“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.”
I know myself to be someone who has a limited capacity of external energy to use up in a day. For this reason, I always try to be cautious and aware of how I spend it and if it is being wasted. I have already mentioned how Ramadan helps to deepen that sense of mindfully going about your day- in terms of food and time, and about our breath, but it also makes me see more clearly where energy flows throughout the day and how it can be reigned in or exerted softly in order to preserve it before the next sunset recharge.
I find myself having to ask this question more often- something I don’t usually think about as much in a normal routine- what is worth my energy?
In this month of fasting, with its slower pace and heightened senses, I feel the peaks and falls of energy as if my day was nothing but looking forward to a mini-mountain range, straight ahead and with no way around. There is no dependance on an extra cup of coffee, a piece of fruit or a chocolate bar to build an extra peak that can plateau myself across to the next one, so the climbing and tumbling are natural and must be followed.
I tend to wake up a bit lazier than I normally would, starting slow with some meditation, reading, muscle-less stretches, climbing my way up to the first morning mountain top. This is where I put a lot of my energy into determined, focused work. Writing, planning, responding to emails and all of that. I ride that rush until the 12 o’clock fall, where it is normal to suddenly feel helpless and drained when you realize your lunch hour is non-existent. I savor laying around, taking a nap if possible, until I know I have to push my energy once again for teaching a dance or yoga class in the afternoon. Another steep drop comes directly afterwards, but to avoid crashing and burning I usually try to steady myself out by keeping busy and distracted in the kitchen, through slow walks in the market, or by spending time with M and his family. This is a typical Ramadan day for me, but obviously sometimes the energy has to be pushed a little harder and stretched a bit thinner, and some weekend days it can be stored in a safe place, glowing and growing while I let myself completely relax.
During Ramadan, the importance of protecting and saving your unique expression of energy is imperative just to get through the day. However, I believe that it is just as important in “normal” life, as well, to be constantly questioning what we do with this electric force within us. There are so many things that just suck the energy out through a giant straw and in the blink of an eye, the well is empty and we don’t even see that clearly enough to be able to fill it back up again. If instead of running on auto-pilot and pushing through full-force, we look ahead and recognize the natural mountains of the day, we can trek through with awareness and self-sensitivity. We can work on protecting that precious source, whether we are practicing Ramadan or not.
The key, of course, to having any energy whatsoever during Ramadan, is not always to stuff your face from sunset to sunrise, but to make sure you are aware of what you are consuming as opposed to how much. We try to constantly have energy-rich foods around the house during this month- lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and peanut butter, granola, full-fat yogurts, etc. To pack in as much nourishment as possible, M and I tend to get a little bit smoothie crazy. Almost every day for ftour and sHour (the meal just before fjer- dawn) we make green juices, protein-filled smoothies, shakes and generally energizing and delicious drinkables to complement our meals.
This particular smoothie, loaded with avocado, orange juice, sweet dates & almond butter, is an all-time favorite of mine. I actually tried the avocado/orange combination for the first time at Le Jardin in Marrakech last month and while I was a bit skeptical at first, the taste was amazingly creamy, refreshing and delicious. As with most juices in Morocco, that juice tasted more like a milkshake with all of the sugar I am sure was loaded into it, so in ours I added dates- the ramadan superfood- as a sweetener, plus a heaping spoonful of almond butter for extra protein and richness. I am absolutely in love with this smoothie whether it be with a classic morning breakfast, or for actual breaking-fast. It will help you in refilling that deep source of energy and avoid any mountain-top tumbles throughout the course of the day.
The Ramadan Energizer / Avocado, Date + Orange Juice
Makes one large smoothie, vegan + gf
- 1 1/4 cup cup fresh-squeezed orange juice (about 3 medium oranges)
- 1/2 avocado, cubed
- 2 medium dates, pitted (if they are hard, you may want to soak them for a couple minutes in hot water)
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- pinch of turmeric (for extra color)
- Topping ideas: hemp seeds, bee pollen (if not vegan), chia seeds, coconut cream, whatever your heart and body desire
Blend all of the ingredients on high until completely smooth. Pour into a large glass, top with your favorite garnishes, drink and recharge for the day.