On April 13, many of over 1.8 Billion Muslims around the world began observing the holy month of Ramadan, including some of our very own Flippers like myself. I’m Hira Imran, a Growth Marketing Specialist at Flipp, and today I’m going to tell you about the meaning of Ramadan and will also share a couple of my favorite recipes that bring back childhood memories.
Give, Grow, Connect
Ramadan is a month spent giving, growing, and fasting. Though all three components are equally important during this month, growing closer to God and bettering myself are the goals I am hoping to achieve.
Fasting allows me to remove distractions from my day and create discipline, as a fast requires you to abstain not just from food and water from sunset to sundown, but also from displaying a bad temper, laziness, swearing and other inappropriate actions. Those Muslims unable to fast for medical or personal reasons are encouraged to give charity instead and continue their spiritual journey through prayer and self-growth.
Fasting Muslims must also give charity, as it is through fasting that we are able to empathize with those less fortunate and understand how lucky we are to have what we do, and be able to share with those in need.
Support Your Community
Since charity is a very key part of Ramadan, I felt it important to highlight some noble institutions that are doing great work in our community and around the world.
Islamic Relief Canada is a Canadian founded organization that has teams working in countries around the world that have been negatively affected by war, terror, famine, oppression, and other disastrous situations. A few causes they are currently providing aid to are:
- Providing Hygiene Kits & PPE to Canadians in need
- Aiding youth and other vulnerable individuals in Indigenous communities
- Battling malnutrition and famine in Yemen
- Resourcing medical care, access to clean water, and more to Palestinians in Gaza
LaunchGood is an online crowd-funding platform that allows you to automate daily donations to causes you care about, making giving to charity easier than ever. A few causes they are currently working to support are:
- Building a hospital in Sierra Leone
- The development of anti-racism programs to promote acceptance within multiple communities
- Emergency aid to Rohingya refugee camps
- Long-term aid and relief for vulnerable orphans
Nisa Homes provide women and children with transitional homes including resources to escape domestic abuse situations, homelessness, poverty, and other unsafe situations.
Project Ramadan is another Canadian-led initiative that is driven to eradicate food scarcity in low-income communities. They fundraise for baskets that are filled with staple items that allow those in need to create healthy and nutritious meals. They have partnered with a host of food banks and have volunteers all across the Greater Toronto Area and beyond.
Sehri and Iftar (Sunrise and Sundown Meals)
Outside of charitable donations, there is an aspect of generosity and giving amongst friends and relatives as well. With this being the second Ramadan during the pandemic, things have been looking a little different. Sehri (sunrise meal) and Iftar (sundown meal) gatherings full of delicious foods and banter have transitioned to Zoom calls with friends and family. Boxes of prepared treats and dishes are dropped off on porches as a means of connecting with loved ones in a more tangible way.
My Mom’s Fruit Chaat Recipe
This dish is so simple but extremely flavorful and nutritious – every bite brings back memories of times we were able to gather with loved ones to start or break our fasts together.
Essentially a fruit salad, this chaat is jam packed with spices and protein-packed chickpeas.
- 4 medium sweet apples
- 3 bananas
- 1 mango
- 2 kiwis
- 2 medium guavas (if in season)
- 1 bunch seedless grapes (halved)
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 can drained chickpeas
- 2-3 cups orange juice
- ½ tsp of each spice (red chilli powder, salt, coriander powder, cumin powder, National brand chaat masala)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- Get a large glass dish and begin cutting up your fruit into bite-sized pieces into the dish.
- Add in your pomegranate seeds and drained/washed chickpeas and give the mixture a stir.
- Evenly sprinkle in all of the spices to the fruit and stir the mixture so the masala is well-combined.
- Add in your orange juice and taste the mixture. Feel free to add in more masala or sugar at this point to your taste.
- Enjoy! We literally eat this in heaping bowls so a serving size is what you make it!
Hydrating Green Smoothie Recipe
It is so important to provide yourself with proper nutrition during the times you are able to eat/drink, which is why I’ve included this recipe for a nutrient-rich and hydrating smoothie. This smoothie is super quick to assemble during Sehri (pre-sunrise meal), providing your body with the essentials to keep you energized throughout the day.
The coconut water provides electrolytes and hydration, iron from the spinach, fiber and protein from chia seeds, plus vitamin C from apples and pineapple. It’s hard to try and pack lots of water when you’re trying to eat too, so this is a good way to get everything in at once.
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- ½ cup frozen spinach
- ¼ cup frozen avocado
- 1 cup coconut water
- ¾ cup green apple cut into chunks
- ¼ cup frozen pineapple chunks
- Note: if you prefer a sweeter smoothie – I recommend adding ½ banana or a couple pitted dates!
- Optional: You can add a scoop of greek yogurt for extra protein
- Add your spinach, chia seeds, and half the coconut water to a blender and blend until the chia seeds are well-mixed.
- Add in your fruits and the rest of the coconut water and blend well.
- Enjoy! I sometimes add in a ¼ cup of cut cucumbers for extra hydration or 4-5 mint leaves for its fresh taste and great digestive properties. This smoothie is very customizable, so feel free to play around with it.
Ramadan means different things to different people. The basis of giving charity, fasting (if able), and spiritual growth are the same – but there are values people choose to focus on that vary. For me this year, Ramadan is a time to focus on strengthening my patience, empathy, generosity, and discipline and I have made sure to set my intentions for the month to be able to incorporate these values as many times as possible throughout each day.
Even if you’re not Muslim, taking time to pause and reflect on what values truly matter to you can be beneficial. They can help you refocus on what’s important to you and notice those around you in need, so you can help your fellow community members and yourself as you continue your journey of self-development and growth.