Thursday, 11 July 2013

Healthy Ramadan- Body, Mind and Soul

Asalam waliykum Sisters, It is Day 2 of fasting Alhamdulillah. 

I know there are plenty of blog posts on this subject already and there is plenty of advice out there. I just wanted to put out my healthy tips with Moroccan food. Last year I started to enforce in my mind the idea of making everything from scratch and having more Moroccan themed meals. Out with the Pasta, Spaghetti  curries and stir fries, I made these myself but they would not be suitable for Ramadan too heavy and too much cholesterol. Out with the Junk food and sweets and in with nutritional and healthy food. 

It took a while for my body to get used to, I loved having curries twice a week and my Italian food too. I did try to have these in previous Ramadans and it made me feel awful, sluggish, fatigue and was unable to do anything apart from crash out on the sofa. Alhamdulillah, I started the new healthy diet in Ramadan and I felt so much better within a few days, no more over eaten, now being able to pray properly, having lots of energy that I can go out for a walk, so many benefits I had seen and decided to stick with it. 

Everything I was used to eating from Morocco is healthy because it is made with the best ingredients and seasoning and spices that are good for you such as Ginger, cinnamon, coriander etc. 




Dates/Tamr-  A staple in the Moroccan diet. The health benefits in dates make them a SUPER-FOOD. They contain everything your body needs, fiber, protein, calcium, Folic acid, Potassium, Magnesium, vitamins and good sugars etc. So I try have a 3/5 when breaking my fast. There are so many varieties of dates, all of them good and healthy for you. Apart from the health Benefits the Date is mentioned in the Quran many times and is a loved fruit of the Prophet SAW. Just like the Prophet SAW my favorite dates are Ajwa, I had them in Saudi Arabia and had so many and bought back 2kg of them. For those who are pregnant or hoping to be, you are recommended to eat dates daily as it will aid with labor  There has been some studies on this to support this and the Quran is the only evidence we need to prove it. 

The pains of labour drove her to the trunk of a date-palm. She [Maryam] said, "Oh if only I had died before this time and was something discarded and forgotten!" A voice called out to her from under her, "Do not grieve! Your Lord has placed a small stream at your feet. Shake the trunk of the palm towards you and fresh, ripe dates will drop down onto you. Eat and drink and delight your eyes…" (Qur'an, 19:23-26)

The Prophet said: “Break your fast by eating dates as it is purifying,” (Ahmad).

According to another Hadith, “The Messenger said: Ajwah dates are from Paradise.” (Al-Tirmidhi)

“People in a house without dates are in a state of hunger.” (Muslim)

Other dried fruit such as prunes, raisins, apricots (good for those anemic) is beneficial during the month, they release energy slowly and aid digestion and are light on the stomach again full of goodness too. These are added to Moroccan dishes such as Tagines, Seffa, and even snacks with Moroccan Tay/tea. 




Olives and Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Moroccans LOVE their olives and olive oil. If you visit the country you will see in the markets and souks rows and rows of shops selling these in all different varieties, and seasoned differently. Zit Beldia/ Extra virgin olive oil is easy to buy in Morocco as most areas grow the trees and you can obtain it FRESH from a local farm. Once you try Moroccan olive oil you will never look at a super market one ever again. It has numerous health benefits both inside and out. Great for the hair, skin, nails, lips, cancer prevention, and prevents ageing, great for child development, those suffering with arthritis and even those with coronary heart disease. I use this in all my cooking. If I had enough and it was cheap I would even use it for frying.

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The metaphor of His Light is that of a niche in which is a lamp, the lamp inside a glass, the glass like a brilliant star, lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, its oil all but giving off light even if no fire touches it. Light upon Light. Allah guides to His Light whoever He wills and Allah makes metaphors for mankind and Allah has knowledge of all things. (Qur'an, 24:35)

Allah’s Messenger said, “Eat olive oil and anoint yourselves with it, for it comes from a blessed tree.”Hadhrat Abu Hurayra narrates that Rasulullah (saaws) stated, “Eat the olive oil and apply it (locally), since there is cure for seventy diseases in it, one of them is Leprosy.” (Abu Naim)

In Morocco we tend to have this for breakfast and serve it with Atay/tea and even in the evening, just simply poured into a plate and we dip our Moroccan home made bread into it, so simple yet extremely tasty. We also use it to make our breads like Mafrouk, if you want to learn how to make it check out my older post Here! 
We also make Khringel with it which is similar to crumpets/pancakes but is made with flour and semolina and olive oil, and we love to eat it with Atay for breakfast or in the afternoon. 


Honey: Another staple in the Moroccan diet. Recently research has gone crazy over Honey because of all the health benefits such as anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, good sugars and source of energy to name but a few. We love to have honey on our Mafrouk and in drinks too. It is recommended to have a tea spoon of honey each morning on an empty stomach. Some people can not handle having honey this way. You can put it in teas and hot drinks instead. Honey was mentioned repeatedly by the Prophet as a "healing," a "blessing," and "the best medicine."

And your Lord inspired the bee, saying: “Take you habitations in the mountains and in the trees and in what they erect. “Then, eat of all fruits, and follow the ways of your Lord made easy (for you).” There comes forth from their bellies, a drink of varying colour wherein is healing for men. Verily, in this is indeed a sign for people who think. Qur’an an-Nahl 16:68,69

Narrated Ibn 'Abbas (ra): (The Prophet said salallahu alaihi wa salam), "Healing is in three things: A gulp of honey, cupping, and branding with fire (cauterizing)." But I forbid my followers to use (cauterization) branding with fire." (Bukhari)



Other things to include are Fruit, Museli, and Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is high in calcium and protein and is healthier then most other yogurts. Try having Fruit smoothies using fresh fruit. You can freeze fruit on the day of purchase and when needed stick them into a food processor frozen, so your smoothies are ice cold with out being watery. 










Try adding Greek yogurt to your cereals, Great for suhur. Good cereals to have are oats, porridge (Sunnah) Wheatabix and muesli. 









Harira: A Moroccan dish that everyone eats everyday at Iftar and even suhur. In Sha Allah hope to do a tutorial soon on how to make this delicious soup. Can be made with/without meat, has lentils, fava beans and Homous in it all healthy nutritional pulses. Contains Tomatoes, coriander  parsley and celery leaves and some light spices and seasoning. It is my favorite soup and I love to eat this at iftar time after praying Maghreb. It is healthy for you, and is 100% home made. It is a good idea to make it in one large batch and then you can freeze it easily and defrost when needed. 



I do recommend you try and introduce all of these super-foods into your meals in Ramadan. 

On a side note; I am also super happy that the NHS have a section on their website dedicated to Ramadan. Mashallah, this was not the case 5-10 years ago. I will provide a link for you to check it out, and they have a FAQ  section, click Here!  

Jazakallah khier for reading, feel free to share and comment below. 

Wasalam-x- 

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