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Posted at: Sep 21, 2017, 1:35 AM; last updated: Sep 21, 2017, 1:35 AM (IST)WEIGHT WATCH RUCHI GOYAL

Fast & foremost

Intelligent fasting can have lasting benefits on your health. Follow these simple tips this Navratra
Fast & foremost

Navratra fasting is a way to prepare our body for the upcoming change in seasons. Fasting is a healthy practice, if followed in its true spirit. 

If the scientific principles of food consumption that are the essence of fasting are followed rigorously, fasting promotes self-discipline, detoxifies the body, promotes better digestion, improves body energy and imparts a feeling of rejuvenation to our senses.

Why adopt alternative flours?

Most of the flours consumed during fasting (like kuttu, singhara, rajgiri/amaranth) are pseudo cereals and are gluten-free. This makes them easy to digest while being wholesome and nutritious. Also, they keep us satiated for longer periods. Since they are rich in starch, they provide good energy and help maintain blood glucose levels.

Buckwheat (kuttu) and amaranth have a better quality and higher percentage of protein than wheat. 

Why avoid pulses & proteins?

Pulses, lentils and regular grains like wheat and rice are complex in nature and are therefore avoided. The purpose is to relax our digestive system. Even the type of protein consumed and its amount should be wisely chosen. 

Why insist on sendhanamak?

Sendhanamak, which is a natural, unprocessed rock salt, is preferred over regular, iodized salt as it is rich in minerals. It helps maintain the ion balance in the body and promotes a good gut while fasting.

Be careful of binging

Problems arise when we indulge in mindless eating and make the mistake of cooking the foods incorrectly. Frying makes the foods lose their nutritional value and the purpose of consuming them gets defeated. They may be tasty to the tongue but do nothing for our body.

Fats, when added in high amounts in our food, are more difficult to digest than proteins. So, if proteins are to be avoided, adding fats is only negating the effect of fasting. It is not that fats are forbidden, but they should be consumed in the form of nuts, seeds and dairy products, and not from fried  foods. 

Go for exercise

Gentle yoga poses, stretches, twists and bends complement the fasting process. They also speed up the detoxification process and make you feel uplifted and energised. Strenuous exercises are not suggested while fasting. This is to avoid any injury since the repair mechanism for wear and tear of muscles works at a slower rate.

Elements of intelligent fasting

We believe that for real detoxification to happen, one must drink plenty of liquid, eat light, non-fried food that is easily digestible, have small frequent meals, sip on herbal tea to boost the metabolism, have coconut water to provide nutrients and do a few breathing exercises. Fruits and vegetables should be consumed in plenty to provide various vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber.

The amount of food intake and its timing is very important. Try not to delay the main meal of the day to late evening, keep the snacks and especially the evening meal light, with some simple form of foods like sabudana, fruits, milk, dates, roasted makhana, raisins, etc. To increase the satiety of the meals, one can add some seeds, nuts, paneer and small portions of amaranth in different forms.

(Ruchi Goyal is a Chandigarh-based clinical nutritionist and dietician)


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