The blessed month of Ramadan is upon us again. My first recollection of Ramadan was during the summer of 1986, alongside Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ during the Mexico World Cup. I vividly recall the excruciatingly long days and intimidatingly short nights. Now that Ramadan is during the longest part of the year, here is my take on what to eat in Ramadan.
Asian diets are notoriously poor all year round. We tend to eat foods with high fat, salt and sugar, with little or no fresh fruit or fibre. In Ramadan our diets somehow become worse. Ask yourself, is Ramadan an excuse to binge on fried delicacies and sugary drinks? Are we not we defeating the object of fasting? Aren’t we aiming to draw closer to the Lord by refraining from food, drink and our passions for the duration of the day?
My top tips for a healthy Ramadan
1. Rehydrate, rehydrate, rehydrate!
2. Avoid fatty and fried food at iftaar
So you have fasted for the whole day and it is time to eat. You need to refuel your body with good quality nutrients. However, our families spend months preparing tantalising samosas, pastries and all manner of intricate delicacies. Samosas and other fried foods are high in fat and have very little fibre or other key nutrients and thus become difficult to digest. This is not ideal for people who need nutrients quickly. So for iftar I usually eat simple carbohydrates from fruits. I tend to eat those fruits which have a high water content such as watermelons, oranges and pineapples.
3. Keep a light stomach for Taraweeh Prayer
In the UK, summer nights are very short and taraweeh prayer is only an hour after iftar. In order to concentrate for the taraweeh prayer one must keep a light stomach. How many of us would attempt eating to a state of repletion and then going for a run?
Try to eat complex carbohydrates such as wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta, brown rice, oats, beans, lentils, cereals etc. Another great example is porridge. These foods are high in fibre and have a low GI rating, which means that they will fill you up and release their energy slowly.
5. Use the right nutrition for your workout
For the body builders who aim to maintain muscle mass and become lean in Ramadan: intermittent fasting is the new trendy way to build muscle mass and become lean. Ramadan is a perfect opportunity for us to reach our fitness goals, as long as you eat correctly and use your time effectively after taraweeh prayer. I’ve described my eating habits at iftar. After taraweeh prayer, I have a very short but intense HIIT (High intensity interval training) workout which lasts for around 20 minutes.
Just before the end time of suhoor, I have a casein protein shake with avocado and ground oats. Casein protein is slow release protein, which supplies the body with the protein needed for growth, repair and maintenance of your muscle mass. Avocados are loaded with healthy fats needed to build and maintain your muscle and lower cholesterol. Oats provide the complex, slow burn carbohydrates that will be the principal energy store. I also drink around a litre of water before suhoor ends.
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About Haloodie Foodie
Haloodiefoodie spends his days teaching pupils about Scientific phenomena. When he is outside his lab you’ll find him experimenting with his unique take on high quality home cooking, which is documented on his blog Haloodiefoodie.com . You can also find him on Instagram , Twitter and more recently Snapchat @haloodiefoodie