Tag Archives: Tayyib

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.

CLEAN KIDS: THE NATURAL WAY

ORIGINALLY POSTED IN SISTERS-MAGAZINE – https://www.sisters-magazine.com/2016/02/10/clean-kids-the-natural-way/

natural soaps

The environment and the earth are resources provided to us by Allah (SWT) as a means of sustenance, provision and shelter. Individuals are the gatekeepers and vessels to maintain the land with the knowledge and mercy of Allah (SWT). It is important as Muslims to be aware of our ecological footprint and refrain from wasting resources. Making small differences in the waste we accumulate can reduce our environmental impact and create a more sustainable future for our families.

Now you may ask what small steps you can take to make yours and your children’s daily lifestyle more eco-friendly. There are a variety of ways to turn your everyday household items into greener alternatives for your kids.

Natural, Cleansing, Light Shampoo
Finally, a non-traditional means to clean children’s hair! For most children, you need something that’s easy on the eyes and fun for bath-time routines. This is a simple recipe to create a gentle shampoo that is cost-effective when the ingredients are bought in bulk and fun to make with the kids, as it requires just a little shaking. It also replenishes the hair with essential nutrients for a healthy look!

Ingredients:
• ¼ cup coconut milk (homemade will be better if your child’s hair is non-oily/dry)
• 1⁄3 cup liquid soap (Castille soap)
• ½ tsp olive oil (or almond oil)
• Optional: ½ tsp Vitamin E oil (for shininess)
• Optional: 15-20 drops of essential oils (combination of lavender and rosemary or preferred combinations that smell good for the kids)

Method:
1. Combine ingredients in a container (or old shampoo bottle).
2. Shake well.

Note: This recipe lasts for a month and, before each use, shake well. Also, make sure to use just a teaspoon-sized amount for each application.

Cloth Baby Wipes
Using water to clean your baby is the best way to go about saving on baby wipes and reduce the waste we accumulate. However, a neat and recyclable way to clean up after your baby is to make your own baby wipes!

Items Needed:
• Cut up flannel pieces or wash cloths
• 1 cup water
• 1 tbsp baby wash, shampoo or soap shavings
• ½ tbsp baby oil or olive oil

Method:
1. Mix all the liquid ingredients together in container.
2. Put cloths in a large mixing bowl and pour liquid over the cloths.
3. Let them sit on one side for at least 10 minutes and then turn the cloths over and let their other sides sit for 10 minutes.
4. Store these cloths in a large plastic bag or plastic container.

Note: These cloths can be hand washed and reused, cutting down on the use of harmful substances often found in store-bought wipes.

Eco-Friendly Bubble Bath Mixture
A fun recipe for the kids and completely natural! It cuts costs and is a natural means to make a whole lot of bubbles and make bath time fun. Have the kids make it with you and it’s like whisking batter – the kids will love it!

Recipe:
• 1 cup soap/shampoo (organic preferred)
• ¾ cup water
• ½ to 1 tsp glycerin

Method:
1. Mix ingredients together with a whisk.
2. Run water and add a little mixture (or a lot) to cause frothy foamy bubbles to form in the bathtub.

Note: Glycerin can easily be found at your local health or pharmacy store. Also, shampoo can be used when in dire need to create bubbles – this recipe can be stored for future use and a little goes a long way.

It is important to note that if irritation or discomfort arises, use more familiar products. These sort of recipes are a great way to make inexpensive products that reduce chemical excess and waste and come from natural sources. Educate yourselves about the manufacturing processes of products and try to use organic products to reduce the environmental impact.

Explore different recipes and combinations of ingredients that best suit your family and lifestyle and, most of all, have fun!

“O children of Adam! … eat and drink: but waste not by excess, for Allah loves not the wasters.”(Al-A’raf:31)

Alizeh Khan is an active member within her local community at the masjid and within her university as an executive member for the Muslim Students Association. Her focus remains to come closer to Allah (SWT) and aid others on their journey to do the same.