Why #VeganRamadan is more than just eating vegan food for a month
Ramadan is also a time for us to train ourselves to set our egos aside. As long as we're healthy enough to be eligible to fast, we ignore the fear-based thoughts that come to us telling us that we're not good enough. They come, we let them go and we continue doing what we are supposed to do. It's a time for us to realise our own strengths and realise that we are more powerful than we think we are.
But with breaking our fasts with gluttonous feasts, filling ourselves with food to the point in which we can barely move or focus on nightly prayers, eating sugar, salt, meat and dairy in excess, sometimes for some people, the essence of Ramadan begins to fade.
Rather than the holy month becoming a time for our bodies to detox and refresh, the cumulative effect of unhealthy eating and drinking patterns takes a toll on our bodies, often producing the opposite effect.
Even certain intentions like going completely vegan for Ramadan can be bad if done wrong. It's very easy to go vegan for Ramadan and live on veggie samosas, fries, burgers, vegan cheese, oreos for dessert and sticking to the same sugary drinks throughout the night.
So really, mindfulness is key. Having being vegetarian since 2014 and being vegan for almost a year, I know all too well that whilst cutting out animal products has helped me, I have fallen off track in my nutrition by just eating pure, vegan junk.
When partaking in a vegan Ramadan, or even if you just plan to go vegetarian, pescatarian, dairy free, or to cut out certain types of food on certain days, the main component is intention. Set a subtle and peaceful intention within yourself to take part in a vegan/more plant-based/healthier Ramadan and trust yourself that you will stick to it.
Don't resist cravings with anger, let them pass through your body the same way you want that same type of food whilst fasting. If you slip up, it's really okay.
It's important to prepare for your iftars and suhur by having a generally healthy fridge and pantry. It's also important to have alternatives to what you're used to, such as replacing baklavas with stuffed dates or energy balls.
Our guide to a vegan Ramadan isn't exclusive to vegans, nor is it exclusive to people who observe Ramadan. Take whatever you can from it.
Ramadan Mubarak – may the remembrance of Allah keep us all calm and centred this beautiful month.
Diana Alghoul is a British/Palestinian journalist at The New Arab and lifestyle blogger.
Follow her on Twitter: @SuperKnafeh