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Healthy Eating in Ramadan for Detox

Ramadan DetoxAs salaam alaikum peeps – it’s almost Ramadan again! Is it just me or is this like one of the best times of the year?

So I know we all start getting ready to have our spiritual game on – but somehow we tend to overlook the physical benefits that fasting has on our system… Like boosting our metabolism, clearing toxins, improving our sensitivity to insulin and decreasing our blood pressure and so much more

The problem is not a lot of us actually get our body into detoxification. You see just because we are fasting doesn’t automatically mean that we are detoxing … 

In fact, if you gain weight during Ramadan – as most of us tend to do – then you’re body isn’t really detoxing like it should be. So what are you doing wrong you might be wondering…

While I’d love to answer this for you in this post, I think it would take me many many pages to really give you the info you’re looking for – and more importantly you might just fall asleep while you’re trying to read it all.

So instead Ayesha (my sister and business partner – also a nutritionist) and I have put together a FREE webinar on:

Healthy Eating in Ramadan

And you’re invited to attend at your own convenience!

If you’re interested all you have to do is sign up (on the right) and I’ll send you the link for the session! Oh and in case you’re wondering, this one-hour Seminar covers healthy eating during Ramadan including how to make healthy choices for suhur and iftaar that will help you start detoxing your system!

Ayesha and I really hope you enjoy the session – do let us know what you think and leave us a comment below with any questions you might have.

RAMADAN KAREEM!!

Got Detox Symptoms? It’s Working :)

Detox SymptomsCan you believe it’s already been a week since Ramadan started? That’s 1/4 way through the month! And for those of you who are joining me, 1/4 way through our Ramadan Detox – which so far has been pretty good…

Well that is of course with the exception of those darned Herxheimer reaction symptoms, and I mean not just the headache and fatigue type symptoms (which are expected when you’re not eating anything all day) but the stomach bug type of symptoms if you know what I mean 😉

To be honest I was a bit caught by surprise to have detox symptoms since I believe I eat fairly healthy throughout the year but then it also made me feel like “YAY, my body is doing some much needed house cleaning”…

Common Detox Symptoms

Now if you’re new to detoxing and have been feeling not so great this past week but didn’t really put 2 and 2 together, some common detox symptoms you may have experienced include headaches, nausea, constipation or diarrhea, intestinal disturbances (gas, bloating, cramping), flu-like symptoms (congestion, runny nose), fatigue, body aches and pains. In fact it’s not uncommon to experience psychological and emotional upset, for instance mood swings, intense emotions, strong cravings for foods and strange dreams either.

The severity of your detox symptoms really depends on how many toxins you have built up in your body. In fact those that need to detox the most usually experience the most symptoms, so hang in there if you feel like you’ve just been hit by a bus, remember this is normal…

And while these symptoms often get worse before they get better – this usually happens around day 3-4 of the detox – so since we’re already on day 7, the good news is that the WORST IS OVER!

In fact your symptoms should be beginning to subside right about now… And aren’t you glad I didn’t tell you you’d feel miserable until just now – in this case I think ignorance is bliss – YOUR WELCOME :)

That being said, in case you do have some lingering symptoms like I still do, remember the most important thing you can do is to make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and resting as much as you can so that your body can focus on the work of detoxing that it’s so busy doing.

Keep in Mind

Now although we aren’t doing a super intense liquid detox or anything, it is always important to keep in mind…

• If you feel your symptoms are too strong, if your symptoms show no signs of improvement or if you are unable to work because you feel sick, dizzy or faint, it could be that the detox is too much for you too soon. You may need to add more nutrients to your cleanse in order to slow down the detox process and allow your body more time to adjust. Again make sure to drink lots of water to help eliminate the toxins from your body. If you ever feel like you require medical attention, please call your doctor ASAP!

• If you are constipated, it may be wise to slow down your detox a bit as well. That’s because during detox, your organs are releasing toxins which are circulating in your bloodstream before being eliminated into your stool and if you’re constipated then these toxins have no where to go. In order to make sure you stay regular, I highly recommend that you have at least 1 tbsp. of flax daily – just mix it into your yogurt and enjoy. Exercise is also important as it helps your lymphatic system expel toxins, hence my recommendation for the detox yoga practice that I hope you’ve been doing.

NOTE: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is not recommended that you undertake a detox at this time.

Now I must say that as much as detoxing has become some what of a craze and the “trendy” thing to do, it really isn’t EASY or, thanks to those good old detox symptoms, the most PLEASANT thing either! It definitely requires mental focus, so kudos to everyone who’s trying to eat as clean as possible this month and DOUBLE KUDOS to everyone who’s following a detox for purely personal reasons – KEEP IT UP because it will pay off!!

HAPPY DETOXING EVERYONE!

*If you’re brave enough, it’s not too late to join my FREE Detox Program, simply subscribe to my mailing list and I’ll send you weekly updates!

Ramadan Detox Diet

Ramadan Detox Diet - ramadan_kareem_This last year has been quite hectic for me what with travel, business and family commitments and I can definitely feel the toll it’s taken on my overall well-being so I’m really looking forward to getting a good detox in this Ramadan. In fact ideally I’d like to lose the few pounds that have found a comfortable home on my waistline no doubt due to a few too many meals on the go, nights that took too long to end, early mornings that needed a coffee jolt and of course that wicked sweet tooth of mine…

And I’m guessing I’m not alone in this department, which is why I thought I’d share my Ramadan Detox Diet with you guys :)

Now considering Ramadan starts tomorrow, we’d best get cracking… coz if you’re anything like me you are just about to make a mad dash for the supermarket right about now!

Ramadan Detox DietRamadan Detox Diet - keep calm and prepare for ramadan

So first let me say that a Detox Diet is meant to achieve a certain goal – flushing your system of built up toxins – and as such it has specific requirements that need to be met in order for it to be effective.  These are:

  1. Eliminating foods that can unbalance your gut – these include highly processed and refined foods (this includes white flour and rice) as well as caffeine
  2. Eliminating foods that can aggravate a system that is out of sorts like milk and foods that contain yeast or moulds like leavened breads and cheese
  3. Reducing your intake of foods that acidify the body like fried foods and meats
  4. Consuming more foods that are alkaline in nature like veggies, whole grains and fruits
  5. As well as adding foods that can introduce healthy bacteria back into the gut like yogurt, kefir and miso

As you can see following a Detox Diet requires a lot of discipline but luckily it’s only meant to be followed for a short period of time (well I guess that’s relative – is 4 weeks short for you?) which is exactly why Ramadan is the perfect time to tackle it!

Sahur

The goal of this meal is to provide slow burning fuel for the next 15 or so hours. So I usually try and include the following:

  • 1 serving of whole grains (1/2 cup oatmeal OR 1 whole wheat chapatti)
  • 1 serving of fermented yogurt (1 cup laban OR 1 cup kefir)
  • 1 serving of protein (3/4 cup foul OR 1 organic eggs)
  • 1 serving of fruit or veggies (1 banana OR 1 cup salad)

Iftaar

OK I know I know you’ll be ready to eat a horse by the time iftaar rolls around – but this is the time to focus on that mental discipline… Keep in mind that after such a long fast eating a large meal will send your blood sugar levels sky rocketing so keep this meal light but hydrating:

  • start with 1-3 dates
  • have a glass of warm water with fresh lemon squeezed into it
  • finish it off with 1 cup of broth based vegetable soup

Dinner

Wait @least 30 min or ideally 1 hour after iftaar to have dinner. And keep in mind that because the goal is to detox, the focus should be on eating more alkaline foods:

  • 1 serving protein (75g baked fish, chicken or meat)
  • 2 servings whole grains (1 cup brown rice OR 1 cup whole-wheat pasta)
  • 1 serving fruit and veggies (½ cup cooked veggies OR 1 cup green salad)

Midnight Snack

Yep you heard that correctly :) but when I say midnight snack I mean a healthy one and it doesn’t actually have to be at midnight… I usually consider this my post-tarawee snack:

  • 1 serving vegetable protein (¾ cup lentil soup OR ¾ cup hummus)
  • 1 serving fruit and veggies (½ cup fruit salad OR 1 cup veggie sticks)

Keep in Mind

DON’T FORGET to stay hydrated! Make sure to drink @least 2L of water and/or green teas through out the night.

To make it easier, I’ve made it so you can download this plan here if you want to print it out and stick on your fridge. Now I’m a girl and don’t need as many calories as the average boy would so I’ve made modifications for any boys wanting to follow along on the printable menu.

BTW I’m offering a FREE 4 Week Detox Program this month if you want to really get into it with me! It’s something I would normally charge $199 or AED 750 for and my way of saying thank you for all the support and love you’ve shown me over the years <3 You’ll get weekly updates along with recipes, tips and exercises so you can get the full benefit of a Ramadan Detox.

RAMADAN KAREEM EVERYONE!!

*So how do you join the FREE 4 Week Program? If you are already subscribed to my mailing list you don’t have to do anything! If not simply sign up and as a bonus you’ll also get my 5 Key Strategies for Losing Weight & Keeping It Off. I can’t wait for us to get started!

 

How to Detox in Ramadan

detox in ramadan - rejuvenateCan you believe that Ramadan is just a few days away?! Now I know all of us intend to not just have a spiritual cleansing but a physical cleansing during this month but by the time Eid rolls around we’ve some how managed to gain NOT lose weight!

Now most of us realize that it’s all the feasting that takes place after the fasting that leads us to this unfortunate end … And while this is partially true, there is another very important factor that is at play here as well…

I don’t know if you know this but during long stretches of “famine” – or in this case fasting – our body automatically kicks into self preservation mode. And one of the first things that it does to make sure we “survive” these hard times is lower our basal metabolic rate i.e. our metabolism slows down. Oh yeah! And everyone knows that a slow metabolism is NOT a good thing if you want to LOSE WEIGHT!

detox in ramadan - cleanse more than your spiritBut before you throw your hands up in the air in utter dismay, let me say all is not lost… You see fasting is really about detoxing your system – that is giving your body time to flush out any toxins it’s accumulated over the year – and if you do it right, you CAN actually lose weight while you’re at it too. (I know, I know there are a lot of people out there who believe fasting is only about detoxing your spirit… but science would have to say otherwise and honestly Islam is as much about science as it is about getting closer to your Creator)

On that note I recently came across some really BAZAAR articles on how to lose weight/detox in Ramadan – one of them suggested that you exercise for an hour, 2 hours before you open your fast and then only drink -get this – ONE glass of water when you finally DO have iftaar (I wish you could have seen my face when I read that one!)… So I thought this would be the perfect time to give you guys some REAL tips on how you can detox in Ramadan.

Now first let’s tackle the obvious – unfortunately you won’t lose weight or detox in ramadan if you eat a lot of fried foods or desserts! I’m sorry but not eating all day does not give you a free pass to eat how much and whatever you want… in fact since your metabolism is shot, it’s quite the opposite!

But don’t worry, aiming to detox in ramadan doesn’t mean you have to give up all those special ramadan foods we’re so used to enjoying either – coz honestly that would just suck!

OK so enough said, let’s get to it shall we…Detox in Ramadan

These are My Top 5 Tips on How to Detox in Ramadan

  1. Be mindful of what and how much you eat – I know I said you CAN enjoy your special Ramadan cuisine, but here’s the caveat: choose those dishes that are also wholesome :) . Now I know every culture has it’s own special yumminess. For example, being ethnically East Indian, we grew up with fruit salad, lassi and chole along with fried pakoras and vade… and since Hanny is Egyptian, I know lisaan asfoor is a healthy and delicious way to open your fast if you hail from that part of the globe. As for how much to have… well I’ll get into that in my next post AND you can also sign up for my FREE 4 Week Detox in Ramadan Program (info on how to do this is at the end of this post)
  2. Take that discipline you’ve been culminating throughout the day one step further – now we all know that even though the Prophet (S) and his companions (R) fasted through the day, they didn’t actually eat much when they opened their fast either. And if they can do it as our role models, than we can do it too… in fact I’ve found that when you approach iftaar with mental discipline you actually don’t feel that hungry and even better you don’t feel ridiculously stuffed later. So plan your iftaar ahead of time and take time to eat slowly so you’ll recognize when you are full.
  3. Subtract these foods from your Ramadan diet @least 6 days of the week – OK so I know Ramadan without samosas is hard for me… me love my samosas people! But rather than having them every day, I keep these kind of treats for one day of the week… Now if you are a person who gets invited to a lot of iftaars (or invite people for iftaars) than plan to incorporate your one day of treats into these days. But beside the obvious fried and overly processed foods there are also a few more foods that, if you want to get the full benefit of detoxing, I would recommend you eliminate for this 4 week stretch (especially if you regularly suffer from digestive issues, headaches, joint pain and allergies): caffeine (this includes coffee, black tea, pop and chocolate), leavened breads – especially those made with white flour (this means no fatayar), and milk. Why these foods? Mainly because if your system is out of sorts they can add to the problem. Luckily 4 weeks is often enough time to get your gut sorted out so it’s not a forever thing!
  4. Add these foods to your Ramadan diet to help rebalance your gut – I think during this time of year, it goes without saying that it is important to try and stay hydrated (by drinking @least 2 L of water /day) but adding a glass of warm water with half a lemon squeezed into it at iftaar; as well as yogurt with live cultures (kefir is a great option) daily will help detox your liver and rebalance your gut bacteria.
  5. Don’t use being hungry and spiritually busy as an excuse to stop moving – Now I’m not one for doing long periods of high intensity exercise when you’re fasting (though if you are a regular exerciser who keeps going even during Ramadan I applaud you) but I think short bouts of exercise and definitely incorporating some yoga into your nightly routine is a must if you want to effectively detox.

detox in ramadan - iftaar
I should mention that taking the time to detox your system over these next 4 weeks will benefit you in so many ways (less bloating, gas, indigestion, heart burn and better skin in the long run)

Oh and don’t worry… the good thing about the human body is the second it realizes there’s no longer a “famine”, it’ll boost that metabolism back up where it needs to be!

P.S. I’ve decided that this year as one of my good deeds for the season, I will be offering a FREE 4 Week Detox Program for Ramadan (something I usually charge $199 or AED 750 for!) . So if you’re interested and you aren’t already subscribed, simply join my mailing list to get the weekly program updates! (You’ll also get my 5 key strategies to losing weight and keeping it off :) )

What do Ramadan and being a Skinny Food Addict have in common?

Click here to buy an Iftar meal for someone in need

We went to an Iftar buffet the other day, the food was delicious and plentiful and as you might imagine I couldn’t resist trying a bit of everything until I was at the point where I thought for sure I’d pop! I honestly didn’t feel so good afterwards … Worse than this was the fact that when you’re fasting you end up doing a lot of eating with your eyes so I ended up having to throw away a bunch of food too, which really defeats the spirit of Ramadan :(

Someone recently told me that in Dubai alone 50,000 tonnes of food were thrown away during Ramadan last year (don’t quote me on this figure as its purely hearsay, but I will say I wouldn’t be surprised in the least bit if it were accurate) – that sounds pretty awful considering one of the key points of fasting is to be able to empathize with those who are less fortunate than ourselves and are unable to have a meal most days…

Fasting is also meant to help us build self-control. After all, if we can deny ourselves the simple pleasures of life like eating and drinking for the better part of a day, having the will-power to say “1 slice of pizza please” OR “1 scoop of ice cream thanks” rather than overindulging should be a piece of cake ;). This is exactly what Ramadan and being a skinny food addict have in common because to be honest, enjoying all foods – including the ones that aren’t the healthiest for you – isn’t the problem at all. The problem really is overindulging in even the healthiest of foods! But unfortunately most of us associate food with the feel good feeling we get when we first eat, and not with the terrible side effects that come along with overeating.

So yeah I had all those horrible symptoms the other day – I really felt like I had been hit by a freight train, I mean I was totally wiped out in terms of energy. I also had that weird acidic  feeling at the back of my throat you know the one where you think any second now all that food is gonna come back up – it was horrible!
I think everyone can relate to what I’m talking about. Whether you’re eating in or eating out, especially after a long day of fasting – I think most of us have been there… In fact ironically most of us end up gaining weight during Ramadan because of this! But more importantly, eating this way really doesn’t feel good at all…
Take the other day, I could have easily avoided all of it had I been able to stick to decent portion sizes (you know just one 8″ plate full divided into quarters with half veggies, one quarter grains and the last quarter meat)… And more importantly I would have been able to really enjoy my food experience well after dinner was done.
So my advice to anyone whose eating out – Do yourself a favor and skip the buffet!
You’ll never be able to eat your money’s worth of food and feel good about it and you won’t be able to doggie bag the leftovers for later. That’s a definite lose-lose situation right there! Instead really enjoy one of the world’s best simple pleasures in life by savoring each morsel and exercising a bit of will-power so you can also enjoy the rest of your night. I know first hand that it’s not easy to do, but I find being able to mentally  connect the negative side effects with the overindulging helps deter the same behavior in the future. And trust me it does get easier each time (practice makes perfect after all).
Ramadan Mubarak to all!