Intermittent fasting 101: What is it and can it work beyond Ramadan?

With the end of the Holy Month almost upon us, many of those who fast during Ramadan have no plans to give it up just yet. (Shutterstock)
Updated 13 June 2018
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Intermittent fasting 101: What is it and can it work beyond Ramadan?

  • The worldwide trend of intermittent fasting has made headlines in recent months, but what is it?
  • Intermittent fasting (or IF) is an increasingly popular diet technique

JEDDAH: With the end of the Holy Month almost upon us, many of those who fast during Ramadan have no plans to give it up just yet. The worldwide trend of intermittent fasting has made headlines in recent months — you will have heard of this latest diet craze, but what is it?

Intermittent fasting (or IF) is an increasingly popular diet technique, but as with any dietary change, it is advisable to consult with your doctor if you wish to give it a go — especially if you have pre-existing health issues.

The day is divided between an eating period and a fasting period — just like Ramadan — although, unlike Ramadan, small snacks and water are allowed during the day.

How do I practice intermittent fasting?

The easiest method is the 16:8 ratio technique. It means skipping breakfast, fasting for 16 hours and limiting the eating period to eight hours.

What should I eat?

During the fasting period, you can eat very small quantities (think nuts or fruits) and drink water. During the eating period, the best way is to have two good-sized, healthy and balanced meals and a snack in-between.

Pros of intermittent fasting

IF teaches you what hunger actually is, therefore, you only eat when you are hungry — at least that’s the idea. Moreover, you should eat less because of the shorter eating period, the metabolism is boosted and the body burns more calories and more fat. Additionally, with IF, there is less muscle loss than other weight loss techniques.

Cons of intermittent fasting

Because of the long fasting period, your energy levels might decrease and you might become angry, unproductive and hungry, leading you to binge eat when the time comes. This causes an excess in your caloric intake and problems in digestion.

Can I work out?

Working out after a light meal or on an empty stomach will help you burn fat, however, if you have not eaten any carbs during the eating period, you will lose muscle mass because your body will start burning proteins, so make sure to eat balanced meals.


Ta’ateemah: Giving Eid a Hijazi flavor

Ta’ateemah includes a variety of dishes such as dibyazah, red mish, chicken and lamb stew and bread. File/Getty Images
Updated 19 June 2018
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Ta’ateemah: Giving Eid a Hijazi flavor

  • Dibyaza is made of melted dried apricots, roasted nuts, figs, peach and sugary dates to create a marmalade-like dish that can be enjoyed with or without bread
  • The dibyaza is also similar to an Egyptian dish called khoshaf, but dibyaza is often partnered with shureik — a donut-shaped bread with sesame sprinkled all over it

JEDDAH: Ta’ateemah is the name of the breakfast feast Hijazis enjoy on the first day of Eid Al-Fitr. It is derived from the Arabic word, itmah, or darkness, because the dishes served are light, just like midnight snacks.

Muslims around the world celebrate Eid Al-Fitr to feast after fasting for the holy month of Ramadan. But it is called Al-Fitr from iftar, or breakfast when translated to English, which is a meal Muslims do not get to experience during that month.
The first day of Eid is a day where they finally can, and they greet the day with joy by heading to Eid prayers and then enjoying this traditional meal.
Amal Turkistani, mother of five from Makkah who now lives in Jeddah, told Arab News all about a special Eid dish.
“The most famous dish is the dibyaza, and making a dish of it is a work of art that I can proudly say I excel at. Dibyaza is made of melted dried apricots, roasted nuts, figs, peach and sugary dates to create a marmalade-like dish that can be enjoyed with or without bread.”
She revealed that dibyaza is not a quick meal — it is usually prepared a day or two before Eid with the ingredients simmered to reach the correct liquid thickness.
No one can trace the origins of dibyaza — it remains a mystery. Some people claim it originated in Turkey, while others attribute it to the Indians.
A number of women who are famous for their dibyaza agreed that it is a Makkawi dish. This marmalade dish was developed and improved, with tiny details to distinguish it.
The dibyaza is also similar to an Egyptian dish called khoshaf, but dibyaza is often partnered with shureik — a donut-shaped bread with sesame sprinkled all over it.
Turkistani said sweet shops sell 1 kg of dibyaza for SR50 ($13), competing with housewives who make their own.

 

“I think it is always tastier when it’s homemade because of all the love that goes into making it. It’s also a wonderful way to greet your family and neighbors with this special dish that you only enjoy once a year.”
Her younger sister, Fatin, said: “My siblings always have Eid breakfast at my place, so it’s up to me to prepare the feast. My sister spares me the exhausting dibyaza-making, so I prepare two main dishes: Minazalla, which is a stew of lamb chops with tahini and a tomato chicken stew.
“She also serves what we call nawashif, or dry food, like different types of cheese and olives, pickled lemon, labneh, red mish — a mixture of white cheese, yogurt and chili pepper and halwa tahini,” Amal said.
Mohammed Ibrahim, 23, from Makkah, told Arab News: “It always feels unique to have minazalla and nawashif during Eid, and not just because it is followed by the Eidiyah.”

Decoder

What is Eidiyah?

It is money elders in the family give to the youth to celebrate Eid and to congratulate them on completing Ramadan fasting.