Navratri fasting tips 2022: Shardiya Navratri fasting begins today (September 26) and wraps up with Kanya Pujan on Navami (October 4). During the Hindu festival, many Durga devotees fast for all nine days of the festival, while some choose the first two and the last two days to fast. There are no fixed rules of celebrating Navratri and the rituals slightly vary in different states. In North India, people mostly fast during Navratri, while in Gujarat, Navratri is synonymous with dandiya ras and garba; in West Bengal the festival is all about the grand Durga puja pandals, dhunuchi naach and sindoor khela. In South India, Navratri is celebrated as Bommai Golu, where people showcase beautiful golu dolls in their house for nine days. (Also read: Navratri 2022 prasad list: Know different bhogs to offer Maa Durga and her nine avatars during the nine days)
Coming back to Navratri fasting, people who observe it follow a ‘falahaari’ diet which can include Samvat ke chawal (banyard millet), kuttu ke aata (buckwheat flour), sabudana or sago, rajgira, singhare ka aata (water chestnut flour), potatoes, sweet potato, bottle gourd (lauki), arbi, pumpkin, spinach, bottle gourd, cucumber, carrot, and all fruits. Wheat, rice, semolina, maida, corn flour, legumes and pulses are prohibited while Navratri fasting. There are many variations observed in terms of number of fasting days, duration of the fast through the day and type of foods included and avoided during fasts. While some may take only water, some may do intermittent fasting, some may have only fruits and milk and some have one meal a day.
BENEFITS OF FASTING
“Besides its spiritual aspect, fasting offers several health benefits when practiced the right way. Studies have shown impact of fasting on fat loss and weight loss. Restricted food consumption may prevent chronic ailments like high cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure as well as improve mental wellbeing. Our body is in a resting mode during the fasting hours. This signals our digestive system to start the detox process in the body and cleanse our gut,” says Dr. Meghana Pasi, Nutrition Consultant MyThali program, ArogyaWorld.
TIPS FOR HEALTHY FASTING
Dr Pasi also suggests fasting tips to stay healthy
HAVE KHICHDI OR ROTI RATHER THAN PURI AND PAKODA
• Though regular cereals like rice and wheat are not consumed during fasting, be mindful about the other grains that you eat like kuttu (buckwheat), singara atta (water chestnut flour), rajgira atta (amaranth flour), samai (barnyard millet) or sabudana (sago). Use them in khichdis or rotis rather than in puris, pakodas, vadas or halwas.
PREFER FRUIT CHAT OVER POTATO FRIES
• Try and stay away from greasy foods. These may seem tempting but at the end of the day you will feel bloated. Prefer a fruit chat instead of potato fries.
• Have plenty of fruits as they not only give you loads of vitamins, minerals and fibre but also natural sugars to keep you energetic through the day.
DON’T GO OVERBOARD WITH ROOT VEGGIES
• Many people include roots veggies like potato, yam (jimikand), sweet potato, pumpkin, arbi (Colocasia root) in their meals. These are starchy veggies with loads of B vitamins, minerals and fibre. However, they provide you lot of calories, hence do not overeat.
HAVE MILK AND DAIRY
• Include milk and dairy like curd, buttermilk and paneer and ghee to meet the protein and calcium requirements of the day.
AVOID TEA AND COFFEE
• Try and avoid having tea/coffee as they eventually dehydrate the body. Instead prefer coconut water, nimbu pani, buttermilk, milkshake or just plain water.
PICK HEALTHY SNACKS
• You may get hungry at odd hours while fasting. Hence, opt for healthy snacks like makhanas (foxnuts), boiled sweet potatoes, fruits and dry fruits rather than munching on fried chips.
• Avoid use of refined sugar in your kheer or halwas. Try adding more cardamom, honey, dates, cinnamon and fresh fruits to pump up the sweetness of your fast delicacies.
EAT NUTRIENT-DENSE FOODS
• For the first timers, avoid fasting for long hours. Have nutrient dense foods like fruits and dry fruits to give you enough energy.
HEALTHY FAST BREAKING
• Do not overeat immediately after breaking your fast. Take light meals.
“Fasting can render tremendous health benefits if done with faith and mindfulness. However, pregnant / breastfeeding mothers, people with eating disorders and those on medications with chronic disease conditions should be very careful while fasting,” concludes Dr Meghana Pasi.