One week of puasa down, and three to go! Going without food and water from sunrise to sunset can be difficult, but that’s precisely the purpose: to practice self-discipline and to develop empathy for those who are less fortunate.
During this month-long fast of Ramadan, the metabolic rate of a fasting person slows down. If you’re not careful with your food intake, you may end up putting on weight! This is because people tend to overeat foods that are high in fat and calorie content when breaking fast. In fact, taking less food than what is usually consumed is sufficient.
The Good Puasa Diet
If you’d like to lose weight in conjunction with fasting, this can be effectively achieved through self-regulation and control, especially by eliminating excess food intake. The terawih, a special prayer practised during Ramadan, helps metabolise the food and can be considered a mild form of exercise as it requires the use of all your muscles and joints.
If you’re an avid exerciser, sportsman, or outdoorsman, you may be wondering if you can keep up your regular routine especially when your lifestyle takes a more sedentary turn. It is possible – with a carefully planned schedule! Pick a time when your energy levels are high and when you can rehydrate, so that you can have a productive workout. An ideal time is 2-3 hours after buka puasa.
Working out during the day is not advisable; but if you do decide to, about an hour before buka puasa would be the best time. This is to ensure that there’s less risk of dehydration before you can replenish the water you’ve lost.
The act of fasting doesn’t apply only to eating, but also indulging in pleasurable pursuits such as smoking, engaging in sexual relations, as well as sinful speech and behaviour. Ramadan has been known to show improvements in physical stamina, mental alertness and a feeling of inner peace and tranquility. Hence, this is also a good time to cut down on bad habits such as smoking and consumption of foods high in fats and sugar!
The Good Puasa Habits
- Gradually reduce the intake of caffeinated beverages. A sudden reduction may cause headaches, mood swings, and irritability.
- Go cold turkey on your cigarettes! But if you can’t, then also gradually reduce the amount smoked daily. Cigarettes can sometimes trigger certain behaviours such as snacking on junk food, which causes overeating.
- Limit your sugar intake. Having too much sugar especially during sahur will make the body produce too much insulin and cause your blood sugar levels to drop.
- To prevent indigestion and wind, avoid overeating, too much fried/fatty/spicy foods and excess consumption of foods that produce wind, such as cabbage, onion, lentils, eggs, and carbonated drinks.
- To avoid muscle cramps, eat foods rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium, such as vegetables, fruits (dates, bananas), dairy products, and lean meat.
- Avoid skipping sahur. Sahur should consist of a balanced meal taken as late as possible just before imsak to avoid unnecessary prolonged fasting.
- Do not delay buka puasa.
The Good Puasa Foods
The most common complaints during Ramadan include constipation, indigestion and headaches. A balanced meal during both sahur and buka puasa is vital to prevent these.
Keep your food intake to the portions shown above in order to fulfilll all the food groups needed, and try not to overeat. Happy fasting!
The information in this article is contributed by Rozanna M. Rosly and edited by Tongue in Chic for publication.
Rozanna graduated in July 2000 from Leeds Metropolitan University with a Bachelor of Science degree with second class honours (1st division), having followed an approved sandwich programme in Dietetics. She was given recognition and commendation from the Board of examiners for academic excellence. Rozanna completed her clinical attachment from January 1999 September 1999 at the prestigious Leeds General Infirmary, covering various medical departments including diabetes, obesity, renal, cardiology, neurology, respiratory, gastroenterology, oncology, paediatrics and community. She was also a research assistant at the Department of Psychology, University of Leeds in 1999. Rozanna started her career in 2000 as a product specialist in the customer support team (Xenical) with Roche Pharmaceutical for 2 years. She then joined Sunway Medical Centre (Sunmed) as a Clinical Dietitian in 2002, for more than 2 years. After that Rozanna decided to join Dr Kim Tan and Dr Suren Thuraisingham at Health Scan Malaysia as a consultant dietitian from 2004 until 2006. After that, Rozanna was hired as a senior dietitian at Jerudong Park Medical Centre, Brunei Darussalam in June 2006 and was promoted to Chief Dietitian and Head of Dietetics and Food and Beverage Department in July 2009. In November 2012, Rozanna joined UMSC as the Head of Dietetic Services.
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