O you who have believed, eat from the good things which We have provided for you and be grateful to Allah if it is [indeed] Him that you worship. [Quran 2:172]
Allah (swt) has given us so many healthy and fulfilling foods, and it is Shaytan that is leading us astray on this rollercoaster of man made, unnatural packaged, processed, and often too convenient foods. Food manufactures target children and lure us in with fancy, colorful, and the promise of cheap, yet tasty satisfactions. What they hide is the disease that lurks in each bright bag and microwave box, and the destruction this “food” causes in the body and mind.
How can we avoid these foods?
It can be overwhelming to walk into the grocery store and realize that a majority of the food for sale on the shelves is food that we cannot eat. Some foods are now processed so heavily that they are void of most nutritional value and contain harmful additives and chemicals that can over time, be intoxicating and damaging to the mind and body.
A’ishah said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘Every intoxicating substance is haram, and whatever intoxicates in large amounts, a handful of it is haram.’” (Narrated by at-Tirmidhi).
In making the transition from processed to natural foods, I discovered that there are in fact many food options left when we are creative and trust in what Allah (swt) has created for us that is healthy, pure, and best of all, Halal. After leaving the grocery store many times flustered, confused, and unsatisfied with my selections, I formulated a plan on how to turn this frustration into motivation that will in shaa Allah help me relieve that frustration for the ummah.
1. Read the Labels
Never purchase an item without looking at the label first. If the ingredient list has things you cannot pronounce and the “food” part of it is contained anywhere but at the top of the list, avoid that food and look for something else. Avoid all foods that have artificial colorings, preservatives, sweeteners as these are known to be linked to various diseases of the mind and body.
2. Don’t over eat or over indulge
After eating heavy meals, don’t we often feel tired, sluggish and, in a sense, intoxicated? The best thing I have found is to mostly buy things that must be cooked, in order to avoid mindless snacking which could lead to obesity. Skip the appetizer, be satisfied with dinner, and try to have dessert that is light, such as fresh fruit. Eating less was often encouraged by our beloved prophet (saw), and many other doctors and scholars.
Muhammad ibn Wasi said, “Whoever eats little will understand and make others understand and will be clear and humble. Overeating weighs a person down and keeps him from much of what he wants to accomplish.”
3. Eat less and at home
The most simple, yet most effective way to being healthier is by eating less and choosing natural and fulfilling foods. By cooking at home we can ensure that the food we are eating is halal, prepared in a pure and clean way, and that we are eating moderately, not lavishly. By preparing meals at home we can be more appreciative and grateful for what Allah (swt) has provided.
“Eat and drink from the provision of Allah , and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption.” [Quran 2:60]
How will you benefit?
The health of self, family, and even the earth will benefit from lesser consumption of processed, haram foods. Many chemicals found in foods today lead to disease, but masha allah, there is not one of Allah (swt) creations I have found that causes illness, rather they all have unique characteristics that restore the body and replenish the mind (all in moderation, of course).
Growing your own fruits, vegetables, or herbs will ensure they are free from pesticides and chemicals, but in shaa Allah you will be rewarded for the benefits of each seed your hands graciously plant in the name of Allah (swt).
You will also discover in your transition that you are feeling much happier and less agitated, more focused and less groggy, and more energetic and less fatigued. What we put in our bodies directly affects our minds, so by putting in garbage what more can we expect to get out of it? Our Creator is the best of Guiders and the best of Providers, Alhamdulillah. Let us try our best to remember, be grateful, and share the many blessings we are given.
In shaa Allah, I pray your journey to a healthier and more natural way of life will be made easy for you so that you may in turn share your knowledge with others in the name of Allah (swt).