“Post-Ramadan Healthy Living”

By: Leesha Haneef

The holy month of Ramadan is not just a month of piety for Maldivians. It is also a month of celebrating delicious food with loved ones. It is the time of the year; home cooks attempt to make the most impressive recipes, both modern and traditional, and when restaurants introduce attractive breakfast menus, competitively.

Ramadan, followed by Fitr Eid, may be a food lover’s dream, however the blissful four weeks often turns to regret with the heavy plates of food we tend to devour at the end of each fasting day. You know you’re full, close to bursting, but it will be rude not to try every dish on the table, especially on Eid Day, followed by visiting family homes for more meals. It is all very tempting, even though you know you may end up with a tummy ache at the end of it. I guess most of you all know the feeling. It is time for the post-festive diet to focus on cutting back the weight we may have gained during the past month.

If you’re interested in losing some weight, “The Keto Diet” is an interesting option to approach a healthy diet. A keto diet is well known for being a low carb diet, where the body produces ketones in the liver to be consumed as energy. It’s sometimes referred as a ketogenic diet or low carb diet. When you eat something high in carbs, your body will produce glucose and insulin. Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert to energy, making it the primary source of energy for most people, and insulin is produced to process the glucose in your bloodstream by taking it around the body.

Since glucose is used as the primary source of energy, your fats are being stored away in your body. By lowering the intake of carbs, the body is induced into a state known as Ketosis. Ketosis is a natural process the body initiates to help us survive when food intake is low. During this state, we produce ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver. The keto diet forces your body into this metabolic state through the process of starvation of carbohydrates. Our bodies are incredibly adaptive and if we feed healthy fats to our body and remove the carbohydrates, it will begin to burn ketones as the primary source of energy. Optimal ketone levels offer many health, weight loss, physical and mental performance benefits.

There are numerous benefits of a Keto Diet, it helps in naturally lowering the blood sugar level, making it ideal for Type II Diabetes. It assists in improving triglyceride and cholesterol levels, making it beneficial to maintain healthy Blood Pressure & Cholesterol levels. It is also used as a successful diet plan for Epilepsy and switching to the diet helps in controlling the acne and clearing of the skin.

If you are following a keto diet, things to avoid include, grains such as wheat and rice which is a big part of our diet, sugar; including honey and syrups, fruits like apples, bananas and oranges and tubers such as potatoes and yam. The point is, we remember to keep the glucose and carbohydrates away.

However, you could eat a decent serving of meat like chicken, beef, lamb and eggs, leafy greens like kale, spinach, above ground vegetables and high-fat dairy like butter and hard cheese, nuts & seeds, avocadoes and berries, low carb sweeteners or other fats like coconut oil and olive oil.

Another beneficial ingredient for weight-loss is Balsamic Vinegar, which is high in calcium, potassium, iron and manganese resulting in the body’s function such as digestion, lowering blood sugar levels, helping in blood circulation, improving immunity and weight loss. You could use balsamic vinegar as a salad dressing.

During hectic working days, a lot of us tend to dine out at restaurants, taking a quick bite of a burger or pizza. If you are following a Keto diet, you could choose dishes on low carbs like salads or even request to serve your meal without rice.

A Keto diet is something which you could approach for a short-term weight-loss goal from two weeks to a month or even stick with as a lifestyle. You definitely do not have to stay away from carbohydrates forever, however if you can balance your diet with general food and stick with a Keto diet on some days of the week, it will help you maintain your weight in a healthy way.

If you are planning on re-starting your fitness routine and healthy lifestyle post-Ramadan, keep in mind to follow some of these tips for long-term benefits. Keep realistic weekly goals and focus on achieving them, step by step. Try to stay away from fizzy and unhealthy drinks with artificial additives. Remember to stay hydrated, keep a healthy intake of water. If you have a sudden craving for a certain food and if you feel it may take your further away from your health goals, use the method of 10 minutes tie out. Experts state that usual cravings lasts for only 10 minutes, so distract yourself within these 10 minutes and focus on something which keeps you interested.