Hunger headaches and TikTok confession – my routine as a fasting Muslim in Ramadan – Birmingham Live

It is challenging fasting as a journalist. Granted, I work from home and it is not a physically demanding job so who am I to complain?

However long hours in front of a screen with hunger headaches and interviewing people whilst your brain feels like mush, can make day to day work tough. As Muslims we make these sacrifices for the sake of Ramadan, the holy month where Muslims refrain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset.

It is also a period of reflection and self-control, to be more mindful of your faith and helping others. So you might wonder, what is it like functioning day to day on an empty stomach?

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Based on the Ramadan 2023 vlogs I did for Reach, let me take you through my daily fasting routine.

Day 1

I wake up at 3am feeling very sluggish and instantly want to sink back into bed, but that’s a dangerous move. Sunset is around 4pm so I have to complete my ‘morning’ routine now, I brush my teeth and make a protein/carb rich breakfast of scrambled eggs and beans on a toast.

Since I have a busy day ahead I cater my meal according to what my body needs. I also have to take my iron tablets now since I can’t whilst fasting. A large swig of water and I read a prayer making my intention to fast, I then head back to bed.

Waking up at 8.30am is even harder and my eyes sting from lack of sleep, but I launch out of bed and wash my face and gargle some water. I can’t brush my teeth as I would taste the minty toothpaste, so a vigorous gargle helps freshen my breath up.

I plaster on extra makeup so I dont look too haggard and my large glasses hide the dark circles under my eyes. For about two hours I pound the streets vox popping, knocking doors and interviewing residents about an alleged cat-napper in Kingstanding.

I don’t exert myself too much due to limited energy and once I’m home, I get to writing. Sadly it is typos galore as my brain is clearly suffering from lack of fuel.

Once evening time comes our dinner of paninis, chips and spring rolls is set for the table, we break our fasts with a date and some water. A giant wave of relief floods our hearts as we feast at 7pm and after our post binge rests, we prepare for evening Tarawih prayers which can last about an hour.

It’s slightly torturous to do after a long day of fasting, but praying with the family gives that boost of motivation.

Day 3

This year I decided to challenge myself and attend the gym, determined to produce great content for the vlog! Since I am trying to lose weight I didn’t want to lose momentum during Ramadan, so I strap on my gym gear and head out at 10am.

As a precaution, I bring a chocolate bar and water bottle since I am anaemic and can feel faint very easily. Dumbbell lifting, squats and cycling for an hour surprisingly gives me an energy boost, thirst isn’t even an issue. Once I head home and shower, I spend the day resting, napping and trying not to look at food TikToks.

It is my turn to cook, which isn’t too bad aside from not being able to taste the food (or lick your fingers). I make chicken quesadillas and chips for the family which to my delight, turn out ok and are a hit with the crowd.

Day 10

Today I took part in one of my favourite Ramadan traditions, gifting neighbours and relatives with food for Iftar. This is also a month of generosity and community, so nothing delights Muslims more than getting a bag of cooked food for the evening.

I decide to bake chocolate cornflake hedgehogs for a friend and her family, it takes all my self-control not to lick the chocolate coated spoon whilst baking. I then decide to spend the day praying and being more spiritually mindful.

It is tempting to just sleep or browse Netflix but I want to make this Ramadan count, so I read some prayers and use my prayer beads for about 15-30 minutes. This year it’s important as someone close to me is going through some hardships, so some extra prayers for them and the family counts a lot in this holy month.

Despite this revelation, I slip up badly and spend an hour browsing food content on Pinterest. Boy do I feel disappointed with myself since this defeats the purpose of ‘self-control’. Then I stop myself.

I am only human and these little slip ups happen, so I make a promise to myself to avoid social media food content for just a little longer. This for me is the point of Ramadan. Making that little bit of effort for one month. Sure we go back to food binges and Netflix for the rest of the year, but for those special 30 days, we pause and remember what is really important. Not just food but a little self-reflection.

Watch my Ramadan 2023 vlogs here

Catch up with our Ramadan coverage here

This content was originally published here.

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