Celebrating the triumph of good over evil, that’s what the Hindu festival of Navratri is traditionally all about. The word ‘Navratri’ is derived from Sanskrit and means ‘nine nights’. During each of these nine nights, nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped and on the tenth day, we celebrate Dussehra.
During Navratri, devotees of Durga observe a fast and offer prayers for protection, health and prosperity. The Navratri fast is usually observed on all nine days and there are different kinds of fasts observed by people because of the various beliefs associated within each community and region.
Most devotees avoid alcoholic drinks, food grains, and onions during their fast. All kinds of meats are strictly avoided. Some people prefer to have an intake of only milk and fruits all through and others have a single meal during the day. These are some of the general practices observed. And while worship is definitely important, it’s also important that you know how to go about your fasting without pushing the limits of your body.
Significance of Fasting
Fasting rituals have been around for centuries. It helps cleanse your body by acting as a detoxifier which in turn makes your body pure and ready to receive the divine grace of the Deity you worship. Traditionally while fasting, people ate food items that were in season or were in abundance in nature in that region. But today, with everything being available at our doorsteps throughout the year, it’s harder to choose. Many items have lost their religious significance in today’s world. That’s another reason why we should choose your fasting practices carefully especially if you don’t understand or believe in its true significance.
Healthy Fasting Tips
Healthy ways to fast during Navratri
You must be aware of your body metabolism to choose the best kind of fast. You should also consider the state of your health and whether you want to lose weight or only cleanse your system. Here are some healthy fasting tips for you.
- Begin your day with a glass of lukewarm water with a few lemon drops added to it to begin the detox process.
- Eat a lot of fruits like apples, papayas, bananas or pomegranates.
- Nuts soaked overnight are great for your body.
- Drink a lot of water and fruit or vegetable juices throughout the day. Coconut juice is also a great option.
Fasting Tips for the Working Class during Navratri
For people who work and fast at the same time, you need to keep up your energy.
- The first rule while fasting and working together is to make sure that you do not get stressed or tired. If you do, you will only feel weaker and hungrier than before you started fasting.
- Keep plenty of fruits or fruit juices at hand while fasting at work. Bananas or nuts are another great alternative to keep those hunger pangs at bay.
- To avoid acidity and heart burn, eat small meals frequently. Milk and milk products can help you to a certain extent.
Fasting Tips for Dieters
- Go for skimmed or low fat milk and curd.
- Limit your potato intake to twice a week to limit your calorie intake. Substitute pumpkin for potatoes in your diet.
- Turning into a vegetarian during Navaratri is really beneficial for non-vegetarians.
- Microwave cooking with very little or no oil is another way to cook.
- Fruit and vegetable salads are great too.
- Avoid having too much of kheer or other sweet-meats even though it may be hard to resist. Remember those calories!
- Preparations of lauki, pumpkin, cucumber or mashed potato is advisable.
And remember, what matters is not so much what you eat during Navratri, but the thought behind your actions is what counts the most.