Ramadan Countdown Day 9

Oh my gosh, you guys. I messed up. So, yesterday’s countdown was not posted and I am sorry. Weirdly enough, I’ve managed to be unnaturally busy during the lockdown and yesterday was a combination of running around trying to get things done and also coming down with a massive headache. Also I woke up too late for suhoor, but still fasted to make up for days missed last year. Not a good idea! So, to make up for my negligence, you guys get two posts today!

Ok, here we go! Day 9 of the Ramadan Countdown! I’ve touched on this in a previous post but today is the day to map out what foods you need to buy to make for iftar and suhoor. Trust me when I say that you will have no energy to go grocery shopping (especially now with the long ques) or make complicated dishes that take ages to prepare. If you can buy items in bulk now to save yourself the hassle, do it! Now, what you buy is entirely dependent on what your staple diet is. I know that a lot of people will go all out and eat all kinds of delicious things for iftar but a lot of times these things are not healthy at all. I’m not saying you should avoid them at all costs, but for the sake your health and your digestion, I’ve found that it’s better to eat your normal foods and save the treats for once a week at most.

I’m currently staying with family and my mother-in-law rules the kitchen so I’m just there to help. Thankfully, she already has her meals planned out and her ingredients ready. What a woman. Since staying with them, I’ve started eating a lot more simply. The diet staples that we eat are things that I would now buy and make if I were observing Ramadan back in my own house.

This is all that we’ve bought:

Bulk bags of rice, bulk bags of atta flour, daal, canned chickpeas, frozen veggies, bulk chicken (frozen), condiments from the Asian isle (they come in huge containers), turmeric, garam masala, chili powder, onions, garlic, ginger, potatoes, dates, oats/cereal, milk, fruit, nuts.

And the foods we’re eating:

Curry, rice, daal, roti, veggies, biryani, channa (chickpeas), potatoes, porridge/cereal.

It’s boring but delicious and easy. My MIL can cook all of this with her eyes closed and I help as much as I can so the cooking is done much quicker. There’s nothing special about any of the foods but on the bright side: no one is stressed about the cooking, we don’t gain unnecessary weight, clean up is quick, cost is inexpensive, we don’t feel sick after eating, and we don’t have to expend energy we don’t have to get it all done. Overall, it’s an enjoyable and efficient experience. Also, it’s best to choose the easiest most filling thing to eat for suhoor. I’ve realized that for me, that is cereal. You don’t have to cook it, it’s enriched with vitamins, and it’s filling. I also eat whatever fruit is easy and if I have any nuts like cashews on hand, I eat those as well.

Ok, lovelies, that is it for this post! With most cities being under lockdown most likely well into Ramadan, it’s definitely a good time to get what we need before the month starts. Those ques are no joke! See you in the next post!


Ramadan Countdown Day 19

Assalaamu alaikum, lovelies!

It’s day 19 of the Ramadan Countdown and today I want to talk about intermittent fasting.

So, for those of you who have observed Ramadan in the past, you know how intense it can really be. That’s why it’s important to prepare yourself mentally and physically! My suggestion is to take the latest trend in dieting and apply it to your fasting preparations. Intermittent fasting is a fancy way of saying “skip breakfast/dinner”. I’m not asking you to skip both meals, but if you can, try to practice skipping one. For me personally, it’s easier to skip breakfast than it is dinner because I usually forget to eat in the mornings anyway (thanks, personal neglect!). I don’t eat until around 1:30 when I take my lunch and then I’ll eat dinner as normal.

Intermittent fasting will not only prepare you for Ramadan, but it has also been shown to aid in weightloss and “autophagy”. Autophagy is when normal, healthy cells eat damaged cells in order to rid the body of them and produce more healthy cells. This is one reason why fasting has been so highly recommended in cultures all across the world for centuries. It is also regularly shown that people who practice some form of fasting throughout their lifetime live much healthier lives. If you would like to read more about what intermittent fasting is and why it works, proceed here or here.

So to mentally and physically prepare yourself for what fasting will feel like, try intermittent fasting! You can choose whether you would also like to omit liquids, that’s up to you. While it only lasts for half a day, it can still get you off to the right start. If you’ve never fasted for Ramadan before, it will definitely help ready you for the challenge and the reward that comes with this beautiful month ahead.

beauty, Series, Uncategorized

Organic Beauty: Food

Hey guys! I’m back with another instalment to the Organic Beauty series. Today’s topic: food. One of the most under appreciated topics in the beauty industry. Usually we just focus on food for weight-loss with crazy fad diets and broken dreams but it goes way beyond that. The foods we eat can also play a big role in our hair, skin, nails and mood.

We are what we eat. How many times have we heard this? Probably too many to count but it’s true. Whether the consequences are visible or in hiding, our diet plays a big role in our lives. One of the simplest ways to feel a little bit more beautiful is to focus the way we eat around what our bodies need. For example, eating a healthy source of omega fatty acids results not only in cognitive brain function but allegedly softer, smoother skin. Dark leafy greens are filled with vitamins A and C aiding in cellular turnover and a brighter complexion, also eye health.

The Prophet (SAW) actually encouraged us to make a habit to eat from necessity rather than pleasure. We are encouraged to eat as He (SAW) ate: 1/3 food 1/3 water and 1/3 air. While it’s fun to treat ourselves every now and then, doing it all of the time can end up with us feeling ill, bloated, irritable, and our skin a wreck. Even if you’re one of the blessed few that doesn’t see these effects now, they’ll show up eventually. Just like how smoking, drugs, alcohol, and lack of sleep eventually make themselves known, food has its own way of creeping up on people through premature ageing, weight gain, and medical issues.

The only diet that’s right for everyone is one that is balanced and governed by moderation. Everything else is individual so you have to figure out what works for you. From experience, I know that most meat besides seafood, tomatoes, and dairy don’t make me feel so beautiful and wreak havoc on my skin. So I stay away from those when there’s no pizza around and instead eat the things that my body does love which tends to include lots of green veggies, beans, olives, hummus, lentils, and chocolate (antioxidants and all that). This will look different for everyone so the easiest way to figure out what your body wants and needs is to pay attention to how you are feeling after you eat. Go with the foods and drinks that make you feel like your best self and don’t force yourself to eat things that you absolutely can’t stand. If you know you need to eat more vegetables, start with the vegetables you like. If you’re not the biggest fan of veggies, start with the most tolerable and eat them in small portions.

There are also so many fun foods and drinks that you can find recipes for on Pinterest that are packed with nutrients but also taste delicious. Eating doesn’t have to be boring but the more we see food as a tool, the closer we can get to feeling our best and most beautiful. I think this may also help us repair our relationship with food, insha’Allah. It’s not about extremes, it’s about balance and doing what is truly good for us. For more on this kind of topic, check out Kimberly Snyder’s The Beauty Detox Solution. This book goes deep into food and how we can use it to our advantage.

So that’s all my rambling on food for today. I wish you happy and beautiful eating!

Islam 101, Uncategorized

Islam 101: Halal Food

Salaam, everyone!

Today I want to talk about what halal means.

If you live in America and did not grow up in a Muslim community or know any Muslims personally, the word “halal” may be completely foreign to you. If you grew up anywhere else in the world, you may be slightly more familiar with the term. Halal is the certification of food that is fit for Muslims to consume. It’s like the kosher label for the Jewish. Pretty simple. So what makes a food halal? Eating halal goes beyond abstaining from pork and alcohol. Most people have a misconception that as long as what a Muslim eats is not those two things, they’re all good. But it’s more than that. We are forbidden to consume any meat or byproduct of meat that is not certified as halal. Halal meat means that the animal was killed in the name of Allah by a cut to the throat and the blood completely drained. This way the animal is killed instantly rather than having to suffer through the process and it is said that the meat is safer to eat because of the absence of blood. Halal food regulators say the animals should be healthy and treated well before they are killed. For example, “the animal must never see another animal being slaughtered nor must it ever see the blade being sharpened,” according to The Halal Catering Company.

Halal also means that there is no alcohol or any intoxicating substance present in food or drink either. So jello, gummy bears, bacon, and Bailey’s are off the table. But that doesn’t mean that we have any less fun with our food. There are so many things we can eat so we aren’t missing out. In fact, the things we are forbidden to eat are forbidden because they are dangerous to our health. Anything that risks our health is wrong to eat or drink like eating too much and only eating junk food. Islam calls for us to eat in moderation, without greed and to eat things that benefit us because we are supposed to eat for nutrition not pleasure.

There are a lot of people out there who try to paint halal meat as unethical. But when it’s a process that specifically calls for animals to be treated well and to reduce the pain and suffering they experience during slaughter, I think it is the most humane way to go. Certainly much better than the mainstream meat industry which chooses to prolong the death of these animals by shocking them before hand. This way the animal is forced to go through a long and painful process before they are blessed with death. Not to mention many of the animals raised for our consumption are mistreated their entire lives. And also (I don’t even want to glorify this crazy claim with a response, but…) there are so many people who believe that the halal meat industry funds terrorism. You guys, we are not obsessed with terrorizing the entire word like certain news outlets wants you to believe. We just want to eat. The halal meat industry is a business like everything else and it doesn’t fund terrorism, that’s a malicious rumour started by scared people.

So, that’s it, that’s all the halal certification is. I hope this explanation was helpful and please let me know in the comments below if you have any questions!