Navaratri Special Dietary Guidelines

Navaratri Special Dietary Guidelines

By Manasi Joshi  on: 10 October 2018
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This year the auspicious festival of Navaratri starts today on 10th October and will continue till 18th October. Festive celebration take different forms like puja, dandiya etc. Like most Indian festivals, this is a celebration with colourful clothes, music, dance etc. Many people fast for these 9 days of the festival for religious reasons. Some eat foods that are (religiously) allowed during the fast. But they end up eating starchy, high fat & heavy to digest foods consistently for 9 days. This leads to Acidity, Heart burns & indigestion, etc. Some people eat raw foods or even liquids which turns out to be a very low calorie diet. They get fatigue, tiredness & feel lethargic.

Some people think intentionally opportunistic like "I am anyway going to keep fast for 9 days, so why not go on 'fruit diet' or 'raw foods diet' and lose weight?" And they lose weight with these 'crash Diets' during festive seasons. But as this cannot be a long term diet, the results are not sustainable. 

It must be carved in our minds that the purpose of these fasts is not to starve oneself, but to give rest to one's digestive tract. Once can notice that spicy food, pungent flavors like onions and garlic etc are forbidden during these days.  

Let us keep aside all diet related confusions for these days & talk about the healthy diet.

Healthy food choices:

Fruits, veggies like pumpkin, sweet potato, potato, cucumber etc.,

Dryfuits & nuts like almonds, walnuts, black raisins, dried figs, dates & peanuts etc.,

Milk (Cow's) & other milk products like curd, buttermilk buttermilk (???/ ???), paneer etc.,

Rajgira and Bhagar (in Marathi ??? / ????? ??????, in Hindi ???? ?? ????

Tips one should not forget:

1. Avoid fried foods.

2. Avoid sago (????????).

3. Instead of oil, use homemade cow's ghee (It is easy to digest compared to oils as it contains MCT). One can also use cold pressed Groundnut oil in limited portions.

4. Have 5-6 small frequent meals throughout the day. Avoid long gaps (more than 4 hours) between 2 meals. Not eating anything throughout the day is unhealthy. It leads to starvation & excessive muscle loss.

5. Stay hydrated. Drink 2-3 lit water per day.

6. Avoid sweet preparations, fruit juices, khoa. Replace sugar with jaggary (????/) or honey.

7. Avoid excess consumption of tea or coffee. (Not more than 2 cups per day- 1 cup =  125 ml). Instead go for green tea.

8. Portion control is a key.

9. Moderate intensity exercise is allowed during these days.

Healthy Diet can have:

1. 3-4 servings of fruits & veggies per day.

2. Handful of nuts & dryfruits per day.

3. 2-3 liters of water per day. One can add beverages in daily diet like: green tea, buttermilk (???/ ???), nimbu pani, milk etc.

4. 2-3 portions of Rajgira or Bhagar per day.

5. Groundnut oil or Ghee 2-3 tsp/day. (Measure melted ghee).


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Shravan - Health Tips
22 August 2018
Tips to gain health during Shravan: Shravan Maas, a holy month in Hindu calendar, usually comes somewhere between early August to mid September. In this month, the weather in India is humid, cloudy & moist. Hence, the chances of infections are high. Because of such a weather, the risk of indigestion and food borne infections are high. It is also said that digestion is slower/ sluggish during this season. Hence, it is advised to avoid non-vegetarian food, onion & garlic during this month. There are many people who fast during this holy month once or twice a week. The aim of these fasts is to bring good health, reduce the stress on your digestive system by giving it a periodic rest from digesting high calorie & fat food and minimize the risk of indigestion & food borne infections. But usually, people end up eating high carbohydrate (that too mostly starchy foods), high fat, fried foods during the fasts, thus leading to increased load on digestive system. This is exactly opposite of what we aim to achieve. Many people complain of acidity, heartburns & indigestion post fasting. Let's achieve good health this Shravan & enjoy weather with good health. Tips for healthy fast: Make healthy food choices. They can be variety of fruits (no juices), cucumber, Bhagar / Jungle Rice (in Marathi ??? / ????? ??????, in hindi ???? ?? ???? / ?????), dryfruits, nuts , milk & other dairy products (curd, buttermilk, clarified butter- ??? / ??), boiled potato, Amaranth (???????) etc. Avoid staying without food for the whole day as it sends signal of starvation to your brain leading to reduced metabolic rate (calorie burning capasity). This can also lead to overeating at dinner. Use homemade cow's ghee for cooking. (It is easy to digest compared to oils as it contains MCT) Avoid fried foods and sago (????????). Portion control is the key. Do not skip exercise. Drink adequate water to stay hydrated. Have normal dinner . Do not overeat. One can aim for a detox plan once in this month. (Frequent detox can destroy healthy GI microflora). Visit a qualified dietitians for a detox diet plan. Tips to increase protein intake: Many people avoid eating meat & eggs during this holy month. Because of that, their concerns are about meeting daily protein needs. Here is a good news for you…  You can meet your daily protein  requirements with vegetarian food sources. People who have vegetarian lifestyle can also follow these tips for daily meals. Include daal, pulses, sprouts etc. in daily diet. Include dairy products like cow's milk, curd, paneer, buttermilk (???) etc. in the daily diet. Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashew nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, etc. can be added to daily meals to increase proteins in diet. We can use dryfruits or dryfruit powders, peanut powder, sprouts, paneer cubes, tofu cubes or boiled rajma, chhole etc. in salad dressings. We can add soaked daals, besan, groundnut powder or sesame seeds to vegetables to increase proteins. Points to remember : Portion control is a key. One must remember to have these foods in recommended portion size. Excess calories in any form (carbohydrates, proteins or fats) can lead to increased fat deposits & weight gain. Avoid supplements as long as it is not clinically required or recommended by your Doctor / qualified dietitian. One must incorporate Vit C & B complex rich foods in diet to enhance protein absorption. Exercise is must for utilization of proteins & increase lean (muscle) weight. People with kidney problems or high uric acid should avoid having high protein foods on your own. Please consult a qualified dietitian. People with Thyroid problems & PCOS should consult qualified dietitian before starting soya products & some goitrogenic  foods that are high protein.  
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Manasi Joshi

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M.Sc. Dietetics & Certified Diabetes Educator , Netherlands 

Manasi Joshi is a renowned freelance Dietitian & Diabetes educator from Pune, India with expertise in different streams in Dietetics such as Clinical Nutrition, Diabetes Management, Sports & Fitness Nutrition and Lifestyle Modification. She is not just a professional dietician, but herself is a foodie.  Therefore, she always aims at finding a golden middle of your health and treating your taste buds. Rather than current trends like crash diet, meal replacers, skipping meals etc., she firmly believes in healthy food habits and natural ways to optimize lifestyle. Hence, she typically advocates seasonal and indigenous food habits.In order to keep up with the pace of our busy schedules, Manasi has adapted to online diet consultation program. So, save your precious time by connecting with her on a single click and invest it in your favorite sport, or spend it with your family.Manasi has happy customers accross the globe (India, USA, Europe, & Australia etc.) Scientific approach to Manasi's consultation originates not only from  her attitude, but also from her active participation in research programs at different stages of her career. She is proficient in the field of clinical nutrition in versatile specializations such as Diabetes, Hypertension, Cardiac diseases, Liver diseases, Neurology, Nephrology & Critical Care. She also has rich experience in lifestyle related disorders and weight management.  During a community based nutritional research project conducted at KEM Hospital, Pune, in her role as a research assistant, she has done nutritional assessment & given dietary guidance and counseling to adolescent girls & boys, pregnant women & their families.
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