By Amna Nadeem
There’s no denying that there comes a point in everyone’s fast when paranoia hits you like those unwanted hunger pangs in Ramazan. You start questioning your sehri choices and thoughts such as, “it is probably all that caffeine; that’s why I am so thirsty or maybe it is god’s way of punishing me for watching GoT last night”, swim in and out of your head. The truth is you’re sleep deprived (in addition to being hungry) and research proves that “lack of sleep can trigger feelings of insecurity and even unsettling feelings and hallucinations.” So that unsettling feeling that something bad is going to happen (like you ingesting water during namaz wuzu) is actually sleep deprivation.
Question arises: How can you avoid looking and feeling like a zombie during Ramazan?
Here are nine hacks to avoid turning into an over-ripe turnip from all the Stuffing-our-Face-with-Fried-Food Syndrome that manifests itself to the fullest during the holy month.
Try to stay indoors during the warmest part of the day to avoid losing moisture (read precious water that you stocked up during sehri) and feeling lethargic. Hog the space near the air conditioner and keep the sun out by drawing the curtains down. You can also camouflage yourself by wearing a bat costume and hide from the sun if you’re feeling too enthusiastic. Find a cool, dark place, and hang upside down to train your body to believe that the big ball of fire and gas called the sun is just a myth. And your parched lips don’t need water at all!
Replace Fried Food
‘But with what?!” you might find yourself asking as soon you read the dreaded hack that dares to deprive you of the crunchy jalebis. We aren’t going to recommend you to replace it with anything fancy-shmancy. Nobody’s got time for THAT.
Opening your fast with the fruit chaat will do the trick. It will help fill your stomach so you’ll end up gulping less samosas, pakoras and puris. Feel free to add some orange juice and chaat masala to upgrade the status of your fruit salad to yummy thelay wali fruit chaa-aat!
Another great alternative to fried items is cholay and dahi baray with masala, imli, lemon juice and chopped onions.
Bake don’t Fry
If you just cannot muster the courage to say no to crunchy munchies, we have a solution. Instead of caving into the craving at 1am and stuffing your face with leftovers, do yourself a favour and pop the samosas and pakoras into the oven. You can spray some extra virgin olive oil to give them that crunch.
Bonus hack: Use a cupcake baking tray to give shape to the pakoras.
Try Coconut Water
Ramazan makes us all crave chilled soft drinks and sweetened juices with lots of ice. But a month’s consumption of these can make anyone resemble a swollen version of yourself. If freshly squeezed juices aren’t doing the trick for you, then try grabbing fresh coconut water from the naryal wala thelas. Not only is chilled coconut water incredibly sweet and refreshing, but it promotes weight loss and lowers blood pressure too!
Try these Desserts Instead
We’re well aware that those curvy jalebi’s are super seductive, but avert your gaze, believers. Divert it towards chilled custard with fruits and jelly. These won’t send you in food coma (if eaten within proportion) and you can add a layer of digestive biscuits one day and strawberries the next to keep things interesting. The possibilities are endless, just like our appetite!
Manage your Sleep
We typed this as our head lolled from side to side. Lack of morning caffeine and precious hour of sleep lost at sehri makes everyone feel like a zombie from The Walking Dead. Do you hear those groans and grunts? Those are chai enthusiasts suffering from withdrawal.
The trick to control your spiraling unproductivity is to get more sleep and that’s only possible if you hit the sheets early. It might seem a bright idea to stay up till three for sehri instead of waking up in the middle of the night to stuff your face, but trust us, it’s a herculean task to wake up from that deadly post sehri sleep.
So, what can be done? Do not have that mid-day nap. Keep those eyelids open one day and you’ll be snoring right after Isha for the rest of the year and waking up as energetic as Mary Poppins!
Bonus hack: Taking a bath before bedtime invites a bout of delicious yawns and consequently sleep.
Avoid Reaching for Cold Water at Sehri
Replace cold or chilled water with room temperature one at the pre-dawn meal. You’ll have to exercise a lot of self-restraint but, trust us, it pays off during the day.
Ever wondered why you wake up with a constricted throat every single morning in Ramazan? It’s because cold water makes your throat dry out faster.
Bonus hack: Reaching for a big glass of warm water after breaking your fast will fast forward your metabolism, help you avoid overeating, and keep your digestive system on track.
Avoid Caffeine at Sehri
It is tempting to have a sip of chai and toast at sehri but caffeine devoids your body of moisture really fast. That’s why fitness freaks tell you to chug two glasses of water before drinking your morning coffee. Yes, it’s been stabbing us in the back all this time!
We love you, chai, but I think we need a break *cries inconsolably*.
In all the festivities, let’s not forget our emaan. This Ramzan, let’s vow to make a greater effort to be closer to our Creator. It just takes five minutes to pray and once you ask for His forgiveness and support, you will find yourself more resilient to all sorts of cravings.