This column is proudly sponsored by FARM FRESH which is The Gambia’s first online Vegetables and Fruits Delivery service (www.farmfresh.gm) allowing anyone from within The Gambia or abroad to place orders online or via phone and have the items delivered to their doorsteps at home or at the office. All the vegetables are locally grown (organic).
It goes without saying that a healthy mind can only be found in a healthy body. There is also a saying which appears simple but is in fact deep in meaning, “YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT”.
“When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” -Ancient Earthian Ayurvedic Proverb
Before beginning, allow me to extend a warm Ramadan Mubarak! (Ramadan Greetings) to all the readers of YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT.
Thank you for your generosity and kindness in words and deeds in support of this column. May you all have a blessed month!
We can’t discuss food in Ramadan without first talking about the significance of the date fruit…
While date palm trees (nakhl in Arabic) come from hot and dry climates around the world, it’s fruit (tamr) is beginning to grow in popularity everywhere. The health-conscious consumer is looking to this bite-size snacking option as an alternative to other less desirable ones, thus re-discovering the date in all its varieties as an extremely beneficial addition to one’s diet.
Dates are closely associated with Muslims, even though the palm tree has been around since pre-historic times and is also historically significant to many other cultures and religious groups.
In the Holy Qur’an, the precious date has been mentioned many times as a favorable food. For example, Mary, mother of Jesus, was ordered to shake the date palm tree when she was experiencing the pangs of childbirth in order to eat of the date fruit, thus relieving some of her pain.
They were also consumed as a staple food of Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him). He used to break his fast with fresh dates before praying; if there were no fresh dates then with dry dates, and if there were no dried dates, he would take a few sips of water. As a result, the Ramadan tradition of breaking the fast with dates has become a sunnah, or action of his, that Muslims readily follow.
Regardless of one’s intentions for eating dates, they are known to be a great source of fiber that can be easily added to one’s diet. They are also high in the B-complex vitamins, magnesium and potassium- vitamins your body needs to eliminate toxins and build healthy bones.
Dates also contain naturally occurring sugars like fructose and glucose, giving your body a good deal of energy without the sugar crash that comes along with most unhealthy, sugar-filled foods.
How to Incorporate Dates into Your Diet
? Top your cereal or oatmeal with chopped dried dates for added crunch and fiber.
? Buy the seedless varieties and fill with whole almonds for a great on-the-go snack.
? Chop and add to salads for a sweet addition to an otherwise savory plate.
? Dip in heavy cream or yogurt and wrap in bread for a delicious snack.
? Remove seeds, dice and freeze dates for future baking projects.
 Surah Miriam in al-Qur’an, 19:23-26
 Book of Al-Sawm (Fasting), classed as Sahih by Albani in Sahih Abi Dawood, no.560 as narrated by Anas ibn Malik