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What to do during the Muslim Ramadan month of fasting?
This is a repost of a blog I wrote last year regarding the Muslim month of Ramadan which is just around the corner again.
Assalamu Alaykum (peace be unto you all) and we would like to extend wishes for a happy, blessed, and healthy Ramadan, or should we say Rawmadan, for our Muslim members many of whom will be starting their month of fasting sometime in the next week, give or take where they live in the world.
For our non Muslim members, Ramadan is a month that Muslims, followers of the religion of Islam, will fast for about 29-30 days. They fast from sunrise to sunset. Food and drink may be taken during the pm and early am hours. Ramadan is a time of increased worship, of giving in charity, reducing consumption, and in learning sympathy for the poor people.
Keep in mind, this is not the kind of fasting that requires complete abstinence of food or calorie restriction. Only restraint is required during the day time hours possibly to achieve some spiritual or self disciplinary ends. Eating, calorie and drinking requirements are met in the pm and early am hours.
This blog post will demonstrate the following:
Lifestyle of Prophet Muhammad
Although not 100% fruitarian, Prophet Muhammad may have eaten a diet that closely resembles 811 himself, although his occasional eating of meat makes his diet resemble more that of primates.
His diet may have been naturally low fat as cooking oils would not have been in wide spread use during his lifetime. Olive oils may have been a valuable commodity for oil lamps.
Prophet Muhammad rarely ate meat, may be 3-4 times a year with Eid being an occassion he might indulge.
Muhammad may have been one of the earliest green activist as he discouraged cutting down trees unless there was a legitimate need and abusing animals. It was said that Muhammad had a cat and he might drink from the same water or eat from the same dish a cat had shared. He discouraged dressing excessively and or practicing consumption without need. He discouraged wastage of food and items. (1)
Prophet Muhammad ate mono meals! Which is classic advice we give to people around here. In fact, he only ate one type of food in one day. (2)
Food's of the Prophet's house included: a lot of dates which were and still are a food staple in the Arabian region, figs, cucumbers, melons, with the possibility of pomegranates. Onions and garlic were known foods to Muhammad as well.
Fruits and vegetables mentioned in the Quran, the holy book of Islam, are dates and date palms, olives, pomegranates, grapes, banana plants, figs, herbs, cucumbers, garlic, lentils, and onions. (3)
Prophet Muhammad may have followed a no grain diet himself, and rarely if ever ate bread, and discouraged others not to eat the refined bread of the rich man. His wives may have occasionally eaten bread made from course whole grains.
The household of Muhammad did not cook much, neither employed a cook. They were known to go for up to three months without a fire on the hearth. Some of this was because of hardships, and some of this was because of their generous nature of giving food away to the needy.
Following a 811 type of diet is nothing new in traditional Islam, and may actually be the way of the Prophet Muhammad.
Hydration Concerns in Ramadan
This is our recommendation to stay hydrated no matter what the circumstances as it is difficult to digest fruit on a dehydrated system.
When rising in the morning, and or about 10-20 minutes before a meal, drink 3-4 cups of water, or a quart or more. Let the water pass and to get the system properly hydrated as well as make room for fruit.
For people practicing Islam during Ramadan, when getting up in the morning, drink 3-4 cups of water, and then other things can be done such as the night prayer or quran reading. Then eat ripe juicy fruits such as ripe oranges to promote hydration maintenance.
When breaking the fast, again, just drink about a quart of water, and then go for evening prayers. Once the prayers are done, the system will be properly hydrated and ready to digest and assimilate food.
Before sleeping, again drink 3-4 cups of water, and keep a bottle of water bedside.
Recommended Daily Routine in Ramadan
In the morning, before breakfast, drink about a quart of water. Perhaps wait about 10 minutes and recite some Quran or pray tahajjud, and then take some dates. Eat 5-10 bananas or 10 oranges, and up to 1000 calories of fruit are already eaten.
You may find you feel good because enough calories and carbohydrates have been taken to give you energy, these foods are high in nutrients, and low fat so that the body can assimilate the nutrients and oxygen, and of course, you are not dehydrated.
Take rest during the daytime fasting, especially if it is hot and the summer season where some of you live. Avoid training and heavy exercise during this month. If I have heard correct, there is enough exercise to be had during the evening taraveeh prayers:D
At the break of the fast, drink 3-4 cups of water and eat dates or drink a datorade! Go for prayers.
On your return, eat another 500-1000 calories of your favorite fruits.
At this time, you may want to eat an alkalizing green salad of 1-2 pounds of greens too, but if not, it could be eaten a few hours later. Do not forget the importance of eating greens even if it just 1/2 pound a day.
Before sleeping, drink another 3-4 cups of water, and keep a bottle of water by your bed for pm drinking.
And, Wallahi, you have your 2-3 quarts of water, and have easily consumed 2500-3000 calories during allowed eating times.
Get plenty of sleep during the night, and rest during the day. Because it is a fast, and or some of you are still new to 811, you may experience some detox symptoms. Avoid heavy training and workouts for this month, slow down and rest, and enjoy life, family, friends, and worship.
It is recommended to do heavy housecleaning and tend to major business before Ramadan starts so that one can rest in mind and body and focus on worship.
You may find that you feel better than ever, and better than some of your family and friends who are gorging on high fat fried foods, spicy foods, and animal products.
Sample Routine of One Member
I did yoga (very meditative and relaxing - a new thing for me with yoga) for about 30 minutes right before Iftar.
For Iftar tonight I started with 1.5L of water, and then waited 20-30 minutes to eat. I started with 1 very large papaya, then 6 cut up bananas and 10 medjool dates, so around ~1500 cals. It took me 1 hour to eat all of this, I just ate it slowly and mindfully. By this time it was around 10:30pm.
I felt very energetic, and at 11:15pm I decided to do some exercises. I did some pretty good rope skipping, I always try to get to 1000 skips, and had no problem doing that. I downed 1L of water after that. Shortly after, I had a huge bowl of cherries, and then a banana/baby spinach smoothie. Both added up to ~600 cals.
Right now (2am) I'm finishing up another liter of water, and I will not be waking up for Suhoor, and will just sleep through till the morning. I think this is best because I am very full, and I think it's more beneficial if I just get a good night's sleep.
My calories for the day are ~2100cals, which is significantly lower than what I'm used to (at least 2500cals, usually more like 3000cals). But I guess this corresponds well with what I've done today, which is basically nothing other than just walking around the city in the morning, yoga, and then my rope skipping exercise.
Hope this helps someone. If I make any significant changes to this plan as the month progresses I will post. It's only the first day after all!
Good luck to all of you, and again, have a blessed, safe, and healthy Ramadan.
For any of you Muslim members out there who have passed a HCRV 811 Ramadan, please feel free to share your experiences and or pass on advice to others.
Also, those of you who have questions, feel free to ask.
This blog is for informational purposes only.
The medical and/or nutritional information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health
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Updated August 9, 2012 By PK