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What can be eaten during the Navratri Fasts?

What can be eaten during the Navratri Fasts?

Navratri, a 9 day Indian festival celebrated to honour supreme goddess – Maa Durga. It is a Hindu festival which is celebrated twice a year – once in the month of Chaitra (March – April) and again in the month of Ashvin (September – October).

Fasting during this festival is a common Hindu tradition. Many people do it for religious beliefs and some do it just to detox their body. I am one such person who keeps fasts for 9 days only for detoxification. Obviously it can be done any time of the year but it becomes more disciplined during this festival.

What can be eaten during Navratri Fasting?

Everybody has their own way of fasting. Some people only eat fruits for all nine days while some eat a balanced meal that includes some vegetables, spices, dairy, grains, etc. Below are the food items that can be consumed during Navratri fasting:

Vegetables

  1. Common vegetables include potato, pumpkin, arbi or arvi (colocasia), sweet potato, yam, raw banana, and tomato.
  2. Some even include spinach, bell peppers, cauliflower, brinjal (eggplant), carrots, cucumber, etc.

Fruits

  1. All kinds of fruits are allowed during Navratri fasting. So, binge on them!

Grains and Flours

  1. The most commonly used grains and flours include buckwheat (kuttu), amaranth (rajgira), water chestnut flour (singhade ka aata), tapioca pearls (sabudana), barnyard millet (sama ke chawal).
  2. Quinoa can also be consumed during the fasting season.

Spices and Herbs

  1. Fasting Salt or rock salt (sendha namak)
  2. Cumin seeds or powder
  3. Black pepper, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg
  4. Ginger, green chili, coriander leaves, and mint leaves
  5. Carom seeds

Dairy Products

  1. Milk, paneer (cottage cheese), ghee, curd or yogurt, khoya, cream, and other milk products are allowed during the fasting season.
  2. Sweets made from milk products like kalakand, kheer, khoya barfi, etc. can also be consumed.

Vegan Milk

  1. If you follow a vegan diet, avoid dairy and consume plant-based milk or curd. For example, coconut milk, almond milk, and cashew milk. Do not consume rice milk, soy milk, and oat milk.

Nuts & Seeds

  1. All kinds of nuts and seeds are allowed. Include foxtail nuts, peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pistachios in your diet.
  2. Some people avoid seeds like flax seeds, chia seeds, or sunflower seeds. But you can check with your family and include seeds in your diet during the fasting season.
  3. Dates are allowed and make a nice sweet option.

Sweeteners

  1. Sugar is generally avoided.
  2. Include jaggery or honey as a sweetener.
  3. For vegan options – jaggery powder, brown sugar, maple syrup, or any other plant-based sweetener.

Cooking Oil

  1. Normally peanut oil or ghee is used but many people consume any kind of cooking oil available at home.

Tea and Coffee

  1. Tea is allowed.
  2. There are some doubts about coffee because they are made from coffee beans but these days it is consumed during the fasting season.

Food items that should be avoided during the fasting season

  1. Vegetables like onion and garlic are strictly avoided while fasting.
  2. All kinds of lentils or legumes.
  3. Grains like wheat, rice, corn, and oats are also not consumed.
  4. Regular salt or common salt is not used. Instead, use sendha namak or rock salt.
  5. Spices like red chili powder and turmeric powder are avoided.
  6. Alcohol is strictly prohibited.
  7. Eggs and other non-vegetarian food items are not consumed during Navratri season.
  8. Some people avoid consuming flax seeds and chia seeds.
  9. Peas are also not allowed.
  10. Flours like maida (all-purpose flour) and besan are also not consumed.

These are the food items that are consumed during the Navratri fasting season. But everyone has their own set of rules and traditions. There is nothing wrong or right when it comes to family traditions and cultures. This is what I believe. So, you can choose to do whatever suits you.

Happy Navratri!

Stay Healthy. Stay Blessed.

Lots of love,

Richa

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