Tag Archives: Diet

HOPING TO BE HAPPY? BECOME HEALTHY

Written by Tanya Abbasi and originally posted to Islam21C

burger close up

One thing which seriously needs addressing in our communities, aside from our seemingly inherent inability to arrive in time for anything, is the attention we fail to pay to the second greatest gift bestowed upon us by our Creator, namely, our health. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Ask Allah for forgiveness and health, for after being granted certainty, one is given nothing better than health.”1 Yet statistics show that ethnic minorities, in particular South-east Asian men and women, have shockingly higher rates of angina, heart attacks and strokes than the overall general population. Diabetes is also a big issue, particularly amongst Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian and Black Caribbean people 2.

Our health is an amānah (trust) from our Lord, one which will be questioned about on the Day of Judgement. Yet we fail to appreciate the beauty of this blessing and constantly abuse the rights our bodies have over us. It is vital to remember that good health is not limited to our physical well-being, rather it should be viewed holistically, extending beyond the exoteric to encompass our emotional and spiritual health also.

Truly Islam, being a complete way of life, emphatically stresses the importance of this oft neglected blessing. Diet, nutrition and exercise combined with the remembrance of God and a sincere intention to fulfil our religious obligations is what makes a healthy lifestyle. Using the prophetic guidance to ensure we are fulfilling the rights of our bodies is sure to bring about both worldly and otherworldly success.

We are told by the Almighty: “O Believers! Eat of the good and pure things that We have provided you with and be grateful to Allah, if you truly worship Him3.” The importance of ensuring that we eat only what is lawful and pure cannot be stressed enough. Purity with regards to sustenance encompasses not only the halal stamp on our lamb chops but goes right back to the very source of our income, whether our earnings themselves are halal as well as how our food was prepared, whether we remembered Allah in its preparation or were busy committing sins, either with our limbs or our tongues. As with all aspects of life, Islam teaches us that moderation is key to a healthy diet: “And eat and drink, but waste not in extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not those who waste in extravagance.” 4

There is no doubt that exercise does wonders for the health – physical, mental and spiritual. Aerobic exercise fights heart disease and high blood pressure, and reduces the risk of diabetes, whilst weight training increases muscle strength and reduces fat, increases bone density, fights back pain and arthritis, and improves overall mental health. By natural extension, improving our physical and mental health can lead to spiritual well-being. A decrease in activity levels can make a person lazy and apathetic, which in turn makes us feel less inclined to perform our ritual acts of worship such as Salāh. Our Prophet (peace be upon him) would encourage physical activity and himself used to frequently walk, at a quick pace, race, wrestle, practise archery and horse-riding amongst other activities. During the Battle of the Trench, he himself partook in digging the huge trench which surrounded the city of Medīnah to keep out the enemies.

Thus we shouldn’t cheat our bodies, but must aim to take care of them as best we can. A healthy diet should include a balance of nutrients against calorie intake. Avoiding processed foods and instead opting for what is tayyib (pure) would be far more beneficial both for our health and our souls. Exercise should not be put off, even something as simple as walking to the shops instead of driving can make a difference if made a regular substitute. Walking strengthens the heart, increases bone density, builds endurance and most important of all is a sunnah of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him). Thus we ought to all practise these things in line with the Islamic ethos of moderation and insha’Allah, happiness in our physical, emotional and spiritual will follow.

 

Notes: Tanya Abbasi writes on behalf of 1st Ethical Charitable Trust who empower Muslims to enrich communities through faith based campaigns. For more information, please visit http://www.1stethical.com

Islam21c requests all the readers of this article, and others, to share it on your facebook, twitter, and other platforms to further spread our efforts.[1] Tirmidhi, sahih
[2]  Health and Social Care Information Centre, 2006
[3] Q. 2:172
[4] Q. 7:31

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THE SINGLE PARENT GUIDE TO QUICK AND HEALTHY COOKING

Faaizah Asmal Laher has some tips for making family meal preparation a less stressful affair when budgets and time are limited.

Article originally taken from Sisters Magazine – https://www.sisters-magazine.com/2015/12/01/the-single-parent-guide-to-quick-and-healthy-cooking/

single parent guide to cooking

Being a single parent is tough! You’ve got to manage being the sole bread winner, take care of household chores, get the kids to school on time and make sure that the food you’ve served up is nutritious, delicious, edible and quick!

I spoke to a group of single parents not too long ago (both male and female), and one wish they all had was a stay at home shopper-chef just so that they could come home to a ready-cooked, healthy meal. The majority of single parents felt that time was an issue – they needed to do so many things at once that cooking (but also cooking something healthy) was just not a priority! Yet, it was still something they wanted to change, so I showed them how to cook healthy meals, without breaking into a sweat!

Time is the enemy when it comes to preparing healthy meals. A long day at the office, exhaustion from the previous night of sleepless or ill children – it is so easy to reach into the freezer for a prepackaged pizza or a takeaway meal. Sure, that’s OK every once in a while but being able to prepare quick, healthy meals is really as easy as A, B, C!

Always have a plan

Planning in advance will make sure that you are always prepared for the week ahead. Plan a menu for a week to a month in advance. Make sure each meal (breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner) are on the menu, and each contains a protein, a vegetable, a starch – and don’t forget about fruit for snacks. Include theme nights, for example Italian, Indian, vegetarian or kids night; and don’t forget all those favourite family meals.

Once your menu is set, make a corresponding shopping list. Include items such as long-life milk, cheese (in bulk is cheaper), canned goods like fish and beans; spices, oils and condiments; and dry goods like pasta and rice.

While shopping, stick to your list and shop early in the morning or late in the evening – try to avoid peak traffic times which will just add to wasted time.

Knowing what staple foods you have in your pantry can help you plan a menu that your family will enjoy.

Trawl the internet for recipes that can be cooked in under 30 minutes. Keep a chalk board behind the kitchen door for a weekly menu, and keep a monthly menu and shopping list in your diary. Retain all the menus, shopping lists and recipes – once the wheel is going there is no need to reinvent it. Just repeat favourite dishes every once in a while.

Budget eating can be healthy too

Buying in bulk can save you money! Team up with a friend so that you can split the petrol, and share the babysitting cost for that one big shopping trip once a month. Use retailers that allow you to buy in bulk for a saving, then split the shopping with a friend.

Use methods like canning or freezing summer goods to be used in winter. Frozen vegetables are just as good (some say even better) than fresh vegetables. Stock up on frozen goods if you live far away from a grocer.

Get the kids involved in the kitchen

Among the recommendations made by the American Heart Association for overweight and obese children was the importance of involving kids in the planning, shopping, preparing and serving up of meals at home.

The kitchen can be a fascinating place for children, and it is so important to spend time with them there! It does take extra effort and patience allowing kids to help in the kitchen. Initially they might make a lot of mess and mix up the wrong ingredients, but when they are older and leave the nest, it will be worth it! Cooking with kids can help them get interested in healthy foods they might not try on their own.

Allowing kids into the kitchen not only encourages them to try healthy foods, but it also gives them a sense of encouragement at accomplishing a task that helped contribute to the functioning of their family unit. They will be more likely to sit down to a family meal if they have had a part in its preparation, and this also allows them to spend less time in front of the TV or computer, and have more quality time with the family.

Younger kids can lay the table, older kids can clear up. Young kids can get out ingredients from the pantry and older kids can help slice up veggies, or measure out liquids for a recipe

Use your freezer

Certain meals can be cooked in bulk and frozen in advance to be used on rainy days – for example, lasagna, Bolognese, pasta sauces, soups, breads, calzones, pizza bases, pancakes and cookies.

Frozen fruits can make a delicious smoothie for breakfast, frozen berries make a coolie (just like a pro!) and stale French baguette makes the best French toast!

Appliances makes work easy

Investing in a good food processor or pressure cooker will make preparing and cooking healthier food easier and faster! Do preparation for the week in advance; if you know you will use chopped up onions most days of the week, chop extra onions at the start of the week so that you don’t have to prepare that vegetable again, and it will also save on the washing up! Just 10 minutes on a Monday will give you enough preparation for the rest of the week.

A pressure cooker will allow you to cook a meal quickly while seeing to homework or chores. You will be surprised at how advanced pressure cookers have become since our mums used them. The newer versions are safer, easier and even have timers!
A slow cooker can also be a lifesaver. Throw in a seasoned chicken and vegetables, set the timer and you have a meal waiting for you when you get back home.

Organise Organise Organise!

Yes I know! Most single parents are in their own ways organised already without having me to say it again, but organising your kitchen can cut cooking time by half! Keep utensils you use often close to your stove, clear clutter off the counters so that you can just cook and not have to clear up first. Sort through your ingredients and equipment you will use. Donate or make some extra cash from all those appliances you don’t use – this will help add funds for an appliance you know will actually make your life easier.

Try using the effective suggestions above to make life easier and more fun for you and your children. Meals don’t need to be complicated and elaborate or take hours to prepare. Often the meals that are simple and quick are often the best! You can do it – and you can do it the healthy way!

Faaizah Asmal Laher is a registered dietician in Johannesburg, South Africa. Faaizah’s great passion in life is assisting others to feel and live healthier by showing them how to shop, cook and eat more healthily and to embrace the wonderful benefits of mental and physical wellbeing. Contact her for all your nutrition related queries: faaizah.dietician@gmail.com or visit her blog http://www.faaizahsnutritionlab.wordpress.com

 

 

THE PALEO-DIET

steak

In an anthropology class years ago, my professor began by stating that paleo-humans (the people living 10,000+ years ago) were the healthiest in human history.  That small fact intrigued me and stayed with me, pushing me to re-imagine our ancient ancestors and the reality of our modern world.  Thus, when recently I heard about the Paleo diet, I just had to find out more about this radical and sometimes controversial diet and lifestyle.

When most of us try to imagine the lives of the first people, back before the Iron Age or the Bronze Age, back before the agricultural revolution when most people were semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers, we tend to evoke a rather bleak image of those people’s lives: hunting giant beasts with rudimentary weapons, collecting a few roots and berries and barely surviving through winter and famine to perpetuate the existence of the species.  Contrary to popular belief, however, anthropologists are increasingly arguing that, based on accumulating evidence such as bones and dental records, Paleo Man was actually more robust and healthy than the average person today and for a variety of reasons, including their diet.

The Paleo diet and lifestyle is based on the idea of eating in a way that is similar to our paleo-ancestors, which works well within a modern context.  It is argued that such a diet best serves the needs of our bodies and leads to optimal health because it provides the right balance of organic foods which we are genetically wired to process, use and store in the most efficient manner. Humans are naturally omnivores; we are able to eat from a wide range of food sources, including many plants and animals and even some fungi. Therefore, the Paleo diet draws not only on anthropology, but on modern research in epigenetics and human development to argue for a diet that is rich in protein, fruits and vegetables and low in grains (carbohydrates) and sugar.

eggs organicPaleo is often considered to be a variety of the low-carb diet, similar to the Atkins diet in that it stresses a reduction in the consumption of carbohydrates.  However, unlike Atkins, it lays more stress on the health and environmental importance of eating free-range and organic meat and eggs and also advocates not eating vegetable oils.

Allah has commanded us, in multiple places in the Qur’an, to eat not only what is halal, but also what is tayyib, which can be understood as what is good, wholesome and pure.  In modern terminology, that could translate as organic, meaning free of poisonous pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and artificial additives. In the case of our meat, animals should have space to roam, be well treated and fed a diet which is consistent with their natural disposition (i.e., not fed the products of other animals or synthetic mixes designed to make them fat). Eating what is tayyib is the heart and soul of the Paleo diet and lifestyle.

spinachDon’t be fooled by the critics’ (and some zealous proponents’) over-emphasis of meat consumption.  In fact, a well balanced Paleo diet will include lots and lots of fresh fruit and veggies.  While the Paleo diet is also by no means vegetarian, the important thing to remember is that, when it comes to meat, quality (organic, free range) is far more important than quantity.

It is for this reason that the Paleo diet tends to demonise grains (which are our primary source of carbohydrates), and particularly processed grain products like flour and its many by-products.  What most people today do not realise is that what we consider to be an average Western diet is actually significantly more carb-dense than the human diet has been for most of history.  Furthermore, once something has been processed to the point that it becomes pure white powder, it has become a nutritional desert and should be avoided (fun fact: the term “empty calories” was actually created to describe breakfast cereal). Some evidence suggests that our paleo-ancestors did eat a variety of starches, particularly from roots, maize and other varieties of grain. Their sources were significantly more nutrient-rich than most modern varieties of corn and wheat and they still did not eat nearly as much of it as the average person today. This diet places an emphasis on freshness, nutrients and minimising the consumption of highly processed foods rather than eliminating grains and starches from our diets altogether.

What also impressed me about this diet is the general lack of branded “Paleo” products.  Unlike many famous diets, it has not spawned legions of extremely profitable bars, shakes, membership fees, etc.  The only people who profit from promoting the Paleo diet, besides a handful of Paleo diet book authors, are small scale organic farms and farmers’ markets.  It’s not being made into a big business because that would be inherently antithetical to the Paleo lifestyle.

The Paleo diet does not argue for us to all go back to being hunter-gatherers, which would be neither desirable nor really possible at this point.  However, the grain (or bone marrow) of wisdom in this diet and lifestyle is that we need a return to purity in our diets; to eat the good of this earth in all its many natural sources.

Tara Alomari is a freelance writer, wife and mum currently residing in Wales.  She has a passion for learning about genetics, anthropology, nutrition and a wide range of other sciences and tries her best to implement the knowledge she gains in her daily life.

THE 7-DAY JUICE FAST DETOX: DO YOU DARE?

ORIGINALLY POSTED IN SISTERS-MAGAZINE – https://www.sisters-magazine.com/2016/01/01/the-7-day-juice-fast-detox-do-you-dare/

In this instalment of Tabassum Siddiqui’s Recipes in the Raw, she challenges you to a 7-day fruit detox.

fruit detox

What may be defined as maturing or getting old are actually some of the first signs of toxicity. Lethargy, having a dull or spotted complexion, feeling bloated most of the time or carrying a few extra kilos that you can’t seem to get rid of, developing wrinkles and fine lines, graying hairs, sagging skin, and digestion problems are all some of the signs that your body isn’t able to detoxify and repair itself properly. But through the ancient remedy of fasting, you can reverse this damage, cure yourself of many illnesses that modern medicine has not been able to cure, and revitalise yourself inside and out.

Fasting isn’t foreign to us, since we do fast for Ramadan. But unfortunately, the large majority of Muslims don’t start and break their fasts properly. Starting your fast with a plate of scrambled eggs, toast, and chai and then breaking your fast with meat samosas, and other heavy dishes defeats the purpose of fasting. Food should be treated as a small part of the way towards a spiritual path as has been demonstrated by our beloved Prophets and other historic scholarly leaders and not the main objective as it is commercialised today. In the book Ash-Shifa by Qadi ‘Iyad ibn Musa al Yahsubi, The Prophet (SAW) was quoted as saying: “The son of Adam does not fill any container worse than his belly. Sufficient for the son of Adam are some morsels to keep his back straight. If there must be [more], then it is a third for his food, a third for his drink and a third for his breath, because the result of a lot of food and drink is a lot of sleep.”
We have an amaanah with Allah (SWT) regarding our bodies; therefore, it is important for us to care for them and not to abuse them, nor be careless in our treatment of them.

Why do a raw juice fast?

Fasting on raw juice to take a short break from solid foods is a safe and effective way for your body to detoxify while at the same time providing you with easy-to-digest electrolytes, minerals, vitamins, phytonutrients and enzymes. The best way to make juice fasting a habit and to embark on a longer juice fast is to start out with one-day juice fasts. Even a one-day juice fast can have remarkable results, significantly improving your vitality and energy. Steve Meyerowitz says in his book, Juice Fasting and Detoxification, that “…one day of fasting per week represents 50 days of rejuvenation per year.”

An important note: If you are pregnant or nursing, elderly, suffering from a serious illness or are under 15 years of age, you should not try a juice fast unless you are supervised by or have the permission of your doctor, nautropath/homeopath, or other qualified professional.

When to schedule your detox:

Since you have to drink your juice within 5 minutes before it loses all of its nutritional properties, starting a juice fast during the working week may not be ideal for you. Most people do not have access to a juicer and blender at work nor do most people work near a juice bar. So fitting in a fast on the weekends or during holidays might be best. If you can, try to get out into nature and be in the most natural, stress-free environment as possible. Also when you are planning to start any juice fast, especially if you want to start a long term fast, it is recommended to follow the lunar calendar for the best results. We all know that the moon’s gravational pull affects the tides of the oceans, our menstrual cycles, and the best time to plant and harvest so it’s natural to think that the moon will also have the same effect on other fluids that flow throughout our body. Starting a fast at the beginning of each lunar month and when the moon is waning will give you the most benefits during your detox. It is said that when the moon is waning, it is “releasing” and this will also produce a “releasing and detoxifying effect” in our bodies if we fast during that time. On the other hand, when the moon is waxing, it is “absorbing” and this also causes our bodies to take things in as well and thus would not be a recommended time to detox. Sounds interesting – is there some kind of reference for this, scientific or otherwise?

How to prepare yourself to do a juice fast

What you’ll need:
If you have never really been one to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, then you’ll need to stock up, especially since you’ll be drinking up to eight 8-ounce glasses of juice per day or a little bit more. Choose organic, local, and seasonal produce, whenever possible and choose a variety of produce with a high water content that can be juiced such as:
• green leafy vegetables such as celery, cabbage, parsely, cilantro, and other fresh herbs.
• tomatoes, cucumbers, green and red peppers, carrots, radishes, and beets.
• oranges, lemons, grapefruits, grapes, apples, pears, melons, pineapple, etc.

You’ll also need the following equipment if you don’t already own them:
• a juicer
• a blender (to make smoothies for after your fast)

What can I eat?

Apart from making fruit and veggie juices and drinking as much water as you’d like, here are two savory recipes to help get you through your fast or whenever you want to eat light on non-fasting days. Feel free to make up your own recipes according to your tastes while keeping in mind the rules for what you can eat while fasting and what you can eat when you break your fast.

Vegetable Broth
Use whatever vegetables you have on hand or follow the following recipe:

– chopped leek (one handful)
– chopped red and white cabbage (one handful each)
– chopped white or red onion (one handful)
– 1 small jar of organic tomatoes peeled or puréed or 2-3 tomatoes, peeled and puréed
-1 small nob of fresh ginger chopped
-1 small clove of garlic, minced
-1 handful of cilantro or parsley,chopped
-1 lg. tsp. of miso paste per person, optional (you can also use raw chickpea miso paste if its available near you.)
– squeeze of lemon as a salt replacement
– a pinch of cayenne. Making your soup spicy by adding a bit of cayenne pepper actually strengthens your stomach and stimulates circulation.
– 1 pot of filtered water
Just before the water starts to boil add all of your ingredients except for the lemon, cayenne pepper, and miso paste. Cook vegetables and stock on a low fire until vegetables are tender. You can add a couple of handfuls of organic brown rice to the soup for your family. Once the soup is done, pass your portion of soup through a strainer to remove the veggies and rice. Add a squeeze of lemon, a pinch of cayene pepper, and stir in a teaspoon of miso paste. When you break your fast and are in the last transitional phase back to eating solid foods, you can leave 6-8 grains of rice in your soup with the veggies.

The Real V8
This recipe comes from Meyerowitz’s book, Juice Fasting and Detoxification.

Juice the following ingredients and drink for lunch, dinner, or whenever you like:
– 1-3 stalks of celery
– 1 small bunch of spinach, kale, or lettuce
– 1-2 tomatoes, peeled
– a few leaves of cabbage
– ½ of a lemon, peeled (or one lemon whole depending upon your tastes)
– 1 small nob of ginger

Pour this juice into a blender and then add:

– 1 clove of garlic
– a pinch of dill
– a pinch of cayenne
– ½ tsp. of tamarind paste, optional

Strain out any sediments and enjoy.

The night before

The night before your detox you’ll want to eat light, perhaps even making yourself the soup recipe that is mentioned here or a smoothie and a herbal tea. Get to bed early.

Days 1-3
The first couple of days may not be as hard as you think. You won’t be experiencing any hunger pangs until about the third day. It is also said that around that time you should experience more energy and deep cleansing on a cellular level. It is best to keep your activities light. You should rest to allow your body to carry out the deep cleaning. Go to have a lympatic massage done or have your spouse, sister, or close friend give you a massage. If you feel energetic, get some fresh air and engage in exercises such as Tai Chi, a short session of Pilates, or Yoga. This is also a good time to do more Dhikr and read Qu’ran since you will have a much clearer mind to enter in a much deeper level of meditation and concentration and your body will tend to favor more tranquil activities.

Days 4-7
After the 3-day mark, you may start to feel really sick. This happened to me on my first juice fast. I felt great and alive with energy until around the third or fourth day when I literally crashed. I had never felt that bad in my life. I felt extremely nauseous and dizzy. Then I felt cold and began to have flu-like symptoms. Then as I edged my way towards the bedroom, I almost collapsed with a trembling that surged through my body. I began to panic as I asked my husband what I should do since he had done water and juice fasts before and he was fasting with me too. My first thought was to stop fasting. But he reminded me that this was just a detox crisis. All the medication that I had ever taken, the years of built-up toxins from food and other junk, environmental toxins, mucus, and the toxic products that I had put on my skin and hair everyday all wanted to come out NOW.

What helped make my first juice fast a success was doing regular coffee enemas to keep my liver, intestines, and colon clean and free of any blockages. The worst thing you can do is to start a juice fast with any of those organs blocked with stones and other unprocessed junk. Whatever your body is trying to dump, it won’t be able to and you will only have all of those toxins circulating throughout your body, unable to leave and causing you to feel very sick.

It wasn’t until I had slept for the rest of the day and woken up the next morning that the detox crisis passed. After that crisis, I felt amazingly better, better than I had ever felt. At the end of my fast, I not only felt more disciplined, lighter, and more energetic, but I also lost some weight and noticed a new level of clarity inside and out.

How to break a 7-10-day fast: the transition back to solid foods
Before diving into a bowl of ice cream, resist the urge; stop and remind yourself that you have been fasting for 7-10 days on liquids alone. Your stomach and many of your glands have been dormant all this time and the last thing you want to do is abruptly wake up that “sleeping lion” with heavy foods. Again, you will not be as prepared as you think you are to control an incredibly large desire to eat if you wake your stomach up in the wrong way and too quickly. Secondly, especially in the case of long-term fasts, you could cause severe damage to your vital organs and stomach if you break your fast with a plate of roasted chicken and rice. It is not even recommended to break this type of fast with dates. I don’t want to you scare you, but it is important to warn you about possible outcomes if you are not careful. If you follow everything mentioned here carefully, insha’Allah, you should not have any problems. The most important thing to remember while making that transition back to eating solid foods, is to feed yourself as if you were feeding a baby: slowly and in very small quantities.

Phase 1:
1st day of breaking your fast:

Start drinking your juices with pulp, no need to strain them now.You can add some microalgae to your juice like Spirulina or Chlorella. Adding nutritional yeast into your juices and broths is acceptable. You can also drink some nut milks as well, but absolutely no dairy or soy milks. Add one or two alfalfa sprouts or any other type of sprouts to your juices and/or broths. Any types of vinegars or oils are still prohibited.

2nd day after breaking your fast:

Start adding small quantities of seasonal fruits with a high water content such as watermelons, melons, mangos, pineapples,grapes, apples, oranges, and grapefruits. Eat each fruit one at a time every one or two hours. For example, a few slices of watermelon at 8 a.m., one pear at 9 a.m., etc.

3rd day after breaking your fast:

Blend one banana and apple in your juice and/or make yourself a green smoothie. Follow the same menu from the two previous days.

4th day after breaking your fast:

Follow the same menu from the previous 3 days and now you can eat prunes that have been previously soaked in water until softened.

Phase 2:
5th day after breaking your fast:

You can start eating raw vegetables especially lettuce, tomatoes, and avocados. You can even make yourself a light vegetarian soup. It will be just like the broth recipe, but you can leave the vegetables in this time.

6th day after breaking your fast:

Add olive oil to your diet.

7th day after breaking your fast:

Eat as much fruit as you want. Stay with the same menu from the previous days.

8th day after breaking your fast:

You can make some soups that are slightly more heavier adding more vegetables, 6-8 grains of organic brown rice or 1 small potato. You can now add raw spinach and small quantities of dried fruits and nuts to your diet.

*Important note: If you have been fasting up to 10 days, then the 1st phase of transitioning back to solid foods will be 5 days long instead of 3. And the 2nd transitional phase will be 4 or 5 days more. It is basically taking the same amount of time that you spent juice fasting to transition back into eating solid foods. So for example, if you fasted 3 days, then take 3 days to make the transition to eating solid foods again. And the same is true for a 5-,7-,or 10-day fast. If you want to prolong the effects of your fast, you can even extend each step of the transition phase by a day or two.

Making a Fresh Start
If you are able to complete a successful juice fast, then prepare yourself to be a lot more healthier than you are now. You will be giving your body an opportunity to relax, to do some heavy-duty cleaning, and repair itself. Insha’Allah, you will feel lighter, refreshed, full of energy, and glowing inside and out.

After your one week fast is a good time to commit yourself to a consistently clean, healthy diet. For my husband and I, after our first juice fast, we made the transition to a high organic raw foods diet and a more sustainable way of living.

Here are some great ideas to help you maintain optimal health and beauty year- around:

• One-day juice fast once a week.
• Do a juice fast one weekend per month.
• Do a long-term juice fast every Spring and Fall which is roughly March 20th and October 22nd.

Tabassum Siddiqui is the Head Designer of SHUKR. She and her husband have been studying and practicing a primarily organic raw foods diest for almost 3 years and have recently started teaching others about the benefits of raw foods. Right now,Tabassum is finishing up another juice fast. They live in a small town in Andalucía, Spain.

 

THE 1-MONTH DESERT DIET

OlivesFed up with government guidelines of salt intake, doctors’ advice on calorie control and nutritionists’ warnings about additives, Rabia Barkatulla wanted to return to the simpler, more wholesome diet of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Equipped with ‘Shamaa’il Tirmidhi’ on the eating habits of the Prophet (SAW), she undertook a kitchen clearout and supermarket ban to get back in touch with real food.

ARTICLE ORIGINALLY TAKEN FROM SISTERS MAGAZINE – https://www.sisters-magazine.com/2016/01/01/the-1-month-desert-diet/

Week 1: Fasting on Mondays and Thursdays

Abu Hurayrah (RA) said: “Rasulullah (SAW) said: ‘Deeds are presented (before Allah SWT) on Mondays and Thursdays. I desire that my deeds be presented whilst I am fasting”(Hadith 288).

The first Monday of fasting is going well, just as the first day of Ramadhan, you relish the change. It’s funny how we have ritualistic habits with food: certain foods at certain times, certain drinks and certain combinations of flavour. Perhaps it is easier to break up the routine with fasting non-consecutively. I’m getting used to eating lighter in general and I’m not inspired to cook a big meal because it’s not an ‘occasion’ the way iftar usually is. Mostly, we’re filling up on pasta, fish and soups which are quick to prepare in all of half an hour from the shopping bag to the plate.

I can feel that fasting has made me more energetic and not being sluggishly waylaid with tea and lunch, the day seems liberated for other activities like swimming. Because it’s only a Monday and Thursday, mentally I can cope and I’ve found keeping my mind off food gets easier. We have a tendency in our age of neurotic vanity to be self-consciously losing weight rather than looking after our health and wellbeing. I’m trying to ignore that part of my irrationality and concentrate on health. I want to engage in more ‘ibadah during the day as I feel lighter – so for the days I’m not fasting I’ve taken up praying before I eat, finding that it’s easier to pray the sunnah as well and make it more of a mental rest during the day. The only down side I’ve found is that if I don’t have enough fluids before the fast, I really feel it.
Week 2: Fruit

‘A’ishah (RA) reports that “Rasulullah (SAW) ate watermelon with fresh dates” (Hadith 189).

Now that fasting is established in my weekly routine, it’s time to introduce something I’m really not fond of: fruit. I can go without fruit for months; the texture of its raw fleshiness spurs me to bury it under crumble until it no longer resembles its former self, or worse, fry it in pancake batter for breakfast.

Fruit smoothies are my lifesaver, as well as bio-pot fruit yoghurt. After physical exercise the body needs replenishing with minerals and hydration: once you come back in the house from running errands there is nothing better than a smoothie. I’ve actually finished a litre in two days, putting away 8 portions of fruit.

Yoghurt is a lovely, summery alternative to ice-cream or chocolate. Even fig rolls are high in fibre and are great with a cup of tea. I’ve also taken to stuffing dates with nuts and putting them in my handbag, brilliant on busy weekends when you’re out and about shopping or visiting people and you need something on the go for breakfast.

Chopping up dates and cranberries and sprinkling them over cereal has led me into the world of the dried fruit; a versatile and easy way to absorb vitamins without trying. Now they’re everywhere, in my muffins, on top of toast and even in my cookies.
Week 3: Bread, Vinegar and Olive Oil

Someone asked Sahl bin Sa’d (RA): “Did Rasulullah (SAW) ever eat bread made of white flour?” He replied: “White flour may not have come before Rasulullah (SAW) till his last days” (Hadith 138).

It’s time to bring out the rolling pin. Any culture that still makes wholemeal bread is worth adopting, so I’m rolling out the rotis to go with our Bombay potatoes. I’ve tried using brown flour to make quiche pastry and that was a disaster. The fridge alternative is a multi-seeded loaf, the best of the brownest – exceptionally worth the extra money.

Jaabir bin ‘Abdullah (RA) relates that Rasulullah (SAW) said: “What a wonderful grave vinegar is”(Hadith 145). Vinegars are complex and varied. There is red wine vinegar, best for kidney beans and salads, there is cider vinegar, light and good for pasta, malt vinegar that we use on chips and white wine vinegar, the most versatile in the kitchen. I’ve realised that they can all be used for pickling vegetables or fish in jars so I’m storing more than I bargained for this week.

It is related from ‘Umar (RA) that Rasulullah (SAW) said: “Use olive oil in cooking and rubbing (on the body) because it is from a blessed tree” (Hadith 150).

I’m amazed at what a difference it makes having no other oils or butter at hand when cooking. It contains good fats, and so olive oil mayonnaise is also a happy alternative.

Lunch is now a single sandwich, but filled with enough nutrients to make me glow. Seeded bread spread with olive oil mayonnaise, goats’ cheese and tomatoes: this is gourmet food!

I’ve devised a cunning idea to make dinner not look as sparse as it seems; in one word: Tapas! The Spanish dinner you don’t have to cook: pots of marinated vegetables, olives, and cheeses with bread that you dip in and out of things. Pickled artichoke hearts in vinegar is not so bad with seeded bread. Throw in some sun-dried tomatoes and you have quick-fix pizza. Pickled fish is my new discovery; I never knew how much anchovies where used by the Italians until I tried pasta puttanesca, pasta with fat olives, anchovies, chopped tomatoes and olive oil, assembled in minutes and reminiscent of sitting in an Italian restaurant with steam rising from the plate.

Week 4: Gourds and Fowl

Jaabir bin Taariq (RA) said: “I attended the assembly of Rasulullah (SAW). I observed, they were busy cutting a gourd into pieces. I inquired: ‘What shall be made of this?’ He replied: ‘It will add to our food’“ (Hadith 152).

Gourds are the marrow-family vegetables including cucumber, pumpkin, courgette and squashes. In England, many of these are grown and available from October onwards and most we are quite familiar with; courgette is wonderful in ratatouille, cucumber in salad and pumpkin in pies and soups. The butternut squash is new to me, so I tried a vegetarian lasagne with red onions in the mix. Squash is exactly what you need in the autumn; roasted with some salt it can be added to risotto, used in place of potatoes in a curry or simply turned into mash.

Zahdam Al-Jarmi (RA) said, “we were present in the assembly of Abu Musa Ash’ari (RA). Fowl meat was served for food. A person from among those present, moved back. Abu Musa (RA) asked him the reason. He replied: ‘I had seen the fowl eat something (dirty) so I swore an oath that I will not eat it.’ Abu Musa (RA) said: ‘In that case, I had seen Rasulullah (SAW) eat the meat of a fowl’” (Hadith 146).

Fridays are special as my husband likes it if we don’t eat meat except for this day, it’s the only time in the week I have a family affair with roast chicken or cottage pie. I can now see that, left to my own devices, I was baffled with what to eat and how to be more healthy. I’ve lost half a stone in a month; without a rigid plan or even needing to try.

I can see from the ahadith that I’ve been looking at, that the Prophet’s (SAW) diet was not as meagre as I’d imagined. There is a great variety of colour, fibre and vitamins in different types of food that was the custom of the time. Meat was not everything, and nor was subsistence on dates and milk; the only pattern we can find is that the Prophet (SAW) didn’t eat the same for two days: he listened to his body.

I am buying vegetables according to the seasons, which is one step away from growing my own but a learning experience nevertheless. There are vegetables and fruits that grow in this country that the Prophet (SAW) enjoyed; herbs such as dill and parsley. I’m appreciative of each season as there are new ingredients to tinker with and dinner doesn’t have to come out of a jar or a tin anymore. Granted it is harder work preparing and testing foods, but it is the stuff of life; we have been entreated to eat what is halal and good for us; and this not only gives us fresher nutrients and simpler habits, but we assist and blend into the natural world around us.

Rabia’ Barkatulla is a freelance writer and Arabic language teacher who read Arabic and Arabic Cultural Studies at the School Of Oriental and African Studies and is currently studying English Literature at Oxford University. Rabia’ has taught for the Ibn Jabal Institute in London, and continues to teach at the Ribat Institute in Surrey.