The Fiqh (Understanding) of Nutrition by Zainab Ismail

With all the overwhelming sites around about eat this, don't eat that, juice it, raw it and I don't know what other creative thing to do with your food, I want to introduce to you a simple set of  general guidelines and a foundation that are simple to apply in our everyday eating lifestyle by Nutritionist and Personal Trainer Zainab Ismail. But do keep in mind as all things; practice and being consistent takes time to secure them in place.

Now for a little personal confession, I am guilty though of following food labels, trying diets, falling for food fads, and everything under the sun, because I am a foodie who has had no professional nutrition preparation but just wants to have an efficient eating lifestyle. Some things I tried failed(specially diets) and others succeeded but at the end I left them for the next season's trend of "healthy" eating.

 Brace yourselves! all this changed when I met Zainab Ismail at a nutrition event at MECCA Center in 2011. Since then, I started to learn concrete unbiased information on nutrition and my eating lifestyle took a more stable approach which has also helped me get the best of my Ramadan. She does a nutrition program specifically for Ramadan. It has worked for me!  I have also become consistent in my eating habits. When I say unbiased, I am talking about those who are selling their products will never tell you the complete truth about them and their labels(natural, pure,) become a marketing gimmick to get your money. That is the hard truth and as Zainab stated in her last talk, "We are living in a world that is all about money".  She is not just another nutritionist, she has a gold belt of knowledge and preparation in nutrition and exercise that expands to 20 years. So, I am sure we both can agree the sister knows what she is talking about. Take a look for yourself here

On my last attendance per Nadoona to hear Zainab talk and trust me I can't never get tired of hearing her because she brings new information every time and the audience's questions are always different too. This is the 3rd time I listen to The Fiqh of Nutrition. The full program consisted of the Fiqh(Understanding) of Nutrition and Exercise. I had to miss the exercise section because I had to wait for my farmer to deliver my goods(raw milk, fresh eggs, raw yogurt and bones). Don't freak out on the bones, but just to give you a hint, look up 'benefits of bone broth'. You will be amazed on its nutritional and beauty benefits. Ok, let's move on.

This is a condensed list because I have to respect that people do donate and make time to attend these events and this work is completely voluntarily from Zainab's part. Just to let you know knowledge from experts does have a price. From my experience with other nutritionists, we are talking about $150 an hour.  So, if you want the full 411 and details on this, I strongly encourage that you attend one of her events either online(when available), in your area and/or follow her on FB.

Let's begin...Wait! I almost forgot a very important thing. Zainab, says that instead of thinking 'Healthy', think 'Efficient'. See your food as an efficient way to get the most out of your day. That means you will have to look at food like fuel and choose which ones will give you the best possible energy to get through your day and hey! coffee is ok, but skip on the cremers(contains chemicals).

Nadoona event in Bronx, 3/2013

1. INTENTION: Your intention should be to assist your body purely for the sake of Allah SWT. She asks us to always keep in mind the hadith of 1/3 for food, 1/3 for air and 1/3 for water. She adds to let this hadith to be our guide in manners and behaviours. 

2. BE REAL: Zainab uses the quote "We don't plan to fail, we fail to plan!" to refer that making a goal that is actually doable and based on our lifestyle.

3. JOURNAL: Writing down what we eat will give us a mirror to see the reality of what exactly we are eating and it will help reach our goal faster.

4. SMALL MEALS: She states eating 5 small meals being the average calories between (250-400) throughout the day. 

5. TIME: Your meals should be 2-4 hours apart. This will balance your blood sugar to name just some of the benefits.

6. MEAL: Every balanced meal should be composed of: a. Protein b. Carbohydrates c. Fats 

7. SLEEP: She advises 6-8 hours.

8. WATER: Stay hydrated but be careful with processed juices. She recommends 6-8 glasses per day.

9. PORTIONS: I think personally this one is a hard one for all of us. In her last two talks, she mentioned to use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate to regulate our servings. Zainab says to do small portions. An example of a protein serving is 3-5oz and 1-1/2 cup of carbohydrates.

10. PROCESSED FOODS: Zainab really gets into detail about this in her talks. She states to stay away from foods with any chemicals, junk food, fast food, sweets, vegetable oils, soy, granola bars and proteins.

Alright ladies, this is it! a foundation to change our life from 'healthy' to 'efficient' eating. Of course there is more to detail, but this is a very good building start. You can follow Zainab Ismail on her FB profile to find out where she will be talking next, what she eats, daily posts and tips.

*If you have are ill or have health issues, please do check with your doctor and nutritionist first before trying anything new. May Allah SWT give you complete health.

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