Let’s face it, fasting during Ramadan is always going to be a challenge to the operational officer, involving as it does not eating or drinking anything for up to eighteen hours between dawn and sunset … oh, and keeping up this discipline for a month.
Although not harmful to your long-term health, you may, unsurprisingly, experience short-term issues with headaches, constipation, tiredness and concentration through thirst and using up your resources of fats and carbohydrate. That sudden lack of caffeine might also make itself felt!
The general advice when sunset comes around and you break your fast with iftar is to consume fluids and plenty of fluid-rich foods such as soup or stews with pulses, as well as fruit and veg, while avoiding anything too salty as that will simply add to your problems with thirst.
Plan your pre-dawn suhoor meal carefully, incorporating lots of fluids, fluid-rich foods such as that fruit and veg again, and starchy foods with lots of fibre and wholegrain which slowly release their abundant energy throughout your hard-work shifts. Oats, bread, couscous and rice are good for this, especially wholemeal, as is the classic lentil soup. Yogurt mixed with nuts and dried fruit also works well. Remember to avoid anything too salty as you might come to regret it later.
Don’t forget to remind your colleagues that it’s Ramadan and that you will be changing your eating and drinking habits for a while; hopefully they will be sensitive enough to avoid scoffing their faces in front of you or absentmindedly offering you tea. And of course remember that the holy month can be a good way of resetting your diet and breaking bad habits from before, especially if you can avoid undoing all your good work whilst feasting during Eid-ul-Fitr!