People in India are celebrating Navratri — the nine-day-long festival which involves rigorous fasting followed by feasting. Devotees observe a strict routine and consume only selective ingredients such as kuttu atta, singhara atta, fresh vegetables, fruits, milk, yogurt and makhanas. Though the general notion about fasting is that it leaves people hungry and weak, the Navratri fast is in fact, healthy because of the nutritious quality of foods consumed during this time. They are gluten-free, high in fibre, low on fats – the list goes on. Most importantly, if consumed properly, the foods aid weight loss and detoxification of the body.
Dr Vinita Sharma, senior Ayurvedic Doctor at Dr Shikha’s NutriHealth and Dr Sunita Tripathi, dietician at Primus Hospital talk about the things to be careful about while following a diet during Navratri. They have a few pointers for weight-loss too.
*Use olive oil instead of ghee while cooking. Avoid fried foods if possible as they generate a lot of heat in the body. Instead, opt for healthy cooking methods like roasting, boiling, steaming and grilling. For instance, you can roast the potatoes, peanuts and makhanas instead of frying them.
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*Replace fried potato chat with boiled potato chat and kheer with mixed-fruit curd like raita of bottle gourd (lauki), raita of pumpkin, cucumber and tomato raita etc. Also, use skimmed or low-fat milk and curd. This will increase your consumption of fibre and hence keep problems like constipation at bay. Fruit chat made with papaya, pear, apple, and potato is also recommended for weight loss.
*Make chapattis rather than puris. Kuttu (buckwheat) roti and fasting rice (semak rice) can be eaten but should not be made with too much ghee.
*Drink a lot of fluids like lassi, 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 a lot of low-calorie drinks like coconut water and lemon water with sendha salt or rock salt, instead of sugar. This avoids dehydration and increases water retention.
*Instead of having your meals after large time gaps, eat frequent 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 act as cooling agents and can also be consumed at regular intervals.
*Persons suffering from diabetes or high blood sugar must avoid the intake of sago (sabudana), singhara atta (water chestnut flour), potatoes/sweet potatoes. They can however, consume bottle gourd, apples, skimmed milk and citrus fruit.