5 Tips to Nutrition & Fitness During Iftar, Ramadhan & Puasa

Tueetor’s excited to share some still-timely, valued advice to all who are looking to end Ramadhan on a healthy, happy note! Featuring advice and tips from an esteemed Trainer Mr Zeal Zainuddin, who gave us some Nutrition and Fitness tips which have informed and even surprised those of us who are NOT fasting for Ramadhan, as it’s pretty much on-point! Check out his Tueetor profile link to get help with a winning lifestyle, and keep yourself healthy and fit with these 5 tips. Compiled by Cecilia Leong.

Tip #1: What sort of work-out/physical routine would you recommend for those who are fasting during Ramadhan?

Walking - a way to nutrition and fitness during ramadhan by Tueetor Blog

Picture credit: Summer image created by Yanalya/Freepik.

A 15-minute light brisk walk or swimming session. Don’t over-do it because during fasting our bodies don’t have much fluid and water. 

Tip #2: What would you say is the best sort of meal plan for Iftar and breaking fast? What sort of foods should we eat AND what sort of foods should we avoid?

eating more fruits - a way to nutrition and fitness during ramadhan Tueetor blog

Picture credit: The Health Site.

As a guideline, my practice is to recommend foods such as dates, watermelon, Olive oil, cucumber, honey, milk and many more. Dates and fruits or food that contain a lot of fibre, for example, such as oats, muesli and organic cereals are highly recommended. For myself personally, I eat mostly organic foods because these mostly do not contain any chemicals or preservatives.

eating dates - a way to nutrition and fitness during ramadhan Tueetor blog

Picture credit: Puremart.in

Your meals should begin with dates, fruits and vegetables and then only followed by then the main course of carbohydrates and proteins.

I would recommend brown or multi grain rice, or even quinoa which is much healthier than white rice.

If you want to eat meats or protein, I would recommend white meats such as chicken.

Foods to avoid:

* Fast-food

* Junk food

* Fried and oily food for example pisang goreng and all other foods which are deep fried. Especially the ones that re-use the oil for frying. The oils become toxic after being used more than once. Studies even show it can be cancer-causing.

cut down on fried foods - a way to nutrition and fitness during ramadhan Tueetor blog

Picture credit: Brian Chan, Unsplash.

* Processed foods in cans where they add a lot of preservatives. Consuming it for an extended period of time can cause lots of health problems.

* Drinking things that contain too much sugar like sodas. 

cut down on sweets - a way to nutrition and fitness during ramadhan Tueetor blog

Sweet desserts being served up at Geyland Serai Singapore Ramadhan Bazaar. Picture credit: AsiaOne.

* Any food that has artificial colouring and additives. You would be able to discern this from the food/packaging labels.

Tip #3: Would you recommend having us take any vitamins or supplements during the final week of Ramadhan that could help with maintaining good health and for the ladies out there, maybe improve appearance? Or even supplements that would help us avoid easily falling sick?

The best way for me to answer this is to give you my ideal Meal Plan;

*After sahur and on most days, I start my day by adding honey into my drink to boost my immune system. Try not to add anything else, such as sugar, etc. Honey is actually recommended to prevent diseases.

*When we constantly eat (organic) foods like fruits, vegetables, proteins and etc. we don’t really need additional vitamins and supplements.

*However if you feel you need the additional nutritional help, I would recommend multi-vitamins for overall health, calcium & magnesium tablets for healthy bones, vitamin C for healthy immune system and vitamin B for energy.

*There are also supplements that will detox our bodies. Research has shown that most of known diseases originate from our colon. So it’s recommended that we clear our colons every day or at the very minimum once every week. I take black fennel seed (Habbatussauda or Nigella sativa) that does this.

*If possible drink pure water, for example like that from a water filter machine that does not contain chlorine and chemicals which are harmful to our bodies.

Tip #4: Any particular advice for Puasa so that we don’t experience sudden weight gain, besides the obvious binge eating?

*What I do at break fast is to eat dates, fruits and drink water first. Then once I’ve done my prayers, will I then eat the main course. This will give our stomachs time to adjust after not eating an entire day. What I advise is only eat one meal at break fast to avoid gaining weight. A lot of people have a few meals. One at Iftar and then after Maghrib prayers they have dinner and then after Solat Tarawikh, they eat supper. This is not at all healthy as it will cause us to gain weight instead of losing weight.

cut down on food - a way to nutrition and fitness during ramadhan Tueetor blog

A typical spread at a KL Ramadhan Bazaar. Picture credit: Expatgo.

*Don’t eat too much white rice because this would cause you to gain weight. I know this from personal experience. In my mid-twenties I was overweight at almost 100kg! Why? Because I was over-eating. 3 plates of white rice at every meal, lots of oily foods and no exercise. I decided to change when it got so bad that I couldn’t even climb a simple flight of steps without being out of breath, as I was feeling dizzy and nauseated. At times I had a real fear of getting a heart attack. I couldn’t wear any of my favourite clothes anymore. I then made a decision to radically change my diet and fitness regime to less than one plate of rice, with a lot more fruits and vegetables, jogging and swimming at least 5 to 6 times a week.

After 8 to 10 months I lost more than 15kg. I reached my ideal weight which is between 80 to 85kg. Till today I still maintain this lifestyle. And now I eat mostly organic foods.

*There are times when I go out for functions and cannot really control the food that is provided, so what I do is I bring an olive oil spritz spray where I will spray it on the food I eat. Olive oil has been proven scientifically to get rid of bad cholesterol in our bodies and prevent a lot of the lifestyle diseases that quite a lot of people suffer from, for example, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problem, etc.

 *Then when I go home I will take black fennel seed (Habbatussauda) which will detox all the unhealthy ingredients in the foods.

*I recommend readers to have organic vegetarian meals at least once a week. This gives the digestive system in our bodies time to rest. It takes a lot of work by our bodies to digest meats, especially red meats. 

Tip #5: Is it better for the body to adapt gradually, so how can we best prepare the body from a fasting routine to feasting mode? Particularly when Ramadhan ends, and Puasa begins?

My answer is, not necessarily. Being healthy is very much a mindset. We need to love ourselves and our bodies so that we will not overeat constantly and eat unhealthy foods. We must constantly eat healthy foods which are organic, natural and not processed. We must strive to eat healthy all-year around. An analogy I would like to give you is if you are a Ferrari-owner, you wouldn’t simply put any type of engine oil in your Ferrari. They will need special oil and they will need top-notch service and maintenance all-year round. 

Similarly our bodies must be treated like precious Ferraris and if we don’t take care, we will never reach our maximum health and fitness potential and our bodies will certainly break down one day. 

I love my father’s discipline where no matter how good the food is, he eats only one plate of main course at every meal. Now at 70+ years, he is still healthy, traveling all around the world to do training. He still does gardening almost every morning and can still do more than 20 chin ups. I really aspire to be just like him.

Nutrition and Fitness during Ramadhan Tueetor Blog

Mr Zainuddin lecturing at a school. Picture credit: Mr Zeal Zainuddin.

Another advice I would like to give is during Raya eat smaller portions of food when you go visiting so that you don’t overeat.  

My practice is to eat healthily 6 times a week and give myself a one-day break to eat what I love such as ice cream and certain dishes I cannot cook, like sushi etc.

Nutrition and Fitness During Ramadhan Tueetor Blog

Mr Zainuddin not only lectures in Malaysia, but also in Singapore and Indonesia. Here he is at Siglap Secondary School, Singapore. Picture credit: Mr Zeal Zainuddin.

Being healthy is a choice. When we are healthy we can do so many things. We would be more happy and joyful. Our performance and productivity would increase and our minds would be clear to do our work. 

I know this from personal experience. Eating healthy foods, regularly exercising and having a positive mindset have rewarded me – I haven’t had to go to a clinic or hospital for more than 10 years. Praise to THE ALMIGHTY! Being healthy is definitely an asset and a gift! So love and respect your bodies! You will not regret it!