Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |    Volume 7, Issue 30, Tuesday, July 24, 2012



Fasting, hydration and health

By Nahid Ameen
Certified Nutritional Practitioner

Ramadan is a spiritual month, a month that reveals the power of our mind. It teaches us forgiveness, patience, generosity, sharing and a sense of belonging within our community.

On a physical level it challenges us, teaches us moderation and abstinence. This year we have long and hot summer Ramadan days ahead of us. Therefore we have to prepare our body and our mind to be stronger to be able to fast for 13-14 hours a day and focus on the right nutrition and hydration.

Water is medicine to every living being. Water is life. Water is the most important nutrient that our body needs. 70 per cent of Earth is water and 70 per cent of the total body weight of an adult is water.

When we fast for such a long period of time without water, we need to drink the requisite amount [when we can] for sustenance throughout the day. When I say water I mean just plain water, not tea, coffee, juice, smoothies, or soda.

Since caffeine has a diuretic effect on our bodies, caffeinated beverages will deplete the body of water. One cup of tea or coffee will run down two cups of water from the body, Therefore drinking pure water during Ramadan is essential.

On average most adults lose about 10 cups of fluid a day through sweating, exhaling, urinating and bowel movements. Not drinking enough water will then cause dehydration. The symptoms of even minor dehydration are impaired concentration, headaches, irritability and fatigue.

Why drinking water is the best thing for your health
Water detoxifies by flushing out all the toxins from our body, particularly from our digestive tract. Our kidneys are completely dependent on water to filter waste from the body. Water helps to get rid of excess nitrogen, urea and ketones. If you are on a high protein diet [eat meat everyday] this is absolutely essential for you. When fasting our organs get the opportunity to focus on detoxifying the body and when you add more water to the system this job becomes easier for the organs. Hence drink plenty of water before your meals -- sehri and iftar.

Water helps you to lose weight. Didn't we all know that? The single most important ingredient without which weight loss is simply not possible!

Water makes you look gorgeous [or handsome]. Nothing will improve your appearance more than consuming enough water. Especially during the fasting period the skin gets dry very fast. Water will moisturise your skin from the inside out. Do it for vanity if not for health.

Water helps you to stay regular in your elimination. It prevents constipation by adding fluid in your colon.

A hydrated body has reduced risk of heart attack and reduces muscle cramps as the water lubricates and cushions the joints and the muscles.

Water is also essential for proper circulation in the body. Oxygen levels in the blood stream is higher in a properly hydrated body. The body can easily burn fat when oxygen is available.

However if it is off-putting to drink 8-9 glasses of plain water then here are some recommendations

Add lime, mint and basil [tulsi] leaves in your water bottle [preferably glass not plastic] and leave them in your fridge. When you break your fast you will love a tall glass of this naturally flavoured water. Do not add sugar as it will spike your insulin. Make sure you leave the herbs in the water for no more than a day or two. Better to break your fast with flavoured water and dates.

Drink coconut water after you break your fast. Coconut contains electrolytes that will replenish the minerals in your body. Coconut water can easily replace a sports drink as it contains many important minerals without added sugar. It's high in potassium, a mineral that's important to brain function. People who don't have enough potassium tend to have a slower rate of brain activity.

Make herbal or spice tea. One of my favourite ways to add spice to my water is to steep the spice in boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes, strain and then drink. I use cinnamon, ginger or cardamom to make this tea. You can add honey but no sugar or milk.

You can also make a chilled herbal tea by using cinnamon and honey. Make the tea with five-six sticks of cinnamon (not the bark but the actual stick if available). Put the cinnamon sticks in two cups of water and boil in medium heat for 15 minutes. Once the tea is made, strain and let it cool down. In a glass jar pour the tea and keep it in your fridge overnight. Best iced tea ever. You can add honey when you drink the tea.

I am not recommending fruit juices because most store-bought fruit juices are concentrated and are high in sugar. Vegetable juices with small amount of fruits are ideal. If you have a juicer or high-powered juicer then juice spinach, lime, coriander, cucumber and pineapple (small amounts). This is the most powerful way to detoxify the body. You can enjoy this drink when you break your fast.

We all know that life cannot exist without water. We must constantly be adding fresh water to our body in order to keep it properly hydrated after you break your fast. It is important to know that the body can only absorb four ounces of water every 10 minutes, so like many things in life, it is important to be proactive with drinking water. Aim to drink one glass of pure water every waking hour after you break your fast.

Blog: http://conscioushealthblog.com/
Facebook: Conscious Health with Nahid


By Nasreen Sattar, Former CEO,
Standard Chartered Bank, Afghanistan

How can anyone not want to use the ATM ?

Over the years the banking technology has reached an impressive level and many opportunities have opened up to make life much easier for the consumer. Literally all banks offer online banking, ATMs, credit/debit cards and so on. Yet most people hesitate to use many of the technologically contemporary products. It is strange, but the techno-fear exists even amongst the educated and high-income groups.

Two of my nieces who work for a reputable organisation announced at a lunch that their employer had asked for their account numbers so that their salaries could be transferred directly to them. They proudly stated that they refused to comply and instead asked that the old method of giving them cheques should continue (most corporate institutions do not offer the choice to the employee any more). When I asked them why they would refuse a better and technologically superior product their answer was: 'Oh, we like getting our cheques which we can deposit into our accounts and take out all the money at the same time'. I tried to reason with them and tell them that they could still do the same -- use their ATM cards and take out money as and when they needed it. 'ATM card?' they retorted, 'we never want to use that, it is frightening to rely on a plastic card, what if it gets eaten up, what if we don't remember the pin number? It is just too complicated,' and they went on and on. I was simply shocked and more so as no amount of logic on my part seemed to convince them.

I was relating this story to a group of my friends who looked at me and calmly said 'Oh we do the same, who wants to go to an ATM to take out money, we just send our driver to the bank to encash our cheques. We keep the money (obviously substantial amounts) in our safe and take it out as and when we need it. '

As far as I am concerned and there are many like me who find the ATMs a blessing -- what if you need cash on a weekend or any other Bank holiday, what if you go to the supermarket or any market for that matter and realise that you don't have enough cash for the stuff you have purchased. Using an ATM card is obviously an instant debit to your account and needless to say you need to have sufficient funds in it. Also, when you are travelling out of the city there is no need to carry a big wad of cash in your bag. ATMs in most cities or towns of the country can now be used to access your account.

More importantly, from the bank's point of view, the enormous investments on ATMs were made for better customer service, and if big lines were not formed inside the bank just for drawing cash the bank personnel would be able to devote quality time for more complex banking questions/transactions that customers may have.

It is heartening to know that the Bangladesh banking industry has caught up with the rest of the world in many automated banking services.


By Tanziral Dilshad Ditan

Traditional Outfits Grand Eid Exhibition 2012
Date: Tuesday, 24 July
Time: 11 a.m. till 8 p.m.
Venue: Golden Deer Hotel, Road # 35/A (Lake Side), House #31/A, Gulshan 2

This is your one time opportunity to be done with your Eid shopping. One stop! From affordable chiffons, to intricate works of threads and motifs, Sana Safinaz Chiffon Collection (2010-2012), all types of branded 'lawns' and accessories like laces, yokes and sandals. Make sure you don't miss out on this wonderful opportunity to have a varied selection under one roof.

Arabian iftar and dinner @ The 8
Date: 24 -- 31 July
Venue: The 8, House #24, Road #2, Gulshan #1.

The 8 presents a unique Arabian Iftar Buffet throughout the month of Ramadan. There is a wide variety of Arab starters and main course items and a healthy iftar alternative for you. Full set menu is Tk. 760++/person, but for Lifestyle readers The 8 is giving a 10 per cent discount. Kindly show the column clipping at the reception to avail the discount. For reservations please contact # 0192 755 8888, 989 2458.

Talent hunt: War of the bands
Date: 25 July -- 15 August
Time: 3 p.m.
Venue: Salimullah Road, Mohammadpur

Fifth Dimension has recently launched a talent hunt from the world of underground music. Participants will vie for the top spot, which includes a recording contract, considerable media coverage, shows, concerts and much more. There are other attractive offers reserved for the Top Ten contestants. The jury will comprise some of the leading names in Bangl+adeshi music.

For more details log onto their Facebook page:
facebook.com/FifthDimensionems or call 0171 559 0522, 0171 770 1343, 0173 933 3252.


Late summer cultivation

By Laila Karim

"Of all the wonderful things in the wonderful universe of God, nothing seems to me more surprising than the planting of a seed in the blank earth and the result thereof.”--- Julie Moir Messervy

For the past one month, we have experienced frequent but short bursts of rainfall that has made everything cool and refreshed. The soil is now just ready to produce what we need.

My apartment roof became the kitchen garden with a base of used drums, sanitary latrine rings (new!), used bathtubs with large round-shaped containers (used to feed cattle), earthen pots, used cement sacks and also the thrown-out bamboo baskets (after eating the mangoes). All these are useful to me.

I have cleaned the worn out and dying early summer climbing plants, roots, hedges and creepers which have done their jobs under the rule of nature, and created space for the newcomers.

After weeding out the dry and dying plants and creepers, I reshuffled the soil and allowed it to have some rest for two to three weeks. Then I mixed dry leaves, cow-dung, etc., to prepare this well rested soil for the next phase of cultivation. I decided to use bath tubs for cultivating 'dherosh' (okra or ladies finger) and 'jute' plants (as tender jute leaves/paat shaak are a summer delicacy for all Bengalis). The large earthen pots are arranged with fences for climbing plants like 'corolla' (bitter gourd) and 'borboty' (long beans). Drums are used for planting 'sheem' (flat beans), 'misti kumra' (pumpkin) and 'lau' (bottle gourd for early winter consumption). I also planted some seeds of jhinga, chichinga and dhundul (different types of gourds) in the ring slabs to indulge in the late summer taste of these vegetables. My pui shaak plant is also coming on well in this rain with their flowing green wings and leaves.

The new life started popping up after a few days in the womb of mother soil and in this period of early growth, it is important for every gardener to guard the plants from all types of disturbances until they become strong. After two to three weeks, I shall put bamboo sticks to support and protect the delicate dherosh plants from the wind and also from bending. I put dry branches and bamboo sticks to support the climbing plants for easy reach to the matacha or bamboo frame. I already repaired the joints and frame of the old matach for the growth of sheem, misti kumra and lau over the next few months. This is also needed to enable the frame to bear the load of the upcoming fruits. In some small pots, I planted green chillies and pudina. These are essential for the everyday kitchen. This year I tried paddy hays (khor, came with the mango basket) to make the soil airy and fluffy. Keeping the moisture in the soil is always important for roof-top gardening. So, whether it is rain or shine, check the soil, drain out excess water or water the plant when soil becomes dry and thirsty. For healthy growth of these plants, two periods of fertilising will be necessary. I use small portions of TSP and mixed soil with cow-dung. Two things to remember for container planting are: (a) very small amount of fertiliser is required, excessive use will cause damage; and (b) plants should be saved from insects which should be killed/removed manually or by using very little amount of insecticides. This should of course be under the rules and guidance of expert hands.

Please feel free to send me emails to share your thoughts, feedback, and photos of your garden, or to tell your story; or ask a question on gardening. Email: lifestyleds@yahoo.com


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