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Stay Calm: Plan for Ramadan

Making small adjustments to your lifestyle and being mindful of your food choices and eating habits 4-8 weeks before Ramadan begins will empower you to change unhealthy habits.  Not only will that help reduce the risk of weight gain during and after Ramadan but also increase the spiritual benefits of the holy month.

If you have any chronic health conditions you MUST see your GP for more specific advice. Diabetics especially must consult their doctor on whether fasting is safe in their unique situation and discuss any adjustments that must be made to medication or diet.

Use these helpful tips as a source of ideas and create you own “plan of action”. Make it specific to your lifestyle and acheivable by making small changes gradually over the one or two months. Writing down your action plan will help you keep you focussed.

 

General Tips

 

Start 4-8 weeks before Ramadan

See your GP a month before Ramadan for a medical assessment if you have any chronic health conditions

Put a few dates in your diary for some practice fasts (Mondays and Thursdays of course if possible) or try Intermittant Fasting.

Can you organise to take some holiday from work, or adjust your hours during the month. Check with your employer.

If you are due for a dental check up,go! Dont delay.

 

Food

 

Begin to reduce your portion sizes, if you are aware you are over-eating

Avoid mid-meal snacking – drink water instead

Swap any refined heavily processed foods with natural, wholesome foods

Incorporate more vegetable and unprocessed carbohydrates (veg) in the diet

Incorporate more protein with each meal. Meat, fish, eggs, fullfat dairy, nuts, seeds, legumes etc.

 

Addictions

 

Skip your afternoon tea/coffee/fizzy soda and opt for a galss of water or hrebal tea

Cut down cigarettes you have in a day, gradually Swap sugary refined foods with wholesome nuts, seeds, fruit, raw veg or even water.

Start a digital detox. Put your phone away at Xpm and do not bring it into bedroom.

Addictions are there for a reason, usually a deper emotional issue. So these tips seem simple but they are exceptionally difficult to maintain, so seek support from loved ones. Perhaps look into tackling these issues. In fact Ramadan is all about spiritual growth adn thats actually a time of reflection on our thoughts, emotions and behaviour. So perhaps som einner work done leading up to the Holy month would serve to make it all the more transformative?

 

Movement

 

Aim to move more and sit less on a daily basis

Begin a gentle walking program

Aim for 30 mins a day or aerobic activity ( walking , running, dancing, cycling, swimming)

Incorporate 2 days a week of resistance training (bodyweight exercise, weights, bands)

Stretch and mobilise the body every day. Try easy beginners you-tube yoga!

 

Cook

 

Cut down on takeaways and get cooking! Infact my plea to humanity. Just stop now. The toxicity in these foods is high on all levels…preparation, cheap vegetable seed oils, old food, cheap produce, pesticide laden foods, excessive waste, plastic packaging, littering as a result.. I mean there really is little to justify the exstance of such places anymore.

Grill, steam, bake or shallow fry

Start to prepare and freeze some easy meals for you and the kids to make the month easier.

Use this time to start eliminating seed oils from your diet. Cook with ghee, butter, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil.

 

Mums of toddlers

 

Ramadan is a challenge, its meant to be and as Muslims we embrace that. But for busy mums with young children at home ( or even at nursery!) its doubly challenging.

Your greatest aid is PREPARATION. Spend the prior months preparing for Ramadan

  • Think of activities to keep the kids busy, arts,crafts, islamic downloadable colouring pages and projects. There are excellent resources on the internet. Make Ramadan folders with all the activites. Have a Ramadan Schedule and try and stick to it. Being in a routine gives you a good sense of control. Of course, this could also be used the rest of the year round.
  • Browse charity shops for books, or buy Islamic story books to read to the kids
  • Do a “spring clean” , spring or not, before the month begins. Tidy extra clutter away, or better, take it to charity shops, organise the house better, wash the bedding and do a super-clean around the house. Keep simple and favourite toys out though to keep the kids occupied when you pray and read Quran.
  • Start to prepare foods that you can freeze to use throughout Ramadan. Curries, sauces, soups, marinated meat, fish, chopped raw veg. If possible store in the freezer in small ready to use packets just enpough for one or two uses.
  • Make up a batch of bone broth that you can freeze in portions to use for soups, stews, rice and pasta.
  • Dont feel guilty about cutting corners. Ramadan is not the time to get everything perfect. Infact I would argue that at any time of life trying to be a perfect mum, wife, homemaker, woman is a recipie for misery and guilt! Just do things with sincere love and happiness and everyone will survive!  So what if you have to have fish-finger sandwiches one evening, or you’re not on top of all the washing and ironing, or the kids are scruffy pups!
  • Don’t compare yourself to others.You are going through your own unique journey through life.Just focus on your spiritual experience and be assured next year and every year after will be different.
  • DURING RAMADAN, keep your meals simple. A quick Iftaari of dates and water, maybe some fruit, a simple main meal and water. Thats how easy it can be. Use your previously made meal plan and shopping list to make cooking and shopping easier.
  • Some nutritionally dense foods are Bone Broth, Full fat live Yoghurt, meat, fish, eggs, soups, green leafy and root veg and nuts/seeds. Try and incorporate some into your every day.

May your Ramadan be blessed and fulfilling and may you feel the benefits, spiritual, physical and emotional and reap those rewards the rest of the year.Ramadan Mubarak!

You can find a detailed blog safe exercising in Ramadan here and also some specific dietary tips to avoid common complications during the fasting period here

Enjoy making your “action plan”  and implementing it and you will enjoy a healthier Ramadan and even a healthier year all round!

 

 

8 Responses so far.

  1. […] The guidance for diet in Ramadan is no different from a generally healthy diet any other time of the year but the key is to start planning well before Ramadan commences. You can find some tips on planning here […]

  2. Khazina says:

    Excellent guide to preparing for the month of fasting. Thanks for putting together such a good article which not only helps for Ramadan but also enables to establish good lifestyle habits and routines all year round!

    • afsha malik says:

      Thank You! All year round routines are the key…then Ramadan becomes a beautiful spiritual break of stillness and introspection before the craziness begins again.

  3. Nazia says:

    Thank you, some good advice there !!

  4. Nadia Khan says:

    I’m calling my dentist to make an appointment now!

    I used to joke that my mum adds butter to everything when she cooks, but actually I know now how much better that is for us. Love you mum. Back to basics!

    My preparation for Ramadan is simply peeling garlic and ginger, whizz and add olive oil to preserve.

    Not comparing yourself to others is key, not feeling guilty for how you manage a household is important. It’s good to learn from others and implement what you can.

    Surrounding yourself with good company, people who give good positive vibes will give good advice.

    Looking forward to Ramadan and making it special for my children.

    Much Love
    Nadia

    • afsha malik says:

      Good Company and Positive Vibes. Brilliant advice. We have under-appreciated the huge impact of our thoughts,feelings and emotions on our health. So keep the enviroment around you happy!

  5. Aisha says:

    Thanks for this advise helps a lot …