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Eid: Avoiding the Sugar and Carb Madness

Prayers have been offered, supplications have been asked and hopefully accepted, Laylatul Qadr (Night of Power) has come and gone, and the last of a blessed month has tearfully departed, with hopeful wishes for a chance to experience Ramadan next year. After 29 days of fasting from sunrise to sunset, it’s time to celebrate. Culture and traditions blend to create the most wonderfully appetizing plates that appeal to our senses. However, in the midst of it all, the underlying theme that is repetitive year after year is that our hard-earned Ramadan self-control eludes us, and we regain our unhealthy habits.

As soon as it has been announced that the crescent moon has been sighted, an unspoken contract of baked goods is also initiated. Every household competes to have the sweetest kulfi, the most delicious knafeh, and the tastiest rice pudding, while inviting family and friends over to taste their concoctions. How can you politely refuse? To avoid losing the battle with yourself, try to employ the same tactics you used when breaking your fast. Taste a little of everything, but just a taste, not a full serving of each cookie and tart. Try to remain conscious of what you are eating to avoid overindulging while swapping stories with those around you. If it’s your turn to host the festivities this year, try substituting sugar with a sugar substitute, margarine over butter, and choose reduced fat over whole milk. These little modifications won’t raise eyebrows, while allowing you to maintain those healthy habits.

A common misconception we harbor is that Eid revolves around food, when in reality, it should be about spending time with family and friends. We end up planning the first day of Eid by listing out possibilities of restaurants to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at. After eating a limited amount of food for a month, it really isn’t the best for our digestive systems to spend an entire day eating. Plan activities and outings that apply to everyone, so that food is not the main attraction of the day.

The first of two Islamic holidays, Eid al-Fitr, is a time for family and friends to gather and enjoy themselves. Sweets and desserts are usually the stars of the show, but with a few adjustments, you can use this to your advantage without missing out. Eating a bit of everything while baking healthy treats for everyone are golden tickets to avoiding the sugar and carb overload of the Eid feast. So before tying your apron strings and pulling out the professional kitchen mixer, plan in advance and be sure to celebrate while maintaining your healthy lifestyle. Eid is a wonderful holiday, but is even sweeter when you can enjoy yourself without feeling guilty afterwards.

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 10.11.34 PMScreen Shot 2015-04-06 at 10.11.34 PMSana Mohamed is a third-year student and MSA president at the Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine. She is passionate about providing healthcare to the poor and those in need. She is also the author of the blog hijabinawhitecoat.wordpress.com.