Taking a step ahead towards a healthy Ramadan
Ramadan - the holy month, the month of spiritual cleansing. The month to strengthen one's relationship with God. The month of practicing more humility. The month of more family meals. The month of food (or is it?).
We, Bengalis, without any question do love to eat. A lot. And Ramadan is the time of the year when we especially show our love and affection towards food to a new level. Those who practice fasting during this month, it is important that conscious and clean eating is also a part of that journey.
The terms conscious and clean eating definitely made your mind jump to, perhaps, plant-based diet or Ayurveda diet but as much as conscious and clean diet would mean that to a higher level, let's not get ahead of ourselves.
You don't need to be a vegetarian or vegan to practice a healthy lifestyle. You don't need to practice an Ayurveda diet to care about what you put into your body. And let's face it, for Bengalis, it is almost impossible to practice a diet without eating at least one fried food item (I mean, your Ma made sure of that). While I won't suggest you to stop including the said fried items in your menu, that's not possible even in my house, I would instead recommend adding more healthy food. Besides the obvious food dilemma, there is so much more you could do to start on a healthy lifestyle. Let's get into them, shall we?
The easiest way to spot a Bengali’s iftar platter would be to look for the plate with boot, piyaju, beguni and etcetera (basically, any food that's extra fried in extra oil). After fasting the whole day, if the first thing you do is bite into an aloo’r chop that's not really wise (dude, gas?). This Ramadan try to include fruits and vegetables too. More than you would usually and actually eat them. Step out of your comfort zone and eat food items that are not fried and does not contain an insane amount of oil. You could also try soup, yoghurt, pasta, and bread. Say yes to good carbs.
Hydrating yourself is the most important part of your routine during Ramadan. After fasting for almost thirteen to fourteen hours, especially in this weather, you must stock your body up on plenty of water. The time period from iftar to sehri, drink at least full eight glasses of water. If you're hydrated, you will naturally feel better and fasting would be much easier. Believe it or not, most days your bad mood and the negative energy you give off can be blamed on dehydration - you can Google it!
If you like to have your usual dinner then make sure you don't eat anything heavy. I, personally, prefer to sleep before suhoor instead of pulling an all-nighter because I simply can't stay awake after 12. If you're like me then make sure you eat an extremely light dinner such as cereals, smoothie, toast or even a slice of cake (I mean, why not? Treat yourself!). This is crucial because, by the time you go to bed to get some pre-sehri sleep - your dinner needs to be digested mostly, if not completely. Otherwise, if you go to bed with a full stomach and wake up to eat more without having the previous meal properly digested then let's just say, my friend, your stomach will feel unsettled.
Please, brush your teeth. Contrary to popular belief, you can brush your teeth while fasting. I mean as long as you don't swallow your toothpaste and if you do, buddy, interesting choice of snack. On a serious note, make sure you follow the brush-your-teeth-twice-a-day routine. If you choose to brush your teeth twice a day without brushing them in the morning after you wake up, that is after iftar and after sehri, then you must make it brush-your-teeth-thrice-a-day routine. Taking care of your personal hygiene is part of a healthy lifestyle. So, make sure you brush your teeth and floss them. Go big or go home, right? You don't want to go to your classes or workplace with your morning breath. It won't be pleasant for you or for the people you interact with.
If you go to the gym during the rest of the year or follow a strict workout routine, then great, and make sure you stick to it. But if you don't, then maybe give it a try. You don't need to do any intense workout routine, if you're new to it then it would not be good either to try while fasting. However, you could try walking for fifteen minutes, for instance, instead of taking a rickshaw from your university to the bus stop, walk. Or you could try a simple ten minutes of yoga routines. Google it and go for whatever you would feel most comfortable to practice. This way you won't even feel bad about eating so much because post-Ramadan you know you will and I, definitely, will.
There are so many more ways you could try a healthy lifestyle and perhaps even stick to it after Ramadan. While it may not be easy, in the long run it will be worth it. Now that you've read all about being healthy and fit and will most probably ignore, let me just ask, who is excited about Eid food and Eidi?