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Archive for the month “October, 2013”

Drink Your Greens!

Published in  Sisters Magazine, September 2013 issue

Drink Your Greens!

Have you always been told to eat your greens? Or maybe you keep on finding your little one’s veggies in strange places, like under the sofa? We all know about the amazing health benefits of fruits and veggies, yet most of us, big or little, just don’t eat enough of them. A trend that is on the increase, though, is juicing your greens. Sounds like a good alternative to chewing away your lettuce, broccoli and cucumbers? In fact, juicing has become a quite popular way of boosting your health. From raw health gurus going on a rigorous 60-day juice fast, to a suburban mum juicing some carrots and oranges for a healthful breakfast-on-the-go. You may have seen a documentary about it, or maybe you even know some juicing sisters. So, what’s this juice craze all about, and why should you try?

Juicing for health

Essentially, juicing is the quickest and easiest way to dramatically increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Freshly extracted, raw juice is packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and phytonutrients (nutrients only found in plants, which play a key role in preventing many serious diseases, subhanAllah). Juicing supplies your body with all these wonderful nutrients in a concentrated, easily absorbed form. Not surprisingly, the blessings for your health are numerous. One of the first things you may notice when you start juicing is better skin and more energy. Other than that, juicing stabilises blood pressure, boosts your immune system, relieves PMS symptoms, and helps your body get rid of toxins. And did I mention losing weight? Going on a juice fast, a period in which you only consume fresh juice and water and no food, is an excellent way to detoxify your body, but it’s not for everyone. When you have never juiced before, it’s a better idea to start out with a cup of fresh juice a day.

For pregnant or breastfeeding mums, a juice fast is also not advisable, but supplementing your diet with juice might give you just the boost you need! And if you’re on medication, please consult your doctor first.

The basics

The first thing you’ll need is a juicer. Or maybe you’ve already had one for years, hidden safely in your kitchen cupboard? Be careful to get a juice extractor, which is not the same as a blender. A blender will work for making smoothies, but does not get the juice out of your greens. There are many types available and you may want to do some research first to decide which one is best for you.

You should wash (or peel if need be) the fruits and veggies and cut them up in small pieces to fit the feeding tube of your juicer. Use organic produce when you can, but if not, just wash your greens extra carefully (you can use a small amount of soap, just rinse very well), or remove the peel. Churn the pieces in the juicer, and enjoy watching the juice come out in the most sparkling, vibrant colours. It’s probably best to start with fruits and vegetables that you’re already comfortable with. Carrots, apples, cucumbers and oranges are usually good choices. You can gradually introduce new fruits and veggies and start experimenting with combinations along the way.

Remember, the fresher you drink your juice, the better. Fresh juice and freshly cut produce start oxidising right away, which leads to a loss of nutrients. Cut the fruits and vegetables right before you use them and then drink the juice straight away. When you’re busy, and you do need to prepare the juice beforehand, store it in a (preferably dark) glass bottle or stainless steel thermos in the refrigerator, and consume within 24-48 hours. You can also store the already cut fruits and veggies in the fridge so they’re ready to go into the juicer the next morning: add a few drops of lemon juice and store in a container.

For the kids

Fresh juice is nature’s liquid fuel for growing bodies. Children will love helping you and seeing how their favourite fruits and veggies are turned into a colourful juice. It’s a great opportunity for them to learn about the importance of veggies and fruits and you can have fun with creating new combinations and coming up with names for them, like Jamilah’s Jungle Juice. And even your pickiest eater will like a popsicle made with fresh juice. Children can do with smaller amounts of juice than adults, depending on their age. Start out with a quarter of a cup diluted with one part water and build up from there.

Power up your juice

There are plenty of things you can do to power up your juice concoctions and make them even tastier and healthier:

Spices are a great way to boost your juice and your health too, as they are very high in antioxidants. Cinnamon and ginger (root or powder) add great flavour to most concoctions. You also might want to try turmeric, cayenne pepper, curry powder, saffron, or even a clove of garlic, depending on your taste or the recipe.

Alternatively, you can make a smoothie and add soft fruits or live yogurt to your juice. Avocados and bananas are great for this purpose. Or combine coconut milk and shredded coconut with pineapple, papaya or mango juice to make a delicious, tropical healthy cocktail.

And why not add those blessed foods from the Qur’an and Sunnah? Honey has magnificent healing properties and mixing in a teaspoon works wonders to disguise the taste of those super healthy, but bitter-tasting greens (like cabbage). You can also try black seed or olive oil, two other examples of Sunnah Super Foods.

Budget-friendly juicing

Juicing is for everyone and doesn’t need to be expensive. A lot depends on the type of produce, how often you juice, and for how many people. When you’re on a budget, or when you’re, say, juicing for a family of eight, there are several things you can do to keep the cost down:

Buy in bulk. The more you buy, the less you pay. Look out for offers, or ask for a bulk discount at your regular shop.

Buy from market stalls. A wonderful place to get great deals, especially towards the end of the day.

Buy what’s in-season. While it might be tempting to sip fresh raspberry or pineapple juice in the middle of winter, it’s better to stick to what’s in season if you want to keep the cost down.

Grow your own. Some fruits and veggies are easy to grow, for example tomatoes, cucumbers, or strawberries. It saves money and you don’t need to worry about buying organic anymore.

Now head over to the Lifestyle section for some of Maryam’s delicious juicing recipes!

 

Juicing: Get Started!

Maryam Mujahid’s recipes to get some juice into your system.

Mean Green

A classic with a bite, featured in the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”. Absolutely great for beginners!

• 1 cucumber

• 1 bunch of kale

• 4 celery stalks

• ½ a lemon (with rind)

• ½ inch (or less) ginger root

• 2 Granny Smith apples

Mums’ revitalising cocktail

Beetroots are known to build up blood cells and boost iron levels; exactly what you need during pregnancy or after childbirth. Together with ginger, they also soothe menstrual cramps. The cranberries are helpful in preventing urinary tract infections.

• 1 bulb of beetroot, peeled

• 1 cup of cranberries

• 2 apples

• 2 carrots

• ½ inch (or less) ginger root

Kids’ Green Power Juice

Leafy greens, delicious fruits and funky colours! Both you and your kids will love this one.

• 1 handful of Swiss chard, kale, spinach or a combination

• 1 pear

• 1 cup strawberries

• ½ lemon, peeled

• 1 apple

 

Maryam Mujahid is a psychology graduate who loves to write about things that inspire, encourage and motivate Muslim women to lead positive lives. She is passionate about natural health, and a juicing enthusiast herself.

 

 

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It’s Hard to Be Out Tere (Part 2): Let’s Beat Bullying

Published at: www.productivemuslim.com

This is the second part of a series of three articles about how young  Muslims can develop strength, courage and resilience in the face of peer  pressure and bullying. Part 1 dealt with the impact of peer  pressure and how you can stay firm. This part provides you with  practical tips on how to deal with bullying.

“One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but  it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.” [Michael J.  Fox]

Talking about bullying is not easy. The thought of someone innocent being  mocked, ridiculed and belittled, a friend or classmate, a sibling, maybe  yourself, fills our hearts with rage and indignation, and makes it hard to  distinguish facts from emotions. Above all, we want bullying to stop, but  despite decades of anti-bullying programs and laws, the phenomenon has only  increased, up to a point that one in four school children now report  being bullied regularly.

The reality is that bullying has always been around, and will  continue to do so. The early history of Islam has witnessed some  of the toughest and most cruel bullies! Remember Abu  Jahl, Abu Lahab and their wives? What the believers had in common is  that they stayed calm and patient, didn’t lose their courage and  repelled evil deeds with good ones and forgiveness. The dunya will  never see perfection and people will continue to hurt one another as long as  they’re in this world. At the same time, people who have hurt one another at  some point, can end up becoming friends:

“The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel evil with which  is better, then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, will become as  though he was a close friend. But none is granted this, except those who are  patient, and none is granted it except the owner of the great  portion.”  [Qur’an: Chapter 41, Verses 34-35]

This eternal wisdom should be our first clue in looking for solutions to  bullying. Real empowerment comes with patiently doing what’s right. Finding  solutions to bullying is not a matter of one-size-fits-all , but In sha Allah,  the tips and advice below may help you to deal with bullying wisely:

Power to You!

Even when others try to assault your dignity, you should know  that you are the one who owns it and it cannot be surrendered unless you give it  away. Know that you have choices. Know that you have the power and  courage to deal with bullying wisely and do what’s right.

1. Cool is Not Enough

Stay ice-cold! A bully tries to establish a superior  position by putting others down. Boys and girls may bully in different ways, but  the goal is the same: making you feel inferior. Now how does  a bully know that he or she was even a little bit successful in putting you  down? Right: anger, tears, frustration, defensiveness, and many other things,  big or small, that show your emotions are triggered. You are upset, and they’re  having fun. Stay ice-cold, ignore the bullying and shrug it off  by  realizing that people can say what they want and this doesn’t affect the truth  one bit. You can’t control their words and actions, but you can refuse  to give them an audience. This sounds very straight-forward, but  putting it into practice – consistently – requires a lot of patience and  self-control. What can help you to keep your cool and stay  empowered?

No JADE-ing! Do you remember this one from the previous part? JADE-ing (justify, argue,  defend, explain), even when done in a calm way, lets the bully know  that he/she has triggered something, which is exactly what they’re looking for.  For example, when people mock you, call you gay because you don’t date  girls, it sounds much more powerful to say: “You can believe what you  want about me”, than: “That’s not true, you know I’m Muslim and so I don’t  date”, even when you say it in a calm way.

Throw in some humor.  Learn to look at yourself and life’s circumstances  with humor. It’s a big stress-reliever and can work well in tense  situations. Seeing the humor in things doesn’t mean that you  belittle yourself or your problems, but rather it enables you to diffuse the  stress and hurt that come with bullying. Say something funny when others insult  you, not in a mocking way, but in a playful, jesting way, it also lets bullies  know that they haven’t upset you and will take the wind out of their sails.

Use kindness as a weapon. Maybe the last  thing you want to do is be nice to someone who torments and harasses you, but,  like in the Qur’anic verse above, kindness may change the bully’s  attitude and take the enmity out of your relationship. And it shows  them that you are not brought down by their words and actions. Also remember  here to stay cool, don’t be enthusiastic in trying to please a bully, but calmly  and coolly return their bad words or actions with something good. Tell your  classmate that you like her new hair style when she calls you a rag  head. Warning: Using kindness as a weapon does not mean that you  should give in to the bully’s demands, like giving them money. Never do  this!

2. Connect with People and Protect Your Vulnerability

The ones who are most vulnerable to the effects of bullying are the ones who  care the most about relationships with their peers. Try to establish meaningful, healthy connections with a  variety of people, including adults. The more positive relationships  you have, the less you will be affected by bullying.  

3. Snitches and Tattletales: When to Call for Adult Intervention?

As a general rule, don’t tell on a bully when there’s no serious harm or  threat. It will get the bully into trouble, and although that may seem  just what he or she deserves, it will continue the cycle of bullying because it  will feed the bully’s anger and frustrations and make him/her more determined to  get back at you.  But, make no mistake about  it, when someone seriously wants to harm you, you should get adult  authorities involved right away. No one has the right to harm you  and this should be reported immediately. When bullies threaten to harm  you,  make a safety plan together with an adult you trust.

The Bystander: How Can You Help?

Just like the one being bullied, bystanders shouldn’t give  bullies any audience at all. Don’t become angry or upset. Does  that mean that you shouldn’t do anything? No, but your focus should  be on the victim. You can help by talking to the one being  bullied, keep him/her company or help them to calmly walk away from the  scene. Don’t be afraid that by doing this you will be the bully’s next  victim, it’s exactly this fear that keeps the bully in the dominant  position.

No Escape from Cyber Bullying?

An increasing portion of bullying takes place online, perhaps making you feel  that there’s no escape from the harassment. But just as with other forms of  bullying, you have choices and you have power. The tips for the  ice-cold approach will go a long way here too. Other than that,  there are a couple of things to keep in mind for your safety:

  • Never give out any information that might lead to stealing your online  identity
  • Never, ever agree to meet a person who contacted you over the  internet!

The next and last part of this series will focus on what parents can do  to help their kids and teens to stay strong, courageous and resilient.  Meanwhile, I’d love to know if you’ve tried the tips I’ve shared so far and how  they’ve helped you!

 

 

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