FASTING for the month of Ramadan benefits both the body and spirit. Many are guilty of fasting for the latter and not taking good health into consideration.
Fasting has become mainstream in many fitness circles because it carries healthy benefits for our bodies. Intermittent fasting (IF) has hit the mainstream during the last few years, with many people enjoying better health. IF eliminates brain fog, helps with weight maintenance and weight loss, regulates blood sugar, increases energy levels and allows for an over feeling of well-being. Ramadan fasting is in fact intermittent fasting.
So my question is this: if you are fasting for both spirit and body, then why isn’t good health also a consideration during the holy month of Ramadan?
Here are some useful tips to get the best for your body during this holy month.
Eliminate bad fats from your diet; choose cleaner fats such as coconut oil, olive oil and butter.
Eliminate processed foods, these will not be converted into energy and will have you feeling exhausted sooner than you should. Eliminate sugar, by doing so you will eliminate food cravings, choose honey instead. Do not consume artificial flavourings, these are loaded with sodium.
Nourish your body with nutrient-dense foods like whole grains such as brown rice, whole-wheat flour, spelt, cracked wheat and quinoa, whole grain cereals, sweet potatoes and cassava. These are all high in fibre and are low-glycemic carbs so they keep you feeling full longer.
Go easy on desserts, sweeten the deal with dates and fresh fruit. Go for fruits that are mostly made-up of water like watermelon and pineapples, these will keep you hydrated during the day.
Drink your water, don’t drink sweetened drinks. Enough water during the non-fasting hours will ensure your body stays hydrated during the fasting hours.
Try to lessen your meat intake, it’s a good idea to give your digestive system a rest. You can choose lighter meats such as fish, chicken and eggs.
Non-fasting hours are not meant for binge eating.
Your morning meal should consist of eggs, wholegrain toast or provisions, vegetables and a piece of fruit. Avocado is always a good idea if available.
Your evening meal should be a good helping of fresh vegetables, some protein, meat or legumes and some complex carbs. Finish off the meal with natural yoghurt, honey or fruit such as mangoes which are now in season.
Remember you are eating clean and nourishing your body so that in the final week your strength will not wane. Your body will be healthier for it all at the end.
Sweet potato pie
Satisfying and delicious, you can omit the eggs. Goes well with fish and steamed vegetables.
2 eggs, separated
4 tbs butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 lbs sweet potato boiled and crushed
½ cup fresh orange juice
½ cup milk
1 tsp grated orange zest
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
Beat egg whites to soft peaks and set aside. Preheat oven to 375. Grease a deep casserole dish, 4 inches in height. Heat a small sauté pan, add butter and melt, add onions and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Place sweet potato into a mixing bowl, add onion and combine, add egg yolks, orange juice, milk and zest, and nutmeg. Stir to combine. Fold in egg whites, turn into a greased casserole dish. Bake for 20 minutes until puffed and golden.
Serves 4 to 6
Great start to the fast if you are lacking time.
½ cup Greek yoghurt
½ cup rolled oats
2/3 cup cows milk, almond milk, rice milk or soy milk
1 tbs chia seeds
Pinch sea salt
Honey, agave or maple syrup to sweeten.
Mix all ingredients together, place on a glass container and cover. Refrigerate overnight. Enjoy for breakfast. Variations: Add ½-ripe, chopped banana and 2 tbs dark chocolate chips or 1 tbs cocoa nibs. Add: 2 tbs cocoa powder and 2 tbs almond or peanut butter.
Feel good black eye pea and quinoa salad
1 cup quinoa
1 cup black eyed peas, cooked and drained
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped, or less if you prefer
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp roasted geera
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbs salad vinegar
/4 cup olive oil
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
Wash the quinoa well in a sieve, place into a medium sized saucepan. Add one cup water and bring to a boil, simmer for i5 minutes, cool. Combine quinoa with peas, red pepper, onion, coriander, and geera. Stir well, now add salt, vinegar and oil. Toss to combine, sprinkle on parsley and toss. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Wendy’s Cooking classes: Delicious Breads, June 9.
Trini-Style Cooking, June 23.
Teen and Kids Cooking Camps in July
Call 357-0927 to register