Green does a (fasting) body good

Let’s be real – it’s rough fasting 16-hour days for a month! Add to that equation our bread, juice, and cereal-loaded breakfasts that cause our blood sugar to crash by 11 AM, and it’s no wonder we have no energy left by the end of the first week.
Let’s be honest – it’s very rough fasting 16-hour days for a month! Add to that equation our typical bread, juice, and cereal-loaded breakfasts that cause our blood sugar to crash by 11 AM, and it’s no wonder we have no energy left by the end of the first week. The good news is that the mighty green smoothie can help rescue us from this plight! This Ramadan-friendly idea is so easy, cheap, fast, energizing, and delicious – everything we Americans look for in food – that once you start you don’t even have to be reminded of its enormous health benefits to stick with it.

Here’s an example:
1 Banana
1 Apple
Handful of Strawberries
Handful of Spinach
Handful of Kale
2 cups of Water
Some crushed ice

Directions: Toss ingredients in a blender, blend, and drink.

Sound too easy? It is. Sound gross? Then you’re in for a big surprise. Your taste buds will think you’re just drinking a delicious banana-strawberry smoothie! This drink may not be the fairest of them all – you may even think it resembles the Incredible Hulk – but look into its soul and you will find boundless beauty in the form of powerful nutrients, antioxidants, and enzymes that most of us regularly neglect to our own detriment. If you don’t believe that, try this nutritional powerhouse for a few days and see how your body thanks you; you just might feel as strong as the Hulk! The logic is simple: fruit is delicious whereas dark leafy greens, the healthiest food on the planet, are not. Blend the two and you get the “superfood” benefits of fresh, raw greens with the sweet taste of fruit in quick liquid form.

Given the time-crunch of suhoor (early morning breakfast), this is the most convenient, energizing, and healthy investment we can make. With high fiber, low calories, and low GI (glycemic index), green smoothies keep us full and stabilize our blood sugar levels, an essential part of healthy fasting. Drink it with a light-carb, protein-rich breakfast to maximize these benefits. By 11 AM, your body and mind will still be singing as abundant nutrients repair cells, fight inflammation, and keep all your systems in top form. You may not even feel that first pinch of hunger until much later. Since your body is getting the nutrients it needs most, you feel satisfied with less food; and so, breaking fast with green smoothies can end the vicious cycle of overeating at dinner and consequently feeling even hungrier the next day.

As someone who dislikes chewing leafy greens, this drink has revolutionized my diet and my health, and it can do the same for you. I’m only three weeks into drinking daily smoothies, and I feel more benefits each day alhamdulilah (praise to God) – I feel far more energetic than ever before, more full for longer, my mood is happier and calmer, my concentration and digestion are better, my body mass index has normalized, magically the cravings of my once powerful “junk tooth” have diminished, and my mouth now waters at the sight of kale. Kale! No multi-vitamin can compete with these results, which are all invaluable during Ramadan, and I look forward to also seeing long-term benefits, God-willing.

The natural simplicity of green smoothies has also inspired me to eat healthier overall. Getting better in touch with my body, researching what it needs and why, and witnessing positive results have been spiritual exercises in appreciating how magnificent God’s creation of the human body is and my duty to take care of it. This aligns beautifully with the stated purpose of fasting – to inspire taqwa (God-consciousness).

Moreover, popular experts like Dr. Oz and Dr. Fuhrman are fans, and the rapidly-growing green smoothie movement is filled with stories of people who have improved chronic physical and mental health conditions by consistently drinking it. While this does not mean green smoothies are a panacea, they are often an easy gateway towards committing to a healthier lifestyle that includes better diet, more exercise, and stress-relief. Together these changes can vastly improve current health problems and fight potential disease and cancer.

It goes without saying that as Muslims, taking great care of our bodies and minds is an important form of gratitude to our Creator for having entrusted us with our health. However, the standard American diet is not conducive to this goal, so elevating our health must be a conscious choice. The green smoothie happens to make this choice much less painful and much more delicious. There’s no better time to try it than Ramadan – even the green coloring fits the theme! The healthier you are this month, the more you can take advantage of it, so green your way to a stronger deen!

Further Exploration:

Videos: Green Smoothies on Youtube: Watching people make them in a matter of minutes kills any time-related excuses you might have.

Websites: Green Smoothie Handbook, Green Smoothie Challenge: Take the 14-day challenge or start your own with friends and family. Google “green smoothie” for tons of free recipes.

Documentary: Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, also available on Netflix instant play, is an inspiring story of two men who overcame obesity and a rare auto-immune disorder through green juicing (similar to green smoothies).

Book: Green Smoothie Revolution by Victoria Boutenko, often considered the foundation of the green smoothie movement’s mass appeal, comes with recipe ideas.

Sarah Rashid is a Contributing Editor for Altmuslimah.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or nutritionist, just a growing health enthusiast hoping to inspire others. Each individual has unique health circumstances, so this information is no substitute for personalized medical advice.

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