Ramadan Day 3

May 22, 2018

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So today was a much better day than yesterday. Not only was I able to get a good amount of sleep thanks to the babies new nigh time diapers which helps with her sleeping comfortably and yet still protects her, but because I was able to sleep early for once, 11pm to be exact. I was also able to get a quick cardio session in of walking on the treadmill for 45 minutes before i started the work day. Other than that things seemed nice and smooth at the restaurant, not as busy during lunch which is how it is at the moment since we are still new. But come 4PM, I was able to take a quick power nap for 45 minutes before the dinner rush. We had a healthy crowd going, a few tables also breaking their fast as well.

It’s funny how everyone is in a cranky or bad mood through out the day, but come Iftar time, everyone is so happy and content. Thats pretty much how it was yesterday with us and some customers. I like to observe a lot of things, I guess its a habit, to stay silent and watchhow things go, just to get an idea. During every Iftar, i am able now to eat all my food within 10 minutes before i get back to work, just so that i can help out and let everyone eat. Now I’m wondering what should i do for tomorrow, Monday, on our day off.

Ramadan Day 2

May 20, 2018

This day was so much harder! We woke up literally minutes before we had to stop so We chugged a bottle of water and passed out. That was a brutal day for me since I had to wake up at 8 and get to restaurant depot and to work. I also managed to do a very light shoulder and biceps workout too.

But the rest of the day was tough. Cutting cold turkey on most things leads to a very bad headache, which has been happening recently. I also noticed towards the end of the night a change in my mood from monotone to Hangry. So I refocused my little energy I had to staying positive and not let the negativity build up effect anyone around me, inspire through example. I ate right away first since I’m the fastest and was able to work the longest right after.

Ramadan Day 1

May 18, 2018

To be honest, it wasn’t as an eventful Ramadan as I had thought it would be. I guess working in a smaller restaurant would mean less walking everywhere. I wasn’t as hungry through out the day, just a bit thirsty. I did though hit up the gym for a good 50 minutes doing back exercises, which didn’t wind me out but did add to the thirst building up.

After lunch I was able to get a quick 30 minute power nap before heading back to work. Since it wasn’t as busy, fasting was pretty much a breeze. What I ate for Iftar(Breakfast) was salad,brown rice, lentils,protein shake and eggplant.

By the time I went home after work it was 9:45, I was able to stay up for 45 minutes playing with my daughter before we passed out to wake up again at 2:30AM. So far it’s been a good start, but for as long as I can remember, there had always been a major problem during Ramadan that always casted a cloud on the whole family. I’m afraid this year wouldn’t be the same.

Ramadan Day 0

May 17, 2018

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So far so good. I had Set everything up so that it would be nice transition from eating during the day to not eating during sun light hours. The things that i have noticed from the past years is that everyone i know just right away cut food and water out without slowly tapering into it. For me, i would slowly stop eating at certain times during the day to help with my body to adjust to how it would be this year. Fun Fact: The Islamic calendar has Ramadan going back 10 days every year. Last time i remembered Ramadan was in the winter when he days where shorter, i was still a kid in elementary school, waking up early, wrapped in my blanket, eating my bowl of cereal and sipping on some green tea, the good old days. Thankfully we have passed the hardest parts of summer, when the days would be almost 17-18 hours of daylight and just a small window to eat.

I had made 2 decisions with myself on how i should go upon Ramadan this year. The first one is to go Gluten free, since i have noticed the whole swelling of the stomach every time i would eat it. The second decision is to write on my blog every day and make a Vlog on my YouTube channel everyday, just to get people knowing and seeing what I’m doing. So technically  its a day behind and today is the first day of Ramadan, but I’ll let you know how it is tomorrow for sure. It may seem like a lot to me, but since my gym time has been cut to almost half, besides taking naps during the day, i would just plainly work on my video editing and writing for now, hopefully i can keep it up. Personally, when we as human beings say we are going to do something, we should do something. But sadly, we also are creatures of habit and laziness. We learn to asses whats more important and do that first, like eating, sleeping, drinking red bull to keep us going, picking up the kids from daycare. All of this list of demands that we tell ourselves gets numbered from 1- whatever else you have to do but don’t have time or don’t want to do it now. In Ramadan, the first thing we start is not eating or drinking for day One. Its tough, 16 hours or more sometimes, but we get it done. As I’m writing this, all i can think about is Pizza, chips and big bowl of Pasta, yet i just have my work in front of me to keep me busy, while I’m at my restaurant making sure everything goes smoothly.

To me, when i wake up every morning, i open my eyes, check on my baby next to me, then i stare at the ceiling for a good 3 minutes which does seem forever. I tell my brain exactly what needs to be done in the next 30 minutes, what should be finished in the next hour and what the plan is for the day, almost like a computer. It’s not easy at times, sometimes i just want to wake up and do nothing or do my own thing, problem is, through trial and error, i have lost a lot of time “winging it” and therefore late to work which even though i do own the business with family, still irks me.

Come the middle of the day, before lunch ends, i again think to myself what needs to be done for the rest of the day and if i had completed the tasks thought about earlier in the morning. Things get prioritized to finishing up what needed to be don’t then i have a staple in my day…..Go to the gym. I heard somewhere once that time is always flowing forward, that it doesn’t stop for anyone or go backwards, therefore its sacred. In this case, I could plan my day accordingly to what i think is important, or plan my day around the gym. I decided to do both, because its my life and i learned later on in life that sometimes, you should just do what you want when you want because its your life. I plainly day around a specific time during the week, 3pm, is when i get to work out for 1-1.5 hours. I have learned to not waste time at the gym, get in, do your work, get that pump and get out. Only problem is, i don’t have as much time anymore for cardio vascular exercises. Your thinking well who does?! I did, i would spend a good 2 hours at the gym every day when i was comfortable at my other job, i would wake up early, have my mom watch my baby, hit up the gym and come back home to shower and go to work. But sometimes life throws you curve balls and you learn to adapt in any situation.

I had gone to Costco, picked up everything in Bulk which should hopefully last us 20 days, Special K cereal with almond milk, Protein Pasta with beans and pasta sauce also to help carb up in the morning. One thing i did forget to buy was coconut water, which can help me stay hydrated throughout the day, but for right now Green tea should suffice. I’m excited to see how amazing this Month of Ramadan will be and how far i can get with keep everyone up to date. Lets chat tomorrow!

Why I work out…..

April 8, 2018

“Actions Expresses Priorities” Gandhi

 

Let me share a quick , life changing experience I had during my college years:

Weight:195 lbs

Height:5’5

Activity level: Average, gym 3 times a week, weights only

While finishing up a doughnut, I had realized that i had 5 minutes left until class started. It was 2008, Kean University in Union, NJ, CAS building which had an amazing cafe in the middle floor.  I ordered an orange juice with my doughnut, only to realize it was a lot of sugar, but decided to go about anyways since i didn’t have enough cash and needed to eat a quick “dinner”.

While bustling up the stairs with my one book , I realized half way to the 4th floor, that I was breathing insanely hard. I stopped on the side of the small platform that connected the 2 stairs, held onto the wall, hung my head down to relax and breath. I was 21 years old then. What really bothered me at that moment was a few things such as how hard my heart was pumping, how little stuff I was carrying, what crap food I was eating and knowing it. I was in a good position in my life then, just had gotten married, which I do blame part of my weight gain to. Before my marriage, I was 150 Lbs. I know, it was a big gain in literally 5 months.

When I got to class late, I got into school mode with taking notes and trying to focus on what the teacher was trying to have us memorize, as how most classrooms unfortunately work in our beloved country (We shall talk more about this topic in a separate blog post). After 15 minutes of listening and note taking, I ended up catching myself from dozing off and passing out due to the insulin crash from my sugary dinner. I had then gotten mad at myself, mad for eating something that would affect how I function for class and the rest of my day, upset on how I have been wasting my time playing video games or taking more than one nap throughout the day, at coming to campus early only to eat junk food and do homework last-minute. Then what I did was something that pretty much helped me construct a responsible way of starting all things big in my life. I flipped to the back of my notebook, gazed at the crisp, white, bare college bound notebook paper, and looked at it hard, with my brain now turning the gears, focusing on what I need to do to become a better me, what goals would I come up with first. So what i wrote in big letters at the top was BECOMING HEALTHY, BEING BETTER EVERYDAY. This headline, to this day, has kept me going, through trial and error, through rain or shine, to straight up acts of stubbornness to get to my destination, this headline has been my rock in my life of staying fit and pursing a much better, healthier lifestyle for myself and family.

After that headline, all my ideas and thoughts about how to make myself better through a healthier lifestyle just came pouring out of my pen. I had filled the page up with the big and small things that should be done so that I could not only lose the weight, but surround myself with all things healthy, athletic and positive to keep me going. At first, everyone at home thought I was crazy to even attempt to make a dramatically change to my lifestyle, as if I was almost stopping things bad cold turkey. Some people have that mind-set, I don’t, but that doesn’t mean that i can’t try.

Here are some PROVEN, scientific reasons on why it is so good to work out:

Serotonin

Working up a sweat tells your body to increase production of a mood-boosting brain chemical called serotonin. People who are depressed often have low levels of serotonin. This, at least partially, explains why exercise lowers the risk of depression. The problem is when your serotonin level is low, you don’t feel like getting off the couch to exercise. Still, if you can force yourself to do it, it can lift your energy level and your spirits.

Millions of people take anti-depressant medications to raise their serotonin level but exercise is a natural serotonin booster. Interestingly, some studies show exercise is as effective as prescription antidepressants for easing depression. Aerobic exercise beats out resistance exercise for boosting serotonin. So, when you’re feeling down, get your blood pumping with a brisk bout of exercise.

Norepinephrine

When you exercise, especially a high-intensity workout, your adrenal glands, two small glands above your kidneys, as well as your brain ramp up production of norepinephrine, a substance that’s both a hormone and a brain chemical. When more norepinephrine flows into your bloodstream during exercise, you become more alert and focused. Norepinephrine also boosts memory retrieval, so you become better at retrieving information stored in your brain. This finding certainly makes a case for working out before a big exam or presentation at work, right?

Indeed, research supports the idea that exercise improves focus, attention, and the ability to concentrate. Immediately after a workout, your brain is better at accomplishing tasks and resisting distractions. How much more productive would you be at work if you did short bouts of exercise every hour or so?

If you’re easily distracted, exercise could be your ticket to getting more done. A study carried out at the University of Illinois found that exercise increases “cognitive control” in kids with ADHD. After only 20 minutes of exercise, the children were better able to focus and scored higher on tests.

BDNF

BDNF stands for brain-derived neurotrophic factor and it may be the most important chemical released during exercise since it fosters long-term brain health. BDNF acts as a growth factor and promotes the formation of new connections between nerve cells, or neurons. It also helps repair nerve cells that are damaged. BDNF is most active in regions of the brain involved in memory, particularly an area called the hippocampus. The good news is exercise increases brain production of BDNF by up to three times. You may not get an immediate boost in brain function from BDNF but it helps protect your brain against injury as it preserves cognitive function.

Dopamine

Dopamine is the “motivation” and “reward” brain chemical. On a given day, if you feel motivated and ready to tackle the day’s list of projects after a workout, you can thank dopamine.  It’s dopamine that gives us the motivation to achieve something of value or that makes us feel rewarded.

Without enough dopamine, you probably wouldn’t feel like putting forth the effort to do the things you need to do and that make you feel good. People who are depressed typically have a low dopamine level. The fact that exercise boosts the release of dopamine and serotonin partially explains why exercise is a natural mood lifter antidepressant.

Endorphins

Endorphins are the ultimate “feel good” chemicals. You’ve heard people talk about “runner’s high,” the feeling of bliss and oneness with the world that comes after running a while. Endorphins are the likely reason why, although some researchers believe other brain chemicals, like serotonin and dopamine, play a role too. Plus, endorphins help to relieve pain.

Once you start pumping out endorphins, exercise no longer feels as hard. Finally, endorphins help to calm fear and anxiety, thereby making you feel more tranquil and at peace with yourself. No wonder studies show exercise helps to boost self-esteem and sense of well-being!

 

Citation:

https://cathe.com/5-brain-boosting-chemicals-released-during-exercise/

 

Thanks again folks for taking the time out of your day to read this, it really means a lot. I’ll attach some photos or videos of me over the years, hopefully you guys can see a change because all I see is a chubby chubster with always room for improvements:

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Feb 8th, 2016

May 3rd, 2017

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Jan 1st, 2009

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Feb 21st, 2009

 

 

 

My Current State…

November 20, 2017

 

As most of you have heard, I am no longer working for my parents at Silk Road. My brother and cousin are still there, my parents are there and everything else is still the same, don’t worry. Please, please still go and enjoy your food and your time there. I had built it with my family for over 10 years so that our long time customers can still and will always enjoy Afghan Cuisine.

I am venturing out along with my 2 brother in laws to open a cozy, small, fine dinning restarant of our own with the same type of cuisine, but with more specials, other types of dishes and GYROS! The great thing about this new chapter in my life is that I can literally add anything i want to the menu, any types of desserts and dishes that can be spinned with Afghan Flavors. Recently I have been looking into all kinds of videos pertaining to food all over the US and let me tell you, half of those things i can make easily so that people don’t need to travel far for something they crave.

Our restaurant can seat a total of 70 people, we have chairs and booths for seating, beautiful hard wood tables. Here is a video of the work i have done with my family so far:

With Hard work, comes the future.

 

 

Moving on, growing up

October 27, 2017

First I’d like to start this Blog off with some love:

MashAllah she has grown so much. The wife has gotten a new, full time job so Lailah stays with me from the morning till mid afternoon. Her mom comes at 4pm and takes over while I go back to work for the dinner shift. Lailah also comes to the restaurant so we have a great, portable crib set up in the office. I always restock every night my baby bag with essentials so I can grab and go in the mornings. By the way don’t let the wife buy a designer baby bag, personally they aren’t practical and will only hurt their shoulders in the long run. This is what I use, I got it on sale for $40:

Also I’ve learned besides making sure baby food is natural, organic,non gmo and all that important healthy stuff, the one company besides Gerbers that we appreciate and the baby loves to eat from is Beech Nut:


To be honest, being a father hasn’t hit me hard, just because I take it as something I’ve always been and felt ever since I got married. I don’t really know how to explain it, when people ask how it’s like being a father, I tell them that the feeling is surreal. That it was like she was always with me, that invisible friend I had always talked to or felt was with me growing up. That one part of my soul that knew something good was going to come from me and to keep being good, helping others and stay honest,that the time would come and it has. 

There are many milestones in life, for me, I am fortunate to go through the good and the bad with my wife, a lot more recently of the bad now with my wife and child. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s definitely a learning experience that helps the soul get stronger through any situation. We are in the process of moving out of my parents house,looking for a place of our own, we can only afford to rent at the moment. Doing this has prompted me to learn the hard way on never take any hand outs, no matter who it’s from, no matter how well you know that person, because there will always be a chance that they will hold it against you and take all the credit for who you are today because of what they did for you in the past. Everyone situation is obviously different, but in mine it’s definitely better this way so that I can make it on my own and teach my children while growing up on how to be independent and how to work for themselves so that they can value a gift even more. I’m not saying that I did not value the things that I was given to me but when someone gives you something and then later on they say you owe me because I give it to you then I’m just thinking I would rather have not gotten that gift instead of owing someone. It’s basically a messy situation in a bit confusing but the bottom line is it’s better that way, even if we struggle with money and living on our own, that’s where everything starts, from the bottom. At least I’ll have more time to do my extracurricular activities like getting back to reading and being less on my phone or laptop. Also have more time to make movies and focus on my side projects, where we are thinking of living is much closer to my wife’s job so she doesn’t have to leave extra early. It’s just a headache at the moment but as long as you focus And set goals, everything else falls into place. Thanks for taking the time to read, for next time I’ll keep you guys updated on where I am, what I’m doing, and if there’s any new videos for the YouTube channel.

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