A Vegan Ramadan

Being Muslim isn't something I usually talk about. I find that surprising considering it's such an important aspect of my life. Contrary to what most people think, being Muslim lead me to most of the beliefs and values that I hold today. And it actually brought me towards the largest and best decision I've ever made, going vegan. And considering it's currently the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, I thought it would be the perfect time to talk about spending it entirely vegan.

Ramadan is my favorite time of the year. Growing up I looked forward to meeting my friends at the mosque each night. We would stay up talking about all the delicious food we ate when we broke our fasts until it was time to start again. I also loved going to Iftar, the meal Muslims break their fasts with, at my cousins' houses and just hanging out with the Muslims in my community every night. And although Ramadan can be incredibly social and fun, it's also a month of self-reflection and discipline.

A green mug and a book overlooking the sunrise.

So when I first made the switch to veganism five years ago, I started in Ramadan. This created less room for me to make mistakes since I was basically eating one meal a day. But in addition to fasting, I was making a complete lifestyle change and I didn't want to go absolutely crazy from the amount of self-control I had to obtain. To prevent that catastrophe from happening, I found ways to make all the food I was craving vegan.

I additionally made sure each meal I wanted had enough nutrients and calories to keep me healthy for the month while also tasting amazing. And it was honestly so fun learning to make all the traditional Pakistani dishes my mom only makes during Ramadan vegan friendly.

It's important to note that when I made the switch, it wasn't super easy. There were times when I wanted what everyone else was having. But just like most things in life, it required an unbelievable amount of self-control and patience. It was really hard. I had to constantly remind myself why I wanted to go vegan in the first place. I honestly thought I was a terrible vegan for even thinking about quitting until I realized it was absolutely normal.

It's also essential that when you change your lifestyle as drastically as I did, you remind yourself why. Especially if it's during a time like Ramadan. Because although you'll want to give in to all of your cravings, having a valid reason behind your actions makes it so much easier to not give up.

As I mentioned before, Ramadan is about self-reflection. Not eating from sunrise to sunset for the entire month reminds me of how grateful I am for the things I have. It also reminds me the importance of each action I commit. And by me simply being more conscious about the food I eat helps me to ensure that I am leaving a positive impact in at least one aspect of my life.

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