Here’s wishing all our readers a Happy New Year, Ugadi, and Gudi Padwa. Today marks the advent of the new month of Chaitra in the Hindu Calendar. An auspicious time that involves fasting for some people and feasting for the others. Moderation is the key to success in both endeavors. The Vasanth Navaratri, or nine days of fasting during the Spring season, requires a lot of thought and planning. It is essential that the body’s nutrient stores are continually replenished in order to maintain energy levels and to prevent weight gain. Our mothers and grandmothers may recommend rich and fat-laden food “to make up” for the fasting, but there are healthier alternatives available.
Here are some tips that can help you stay healthy during the fasting season:
- It is better to eat small meals instead of starving yourself. The frequent meals help maintain blood glucose levels and ensure you are fuelled up to go through the day.
- Unless you are doing a ‘nirjal vrat’ (fast where you don’t even have water), keep yourself hydrated. It is recommended that you consume lots of water. Other fluids like coconut water, green tea, and lemon water are also great.
- Though a lot of vrat recipes involve frying, try to bake, roast, or grill vegetables to make your meal healthier.
- It is a good idea to pair foods high in carbohydrates like potatoes and sabudana (widely used in fasting) with other fibrous vegetables like capsicum, tomatoes, spinach, and cabbage.
- Amaranth (Rajgira) is a fantastic source of protein that you can include in your menu during fasting. You can even stir it up as savoury daliya with lots of vegetables.
- Kuttu, a flour used abundantly in Navratri, is a wonderful combination of carbohydrates (70-75%) and protein(20-25%). You can make chapattis with it and stay off those oil laden pooris.
- Samak rice is easy on your digestive system and you can enjoy it with your favourite sabzi.
- Got a sweet tooth? Those sugar cravings can be curbed by indulging in fruits.
- Mid-day munchies can keep those hunger pangs at bay. However, stay clear of those namkeen packets as they are high in salt and fat content. You can instead opt for roasted makhana (fox nuts), or a handful of assorted nuts(almonds/raisins/walnut).
- Stay off refined sugar as much as possible.
About the author
Dr. G S Kochar is a renowned expert in the field of nutrition, wellness and pharmaceutical industries having over two decades of experience under his belt.
After completing his MBBS from JIPMER Chennai and DMM from IMT Ghaziabad, he ventured into the pharmaceutical industry with Jagsonpal Pharmaceuticals Limited, where he was instrumental in bringing new products into the Indian market.
After that, he joined Gufic Pharmaceuticals before embarking upon a long and illustrious career with VLCC in June 2000. Since then he has held many important positions in VLCC health care Ltd, VLCC Education, and VLCC International LLC, finally retiring in 2016 as Head of Research, Technical Operations and Service Delivery at VLCC Healthcare Ltd.
During his 16 years with VLCC, Dr. Kochar managed to successfully deliver wellness and weight management solutions to millions across the world through dietary interventions. Having worked in challenging markets such as India, Sri Lanka, Middle-East and the CIS countries, Dr. Kochar is no stranger to staring challenges in the eye and emerging victorious from trying situations.
With his staunch belief that right nutrition is vital to leading a healthy life and that genomics provide the right tools to enable that, he ventured into the field of Nutrigenomics with Nutribiome. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.