The month of Ramadan is right around the corner, while Muslims often discuss how best to observe the month to help strengthen their faith and for all the health benefits (click here to read blog 1 on all the health benefits of fasting), I wanted to chat about how we can set our bodies and minds up for success for fasting starting today!
1. Start training your body
Any marathon runner knows the key to a successful race is appropriate training! To train your body for Ramadan, you can start fasting the sunnah (prophetic fast) on Monday and Thursday or you can try intermittent fasting 2-3 days per week. The way to intermittent fast is to refrain from eating food for 12-16 hours per day. The hours you sleep will count towards part of the fast. So for example, if your last meal was at 8 pm then your next meal would be at 10 am the next day for a 14 hour fast. During your intermittent fasting hours, you can drink water or herbal tea (with nothing with calories added into it).
2. Cleanse your diet:
To truly reap the health benefits of fasting during Ramadan, we need to focus on… you guessed it...DIET. Cleansing your system can help lay the foundation for a healthier fast. My favourite way to cleanse is by going through a diet overhaul:
1. Staying away from heavily fried foods and highly refined sugar (Yes! That means staying away from samosas)
2. To all my coffee lovers reading this, check out my 3 STEP GUIDE on how to stop drinking coffee and avoid withdrawal headaches. If you are a caffeine addict, follow my 3 step guide to reducing caffeine before Ramadan.
3. Increasing dietary fibre may help regulate your blood sugar levels and improve the release of toxins from the body. Essentially, start adding more nutrient-dense foods rich in healthy fats (such as; avocados, coconut oils, raw nuts, raw seeds) and proteins (such as; lentils, beans, fish, chicken).
Your skin is your largest organ! One of the best ways to detox is through your skin...yup..that
means sweat it out! Incorporating exercise can help your body reduce its toxic load by helping you push toxins out of your skin and also helps to get your bowels moving. Start slow (walking 30 minutes daily is a great first step), listen to your body and make sure to drink lots of water when you can to avoid dehydration.
4. Mindful eating
Our lives have been consumed by stress, and that means that oftentimes we may not be listening to our body’s natural cues. Mindful eating means taking time to smell your food before eating it, to take a minute to step away from your work desk and take a few deep breaths to get your body into “rest and digest” mode so it can start releasing all those juicy enzymes to help with digestion and absorption of nutrients from your food.
My top tips for practicing mindful eating:
Oftentimes we confuse thirst for hunger. Before reaching for food, ask yourself what is it that your body really needs?
Eat with the intention of nourishing your mind and fueling your body. Don’t multitask when you’re eating.
Focus on each smell, taste, and savour every bite.
Emotional eating is a real thing. Before eating, ask yourself, am I eating because I’m hungry? Or am I feeling sad, stressed, bored, angry or sad? Be mindful of your reactivity and make a choice instead.
After each bite, check-in with your body to see how you are feeling. Have you had enough? Do you need more? Is it time to stop? Then move on to whatever you have chosen.
5. Spiritual Prep!
Before every Ramadan, I like to set some intentions about what I hope to improve on during that month. I am a big believer in the power of setting intentions, power of manifestation and power of duaa. Last year my brother and I actually took a complete crash course on how to effectively make duaa. The course helped me truly assess what mattered most to me and start envisioning it as mine. It helped me understand how to make focused duaa on those things. Click here to get more information about the course.
I hope you enjoyed reading my 5 step guide on setting yourself up for success this Ramadan. Just remember to talk to your healthcare providing team before making any new changes to your health routine. It’s also a great idea to consult with your Naturopathic doctor before you start fasting to screen for any nutrient deficiencies!
Wishing you all a safe and healthy Ramadan 2021