Navratri 2018 is here and millions of Indians around the world are fasting. During the nine days of the festival that is dedicated to the Hindu feminine divine, devotees abstain partially from food. This means that they only eat fruits, dishes made from only a handful of vegetables and only gluten-free flours. During this time, it's extremely important for you to take care of your health. It's important to include more whole fruits and keep yourself hydrated, lest you feel faint and encounter symptoms like mood swings, headaches, etc., which are usually seen during the period of abstinence. Celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar, who is one of the fiercest advocates of the health benefits of eating locally grown foods, posted a full-fledged diet meal plan for Navratri on her Instagram account. Diwekar designed the meal plan with only those ingredients, which are permitted to be consumed during the Navratri. These include sago or tapioca pearls (sabudana), kuttu or buckwheat, rajgira or amaranth, etc.
In the post detailing the meal plan, Rujuta Diwekar also explained the religious and nutritional significance of the Navratri fast. "Nutritionally, it empowers the women with nutrients that make them not just physically stronger but helps bring about a balance at the neuro-transmitter and hormonal level too." She added by saying, "It's a "religious" method of teaching families that good physical health of the women and girls is of paramount importance to the well-being of communities and societies." She concluded by saying that the meal plan suggested by her was rough one and that it could be tweaked according to what was locally available and what was approved by our grandmoms.
Rujuta Diwekar advises people to eat a handful of fruits and nuts right after getting up and then follow it up with any one option from among pakodas made from water chestnut flour/ sabudana khichdi/ sweet potato with curd/potato kheer/chickpeas with poori and sheera, for breakfast. Rujuta also advises to keep snacking on fresh fruits, fresh buttermilk or sweet potato chaat, in between meals. It is important to remember that your Navratri fasting meal plan must be tailor-made to fit your physiological needs, and in case of any chronic diseases, must be designed by a certified dietitian or a clinical nutritionist only.