A Fast-based lifestyle

06 June 2016

My name is Sumreen Farooq - I am a young British Muslim and I take part in Ramadan.

What is Ramadan?

Essentially Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. During this time Muslims across the world follow the example of the prophet (pbuh) and fast every day for 29/30 days from dusk ‘til dawn. Fasting includes refraining from a variety of things including food, smoking and water. The time is used to focus on God, practice selflessness and help us develop as people. Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam.

I take it fasting means no breakfast?

Of course I eat breakfast! Just very early in the morning before the sun rises. Remember “you must not skip breakfast”. Mine is typically toast, tea and plenty of water so I can get though the day – especially as the fasting will be very long this year.

Isn’t it hard to work full time and fast?

It can be challenging at the start. But that’s just because my body isn’t used to it. Within the first week I’d say my body adapts and the fast becomes part of my normal, usually busy routine.

It’s important to look after yourself. I do this by taking regular breaks. I also tell people around me I’m fasting just to be on the safe side. I am quite lucky to work in an environment which offers flexible working hours. This means I can be more flexible with my working lifestyle.

When you start and finish your fast do you eat loads of food?

I would say a moderate amount. As your stomach is empty from sunrise to sunset, it’s harder to eat lots especially in the morning. I personally try to eat healthily and give my body the nutrients it needs. This means less fried food and more grilled food plus a good mix of fruits and vegetables. This year the fastwill be in summer. I’ll be drinking lots of cold water and eating fruits like watermelon and oranges. An occasional fried samosa won’t hurt though!

Benefits of fasting

Fasting has many health benefits. Here are just a few of them: 

  • Detoxifying your body - Your body will naturally detox as it doesn’t have to spend time digesting food or drink. It begins to use your fat reserve for energy helping to burn up any bad toxins in your system. I always feel a lot healthier at the end of the month!
  • Improving your brain function – When you fast your brain increases its production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor. This cell activates brain cells and creates brain neurons and other chemicals that help to boost your natural health. I notice my concentration improves during the day.
  • Regulates your hormones –  Because your stomach is empty for so long it gives time for your body to regulate its hormones. It’s like your body is retuning. The benefit of this is when your hormones are retuned you get full faster!

A fast-based lifestyle helps to keep me happy and healthy.

Thank you for reading and I would like to wish everyone a prosperous and blessed Ramadan.

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