For the purpose of research, our SmartCooky team member Kriti decided to keep a fast, for the first time ever. As this was done for the sole purpose of writing this article, she fasted one day before Karwa Chauth, ie. on 18th October 2016. These are notes from her personal diary, a glimpse into the trials and tribulations she went through! Read on..
They say you never forget your first time and its true, you never really do. This year I decided to keep my very first Karva Chauth. I woke up (reluctantly) on a crisp October morning before sunrise and hoping to gorge on a big breakfast so I wouldn't feel hungry through the day but finally settled with a glass of water because it was far too early to chew. Then I went about the usual morning routine: reading, to-do lists, work emails and more, all of it without my morning Joe (my cup of coffee). By the time I hustled through traffic and got to work, I was parched, my mind racing uncontrollably because of the lack of caffeine.
The Wall Street Journal will tell you that 'Coffee Withdrawal' is a hundred percent real. Some of the symptoms are: headache, irritability, inability to concentrate or a depressed mood. And I did experience a lot of these symptoms before by 9AM though I think Delhi traffic may have attributed to them all and not just the absence of my morning cuppa.
Determined, I went about my day. The first few hours up till 12:30 - 1PM were difficult but by 2PM hunger had left the building. Only to be back by 3PM at which point to distract myself, I spent 30minutes deciding what kind of food I could break my fast with. I ruled out junk food for health reasons, healthy food for taste reasons and finally settled on a whole wheat chicken wrap. A few months ago I had read a New York Times articles which read 'When there was a significant delay between the time a person ordered their food and the time they planned on eating it, they chose lower-calorie meals.' In that moment, this study seemed to me as the absolute truth. I spent the next three hours closely monitoring the wrap sitting on the corner of my desk from the corner of my eye, hoping that just the sight of it would please my appetite. Then finally, after checking with my weather app, I broke my fast, all alone and in office.
I'm a food-media professional and food and as a result eating, my professional obligation. So, why did I keep a fast?
I've seen women observe Karva Chauth but none that I've personally known. My mom never fasted and neither did my grandmom. Then why did I feel compelled to keep up with a tradition that has its roots in mythology, and not logic? Do I really think that one day of restraint would elongate my partner's life? Well, no. For independent millennial women, the idea of sporting red sarees, mehandi and costume jewellery in the middle of the work week may not be something they associate with. But this fasting for a day is not really so much about proving a point or stretching your man's life. You become a part of something much bigger that you: a celebration of sentiment, a tradition, a certain value system and deep-routed belief. However, I don't feel it applies to women only. Who knows, maybe years from now we can have a day where man sit around fasting for the women they love (and I hear many men do that already).
Would I fast again? Not to a point where I completely deprive myself of food but in a way that I feel good but also nourished but not weak. If you suffer from any kind of problem like diabetes, IBS, thyroid of fluctuating blood sugar, an absolute and complete fast may not be ideal. You should be able to understand your body and feed it the right kind of food at the right time.
So, for the next time you fast, here are some things you could do:
1. Drink a tall glass of milk in the morning for breakfast.
2. Eat a handful of nuts during the day so you have enough energy to go about the day's tasks.
3. Drink a cup of tea or a glass of milk in the evening. Or eat a bowl of yogurt.
4. Eat a citrus fruit or an apple around noon so you don't feel dab about skipping lunch
5. Avoid anything heavy on the stomach in the evening when you break your fast and eat something like sprouts, poha or paneer salad.