Sunday thoughts: the dairy industry, Ramadan, and getting used to things.

Snow-topped roofs and cars are not what I was expecting to wake up to today. I suppose I had gotten comfortable with assuming that as the days got longer, so too would they get warmer. Alas, that is not the case on this 31st day of March. I should have known better. I will not be able to retire my sneaky fluffy (robe) just yet!

It’s been an interesting weekend. I discovered that I like donuts, but only when they’re eaten with ice cream (i.e. donut ice cream sandwiches). A further caveat: The ice cream must be cow-derived. I had coconut ice cream yesterday at a local Vegan Festival. Though I am proud to say I expanded my horizons and tried something I normally would not, there’s a reason why I am adamant on not trying new things, especially when it comes to dessert. I know what I like. And desserts, man, they gotta be cow-derived!

Also, pizza. Chopped nuts will never be a real substitute for cow-derived cheese. I don’t mind being adventurous with savoury foods from time to time, but pizza is not the same without layers upon layers of cow-derived cheese.

Lest my readers think I am a dairy farm lobbyist, let me say this: I think the dairy industry needs to be overhauled big time. As a result of loving cows, I’ve learned a great deal about farming practices and it’s simply appalling. But I am not opposed to the consumption of dairy or even beef in principle, though I don’t do the latter myself. From an Islamic perspective, both are permissible. But permissibility is not a license to excessive consumption (the loads and loads of cheese does not happen everyday, okay?). According to the Sunnah, it’s better to not eat beef – so I win that one! No, I blame capitalism for the deplorable practices more than anything. If cows were able to naturally produce and not be separated from their calves, they’d live better lives and we’d still be able to have dairy a few times a week… and yes, even beef on rare occasions for all you, non-cow-loving folks! I don’t get you, but I must respect your choices, I guess.

I had not intended to go on such a food-related tangent… all the more apropos given that Ramadan is set to begin in about a month. But hey, it’s Sunday and I make the rules for this blog!

Speaking of Ramadan…

Although I don’t want to jinx myself too soon, I’m not feeling as anxious about it as I have been. Much of this has to do with my formerly almost-obligatory chai routine. Since roughly 2010, I had been waking up earlier than most everyone else to make sure I got my cup of chai in. Unlike my dad who can survive on just a single cup of chai, I also needed to eat a meal for suhoor. But my chai and meal had to be evenly spaced; thus, why I woke up so early. I lost out on sleep, of course, both before and after. But I never indulged in the thought of giving up my precious chai for the month. The thought of withdrawal headaches and subsequent health issues were enough to keep me in thrall.

But now that I have been chai-free for over two months, I have no such anxiety. This is a good thing! The days will be long, sure, but not as long as they have been the past three years. If I survived fasting in June, I will Insha’Allah be just fine fasting in May. As an introvert, I am admittedly looking forward to the quiet that naturally comes with Ramadan. Reading the Qur’an for about an hour or so each day seems so much easier to do. I also oddly enough like the stillness of eating suhoor in semi-darkness. I used to really miss my family (I still do on Eid), but I have grown to appreciate our simple iftars without all the excess food or socializing. It gives me the opportunity to really retreat away from this world. It’s different and perhaps not typical, but it’s my new normal… for now anyway.

Well, I ain’t fasting today and it’s time to eat! So, bye.

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