Shivangana Vasudeva, NDTV, Updated: March 26, 2014 17:59 IST
Festivities are in the air and you can almost taste it! Before you let loose and indulge, you might want to cling to these quick tips that'll save you from landing in an unhealthy muddle.
First things first. Here's the science behind the Navratri fasts - These occur twice a year, every time during change of season, from winter to summer and second time when the chill starts to set in. During these periods, our immunity is low and we are often advised to take a light and nutritious meal. Therefore, we abstain from meat, alcohol, grains, normal salt, all of which are harder to digest.
Fasting during Navratri is not meant to be some food feast. It enables us to indulge in the practice of cleansing and purifying one's body and soul, or simply de-toxing as they say these days.
You don't want to be binging on these heavy calorie delights and having to face the weighing scale tipping to the wrong side. This Navratri we suggest you tread the healthy way. Slap your hand off that plate of pakodas and devote yourself to these -
• The miracle liquid, water and sure, it is. It is advisable to have as much of it as possible. Maybe more than what your intake would be on non-fasting days. Also drink a lot of fluids like milk, fresh juices etc. These help you cleanse your toxins and maintain an optimum fluidity flow.
• Fasting could prove to be tedious especially for your stomach. Long gaps between meals and very few options to eat could lead to acidity and your metabolism goes astray. Store your tuck in the form of roasted makhanas or dry fruits for your mid-meal snacks.
• Sabudana, we love to chomp on those sabudana tikkis, don't we? It is a pure source of carbohydrates and gives a quick boost of the much-needed energy during fasts. So we wouldn't ask you to ditch these tiny little pearls but how about opting for a healthier sabudana khichdee or kheer?
• Ever wondered why onions and garlic are avoided during Navratras? These are known to generate a lot of heat in the body. On the other hand curd helps to cool you down and make you feel fresh and active. So dote on that bowl of refreshing curd, throw in a few cucumbers, tomatoes etc. to make it more filling.
• Rock salt or sendha namak used during these fasts is a pure form of salt that is not chemically processed. It is rich in potassium and very helpful in digestion, relieving gas and soothing heart burns.
• Eating fruit chaats/salads can actually help you bridle your cravings. Fruits contain healthy sugar fructose that charges up your metabolism. So pump up your fruit intake.
• Most importantly, do not starve yourself. Try to maintain a balanced diet. Revel in the festivities rather than deprive yourself of nutrition and weaken your body and mind.
• We know it's hard to resist those crispy little fried delights. But maybe you can switch to techniques like steaming, grilling or baking and taper off your guilt trips.
• Experiment and enjoy these fasts. Marry different flavors and textures, which give you your health's worth. Tease your palates and make your platter exciting with chironji ki dal, arbi kadhi or how about an exotic pumpkin halwa?
• Paneer: Like it or not, you cannot ignore it. It is light, easy to digest and a great source of calcium. Mix in a little curd with chunks of paneer, dusted with a few spices and dig in.
A Navratri diet is an ideal antidote to calm and soothe away your mind and bodily tensions. So don't give up on your favorite kaddu ke pakori or kuttu ki puri, just make sure you balance your nutrition well. Happy Feasting!