Article written by guest blogger, Mariam Nouser. This blog post is a personal article and does not reflect scientific evidence. If you want to try a different lifestyle, consult your doctor.
Ramadan Mubarak! It is the time of year where we come together to break fast, spend time with loved ones and focus on our devotion to our Creator. At our iftars, we usually inhale our food as we have been fasting for a while. However, that shouldn’t be something that is the norm. See, Allah SWT gave us our bodies; as an Amaanah (trust) yet we often neglect it especially in what we eat.
I am not perfect. I love carbs; pasta, rice you name it. However, I felt when I stuck to my strict regime of no Gluten and Dairy, I have felt more energized and less sluggish especially when it came time to pray Taraweeh or Tahajjud. I have recently started to see if Veganism is for me.
The key is in Ramadan to eat whole foods and control your portions. Strict exercise may not be for everyone during this month. However, a nice walk before Maghrib is definitely a way to get your heart rate up and stay energized.
Whole foods like beans, lentils and hummus are great sources of protein and will leave you feeling energized and full enough to function. My favourite is Palestinian Hummus with some carrots and peppers during suhoor paired with overnight oats. It is simple yet so effective. As we fast, our consumption typically decreases due to the fact we have such a short time to eat. However, being effective in how you eat, what you eat and when you eat will help you lead a sustainable and healthy Ramadan.
Another great tip to maintain fitness is light cardio an hour or so prior to Maghreb. Weight training may be impossible for you in Ramadan but a nice fast-paced walk or light jog will help elevate your heart rate. I also have found yoga to be really helpful in Ramadan as it makes me feel less tension in my muscles.
Healthy living does not just mean physical health. It is a means taking care of your mental and spiritual health as well. Take time to reflect, to slow down and breathe. Say no to things that will drain you and say yes to things that will uplift you. Time and time again we push ourselves beyond our limits just to fulfil so much in Ramadan. Allah SWT knows our efforts and intentions are rewarded as well. As someone with mental illnesses, I understand the dire need of taking care of one’s mental health during this month. Sometimes, Ramadan can be isolating and lonely for people with little to no family.
Ramadan is an amazing time to start building good habits. Allah SWT granted us our bodies so we can take care of them. To me, taking care of your body is a form of worship to Allah. Start slowly and insha’Allah things will fall into place. They say it takes 21 days to build a habit if you do it consistently. If you stay consistent, the results will show. A great tactic an Imam at my mosque said was: “In Ramadan, do two things. 1) Get rid of the sin you think may send you to hell and 2) add something in your life for His sake.” He also said “Start doing something that is only between you and Allah. Live a private life even better than your public life”
May Allah SWT grant us successful days ahead and may our efforts be accepted.