Festive Eating

Author - Ms. Saba Mohammad Sabir


Eid Al Adha, also known as the Feast of Sacrifice, is a significant celebration that marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage and honors Prophet Ibrahim’s obedience to Allah's command. During this festive occasion, a halal animal such as a sheep, lamb, cow, goat, or camel is sacrificed, and the meat is distributed to the poor, needy, family, and friends. Along with sweets and gifts, Eid Al Adha is a three-day celebration filled with delectable spreads of meat dishes.


It is important to be aware of our cooking techniques, especially when grilling or barbecuing, as this can release HCAs and PAHs linked to cancer risk and are considered carcinogenic.

When meat is grilled or barbecued at high temperatures, chemical compounds called HCAs (heterocyclic amines) and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) are formed. These compounds are carcinogenic and have been linked to an increased risk of cancer. HCAs are produced when meat is cooked at high temperatures, while PAHs are created when fat and meat juices drip onto hot surfaces, causing smoke that settles on the food.


But don't worry! By following these simple tips, you can still enjoy the festival while safeguarding your health:

  1. Choose lean cuts of meat, such as neck, rib, shank, or thigh, and remove visible fat.
  2. Opt for smaller pieces of meat and consider pre-cooking it to reduce exposure to high heat.
  3. Use electric grills instead of flame grills, as they produce fewer harmful substances.
  4. Avoid continuous barbecuing with the same charcoal to minimize the formation of HCAs and PAHs.
  5. Consider using coconut shell charcoal, which is safer for grilling fatty meats.
  6. Trim charred portions of meat before consuming.
  7. Cook outdoors to reduce smoke inhalation.
  8. Utilize wet cooking methods like steaming, poaching, stewing, braising, or boiling, as they reduce the formation of HCAs and PAHs.


In addition to mindful cooking, practicing mindful eating during festivals is crucial. Here are a few more tips to keep in mind:

  1. Start your day by drinking a glass of water before breakfast and before each major meal.
  2. Include salads without fat-based dressings, such as mix bean salad or raita, to provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  3. Incorporate fruits and fruit salads for antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  4. Pair savory dishes with healthy accompaniments like hummus, yogurt, or chutneys to add plant-based protein, dietary fiber, and good fats.
  5. Avoid deep-fried meats or internal organs with fat. Remove as much fat as possible.
  6. Avoid late dinners and keep meals light and timely to prevent discomfort and acidity.
  7. Ensure proper temperature control of stored meat to avoid microbial contamination.
  8. Practice portion control to enjoy the festivities without overindulging.
  9. Consider a brief detoxification period with minimal high-fat and high-calorie foods, focusing on vegetables, greens, small portions of fruits, dairy, and water.
  10. Continue with your regular physical activity routine or incorporate simple walks to stay active during the celebration.

Remember, Eid Al Adha is a time to enjoy and cherish with loved ones. By adopting mindful cooking and eating practices, you can savor delicious food while prioritizing your health. 


For more information and diet tips, please book your appointment with Ms. Saba Mohammad Sabir - Clinical Dietitian

We are wishing you a blessed and joyful Eid Al Adha!


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