Yeayyy!! Hari Raya is coming really soon! It means good Raya food all day long! If I imagine Hari Raya, the first thing that comes to my mind is the song Suasana Hari Raya by Anuar & Ellina. To me, this song is the Hari Raya anthem of all time. The song tells a story about how Aidilfitri is being celebrated, about how sons and daughters all came back to their hometown to celebrate it with their family, and how happy their parents are when they come home.
And the following lines of the lyrics tell us about all the excellent food served during Hari Raya. From the variety of cookies, the glorious ketupat and rendang to the legendary wajik and dodol. Yes, Hari Raya is the day when almost everybody has the “licence to eat”. Now, here lies the issue. We tend to eat a lot at Hari Raya. I, myself, will eat at every house I visit. That doesn’t include the food prepared by my loving mother at my own home. I mean, who can resist a mother’s cooking. If you’re a food lover like me, this is the opportunity to indulge in the delicacies served. Imagine if I visit six houses in the morning and four later that day; that will mean I eat 11 times on the first Hari Raya itself. How about the second day of Raya? And the third? I am sure there are many people out there just like me when it comes to eating during this festive season.
I have been thinking of ways to eat still healthy or attempt to eat healthy during this Raya season. First, maybe I can take my time to look through all the dishes that I will be devouring so that I have some time to think and choose the ones I will take and not lose myself over the urge to eat everything served on the table (which I will usually do). This way, I can control my food intake and ensure that I will not overeat.
I have read that drinking a lot of water will help curb our appetite. Drinking water will hydrate our body and also makes us feel full faster. Drinking water will also help with our digestion. All those food needs to be flushed out more quickly, right? To remember, though, drink a lot of water and not the cordials, the soft drinks and the punches. These servings have a high sugar content that we need to avoid to stay healthy.
Who can resist the arrays of sugary sweet dishes, Raya cookies and drinks laid down beautifully in front of your eyes wherever you go, right? For those with high blood sugar levels, the change from the fasting month of Ramadhan to the feasting month of Syawal will have a significant effect on one’s body. Eating sugary food excessively will increase their blood sugar level drastically. Do keep an open eye for the signs of hyperglycemia such as frequent urination, increased thirst, fatigue, blurred vision and headache. Another thing to check is the signs of dehydration: extreme appetite, dizziness, fatigue, confusion and dark coloured urination.
While enjoying the rich-tasting super delicious Hari Raya food, I can avoid eating the fat, calorie and cholesterol heavy chicken skin when eating chicken rendang. I can also choose healthier options, such as choosing water over soft drinks, choosing to take more veggies, and always controlling the portion of food that I take. I believe there are more ways we can still take care of our health while celebrating Hari Raya.
Suppose you have been limiting your activities and exercise routine during the whole month of Ramadhan. In that case, Syawal is the month to get back to the usual routine and start to sweat, stretch and work out. I understand that many will want to focus on the Raya food and relaxation. Still, you can always squeeze in some time for exercise or simple make an effort to keep moving. Suppose social obligations make you unable to start your workout routine. In that case, you can save yourself active by making the most of your home activities like doing house chores and walking more.
You can always add in supplements like MyLustre’s Bodigard FatBurn that will help you burn more fat while doing all these activities or workouts. It contains Mediterranean citrus fruits & green tea extract, proven to help burn fats more effectively, especially when working out. So even if you feast over those Hari Raya delicacies, if you work out AND take Bodigard FatBurn, you don’t have to worry about the extra pound you might put on.
Although food plays a major role in our Hari Raya celebration, what is more, important is to focus more on the true spirit of this religious holiday by spending time with family and appreciating the strength provided by the Almighty for the month before. In the long run, the health choices we make now can be carried forward to the rest of the months and even years to come.
Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Maaf Zahir Batin!