The time has come when 1.8 billion Muslims across the world observe the holiest month of the Islamic calendar, i.e., Ramadan. A month long fasting called ‘Sawm’ commences on 17th May 2018 and will continue for 29 or 30 days, depending on the visual sightings of the Moon.
Why Muslims fast during Ramadan?
Ramadan is a period where Muslims practice an extreme level of austerity. For an entire month, Muslims abstain from food every day – from dawn to dusk. The practice is based on one of the 5 pillars of Islam, the other four being: believing in one true God, that is Allah, and that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is the Messenger of God; praying 5 times a day; performing Zakat (charity); Making pilgrimage to Mecca. Historically, this was the time when The Quran was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) by an archangel.
The Ramadan process: How do Muslims fast?
Fasting during Ramadan is the ultimate obligation that comes in the life of every Muslim when they achieve puberty. Each day, they will have a pre-fast meal ‘suhur’, before dawn, begin their absolute fast, and finally end it after sunset with ‘iftar’, the fast-breaking meal.
Staying without food and water for not less than 14 hours everyday – for an entire month – is a serious endeavour. While one’s spiritualism and devotion might act as the supplier of strength, you can’t deny that the body goes through a unspeakable toll, biologically speaking. Coming from the practice of eating at every 3 hours and gulping water down the lungs almost anytime, having zero amount of food or water is not easy at all. Now add the long hot days of Summer to that. There is simply no telling how hard it can get!
However, it is important to preserve your energy and ensure your well-being in order to fast without facing any health-related challenges.
Here is an assortment of the most helpful tips you could find online to learn how to fast safely for Ramadan and retain optimal energy throughout the day.
Top 6 tips to retain optimal energy and fast safely during Ramadan
1. Eat slow-digesting, high-protein food for Suhur – While other days you would want your food to break down fast and give you energy, this process needs to be reversed during the month of Ramadan. Firstly, you need to go for food that digests slowly. In general, food takes 2 hours on an average to break down. The stomach and small intestines are half empty in 3 hours. In 5 hours, the stomach gets completely empty. Eat food like Meat, oats, brown rice, legumes, whole wheat breads, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy products, nuts, grains (especially Millets), etc., which takes a while to digest.
2. Drink water till your neck – Staying hydrated is the first step towards a healthy Ramadan. While water is prohibited during the fast, make sure you are having water as much as possible when you are not fasting. Drink enough water once you break the fast and for the rest of the night hours. The next day when you wake up for suhur, make sure you have had water till your neck before the dawn-to-dusk fasting begins.
3. Replace workout with meditation or yoga – For those of you who go for a jog or workout in the morning, try doing meditation or yoga instead. Heavy gym workouts or running dehydrates your body and since you can’t have even a drop of water, such fitness activities can cause dizziness. Switch to meditation in order to keep your fitness regime undeterred. Simple yoga can also be done, however, difficult asanas should be avoided.
4. Immerse yourself in interesting activities – Besides work, try to involve yourself in some unique activity during the day. You can start with activities like writing a book, starting a blog, etc. A new activity for an entire month will keep you consumed as well as impact your psychology to keep you active and energised.
5. Break your fast with Dates – “It is said that Muhammad (peace be upon him) broke his Ramadan fast with three dates.” Despite the historical significance, Dates have just the right proportions of sugar and water to supply some instant energy to an energy-drained body.
6. Iftar food tips – When first breaking, go for plenty of fluids – water, milk, juice, smoothies – and begin your iftar with a healthy salad, mainly consisting of hydrating vegetables and fruits. For the main course, start with grilled or shallow-fried items like Kebabs, sautéed chicken, baked fish, brown rice with roasted vegetables, etc. It is natural that you would want to treat yourself after a long fast and would crave for fatty and sugary food. Try to limit their intake and have them only after you have had something more healthy and nutritious.
Follow this routine to stay healthy and active while fasting during this holy month of Ramadan.