Thursday, October 3, 2013

Navaratri Fasting and feasting in a healthy way

Hinduism has been associated with lunar calendar and also it associates most of its festivals according to the climate and harvest season in India. Navaratri, be it Sarodiya or the Basant Navaratri, both are the transition from one major season to another. Indian traditional calendar divides climate into 6 different categories. During Basant Ritu the season changes from winter to summer and during Sarad Ritu climate changes from summer to winter.

Though we have monsoon season which again makes the change is climate from summer to monsoon then monsoon to winter. But, the change from summer to winter and winter to summer goes along the rotation of Sun. That is called Uttarayan and Dhakinayan. During this Uttarayan, we celebrate the Sarodiya Navaratri and Chhat Puja in Bihar. We are advised to fast and feast on lighter foods that are easy to digest, has less oil and spices, because our immunity to the climate change is not at its best. Various states have there own festival that somehow advises us to take certain food and restricts some other. One of them is Navaratri, which is widely celebrated across many states in India.

Here, are some of the things that is recommended to be taken or restrain one from eating during this holy time. Restraining from non-veg and more spicy food allows cleansing of the human body. Taking more fruits, water and less spicy food enables taking in good nutrients and allowing the digestive system to function properly when our immunity in general is hampered due to climate change. Lets now have a look at the things that we usually feast during this time.

1- Water/ Fruit juices - Navaratri festival do not restrict one on intake of water and fruit juices. It is advisable to have lots of water, fruit juices, milk , lassi etc. These allows the body to maintain the normal fluid level and helps in cleansing the digestive system. 

2- Fruits :- Eating lots of fruits helps in getting essential vitamins and mineral intake. It helps in cleansing body.

3- Dry fruits - Keeping long gap between meals, could hamper the normal digestion and lead to acidity, but munching on dry fruits and Makhana ( Puffed lotus seeds) helps to elevate this problem.

4- Sabudana/Tapioca balls - This  has high content of starch or Carbohydrate, it is easy to digest and is usually permitted to be eaten when one is sick. This is because, it instantly provides energy. You can have Sabudana Khichdee, Sabudana Payasam/kheer. These are healthy and have less oil and fat.

5- Kuttu ka atta/ Buckwheat flour - Kuttu ke puri is widely eaten during this time. Yes, Puri usually contains more oil, you can try recipes that could be made with buckwheat like buckwheat pancake or buckwheat paratha with less oil in it. Buckwheat as such is a rich source of manganese and is proven to have lowered blood cholesterol and high blood pressure. It is rich in a flavonoid Rutin. This Flavonoid acts as antioxidant and improves immunity.

6- Singhare ka atta/ water chestnut flour :- This is Indian water chestnut(Trapa Bispinosa) which is proven to have many health benefits. This is low in fat, high in Manganese thus is used to treat thyroid disorder. It is a good source of energy , rich in polyphenolic and favonoids thus acts as antioxidant.

7- Rajgira ka atta /Amaranth flour :- This is rich in protein and essential amino acids. Cooked Amaranth is rich in Vitamin A,C, riboflavin, calcium, iron,folate, copper, manganese etc. It has been proven that daily intake of Amaranth helps in reducing hypertension, blood pressure and cholesterol. 

8- Peanuts :- This is rich in niacin, manganese, folate and vitamin E. It contains mono-saturated fat. 

9-Makhane / Puffed Lotus seeds :- This is rich in flavonoids and dietary fiber. It has anti-aging properties and helps in avoiding constipation. 

10- Milk/Curd :- Milk/Curd are rich in protein. Curd has cooling effect on body.

Consuming above ingredients with less oil and spices, helps one to absorb good nutrients, vitamin & minerals. It helps in cleansing process and building the immunity of body. It also makes one restore immunity and prepare for the transition of climate. So, feasting on fruits and recipes that are healthy makes one stronger. Having faith in one's own deity , building spiritual connection also helps in making one stronger at emotional level. Thus, fast and feast this season, have faith in Maa Ambe and build a better life.

Thank you.

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