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STAYING HEALTHY DURING RAMADAN

5 THINGS YOU NEED TO DO TO STAY HEALTHY DURING RAMADAN

It’s the time of the year again where the Muslims all over the world begin to fast for 1 month.
During this time, Food Bazaars reign free and along with it, excessive amount of good foods and of course, inevitably great excessive calories and weight gain.
While many studies report significant weight reduction during Ramadan, the weight that was lost is typically regained within one month [1-3]. So how shall we go about this year if we truly want to stay healthy and keep the weight off once and for all?
Here’s 5 things you need to know 😉

1)You are essentially performing intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting or the process of only eating at certain hours is basically what people are doing during this season.
There are numerous benefits associated with people who have been successful at achieving this sort of diet consistentyly & sustainably. However, most people (at least in my country who fast during Ramadan) don’t do it for life but only for the season. Which means for most people, what happens is that, they experience either weight loss during the season, and afterward when they revert back to their normal diet, their weight yoyo’s back up and  in most cases with extra weight.
Why is this so?
Well, during the fasting, the caloric intake decreases beyond what they usually take which then results in 2 things. A decrease in energy input which then leads to weight loss, but also a decrease in metabolism (not for all cases). When they go back to their original diets and original energy input, the numbers go up again.
But then, that’s not always the case, for some, they don’t lose weight during the season, in fact they gain throughout the season.
The reason being that during the meals, although it’s lesser meals, the foods are high in carbs and in fat. This means that calories rack up really easily and thus cause a surplus of energy!

2) Controlling your hydration 

So one of the most important things to focus on, is actually your liquid intake.
So when you can, make sure to drink plenty of water, and avoid all caffeinated beverages as those will cause you to get dehydrated faster.
So things like coffee, tea and the sort, you gotta say bye bye for this period of time, unfortunately.
Small point to remember, but yeah, stay hydrated guys!

3) Increase your satiety

So back to my statement on energy dense meals. Think about it, what do people it during Ramadan? Oiled rice; Bread dipped in fat laden sauces, deep fried snacks, large cuts of meats, sugary desserts and the list goes on. The one thing that tends to be missing, well that’s fibre.
To stay full during the fast and to stay healthy, the principle of having vegetables and fruits is something still cannot run away.
Most people depend on the high fatty foods to stay healthy, but most of those fats are generally saturated (bad fats) and also increase your cholesterol in the process. What you should focus instead are foods that are high in fibre like whole grains, vegetables, fruits and lean protein.
Yes, LEAN PROTEIN. Muscle heads rejoice!
Protein also has a similar effect of fat where it makes you feel fuller longer.


Focus on these foods during your break fast, and you’ll be good to go, in a good shape 😉

4) Control and time your physical activity

During the day, it’s not a great idea to have a lot of physical activity, namely cause you’re running short on fuel and hydration. It’s not good to fall into dehydration and fatigue episodes or worse hypoglycaemia.
But that also doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise during this season, and to my surprise, many of my healthy Muslim friends actually do exercise during Ramadan.
But how? Their secret? Timing.
They space their break fast. They have a small meal first and go for their prayers. After which, they have a light snack and proceed with exercise which they then follow up with a main meal (as your normal lunch and dinner).
If you’ve noticed, that means they’ve just shifted their breakfast to the end of the day.

Break fast —-> Breakfast ——-> Taraweh Prayer ——–> Snack ——–> Main meal 1 ——–> sleep ——–> Main meal 2

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So, it’s really all about good and smart planning this season to stay healthy!

5)It’s still healthy eating and lifestyle principles

Unfortunately, it’s still about choosing the right foods. No secrets, no gimmicks.
Choose grill over deep fat fried.
Choose high fibre over processed and refined.
Plan your exercise.
Sounds very similar well cause it is.
Staying healthy doesn’t really have a season, and in my humble opinion and experience with helping people become healthy.
It’s apparent to me, that it’s really all about making the decision to stay healthy and adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Trust me, it’s worth it.

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Happy Ramadan and Hari Raya
Stay Healthy, LTD 🙂


References:
1) Poh BK, Zawiah H, Ismail MN, Henry C. Changes in body weight, dietary intake and activity pattern of adolescents during Ramadan. Malays J Nutr. 1996;2:1–10.
2)  Khaled BM, Belbraouet S. Effect of Ramadan fasting on anthropometric parameters and food consumption in 276 type 2 diabetic obese women. Int J Diabetes Dev Ctries. 2009;29:62–8. doi: 10.4103/0973-3930.53122. 
3) Hajek P, Myers K, Dhanji AR, West O, McRobbie H. Weight change during and after Ramadan fasting. J Public Health (Oxf) 2012;34:377–81. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdr087. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
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Coffee & Acrylamide; Is it SAFE?

SHOULD YOU BE WORRIED ABOUT ACRYLAMIDE IN YOUR COFFEE?

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By the end of March, a California judge’s ruling that would require coffee to be branded with cancer warning labels.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check this out here!

Although this mattered happen overseas, that doesn’t stop it from being spread over to our shores and subsequently pose the question, is coffee safe?
Simplified for your pleasure, here’s what you need to know! 😊

1) Why the cancer label?

In California, there is a list of chemicals that is considered to be cancer or reproductive harm causing and acrylamide has been included since 1990.
The state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, also known as Proposition 65 requires businesses to provide warning labels when exposing consumers to any of the hundreds of chemicals listed.
Since acrylamide is produced during the roasting process in coffee making, the logic here is that, coffee provided by vendors in California then would have to be labelled with a warning of cancer causing.

2) So, Coffee does cause cancer!?

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Hold your horses cowboys (and cowgirls too!), when we say cancer causing, we first and foremost have to understand 1 thing. “HOW MUCH OF IT WOULD THEN CAUSE CANCER?!”
So, here’s what the science says about acrylamide and cancer.
Acrylamide according to the International Agency For Research On Cancer (IARC) is classified as a “group 2A – probably carcinogen”.
A carcinogen essentially refers to any compound or chemical that may increase one’s risk of cancer.
Even though the scientific evidence on human studies on the matter are highly limited, there is enough evidence from animal studies
(Dosage 1000 – 100,000 times larger than current dietary human exposure)
to deem acrylamide “probably carcinogenic”.
Now I can already hear some of you screaming, “nahhhh there, see probably weyyyyyy”. And I get it, you’re right, but you should take note a few things.
Firstly, animal studies and human studies are 2 separate studies, while you may extrapolate 1 to the other, they don’t always coincide.
Secondly, from that reasoning, you should also stop eating these foods as acrylamide compounds are also produced:

  • Bread (Heavily toasted and yes, your special artisan bread also contains it)
  • Potatoes (French Fries & Chips)
  • Toasted grains
  • Toasted wheat cereals
  • Cookies
  • Cocoa (yes, your beloved chocolate has it too!)

3) Put amount into context

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So, yeah, should you then stop eating all those foods too just because they contain acrylamide?
In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established a Reference Dose for the oral intake of acrylamide.
This is a measurement of how much acrylamide can be taken over a lifetime that can be predicted to produce no noticeable health effects.
In other words, as long as the intake is not beyond the reference dose of 0.002 mg of acrylamide per Kg body weight/day. YOU GONNA BE FINE.
A cup of coffee can have an average of 0.45micro grams (roasted coffee) of acrylamide, if you’re an average joe of 65Kg, you can take around 130 micrograms/day. See the math now? Hmmmmm???
Subsequently, a cigarette contains 0.6793 micrograms per cigarette, assuming the average smoker takes 10 cigarettes a day, that would 6.793 micrograms per cigarette, so should we really then continue selling cigarettes? Hmmm….

4) Coffee has a lot of other benefits!

Not to glorify coffee now, but hey let’s put this into consideration as well, coffee has also been associated with an overall reduced risk of total cancer! Not to mention reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimers and many others.
Most important, it keeps me up and running to work in the morning, and god knows what kind of apocalypse the world would look like if people stopped taking coffee completely!

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In summary,

Don’t stop taking coffee because it contains a compound that may cause cancer,
similarly,
Don’t start taking coffee because it may reduce risk for certain diseases.
In other words, moderation is still key, and as long as you’re living a healthy lifestyle containing a healthy diet with lots of fruits and veggies, matched with regular exercise, your daily cup of coffee is more likely to just add and make you better in the long run.
Now if you don’t mind, I have an espresso with my name on it!
Till next time, stay healthy everyone!

Cheers,
LTD

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