Eid in UAE: Have your meat and stay healthy too
Dubai: This Eid Al Adha will be quieter and more sober owing to the current pandemic. Doctors and nutritionists advise residents to go easy on food, especially red meat, which is a staple during all the meals in this festival. Adapt a smart eating plan where you get to sample all the meats and yet don’t overload your digestive system.
During Eid, hospitals typically report several emergency cases of patients with indigestion, vomiting, gastritis, acid reflux and diarrhoea. But if you are careful, a visit to the doctor can be avoided.
Be mindful this Eid
Dr Bobomurod Kelidyorov, Family Medicine specialist at the Canadian Hospital, Dubai, explained: “This Eid will be different as gatherings are smaller and celebrations a bit more scaled down. So people can also go easy on food. Overeating, ingestion of fat and protein-rich food in large quantities, especially in summer, causes acidity, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea as it disrupts the digestive system. Meat-rich foods cooked with oil and spices take anything from eight-12 hours to be digested."
H said when people have rich and heavy food throughout the day, high calorie desserts and sweets, this causes a fat overload for the liver. It contributes to a spike in bad cholesterol and also adds to the existing obesity of an individual and raises blood sugar and cholesterol levels. "I would advise people to go easy on food, space it out well, exercise strict portion control and avoid oily and spicy food.”
You can have your cake and eat it too if you go by the advice of a good dietitian. In other words, do not skip any meal or deprive yourself. Exercise caution, be mindful, sample every delicacy and yet make smart and informed decisions that can help you steer clear of over indulging during Eid.
When asked about her golden mantra, clinical dietitian Mitun Sarkar said: “I always promote a flexitarian approach to eating. Make sure that nearly 60 to 70 per cent of your diet comes from plant-based sources and the remaining can be from animal sources. If you have been wisely eating red meat in general, a day of celebration of eating meat the traditional way in smaller portions won’t harm your health except that it will affect your digestion as meat takes up to 8 hours to fully digest, assimilate and eliminate from your digestive system.”
2. Mix meat with other dense carbohydrates: Instead of cooking in excess amounts of ghee or fat, try to slow cook the meat with plenty of root vegetables such as onions, garlic, potatoes, ginger, turnips, and carrots. Root vegetables slow cook beautifully with meat, making it nutritiously rich in antioxidants that can protect your cells against the oxidative damage and eases the digestion with the fibre in the vegetables and slow cooking helps digest the meat easily.
3. Opt for healthy cooking methods: Instead of deep-frying foods like samosas stuffed with meat, pop them in the air fryer or oven to not only consume fewer calories but also is easier on the digestion preventing acid reflux and bloating.
4. Go easy on desserts: Avoid deep-fried and sugar syrup-laden sweets. Sugar is the unhealthiest high-risk cause of oxidative stress in our bodies. Instead opt for simple sweets made with dates, mix nuts and seeds.
5. Practise intermittent fasting: If possible, prepare your body a couple of days in advance to follow an intermittent fasting plan with drinking plenty of fluids such as water with lemon, ginger and mint, herbal teas during the fasting period of 14 to 16 hours.
6. Be mindful of hydration: Having plenty of fluids is important to maintain a good electrolyte balance. Hydration should not be compromised during the summer months. This will aid digestion.
7. Opt for early dinner: During the eating window, eat an early dinner by 6 or 7pm to improve digestion, include plenty of vegetables and fruits for all the extra fibre and antioxidants.
8. Enhance your insulin absorption and blood glucose metabolism: On the morning of Eid start with a bowl of oatmeal and fruits for the beta glucan soluble fibre that not only keeps insulin in balance, improve digestion but will keep you fuller longer.
9. Include a good workout: Holidays must not be equated with sloth. When you consume higher amount of calories, make sure you also go for a high-calorie burn. Do a combination of exercises — jog, walk, do Pilates, weights — make sure you at least have a high intensity of work out if you are overindulging during Eid.
Source: Mitun Sarkar
Sarkar said the 70-30 was the general thumb rule of choosing food groups. But she added: “If you are already someone with hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia [high cholesterol], fatty liver condition, acid reflux, overloading your meal with rich, fatty food and high protein in red mead, may cause harm suddenly to your organs and your blood Markers. People need to always take precaution and not to exert strain on their digestive system and health in general.”