First off, for those of you who just completed a month’s worth of 17-hour fasts:
Happy Eid and Eid Mubarak! My sister and I went shopping for decadent delicacies yesterday:
As I ate lunch for the first time in my medical school career, I reflected upon how Ramadan emphasizes quality over quantity. Within the past month, I lived through a cross-country move and the beginning of med school with only one meal a day, occasionally one and a half. Not surprisingly, my new classmates asked me if I missed having lunch or afternoon snacks. The answer was a definitive “no,” because the meals I did have in the evening tasted so much better! Ordinary dishes transformed into scrumptious feasts bursting with flavor – cheese sticks that melted in my mouth, spicy salmon with daal and rice, sweet yogurt lassi drinks, and freshly-baked pizza. Even after 7 consecutive evenings of cheese-stick dinners, the dish had not lost its novelty; on a non-Ramadan week, however, I would have had to employ copious volumes of awesomesauce to alleviate a severe case of tastebud-boredom.
After a month of fasting, I not only appreciate food to a much greater extent, I also enjoy food – it was no longer feels like a chore to complete before heading to bed.
I was also surprised to discover that fasting did not sap my energy throughout the day. I occasionally took breaks in between four-hour med school lectures to practice my karate move sequences on the back lawn – complete with jump-360s, tornado kicks, and spinning-hook-double-knifehand-block combinations. My sister and I even spent a Ramadan afternoon braving rollercoasters at Hersheypark.
Another concern allayed: I never once felt dehydrated while fasting. I was especially conscientious about my risk of dehydration and drank more than 2 liters of water a night. Last Tuesday, my blood pressure was a solid 120/80. Today at noon, however, my blood pressure was 105/70, which is lower than normal for my body. I also had cold symptoms that immediately subsided after I drank a 500 mL bottle of water; out of my post-Ramadan negligence, I had forgotten to drink water in the morning.
Do we truly need 3 meals a day to function at our full capacity, or do our meals serve more as comforting routines, or methods of procrastination? Food is a necessity, but perhaps not at the level I am used to…
One thing is for sure – Ramadan is a month of fasting and feasting.
Farewell, Ramadan – until next year!
UPDATE 7/29/2014 I miss Ramadan. I miss being able to run out the door at 7:50 AM without wolfing down breakfast or packing lunch. I miss being able to walk home in the afternoon without an extra Tupperware container consuming space in my backpack.
Most of all, I miss the thrill of breaking my fast together with my family…