When it comes to futoor, “don’t rush” is what I tell everyone. The food is not going anywhere, so there’s really no need to go crazy and stuff everything in your mouth. The futoor meal is the biggest danger and the cause of the Ramadan weight gain. (You would be surprised at the amount of people who gain weight during Ramadan) It takes 15-20 minutes for your brain to realize that your stomach is full. During futoor, 15 minutes before your brain realized you were full, your stomach was full…but I’m sure you didn’t stop eating, right? Don’t worry! We’ve all done this at one point.
At futoor, remember the word PACT.
P – Pause for 30-60 seconds between each mouthful
A – Appreciate each mouthful – you know that you will
have food to eat at futoor but others may not be so fortunate.
C – Chew each bite at least 50 times
T – Taste the food.
Break your fast with water and a date stuffed with an almond or any nut of your liking. Adding an almond to your dates will stop the sugar rush from the simple sugars in the dates. It means that the date will be digested slowly and won’t drastically cause your glucose level to rise. What’s more, I also enjoy coconut water at this time. Coconut water contains electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals such as potassium, sodium, magnesium and chloride that help maintain proper fluid levels in the body and regulate muscle function. After a day of fasting, you will be dehydrated. I find coconut water helps me feel energized quicker and stops post-fasting headaches. Of course, this may not work for you, so experiment and find out.
At futoor, your body needs simple carbohydrates, which are digested quickly. Now is a good time to eat fruits. Aside from melons, all fruits can be combined without creating stomach discomfort. Eat local and seasonal fruits, and where possible, organic fruits. As mentioned earlier, if you’re eating melon, eat only the melon at futoor. Omit the almond from your date too, so the body can digest the date quickly.
Go and Pray Maghrib – This pause in between your simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrate main meal allows the body to focus on digesting what’s in the stomach already.
After praying, you might find you’re not so hungry anymore. Ensure you drink water and eat your main meal when you’re hungry.
Green Smoothies – My personal preference is to have a green smoothie after prayer.
Always begin the main meal with a soup or porridge. Eating a large chunk of meat to begin with is going to create a massive “traffic jam” in your body because meat takes so long to digest. It will make you feel tired and sleepy, not what you want to feel after a successful day detoxifying.
After your soup, you should eat your salad. Lemon juice and flaxseed oil are the best dressings. Avoid store brought dressings because of the high salt and high sugar content.
Following your salad, you can eat your protein and complex carbohydrates. Remember PACT (Pause, Appreciate, Chew and Taste) to stop overeating.
Avoid deep fried food at futoor too. To enjoy deep-fried foods sensibly, wait until after your Isha prayer. Eat radish with these foods to help digest the fat.
Add a pickle to top up your intestinal bacteria– It is widely believed that having an imbalanced gut flora can be the cause of many diseases. The modern diet with excess sugar, dairy, yeast and medications can create an imbalance of the beneficial bacteria.
When your gut bacteria is imbalanced, food is not digested efficiently and it is one of the many reasons people today are overweight.
Don’t forget to continue drinking water throughout the evening. Fill a glass bottle and keep it with you while you go about your evening.
Heavy desserts should be left for after Isha prayer.
HOW TO NOT FEEL LEFT OUT
When you eat differently from your peers, there’s a slight chance that you’ll feel “left out.” Modern futoor meals consist of deep-fried, flour based, salty or sugary goods. While these foods were suitable for our grandparent’s generation, today’s lack of activity and lifestyle makes these foods terrible for our overall health. If your goal is to lose weight, get healthy, and detoxify, then feeling left out shouldn’t be of great of concern.
However, if you want to ease into a healthy eating lifestyle but are afraid of being “left out or deprived,” Ramadan is a good time to start. If there are 30 days of fasting, keep 26 days for healthy eating. Once a week, so you don’t feel left out or deprived, feel free to indulge. But remember the following basic principles:
1) PACT – Pause, Appreciate, Chew, Taste
2) Start with soup or salad
3) Add grated daikon or red radishes to meat and heavy fried dishes to help dissolve and digest these foods better
4) Drink, drink and drink water but never with your meals.
5) Portion control – eat a little of the “bad” item.
Also, go for a walk after your meal to compensate for the indulgence. Keep active!