Here’s What A Muslim Dietitian Eats During Ramadan

A day in the life during Ramadan (with recipes!).

My name is Nour Zibdeh. I’m a functional dietitian and nutritionist, and I’m a practicing Muslim, living in Northern Virginia.

My name is Nour Zibdeh. I’m a functional dietitian and nutritionist, and I’m a practicing Muslim, living in Northern Virginia.

I have a private practice where I help people with digestive conditions, autoimmune diseases, thyroid and other hormone balances, food sensitivities and weight loss. I wrote a cookbook The Detox Way, Everyday Recipes to Feel Energized, Focused, and Physically and Mentally Empowered, and share a ton of resources on my website.

I'm going to share what I typically eat during a day in Ramadan — along with recipes! — the month where we abstain from food and water from dawn to sunset. Many of the recipes I mention below that don't have an accompanying recipe in this post can be found in The Detox Way.

Here we go!

Courtesy Nour Zibdeh

We set the alarm — OK, maybe two or three alarms — for 3:45 a.m. This gives us 30 minutes to eat suhoor, the pre-dawn meal.

We set the alarm — OK, maybe two or three alarms — for 3:45 a.m. This gives us 30 minutes to eat suhoor, the pre-dawn meal.

Fajr is the time that marks the first twilight before sunrise. It also the beginning of the fast and the first prayer of the day. Here in Northern Virginia, Fajr on the first day of Ramadan is at 4:18 a.m., which means we must swallow our last bite or sip of water before then. After we make a short Fajr prayer we go back to sleep. This helps me get two more hours of sleep on weekdays (more on weekends) and it makes a big difference.

Columbia Pictures / Via giphy.com

A few mornings a week we get out the skillet and make eggs with mushrooms, peppers, spinach, or other veggies.

A few mornings a week we get out the skillet and make eggs with mushrooms, peppers, spinach, or other veggies.

I'll make this omelet with white Nabulsi cheese, a sheep’s milk cheese similar to halloumi that holds its shape when heated. It’s sold in ethnic stores, but if you can’t find it, add feta cheese instead after mixing in the eggs. I don’t season with salt because the cheese has enough, and I don’t want to be too thirsty during the day.

While the eggs cook, I sip on at least one cup of water, if not two. I usually skip the bread and eat a half cup of berries or half an apple instead. I like to get my carbs from water-rich fruit, which helps hydrate my body to be ready for the fast.

We have the eggs with salsa or fresh tomato slices. I'll add a couple of tablespoons of sauerkraut on the side, which contains good-for-you live cultures (probiotics).

Here's my recipe:

Omelet with spinach, mushrooms and cheese

Ingredients
• 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
• ¼ cup Nabulsi white cheese cubes (or feta or your preferred shredded cheese)
• 1 cup spinach, chopped
• 1 cup sliced mushrooms
• 4 eggs
• Pepper to taste

Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil on medium heat. Olive oil will not go bad if used with low-medium heat for a quick sauté like making eggs. Add the Nabulsi cheese cubes and sauté until golden. Add the mushroom and spinach and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Meanwhile, crack the eggs in a bowl and whisk. Season with few shakes of pepper. Add the second teaspoon of olive oil if the skillet looks dry. Pour the eggs and let them start to set. Tip the pan in all directions to let the eggs cook evenly. Flip the omelet, cook for another minute, and serve. If you can’t flip it, slide it into a plate, then return to the skillet with the top side down.

Courtesy Nour Zibdeh

Sometimes we make our breakfast in advance so we don’t have to deal with cooking something when we wake up.

Sometimes we make our breakfast in advance so we don't have to deal with cooking something when we wake up.

We might boil eggs before going to bed and have one or two with avocado slices, fruit, and some fresh veggies.

My black bean egg bake is an easy-to-heat option. And when we're not in the mood for eggs, we have muesli soaked overnight with milk (or coconut milk), a smoothie, or a cup cottage cheese or plain Greek yogurt topped with chia or hemp seeds and some fruit.

No matter what I eat, the last thing that goes into my body is more water.

Courtesy Nour Zibdeh


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