Experts say when you embark on any change in lifestyle, there can be short-term side effects that can seem uncomfortable or strange.
Max Lowery from The 2 Meal days explains, specifically, with Intermittent Fasting and The 2 Meal Day there is a transition period where you go from using carbohydrates (from food) to fuel your body, to using stored body fat to fuel your day to day activities
“The transition period can last from anywhere to two to seven days for the average person. During that time, you might feel a little more hungry, tired, lethargic, irritable and sometimes you can get headaches, mainly due to dehydration,” says Lowery.
With millions of Muslims fasting across the world, spokesperson from Association for Dietetics in South Africa and registered dietitian, Faaizah Laher says that meal planning is essential to avoid overeating.
“Plan your meals to include a fruit, a vegetable, a low fat protein source and a carbohydrate. Nutrient dense foods as opposed to calorie dense foods will ensure you get in all the nutrients you need for a healthy Ramadhan,” says Laher.
When breaking the fast, include a fruit on the side. A few slices of oranges or a handful of berries to accompany your dates. Filling up with fruit and vegetables will fill the tummy and avoid overeating.
She suggests that you have a lean protein to accompany your vegetables. Grilled chicken/steak or a piece of fish will all help to keep you nourished.
Laher’s advice is: make sure to avoid many fried foods. “Eating slowly will help prevent overeating. Pause between bites, and chewing well will also help prevent indigestion.”
Eating enough, and cooking in smaller portions will help to prevent wastage too. Remember to focus on healthy, filling foods and it is okay to indulge (in limited amounts) on fun foods too.
“Ramadan is about being mindful, and eating slowly and listening to your body will help you lay down new eating habits such as eating slower, enjoying your food and listening to the cues you get from your tummy to avoid overeating,” adds Laher.
Below is a healthy recipe to try from Faaizah Laher
Low GI Haleem
112 cups low GI oats
112 liters boiling water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Tumeric
1/4 tsp green chillies (or taste as required)
1 cup finely cubed chicken fillet
2 T olive oil
1 medium onion, grated
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 tsp fresh garlic
1/2 tsp tumeric powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder/ seeds
1/4 tsp black pepper kernels
1/2 tsp green chillies
1/2 tsp salt
2 T olive oil
1 small onion grated
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 whole green chillies
1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves
1 tsp garam masala
– Combine oats and boiling water in a pot. Add the spices listed in ingredients 1 and bring to a boil.
– let cool and liquify with a hand blender. Set aside.
– Heat olive oil and fry onions, add the spices in ingredients 2. Add the chicken and braise till the chicken changes color. Add half a cup of water and cook till the chicken is tender.
– Add the oats to the chicken mixture and bring to a boil.
– Heat the olive oil for the last bit of spices listed under ingredients 3. Fry onion cumin and green chillies until fragrant.
-Pour this over the haleem and garnish with fresh coriander.
By Viwe Ndongeni-Ntlebi