Mindful eating during Ramadan
Feasting after the fasting may cause health issues, so here are some guidelines
If your tickets are not yet booked, chances are you're not travelling for Ramadan. If you are staying in the GCC during what promises to be an intensely hot Holy Month, here are a few things to consider - whether you are fasting or not.
The funny thing about Ramadan in the UAE is that with its large expat population, even those not fasting &tend to put on weight during the month as well! Blame it on the amazing and cost-effective iftar buffet packages on offer every day and the high temperatures that make us all lazy to get into a hot kitchen. But even non-fasting expats could benefit from more mindful eating this Ramadan.
In fact, if you are not fasting, you need to be even more mindful of the iftar buffets. If you are going out to &iftar, keep your caloric consumption extremely low during the day by avoiding starchy and sugary foods, eating healthy, small portions of proteins and vegetables, and drinking only water and unsweetened beverages.
Have a plan
Do you know the saying "He who &fails to prepare, prepares to fail?" That applies to any goal, including this one. If you want to be aware of your food consumption during Ramadan, this is essential. There are reasons why some can gain, lose or keep their weight stable during Ramadan; what, why and how you eat have a lot to do with where you could end up on that continuum.
Break your fast with water
Have a sip of hot water, or a hot beve-rage like tea, to break your fast. It will help to relieve your stomach of any gas that may have built up during fasting hours. This is particularly useful in the first few days of fasting, until your body adjusts to the changes. If needed, you may sweeten it with a little honey.
Sip on broth with dinner
A good, light, bone broth made of &chicken, beef or lamb would be good to sip on at the end of your iftar meal. If lentils give you problems with gas, you can replace the traditional lentil soup with this.
Enjoy nice big salads
If you are not drinking during the hot, long days, then your body will need rehydration when you break your fast. Salads are your friends. Stick to the fresh raw salads for mezze to help &you rehydrate, as raw vegetables are rich in water and minerals that your fasting body craves. Fattoush, tabbouleh, garden salads and baba ghanoush are good ones to start with. Fresh cuc-umbers are great for thirsty cells.
Protein is your friend.
Be sure to enjoy main dishes with lots of protein coming from fish, meat, poultry or vegetable sources. You need it for muscle repair and, quite frankly, they taste great.
Good fats are essential
Nuts, avocados, ghee, coconut oil and olive oil are good fats. The fact that they are a part of traditional Middle Eastern and some Indian and Pakistani dishes is a plus. Avoid vegetable oils like soybean, corn and canola, which are cheaper but have harmful effects on the body.
Pick your battles
Don't go out to iftar and suhoor buffets every night. Forget about dangling a carrot in front of a rabbit - that is pretty much locking up the rabbit in a cage filled with carrots. It is harder to restrain yourself if you are around huge amounts of food consistently and for long periods.
Try to spend more time chewing your food as you eat, which will greatly aid digestion. Plus, you will have enough time for your brain to register when you are truly full.
Dear Elvis, kindly leave the building. When you are full, stop eating and &step away from the food. Go to another room. Drink some coffee or strike up a conversation - just get the buffet area completely out of sight. And, do not worry; all that food will not go to waste, especially during Ramadan.
Lemonade and citrus juices, high in vitamin C, rejuvenate the body after a long day of fasting. Add a sprig of mint to the drink, as the herb alleviates nausea, aids digestion and is a natural stimulant to relieve fatigue