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Many of us have developed a culture of indulgent eating… lavish five course Sunday lunches, daily indulgent snacks and more! The Holy Quraan states: “…and eat and drink but do not be excessive, certainly He (Allah) does not like those who are extravagant.” (Quraan 7:31) Fasting gives our digestive system a much needed rest , where the energy usually used in food digestion and metabolism is directed towards the bodies detoxification , repair and healing…Subhaanallah! Fasting is one of the oldest forms of natural healing. The West are in fact now highly recommending fasting as an ideal detox and a brilliant way to supercharge the immune system This Ramadhaan, let us stop feasting and indulging and allow our bodies to obtain maximum spiritual and health benefits, Insha’Allah. What can we do? Introduce LIVE FOOD intake into our diet Live food refers to all foods that Allah Ta’ala has gifted us naturally from the ground, ready to eat and cook. No need for processing, preservatives, machines and factories. Did you ever realise that during the time of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) there were no fridges and freezes? Our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) preferred to eat live, simple uncomplicated food that was easily available and required minimal preparation. These included: Fruits & vegetables Nuts and seeds Beans and lentils Unpasteurised milk Whole unrefined grains – barley & wheat Meat and poultry Our bodies and brains will express delight at receiving real food after several hours of fasting. So ensure you are organised this Ramadhaan and prepare a wholesome, well balanced menu plan before the holy month commences. Good ideas for SUHOOR would include Dates stuffed with almonds Raisins consumed whole or in a Sunnah drink known as “ nabeedh” Sliced Seasonal fruit or Fruit smoothies incorporating nuts & seeds Eggs & beans or lentils Wholegrain cereals – barley & oats (Barley was a staple in our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) diet consumed as “talbinah”) Good ideas for IFTAAR would include Fresh or dry dates Date, avocado or strawberry shakes (Remember to avoid adding refined sugars. Rather make use of raw honey, xylitol or stevia – more natural sweeteners) Attractive fruit platters or individual skewers served with a drizzling of honey & a sprinkle of cinnamon Freshly squeezed seasonal fruit juice Vegetable sticks & olives served with yoghurt or hummus & Dukkah or zaatar spice blends Assorted salads – Coleslaw, carrot, beetroot, apple, avocado salads Wholesome broths/soups cooked with meat, lentils and wholegrains. Similar to a broth made with barley called “ Sawiq” consumed by our Noble Prophet (Peace be upon him) Rice and meat dishes Remember to use beneficial cooking fats as used by our Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) - Olive oil, Ghee, Butter & Fat from meat. Other beneficial fats to include would be Organic coconut oil, avocado or macadamia oils. In conclusion, remember processed food, laden with sugars and harmful fats offers minimal nutrition, requires increased effort by the body to digest and is detrimental to health. We need to consume foods that are closest to their natural state, as the Quraan beautifully describes: “Oh mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and good on earth, and follow not the footsteps of Shaitaan. Verily, he is to you an open enemy.” (Quraan 2:168) With a healthy body and mind, the quality of our Fasting, Salaah and all other Ibaadat (worship) will increase Insha’Allah. Fasting is indeed food for the soul and healing for the Body! Umme Faatimah (B. Dietetics Univ. of Pretoria) Jamiatul Ulama (KZN) Council of Muslim Theologians