How to Have Your Best Ramadan
You’ve been there and so have I, Ramadan is approaching and you are probably wondering will I gain weight? Will I get through the day without my coffee, cigarette, water and sandwich or whatever else I use to fuel my day?
You can keep wondering until Ramadan starts and see how it goes with the many invitations, late nights and food fests. Or you could choose to do it differently this year and give “Ramadaning’ a healthy spin.
Why not learn to navigate your way through konafa and basbousa in a way that is both feasible, suitable for you and does not take out all the fun?
Now here’s a thought for you, how about using Ramadan as a springboard to a healthier lifestyle?
First things first, there is a philosophy behind fasting. All cultures and religions practice one form or another of fasting. Practicing self-restraint leads to higher spirituality. Spirituality strengthens your discipline. This favorable cycle leads to heightened awareness and enlightenment and is a catalyst to being in tune with your needs and to leading a healthier life.
On a physical level, fasting gives our body the break that it needs, helping it to detoxify and revitalize. Consuming the right foods, in the right quantity and at the right times means you can have energy to focus on your daily tasks, sustain an active lifestyle and attain the full benefits of Ramadan.
WHAT ARE KEY STEPS YOU CAN TAKE BEFORE RAMADAN STARTS?
3-5 days before Ramadan:
We can become ‘addicted’ to excessive amounts of sugar, salt, caffeine, cigarettes etc. to fuel our day. Try cutting down on these before Ramadan starts and substitute them with fresh whole foods and lots of water.
Preparation is key! Stocking up on healthy snacks and ingredients is key to your success as you will eat what you have at home!
Managing your time is important in Ramadan as it enables you to allow time for the activities you would like to engage in such as connecting to your spiritual side, meals with friends, work, exercise and so forth.
WHAT AND WHEN SHOULD YOU BE EATING?
Think Clean Eating:
- Whole foods, as we find them in nature
- Organic when possible
- Add-in healthy ingredients to your favorite Ramadan dishes
- Fresh wholesome smoothies and juices
- Dried fruits and nuts
- Top this with awareness and spirituality!
Aim for 3 meals: Iftar, Smoothie/Snack and Sohour.
Your meals should contain balanced portions of carbohydrates, good fats, fiber and protein from whole food sources. If you are watching your weight, a good rule would be ‘No Second Servings’.
FOODS TO AVOID AND THEIR HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES
If your reward for fasting is to load up on rich, greasy, fried, salty and sugary dishes, think again! While these foods make you feel good in the short run, they will leave you feeling fatigued, dehydrated and out of energy. This can make fasting the next day more difficult.
Your typical day in Ramadan should look something like this:
Iftar: 2-3 dates with a glass of water
30 minutes later: Leafy Green Salad + Chicken Coriander served with Basmati, Quinoa or Brown Rice
Exercise: Yoga, Pilates, Walking or Gym
Smoothie/Juice/Snack: Have a smoothie, juice and/or snack such as hummus with fresh cut vegetables
Hydration: Water/herbal teas/soups/smoothies/juices
The way you approach your diet during fasting should be similar to the way you should be eating outside Ramadan. When you focus on eating balanced meals made from clean whole foods in moderate portions your weight loss can last longer term. Eating nutrient dense meals keep you full for longer and regulate cravings. This means you will not experience extreme hunger.
How do you learn to balance your meals and infuse your day-to-day with wellbeing?
You get the help and support of a health and nutrition coach.
A health and nutritional coach will help you make the right lifestyle and food choices for you, hold you accountable throughout the whole process, encourage you and guide you on the path to better health.
To join the Jumpstart to a Healthy Ramadan Program, click here.
Yasmine is a Nutrition and Health Coach whose rich professional expertise is complemented by a caring, fun and integrative approach to nutrition and wellbeing. Through Healthytude, her nutrition and health coaching business, Yasmine offers a unique transformative experience. Her talent is making her clients’ nutrition needs reachable while helping them identify the life areas they need the most support with– physical, mental and emotional. As a result, her clients reach the healthiest, happiest, and most productive version of themselves. Follow Yasmine’s journey on Instagram and Facebook.