Alḥamdulillāh, all praise is due to Allāh the Creator of the heaven and earth and everything in between. As the month of Ramadan is moving backwards through the solar calendar once again, Ramaḍān begins in the heat of summer with long days and short nights in some places of the world. And next year, inshā’Allāh, God willing, the days are going to be even longer. It’s the perfect time to take our deen, our Islamic lifestyle, to another level that includes nutrition.
Farewell to Fried Foods
It’s time to say good-bye to junk foods, toxins, and bad habits. Fried foods are essentially junk food in comparison to an Islamic “halal and tayyib” diet. Food studies reveal that fried foods damage your body and brain in many ways. They clog arteries and lead to strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, inflamed joints, heart attacks, aneurysms, and elevated blood pressure. This is no surprise when most corn oil and rape seed oil (canola) is genetically modified, contains pesticides, and more toxic than soy oil. For more information on these oils see, “So, You Think Canola Oil is Healthy?”
Purify the Body, Illuminate the Soul
Islam is a complete religion for the mind, body, and soul. We have been gifted with an amazing body, Alḥamdulillāh, praise God. Narrated `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-As:
Allāh’s Apostle (Muḥammad) said, “O `Abdullah! Have I not been formed that you fast all the day and stand in prayer all night?”
I said, “Yes, O Allāh’s Apostle!”
He said, “Do not do that! Observe the fast sometimes and also leave them (the fast) at other times; stand up for the prayer at night and also sleep at night. Your body has a right over you, your eyes have a right over you and your wife has a right over you.” (Sahih Bukhāri)
It is clear from the above hadith, that our body has rights over us. The body needs the right fuel to run at optimum performance. This means eating food that provides long, slow release of energy as well as vital vitamins and minerals.
Sacred Foods in a Six Hour Window
All the foods mentioned in the Qurʾān and Sunnah are beneficial for our health. They are “halal and tayyib” meaning they are lawful AND pure. They are whole meal, quality foods that complement the body.
They are fresh foods, full of sun-fired vitality. However, the wrong combinations of healthy foods can be unhealthy. There is a difference of opinion about “Food Combining theory” between qualified nutritionists, vegan raw foodies whose business often depends on them justifying mixing certain fruits, nuts, and vegetables, and scientists who are usually paid by Big Pharma and the processed food industry.
Islamically, we are allowed to eat meat. Meat is part of the food combining equation. With a little skill and know-how we can eat from all the food groups. This year we are going to try something that seems radical. This is going to take a real shift for some of us .I know many Muslims eat through the night until Fajr, that’s not new, however I am going to introduce good nutrition and food combining into this 6 hour window in which we can eat. This 6 hour, healthy banquet is a long meal. Starting with fluid and more fluid, soups, starters, and salad and then the main course at suḥūr. What, no dessert? No dessert! Let’s save that for ‘Īd, inshā’Allāh.
Breaking Fast: Dates and Water
First and most important is hydration. Hydration is going to be the key factor in this year’s Ramaḍān nutrition. We are going to have to monitor, regulate, and force ourselves to drink water. It is essential during this 6 hour window that we drink at least 2 liters or 3 ½ pints of water. It can be broken down like this:
Iftar: 500 ml water and dates. Personally, I will be adding a spoon of honey to my iftar water, not only for the energy but also for the healing, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties, as well as much more.
Every hour after that 300 ml or 10 oz of water including at suḥūr.
There is a wisdom to why we eat dates. They are sun-fired packages of high energy multivitamins and minerals. If you don’t already, train yourself to love them, they are a superfood.
Caffeinated drinks such as tea or coffee so not count towards this fluid intake, as these will deplete your body of essential vitamins and minerals like magnesium, and also dehydrate you. If you must drink these, then have an additional mug of water and make sure you take a vegan multi-vitamin and mineral supplement.
Maghrib with a Side of Fruits
Fruits are so special they will be in paradise. The Holy Qurʾān mentions fruits as a generic term فاكهة fourteen times.
1. And for them there is fruit, and for them there is what they ask for. [36:57]
2. Therein they will recline; therein they will call for fruit in abundance and drinks. [38:51]
3. Therein for you will be fruit in plenty, of which you will eat (as you desire). [43:73].
Bananas, dates, grapes, figs, and pomegranate are individually mentioned in other chapters.
Fruits are sun-fired foods that have a high water content as well as essential vitamins and minerals.
Eat some sort of fruit salad, fruit juice, or smoothie after breaking fast with water and dates. If time is not on your side, buy pressed fruit juice with bits, not smooth and not concentrate. If you are making it at home, smoothies are better than juices because they contain soluble and insoluble fibers. Fiber is good to combat constipation, encouraging elimination of toxins. It’s good for the digestive and circulatory systems of the body.
Fruits digest more quickly than vegetables, opening the digestive canal and providing energy, vitamins, and minerals to the organs. To combat your thirst at iftar, have a watermelon smoothie, agua fresca, with honey and lemon, then have another type of fruit smoothie. Melons are the quickest of fruits to digest, taking only 20 minutes. Watermelon can be blended or juiced, including the skin and seeds, which contain the important minerals magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, Zinc, Iron, potassium and copper. All essential!
Keep the smoothies just fruits, no nuts, no dairy, no veggies, then pray Maghrib. This will give your digestive tract time to open up, absorb these essential sugars, vitamins, and minerals and give you energy for the rest of the evening inshā’Allāh.
Remember to drink more water while you are preparing this next part of the meal.
Herbage is mentioned a few times in the Qurʾān. Herbage can mean “the succulent part of herbaceous vegetation,” 1 All edible plants are considered to be herbage.2
Seest thou not that Allāh sends down water from the clouds, then makes it go down into the earth in springs, then brings forth therewith herbage of various hues; then it withers so that thou seest it turn yellow, then He makes it chaff? Surely there is a reminder in this for men of understanding. (39:21)
After Magrib eat something vegetarian, healthy, and tasty. Have high fiber salads with an amazing dressing or soup. Raw vegetables also have high water, mineral, and vitamin content. This is where you can also eat your starchy carbs. We can have vegetable curry and rice, whole meal pasta with zucchini and tomato sauce, rice flour pancakes (substitute soaked flax seeds for egg to bind), or Mediterranean rice salad with scrumptious asparagus and artichokes. Check out some vegan recipes. There is so much choice BUT no protein at his point. Look at this list of amazing Veggies from Allāh’s Bounty Store:
Originally Published on http://behalal.org