Faith, Food

10 super foods to keep you well nourished this Ramadan (part 2)

In Part 1, I shared with you some foods that may be new to you and your family. In this article, I’ll be introducing familiar foods to you, but with a new spin.


4. Coconut Oil

High-quality fat is just about the best investment you can make health wise. Our brains, nervous and reproductive systems are all made up of fat. Each of our cells is covered in fat. We need fat to use fat soluble vitamins like Vitamins D and A. Fats are an important part of a healthy body. Fats also help us feel full longer and help regulate blood sugar levels. There is much misinformation out there regarding what a healthy fat is and how to use them in your everyday cooking.

There are oils that are safe for cooking with, coconut, butter, ghee, animal fat and palm oil. Then there are oils that are safe to use “raw,” olive, avocado, sunflower, safflower, sesame seed and peanut oils. Most vegetable oils are not safe to cook with, meaning they should not be heated. When you heat these oils, they become rancid, rotten and will flood your body with free radicals. Oils like corn and canola, unless you are making them yourself, should not be consumed at all. They are highly volatile.

When selecting an oil, make sure it is organic and free from chemicals like solvents. Select oils that are in dark containers as oils will react to light and cause them to become rancid.

5. Water

We don’t often think of water as a super food, but it is. It is so important that we cannot live long without it. During Ramadan, it is easy to become dehydrated. An added concern is if the body is denied water over a long period of time (longer than a month, it will not happen because you fasted the month of Ramadan), your thirst mechanism will shut off. This means that your body is thirsty, but it just will not signal the brain anymore. Just because we are fasting does not mean that our regular bodily functions stop requiring water. Headaches, fatigue, fuzzy thinking, irritability and illness are often caused by inadequate hydration.



So, how do you know if you are getting enough water? Here is a simple calculation you can do using your weight. Take your weight and multiply that by two.

Find your water balance

If you weigh 180lbs/2= 90oz/day, minimum

This is just to run normal body function. This does not include perspiration, lactation, menstruation, intake of meat, sugar, tea or cigarette smoking. All of these activities tax your body’s water needs and require an additional intake of water.

6. Brown Rice

All over Asia, rice is a staple food whose importance cannot be overstated. Many nutritional deficiencies occur when white rice is consumed, the most notable is a thiamine (B1 deficiency) which can result in Beri or a niacin (B3 deficiency) also known as Pellagra (Fallon, Sally Nourishing Traditions, 38). The B vitamins are essential for maintaining good health, and B3 is important in maintaining heart health. Interestingly, both Beri and Pellagra were unknown conditions before the introduction of white rice. Both these conditions are not a disease, but the result of nutrient deficiency.

Recipe

  • 4 cups brown rice
  • 6 cups water
  • 1strip kombu
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt

Method

In a stock pot, heat butter and add in onions. Fry for 1-2 minutes. Add in garlic and fry for 1-2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt. Pour in the water and add the kombu, 1 tablespoon butter and enough salt to taste. Bring to a boil. Add in turmeric and saffron and rice. Cover (leave a space for the steam to escape) and let boil for 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on it and add water in need be. Reduce heat to medium and let cook for

15 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for another 15 minutes. Remove room heat and let sit until absolutely tender.

Don’t miss the last installment of, 10 Supper Foods to Keep You Well Nourished this Ramadan tomorrow morning inshAllah. I’ll be sharing with you foods you always wanted to try, but never knew how to eat, like seaweed!


  1. Fife, Bruce, Dr. C.N., N.D, Coconut Cures. Piccadilly Books, Limited (March 1, 2005)
  2. Teicholz, Nina,  The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat & Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet.  Simon & Schuster (2014). http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/the-big-fat-surprise-toxic-heated-oils/
  3. Batmanghelid, J, Dr. MD, Your Body’s Many Cries for Water . Global Health Solutions, Inc.; Third Edition edition (November 1, 2008)
  4. Carpenter, Kenneth J. ,” white rice, and vitamin B: a disease, a cause, and a cure.” Choice November 2000 38:38-1592
  5. Fallon, Sally, Nourishing Traditions. Newtrends Publishing, Inc (2003)

Anisa Abeytia is a published author and poet. Her work is translated into over 12 languages and covers wide-ranging topics from science to art. After earning her B.A in Creative Writing from the University of Southern California, Abeytia started her career working for one of the producers of the “Godfather Trilogy.” She later attended graduate school at Stanford University and holds a Master’s of Art and Science. Over the last four years she was active in advocating for the Syrian cause and most recently for refugee rights. She is the director of “Anywhere But Home,” a documentary following the journey of Syrian refugees to Norway. She is also the producer of “I Am My Homeland,” a film that documents the experience of Syrian-Americans and Syrian refugees in the U.S.

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