Ramadan: Make Healthy Choices With These Lip-Smacking Recipes

Ramadan: Make Healthy Choices With These Lip-Smacking Recipes

Embark on the sacred month of Ramadan with mindful nourishment

Gita HariUpdated: Sunday, March 17, 2024, 03:04 AM IST
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After the sighting of crescent moon on March 12, Ramadan (Ramzan) has officially begun. This is a holy Islamic month when Muslims across the globe fast, pray and reflect. During this month, food and drink are forbidden during daylight hours. In Ramzan, fasting or roza, observers must completely abstain from food and water for 12 to 14 hours. The elderly, patients and those not able to keep roza due to inevitable reasons can offer meals to the less fortunate during sehri and iftar. Charity is an important aspect of Ramzan.

“The concept of Ramadan is to instil control and discipline in our lives, abstaining from everything that is worldly and potentially harmful to humanity,” maintains Sana Qureshi, a young MarCom Manager, as she observes fasting for 30 days from dawn to sunset.

During this time, it is essential to pay close attention to our dietary choices to ensure that we maintain optimal health and energy levels throughout the day. Goa-based Dr Harpreet Pasricha, Founder-Director of Diet Dr Clinic, emphasises that incorporating light breathing exercises and gentle post-meal walks into your daily routine can further enhance your Ramadan experience, adding, “These activities not only aid digestion but also help maintain physical fitness and mental clarity. Take advantage of the peaceful moments after Iftar to engage in mindful practices that promote relaxation and inner peace.”

Pic: Freepik

Spiritual PoV

Namaz is offered and religious fasting aims to generate self-control, cleanse the body and mind of immoral thoughts. From a spiritual angle, it is the purification of the soul. Roza brings about a profounder link to faith and offers an opportunity for spiritual transformation, gratitude and rejuvenation. A dietary pattern is required to be maintained to achieve high spiritual merits.

Rizwan Ali Rakhangi, General Manager at Town Plaza Hotels Pune, is a staunch practitioner of roza since last 25 years. Despite being a hotelier, he refrains from tasting dishes during the fasting period, and does namaz diligently. He says, “I start with sehri of fruits and milk. By evening, the body slows down, throat dries up inspite of which I must give instructions to hotel staff.  I exercise self-control and focus on prayers which give me the strength to see through the day.”

Sehri

Also known as Suhur, Sahur or Suhoor, Sehri the pre-dawn meal, eaten during Ramzan, is crucial. The first couple of days of roza is considered to be tough since the body takes time to adjust. Fasting for 28 to 30 days can be demanding and taxing on the body and moods. “Sehri is carefully curated to provide vital nutrients and hydration to sustain people during roza,” says Chef Muhammad Ali Bargir, Head Chef at Hotel Regenza by Tunga, Vashi. When they have a group visiting their hotel, and on demand, “We serve a healthy breakfast linked to dairy, fruits, and dishes with minimum spice – roasted not fried. We focus on hydrating and nutritious foods like dates, fresh fruits, Halal meats, bread, cheese. These are light on the stomach but nutritious to see you through the day,” he explains.

Iftar

Iftar, the main meal of roza, is post sunset when the fast is broken with something light like dates and milk. After namaz a substantial meal is in the offing. It is usually observed as a communal meal in which an iftar is celebrated.  Nutritionist Suman Pai suggests, “When breaking the fast, during Iftar, opt for wholesome foods that give sustained vigour and vital nutrients.”

Health benefits of fasting

While religious fasts are observed mainly for spiritual purposes, they indeed have a great effect on one’s physical health. “Fasting has innate benefits on energy balance and oxidative stress. Potential health benefits comprise deterrence of certain ailments as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and overweight or obesity,” informs Suman Pai. Sana Qureshi expels the misconception that Muslims continuously eat after sunset till dawn, as she clarifies, “Ramadan is actually the ideal month to detoxify our eating habits and establish a routine that promotes health.”

Nutritionist Harpreet Pasricha, Founder-Director of Diet Dr Clinic, suggests:

For Sehri

Drink at least 1 litre of water

Include high protein along with carbohydrates

One chapati with egg white/ragi roti with keema aloo/bread with egg

End your Sehri meal with pomegranate juice to help prevent thirst

Options for Iftar

2 to 3 dates

Chia seed water /lime water/almond milk with gulkand (avoid juices)

Super Yogurt smoothie

Steer clear of fried foods to prevent acidity, bloating, constipation

Before retiring, it is advised to have 10 soaked raisins and 2 prunes to help prevent acidity and constipation

Nazaqati Boti Kebab

Ingredients:

Lamb Boti: 1kg

Ginger garlic paste: 20gm

Salt to taste

Raw papaya paste: 30gm

Roasted channa powder: 20gm

Yellow chilli powder: 20gm

Sandalwood powder: 10gm

Garam masala: 15gm

Coconut powder: 20gm

Brown onion paste: 20gm

Ittar: 5drops

Ghee: 4tsp

Water: 20ml

Method:

Take Boti in a bowl add ginger garlic paste and raw papaya paste, wrap properly, and leave it for 30min. Then marinade with all the other ingredients and let it rest at room temperature for three hours. Take a non-stick pan, blow flame, and put some ghee. Shallow fry the boti.

Enjoy with ring onion, mint chutney and lemons.

(Recipe by Chef M Rehman, Founder Afreen Foods LLP)

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