Oh, hello there. Its been a while, and for this I apologize, but let’s catch up really quickly. Since we last talked, I graduated pharmacy school and will be moving out to Connecticut to complete a year of post-graduate residency. I have a lot of things I want to do in the upcoming months, but first I want to share with you my most immediate idea, The Ramadan Health Revolution.
For those who don’t know, Ramadan is the month in which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. To make it clear, the true overarching purpose of this holy month is not for one to simply starve themselves, rather, to strengthen our closeness to God. By refraining from food and drink, we strive to become more patient, gain greater self-control, be kinder to others, gain a better appreciation of what we have, and much more. As our spirituality becomes healthier, it is a prime opportunity to make our bodies healthier as well.
With that said, before we jump into the article, let me tell you more about what I have planned. On my Facebook page I will upload DAILY WORKOUT VIDEOS. Short, 10 minutes of different types of exercises ranges from high intensity interval training and mobility training to deep stretching routines. Note that these daily workout videos are for anyone and everyone to do at home, not just for those observing Ramadan. Check out the FB page for more information. Now, let’s dive into the article. Here are the most basic and simple, but most important things to keep in mind this Ramadan.
- Stay hydrated
Seriously, I don’t think I need to convince you the importance of water. I will say, though, one glass of water and Rooh Afza does not cut it. In every aspect imaginable, your body does not function optimally when it is dehydrated. Grab a liter bottle of water and keep it by your side from when you break your fast until the next morning. You should try to aim for a minimum consumption of 2 liters of water spread throughout the window of time you can eat/drink.
- Eat fiber
I’m going to feel pretty confident in the following statement: no one likes being constipated. One of the biggest nutritional challenges of being able to eat in a small time frame is getting your proper nutrition. To optimize your bathroom efficiency, make sure to include foods high in fiber for when you can eat. Foods high in fiber include: raspberries, apples, green peas, beans, Quest Bars, and whole wheat food items. Am I the only one that finds it weird raspberries has a ‘p’?
- Pay attention to how you break your fast
In moderation, I’m all for foods like cheesesteak, pizza, and fried chicken. However, although there’s probably never a great time to eat such food items, upon completion of a 16 hour fast may be the worst time. I will never tell you to avoid any foods in entirety, remember the if it fits your macros concept? I will say, however, to minimize your pakora days and try opening your fast with something clean like fruits instead. Also, don’t eat too fast. Remember that leptin, the hormone that tells you you’re full, takes some time to deliver its message. So if you go guns blazing into iftar you are going to overstuff yourself for certain; don’t be tricked by your hunger, take it slow.
- Eat suhoor
Suhoor, the pre-dawn meal, is really important to keep your nutrition in check while fasting. Don’t think of the only function for suhoor to help prevent you from getting hungry. Think of it as a chance to supplement your body with the proper nutrition it needs to function optimally. Protein to maintain muscle mass, fiber to help you poop, carbohydrates for energy, etc.
I’ll have a more in-depth post on exercising during Ramadan soon as I’ve read some good literature regarding exercising while fasting. I will say, though, the most important point when it comes to exercising during Ramadan is making sure you can refuel immediately after exercising. Whether that means timing it right before iftar or doing it later in the evening, make sure you can replenish your body. Upon completion of exercising during a state of fast, your body is starving for nutrients to replenish itself. You want to make sure to give it the nutrients it needs otherwise you may be doing more harm than good from your exercise.