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Cairo Guide to Ramadan: Preparing for the Holy Month

Cairo Guide to Ramadan: Preparing for the Holy Month
    written by
    Cairo 360

    We know
    that Ramadan hasn’t even started yet, but just talking about it makes us want
    shorter work days, all-night konafa feasts, and a glass of cold water.   Although Ramadan can be a little stressful
    with the pre-fetar traffic and short-fused tempers; it is also an ideal time for
    you to step back, get some perspective, and make some healthy changes in your
    life. We at Cairo 360 have compiled a list of pre-Ramadan
    tips to make this holy month less of a struggle.  

    Cut Back on Your Vices

    If your
    breakfast – or any part of your day for that matter– consists of coffee and a
    cigarette; start kicking the habit now. No, not tomorrow; today. Put the
    cigarette out and pour the coffee down the drain. The same goes for other vices that you may
    have. Caffeine and smoking habits will be difficult to do without if you
    suddenly go cold turkey. Withdrawal from
    these stimulants can cause some nasty headaches; so to avoid a cranky Ramadan,
    switch to green tea for the next few weeks and pass on the shisha.

    Quantity Control  

    Your body
    needs to adjust to the fact that you won’t be eating every few hours during
    Ramadan. To make the month of fasting a
    little easier on your system, begin altering your portion sizes early. When your stomach adjusts to receiving less
    food, it will shrink a bit. This will
    make the hunger more manageable and will also help you feel full faster when
    you eat. Eat healthy, high-energy foods
    in moderate portions several times a day, and make sure to drink plenty of
    water. If you begin Ramadan with a
    healthy digestive system; you are less likely to experience stomach woes when
    you fast. You may even lose a few kilos,
    which will give you an incentive for a healthier Ramadan and keep off the
    weight. Lastly, it is of critical
    importance not to gorge on huge meals just before Ramadan. We know how tempting it is to fill yourself
    up to the brim with your favourite foods right before fasting; but it won’t do
    you any good in the long run.

    Work it Out Now

    If you’ve
    already got a regular fitness regime; then consider how to modify your workout
    for Ramadan. If you aren’t a regular at
    the gym, get in the habit of working out at least a few times a week from now until
    the beginning of Ramadan. If hitting the
    treadmill or taking spinning classes is not your thing; then develop a gentle
    yoga practice, or just stretch for a few minutes each day. If you’re planning
    to work out after fetar during Ramadan, start exercising in the evening to
    adapt your body to the time. Exercising now will ensure that you are as healthy
    as possible when Ramadan begins.

    Shop Now, Save Later

    Whether you
    will be preparing massive fetars for family and friends, or you just want to
    keep a few midnight snack options around the house; it is a good idea to take
    care of as much shopping and preparing as possible before the month starts.   With sugar prices up 33%, rice up 37.5% and
    meat up 15%, you will find large crowds frantically picking over supermarket selections
    just before Ramadan; so beat the crowd if possible.

    Don’t just stock up on non-perishables; most
    of your produce and meat can be purchased and semi-prepared well in advance. Clean and cut your produce as soon as you
    bring it home and throw it in the freezer– but make sure that you get all the
    air out of the bag or container first. This works especially well with garlic, onions and carrots as well as
    okra and other vegetables that you intend to cook, though it isn’t recommended
    for salad greens, which will wilt from the freeze. Store everything in portions
    that won’t require you to thaw and refreeze as this is not healthy or advisable.
    With much of your shopping and prep work taken care of, you can save the
    valuable energy that you would otherwise spend running around Cairo and working in the kitchen.

    Keep the Change  

    As Ramadan
    is a month of empathising with those less fortunate, chances are you’re
    intending to do some charitable giving. If you haven’t already sorted out your plans for helping the needy; start
    saving your change– or a bit more if you can spare it– every day. It’s surprising how quickly your coins can
    add up and purchase something very meaningful (some extra food or a small toy)
    for a lesser fortunate family.

    There you
    have it: a few helpful tips to start thinking about before Ramadan begins. Look for our Cairo Guide to Staying Fit During
    , which will offer a few pointers on avoiding the Ramadan weight gain.