Are you planning to keep Navratri fast this year? If yes, then you have come to the right place.
Navratri is a 9-day long festivity celebrated all across India. The word Navratri comes from the word- Nava means nine and ratri means night. So the celebration of Navratri consist of 9 nights and 10 days of celebrations. In India, Navratri is supposed to be a very auspicious and widely celebrated festival all over the country. The main focus of the festival is to worship Goddess Durga and her nine avatars throughout the 9 days.
When is Navratri Celebrated?
The most important Navratri is the Maha Navratri also known as the Shrad Navratri. This festival generally falls during the months of September or October and is followed by Dusherra and Diwali. So it marks the beginning of festive season in India. This year Navratri has been observed from 26th September 2022 to 3rd October 2022.
What is the importance or significance of Navratri Celebration?
Because India is a very diverse country, Navratri is celebrated in different ways across the states but the main purpose of the celebration is the same which is- ‘winning of good over the evil’. This purpose is celebrated in various forms but the core purpose of the festival remains the same.
In North India, it celebrates the victory of Ram over Ravan.
In Northern India, these 9 days consist of reciting of Ramlila across the cities and villages. Ramlila is a mythological tales of Ram. There are enactments of various parts from The Ramlila in the forms of plays. It is a must watch during the Navratri. On the 10th day when Ram finally kills Ravan is the day when the famous festival Dusherra is celebrated. On the day of Dusherra, people burn down the effigies of Ravan and his brothers.
In the Northern Eastern part of India, Navratri is celebrated because of victory of Goddess Durga who defeated Mahishasura.
On the 6th day of Navratri, Goddess Durga is welcomed at pandals and homes and on the 10th day is the immersion of the Goddess Durga. During this time, beautiful pandals are set up across the northern eastern side of India especially in Kolkata and across West Bengal. People do pandal hopping, darshan, wear beautiful traditional clothes and celebrate by dancing and singing.
No matter what region it is, The festival of Navratri is celebrated with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm. Across the country, there is reciting of prayers, decorations of pandals, reciting of stage plays, fasting, dances like dandiya and singing. The festival binds families together and get them together to celebrate the festivals across the country.
So if I am fasting on Navratri then what can I eat for 9 days?
If you are planning to fast during Navratri this year, then you will have these questions on your mind. Also what is not allowed to be eaten during these 9 days. Of course you can find so many articles telling you to eat this or eat that, but I am here to give you a list of foods that is easily available to everyone and can be used to make variety of dishes.
Let me remind you, the purpose of this fast is to not starve but to nourish and detox your body with particular type of foods and avoid certain foods which creates heat in the body.
It is a form of a detox which can be very beneficial for your body and help you in staying healthy mentally as well as physically.
Foods that are a strict No-no during the Navratri fasting days are-
Before talking about what can be eaten. Let’s talk about what is not to be eaten during this 9 day Navratri fasting period.
Here are some foods to avoid-
1. Non vegetarian food
6. Grains like rice, wheat, maida, besan, semolina and millets like ragi should be avoided.
7. Oils apart from groundnut oil and peanut oil should be avoided.
10.Common salt instead use rock salt.
11. Spices like Haldi, hing, coriander powder, fenugreek seeds, garam masala.
12. It’s best to avoid packaged food.
14. Corn flour
15. Aerated drinks
16. Vegetables like Cabbage, Cauliflower and Capsicum, okra and mushrooms.
You don’t have to feel overwhelmed by the list above. But you will be surprised to know that you can consume a lot of foods during the Navratri fast and keep yourself healthy without feeling deprived or hungry.
Foods that can be eaten during Navratri fast are-
In Grains you can consume-
1. Kutta ka aata (buckwheat flour)
2. Singhara ka aata (water chestnut flour)
3. Amarnath flour
4. Vrat ka chawal- Samak chawal (barnyard millet flour)
5. Quinoa, If you are a fan of quinoa, you can consume it during the Navratri fast.
All the above grains are gluten free and filled with nutrients which keeps the energy level of the body high during the fasting period.
In Spices you can consume-
1. Rock Salt (sendha namak)
2. Cloves (laung)
3. Cardamom (ilaichi)
4. Dry mango powder (Amchur)
6. Black pepper
7. Cumin powder (jeera)
8. Nutmeg (jaiphal)
9. Red chilli powder
10. Chaat masala
These spices are enough to make your Vrat ka khaana palatable and tasty. It’s a common misconception that Vrat ka khaana is bland but that’s not true.
Dairy products that can be consumed are-
4. Butter milk
It’s best to prepare panner at home and avoid packaged panner. Avoid having cheese. Even though milk with tea and coffee is allowed but it’s best to limit your intake of them.
Vegetables that can be consumed are-
2. Sweet potato
9. Bottle gourd
11. Mint leaves
12. Curry leaves
14. Green chilli
All the above vegetables are filled with various nutritious properties and can be easily added to your diet. Salad is an equally important part of the daily diet and should be consumed regularly.
Other items that can be consumed are-
3. Dry fruits like almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, pistachio and raisins are allowed.
4. Sunflower seeds, watermelon seeds, and pumpkin seeds can be consumed.
5. Fresh fruits
6. Coconut Water
Popular Navratri Dishes you can try during the nine days fast period are-
1. Sabudana ki khichadi
2. Sabudana vada
3. Sabudana kheer
4. Roasted Makhanas
5. Makhana ki kheer
6. Vrat ka aloo
7. Fruit chaat
8. Sama rice pulao
9. Crispy Arbi
10. Aloo tikki
|Makhana ki kheer|
Things to keep in mind if you are planning to fast or are already fasting this time-
1. Know if you are eligible to fast-
Fasting is not for every human body. All bodies are different and are dealing with different issues. If you are a patient of diabetes, hypertension or any other lifestyle disease you must avoid keeping a fast. If you are unwell or are still recovering from any illness then consider skipping it too. Ladies who are pregnant or are nursing should also avoid keeping a fast.
2. Eat healthy unpackaged food-
Many of us get carried away seeing the foods we can eat during the fast. Instead opt for eating fruits, salads and dry fruits regularly. At the same time, drink lots of water. Avoid having too much of tea and coffee. Also avoid any sorts of packaged junk food. Don’t binge on chips, biscuits or chocolate. One of the main rules of fasting is to avoid eating any sorts of packaged food.
3. Avoid going overboard on Vrat Ka khaana-
Vraat ka khaana is extremely tempting. If you search for various recipes online you will find that most of the Vrat ka khaana is either fried like tikki and vada or sweet like halwa and kheer. I am not saying that one should not eat it at all. It’s good to indulge once in a while but make sure that most of the times you are eating healthy. Never binge eat, always eat mindfully, this way you will be able to keep yourself fit and healthy. At least 80% of your diet should be healthy.
It is a myth that one can loose weight while fasting but that’s not the case in fact many people gain weight during the fasting period.
4. Avoid crash dieting-
While some people feel that these 9 days is the best time do a crash diet in order to loose weight. This is a very wrong approach and will make you sick and weak. If you want to loose weight you still can do it by eating mindfully and getting all the nutrients. Crash diets are supposed to be harmful for our bodies buy putting it in the starvation mode which will ultimately lead to binge eating. So remember to not starve and eat in wise proportions.
5. Exercise daily-
Since your nutrition intake will be the same you can exercise in the fasting period. If you have the energy then go for high impact workouts. But if you feel little low on energy then opt for Yoga, walking and Pilates. Stretch regularly as this will keep your body relaxed and flexible. Don’t go off exercising because you will be eating a lot of high calorie food too and you certainly would want to burn all the calories.
So pick the workouts suitable for your body.
Lastly, Navratri is not only about just fasting but also about following the core essence of Navratri and why it is celebrated and applying it in your daily life.
This is the time to enjoy the festivities with your family and friends but also to keep yourself healthy at the same time which can be easily done by following these super easy tips.