My start into Ramadan..
Ramadan Kareem! It’s been around two weeks since Ramadan started, for those practicing how are you feeling? I can say I am doing better than I thought I would be. Well this is my second year where I am fasting and I can say there have been some changes already to my body physically and mentally which I can see and feel. During this time I thought of reflecting on a weekly basis the changes that I’m feeling, it is way for me to truly understand my body. As recently I have been feeling all types of emotions and I’m not too sure if that has to do with my eating habits during Sehri and Iftar.
So instead of me telling you what I have eaten, I have documented what I had for the past 10 days through this table which details what I ate and then you can understand what I have been going through.
For the next month I have eliminated two key things from my daily diet, my intake in coffee and alcohol. On a daily basis I have two cups of coffee one in the morning and one in the afternoon. However during Ramadan I refuse to have coffee as one I don’t necessarily want to be alert that early in the morning and two coffee normally dehydrates the body and I don’t want to feel more dehydrated than I am. I could have a coffee during IFTAR but I find that is quite late to have coffee. I’m very OCD when it comes to drinking coffee it has to be at a certain time, so my time is normally around 4 – 5 in the afternoon. So during this time I replace my coffee with tea. Pretty much every morning I have a lemon or ginger tea or if it’s thats finished I have some herbal tea. Having the nice cup of tea in the morning, I find soothes my body, creates a zen feel to it I think,
Now during my Sehri, my main aim is to have a sufficient amount of protein, carbohydrates and fiber. Sugar is an added bonus. For the first 10 days I find it has been extremely challenging to create a different meal every morning. On a normal basis my breakfast consists of a smoothie, a coffee and then lunch comes around the corner. So my meals recently have been consisted of toast, eggs and some sort of meat (depending on what’s been cooked the night before) and fruit. Which have been great so far, but I would like to change it up as its getting a bit repetitive. So been researching “Sehri meals” and found some interesting recipes so might give it a gander in the next couple of days. By eating heavier than usual during Sehri, my body has been extremely bloated, I’m getting more spots than usual and getting indigestion. Man how can honestly say that I am old when I am experiencing more indigestion problems now than when I was in my early twenties. I can understand as to why my body is reacting this way it’s because it’s not use to it. Although surprisingly during this time I am not as tired during the day! On a normal day when I have been working on the computer longer than usual I feel extremely tired and have a nap! Even last year during Ramadan towards the end of my fast I would have a nap, but this time around I am more alert that tired, and yet I am working the same amount. One thing which could affect this is that I started Yoga, maybe the affect of working on my breathing has made me more alert? I don't know but it could be a possibility.
Also another thing which I have realised the past 10 days is I need my sleep. I wake up around 4 to eat then I get back to bed at 5 , to have another 3 hours sleep. If I don't get that 3 hours sleep, I am extremely drained. I think it was day 6 where I didn’t get enough sleep and I can honestly say I had the WORST headache, right in the middle of my forehead, it didn’t go away until IFTAR. That day I felt extremely dizzy came back from a meeting and all I did was close my eyes hoping the pain in my head would subside. Besides that at around 10am and 4-6pm I start to feel a little hungry/thirsty.
When Iftar comes around the one thing which I ingest first is water. I feel during this time I am more thirsty than hungry. I can drink a litre of water within 30 minutes after I break my fast and still have more. Right now not being able to drink water during the day is what I’m struggling with. Besides water another consistent item of food which I have had during iftar is Dates (which is common for all Muslims). Right now I have the sweetest and meatiest Dates that at this point that I am restricting how much I am eating a day, so that I can have at least one for each day of Ramadan. During Iftar so far, the majority of days I can say I’m not eating the healthiest of meals when I break my fast, which is not helping my body and why I am getting bloated, spots etc. I have gained weight but I think that could be due to two things. One, right after I break my fast I have dinner 30 – 40 minutes after which is a delicious heavy meal for dinner. Then I get in this state where I can’t move because obviously I have overeaten. I don’t think my body has digested properly sehri meal, which is why Iv'e gained the weight. Two, I’m eating more carbohydrates in the day than normal. As right now I have one- two pieces of toast during sehri, then iftar have some crisps/samosas/ polenta fries and then for dinner have either rice, pasta, potatoes. My body is living in carb city. Be it as it may though, my stomach has shrunk as I am eating less portions than usual. It’s completely strange.
During Ramadan I make myself a little sweet treat. As most of you know I am a big sweet tooth, I could genuinely have a cake party and I would be over the moon. So I always like to make a dessert/ sweet snack of some kind. So in the beginning of Ramadan I made BABKA! Babka is a sweet braided bread. I got the recipe from from #Bake For Syria cookbook but I didn’t use the filling recommended, I did one on my own. I smeared the dough with Nutella and strawberry jam (which I made from scratch). It was the bomb! Last time only made it with Nutella but adding the strawberry jam was a whole other level of tastiness. Sadly for the past 10 days I haven’t ventured back to the kitchen to make another sweet treat as I have been busy working but for the next 20 days I’m hoping to make one or two sweet treats. Got to fill the void right!?
As I venture in this journey for the next 20 days I am going to change a few things when it comes to my eating habits slightly. Try not to eat so much carbohydrates and try to eat more roughage maybe have a salad or continue with eating hummus and carrots for Iftar. Maybe that way my digestive system won’t be in distraught and also research a bit more as to what I can eat for sehri! For some reason I feel a big challenge with my body this ramadan, I can't remember having these issues with my body last year. I'm hoping that with time it ease up, but I can only wait and see.
Hope all those who are participating are having a good ramzan!