Many people turn to fasting during the Navratri season, and with good reason too. Fasting detoxifies the body, improves digestion, controls blood sugar levels and most importantly, aids weight loss. In short, it helps in cleansing, clearing out, and purifying the whole system.
But merely abstaining from heavy foods or starving yourself will cause more harm than good. Here’s how to do it right.
Don’t go overboard with the fasting or the feasting. Eat everything in moderation, even fasting foods. Being on an empty stomach for long hours can result in acidity and heartburn. To avoid this, have small and frequent meals throughout the day.
Fasting foods include potato, sabudana, paneer, milk, curd, water chestnuts, lotus seeds, cucumber, pumpkin, fruits, samak rice, corn and coconut.
Dairy is good for you as milk and milk products are rich in protein and can keep you satiated for long. Milk products like buttermilk and yoghurt help reduce the acidity caused by fasting. And to make things interesting, you can combine two fasting foods also. Have fruits with milk or yoghurt to help digestion. Similarly, cucumber raita offers the good qualities of both curd and cucumber and cools down the body.
Certain foods need to be avoided such as fried foods, sweet fruits (mango, grapes, banana, melons and pineapple), sweet potato, tea or coffee, salty foods (though rock salt is okay) and chips.
Increase the intake of liquids in the diet as they are the best means of cleaning the toxins from the body. Turn to fruit and vegetable juices, vegetable soups with pumpkin and bottle gourd, milk, lassi and yogurt.
Find ways to substitute fasting foods for regular foods where possible. While you should be increasing your water intake during detoxing, coconut water is great to sip on. Use water chestnut flour or amaranth instead of wheat flour (they also make your rotis much lighter). Munch on roasted lotus seeds, consume more lassi and paneer to keep your energy up.
Starvation should be completely avoided as it may lead to sudden drop in blood sugar levels.
Limit your potato intake as it is pretty heavy on the stomach.
From HT Brunch, September 29
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