India is a land of festivals offering mouthwatering dishes on each festival and Navratri is no exception. It’s a 9 day festival where people keep fasts and make delicious dishes to open their fast at the end of the day. Generally, people observe Navratri fasts for religious reasons, but there are those, especially the youngsters who refrain from daily food to detoxify their bodies. Yes, fasting helps in detoxification. But first we need to understand its meaning.
Detoxification is our body’s own process of excreting existing toxins to regulate blood flow. In alternative medicine, detoxification therapy has been in use for thousands of years. Even Ayurveda follows this therapy to treat numerous chronic diseases. It is helpful to patients suffering from immune system problems, allergies, asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, digestive disorders and many more. Ancient Greeks suggested fasting to detoxify your body.
In Navratri, we show our devotion to the Goddess and refrain from eating and drinking alcohol as well. While fasting, our body automatically gets rid of toxins such as pesticides, pollutants and food additives which help improve immunity and overall health. Navratri fats are observed twice in a year and that too when seasons are changing. Keeping fasts also help in preventing infections. Nutritionists and dieticians have long been raising their voices in the favor of fasting. These days, our body is so accustomed to fast food, aerated drinks and salts that it doesn’t get a break to detoxify. Hence, Navratri becomes a healthier way to get rid of extra salts and toxic substances. Many people abstain from consuming alcohol during Navratri and according to doctors it’s a fantastic idea. Even a single serving of alcohol requires 2 days of processing. Not having it for 9 days is surely good for your body.
Healthcare professionals seem to agree with the concept of 9 day fasting. They say while we eat regularly, our reserves of energy are not utilized. When we go on fasting, our body utilizes that reserve energy to maintain balance.
With so many plus points and benefits, we can make an informed decision about Navratri fasting. But there is a catch. We can’t keep our stomach empty for full 9 days. It should be fed periodically so that reserves don’t dry up. Let’s see day-to-day healthy options for detoxification:
Day 1: A combination of fruits (less quantity of bananas as they are high in carbohydrates) and water serves up great. 10-12 glasses should suffice.
Day 2: Your main source of energy for day 2 will be potato (max 1 or 2) and vegetables like pumpkin. Baked potatoes in lunch and dinner along with light vegetable salad.
Day 3: No bananas or potatoes on this day. Only fruits for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Apple, oranges, grapes will do.
Day 4: Bananas and milk in various forms such as shakes can be taken throughout the day alongside vegetables like cucumber and pumpkin.
Day 5: Barnyard millet (Sama ke chawal) along with tomatoes. Have some fat in the form of ghee or olive oil in limited quantity.
Day 6: A bowl of barnyard millet with good fats and vegetables. Vegetables may be bottle gourd, pumpkin or cucumber.
Day 7: Two cups of barnyard millet or sabudana kheer (very little sugar in it). Mix it with good amount of fruits and vegetables.
Day 8: A repetition of day 7 will do the job. Just remember to drink at least 10 glasses of water on this day.
Day 9: On the final day when you open your fast, don’t indulge in heavy eating. Excessive eating can lead to imbalance in the digestive system. So pay attention. Keep your food very light with added roughage like cucumber and tomato salad.
By the end of Navratri, you will be feeling much lighter. Detoxification has already taken place and you would have shed some weight.