Foods to eat and avoid during fasting

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Foods to eat and avoid during fasting

Chaitra Navratri will begin its auspicious 9-day cycle on 22 March. A popular ritual followed by all those observing this festive occasion is fasting. Following the guidelines regarding what to eat and what not to eat while one is observing their fast will enhance their cumulative Chaitra Navratri experience. Adhering to these rules will ensure a successful fasting cycle for all those interested.

What you can’t eat?

The first rule of fasting is to steer clear of ‘tamasic’ foods. Some obvious examples of this include onions, garlic, meats, fish, fermented foods and processed or canned foods. In the case of fasting, leftover foods are also considered to fall in the tamasic category. A general rule of thumb here is also to avoid alcohol, tobacco and all non-vegetarian foods. Grains including rice and flours including popular choices like wheat and refined flour are also off limits. Seed oils, refined oils and table salt are best avoided.

What you can eat?

Though the above list may sound restrictive, there is a lot to experiment with when it comes to a fast-appropriate diet. Firstly, table salt is to be replaced with rock salt, also called sendha namak. Wheat and maida must be replaced with buckwheat flour (kuttu ka atta), water chestnut flour (singhare ka atta), amaranth flour or banyard millet. Sabudana is a popular replacement for rice during this time.

Dairy products are not off the list, in fact milk, curd and paneer are relied on very heavily at the time of fasting – cheese however must not be consumed. Fruits are a popular choice for fasting. vegetables with heavy water content such as tomatoes, cucumber and bottle gourd are popular options among other choices.

Following these guidelines will enhance the quality of fasting that one may plan on observing for this years Chaitra Navratri.


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