During this Ramadan, let’s make sure that we have a proper Ramadan nutrition plan to have a healthy and successful Ramadan. It is essential to be mindful of that because Ramadan is NOT about food. It is about reconnecting with Quran and reconnecting to our spiritual self.
I asked Graciela Corrales, a registered nutritional therapist in clinical practice for ten years and a certified human potential coach, to share with us these simple principles that make a big difference.
Graciela has been working with a few Muslim clients to have a healthy Ramadan, and the thing is that after working with them, they realized that the energy levels and the way they were managing the hunger were much better.
Change your habits
Ramadan is an opportunity to change your habits, so that’s what I always say if you can manage fasting for such a long time, why not carry on with healthy habits.
We now have a lot of evidence that fasting is good for your health; it helps you manage your blood sugar, reduces insulin, and is anti-aging.
The difference with other types of fasting is that during Ramadan, there is no water consumption, and this is the only thing that needs to be managed differently. Make sure in preparing your Ramadan nutrition plan, you drink enough water of fluids when you break the fast.
Break the fast with water
One step is to break the fast with a couple of water glasses, just before you start eating. Water is best, but another thing that you could drink if you’re starving is, for example, bone broth. Making ahead bone broth from chicken or beef is an excellent idea because it has many collagen, vitamins, and minerals, so it’s a perfect way of replenishing your metabolism.
Break the fast with protein or fat
Always wait 10 minutes after drinking and then break the fast with some protein or fat. The idea of breaking the fast with milk and dates is not something that I will advise because dates, even if they have minerals and vitamins at the end of the day, are high in sugar.
Anything high in sugar is going to make your pancreas release insulin. While you’ve been fasting, your insulin levels and your sugar is very stable; you’re not producing insulin, so what we don’t want to do is to spike your insulin levels.
In your Ramdan nutrition plan, start with a little bit of protein and a little bit of fat. That could be something like a little bit of chicken or maybe if you like a protein shake or perhaps some nuts.
If you want to have some dates because it’s in your tradition, I would always have the dates with a little bit of protein like some nuts, for example, or a little bit of avocado.
Rule for your Ramadan nutrition plan :
** Don’t have ever carbohydrates anything that contains sugar or carbohydrates by themselves. **
Chew your food
When you’ve been fasting for such a long time, over 16 hours, it is customary to be hungry. It is just the physical hunger, and it is also in your mindset. So if you can’t wait to break the fast, do not start eating fast.
Think that digestion starts in your mouth. Also something to write in your Ramadan nutrition plan
Eat real food
Many households, because it’s a time of celebration, they have sweets and some pastries.
I would say better no not to go for that. Always have something healthy to include in your Ramdan nutrition plan.
Natural foods that you can find in nature like fish, meat, vegetables and then you can have a little bit of carbohydrate.
Half of your plate vegetables that grow above the ground, then a quarter must be your protein, and then a quarter can be starches such as sweet potatoes, a little bit of white potato, and then whole grains, things like quinoa or a little bit of brown rice / white rice.
Have a quality multivitamin and minerals
During Ramadan, something that tends to happen because of fasting and because you’re not drinking water is that your electrolyzed levels decrease.
You may need to replenish your electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium.
Increase your intake of those minerals as well as breaking the fast with a multivitamin. You will feel less hungry, and you will have more energy.
What to avoid in your Ramadan Nutrition plan
Tea & coffee
Tea and coffee can cause dehydration, so it is not a good idea because you’re not drinking any water during the day.
In addition to that, when you’re fasting, your cortisol and adrenaline (stress hormones) go up, which is normal. Drinking coffee and tea can raise your cortisol, so I would advise you to keep it to a minimum or best avoid it.
You can, however, drink herbal teas, drinks that don’t have caffeine in them.
Possible symptoms during Ramadan
Because you are not drinking any water, you may get headaches during the day, especially in a hot country. Be gentle with yourself, and sometimes you may need to take breaks if you’re not feeling well when doing challenging work.
If you ever feel dizzy, you maybe need to stop and take a rest. Self-care is also a subjective part of your Ramadan Nutrition plan.
Connect with Graciela on her website: gracielacorrales.com