By: Yusra Ajjaz Hassan, Age 14 The Holy month, Ramadan has reached our lives once again, it is indeed a true blessing to witness another month like this! During the holy month, Muslims fast for a time frame of 29-30 days from dawn to sunset. The Quran describes the purpose of fasting as “so that you may attain Taqwa”, or God-consciousness. Fasting is a way to bring us back to our natural state, and for cleansing ourselves from any disobedience and corruption. Keeping this in mind, we don’t want to lose our health and fall sick. We should take into consideration is the diet we consume and when we consume it. Suhoor: Suhoor or سحور is translated to “pre-dawn meal”. This is an Islamic word that refers to a meal absorbed by the body in the wee hours of the morning. This meal is consumed before the first prayer of a Muslim’s day, Fajr. Iftaar: Iftar or ‘ إفطار’ is translated to “to break”. This is an Islamic word that refers to an evening meal that Muslims break their fasts with. This meal is consumed after the fourth prayer of a Muslim’s day, Maghrib. Meal Suggestions: Suhoor: Oatmeal alongside a smoothie made with fresh fruit. (Don’t have time? Cut them from before and freeze them!) Flavoured yoghurt or as desi’s like to call it, meetha dahi. Yoghurt is a great way to end your suhoor, it gives a light effect on your body and takes some time to digest. Just mix together yoghurt and sugar to taste! Just a couple minutes before Fajr, eat 1-3 dates. What to avoid during Suhoor: Fruit juice lacks the fibre that the whole fruit has and is loaded with sugar, so unless you want major sugar crashes, please avoid it. Salty food and caffeinated drinks such as coffee and tea are to be avoided during this time because high sodium levels in your body make you thirsty and dehydrated. Iftar: A light iftar is essential, as your body is used to being hungry, so indigestion could occur if a heavy iftar is consumed. Eat potassium-rich fruits. Potassium decreases the chance of many illnesses and maintains the fluid balance in your body. High potassium fruits include bananas, salad leaves, avocados, yoghurt, and beans. Drink as much water as you can to avoid dehydration. (Divide the number of glasses between Iftar and Suhoor) Eat raw nuts. Almonds have good fats and this nut is best accepted by the body after long periods of fasting. What to avoid during Iftar: In many cultures around the globe, fried foods are a huge MUST — without fried foods, iftar is not iftar. However, greasy, oily and fried foods should be avoided as they consist of high levels of fat and can cause acidity. So, now that we know how to fill ourselves physically, let’s fill ourselves spiritually. Ramadan isn’t all about waking up, eating before sunrise, starving, sleeping, and then eating after sunset. There are more things that make Ramadan such a blessed and charming month. When one learns to live through hunger during the day, the importance of food and water naturally comes to them. Once the individual gains this experience and consumes food and water at Iftaar time, he is filled with tawakkul and gratitude towards Allah SWT. The individual realizes that God Almighty has not only created them but has also provided them with everything they need to survive. Furthermore, the one breaking the fast becomes aware and sensitive towards people who might not have the necessities he has. This feeling in ones’ soul then leads to an incentive to help such people. Hence, iftaar converts the physical food which is consumed as a result of hunger to spiritual food and once again we see the sparkle of Ramadan, a month where everything has double benefits. This month is just yet another opportunity to devote ourselves to Allah SWT and refocusing our lives to Him and Him alone. Let’s make three goals today and try to fulfil them by the end of Ramadan! My three goals are: to complete the Quran once with translation, to spend some time praying to Allah at night, and to control my anger. Those are mine, what are yours?