Inspired by the end of Ramadan, Victoria Kruse, a wellness mentor, brings tips on intermittent fasting and a delicious energy bar recipe.
As I sit here writing from the Maldives, I’m thinking about the lessons we can take from Ramadan (or ‘Ramazan’ as we call it over here) that has just finished. Regardless of whether you have any religious or spiritual affiliation, Ramadan is a time of fasting and reflection. And these are concepts that have gained a lot of traction in the wellness community.
Intermittent fasting in itself is nothing new, I’d like to talk about how it’s been embraced by the wellness community and its benefits for your body and mind.
In Ramadan, the fasting lasts from sunrise to sunset. The duration depends upon your location. In Bahrain, as in the Maldives, that means around 11.5 hours of fasting. With intermittent fasting, the non-eating period tends to be a little longer – up to 16 hours of fasting is recommended. However, unlike during Ramadan, you can still drink water or any zero-calorie drinks during the no-food period.
If you fast for 10 to 16 hours, you give your body the opportunity to turn its fat storage into energy, releasing ketones into the bloodstream to encourage weight loss. However, it is essential that you do it correctly. Here are some of my tips for successful intermittent fasting:
- Don’t undo all the good work you’ve done by overloading your body with junk food when you break your fast. If you load up on high-calorie food during the non-fasting window, you probably won’t notice any weight loss.
- Make every calorie count by picking nutrient-dense foods that are rich in protein, fibre and ‘good’ fats, such as fish, nuts, eggs, avocados and lean meat. This will help regulate your blood sugar and ensure you’re not depriving yourself of nutrients.
- Break your fast gently at first with some small portions of healthy food. Otherwise, you might feel a bit queasy after fasting for so long.
- If you know you’re easily tempted by unhealthy snacks, use them up, put them out of sight or give them away before attempting to fast so you won’t lose your determination.
- Avoid strenuous activities – light exercise like yoga is perfect.
- Stay hydrated, drinking plenty of water
People doing intermittent fasting often find fasting overnight easier since they are asleep for a big chunk of the fasting period and therefore not feeling hunger pangs or thinking about food.
Date Macadamia Bars
Dates are a traditional way to break fast, and they are very high in sugars. Blending them with good fats from nuts and coconut oil gives your body long-lasting fuel, and the salt helps to rehydrate.
1 cup Medjool dates
¾ cup macadamia nuts
½ cup ground almond
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ tsp sea salt flakes for topping (optional)
Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend them until smooth.
Place them into a 20x10cm tin pan and press firmly.
Sprinkle sea salt flakes on top.
Refrigerate until firm and cut into bars.