It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since I first did my full fast. This year I’m doing a second year of Fasting and am sharing here some of my experiences.
I learnt a lesson from fasting last year, and the lesson was that I need to wake before dawn prayers and drink otherwise my day would go badly due to dehydration. I set my alarm for 3.45, woke up and downed a large glass of water before going back to sleep. Unfortunately I don’t sleep straight away and was awake til about 4.30 am reading. I can’t imagine waking up to eat and pray at this hour (or before) as frankly just drinking water this early in the day feels very counter intuitive.
I wake at 8 am and immediately miss my morning coffee routine. Instead I watch the news with an empty hand and miss out on a couple of biscuits which is part of my normal routine which feels strange. I work until 11 when go out for my first meeting.
It’s 42C so I really feel the heat when I’m out and find it strange having to remember to turn down offers of food and drink. I’m missing coffee which I usually drink constantly, darn it smells so good! I find myself feeling a bit anti social as I take my seat for the presentation rather than hanging around by the drinks section. The meeting ends with lunch, which I politely decline and head home. I could have stayed for the chat over lunch, but to be honest don’t want to make people feel uncomfortable with me not eating. A quick stop at the supermarket on the way home means that I have Iftar planned. Like last year I am focused on my Iftar and Suhoor meal, and I tend to plan these meals first thing when I wake up.
I have a terrible headache and lie down for a quick nap which actually turns into a deep four hour deep ‘completely out of it deep sleep!’ I wake just before 6 pm and head out to Al Barsha where I’m helping with Filling The Blues. Filling The Blues is a Ramadan pop up where we are providing meals to labourers during Ramadan. Thankfully it’s not too humid or hot, so standing in the heat for about 45 minutes is not too bad. I reached home just in time for Iftar but had taken laban and dates with me just in case I didn’t get home in time.
Iftar & Suhoor :
Iftar consists of water, Dates & Laban. Shortly after I drink my first Coffee of the day (the best tasting coffee ever), and eat a banana. Whilst cooking dinner, I eat a small cucumber with cream cheese on it, as frankly I’m missing out on crunching on something. Dinner is stir fried chicken with an oyster sauce which I make with tons of veggies followed by more coffee. I’m in bed at 1 am and sleep well.
Thought Of the Day – I have so many daily routines built around Coffee and Food !
The same water and book reading routine as yesterday but this time I drink more water. I wake naturally at 9 am as I don’t have to work to a set routine which I’m thankful for. Today I’m feeling much more mentally alert than I did yesterday and so I manage to write lots and keep busy with work in the morning. After “lunch”, obviously it’s the virtual lunch time timing rather than physical lunch, I visit a mall to get some indoor walking done. This year the mall is serving food behind screens in the foodcourt and the smell pervades at least half of the mall. I can’t remember it normally being this bad, either I’ve developed a keen sense of smell or I’m hungry.
Home by 3pm I’m still alert and awake today so do some more work, and make a soup before heading to Filling The Blues. I’m finding it interesting cooking without tasting, I’ll season the soup as I serve it but normally would taste it along the way. My headache sets in about 6pm so I’m fairly sure that the increased water is helping.
Iftar & Suhoor
Iftar is at home is Laban and dates, plus coffee followed by the soup and a rice cracker with cream cheese on, I’m craving crunchy texture again. Sadly the craving is more than I can cope with and I end up leaving the soup, but by now feel quite exhausted – maybe a mid afternoon power nap is needed? Dinner : Kofta and mashed sweet potatoes & veggies followed by bed at about 1 am.
Thought of the day | Rehydration is absolutely essential and worth the early wake up call
3.40 am wake up with more water than before, then reading til 4.45. This is the first day that I have to be in the office at a set time, but thankfully it’s not til 10.30 so I am able to wake naturally then head to the office. Whilst I don’t actually feel thirsty or hungry, I am finding it a bit difficult to concentrate and really have to make an effort (hopefully it wasn’t too noticeable).
I’m home by 4pm having tackled Al Khail road at the new equivalent of rush hour. Actually it’s like rush hour on steroids! Lane management is optional and lots of people are making silly mistakes. Maybe it’s amplified because I’m feeling a bit less attentive than normal too. Hopefully I’m driving within the lanes, I’m certainly trying to! I know for sure that I’m leaving extra space as I’m really cautious driving during Ramadan. When I get home I’m wiped out so take a nap for an hour before heading off to Filling The Blues.
Iftar & Suhoor
Tonight I get home just after Iftar and break my fast with water, laban and yogurt. The yogurt sits heavy on my tummy and after a few spoonfuls I leave it. By 9.30 pm I’m feeling a bit hungry so have some chicken sausages and an egg. Later I will cook chicken and salad, but before then I’m heading to the gym for a gently workout.
Thought of the day – Never has a bag of hot samosas smelt so good ! Thanks neighbours!
So without thinking about it too much we are already at day ten which is one third of the way through Ramadan.
Like last year, I’ve now fallen into a routine. Unless I’m in the office my day starts when I wake naturally. Then I work until mid afternoon when I’ll head out for a quick walk around one of the malls or to do some errands. Back home for an hour of work and a short nap if I need it. At six I head off to Filling The Blues and am generally back by 7.15 and then break my fast with water, laban and dates. Later I have my beloved coffee and savour every sip. I’ll then have a small meal about 9 pm, do a few hours work as by then I’m wide awake. I cook at about midnight and have my final meal of the day, typically protein and some veggies or salad. Bed is usually by about 2 am then awake again at 3.30 for water.
Thoughts so far – A reasonably set routine is helping, as is good quality sleep
First Iftar in a Hotel
Day 5 falls on a Friday and so we head out to our first Iftar in a hotel. We go to one of the hotels with a smaller buffet since our experience last year shows that we can’t really do justice to the bigger buffets. We don’t have much of an appetite at Iftar so a small Iftar is a good choice. We break our fast with laban, water and dates then check the buffet out. A small platter of salad items is followed by some grilled chicken and mashed potato is all I can manage before being full.
Thought of the day – How can people eat so much at Iftars?