain. You can also exercise lightly before Maghreb. This will help you burn fat, which will either help you lose weight or maintain your weight.
- Plan ahead: I have what I call my “Weekly Ramadan Meals” list. Planning ahead helps us avoid overeating or eating unhealthy foods, as well as eating nutritious meals. When we are hungry or shall I say “starrrrvingggg”, we tend to eat whatever is placed in front of us whether good or bad. Thus, planning ahead will help you avoid that and also help you have a balanced nutritious meal that will boost your immune system and overall health!
- Tip: In my list (I do this weekly), I write down what I will be eating for Suhoor and Iftar, the ingredients I need and if it’s a recipe I’m not familiar with, I write the directions down. This is helpful for me because I can avoid running out of food or not having an ingredient I need when I’m about to cook a meal, (I don’t know about you, but not having an ingredient makes me super cranky).
P.S Always consult your doctor before starting your fast, you know yourself best. If there is something, consult your doctor. You have to make sure you are healthy enough to fast.
Short Background Story:
A lot of people think fasting is not healthy at all, but studies have shown fasting has many health and psychological benefits. I remember when I started fasting, I was 18. During this time I was 15 lbs underweight and slightly anemic. So, I decided to fast in order to improve my overall health after consulting with my doctor, and guess what? It worked!
During this month, I gained enough weight to be on the healthy scale for my height and age group and my mild anemia was improving. My energy increased, I was no longer fatigued, pale (sickly looking), nor experiencing headaches and other side-effects from my mild anemia. I have continued to take all the things I learned from practicing my first fast up until now, and have become healthier than I have ever been.
It’s important to implement healthy eating into your everyday lifestyle. Using Ramadan or intermittent fasting as a way to detox your body from toxins and unhealthy eating is great. You will set a goal and form a habit that with commitment will last a lifetime.
Protecting our bodies and keeping it the healthiest we can should always be prioritized. I love to use Ramadan as a way to increase my knowledge of Islam and myself as well as implementing and increasing self-care, self-love and my faith.
If you are not Muslim, you can still practice intermittent fasting and benefit immensely.
I hope you enjoyed, and if you have any tips, do leave them in the comment section! I’m only 7 years young with this ;p Plus, sharing is caring!
May you have a blessed month and a healthy fast, InshaAllah!