Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Pre-Ramadan diet primer and other tips for better health

Last year I did a number of posts on health, diabetes and heart disease, along with my world famous diet plan, and with Ramadan just days away, what better time to do a little follow up? I’m going to make this short, primarily because everybody is busy making their preparations, I’m lazy, and you should take the advice of a man who writes “honest interviews” with a grain of salt.

Many of us gain weight during Ramadan and that’s a real shame. Here are a number of things to avoid :

Soda : Please, oh please don’t drink regular soda for iftar. This is the worst possible you can do. Don’t declare a war on your pancreas by introducing several tablespoons of sugar into your bloodstream after the hypoglycemic state your body has been under all day. It will wreck havoc on your body’s ability to maintain proper sugar levels. If you must drink soda, make it diet. BTW sodas promote the formation of kidney stones, so if you want to play it safe drink water(prevents formation of gall and kidney stones) and eat radishes(proven to dissolve kidney and gall stones).

Iftar : Be responsible and know that iftar isn’t supposed to be a pig out at some “All you can eat” joint. Make it a modest meal and you may just avoid dozing off during Taraweeh prayers, assuming you can make it to the masjid after the food coma hits.

Alcohol : No really, you cant. This one’s for all you proggie juice hounds out there. Do you guys even fast?

That wasn’t too bad was it? Lets look at what you should be doing :

Cinnamon : Unless you have some ultra-rare allergy, you have absolutely no excuse whatsoever NOT to take Cinnamon pills with your meals. It’s a fantastic spice which significantly augments sugar metabolism, lowers cholesterol and acts like an anti-bacterial agent. Regardless of whether you have a family history of diabetes or not you should two 500 mg pills a day ( one each with lunch and dinner, or iftar) Check out what brother JD had to say about this :

On a completely different note, I wanted to let you know that my father-in-law and I are both drinking down two mugs of cinnamon (mixed in water) every day. When "Abah" went in for a blood test last week, his blood sugar and cholesterol levels were practically nothing. Since I started taking it consistently, almost all of my skin lesions have completely healed as has the bacterial inflammation on the back of my neck. I haven't been back to the doctor yet to see what my blood sugar levels are like, but I have felt the difference internally. Thank you for this information.”

Turmeric : Did you know that India has the lowest incidence of Alzheimer's in the world? Turmeric is the reason why, it is a powerful anti-cancer agent and prevents the formation of amyloid plaques which leads to the neurodegenerative disease known as Alzheimer's. In short, it protects brain cells. Now if only there was a nifty spice which could prevent Indians from making those atrocious bollywood films(that’s right, you heard me, SRK sucks, Amitabh is good, but Dilip Kumar(Yusuf Khan) is the KING.

Olive oil : This one’s a shocker….olive oil is cardio-protectant. Anti-inflammatory and delicious. A little on the pricey side but worth every penny. Its beneficial health effects are due both to the high content of monosaturated fats and the high content of antioxidative substances. Take a tablespoon of this daily and watch that LDL(bad cholesterol) score drop.

Baby Aspirin : a.k.a low dose aspirin (81mg dose) is must for anyone in their thirties. It thins the blood, prevents clotting and sharply cuts down heart attack incidence. One tablet a day is all you need(best time to take is after emptying the bowels). Unless you have a history of peptic ulcers or are on any other medication which may interfere with aspirin, check with your doctor. If you experience some gastrointestinal distress(a common side effect) cut down to 3 pills a week. NEVER TAKE ASPIRIN and ACETAMINOPHEN(Tylenol) TOGETHER, this causes cell death in the kidneys. Also, you need to be off aspirin for a week before undergoing any surgery. I don’t mean to scare anybody, its just a little disclaimer, part of what we call “cover you’re a$$” medicine"( translation = no lawsuits). One more thing, aspirin also prevents colon cancer.

Exercise : Physical recreation is a must. Fasting in itself is a form of exercise so no workouts during the day. If you have a treadmill, use it for a good 10-15 minutes in power walking mode to help you get some of that iftar down. Just see what its done for would-be assassin Pat Robertson here...!

Saw Palmetto : The prostate of all men enlarges with age, sorry gents its a fact of life. That pesky chemical called DHT(restosteron analogue and the one responsible for male alopecia) increases the size of the prostate ( presses down on urethra obstructing outward passage of urine). So as we age it becomes harder and harder to completely empty our bladder, hence you end going to the bathroom multiple times during the night resulting in poor sleep quality. Being unable to completely empty the bladder often leads to self infections. Prostate enlargement may progress into prostate cancer...but we're not going to let it go that far, we're going to play it safe by taking the herb Saw Palmetto in capsule form twice a day(160 mg x 2). It reduces the bodys DHT levels thereby reducing its effect on the prostate. So if you're over 35 you ought to start taking it, make sure the bottle has "standardized" on it. THIS IS FOR MEN ONLY.

I’ll stop here and hope this post didn’t come off as too academic. Also please check Sister Scorpion's blog detailing her excellent progress (partially due to the DrM diet plan, shameless plug) over the last year through a combination of exercise and diet modification. I wish more people were as tenacious about their health as she is. I hope this little primer comes in handy for those of you interested in taking a more pro-active approach towards your health.


JD said...

"Now if only there was a nifty spice which could prevent Indians from making those atrocious bollywood films..."

The few times I've watched Bollywood movies here on TV, I've found them to be a hoot.

The turmeric-alzheimer's connection is new to me. Now that I think about it, I don't recall hearing much about alzheimers being much of a problem here in S'pore where many of the elderly live well into their 80s and 90s. Perhaps because turmeric is such a commonplace spice in the diet here.

And, of course, I will second the motion regarding olive oil. After I married Milady, I convinced her to completely switch over to olive oil for all her cooking. I've also been trying to get Mak and Abah to switch over as well (they're willing, but it's expensive for them).

And, now, for the day's first mug of cinnamon water... :)

Safia speaks said...

It is not (only) the sugar in sodacans that cause you harm; the worst ingredient in soda is actually the soda itself, i.e the ACID, especially the phosphoric acid.
Phosphoric acid breaks down cells, and may be one of the worst perpetrators in osteoporose - in the long run.

Personally, I follow Edgar Cayces health plan for eating. Since I started some years ago, my health has never been better alhamdulillah.

Leila M. said...

"This one’s for all you proggie juice hounds out there."


Hood said...

Salam Alaikum
excellent post.
How much tumeric should a person take each day?
and the saw palmetto, if we can find it in capsule form then what do we do?

Um Mahtab said...

Salam alaykum

Does it make any difference if i don't take cinammon in pillform but instead take it mixed in water or tea like JD described?

DrMaxtor said...

Salam Aliakum,

JD, Jazakallah khair, keep us updated on your progress.

Safia, correct you are on the effects of phosphoric acid. I will look at Edgar Cayces health plan. Thanks for pointing it out.

Leila, I kid, I kid.

Hood, I dont know how much turmeric you need, but I would be fairly liberal with it. Saw Palmetto, is effective only in its "standardized" pill form. Check for for both of goodies in pill form.

J, It doesnt make any difference whether you take it pill form or mix it with water. I persoanlly prefer the pill though. The important thing is to ingest cinnamon either in the middle or end of your meal(dont take it for breakfast). As long as you're taking 1 gram a day you'll be fine.

musulmana said...

Assalamu Aleikum wa Rahmatulahi wa Barakatuhu,

Dear brother, Wow! This is the first time I ever heard of heavy cinnamon tea, actually the second time.

Please warn your female guest readers that a strong cinnamon tea has been used for years by some women to create a spontaneous abortion in the early part of the first trimester. No kidding! So, if you are pregnant, or wish to be pregnant, I would avoid the cinamon tea altogether.

Also, women who have stron crampiing during their menses take cinnamon tea as it relieves the cramping. So, it has its benefits.

Allahu Alim. I hope this proves of some benefit.

musulmana said...

OOps, brother, i should have read the entire post before I commented.

Baby aspirin is also seriously dangerous for pregnant women. Duh. It is a blood thinner. It is dangerous in the early days of the pregancy (for obvious reasons) and towards the end.

Also, for people who are already on blood thinners, like Coumadin, you should only do this with the advice of a Dr.

Lastly, if you have ulcers or a history of ulcers, it will do a number on your stomach.

I know you only said a baby aspirin, but it is not a vitamin, so I would be afraid to take it regularly without a solid reason.

Allahu Alim.

Yusuf Smith said...

As-Salaamu 'alaikum,

Baby aspirin? In this country we stopped using aspirin for children and adolescents years ago due to Reyes' Syndrome and started using paracetamol instead - did that not happen over in the US as well?

DrMaxtor said...

Asalam Aliakum,

Musalmana, jazakallah khair for the info but keep in mind this primer was not aimed at pregnent woman who shouldnt be fasting in Ramadan anyway.

Yusuf, you are right regarding Reye Syndrome, and we dont give aspirin to kids. We call it "baby" aspirin because its low-dose(81mg vs, the regular 350 mg), not because its made for kids.

Daughter of Adam said...

Thanks for this Dr M - have popped a link to this if you don't mind :-)

Ramdhan Mubarak from England

Peace and Prayers
Bint-eh Adam

SwordsWoman said...

Asalaamu Alaikam and Ramadhan Kareem

Great tips - I'll be making sure I get loads of cinnamon tablets as for my dad whose cholesterol has sky rocketed lately...

Jazak'Allah khair wa barak'Allahu fik.

JD said...

Regarding cinnamon pills vs. "tea," my wife and I had found some cinnamon pills available at GNC; however, in looking at the ingredients, we found that the pill's case included some animal byproducts that we figured almost certainly were not halal. That's why we opted for the "tea." The taste of the "tea" is quite strong and rather bitter, but I can get a good-sized mug down in about four swallows and the results have spoken for themselves.

Hakim Abdullah said...

Thank you for the tips DrM, jazakallah kheir wa ramadan karim.

Sadiq M. Alam said...

Good subject to blog.

Hope to share this post in my blog as well.


zanjabil said...


Cinnamon is also an excellent traditional remedy for flatulence. Thanks for your tips. Is there more you could tell us about the health effects of spices?

Allah hafiz

Abu_Tamim said...

Salamun alaikum.
Try this: