I have received so many messages from you guys asking me to write this blog post and I thought it was perfect to make this my first one ever!
The most important part of this meal for me is the dates and the soup. I eat 3 dates and drink a glass of water to break my fast which I’m pretty sure most people do too. I wait about 5-10 minutes and then pour myself a bowl of soup, usually a big bowl. Soup is so easy for our bodies to digest. My favourite soup is ‘Adas (lentil). The one we eat at home contains red lentils, carrots, onion and potatoes. You can find all of my plant-based recipes here (soups included).
When I started fasting properly a few years ago, I was unsure about Shoor. I struggled with should I eat that late at night or not? I wanted to maintain my weight and avoid over-eating, especially late at night when your digestion isn’t working as quickly as it does during the day. I also don’t like to go to sleep on a full stomach – I don’t sleep as well.
When I’m dehydrated I get headaches - It’s an instant thing now. In Ramadan during the fasting hours, especially if I’m moving around a lot I do get a dull headache which only goes away once I’ve drank about 1.5 litres of water. The only thing you can really do is MAKE SURE you’re getting in at least 2.5-3 L of water each night.
Inversions are a great fix for headaches, you don’t have to do a crazy headstand, you can simply lie on the floor and put your legs up the wall so that you’re in an L shape position – stay there for 10-15 minutes, close your eyes and take very slow deep breaths, this always works for me!
I personally don’t work out in Ramadan, I consider it my “time off”. I work out 5-6 days a week regularly and this month is my time to just enjoy the peace. However, after Iftar I try to walk a lot. Whether its outside or in a mall, just walking for about an hour or two makes me feel so much better.
I also stretch at night once my food is digested, I love doing pigeon, lizard, half splits, forward folds, headstands (great to relieve a headache) or simply foam rolling. I personally feel very low energy during the fasting hours and would never opt to work out before breaking my fast, If I was going to, it would be after!
I know a lot of people who choose to work out before Iftar and they manage just fine – this is a personal choice and you can decide based on how you feel!
If you’re eating in a typical Arab household, you will most definitely have a long table of delicious Arabic sweets laying out in front of you after Iftar. From Attayef to 3awameh. There have been times where I think “Whatever, I’m going to have some” and then later on my mild headache turns into a REALLY bad one because of the sugar. I feel so terrible after having sugar, syrups, white flour and refined things like that.
It’s easy to stay away when you don’t feel good after having it! I also always make sure I have a dessert option. I need something sweet for sure. I love Biccy Boms by Livias Kitchen (available in Whole Foods) or I will see if a vegan refined sugar free dessert can be prepared. My E-book has 5 of my best recipes which are totally Ramadan friendly.
I do. I eat fruit! At around 10PM (3 hours after Iftar) I eat my portion of fruit (which I'm doing right now actually). Whatever is available in the kitchen. I also might have a handful of raw nuts that have been pre-soaked overnight – this makes them more easily digestible and allows us to extract all their nutrients.
I am plant based so I don’t have any animal products, that also applies to Ramadan. You can read more about this here. The only thing I really try to avoid in Ramadan is the refined and processed foods. Foods that are made with white flour, refined oils (vegetable, sunflower etc.) and refined sugar. Foods that are deep-fried and heavy on the dough – yes, they taste great but don’t keep me full for long at all. I like eating foods that keep me satiated.
I struggled with this last year. We had a lot of outings to restaurants or family houses and normally Iftar is filled with meat and chicken, or yoghurt-based dishes. There were times where all I would eat is soup and salad and plain rice. I would try to fill up on the soup and salad which contained all the nutrients! I would then make sure to have a filling Shoor to make up for that.
This year we have less outings and I will either do the same thing or take a vegetarian dish if it is someone close to us/family members we are going to. I won’t just cave in because the options are lacking, even though I’m hungry it still doesn’t justify me consuming animal products or highly refined foods.
7. How do you avoid getting thirsty?
Here are my little tricks to avoid getting overly thirsty
- Brush your teeth every couple of hours - this really makes the biggest difference for me, the water and the minty-ness makes you feel fresh again.
- Don't eat too much salt. Salt is a killer and can really leave you feeling parched. Soy sauce is another one, maybe don't have any in Ramadan! I always make sure my food is lightly salted using Himalayan pink salt or rock sea salt, never ever table salt!!!!!!
- Limit any strenuous activity, if you can.
Thank you for reading! Leave any questions or comments below