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Stay healthy on the fast track

health and fitness Updated: Apr 12, 2013 11:59 IST
Debasmita Ghosh
Debasmita Ghosh
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The nine-day festival of Navratri is often dubbed as a detoxification fest, as during this period, people resort to fasting as a means of shedding those extra kilos and cleansing their system off all the toxins. While it does work to a certain extent, but often a meal of deep fried snacks after hours of starvation can make you fall ill, say doctors. Therefore, even when fasting (or feasting), there are some basic rules that one must follow.

“When keeping a fast or on a restricted vegetarian diet, make sure that your diet is balanced with the right proportion of carbohydrates, proteins and fats,” says gastroenterologist Dr SK Thakur of Moolchand Medcity. “Again, do not ever let the duration of your fast go very long, as you might end up developing various gastrointestinal problems. Eating forces the gall bladder to contract, pushing bile into the digestive tract. In the absence of food, this bile keeps accumulating inside the gall bladder, gradually turning it into sludge, and leading to the formation of stones,” cautions Dr Thakur.
Eat right, and don’t overeat
During Navratri, people usually binge on vrat snacks, chips, puris, kheer, laddoos and other sweets. Having such high calorie food on an empty stomach can be very harmful.
On the other hand, there are people who go to extremes like only liquid diet, no salt or no cereals or too much fried food.“Never break your fast with a deep fried puri or ghee-laden halwa! It’s a strict no-no,” warns nutritionist Neelanjana Singh of Heinz Nutri Life Clinic. “Most importantly, do not overeat. Often after a fast, people tend to eat more than their body can take, and this in turn can lead to inflammation of their intestines,” adds Singh.

Tips for fasting in a healthy manner Avoid having kuttu flour as a major part of your meal, as they are not easily digestible. As an alternative, one can add samak rice flour with kuttu flour, as it is easy on the stomach. Instead of a complete fast, try to take smaller meals in frequent intervals. Consume plenty of seasonal fruits, curd, buttermilk. Increase the intake of fluids to avoid dehydration. Those who fast for long periods should not rely on only one type of food. Try to include a variety of food items that’ll fill you with a variety of nutrients instead of an overdose of just one. Avoid eating too much immediately after breaking a fast. The key is to balance, both fasting and feasting. By Dr S K Thakur, gastroenterologist

Stay hydrated...
As you fast and feast, stay hydrated and healthy with these easy-to-make drinks:
Coconut Colada
Take water of 1 coconut, 15ml coconut syrup, and few chunks of pineapple. Muddle the pineapple chunks in coconut water. Add coconut syrup and shake well. Your coconut colada is ready!
Blend almonds, flax seeds, melon seeds, poppy seeds, sesame and mix honey and lime to whip up this desi favourite. It also provides valuable omega-3 essential fatty acids.

Mixed vegetable juice
Blend raw spinach and cucumber, and strain as juice. Add wheat grass juice, lime juice and chat masala for a tangy feast.
Jal jeera paani
A mix of tamarind pulp, rock salt and roasted jeera powder. Add honey and garnish with mint leaves before you sip on this high-on-nutrients juice.
Made from sprouted wheat (wheat germ) and roasted grams (channas) ground together. Mix with curd or skimmed milk, jaggery and a pinch of salt.

Recipes by food consultant,Nikita Khattar, Bora Bora