The Holiest month of the Muslim calendar is right around the corner. Intermittent fasting during this month stands as an uncompromising pillar of our religion, with all able-bodied believing adults required to abstain from food, drink, tobacco, and of course, obscenity and unethical behavior. Fasting provides a plethora of benefits to us physically and spiritually, but few would disagree that breaking into the month of Ramadan is difficult; our bodies are simply not used to the shock of broken sleep patterns and nutrition deprivation.
In order to make the most of this Ramadan, and take your spirituality to a whole new level, it is highly recommended to train your body in advance. In this way, you can mitigate the sudden shock to your system induced by fasting, and focus your energies and attention on worship.
1. Cut Off Caffeine
It is imperative to cut off caffeine intake before Ramadan. Caffeine is a natural diuretic, causing you to lose valuable water in your urine, dehydrating you even further during the fast. It is recommended to minimize coffee and tea intake during Sehri and Iftaar for this reason. A systematic approach would involve switching to decaff, and then cutting your cups down one by one in the lead-up to Ramadan. Caffeine at Sehri time also leads to pounding headaches in the day, and who likes those.
2. Eat Less but Healthy
Get in the habit of reducing your food consumption. Eat less at meal-times so that you bring down your appetite well in advance.
3. Go Cold Turkey
This one goes out to all the smokers in the house. Taper off your daily cigarette consumption. Quitting smoking immediately prior to Ramadan will lead to withdrawal symptoms in the first week or so, including feelings of irritability, restlessness and an inability to concentrate. This will only detract from the quality of your worship and make the fast harder on you.
4. Stock Your Fridge with These
Stock your fridges with nutrient dense complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, pasta and potatoes. Get used to eating more of these in the run-up to the Holy Month.
5. Practice Roza
Practice makes perfect. It would be a great idea to perform a few rozas in the month of Shaabaan to help your body adapt. Additionally, this is a great time to make up for fasts that you missed the previous year.