People across India are celebrating the Festival of Nine Nights- Navratri. It is probably one of the most celebrated festivals in the country which involves intense fasting followed by feasting. Devotees usually adhere to a strict routine and devour only selected food items comprising of kuttu atta, singhara atta, fresh vegetables, fruits, milk, curd and dry fruits. Though a common impression among people is that it leaves devotees hungry and weak, the real fact is that the Navratri fast is healthy because of the quality of foods consumed during nine days. They are gluten-free, high in fibre, low on fats and so on. One of the important things to note is that if eaten in right proportions, these food items assist weight loss and helps detoxify the body.
Whether the purpose of observing Navratri fast is religious or scientific, one must be careful about choosing the food items and in what proportions. Navratri diet is not easy and to be on the safe side, one must consult a dietitian in order to lose excess weight. Here’s how Navratri fasting helps weight loss.
- Don’t use ghee while cooking, use healthy olive oil instead. Fried foods generate a lot of heat in the body so strictly avoid them. Choose healthy cooking habits such as roasting, boiling, steaming and grilling. For example, you can boil potatoes, roast peanuts and dry fruits instead of frying them.
- Replace fried potato chat with boiled potato chat and kheer with mixed-fruit curd like raita of bottle gourd, pumpkin, cucumber and tomato etc. Use low fat milk and curd. It contains fibre which helps in eliminating digestive problems like constipation. Fruit chat consisting papaya, apple, pear and potato is also suggested for weight loss.
- Make rotis rather than pooris. Buckwheat (Kuttu) chapatti and fasting rice (semak rice) can be eaten but should be made with olive oil and not ghee.
- Drink plenty f fluids like buttermilk, vegetable soups and herbal tea. Drinking lots of fluids not only maintains the fluid levels but cleanses the body as well. Avoid fruit juices and milkshakes, and eat whole fruits instead.
- Drink coconut or lemon water with sendha salt or rock salt, instead of sugar. These are low-calorie drinks which stop dehydration and increase water retention.
- Instead of having a large meal, eat frequent small meals in forms of roasted peanuts, roasted makhana, fruits etc. If you have acidity and heartburn problems, make sure you eat small portions every few hours daily. Fruits and curd helps clear acidity and can also be consumed at regular intervals.
- People suffering from diabetes must avoid intake of sago (sabudana), singhara atta (water chestnut flour) and sweet potatoes. Instead, they should consume bottle gourd, apples, skimmed milk and citrus fruit.
Irrespective of the aim behind navratri fasting, it’s imperative to choose a healthy fasting diet in order to get the desired results. Our body needs regular detoxification so as to maintain a balance and nothing is better than observing a nine-day fast.