Changes in Lifestyle are Needed, by Karimah bint Dawoud, Muslim Chaplain & Well Being Writer.
There comes a point in most, if not all our lives, where we realize that we are going to have to take a good hard look at our lifestyle, as we approach the big 40, it is sometimes hard to acknowledge that life begins at 40, that’s what they say.
I had fantasies of running along the beach in a pink tracksuit like Angela Basset in the beginning of the film “When Stella Got Her Groove Back”, that’s her on the left and remember I said fantasy, but the culture of Muslim women, by and large, born Muslim women is not about getting your groove back at 40, it’s about settling down into fatness , middle age spread and being a granny. Many colonialised women, migrants to Europe and the UK have got their husband and have given up on looking good, using the abaya, the large full length garment we wear as an excuse to cover up a multitude of sins of over eating. There are sometimes emotional and mental health factors like depression,comfort eating as well as laziness and complacency that are the reasons for this big issues.
Yes brothers and sistars , over eating is a sin, it’s not part of Islam.
In the Quran Allah says in chapter 7 Al Araf, The Heights, verse 31,
“O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.”
About three years ago I went to have hijaama , the wet cupping therapy and at the same time had a nutritional blood test that basically revealed that I am celiac , allergic to wheat and have leaky gut syndrome. I was given a very elaborate diet sheets that said I should eat quail, pheasant and venison…..oh I must be related to royalty or Napoleon at least, with that diet!
I made a few changes but nothing significant, started eating a bit more fish and now I had great excuse to stop eating that rubbish called khubz at Arabic celebrations.
Let me back up my frankness with this wonderful hadith that our beloved prophet , salah al alaihi wa salem never ate white flour.
HADITH WHITE FLOUR
Narrated Abu Hazim: I asked Sahl bin Sad, “Did Allah’s Apostle ever eat white flour?” Sahl said, “Allah’s Apostle never saw white flour since Allah sent him as an Apostle till He took him unto Him.” I asked, “Did the people have (use) sieves during the lifetime of Allah’s Apostle?” Sahl said, “Allah’s Apostle never saw (used) a sieve since Allah sent him as an Apostle until He took him unto Him,” I said, “How could you eat barley unsifted?” he said, “We used to grind it and then blow off its husk, and after the husk flew away, we used to prepare the dough (bake) and eat it.” Sahih Bukhari and Tirmidhi
At this point I need to tell you a great reason why academic education is important or at least having the confidence to read , question and cross reference. This means to do your own research on things and compare the sources of the information you find to see what the common thread of thought is.
On my diet sheet I am not supposed to eat red meat or even chicken but I was , as I said I made these little changes but over the last few years little changes have brought me to the realization that I need to make big changes in my diet, for the benefit of my own soul.
Being unhealthy, in pain, however ill health, manifest itself in our life, causes us to underperform in whatever we do, whether it’s doing our prayers, good deeds, playing with our children or being sexually active with our marital partner….ill health affects all these things.
I suffer with arthritis in many forms which is related to gout, I was watching Channels 4 TV , a wonderful new program called Food Hospital and saw that a food remedy for gout was to cut out meat and some sea food products, here we go another reminder.
Islamically the prophet, salah l alaihi wa salem did not eat meat every day, not just because of poverty but also because of health. According to Islamic medicine, beef , should not be eaten except by people who intend to active manual work, but that another story not going into that today.
In an effort to rectify my health I am now forcing myself to be much more disciplined about what I eat.
I start with warm water and honey and some sort herb, then I do some exercises to stretch, then fruit and vegetable juice with aloe vera.
I am currently taking slippery elm powder and milk.
I am not saying that my way is the right way or the only way, but I am saying that we cannot keep making the same mistakes us our forefathers by eating diets that are colonized by the eating habits of cultures that are not Islamic.
White bread for example, is from the Romans who invented the refining of flour, white flour is not a traditional Arabic or Islamic thing, if you go into the mountains the people still eat whole meal, it does make it any more authentic that the cheap white flour pancakes and hoobs are made by hand, it’s still unhealthy and unIslamic.
Since I cut out bread and a lot of flour products I have actually lost 1 and 1/2 stone since January of this year, Alhamdulillah. I am not an angel or a saint , I have a bit of cake every so often but rather than buy cheap shop cakes I get together with a friend and we make nice homemade cakes, eat a few then make sure we share the rest, give away to neighbors etc.
And speaking of knowing your neighbours……..lets save that for another day.