Fasting this Navratri? Follow these tips
Navratri is an auspicious time filled with festivities, during which many people even fast for all the nine days. So, we have rounded off some important Navratri fasting rules if you too have plans to fast. Even so, it is important to note that these fasting rules are universal and applicable at any time and for other festivals that involve fasting. This article also includes tips on Navratri foods and what to avoid to help you fast in a healthy way.
The nine sacred days of Navratri are celebrated to commemorate the victory of good over evil. Devotees fast during these days to seek the blessings of Goddess Durga and her nine avatars. Fasting is a great way to cleanse your body and inculcate a habit of abstinence and discipline.
While some people fast for all nine days, some fast for the first two, last two or the first and the last days. No matter how many days you fast, you should follow some Navratri fasting rules. These rules tell you about the specific foods you can eat and how to modify your lifestyle to avoid feeling sluggish or drained out during these nine days.
Navratri fasting involves switching your diet to Satvik food that’s prepared with limited ingredients. During the holy days of Navratri, devotees are expected to eat pure Navratri dishes that are also healthy and light.
Navratri Fasting Rules
You have plenty of options to eat during Navratri fasting, but you must follow certain tips to stay fit and enjoy the festivities.
- Staying hydrated is essential while fasting. Drinking adequate water/fluids not just reduces your hunger pangs, but also beats fasting fatigue and sluggishness. Make sure to have at least 4 litres of water every day. If plain water starts getting boring, try adding green tea and coconut water to your regimen.
- Avoid complete starvation by eating smaller meals throughout the day. This will keep you energetic.
- Cook your Navratri fasting meals using techniques such as grilling or roasting rather than deep-frying.
- Make sure you sleep for seven to eight hours. Proper sleep can help prevent dizziness and headaches that are commonplace during fasting.
- You need not suspend your exercise routine when you decide to fast. Continue with your workouts and include gentle yoga postures to calm your mind.
- Do away with refined sugar while making Navratri sweets. Instead, use alternatives such as jaggery, brown sugar, or dates.
Although there are differences in the list of avoidances in different parts of India, here is a general guide to foods that you can eat and those that you must avoid:
- Grains and Flour
Regular grains and cereals such as wheat and rice are a part of the worship rituals during this time, and their consumption should be avoided. One of the most important Navratri fasting rules is that regular wheat and rice grains should give way to buckwheat (Kuttu), water chestnut (Singhaara), sago or amaranth (Rajgira) flour.
- Herbs and Spices
Regular table salt, asafoetida (hing), mustard seeds, and turmeric are not added to Navratri food. Rock salt (Sendha namak) is a great alternative to use instead of regular salt. Among spices, you can consume cloves (laung), cinnamon (dalchini), black pepper (kaali mirch), and nutmeg (jaiphal).
- Milk and Milk Products
Curd, cottage cheese (paneer), white butter, ghee, malai, and preparations with milk and khoya can be consumed during Navratri fasting.
Potatoes, sweet potato, arbi, kachalu, yam, lemons, spinach, tomatoes, bottle gourd, and cucumber can be consumed while fasting for Navratri.
Fruits are an excellent source of energy and nutrients, especially if one is fasting for Navratri since all fruits are allowed for consumption during this time.
- Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a good source of protein and healthy fats, making them a nutritious food option during Navratri fasts. Usually, all nuts and seeds can be consumed during Navratri.
- Avoid onion, garlic, eggs, alcohol and lentils. Smoking and non-vegetarian foods are also strict no-nos.
|During Navratri||Grains & Flour||Herbs and Spices||Vegetables|
|Say Yes To||Buckwheat(kuttu), waterChestnut (singhara), sago or Amaranth(Rajgira) flour.||Rock salt (Sendha namak), cloves(laung),cinnamon (dalchini), black pepper (kaali mirch), and nutmeg (jaiphal)||Potatoes, sweet potato, arbi, kachalu, yam, lemons, spinach, tomatoes, bottle gourd, and cucumber|
|Say No To||Wheat and Rice||Regular table salt, asafoetida(hing), mustard seeds and turmeric||Onion, Garlic, Ginger|
Healthy Navratri Foods
If you are fasting this Navratri and looking for healthy ways to keep yourself full, healthy, and energetic, here are some of the best Navratri food options you can try:
Instead of all the deep-fried and savoury foods, one of the healthiest Navratri snacks to enjoy is fresh fruits. This is the best time to enjoy some of the best seasonal fruits, including mangoes, watermelons, and apples. The ideal way to relish them is to make a fruit salad or blend them with yoghurt to concoct a rich, cool smoothie.
- Fox Nuts
One of the healthiest Navratri fasting foods, fox nuts (Makhana) will satiate you without packing on the extra calories. You can either have them roasted along with the various permitted Indian spices or use them to make delicious desserts such as makhana kheer or kulfi.
- Dry Fruits
Nuts and dry fruits are not just delicious, but also provide much-needed energy and nutrition during fasting. You can include your favourite nuts such as walnuts, almonds, raisins, dates, and pistachios to make delicious dates and nuts ladoos and give your body that boost of goodness.
Commonly known as sabudana, sago tops the Navratri food list for its nutritional value. You can make sago khichdi, sabudana kheer, and snacks such as vadas and cutlets.
- Water Chestnut Flour
Also known as singhare ka atta, water chestnut flour is an alternative to rice and wheat during Navratri fasting. Beyond just rotis, you can make interesting Navratri special food items such as Mathri, Poori, and more with this flour. For a sweet treat, you can try Singhara Halwa this Navratri.
These Navratri fasting rules will make your nine days of fasting pass like a breeze. Following them will ensure you remain energised to enjoy this beautiful time of the year. In case you have any health issues, we recommend consulting your doctor before adding any foods or drinks to your fasting regimen.