Ramadan 2016: The complete guide to fasting. Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, writes Farida Khan. The word Ramadan is derived from an Arabic word for intense heat, scorched ground and shortness of food and drink. The month of Ramadan traditionally begins with a new moon sighting, marking the start of the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. Many Muslims (except children, the sick and the elderly) abstain from food, drink, and certain other activities during daylight hours in Ramadan. Gossiping and fighting are also prohibited in this period.
Throughout Ramadan, families get together to share food and company in the evenings and night-time, and the emphasis is always on reflection, prayer and charity. Ramadan is not a commercialized festival. Ramadan is more than just not eating and drinking. It is a time to purify the soul. Refocus within and God, and practice self-discipline and Sacrifice.
1. Look up your digestive system
Not many people know fasting can be a way for to give digestive system a tune up. According to Dr. Naomi Neufeld, an endocrinologist at UCLA, “You re-tune the body, suppress insulin secretion, reduce the taste for sugar, so sugar becomes something you’re less fond of taking.”
What happens is that the body eventually uses up the stored sugar (glycogen) so that less insultin is needed to help the body digest food. And that gives your pancreas a rest.
2. Reduce your intake of free radicals
Mark Mattson, a scientist with the National Institute on Aging, has reported that fasting can reduce your intake of free radicals, which can cause cancer. In fact, according to Mattson, “These free radicals will attack proteins, DNA, the nucleus of cells, the membranes of cells. They can damage all those different molecules in cells.”
Even just reducing your calorie intake can have the same effects as a fast. In a study amongst rats and mice, it was noted that those who were fed very little and restricted in their food intake had a reduction in disease compared to those who were fed normal daily diets.
3. Speed up your journey to self-discovery
We are all creatures of habit. And eating, just like smoking and sleeping, is a habit. What happens during a fast is that by taking away such an essential part of your daily routine, you mess up your whole schedule. This sounds bad but it’s not. It’s really a time to reflect on your routines and give you a pause to think about how you want your life to move forward.
By fasting, you become more conscious of yourself and you can take the time usually spent eating to meditate, journal, or do any other form of reflection.
4. Increase your gratitude
How could you not be grateful to break your fast? And after each day when you do break fast, it’s a celebration. A celebration for a completed day of fasting, reflection, and persistence. So rejoice and celebrate your success! Show gratitude to yourself and others.
And when you break your fast, you will be very very happy to taste food again. And contrary to some beliefs, you won’t binge on food. In fact you will be more conscious of what you allow into your body and feel gratitude for the food you receive.
5. Launch yourself into your ideal life
Sounds like a pretty big benefit for something as simple as fasting. But it’s true. When you begin your fast you can take this time to break old patterns, examine your current situation, and use it as the starting point for a whole new life.
What really makes this possible is that by fasting you are exhibiting control over yourself and your situation. And controlling your eating habits may be one of the hardest things to do. For each day you complete a successful fast, you condition your mind into to believe it can and will do anything. You are training your mind to be successful. And after days of a successful fasting your mind will be neurologically conditioned for success.