Thursday, September 11, 2008

How do I eat during the Fasting Month

Yup. The Ramadhan is here, and it is in the second week now.

I've been getting quite a bit of inquiries on how I do I eat & drink during this period. Sometimes I feel like I'm a nutritionist/doctor.. you should look at their genuine and honest look when they asked that question. They really expecting me to tell them how to eat & drink!

This would be my 2nd fasting month since I started my journey, and I'm still learning on how best to do my nutrition and exercise. And I don't have a special/proper meal plan or guidelines during this period. Infact, I've been wondering myself the best way of doing it.. I don't think I should 'prescribe' to you any plan, but what I can do is to share with you how do I do it (hhmm.. sounds like Discovery channel pulak!)

On nutrition:

during sahur:
  1. first of all, I make sure I DO NOT MISS my morning meal (sahur). It's a must and crucial in order to ensure your metabolism in check and provide sufficient nutrition in your body. Please make sure you wake-up and eat!
  2. I shall take down a full glass of water, and followed with some fruit cuts (to kick-start my digestive system, and provide a quick release of carbs with good antioxidant)
  3. Then I start with the main meal - good portion of all essential nutritions. My rule is to cut the plate into 4 quarters (normally it should be some brown rice, chicken/fish, veggies, fresh fruits). But during this month, my portion is like brown rice,veggies, fish/chicken, fish/chicken. I took 2 servings of protein instead, and get my fruits intake before and after meal. Slightly more than usual for my typical meal. I even take some handful of nuts just before the end of the sahur.
  4. Why? I want to ensure I've enough nutrition, I focus on more protein, and complex fiber. Protein keeps you satiated and full longer, and fiber keeps my metabolism running at peak.
  5. I also tend to eat brown rice more than my usual breakfast oatmeal - main reason is because i think fresh food is better.. and complete.
  6. Oh.. and I drink lotsa of water!.. just plain filtered water.. loads of them.. nothing else.
  7. Besides the fruits, I tend to avoid any sweets stuff (even the good dates/raisins/fig/prunes) during sahur- I already get enough 'sugar' from the brown rice, veggies & fruits that I eat. Carbs metabolises into glucose (sugar) in our body for energy production. The higher the sugar, the higher our liver needs to secretes the insulin. I want to maintain my insulin levels at a moderate pace... not to spike it (to avoid craving/binge later, and control my appetite - that's the key! - more on that later)
  8. Then, I make sure.. I do not go back to sleep. That's the last thing you want to do. After your big meal, pls do not go to sleep (it's ok if you want to be a sumo wrestler). Because when we sleep, we're shutting down most of our bodily functions, and we tell our body to keep the excess nutrition for storage for later use... and guess what, our body's storage is FAT! (studies of Sumo wrestler diet shows this as a fact!.. hence their daily routine is to have big meals, and sleep immediately after that!) don't believe me? click here

for Iftar (breaking of fast):
  1. once iftar, i have 2-3 dates, and 1-2 full glass of water. followed with some fruits.
  2. rest a while (do your maghrib prayer during this time is the best), and then I go straight to my main meals.
  3. again, my meal focusing on complex carbs, with loads of lean proteins, with food that is high in pythonutrients - whatelse if it's not a lot of veggies! just remember that the greener the veggies, the more nutritious it will be. (highly recommended vegetables)
    Also, refer to my old posts on how I do my nutritions, nothing far-off than that.
  4. one thing for sure - I don't take any of those sweet treats or deep-frying foods, and please do limit those 'bazaar ramadhan' foods. Home cook meal is still the best (you know what you are putting inside, and the quality of the ingredients you used.. something as simple as the type of oil you use, and how much salt/sugar you put into it, not to mention the freshness of the ingredients!)
  5. and throughout the entire nite - i make sure i drink lotsa plain water. I also drink a big glass of warm green tea around 10pm'ish...
  6. typically, once I came back from the tarawikh prayer, i shall do a small meal - a full plate of fruits, or some yogurt concoction i'd made (3-4 scoops of low-fat yogurt tops with ground flaxseed, pumpkin/sunflower seeds, almond/cashews, dash of pure cocoa powder.. yummy!!)
  7. i make sure i stop eating 2-3 hours before i hit the bed.
that's it.

oh btw, I tend to pay an extra attention to my urine... I make sure it's clear and not smelly (indication that I've enough fluid in my body). Dehydration is a major problem during fasting month. Make sure you drink enough!

Exercise? next post.

Sher Khan.

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