Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is a time when many Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. In addition to the fast, it is a month where spiritual growth, charity and community are at the forefront. As an advocate for interfaith dialogue and multicultural connections, I must say this month is also an opportunity for building bridges! If you know a Muslim who observes the fast, don’t hesitate to start a respectful conversation about it. You may even find yourself invited to an Iftar meal. But be prepared for a late dinner; this year, Ramadan falls mostly in June which means a 16-18 hour/day fast for Canadian Muslims! To support observers of the fast, Real Canadian Superstore® and No Frills® are offering some hydration and energy-conservation solutions. With their low prices, they are truly your one-stop shops for all your Ramadan grocery needs!
Salima Jivraj, Halal Foodie expert and observer of Ramadan, has these suggestions:
Stay hydrated. During the Suhoor and Iftar meals, it’s important to drink as much water as possible to keep your body hydrated. During the Suhoor meal, you can also eat salads that have a high water content, like a cucumber or tomato salad that will keep you feeling refreshed throughout the day.
Protein and fibre in the morning. During the Suhoor meal, it’s important to consume foods that are high in fibre, since this keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time. This includes whole grains, oats, beans and lentils. One of our family favourites is a chicken curry made using mixed lentils, Arz fava beans and chickpeas that you can find at the Real Canadian Superstore® with the rest of your groceries at super prices. Don’t forget the eggs during this meal to give you extra protein.
Don’t over-exert yourself. If you exercise, Jivraj recommends shortening the time to save energy and making up for it after your evening meal. She also says to consider exercising indoors on particularly hot and sunny days to avoid feeling dehydrated.
Include more fruits during Iftar. Although this meal happens after the workday is done, Jivraj stresses the importance of balancing your meals to avoid feeling bloated. Since it’s customary to break your fast with dates, she suggests consuming a fruit salad during this time as well. Try waiting a while before having the final heavier evening meal so as not to have an upset stomach.
Real Canadian Superstore® products like Sufra’s Zabeeha by Hand chicken can come in handy when you’re preparing Suhoor in a recipe like my mom’s chicken bhiryani (pictured below) or Salma’s chickpea and chicken daar.
Giveaway – Win $5o gift cards for you and a friend!
I’m partnering with Real Canadian Superstore® and No Frills® to give you and a friend $50 each to spend in their stores! Head over to my Facebook page to enter. Contest runs Wednesday May 24 – Friday June 2, 2017.
Some thoughts from Dr. Saira Sabzaali about the spiritual journey of fasting
I am really interested in the spiritual aspect of Ramadan so I had a conversation with my friend, Dr. Saira Sabzaali (transpersonal psychotherapist and scholar of Islam) about the esoteric journey of the holy month. She told me that she looks at the fast as a reminder of a spiritual opportunity, where the effort is in letting the soul be more present than the ego. In other words, it’s a time when she uses her ‘hangry-ness’ as kind of a test of character. As she moves through each day during the fast, she asks herself, “Despite feeling irritable, can I still be kind? Can I still be patient with others? Is it possible to not let my hunger dictate my behaviour? Can I remember that I am more than just my body?” I wanted to share this with you because I think it’s important to consider the big picture of this practice. This also helps bridge the gap between people; whether someone observes the fast or not, most of us can relate to a spiritual test or a trying situation in which we have to dig deep to thrive on the other side.
This post was sponsored by Real Canadian Superstore® and No Frills®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.