harper’s bazaar – july 2014 – the food diaries
Ramadan fasting and eating rituals from three fir GCC-dwelling women
ASMA HILAL LOOTAH, OWNER OF THE HUNDRED WELLNESS CENTER, prepares for her fast by dosing up on superfoods.
SUHOOR: “I try to drink as much water as possible and eat foods with good carbohydrtes that will help maintain my blood sugar levels, so I might have banana or some dates. But my favourite Suhoor meal is gluten-free oat bran soaked in coconut milk overnight, with a dose of superfoods like bee pollen, goji berries and flaxseed.” IFTAR: “On breaking fast, I have dates, water and Arabic coffee. Then, food-wise, I honestly eat anything I want, giving into the temptations of my favorite Emirati dishes such as harees, f’reed, and delicious traditional fish dishes. I do try to opt for healthy options, but the hunger makes it a difficult task.” HOME OR AWAY: “I never have Iftar in a restaurant. Ramadan for me is very family oriented and spiritual so going out to a restaurant defies that meaning, as I’d rather be home surrounded by loved ones. I do sometimes prepare dishes to serve at Iftar, but my mother is very much in charge so she oversees the staff and puts her special touch on every dish.” SPLURGE: “The most delicious treat I allow myself to indulge in occasionally after breaking fast is the traditional Emirati sweet luqaymat, which is a fried ball of dough drizzled in date syrup – so addictive and yummy.” CHEAT: “I’ve been fasting for Ramdan since I was 10 years old. I never cheat, and yes, there are days that I feel dehydrated and not able to function properly, but it is cleansing for the body and soul.” EXERCISE: “I continue doing Pilates throughout Ramadan three times a week. Once I attempted to take squash lesson, but that didn’t go well at all.”