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Bari Eid: Bakray, BBQ & Keeping Yourself Healthy! 

by Mahnoor Fatima and Fatima Shakir 
There are only a couple of days left for one of the most awaited days of the year. Houses are flooded with new guests who keep everyone entertained and irritated, by turns, with their bleating and mooing. They hang out in the market places and are the new companions for anyone who is going out for a walk, because how dare you leave them all alone? Yes, folks! Eid ul Adha is right around the corner! And we are just as excited as you are. As your faithful correspondents, we would like to take this moment toperformthe humble duty of sharing a few facts, to ensure that your Eid is as wonderful as you plan it to be!

Every year as Eid approaches, we almost abandon the chicken ship and climb on to the bakra ship (or the cows, camels, sheep ships because hey, this is not the time for showing bias). This leads to a major change in our usual white meat diets and hence, in our bodies. Red meat, or mutton and beef, is nutritionally different from chicken and fish due to its high fat content and the presence of mineral complexes A and B. All of these are essential for a healthy body, brain, skin and eyes. As a result of its consumption, our blood also undergoes a boost with the iron present in it. To top it all off, eating red meat is also a Sunnah

It was narrated that ‘Aishah (R.A) said: “We used to store trotters and the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) would eat them fifteen days after the sacrifice.” (Sahih, Sunan Ibn Majah)

 Also, Abdullah bin Jafar told Ibn Zubair, that he heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say, “The best meat is meat of the back.” (Hasan,  Ibn Majah) 

Come Bari Eid, come barbeque- you have the meat at your disposal now, but how will you cook it? It has been observed that if you don’t take one Eid night of the three and dedicate it solely to the grills, complete with smoking coals- making the mouths water of everyone living in a 1 km radius- you’re not really living! And we are here to tell you this: enjoy the barbeque, but don’t forget that the smoke and flames do contaminate your food and contain many cancer causing agents. So our advice would be to strike a good balance; eat but don’t go overboard. Or stick to alternatives like shawarmas, for which the meat does not have to be directly grilled over the fire.

Now, moving on to some nutritional myth busting. It is commonly thought that red meat is inappropriate for anyone on a strict diet, it leads to a higher blood pressure and takes much longer to digest than all else. However, nutritional studies confirm that lean red meat can be included in a cholesterol lowering diet. In addition, patients with heart problems, with high blood pressure and those looking to reduce their weight may safely consume red meat, as long as it stays under the recommended value. According to Nutrition Australia, this comes to about 455g of meat, per week; spread over three to four appropriate serving sizes. Meat is easily digested, taking approximately 2-4 hours to leave the stomach. And yes, this means that sipping on a carbonated drink after every bite to ‘ensure digestion’ can safely leave your list of Eid rituals!  

Lastly, don’t forget to share the happiness, and the meat, of course. There are so many people who can’t afford meat of any kind, which leads to a prevalent fraction of the population suffering from nutritional deficiencies. In fact, it is estimated that 17% of developing countries are currently registered as being malnourished. Eid is one of the occasions where everyone, everywhere, gets a chance to taste and enjoy meat as much as anyone else. So embrace this Eid and remember to share the meat, rather than simply giving out money to those in need, because it is Bakra Eid after all. A happy Eid Mubarak to you all!

The co-author, Fatima Shakir is a Nutritionist at Nahl Health Club. You can find out more about her work by visiting the following link:


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