Ramadan Guide 101

Ramadan is a special time of year for Muslims around the world. It is a month of spirituality, namely fasting from dusk to dawn, spending on charities and helping the less fortunate, and focusing on and refreshing our connection with our families and God. Along with the spiritual side, a big part of Ramadan is the traditional festivities which of course, includes food. Lots of food! I know you will read many articles and blog posts giving you the advice to stay completely clean and healthy during Ramadan – stay away from fried foods, desserts, and other fatty edibles. However, I am not going to do that today. The reason being that in my opinion, Ramadan just comes once a year and it is a special time for us where we bond and connect over food, sharing with others, making special meals, and I think we are allowed to indulge! What I will talk about today is, the key word…Balance!

 

In my experience, balance is the solution to all our problems. Anything – good or bad – in an extreme form is not beneficial to us. In fact, it is detrimental. There are 3 main areas that you should focus on during Ramadan particularly that will help you not only fast through the hot summer days with ease, but allow you to focus better and be productive throughout this sacred month.

 

  • Maintain a balanced diet. Crash diets, insane exercise regimes, intense calorie counting is not only stressful but has been proven to be bad for your health. On the other hand, so is over-eating, eating too much of the wrong foods, and not getting any physical activity. In Ramadan, after a long day of fasting, we need to maintain a balance in what we are putting into our bodies so that we are not shocking our system or depriving it either. Therefore, the middle path of fitting in some light exercise into your daily routine, watching your portions while you eat, and maintaining a routine of eating nutritious meals is the safest and most doable way towards a healthy lifestyle. Add refreshing fruit salads and smoothies to your meal, keep the sugar on a low down, and instead of frying those sambosas, why not bake them? You don’t need to do anything drastic, just some modifications here and there to make your regular favourite Ramadan food items into healthier options.

 

  • Get an ample amount of sleep. Often, in Ramadan, our routines change and we tend to stay up a lot later than usual – enjoying the relaxing time after we open our fast. We tend to spend that time lazing around, snacking, and loading up on caffeine. The late night munching and then the lessened amounts of sleep tends to leave us feeling lethargic and foggy during the day. It becomes hard to concentrate on our tasks or work and all we want to do is get more sleep! Ensuring that we get a good amount of sleep and cut down on after Iftaar snacking, will help to keep us fresh and alert during the day so that we can be as productive as possible without feeling overtired or drained out.

 

  • Exercise. Be sure to incorporate some form of physical exercise into your daily routine – be it while you’re fasting or after you break your fast. Keeping your body moving helps to keep your energy levels up and also helps to burn off any excess fatty foods that we tend to eat more of during Ramadan, so as to maintain your weight. Fasting can also tend to make people a bit crabby, especially those who are used to getting their caffeine fix first thing in the morning when they get to work. Those endorphins released when you exercise, help to boost your mood and trigger that positive, feel-good feeling in your body…and we all need more of that!

 

Stay healthy and active during Ramadan to make the most out of this special month! All these factors – balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and daily exercise – can, of course, be carried on past Ramadan. It is not very hard to do and maintaining that healthy lifestyle will only benefit you, both short term and long term! Happy Ramadan!