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M. Bakri Musa

Seeing Malaysia My Way

My Photo
Location: Morgan Hill, California, United States

Malaysian-born Bakri Musa writes frequently on issues affecting his native land. His essays have appeared in the Far Eastern Economic Review, Asiaweek, International Herald Tribune, Education Quarterly, SIngapore's Straits Times, and The New Straits Times. His commentary has aired on National Public Radio's Marketplace. His regular column Seeing It My Way appears in Malaysiakini. Bakri is also a regular contributor to th eSun (Malaysia). He has previously written "The Malay Dilemma Revisited: Race Dynamics in Modern Malaysia" as well as "Malaysia in the Era of Globalization," "An Education System Worthy of Malaysia," "Seeing Malaysia My Way," and "With Love, From Malaysia." Bakri's day job (and frequently night time too!) is as a surgeon in private practice in Silicon Valley, California. He and his wife Karen live on a ranch in Morgan Hill. This website is updated twice a week on Sundays and Wednesdays at 5 PM California time.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Practical Tips For Fasting During Ramadan

[With Ramadan fast upon us, the following article by Br. Mikael Pittam is both timely and helpful. To see the original article and/or to post comments, please go to: http://bit.ly/rmdntips
Reposted with permission from the author. MBM]

Practical Tips For Fasting During Ramadan
Mikael Pittam

Muslims view the fasting month of Ramadan with much sanctity and honor. The fasting month brings about a personal reflection of where we are, what we have done, and where we hope to go. Many Muslims feel a heightened sense of excitement as well as anxiety. In this state of excitement, we try our best to welcome the fasting month with as much preparation as possible. However, at times we tend to forget the little things that when fully observed would enhance the experience and heightened its spirituality.

Here are some practical tips to fasting during this blessed month.

First, there is the pre-Ramadan preparation. Reduce your caffeine habit, preferably a few days before you start fasting so you do not crave your cup of java during the day. Try to do the optional fasts on Monday and Thursdays (or any day that suits your lifestyle). This will help you get into the Ramadan vibe. Overall, start eating less, especially during the daytime. Or you could have an early morning breakfast and eat lightly during the day and then have a full meal at dinner time.

Two, during Ramadan, it is important to make a serious conviction to follow its routine. Wake up before dawn, have the pre-dawn breakfast (suhoor), and perform the dawn (fajr) prayers. This routine must be ingrained in your mind, body and soul. It is common to have a boost of faith during the early days of Ramadan. The spiritual energy is vibrant and with it you would feel it easy to meet Ramadan head on. Then as the month progresses we may get weak in our resolve and lose our conviction. We may even get lazy and try to rationalize ourselves that we have another three weeks or so to get back on track. It is best to stay the course and be moderate.

Reduce the salt (sodium) in your diet, especially during suhoor. This will help reduce the urge to drink throughout the day. Extreme foods should be avoided as well. These include super spicy dishes (again to reduce the urge to drink after suhoor), high sugar content (to avoid the ‘crash and burn’ feeling), fatty foods, and anything else that normally disagrees with you.

Try to include foods that have high fiber content (for easy digestion) and are ‘filling.’ It is important to eat ‘complex carbohydrates’ as they break down much more slowly. These include grains and seeds like barley, wheat, oats, millet, semolina, beans, lentils, whole meal flour, and unpolished rice. Consume abundant fresh fruits and vegetables; they are not only healthy but also provide a good balance to your meals. They will also help sustain yourself until you break your fast.

If you are already taking multi-vitamin supplements, do not stop. Check with your health advisor if you plan to start new ones. Do not look far to find a vital healthy supplement. Consider dates. They are abundant throughout the year and especially during Ramadan. Dates are known to provide a wide range of essential nutrients and potential health benefits.

Another important tip is to keep adequately hydrated! Drink lots of water in the night and before dawn. During suhoor try to avoid tea and coffee; they are known to act as diuretics causing you to lose fluids faster.

Do not engage in ‘binge’ eating and drinking. Having an empty stomach during the day and then gorging yourself at night can cause lethargy and other gastrointestinal discomforts. The last thing you need is a sloth-like behavior at night and then you miss the precious dawn breakfast.

Bonus tip! Meet the community. In the San Francisco Bay Area there are few mosques that prepare iftar (dinner to break the fast) catering for singles like the daily iftars put on by the Muslim Community Association and South Bay Islamic Association. Many mosques also hold community iftars on weekends. Such events would bring many benefits, including hearing about the latest recipe tips, oncoming community events, and hopefully future some iftar invites!

Have a blessed Ramadan! And may Allah accept your fast.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Selamat Berpuasa Doktor.Tq for the tips.
Rasip.Kuala Lumpur.

8:46 AM  

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