There is a hidden sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness. We are lutes, no more, no less. If the soundbox is stuffed full of anything, no music comes. But if (the) brain and belly are burning clean with fasting, every moment a new song comes out of the fire.”
As Ramadhan comes to an end, we welcome a month of celebration and festivities — the month of Eid or as we Malaysians call it, ‘raya’ (celebration) month. After one month of fasting from dawn to dusk, it’s safe to say that all we’re thinking about is food, food and food (maybe also our morning coffee). Because after fasting, comes feasting, right? Absolutely.
But there’s no reason that all the habits you practiced in the past month should go out the window. After all, Ramadhan is more than just about not eating during the day; it’s about seeking forgiveness, blessings and doing good in order to purifying the heart and nourish the soul. So this raya, don’t undo all of that practice on restraint to ensure the body is as well nourished as the soul. Here are some ways you can enjoy the raya season and still keep your health in check.
#1 Make It Count
You know how they say that you ought to choose your battles? The same goes for choosing your calories. So if you’re going to do something, do it well and make it count. Can’t say no to ketupat, lontong, rendang and serunding? Honestly, who could blame you? Go on, have a bowl, but load it up with as much of the good stuff as possible — less ketupat/ nasi impit and more tempeh and vegetables, for instance.
#2 Everything in Moderation
While having one heaped bowl of lontong or laksa is A-okay, going in for a second (or third) helping won’t help your high blood pressure, calorie control and any other heath concerns you may have. So skip the second helping (we all know the satisfaction is not going to be the same as the first bowl anyway), as it’s only going to make you feel remorseful when you’re feeling overstuffed after that.
#3 Talking Snack
It’s easy to overeat when you’re hungry — add to that the sensational scents of the dishes serves throughout the festive month, and we’d all be looking (and feeling) like greedy hamsters at the buffet table. To avoid that from happening, have a protein-rich snack in between mealtimes or before going to an open house. Think nutty granola bars, hard boiled eggs, raw vegetables or some Greek yoghurt.
#4 Get Your Hand Out Of The Cookie Jar (we mean that literally)
We think that cookies deserve their own point in this article since it’s such a bit part of raya celebrations. You’ve been warned: beware of the biscuit jars! Those buttery, delicious, bite sized treats that are calling your name are evil! Ok, maybe not evil, but they’re so easy to indulge in and lose track of especially when you’re enjoying them whilst catching up with friends. So steer away from the biscuit jars when you’re hungry and you simply can’t resist, treat yourself to one or two pieces at the end of your meal.
#5 Go Easy, Sugar
After all that tasty food, be sure to wash it down with plain water instead of sweet juices or carbonated drinks which contains way too much sugar and empty calories that have no health benefits whatsoever.