We are into the middle of the holy month of Ramadan, and the Eid is around the corner, Delhi and the walled city in particular are celebrating Ramadan with full fervor and gaiety. The day begins well before sunlight with Sahrei the morning prayer and a succulent meal of Nihaari a special meat dish cooked in overnight slow fire; and then the Roza or day-long fast ,without food and water begins. Many relax at home and take a siesta, but most continue with their daily grind. It is summer in Delhi at its peak with relentless sultry heat; there is hardly any breeze though occasionally a dust storm Luu brings welcome relief. The lanes are sleepy. Occasionally one encounters a rickshaw puller in a white cap silently trudging along, his face dry and flushed, his Lips parched with almost no sweat on the brow.
All this makes fasting even more arduous. Faithful offer their ritual after- noon namaz and patiently wait for the evening. At last the Sun goes down and here comes the welcome Iftar hour. The city wakes-up from its deep slumber, the shops open in tandem and the streets in Ballimairan, Hauz Kazi and Chandni Chowk come alive with decorations, lights and flowers. Slowly the scent of Ittar and of freshly made kababs, jalebis and naans from numerous stalls wafts all over in the welcome breeze.
Presently you see waves of men in white thronging to Jama Masjid for their evening namaaz. Often you see a few tired faces with gleam in their eyes and a sense of accomp//ishment, reminding me of our bariatric surgery patients who visit us after two weeks of liquid diet with same calm and serene face and the same sense of pride; they too are waiting for their puree diet.
This brings me to the question many of my patients ask, whether they can observe religious fasts. My advice to them is clear
- Visit your physician; take a fitness check before you have a go at it
- It is best to wait for one year till you are settled with your normal diet.
- If you are observing fast do not go out in the sun for long hours, don’t undertake strenuous work.
- Keep a watch on your hydration; you should pass urine at least two or three times during the daytime. It should be clear or light yellow.
- Drink at least two liters of fluids in the Night, to make up the deficit
- Open your fast with fruits like apples and water-melon
- Take high protein food; avoid oil rich curries, fries and pastries to prevent dumping
- Eat slowly, chew well otherwise you tend to vomit and your dehydration will worsen
- If you are suffering from severe Kidney disease, better not do it.
- Diabetics should take special care to avoid hypoglycemia, or keto- acidosis. Check your sugar levels twice a day and urine for ketones. Your insulin and medicine requirements will change.
- Better still consult your physician before you begin with your fasts.
Enjoy your fasts and feast this Ramadan and Eid and take care.