Eid Mubarak! by Farhana Begum
Eid al-fitr – the celebration at the end of Ramadan – also known as the Sugar Feast (uh oh) is a 3 day extravaganza with eating and merry-making at its heart. After a long month of fasting, it’s exactly the kind of celebration that the doctor ordered. Well, maybe not the doctor or any other decent health professional – but who can say no to a good knees up?
These three days serve as a reward and Muslims are encouraged to celebrate – to eat well, see friends and family and be proud of their achievements over the month of Ramadan. That said, in the midst of such revelry it can be very easy to over-indulge. The body conditions itself to survive on the food it receives and after a month of limited eating, such sudden changes in eating patterns, and changes in the kinds of foods eaten can be dangerous for diabetics – it might take less than you’d think to drift into unhealthily high blood sugar ranges.
Deep fried snacks, sugary desserts and fatty foods are the kinds of fare traditionally offered during Eid and these are exactly the kinds of food you want to eat after a month of fasting, but really shouldn’t. Over the years though, and through Ramadan’s call to make those healthier dietary decisions, we’ve adapted as a family in joining my mum in eating the healthier foods offered when we go and visit family and friends.
Moreover, and I realise that this may not be the case for all South Asian Muslim families, but in our household the food preparation is a whole family affair – inclusive of my dad and my brother – and usually goes on late into the night on Eid eve. It’s an extension of the communality and shared experience that Ramadan brings and I love how it’s become an Eid tradition for us. It also has a more practical function- because everyone is involved in the kinds of foods we make; we can make slight alterations to the meals we prepare. By reducing the amount of oil and/or sugar or making substitutions in their place, Eid doesn’t have to be an exercise in self-denial for my mum. As a family of serious foodies, this is a boon. It means that we can share in the joy that Eid brings together as a family; it brings us closer, strengthens the familial bond we have and tempers the affect that diabetes has on our family.
If what you’ve just read sounds like a good little set up, Eid al-adha is only a couple of months away – why not give it a go?