Friday, September 11, 2009

Don't Pig Out on Ramadan - I Know, But That's What He Said

"Fasting carries risk of overeating"
Health, CNN (September 11, 2009)

"The temptation to eat a lot during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, is great, but Saiful Khandker makes a conscious effort to not overdo it.

" 'You just kind of have to be mindful of, OK, if I weren't fasting and starving, what kind of meal would I have? And then kind of limit yourself based on that,' said Khandker, technology systems director for a hedge fund in New York.

"Around the world, many observant Muslims like Khandker who've been fasting all day during Ramadan are thinking about the feast they'll have on Eid al Fitr, the holiday that ends the holy month, next weekend. Khandker describes this day as the Muslim equivalent of Christmas, complete with gift exchanges for children and a lot of food -- everyone can 'pig out for the whole day.'

"Food experts agree that the fast, during which observant Muslims refrain from eating during the day, can actually cause people to overeat. Some people actually take in more calories in one evening meal than they normally would over the course of a normal day during Ramadan, said Joe Regenstein, professor of food science at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York...."

It's a pretty good article, actually: and doesn't say that religions are wrong to have dietary restrictions. Just that common sense needs to be exercised in non-restricted eating. No surprises, really.

The author seems to do a pretty good job of discussing dietary restrictions in Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism (as an example of vegetarianism, interestingly).

The same 'don't eat like a pig' advice applies, I think, to Christian practices. People who observe Lent have considerable leeway in what they can 'get away with.' Which defeats the observance's purpose - and is a topic for another blog.

Bottom line? This article is a pretty good review of common-sense eating.

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