A healthy fast

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Kavita Devgan guides you to healthy meal options for Navratri

Navratri fasts are like a refresher course in self-discipline. Deciding what to eat and what to say ‘no’ to, and sticking to it, is a good exercise. In a way, fasting helps the body rest and relax, allows it to heal and refurbish itself from within – thus aiding in cleansing the internal system. A natural detox, if you please! If you notice, both Navratris come when the seasons are changing – winter to summer and again when the air begins to get nippy – times when our immunity is at a low. Which is why it is important to avoid processed food, meat and eat gluten-free food (grains).

Going salt-free and including fruits and vegetables in our diet help our bodies pass this time with ease. Whoever introduced kuttu atta (buckwheat flour) during vrat (fasting) was a genius. It is packed with high-quality protein and offers more amino acid lysine, a component missing from most of our regular or preferred staple wheat.

In fact grains such kuttu atta are a big advantage in vegetarian diets where substantial good-quality protein is always a challenge. There’s a lot of fibre in kuttu atta, along with soluble as well as insoluble protein that not only keep us full for longer but also bind the toxins and aid their excretion through the gut, thereby protecting the colon from cancer. It is loaded with minerals, including trace minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese, and is gluten-free too.

Here are a few tips for a healthy Navratri feast:

  • Have three meals and one snack/drink a day.
    Eat small portions and space them out properly.
  • Avoid consuming fried foods. Roast, grill, boil or
    steam vegetables instead.
  • Try to incorporate grains such as kuttu atta and
    healthy varieties of rice only for one main meal,
    preferably lunch. Keep the other two meals light
    and restrict them to fruits and vegetables. Have
    buttermilk between meals as a filler.
  • Have fluids like coconut water and lemon water
    with rock salt (sendha salt) without sugar.

The author is a nutritionist and the views expressed in the article are her own

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