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Ordering halal takeout may be a good fall-back plan for some meals (and small business support is more important than ever), but not every dish.
Toronto-based registered dietician Sana Motlelkar told HuffPost Canada that for this Ramadan, mindful eating will need to be especially important, as it’s easy to overeat when alone. Instead of focusing on feeding as many mouths as possible, it may be better to focus on making quality recipes during Ramadan — after all, there’s more time for long, slow-cooking recipes now — and slowing down your meal times too.
“If you’re not really savouring that meal when you open your fast, it’s so easy to overeat and you’re not going to enjoy it,” she said. “Slow down, savour it, and enjoy every bite.”
What people break fast with plays a big role in how their bodies will sustain themselves this month. Motlekar said she tells her clients to keep a mental checklist when they conduct their weekly or bi-weekly grocery shopping.
Ramadan meal-planning during a pandemic
Suhoor, the first meal of the day before sunrise, should include protein, fats, and complex carbs, Motelkar said. The three components release slow, steady energy throughout the day. Fibre and protein can make you feel fuller too.
Preventing dehydration with hydration-rich foods and drinks is also important, which is why she cautioned against too much coffee or tea during suhoor, as caffeine is a diuretic.
“If you eat foods with a high potassium content, that helps with hydration,” she noted.
For iftar, the meal after sunset to break the fast, she recommended high-quality proteins, healthy grains, and soups to replenish the body from the day’s fasting.
For both these meals, she encouraged paying attention to portion sizes. Someone who had a healthy active lifestyle before the pandemic and is now more sedentary won’t need to load up for energy as much as they used to.
We asked Motlekar to share what pandemic pantry staples are her favourites for iftar and suhoor:
Frozen meat is fine
Empty shelves in the meat section can be disheartening for omnivores. If you’re finding it hard to buy proteins like chicken, fish, or beef from your supermarket, Motlekar said frozen options can provide the same nutritional content.
Previous down-sides to frozen meat, such as the many hours they take to thaw, won’t be a problem now; being home means it’s easier to accommodate longer preparation times.
But that doesn’t mean you should throw any item into your shopping cart. When buying frozen, look out for freezer burn, especially on white fish.
Many Muslims open fasts with the dried fruit already in many households, which Motelkar applauded.
“It has a lot of potassium and quick energy [because of its sugar content],” she said. “Dates with a little water or milk can help with managing your electrolytes.”
Fresh fruits are usually still available in supermarkets, as are dairy products and nuts.
“The yogurt [and nuts], that’s a really good source of slow-digesting protein. Paired with bananas, which are quite rich in potassium, they really help with managing thirst and hydration.”
Homemade granola might also be a great addition; many recipes call for ingredients that may already be in your kitchen, like oats and maple syrup.
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Can’t help drinking your cup of joe? Pairing it with chia seeds made in an overnight pudding can replenish lost hydration. “It’s a great option with lots of soluble fibre and hydrates you really well.”
Have you joined in on quarantine baking? If you’ve got a ton of leftover carbs, you’ll be pleased to know that bread will serve you well for meal time.
Just make sure your bread is made with a quality flour: Breads made with 100 per cent whole wheat flour are packed with high-fibre content, vitamins, and minerals.
However, if you’ve run out of yeast, there are plenty of unleavened pastry alternatives, like no-yeast naan, that can serve as vehicles for your main meals.
Watch: Our pandemic baking binges are causing a yeast shortage. Story continues below.
Sourdough starters are good alternatives to yeast, or otherwise you may find luck grocery-shopping for pre-made mixes.
Beans are everything
Lentils are popular in many Muslim cultures, Motelkar noted. The canned or dried goods are also affordable non-perishables that are worth stocking up on, versatile in soups, stews, and curries; should they be out-of-stock, fava beans are also a good option for savoury chowing.
Eggs and avocado
Both solid sources of nutrients, eggs are cheap sources of protein that can be incorporated in almost any dish, while avocado provides potassium and have high amounts of fibre.
A Spanish news anchor has raised eyebrows after a semi-nude woman was spotted in the background during a home broadcast… particularly as the mystery figure in question was not his girlfriend.
Alfonso Merlos was presenting a news segment from his home, when viewers spotted a half naked woman walking past.
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And it wasn’t just the partial nudity that got people talking because the woman pictured was not actually his girlfriend, former Big Brother Spain contestant Marta López, but a fellow journalist Alexia Rivas.
While Alfonso kept his head down on the matter for a few days, he later broke his silence during an appearance on The Ana Rose Show.
Apologising to Marta, he also insisted that they had split up at the time of the broadcast in question, stating: “If you think that my attitude has not been correct or that there are things that I have not done well, I have no problem asking for forgiveness, although my goal was not to harm someone else.”
Meanwhile, Alexia has insisted she knew nothing of Alfonso’s past relationship, claiming to Socialité: “He told me he was single. We have been [seeing each other] three weeks.”
What’s more, though, is the fact that Spain enforced strict lockdown rules last month, forbidding anyone from going outside for anything other than absolute essentials, meaning he and Alexia had potentially broken social distancing laws.
However, this isn’t the only from-home broadcast that’s caused a stir in the last few days.
On Monday, US broadcaster Will Reeve was caught without his trousers on during a live appearance on Good Morning America.
Wild animals are roaming towns and cities across the world, as streets fall silent due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A London-based actor has spoken out about racism experienced by East Asian communities in the UK, after a stranger told him he ‘might have coronavirus’.
Jason Wong, 34, who recently appeared in the 2019 Guy Ritchie film The Gentleman and is featured in the Amazon original series White Dragon, told HuffPost UK how he was racially profiled in a newsagents close to his home in West London on Saturday.
His experience comes after numerous reports of racist verbal and physical attacks against members of East Asian communities living in the UK since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak.
He said: “I went into the newsagents and as I walked in I saw him there so stood two metres away. He looked at me and said ‘oh, you’re Chinese, stand away from me’.
“I looked at him and said ‘sorry? excuse me?‘. He replied ‘you’re Chinese, you might have coronavirus’. At that point I asked if he was saying that because of my race I had coronavirus, and he replied ‘yeah, because it comes from where you’re from.’”
Wong explained that he then told the man he had been born and raised in West London, to which he replied: “That’s ok then, but all Chinese people might have coronavirus.”
“I just said: ‘No, you’ve just made a general stereotype and very racially discriminatory comments,’” Wong added.
“He then turned and said: ’Everyone is scared right now of Chinese people and you might have it.”
A shop assistant, who asked not to be named, confirmed to HuffPost UK that they had seen the altercation and said it had started when Wong entered the shop and the unnamed man had asked him to stay two metres away.
In a video, captured by Wong in the moments after the unnamed man’s comments, he asks him why he thought it was appropriate to make comments about his race.
Wong said: “No one else in the shop spoke up for me, they just stood there in silence which is fine. But I think the key message there is that if people are being racist, you have to be outspoken and speak up for yourself because no one else will.”
Pointing to a racially-motivated attack on a Singaporean student on Oxford Street in March, Wong said many East Asian people living in the UK feared that coronavirus would lead to a rise in racism towards the community.
He said: “There is that possibility that East Asians within the British community at the moment sometimes have to live in that fear of being attacked because of racial discrimination.”
“When my mum goes out for her weekly shopping, I go with in fear that she might suffer prejudice because she’s of East Asian descent.”
He added: “It’s important in these moments of uncertainty to stay together, rise above it and move forward.
“Express yourself, but in a safe manner, an articulate manner and a non-violent manner.
“The key thing is that you can share your stories of this happening and move forward, you don’t have to suffer in silence.”
US president Donald Trump has repeatedly referred to Covid-19 as the ‘Chinese virus’, and has often questioned the reliability of death statistics as well as the origins of the virus – adding further fuel to the conspiracy theory that it was man-made in a Wuhan lab. This theory has been repeatedly dispelled by scientists, and recently dismissed by US intelligence officers.
American media has since reported a sharp rise in violent racist attacks against Asian Americans, with researchers from San Francisco collecting more than 1,000 reported cases of xenophobia against the Chinese American community between January 28 and February 24, Vox reported.
Working as an actor, with friends in the film industry both in the UK and US, Wong said he has heard of a number of incidents and was worried about how the rhetoric used by Trump could mean a setback for conversations around equal representation.
Wong said: “I think coronavirus is going to have an impact on how things will be going forward because people see this rhetoric used by the president that it’s a ‘Chinese virus’. When it comes from the top, it’s going to filter down.
“It’s hard, because when you see some who’s supposed to represent the land of the free and home of the brave it’s quite hard to understand this is someone who is supposed to represent the diversity of what America is, which is made up of migrants.
“It doesn’t help the Asian community in the US who helped build American society, and it’s hurt my counterparts in the US and fellow East Asian actors and performers.”
But coronavirus isn’t just affecting BAME people in the UK in terms of racist incidents. Statistics collected across the UK show that those from minority ethnic groups make up a disproportionately high number of Covid-19 deaths.
It emerged on Friday that the coronavirus death rate in English hospitals among British Black Africans and British Pakistanis is more than twice that of the white population.
Research carried out by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) also found that deaths of people from a Black Caribbean background were 1.7 times higher than for white Britons.
Data published by NHS England last week revealed that that hospital deaths per 100,000 among British people of a Black Caribbean background were three times of that among the white British population.
But while previous analysis has failed to account of the potential impact of underlying factors such as age, gender and geography, the IFS report makes it clear that these do not explain the disparity.
The IFS study found that the type of jobs where BAME workers are disproportionately represented also had an impact on their exposure to the virus or its economic consequences.
One in five NHS staff in England are from a BAME background as are about half of all doctors in London, with staff from ethnic minorities also losing their lives at a disproportionate rate.
BAME who continue to work are often in key frontline roles, at a higher risk of exposure to the virus itself because of the jobs they perform.
More than 20% of Black African women of working age are employed in health and social care roles.
Pakistani men are 90% more likely to work in healthcare roles than their White British counterparts and while the Indian ethnic group makes up just 3% of the working age population of England and Wales, they account for 14% of doctors.
It’s back to pencils, back to books and back to teachers for students in most states with plans now in place to get classrooms operating by the end of May.
Ride-share giant Uber has launched an option on its app that allows people to book a driver for a period of at least one hour.
The model, who turned 25 on April 23, revealed during a video call on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” that her pregnancy cravings also doubled as the inspiration for her birthday cake.
“In the morning, my family brought out an everything bagel cake, which already blew my mind because my craving has been everything bagels,” the model told Fallon. “I eat an everything bagel a day and so I was already like, so excited that my birthday cake was an everything bagel.”
Hadid, who is currently isolating with her family at their farm in Pennsylvania, said that her “breakfast” birthday party ― one of two parties that day ― got even better when she found out who made her cake.
“The icing on the perfect quarantine bday was finding out my surprise everything-bagel-cake was made by the one and only Cake Boss @buddyvalastro who I have watched for over a decade,” Hadid wrote on Instagram last week, alongside photos of the cake and her tearful smile.
“I CRIED REAL TEARS! BUDDY! This is a dream come true,” she added.
Hadid gushed over the “Cake Boss” during her call with Fallon, saying she was “his biggest fan.”
“I don’t know if it was like, my hormones right now … or just quarantine emotional-ness,” the model said. “But I cried every five minutes for like an hour every time I thought [that] Buddy made my cake. I was just so honored that he would make me a cake during quarantine.”
Hadid’s appearance was the first time she publicly confirmed that she is expecting her first child.
“Obviously, we wish we could’ve announced it on our own terms, but we’re very excited and happy and grateful for everyone’s well wishes and support,” she told Fallon, who congratulated the happy couple.
The 25-year-old is reportedly due in September.