7 Healthy Eating Tips for Ramadan
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With the holy month of Ramadan quickly approaching, Muslims around the world prepare to fast from food, water and sexual activity for a period of 30 days during daylight hours. This is not only a period of purification of heart, body and mind, but a time for those who practice the Islamic faith to practice submission before Allah. No matter your beliefs, this period of time for me acts as an ultimate meditation and sacrifice before the power of the universe, which to me brings about a humble spirit and mind; a calmness and in essence detaches me from many worldly addictions and indulgences of daily life.
2013 was my third experience with Ramadan and it was my first time experiencing it in America, where the daylight hours of summer last a whopping 16 hours as compared to the 13 to 14 hours in Southeast Asia where I experienced my first two years. It definitely presented a new challenge for myself and my spiritual growth.
Ramadan presents a very interesting challenge for many Muslims who live a healthy and active lifestyle and want to continue to do so during the Holy Month, like myself. The temptations to succumb to the urges to break fast with sugar laden, unhealthy dishes is high. The customary and cultural dishes that many families enjoy only during this month are abundant, but usually not very healthy. So what is a person who is concerned with health to do?
Here are some tips to help you eat better during the month of Ramadan.
1. Drink plenty of water. Hydration is the foundation of your entire diet. Often times we mistake thirst for hunger, so we must be vigilant during the non-fasting hours and get as much water as possible into the body.
2. Replenish your electrolytes naturally with coconut water as opposed to sports drinks. Real coconut water provides the body with electrolytes, vitamins and nutrients and rapidly hydrates your body. Be sure not to buy into the fake coconut water springing up on shelves these days.
3. Get plenty of fiber in the morning. The benefits of fiber are tremendous. Not only will it keep you full, but it helps reduce body fat and protects the heart and arteries from cholesterol.
4. Quality sources of protein are must (especially in the morning). If you eat meat, try to stick to grass fed, free range meats. Eggs are also a quality source of protein. If you consume dairy, then yogurt, cheese and free range organic milk. If you don’t consume dairy, a great replacement is coconut milk or nut milks. Oat milk is also an option as a milk substitute.
5. Good Carbs are important and by good Carbs, I mean greens, vegetables and fruits. Steer clear of the breads and refined grains. Those good carbs are nutrient dense and will provide your body with lots of good nutritional value at the cellular level.
6. Get some quality fat in you. Quality Omega 3 Fats are great for your body. For brain function and cardiovascular function, these fats work wonders. They also keep you full. You can take an over the counter supplement, or get them naturally from Flaxseed, Coconut, Fish, Nuts, etc.
7. Concentrate on nutrient density as opposed to calories. The more nutrient dense your foods are, the better tools your body has to work with. Eating a McDonalds meal at 1000+ calories will satisfy you for a short time, make you full, but not satisfy your body’s overall hunger for nutrients. So you will crave more nutrients and essentially crave more calories. If you fill your meals with high nutritional value foods like fruits, vegetables, as well as nutrient dense supplements like Wheat Grass, Barley Grass and Spirulina, you may find you energy levels higher and less cravings for more calories.
Integrate some of these ideas into your healthy eating plan and see how it goes. Good luck and have a healthy and happy Ramadan.
PS: Be sure to check out our 7 Day Meal Plan Strategy .
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