From an email:
Some great tips we can benefit from InshaAllah.
Ramdhaan: Are you Physically Prepared?
Fasting is a great act of worship, yet sometimes we neglect to physically prepare which leads us to become physically weak thus undermining other acts of worship that can be achieved during the night & day.
Not only is eating wisely tricky, so is fasting wisely. Here are some strategies that have been compiled by people of extensive medical background as to make the fast less strenuous upon our bodies so that we may utilise our energy to the maximum in devotion to Allah, the Most Exalted.
Lots of Water: Most healthy adults can survive well over a month without eating. Most of the unpleasantness in ones breath associated with a fast does not come from lack of food, but rather, from lack of fluid. The solution therefore is to super-hydrate beforehand. Drink a great deal the prior evening, approximately 2.5 litres. Before the fast is over, you will be glad you did it.
Food: Though you should drink a lot before a fast, do not stuff yourself with food. Eat a normal meal but emphasize carbohydrates like potato/pasta or rice dishes, not huge amount of proteins or fats. Carbohydrates bond with water which your body can “drink” when it needs to during the fast. Proteins do not. Most of the dramatic but limited weight loss that people on high protein diets experience is, lost water that protein molecules cannot hold onto or bring into your system, water that you want around during a fast. Some people seem to think that they can “make up for” not eating by having a big pre-dawn meal. This is a very bad idea, and actually makes it harder to fast. Have you ever noticed how you feel particularly hungry the morning after a large meal? Eat a normal sized meal. Keep in mind the “hunger” that you feel at meal times is simply a result of your body preparing itself to receive food at the expected time. If you always eat lunch at precisely 12:30 and dinner at precisely 6pm, your body will start preparing to digest at those times. That is what we think of as “hunger.” If you vary your meal schedule & decrease at least 1 meal before the commencement of Ramadhaan, you will find that this eases your feelings of hunger at meal times.
After the fast, be careful not to over eat! Since the body protects itself from starvation when you are not eating, by slowing down the rate at which it burns food, the calories you take on right after a fast will stay with you a lot longer than those acquired when your metabolism is once again functioning at full speed. So prepare yourself for fasting, both physically and spiritually.
Reduce coffee/tea: The nausea and headaches that many people report during a fast have nothing to do either with food or drink. They are usually the result of caffeine/nicotine withdrawal. If you are a heavy coffee/tea or cola drinker, start tapering off a week or so before the fast.
Nuts and Raisins: Nuts and raisins are foods that enhance levels of energy. In addition, some of the scholars have mentioned that they also increase the memory, as does honey and chewing certain kinds of gum resin. Imaam al-Zuhri said: “You should eat honey because it is good for the memory.” He also said: “Whoever wants to memorize hadeeth should eat raisins.” Imam Ibraaheem said, “You should chew resin gum, because it gives energy to the heart and gets rid of forgetfulness.” (From al-Jaami’ by al-Khateeb, 2/394-397). As they also mentioned, too much acidic food is one of the causes of laziness and weak memory.
A highly recommended advice by a Muslim homeopath, 1 table spoon of crushed poppy seeds with 1 table spoon of crushed almonds mixed in a glass of milk at the pre-dawn meal, is sure to give you a great deal of slow releasing energy! Be sure to have it, even if it means that this is the only thing that you have! Try this once & you will be sure never to miss it!
And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the certainty (i.e. death). (Al-Hijr 15:99)