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 Healthy Ramadan

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Numarul mesajelor : 667
Data de inscriere : 2009-06-13
Varsta : 45
Localizare : Cairo, Egypt

PostSubject: Healthy Ramadan   Fri Aug 06, 2010 5:41 pm

Fasting and Your Health

Fasting during the month of Ramadan can be good for your health if it’s done correctly.

When the body is starved of food, it starts to burn fat so that it can make energy. This can lead to weight loss. However, if you fast for too long your body will eventually start breaking down muscle protein for energy, which is unhealthy.
Dr Razeen Mahroof, an anaesthetist from Oxford, says there's a strong relationship between diet and health.
“Ramadan isn’t always thought of as being a opportunity to lose weight because the spiritual aspect is emphasised more generally than the health aspect," he says. "However, it’s a great chance to get the physical benefits as well.”

Source of energy

The changes that happen in the body during a fast depend on the length of the continuous fast. The body enters into a fasting state eight hours or so after the last meal, when the gut finishes absorbing nutrients from the food.
In the normal state, body glucose, which is stored in the liver and muscles, is the body’s main source of energy. During a fast, this store of glucose is used up first to provide energy. Later in the fast, once the glucose runs out, fat becomes the next source of energy for the body.
Small quantities of glucose are also manufactured by other processes in the liver.
With a prolonged fast of many days or weeks, the body starts using protein for energy.
This is the technical description of what is commonly known as ‘starvation’. It is clearly unhealthy. It involves protein being released from the breakdown of muscle, which is why people who starve look very thin and become very weak.
However, you are unlikely to reach the starvation stage during Ramadan because the fast is broken daily.

Gentle transition

As the Ramadan fast only lasts from dawn till dusk, the body's energy can be replaced in the pre-dawn and dusk meals.
This provides a gentle transition from using glucose to fat as the main source of energy, and prevents the breakdown of muscle for protein.
Dr Mahroof says the use of fat for energy helps weight loss. It preserves the muscles, and eventually reduces your cholesterol level. In addition, weight loss results in better control of diabetes and reduces blood pressure.
“A detoxification process also occurs, because any toxins stored in the body’s fat are dissolved and removed from the body,” says Dr Mahroof.
After a few days of the fast, higher levels of certain hormones appear in the blood (endorphins), making you more alert and giving an overall feeling of general mental wellbeing.
A balanced food and fluid intake is important between fasts. The kidney is very efficient at maintaining the body’s water and salts, such as sodium and potassium. However, these can be lost through sweating.
To prevent muscle breakdown, meals must contain enough energy food, such as carbohydrates and some fat.

“The way to approach your diet during fasting is similar to the way you should be eating outside Ramadan," says Dr Mahroof. "You should have a balanced diet with the right proportion of carbs, fat and protein.

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Numarul mesajelor : 667
Data de inscriere : 2009-06-13
Varsta : 45
Localizare : Cairo, Egypt

PostSubject: Re: Healthy Ramadan   Fri Aug 06, 2010 5:57 pm

Guide to Healthy Fasting

Dr Razeen Mahroof, an anaesthetist from Oxford, says feasting during the non-fasting hours can be unhealthy. He says you need to approach the fast with discipline, or the opportunity to lose weight and be healthier will be wasted.
“The underlying message behind Ramadan is self-discipline and self-control," he says. "This shouldn’t fall apart at the end of the day".

Balanced diet

Those observing the fast should have at least two meals a day, the pre-dawn meal (Suhoor) and a meal at dusk (Iftar).
Dr Mahroof says your food intake should be simple and not differ too much from your normal diet. It should contain foods from all the major food groups:

  • Fruit and vegetables.
  • Bread, other cereals and potatoes.
  • Meat, fish and alternatives.
  • Milk and dairy foods.
  • Foods containing fat and sugar.

Complex carbohydrates are foods that help release energy slowly during the long hours of fasting. They are found in grains and seeds, like barley, wheat, oats, millets, semolina, beans, lentils, wholemeal flour and basmati rice.
Fibre-rich foods are also digested slowly and include bran, cereals, whole wheat, grains and seeds, potatoes with the skin, vegetables such as green beans and almost all fruit, including apricots, prunes and figs.
Foods to avoid are the heavily-processed, fast-burning foods that contain refined carbohydrates (sugar and white flour), as well as fatty food (for example, cakes, biscuits, chocolates and sweets such as Indian Mithai).
It's also worth avoiding caffeine-based drinks such as tea, coffee and cola. Caffeine is a diuretic and stimulates faster water loss through urination.

Wholesome foods

Suhoor, the pre-dawn meal, should be a wholesome, moderate meal that is filling and provides enough energy for many hours.
“Suhoor should be light and include slow digesting food like pitta bread, salad, cereal (especially oats) or toast so that you have a constant release of energy,” Dr Mahroof says.
“It’s important to have some fluids with vitamins, such as fruit juice or fruit. Some people have isotonic drinks (such as Lucozade) to replace any lost salts.”
It's customary for Muslims to break the fast (Iftar) with some dates, in accordance with the Prophetic traditions.
Dates will provide a burst of energy. Fruit juices will also have a similar, revitalising effect. Start by drinking plenty of water, which helps rehydration and reduces the chances of over indulgence. Avoid the rich, special dishes that traditionally celebrate the fast.

Foods to avoid

  • Deep-fried foods, for example pakoras, samosas and fried dumplings.
  • High-sugar and high-fat foods, including sweets such as Gulab Jamun, Rasgulla, Balushahi and Baklawa.
  • High-fat cooked foods, for example, parathas, oily curries and greasy pastries.

Healthy alternatives

  • Wholegrains, such as chickpeas (plain or with potato in yogurt with different Indian spices), samosas (baked instead of fried), and boiled dumplings.
  • Chapattis made without oil, baked or grilled meat and chicken. Make pastry at home and use a single layer.
  • Milk-based sweets and puddings such as Rasmalai and Barfee.

Cooking methods to avoid

  • Deep frying.
  • Frying.
  • Curries with excessive oil.

Healthy cooking methods

  • Shallow frying (usually there is little difference in taste).
  • Grilling or baking is healthier and helps retain the taste and original flavour of the food, especially with chicken and fish.

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Numarul mesajelor : 667
Data de inscriere : 2009-06-13
Varsta : 45
Localizare : Cairo, Egypt

PostSubject: Re: Healthy Ramadan   Fri Aug 06, 2010 6:07 pm

Healthy Ramadan Meal Plan

These healthy meal ideas will give you a varied and balanced diet during Ramadan. They include ingredients from the five major food groups.

The meal plan has been written by medical experts in consultation with Islamic scholars.
Suhoor: a bowl of porridge with milk, one slice of toast and a handful of unsalted nuts.
Iftar: pitta bread with chicken, salad and hummus and one or two middle-eastern sweet baklawa pieces.
Suhoor: wheat-based cereal with milk, a plain scone or crumpet and an apple or banana.
Iftar: chicken with boiled rice, vegetable curry and mixed salad followed by fruit salad with single cream.
Suhoor: a bowl of shredded wheat or muesli and a pear or orange.
Iftar: fish baked with roasted vegetables or fish curry with rice followed by sweet vermicelli or one piece of jalebi (an Indian sweet).
Suhoor: cheese and a one teaspoon of jam with crackers or toast and a handful of dried fruits.
Iftar: pasta cooked with vegetables and chicken or fish and a slice of plain cake with custard.
Fluids (water and juices) and dates should be added to each Suhoor (pre-dawn meal) and Iftar (dinner - the meal that ends the day's fast). The daily fast is broken with dates, followed by Iftar.

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Numarul mesajelor : 667
Data de inscriere : 2009-06-13
Varsta : 45
Localizare : Cairo, Egypt

PostSubject: Re: Healthy Ramadan   Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:48 pm

Drink and Eat but No Excessive

Sheikh Muhammad al-Hamad

Allah says: “O children of Adam, take your adornment to every mosque. Eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He does not like those who commit excess.” [Sûrah al-A`râf: 31]

There are a number of etiquettes related to fasting. One of these is for the fasting person to be moderate in his eating and drinking during the nights of the fast.

Alas, we see that some people – indeed most people – turn the month of Ramadan into an annual season for exuberant table spreads filled with copious amounts of exotic foods. They go out of bounds, exhibiting every possible manner of excess. You see them going out to the markets to spend dearly on culinary delights that they would almost never think to purchase at any other time of the year.

The result of this behavior is that a lot of money gets wasted and a lot of people fall ill on account of overeating. Even worse, people find themselves too sluggish and tired after gorging themselves to engage in worship. We should also think about the valuable time in Ramadan that gets wasted shopping in the markets and preparing all that fancy food, much of which ends up in the trash bin.

The exhaustive culinary preparations for Ramadan that most Muslims engage in are contrary to Allah’s orders and contradict the true spirit of Ramadan. They are also unhealthy and uneconomical.

If these people would only conduct themselves appropriately, in accordance with the manners taught by Islam, and eat the foods that they usually eat, they could spend the extra money in charity, as they are supposed to do in Ramadan. They could feed the poor, the needy, and the orphan. They could give those who find themselves in restricted means a chance to break their fasts on something nice as well.

Almost every affluent person who spends lavishly on his Ramadan menu has some poor neighbors. These neighbors have the greatest right to his charity. If some affluent person has no poor neighbors, then there are still many other avenues open to him.

If the squanderers on fancy food and drink would do this instead, they would add to their fasts another noble way of drawing closer to Allah, which is to do good to those who are in need. This would have a great affect on society. It would bring the hearts of the people closer together in this blessed month. Everyone would feel that this is indeed the month of goodness, mercy, and brotherhood.

We should also consider the consequences of indulging all of our appetites. It leads only to misery and sickness. Sometimes a doctor imposes upon his patient a specific dietary regimen to allow the body to rest, to cleanse and reinvigorate itself, and to restore its inner balance. It is a regimen for health.

This, in fact, is one of the obvious wisdoms of our fasting. How can we turn this upon its head and make Ramadan into an occasion for eating more and more?

Allah says: “Eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He does not like those who commit excess.” [Sûrah al-A`râf: 31]

Some scholars have commented on this verse, saying: “Allah has gathered together all of medicine in this verse.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The child of Adam fills no vessel worse than his stomach. Sufficient for the child of Adam are a few morsels to keep his back straight. If he must eat more, then a third should be for his food, a third for his drink, and a third left for air.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (2380) and Musnad Ahmad (17186) and authenticated by al-Albânî in Sahîh al-Jâmi`]

No sensible person can be heedless of the negative consequences that overindulgence in food and drink has for our religious and worldly lives. These consequences go far above and beyond what we have already mentioned. Overeating dulls the intellect and impairs our thought processes. It leads to indolence. It hardens our hearts and inspires our basest passions and desires, giving Satan a chance to take over.

Ibn Taymiyah writes: It is established that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Indeed, Satan runs in the son of Adam in the way that blood circulates.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî]

There is no doubt that blood is born of what we eat and drink Therefore, when we eat and drink, we broaden the avenues for Satan. This is why it has been said: “Constrict his avenues with hunger.”

When Satan’s paths are hindered, the heart is inspired to do the good deeds that open the doors of Paradise. It finds it easy to abandon the sins that open the doors of Hell.

In Ramadan, the devils are chained and their strength and power is diminished. They cannot achieve in Ramadan what they are capable of achieving at other times of the year. However, we cannot say that the devils have died or have been slain. They have merely been chained. A chained devil can still get up to some mischief, but not as much as usual. The power of these devils is diminished according to how completely we observe our fasts. A person whose fasts are observed in the best, most complete possible manner repels the power of Satan far more than a person whose fasts are deficient.

There is a clear correlation between abstinence from food and drink and this other ruling that is founded on it.

Luqmân said to his son: “O my son! If the stomach is full, one’s mental processes go to sleep, one’s wisdom is dulled, and one’s limbs refrain from worship.”

`Umar observed: “Whoever eats a lot finds no pleasure in the remembrance of Allah.”

`Umar also said: “If you have a paunch, then consider yourself chronically ill.”

Ibn al-Qayyim writes:

Overeating leads to all sorts of evil consequences. It quickens the limbs towards disobedience while making them lazy to work righteousness. These two consequences are sufficient to show just how bad it is. How many are the sins that have come about as a result of satiation and overeating. How many are the good deeds that have failed to materialize on account of it. Whoever safeguards himself from the evil of his stomach has indeed saved himself from a great evil. Satan has his greatest influence over a person with a full stomach…

If the only consequence of a full stomach were that it leads to neglecting Allah’s remembrance, then know that the heart’s heedlessness of Allah’s remembrance for but an hour is opportunity enough for Satan to beset it with promises, false desires, cravings, and every manner of discontent. When a soul is satiated, it becomes restless and goes about seeking opportunities for indulgence. When it is hungry, it becomes tranquil and shows humility and submissiveness.

Those who go to great lengths in seeking their culinary pleasures actually find food less delicious than those who restrain themselves.

Ibn Taymiyah writes:

Those who show moderation in eating find greater pleasure in their food than those who overindulge. When they become addicted and habituated to their indulgence, they find no great pleasure in it anymore, though they might suffer for want of it when they do not have it and endure ill health because of it.

I address my esteemed brothers and sisters who are fasting and say: With the situation being as we have described it, why do we not make this month of ours an opportunity to moderate our eating habits? Our inner selves are always probing, never content with a mere modicum of pleasure. If we exert our efforts to get our inner selves under control, then they can learn self-restraint and we can rein in their passions and their incessant pursuit of pleasure. Otherwise, if we choose to go forward in this pursuit and give in to our every whim and fancy, it will lead us to our ruin.

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