Sharad Navratri marks the beginning of the festive season, and we all know what festive season brings with it- weight gain!
Being celebrated twice a year, Navratri marks the best time to detox your body as we move closer to Winters. Scientifically, it is believed that this is the time when the human body is least immune. Fasting during Navratri, helps us detox our body and get rid of the negativity and toxins in our body, mind and soul.
While this can be the best time to lose weight and get fit during these 9 days, people choose to indulge in excessive feasting which includes all sorts of fried foods that are consumed all through the day.
Navratri is the time for detoxifying your body, gain mindfulness and realize a deep sense of self-control; which means that it is the best time to purify your mind, body and soul from all sorts of negativism.
It’s really simple to not fall into the pit of excessive munching on fatty foods and still enjoy the festive foods of Navratri as you dance to the beats of dandiya, dressed up in beautiful colors of Navratri.
Follow this guide to fasting during Navratri, to detox in the best way-
1. Drink up
How do you judge if you are drinking enough water?
Make sure to have a glass of water after every one hour. Drinking water helps your body get rid of the toxins and keeps you energetic.
Upon waking up, have a glass of carom seeds (ajwain) water with 5 soaked almonds and 1 Walnut. Prepare fruit and vegetable infused water for yourself and sip on it through the day. Having a minimum of 3-4 litres of water is recommended during this time.
Avoiding caffeine will only add up to the detoxifying benefits of drinking more water.
Increasing your water intake enhances the Navratri fasting benefits.
2. Mindful Snacking
Snacking on fatty foods is unavoidable while fasting for Navratri, given the variety of snacking options available on the market. The scrumptious Sago cutlets, potato fingers, chips and kuttu pakora are the most favourite snacks among Indians to munch on during mid meals.
These foods only add to the excessive calorie consumption that adds extra pounds on our love handles.
Instead, you can choose from- apple cucumber salad, lemon water, coconut water, roasted fox nuts and peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, sweet potato chat, pomegranate beetroot salad, buttermilk, green tea, melons and other fruits and vegetables.
3. Inculcate Fiber Rich Foods
Rather than choosing to skip breakfast or having something fried, one can always go for banana smoothie, fruit yogurt, apple smoothie or a bowl of fruit for a healthy and filling breakfast. Include seeds and nuts in your breakfast as well. You can also add a boiled potato to your fruit bowl, to make it satiating.
4. Say no to Deep Fried Foods
Deep fried foods are the most loved items during this time. Weather is changing, there’s a fresh sense of coolness in the air, and what better than tikki and vada to have during the day to feed your hunger as you fast?
Having extra fried foods make you lethargic and of course the added calories aren’t doing you any good.
Watching what you eat during the fast is the most important step towards self-discipline.
Different kinds of packaged and fried foods are available in the market to lure your tastebuds, but mindfulness is what is the need of the hour at this point when you can’t figure out what to eat.
You can always replace deep fried sago tikki with air fried or pan roasted cutlets or grilled paneer. Rather than having sago dahi vada, you can try vegetable raita made with beetroot, spinach, coriander or boiled potato to add up to your Navratri fasting benefits.
5. Avoid Consuming extra Sugar
Navratri adds a whole new menu of sweets at restaurants. Bengali sweets, sago kheer, dry fruit ladoo, sweet lassi, samak rice kheer, fruit cream, milk cakes and many other sweet options. Well, who knows it better than a person with such a huge fondness for sweets.
One can go for a single serving of dessert with their afternoon meal but it is of utter importance, that sweets should be avoided during breakfast and dinner time.
Curb your sweet tooth with fruit custard, fruit smoothies, apple kheer and bottle gourd halwa.
6. Include Vegetable Juice
Adding seasonal vegetables to your morning juice can show wonders on your skin and improve your immunity in the best way possible.
Add 4-5 leaves of spinach, a bunch of coriander leaves, a few mint leaves, 2-3 leaves of holy basil, 1-2 leaves of neem, 3-4 amla and beetroot to your daily juice along with the juice of half a lemon.
7. Manage Timing
Timing is the key to healthy eating. You may be eating the best nutrient rich foods but if you don’t time your meals properly, the benefits that your body should actually be getting, get reduced.
Early breakfast and early dinner is advised by expert dieticians and nutritionists, if you want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
Make sure that your day consists of 7-8 small meals.
The first step to manage the perfect timing for your meals is to wake up in the early hours- between 6am-7am.
Having your first meal- morning water and soaked nuts, within 15 minutes of waking up, second meal, which will be your breakfast should be timed 60 to 90 minutes after you wake up.
Mid-morning meal about an hour after your breakfast should include a cooling drink like buttermilk or coconut water or fruit infused water, followed by lunch, which should be taken between 1pm-2pm. Line up your mid evening meal around 4 pm, which should include green tea along with fox nuts or peanuts.
If you feel hungry in the evening, try having vegetable soup at about 6 pm, and then follow it up with dinner between 7pm to 8pm.
End your day with a small glass of lukewarm turmeric milk and 3-4 cashews or a spoonful of rose petal jam(gulkand).
8. Do not Overexert
The key to healthy living is to exercise daily, but you should never over exert yourself with vigorous exercise when you are making major changes to your diet. During fasting, your body is already exerting itself, by trying to adjust to the new pattern of eating, and by exercising during this time, we will only add to the stress of the body.
9. Practice Yoga and Meditation
Detoxification of body can be done by changing your eating habits, but it’s our mind and soul that needs major work to be done. Practicing yoga and meditation during Navratri fasting will help you in building mindfulness and self-discipline.
8-hour sound sleep helps you regain your lost energy and rebuild yourself after the tiresome day at work. Sound sleep is necessary to improve your metabolism and rejuvenate your body to start the next day actively, and to lose weight.
Fasting during Navratri benefits everyone if a proper diet and self-control is followed during these days.I know it’s hard to control your taste buds when the market is bedecked with the most appetizing dishes and desserts, consuming your favorite Navratri food for a meal or two between the 3rd to 5th day should work out just fine for your body and health.