Have a Healthy Ramadan: Greening Your Fast

ramadan iftar dried date

We’re now just over a week into Ramadan, and hopefully those of you that are fasting have settled into a comfortable routine.  For any of you that may still be trying to find your way, though, we thought we’d do a bit of research into the best ways to keep your eating healthy and earth-friendly during the month:

  • Make sure to eat a full range of foods, in manageable quantities. Your body will respond best if you eat a regular and varied diet, and avoid gorging – excessive quantities of food can stress your system.
  • Emphasize foods that are slow to digest, and that provide a gradual release of energy during your fasting hours. Complex carbohydrates, lots of fibre, protein, and nutrient-dense foods are your friends. Think whole grains, lentils, fruits and vegetables, dried seeds and nuts…
  • Though it may be tempting to go for fried snacks and sweets when you do eat, try to keep this tendency in check – the resulting sugar crash, and the effects of digesting deep-fried food on an empty stomach, really aren’t worth it. (Not to mention that fast and highly processed foods are more stressful on the planet, too.)
  • Drink plenty of water before and after the fast, to avoid dehydration.
  • Though getting up for Suhoor (the pre-dawn meal) may seem exhausting to contemplate, avoid the temptation to sleep in and skip it. Eating properly in the morning will give you energy throughout the day.
  • To make Suhoor easier on yourself, do what you can to prepare the evening before. Lay out the table, and do as much prep work as possible (wash and cut up fruit, portion out dry goods like cereal, etc.). Make sure your kitchen is well stocked, and that you’ve got a plan for what you’ll make the next morning. Go to bed early.
  • Traditionally, the fast is broken with some dates and a drink of water or juice. This makes good sense for your body – it’ll ease you into eating Iftar (the evening meal), and start restoring your sugar balance quickly.
  • This may well be the most challenging: avoid the temptation to gorge yourself during Iftar. There’s only so much food your body can effectively process at once.
  • In order to faciliate the no-binging policy, prepare only as much food as you *should* eat in the evening, rather than a whole feast every night. Green bonus: you’ll dramatically cut down on the amount of food you end up wasting.

Have other fasting tips? Please share them in the comments…

About Hamutal Dotan

Hamutal never planned to become obsessed with food, much less with sustainable food. It crept up on her when she wasn’t looking.At first it was pure self-defense: her parents, though well intentioned, had no idea what to do in a kitchen, and so she had to learn a bit about cooking, sheerly for the sake of her sanity. Chopping things, it turned out, was great for soothing the savage teenager. Skip ahead several years, and she’d figured out that making your own jam from local organic berries was even grander.Love of food led to love cooking, led to love of ingredients, led to love of markets, led to love of farmers, led to love of land. Hamutal is profoundly convinced that sustainability and pleasure are the best of friends, and tries to write about both of these in equal measure.She can be reached at hamutal (at) green prophet (dot) com.

12 thoughts on “Have a Healthy Ramadan: Greening Your Fast

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  4. Erik Assadourian

    As the body is already taxed during a fast, try to minimize foods that concentrate toxins. Try to avoid high on the food chain fish (like tuna or salmon), factory farmed animals, or non-organic fruits and vegetables that concentrate pesticides–melons and strawberries, for example. To green your Ramadan further and heighten its role in spiritual cleansing, try adding television to the fast. Clearing the mind of ads, sitcoms, violence and celebrity news may be as rewarding as clearing the body of too many calories and unhealthy foods.


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