Ramadan is the one of the most predictable events of the Islamic year, yet it takes us by surprise every single time. And before we know it, our bodies are struggling with the first day of fasting. Being low on sugar, caffeine or nicotine is never a fun way to start the holy month.
But with over a month before Ramadan starts in 2015, you can start planning ahead and coaching your body to cope with the routine fasting. Here are some tips for before and during Ramadan to ensure you are never drained of energy.
1. Ditch the addictions.
Being the caffeine addict that I am, I know that yearning in the morning when you unconsciously reach out for the coffee jar, then stop half way because it's the first day of Ramadan.
To avoid the sudden shortage and withdrawal of caffeine, start by reducing the number of cups your drink per day, and increase the hours between each. Also try to avoid drinking coffee once you wake, and increase the time you give yourself before the first cup of coffee.
The same rules apply for nicotine addiction – if you try weaning yourself slowly off hookah or cigarettes now, you'll be better come Ramadan.
2. Move often.
Forget the hunger, the thirst and the headaches. The biggest bummer of all while fasting, especially if you have a day job, is how drained of energy you always are.
But have you ever thought that this might be because of your sedentary habits?
One great way to stay focused and energized without having to eat or drink coffee is by moving. So make sure that every hour, you spend at least five minutes moving. Take a walk around the office or stretch at your desk. It will help you pump blood through your body, and you'll get a fine boost to help you through the day.
Just make sure you don't engage in exhausting exercise, lest you get thirsty.
3. Stay hydrated.
This may sound silly, because how can you stay hydrated if you can't drink water all day long, right? Wrong.
You can make sure you're well hydrated by eating foods, especially fruits, that are rich in juices.
Also, it's very important to make it a habit to reach out for water instead of sodas and coffee, which won't really quench your thirst.
Examples include: watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes, citrus fruits, lettuce, pineapple and berries.
4. Eat foods that take longer to digest.
Since you won't be eating for a while, you want to make sure you have enough nutrients lingering in your body for as long as possible. That's why it's important to include complex carbohydrates into your meals, especially at the Suhoor (predawn meal). This will help to release energy throughout the day.
Example : Barley, wheat, oats, lentil, beans and fiber-rich foods such as almost all fruits.
5) Pay attention to some specific nutrients.
The following nutrients will help with fasting. Eat extra.
Magnesium is rather important as it helps your body to break down glucose into energy.
Example: Almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, more whole grains and fish.
Iron helps you stay energetic by carrying more oxygen throughout your body.
Example: Bananas, apples and spinach.
Good fats, such as Omega-3s and HDL fats, are a core part of a healthy diet as they assist your body in absorbing the other nutrients.
Example: fish, nuts, coconut oil and avocado.
6. Eat consciously.
There's no better way to give yourself a hard time adapting to fasting than how most Muslims break their fasts. With regular meals turned into huge feasts, a lot of people tend to eat much more than their body actually needs. Let alone the kind of foods they stuff their bellies with ...
Avoid deep fried foods as much as possible, and limit your use of salt.