The Holiest month of the Muslim calendar is right around the corner. Intermittent fasting during this month stands as an uncompromising pillar of our religion, with all able-bodied believing adults required to abstain from food, drink, tobacco, and of course, obscenity and unethical behavior. Fasting provides a plethora of benefits to us physically and spiritually, but few would disagree that breaking into the month of Ramadan is difficult; our bodies are simply not used to the shock of broken sleep patterns and nutrition deprivation. In order to make the most of this Ramadan, and take your spirituality to a whole new level, it is highly recommended to train your body in advance. In this way, you can mitigate the sudden shock to your system induced by fasting, and focus your energies and attention on worship.
1. Cut Off Caffeine
It is imperative to cut off caffeine intake before Ramadan. Caffeine is a natural diuretic, causing you to lose valuable water in your urine, dehydrating you even further during the fast. It is recommended to minimize coffee and tea intake during Sehri and Iftaar for this reason. A systematic approach would involve switching to decaff, and then cutting your cups down one by one in the lead-up to Ramadan. Caffeine at Sehri time also leads to pounding headaches in the day, and who likes those.
2. Snacks between Meals
It would be an excellent idea to cut out snacks between meals in the days and weeks leading to Ramadan. Not only is this a healthy idea generally, but it will help you get in the habit for Ramadan where you can’t eat between your two primary meals of the day. Moreover, cutting down to three discreet meals a day will make it easier to transition down to two.
3. Eat Less but Healthy
Get in the habit of reducing your food consumption. Eat less at meal-times so that you bring down your appetite well in advance.
4. Go Cold Turkey
This one goes out to all the smokers in the house. Taper off your daily cigarette consumption. Quitting smoking immediately prior to Ramadan will lead to withdrawal symptoms in the first week or so, including feelings of irritability, restlessness and an inability to concentrate. This will only detract from the quality of your worship and make the fast harder on you.
5. Practice Roza
Practice makes perfect. It would be a great idea to perform a few rozas in the month of Shaabaan to help your body adapt. Additionally, this is a great time to make up for fasts that you missed the previous year.
6. Practice Sleeping Too!
Start practicing the sleeping habits you generally adopt in Ramadan. You’re going to have to wake up early anyway, and you may choose to sleep in the afternoon as a result. Try this new routine out in the build-up to Ramadan so it doesn’t come as a surprise to your system on the first day. The last thing we want is for you to be dosing off in taraweeh.
7. Consult a Physician
If you feel that genuine health concerns may hinder your fasts this year, schedule an appointment with your physician to see whether you’re physically capable of fasting this Ramadan.
8. Be Friends with Breakfast
If you’re not much of a breakfast-eater, now is the time to kick that bad habit. Schedule a nutrient dense breakfast every morning for a week or so prior to the first fast.
9 …And Eat it Early!
Get in the habit of eating breakfast earlier. A lot of us have breakfasts at 11am, or even noon. Practice having the first meal of your day and hour or two earlier.
10. Stock Your Fridge with These
Stock your fridges with nutrient dense complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, pasta and potatoes. Get used to eating more of these in the run-up to the Holy Month.
Are you ready for Ramadan?