Navaratri Food Tips
Navaratri is a festival where we worship Goddess Durga’s different forms. This festival usually comes in the month of October. Festive celebration takes different forms like puja, dandiya dance etc. Like most Indian festivals, this is a celebration with colourful clothes, music, dance etc. Many people fast for these 9 days of the festival for religious reasons. Some eat foods that are (religiously) allowed during the fast. But they end up eating starchy, high fat & heavy to digest foods consistently for 9 days. This leads to Acidity, Heart burns & indigestion, etc. Some people eat raw foods or even liquids which turns out to be a very low-calorie diet. They get fatigue, tiredness & feel lethargic.
Some people think intentionally opportunistic like "I am anyway going to keep fast for 9 days, so why not go on 'fruit diet' or 'raw foods diet' and lose weight?" And they lose weight with these 'crash diets' during festive seasons. But as this cannot be a long-term diet, the results are not sustainable.
It must be carved in our minds that the purpose of these fasts is not to starve oneself, but to give rest to one's digestive tract. One can notice that spicy food, pungent flavours like onions and garlic etc are forbidden during these days.
Let us keep aside all diet related confusions for these days & talk about the healthy diet.
Healthy food choices:
Fruits, veggies like pumpkin, sweet potato, potato, cucumber etc.,
Dryfuits & nuts like almonds, walnuts, black raisins, dried figs, dates & peanuts etc.,
Milk (Cow's) & other milk products like curd, buttermilk buttermilk (ताक/ छाछ), paneer etc.,
Rajgira and Bhagar (in Marathi भगर / वरीचा तांदूळ, in Hindi व्रत के चावल)
Tips one should not forget:
1. Avoid fried foods.
2. Avoid sago (साबूदाना).
3. Instead of oil, use homemade cow's ghee (It is easy to digest compared to oils as it contains MCT). One can also use cold pressed Groundnut oil in limited portions.
4. Have 5-6 small frequent meals throughout the day. Avoid long gaps (more than 4 hours) between 2 meals. Not eating anything throughout the day is unhealthy. It leads to starvation & excessive muscle loss.
5. Stay hydrated. Drink 2-3 lit water per day.
6. Avoid sweet preparations, fruit juices, khoa. Replace sugar with jaggary (गुड़/) or honey.
7. Avoid excess consumption of tea or coffee. (Not more than 2 cups per day- 1 cup = 125 ml). Instead go for green tea.
8. Portion control is a key.
9. Moderate intensity exercise is allowed during these days.
Healthy Diet can have:
1. 3-4 servings of fruits & veggies per day.
2. Handful of nuts & dryfruits per day.
3. 2-3 liters of water per day. One can add beverages in daily diet like: green tea, buttermilk (ताक/ छाछ), nimbu pani, milk etc.
4. 2-3 portions of Rajgira or Bhagar per day.
5. Groundnut oil or Ghee 2-3 tsp/day. (Measure melted ghee).