The post-Ramadan wellness boost – a lifestyle makeover for those who didn’t fast healthily in Ramazan

Published in the Express Tribune on August 18, 2013


KARACHI: So the healthy Ramazan regime went out the window when you smelled your first pakora. On Eid, the sheer luxury of being able to eat, whatever the time of day, took its toll. Cakes and mithai, sheer korma and samosas filled in the gaps between massive festive lunches and dinners. You’d never normally dream of eating karai chicken, nihari, kunna and biryani at the same time but on Eid, anything goes. You tell yourself you deserve a few days of indulgence after a month of fasting, but you know in your heart that every iftari brought its own excesses.

It may have been masked by pre-Eid salon sessions, but chances are the cycle of fasting and feasting has taken a toll on your skin, hair and general well-being, even if you’ve faithfully been popping vitamins. Luckily, a few simple steps can boost your vitality and get your lifestyle onto a healthier track.

Get moving
It’s time to shake off that Ramazan lethargy. Whether you are a couch potato or a gym-freak, you will have curtailed your activity levels while fasting. If you’re not someone who exercises regularly, do take the time to build your exercise regimen gradually. Walking, yoga, swimming and tennis are all great ways to become more active. You may not be able to do much at first but aim to build up to three 20-minute sessions that raise your heart rate every week.

Go fresh and natural

Cut back on all processed foods. Eat less sugar, biscuits, cake, mithai, white bread, processed meats and nimco. Increase your intake of fresh raw fruits and vegetables. Experiment with some of those great salad recipes out there on the net. Eating your greens doesn’t have to be boring. Thai salad anyone?

Remember to drink sufficient water. Fasting gets us out of the habit of drinking regularly but the sooner you return to a good hydration regime, the better.

Pay attention to your food
Eat a balanced, varied diet that is low in red meat, salt and oil. Compensate by upping your intake of lean white meat, pulses and fibre. Use fresh herbs, spices and lemon juice to boost flavour as you cut back on salt. Eat at regular intervals to avoid blood sugar spikes. Remember to take your vitamins — those supplements won’t do you any good sitting on your shelf.

Give your hair some love
Take some time out to oil your hair once in a while. Treat your hair to a protein treatment at a salon. For a less pricey option, try a homemade mask of gelatin in hot water or two egg yolks with two teaspoons of olive oil. While your diet will have the greatest impact on your hair, a little TLC can work wonders for the condition of your hair.

Let your skin breathe
Let your skin breathe: Cleanse, tone and moisturise but don’t be aggressive with your skin.As your body detoxes, you may find yourself breaking out. Be meticulous about skincare. Cleanse, tone and moisturise but don’t be aggressive with your skin — a soft approach is the quickest way to bring back the bloom.

None of this is rocket science but it’s surprisingly difficult to implement. We all know what’s good for us but we take an all-or-nothing approach. We can’t manage to exercise three times a week so we don’t even bother with the one time we could manage. We can’t give up sugar in our tea, so we don’t bother trying to cut back on it. Very few people manage to live up to the health and activity regimens recommended by nutritionists but even small changes can make a significant impact on your well-being. So even if you’re addicted to chilli chips or can’t give up dessert, take charge of your well-being and introduce some positive changes to your lifestyle.

Finally, don’t neglect your spiritual side. Hold onto that renewed spiritual energy that Ramazan brings and make time for your faith. A holistic approach to well-being incorporates the physical, mental and spiritual. Without the esoteric, everything else is just window dressing.

Copyright 2015 Karachista. All rights reserved
Salima Feerasta
Salima Feerasta
Salima Feerasta is chief editor of and one of Pakistan's top fashion and lifestyle journalists.

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