The Philosophy of Ramadan:
If you’ve never fasted before, you might think of it as an extreme form of penance and something very hard to do. However, the goal of fasting in Islam is not to punish us for our sins but to make us cherish and be grateful for the blessings of Allah. More importantly, fasting teaches us empathy for the less privileged and encourages us to share our blessings.
This Is How Fasting Works For Your Body:
After the first couple of days your body will adjust to the new routine and kick off many processes that are beneficial for your health.Technically, the body enters into the fasting mode almost eight to twelve hours after the last meal, when all the nutrients from the last meal are absorbed by the stomach.
To produce energy, the body first uses the carbohydrates and then fats stored in it. Only if you haven’t eaten for
many days straight will the body begin to use the protein, entering so called starvation stage. Since the Ramadan fast lasts only from dawn till dusk, there
is no danger of starvation or breakdown of muscles for using protein as a source of energy. In fact, fasting helps the body get in the habit of using up the fat stores to produce energy, which gradually results in healthy weight
loss, reduced cholesterol level and controlled high blood
Another wonderful thing that naturally happens to the body during fasting is detoxification – cleansing of the body from the harmful elements stored in the fat reservoirs. As the fat is used up, the toxins get dissolved and melt away with it too, leaving the body ready to begin its healing and restoration process. During fasting, the body continuously diverts energy from
digestive system to immune system, which makes it stronger from inside rather than weak, as people commonly believe.
How to Stay Hydrated in Ramadan:
Staying hydrated during fasting is even more important than having eaten enough, because dehydration instantly makes the levels of your mood and energy dip, making it harder to carry on daily chores. If the idea of drinking plain water makes you swoon with boredom, the good news is there are many other
delicious and healthy sources to help quench your thirst.
Yogurt based drinks are my favourite to keep away thirst for a longer time, as one cup of yogurt contains an impressive 85% of water, in addition to the other benefits like good bacteria for the gut and loads of calcium. Other than regular fresh fruit juices, lettuce, watermelon and coconut water are excellent sources of replenishing body fluids as well.
Nabeez – Dates Infused Tonic:
Among the traditional drinks of Ramadan, Nabeez or Nabidh has a special importance as it is considered one of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) favourite drinks. During his time, it is believed the drink was prepared with either raisins or dates soaked overnight in water.
More than a drink, Nabeez is an alkalizing tonic. It has all the health benefits of dates with a huge bonus that comes with soaking them for long hours – it balances the acidity in the stomach, which seems to be one of the most common complaints during Ramadan because of sudden change in meal times.
Soaking the dates or raisins in water for several hours not only makes the water pleasantly sweet but also releases the vitamins and minerals stored in them, making them easier to digest and rich in soluble fibre.
‘Ajwa’ dates and ‘Manaqqa’ variety of raisins are considered best for making this energizing tonic. But you can also use any available variety.
12 dates, pitted OR 8 tablespoons raisins
4 cups clean water, 1 litre
This Is What You Do:
Soak dates or raisins in clean water in a cool place. Keep the utensil covered. Leave them soaked for 8-12 hours (overnight is best).
You can either blend the mixture in an electric blender to make a smooth drink or simply drink the sweetened water and eat the softened dates or raisins at the bottom of the cup with a spoon at the end.
Nabeez should be consumed within 12 hours of soaking time at room temperature and 2-3 days if it’s refrigerated. After this time it begins to ferment and change into alcohol which is forbidden in Islam.