The period of Ramadan is a very important period for Muslims. It’s a 30-day period in which Adult and healthy Muslims fast from food and drinks and abstain from wrong doings from sunrise to sunset. As Mohammed Rahman, a devout Muslim from Ireland rightly puts it “Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. It’s the holiest month in the Islamic calendar; a time when Muslims focus on Religious devotion by fasting, prayer, and giving to charity”. This is also a time when Muslims practice the act of managing earthly cravings and desires that are against spiritual growth and progress.
This period of Ramadan is important to Muslims for certain reasons. The tablets of Ibrahim (Abraham), the Torah, the psalms, and the Gospel were all revealed to Mohammed during the month of Ramadan, along with the Quran which was the last to be revealed.
The timing of the Ramadan fasting differs. It normally commences from sunrise and ends in sunset. However, due to the rotation of the earth, sunrise and sunset differ across the globe both in intervals and occurrences. Sunrise occurs at different times in different places and takes more time to set in some places than in others. So, countries fast between 12hrs and 20hrs depending on how long it takes for the sun to set. Though there is a central option to follow the timing in mecca. In mecca, sunrise takes place at 5:40am and sunset at 7:00pm. This means that following this timing outside mecca, some Muslims will be eating before sunset in their countries which most of them are not comfortable with. This single reason has made them resort to the timing in their specific countries.
Muslims commence their daily Ramadan fasting with a meal in the morning before sunrise called suhoor and close their fasting at sunset with a meal called Iftar. Between suhoor and Iftar, a Muslim is expected not to eat any meal and drink not even water. However, between Iftar and suhoor, they can eat as much as they wish. There comes the challenge of how someone can spend 12hrs or more of the 24hrs in a day with neither food nor drink. Due to the body metabolism procedure, each meal lasts for about 8hrs in the body. This means that a person ought to feel hungry 8hrs after eating. It’s some common knowledge that humans react differently to phenomena around them. A good example of such phenomena is food. We all react differently to food. Some people have ignoble appetite and desire for food while others have protruded desire and appetite for food. These kind of beings with protruded desire for food can rightly be called foodies. Among all religions, Islam inclusive, there are foodies. These kind of people can hardly go 8hrs in between meals. Then, the question pops up, can a Muslim foodie survive Ramadan fasting and still feed smartly? The answer is yes and definitely yes. To know how, all you need to do now is to sit back and fasten your seatbelt while I drive you through practical steps that a foodie can follow to achieve this.
Thirty days is a long time to fast successively and not pay special attention to one’s Health. During Ramadan, a fasting Muslim has about 12hrs or less in a day to eat while starving through the other 12hrs or more. During this period, the body lacks in various nutritional values and most notably energy. The body lacks seriously in Energy. This is because after meal, the body stores energy in the form of Glucose in the various Joints of the body. This stored glucose lasts the body for about 8hrs after which the body will turn to the fats in the body for energy. This means that, at Iftar, all the stored energy is usurped and fats burnt too. This means that the foodie must be feeling terribly ready to devour at Iftar. So, the foodie is advised here to ensure that his Iftar is energy replenishing and suhoor energy giving. At Iftar, he should eat fresh fruits, vegetables, fibre, fish, and chicken. This will enable him to replenish lost nutrients in the body. The foodie should eat adequately but avoid overfeeding. Overfeeding during this period May cause health discomfort and sudden weight gain sometimes since most people live a sedentary lifestyle during this period.
The foodie should ensure not to overeat also during suhoor to avoid constipation and other health discomforts. When the foodie eats adequately at suhoor, especially energy giving food, he won’t feel hungry early enough to be tempted with food before Iftar. The foodie can also eat lightly over the night between Iftar and suhoor. This should flow naturally anytime he feels like doing that. He’s not expected to fast over the night so he can eat as regularly and lightly as he feels like. He should avoid heavy eating at this time as the body metabolism is always slow at night and hinders digestion. The foodie should also catch enough sleep during the day to stay healthy. He is also advised not to skip any of his meals here if he wishes to stay healthy during this period.
While fasting for such a long time, the foodie is definitely going to lose lots of body water and feel much thirsty. At Iftar, before taking any solid food, the fasting Muslim should take good quantity of water to make up for the water loss in the body. Also at suhoor, the fasting foodie Muslim is expected to take good quantity of water to prepare for the water loss that will occur during fasting. This will help the foodie to crave for less water during the fasting and pose an ignoble challenge to staying focused for the period of fasting. Aside drinking water, including hydrating foods in his food is also an option to stay hydrated. These hydrating foods include fruits like water melon. This will help the foodie gain more body water. Also the foodie should avoid dehydrating foods that make him urinate more often such as coffee, Tea, and other caffeinated drinks. Taking in enough hydration at Iftar and suhoor is a means to stay less thirsty during fasting by the foodie. The foodie should not take all water at once. At intervals over the night, the foodie can take a glass of water or hydrating food. This is to avoid overfeeding and ensure enough water intake. According to Dr farhana bin Lothan, an internal medicine specialist from the Imperial College London diabetes center, at minimum, a person is expected to drink at least 2litres of water from Iftar to suhoor.
POSTPONED CRAVING MINDSET:
It’s difficult for someone who is used to eating always to suddenly develop a habit of going 12hrs or more in a day without food or drink. It’s a difficult task. However, it’s Pertinent to point out that one’s Attitude towards a particular phenomenon is totally an issue of mindset. Every action, reaction, and inaction comes from the mind. One’s attitude towards a particular thing comes from the way the person thinks about that particular thing in his mind. A foodie reacts to food the way he thinks about food in his mind. It’s Urgently necessary that the foodie re-orientates himself psychologically during this period. This will help him stay focused. The foodie should adopt a postponed craving mindset during this period. This is a mindset in which he reminds himself constantly that he’s in a period of purity from all earthly affairs including foods and drinks while also assuring himself that he would have access to the best of whatever food or drink he desires at Iftar. This is a mindset of postponing his cravings to experience the best if he would be patient. In this light, the foodie should endeavor to always treat himself to his bests at Iftar. This will surely help the foodie overcome the temptation of eating or drinking during the fast.
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There would hardly be success in anything without discipline. Discipline is always the watchword. To fast for at least 12hrs out of 24hrs in a day, without eating or drinking, one needs discipline. The foodie needs to remind himself that he’s doing this for his spiritual growth and that Allah who sees everything will reward him according to his works. He cannot cheat Allah, hence, he has to be diligent and steadfast in suffering his body for the reward of Allah which awaits him. Though it will be difficult in the first days of fasting because the body, soul and spirit is still trying to get used to the new phenomenon of starving. However, one needs to stay discipline for these few days as the body adjusts properly. Once the body adjusts, going without food and drinks gets easier a task. The foodie is advised here to imbibe discipline.
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