Remember, a balanced diet will greatly improve your energy levels and overall health and wellbeing. Ramadan is a spiritual cleanse, but it is also an elemental physiological cleanse for your body. You will have increased vitality, it will help prevent numerous gastrointestinal problems such as indigestion and bloatedness that so many people face, and I have even seen some people at the clinic which have had their congested skin cleared up during Ramadan after 2 weeks!
The billion dollar question is what can a person eat to maintain a healthy weight during Ramadan, and maybe possibly lose some too:
Your main metabolic fuel source for bodily function during fasting is mainly fat, excellent! Therefore, your diet should be varied, small portioned but nutrient dense, and eaten systematically. Do not eat everything at one sitting; in fact having small consistent meals will trick your body into speeding up it’s metabolic rate. In addition it will help increase nutrient absorption and stabilize blood sugar levels.
During Fitoor: Break your fast with water and 3 dates as I have mentioned above. Sprinkle in half a lemon into your water to stimulate your liver into action. Limonene helps speed detoxification. Then I suggest you take a small break by praying, as this will give your GI tract time to gently process. Now, your main Fitoor meal should contain: a gentle vegetable soup such as mint and courgette, a type of complex carbohydrate such as brown rice, and a protein source such as fish.
Snacks: This is the fun part.
- Have a colorful rich bowl of salad vegetables and greens such as kale mint tomatoes and colored peppers; add in apple cider vinegar to help cleanse your liver and good fats such as avocado oil.
- Tempting are the kubbas and sambousaks; try to limit them to 1 or 2 pieces and instead of deep frying them, bake them in the oven.
- Desserts, equally tempting. Limit them to one piece or one pot a day if it is muhallabiya.
- Ramadan drinks are delicious and tempting and some if done right such as Khoshaf are nutritious. However, try to limit them to one glass a day, and try as hard as you can not to have it during meal times. This will cause indigestion; instead have it either before Fitoor to break your fast with, or during snack time let’s say just before Taraweeh prayers. This way you will enjoy your drink and at the same time won’t feel bloated.
Sihoor: Complex carbohydrates and fiber rich foods are especially important. Complex carbohydrates such as wholegrain bread, barley, oats, lentils, and brown rice will help your body release its energy slowly during the hours of fasting, thus giving you a balanced energy level. Fiber rich foods are also slowly digested and will actually help you feel fuller in lesser quantities. These are very useful to eat during sihoor
Try to avoid eating excessive amounts of high sugar foods as these will wreck havoc on blood sugar levels spiking them up and down. Not to mention they are heavily laden with calories and saturated fat.
Remember the key to health is moderation, try to have that balance during Ramadan and you will most definitely reap the wonderful benefits. Happy Ramadan everyone!