Saturday, 16 May 2015

Healthy Ramadaan: Part 1

Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatu

With Ramadaan just around the corner (a few weeks to go), all I'm hearing is "yes, I'm gonna lose weight," "time to get rid of this fat," "the only time I can lose weight is in Ramadaan," "I can't wait for Ramadaan so that I can lose this weight." Let's get one thing straight, the beautiful and holy month of Ramadaan is not a weight loss challenge or diet to make one lose weight. The month of Ramadaan is not like any other Islamic month. It's purpose it to rid man of those habits which he/she has accumulated throughout the year. It prepares us for the remaining months by teaching us discipline and self control. Acts such as eating, drinking and fulfilling ones desires have been made haraam by Allah. If we can control our desires during Ramadaan, then we can control it any other time. So if you've ever fasted, you know that losing weight doesn't happen so easily in fact, some us gain weight. 

Let's look at what happens to your body during Ramadaan. While you are fasting, you become more dehydrated at rest than usual, but less than if you had exercised aerobically for over an hour. Your main metabolic fuel source for bodily function during fasting is mainly fat, which is a good thing. So what you want to do in Ramadaan is to maximise metabolism even though your metabolism slows down due to less frequent meals; preserve and enhance as much lean muscle mass as possible which will increase your metabolic rate and allow you to burn more calories at rest. Don't put all your hopes on Ramadaan to hep you get slim and trim because that is setting yourself up for disappointment instead focus on staying healthy and not gaining unwanted fat due to all those pastries. If you want to make this Ramadaan a healthy one, set goals and stick to them.

Here are a few things to choose from and a few things to avoid to keep you energetic and nurtured throughout Ramadaan.

Meat and other protein sources
Choose:

  • Fish
  • Grilled skinless chicken
  • Lamb
  • Moderate amount of prawns
  • Legumes such as beans, lentils and peas
  • Eggs at least 3 times per week
Avoid
  • Fried chicken
  • Fatty meats
  • Liver and other organ meats
  • Sausages and Wors
  • Large amounts of prawns, shrimps and shellfish


Milk and dairy products
Choose:


  • Skimmed milk
  • Skimmed or low fat yoghurt
  • Low fat cheese
Avoid:
  • Full cream milk
  • Whipped cream
  • Creamy and cheesy sauces
  • Yellow full cream cheeses 

Fruit and Vegetables
Choose:

  • All fresh vegetables cooked with a little olive oil
  • Fresh fruits and natural fruit juices
Avoid:
  • Coconut
  • Fried veggies
  • Veggies boiled or steamed in butter
  • Juices with added sugar

Bread and grains
Choose:

  • Whole wheat or brown bread
  • Plain brown rice or spaghetti
  • Whole grains
Avoid:
  • Pastries that contain large amounts of fat like doughnuts
  • Fried rice
  • Slap chips, French fries or fried potatoes
  • Sweetened desserts
With such an assortment for you to choose from, this Ramadaan journey will surely be a pleasant and healthy one. Do remember that whatever you decide to eat, a balanced food plan containing healthy ingredients, cooked the right way will help you enjoy Suhoor and Iftaar giving you more energy and staying healthy.

Look out for part 2 of the Healthy Ramadaan series which will include more tips and recipes.

Until my next post: peace.love.unity
MwaHugs :)