The countdown is on ... to Ramadan 1440 (2019)
- 24 April 2019
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Let’s see a show of hands: how many of you have lost track of time in the past, perhaps due to a hectic period at work or busy family commitments, and failed to mentally prepare for Ramadan? We’ve got our hand up too, because we’ve certainly been guilty of that in previous years.
It seems that it was only yesterday that we were celebrating the arrival of the new year, but May is nearly upon us, and the Holy Month is expected to begin around the 5th or 6th this May. Now’s the time to get ready and mentally prepare for those important 30 days, and you can do that with just a few minor tweaks to your daily routine. Giving yourself a couple of weeks to get ready will ensure that you take on the month with a clear mind, giving you the opportunity to achieve things you normally wouldn’t have time for.
Ready? Here we go…
1. START TO GO EASY ON THE COFFEE
Caffeine is something that many of us seriously crave in the morning (just how satisfying is that first coffee on the morning of Eid Al Fitr?), so if you’re someone who drinks a few cups a day, now’s the time to reduce it. It’s better to do so gradually than shock your system on the first day of fasting.
“Cut back on caffeinated beverages including coffee, tea, colas or even energy drinks. Caffeine withdrawal can cause serious headaches,” said Lauren Jacobsen, Nutritional Director at UAE-based healthy fast-food company Kcal World. “Cutting back on your intake slowly over a few days will make it an easier transition.”
2. AND CUT DOWN ON SUGAR
Yes, yes, easier said than done, but if you have a sweet tooth and love your desserts, then think of all the Ramadan delights you can look forward to come next month! Moderation is key.
“Reduce your intake of sugary foods, including sweets and pastries, but also reduce your consumption of simple carbs such as white rice, pasta and bread. Sugar can cause massive blood sugar imbalances that can leave you feeling more hungry,” Lauren continued. “Start eating foods that are higher in fibre to help balance blood sugar levels: green vegetables; whole grains [such as] oats, brown rice and quinoa; root vegetables; and fruits.”
3. REDUCE YOUR MEAL SIZE
This tip is particularly helpful for those who get very hungry during the day.
“The first few days of Ramadan can be challenging because of the prolonged fasting but also the decrease in food. Adjusting your body to eating less food can help adjust your stomach to having less food,” Lauren said.
4. FAST. WE’RE NOT KIDDING
If you’ve still got missed fasts to make up for from last year, now’s the time. Even if you don’t, easing in into the Holy Month with a few fasts can make the world of difference, Lauren explained.
“Try fasting one or two times per week. Fasting a few times per week will help your body adapt to the process of fasting but can also be an effective weight management tool, reducing your overall calorie intake.”
5. PLAN YOUR DAILY SCHEDULE
In many countries, including the UAE, we have the luxury of getting off work early, so take advantage of that. If not, all the more reason to start planning your schedule from now.
Ever struggled to finish reading the entire Quran in one month? Take on the Quran Challenge, which splits the Holy Book into 30 sections (see below), allowing you to read a set of Surahs and verses per day. It’s tried and tested, and it works, because you know exactly where to begin and where to stop daily.
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Decide what else you want to do during the month, including making time for Taraweeh prayers, big family iftars and so on.
6. START BUDGETING AND PLAN SMARTLY
Don’t spend extortionate amounts on iftar gatherings. Set a weekly budget for you and your family towards food and drink, and stick to it. You should also look at your accounts and determine how much money you want to offer for zakat as well as budget for any other types of donations you’d like to make.
7. AND FINALLY, STOCK UP ON THE GOOD STUFF
The better the food you fuel your body with from now, the happier you will feel in the long run.
“Start a detox by eating more healthy fresh foods: include more vegetables, fruits and whole foods in the diet. These foods are not just filling they can help cleanse the body and stockpile it with natural sources of energising vitamins, minerals and nutrients,” Lauren concludes.
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