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3 Amazingly Healthy Recipes for Ramadan
Posted on Jul 24, 2013 by Amy Knapp (G+)
Traditional recipes for health and vitality during the holy month.
Proper nutrition is important all year round, but it becomes especially important during Ramadan, when the body must rapidly adjust to a month of 16-hour fasts.
High-Energy Power Breakfasts for Suhoor
Getting a good stock of food energy early in the morning is essential to make fasting as painless as possible. A solid meal at suhoor can keep the body and mind from getting fatigued and cranky too early in the afternoon, providing strength and sustenance that will last throughout the day.
Be sure to drink lots of water in the morning; dehydration is common during the holy month. Water also serves to keep the metabolism in gear and the bowels moving regularly. It may be tempting to eat only fruits and tea - who’s hungry at 4 a.m. anyway? - but morning is the time to load up on protein and whole grains.
RECIPE: Spiced Bircher Muesli
Slow-digesting, high-fibre foods are essential at Ramadan. This muesli is a great opportunity to consume some natural laxative in the form of dates, dried prunes and seeds. Traditionally, high sugar foods and nutrition-poor white flour breads are served at Ramadan, which can cause blood-sugar to spike and lead to mid-morning crashes. This muesli is great for satisfying the carb craving and providing necessary nutrients at the same time.
Sweeten your muesli with a little extra honey, if necessary, but avoid processed sugar and breads, which can lead to weakness, dizziness and poor concentration later in the day.
fresh fruits of choice (strawberries, raspberries, bananas, peaches)
3 cups oats (organic, if possible)
a handful of chopped dates
1 cup mixed seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds or buckwheat groats)
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 - 2 cups milk (soy, almond or hemp)
a dollop of yoghurt for each serving
Wash and drain fruits and set aside. In a large bowl, mix oats, spices, seeds and a generous handful of chopped dates. Add drained fruits, cover with your choice of milk and stir the mixture well. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator. Serve a suhoor topped with yoghurt and seeds. A few boiled eggs on the side are helpful for lasting energy.
RECIPE: Green Protein Smoothie
The green smoothie is such a natural choice at Ramadan, it’s a wonder it hasn’t been adopted the world over! A protein-rich, nutrient-dense smoothie is easy to drink in the morning (hint: great for those who normally sleep through breakfast) and provides an energy boost that lasts for hours.
Coffee can prove a little problematic at suhoor. While it may provide a brief surge of energy, that surge is usually followed by a crash. Worse, coffee dehydrates the body at a time when it is particularly thirsty. A high protein smoothie enriched with the electrolytes found in coconut water (the same electrolytes you get in sports drinks) not only hydrates but also gives the body a shot of energy it can really use.
1 cup coconut water
1 cup filtered water
1/2 cup hemp seeds
1 heaping tbsp halal whey or protein powder
1/4 peeled cucumber
a few green leaves (kale, spinach, bok choy)
1 cup fresh fruit of choice (mango, strawberries, riper the better)
1 frozen, sliced banana
a few ice cubes
Blend water, coconut water, protein powder and hemp seeds until the mixture reaches a nice consistency. (A good blender is important). Add ice, fruits and vegetables and blend once again. Be sure to sample the smoothie before pouring it into glasses. Add a touch of maple syrup or honey, if necessary.
Nourishing the Body and Soul at Iftar
Many see Iftar as an opportunity to indulge. After a 16-hour fast, high-fat and low-fibre foods start to look disturbingly delicious. But overindulging can lead to a world of digestive upset, followed by hours of disturbed sleep. Combat this by eating small portions of a comforting, high-protein evening meal. Chew food slowly. Unchewed food can lead to further digestive discomfort. Take the time to taste and enjoy this sacred meal.
RECIPE: Al Kabsa
Al Kabsa is a great pleasure at Ramadan; a flavourful and warm dish we all recognize and enjoy. This high-protein chicken dish is best served on brown rice during Ramadan, since it’s higher in fibre and therefore slower to digest.
1 whole chicken
6 cups water
1 onion, chopped finely
2 cups brown basmati rice
2 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baharat (Arabic 7-spice mix)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp black pepper
6 cardamom pods, whole
10 cloves, whole
1/2 cup golden raisins
3 tbsp butter
1 tsp oil
2 cups chopped onions
1 1/2 cups very ripe tomatoes, chopped
1. Clean and prepare the chicken, separating thighs, drumsticks and breasts. Place in pan with about 6 cups water. Stir in salt, onions, bay leaves and cinnamon sticks. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, reduce heat and simmer until chicken is tender - about 1 1/2 hours. Strain the mixture, setting 4 cups of broth aside.
2. Rinse brown basmati rice and cook with remaining broth and spices, adding salt as needed. Cook for about 30 minutes.
3. Soak raisins in water. Heat oil and butter in pan and stir in tomatoes and 2 cups chopped onions. Cook until onions soften. Add the cooked rice and the 4 cups of broth you set aside earlier. When the mixture comes to a boil, add soaked raisins and simmer until rice is finished cooking.
4. Remove chicken meat from bones. Spread rice over a large platter and top with chicken
Al Kabsa is best served with whole grain bread, hot sauce (shattah) and a fresh salad mixture, including cucumber, carrots, tomatoes and lettuce, and topped with a lime vinaigrette.
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