Winter 2012
Like Mateen, Tamkeenat Syed is also a runner. “I need efficient fuel,” says Syed, a Medi-
cal Science student at Dominican University in River Forest, IL. “Cutting out the amount
of meat and dairy I consume has done wonders for my physical well being. Although
my family is big on eating red meat, now we order lean chicken ground meat instead
of ground beef. I have also gotten into arguments with owners of halal meat stores
about the meaning behind
. To me,
entails not only the method
of slaughter but also the way in which the animal has been raised. (See related
Does it have to be Organic?
).The only type of meat I want my family and I
to consume is from an animal that has been given a just, free and happy life.”
Abdullah concurs. “I prefer grass fed
meat. I make a compromise in
vitamin D with bovine gelatin. As a woman who covers, I do not get enough
vitamin D without it and blood test results show it. Vitamin D3 and fish oil
(in liquid form) are my main supplements.”
Eating at home, around a table, is almost always
healthier; it boosts emotional wellness too. It is es-
pecially crucial to provide children with the right
nutrition while parents are still doing the groceries
so good eating habits continue when they fly solo.
It’s great if parents instill good dietary habits and
don’t use candy and food as rewards. Sugar is
addicting and if you are not used to it, you will
be accustomed to doing without it.
Tall glasses of ice cold lemonade conjure
images of hot summer days. However,
your body needs just as much water in
the winter. Extra layers of clothing plus
central heating can cause dehydra-
tion. Instead of the eight-glasses-a-day
mantra, Ibrahim suggests we drink
half our body weight in ounces of
water every day. So if you weigh
140 pounds, you should aim for
“Getting started is usually the hardest, but
once you get into a routine or habit, it is not
as challenging,” she says. “Whether it is teen-
agers or adults, I would say find something
you like and you will be motivated. Try
different things, find friends or convince
friends, find a group for more motiva-
tion and, of course, try competitions for
fun even if you think you are not good
70 ounces of water daily. Kids playing a
sport for more than an hour, should have
an electrolyte-enhanced drink like Gato-
rade along with water through out.
For Mateen, it’s “plain ol’ water at room tem-
perature and coconut water. Water just makes
the body function a lot better through the day,”
she says. “You’re able to eliminate toxins and
keep the stomach full, which sometimes prevents
eating unnecessarily.” Coconut water has been a
part of her diet for the past five years. “I began drink-
ing it after running in extremely hot weather of 85
degrees and above. I really does hydrate my body and
I’m not exhausted later in the day. Coconut water is low
calorie, fat-free, has minerals our bodies needs and has
a good amount of potassium (just as much as bananas),
which is known to decrease the chances of muscle cramps.”
“When I replaced diet pop with water, I felt physically better
and my fitness threshold increased as well. I started running
faster, I felt less groggy, and I also lost a few pounds!” says
Syed. “I read an article that talked about the biochemical ways
of aspartame and how it mimics sugar, but doesn’t bind to the
sugar receptor. Since the body doesn’t get the sugar it thinks it’s
getting, it craves other things instead — so we snack more to fulfill
our cravings. Chips and pop go hand-in-hand for a reason. I now
choose almond milk over soy and dairy milk. I have also started
drinking probiotic drinks such as Kombucha — it is a tea with bac-
teria that is found in yogurt. If there's biryani being eaten for a family
gathering, I always have a Kombucha in hand,” she laughs.
“The Prophet Mohammed* said to fill our stomachs with 1/3 food, 1/3
water, and 1/3 air — this is the biggest ‘diet secret’ to land on earth, the
best formula for maintaining one's health,” says Syed. “If we are able to
control ourselves and adhere to this hadith (saying of the Prophet), we will
be in good health,
(God willing).
As the renowned scholar, Imam Ash-Shafi’ said, “I have not filled myself in sixteen
years because filling oneself makes the body heavy, removes clear understanding,
induces sleep and makes one weak for worship.” Here’s hoping for well-rounded
winter habits that will give us a head start in the New Year.
Information presented in this article should not replace a consultation with your physician
before you begin any exercise regimen.
*The words peace be upon him are recited upon every mention of a Prophet’s name.
Kiran Ansari
is a freelance writer with bylines in 30+ publication. She
is also founder and CEO of Up A Notch, specializing in personalized party favors and gifts. Reach
her at kiran
Mohammed Ayub Khan
is a Toronto, Canada based researcher specializing in food industry and con-
sumer trends.
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