After the festival of Laddus (Ganesh Chaturthi), everyone is all geared up for the festival of dance, navratri. But not everyone knows that this is also the time to detoxify their bodies and fill it with nutrients.
Along with the zest of playing garba during Navratri, a lot of people fast in the name of Goddess Durga for all nine days. Some people go on a fast consisting of only fruits, which helps them to detoxify their bodies; while some others indulge in the tasty fasting foods available in India, little knowing the fact that they are filling their bodies with nutrient dense food!
Yes! You read it right. The fasting food consisting of rajgira (amaranth) and kutti (buckwheat),) are not only nutrient dense, but gluten free too. So, even if you are gluten intolerant, you don’t need to worry!
Rajgira Or Rajgira flour, also known as Amaranth is commonly used to make parathas, puris, chikis during the fasting days. Amaranth is the only grain which contains vitamin C and amino acid Lysine, which is required to metabolize fatty acids. It is high in minerals like iron, magnesium, potassium and phosphorous. It is five times higher in fibre content than the whole wheat flour, which makes it perfect for stomach health, cardiovascular health and diabetes. One cup of raw amaranth contains 15 milligrams of iron, while white rice contains only 1.5 milligrams. Researchers conclude that the protein in amaranth is the most nutritious plant based protein and can be considered in par with the animal protein. Whole amaranth can be popped as popcorn, just that it would be smaller in size, making it a health snack to consume.
Kutti Or Kutti Flour (Buckwheat), also known as one of the super foods available, is another grain used while Indians fast during the auspicious days. Buckwheat contains a number of essential vitamins and minerals, like magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc and B vitamin group, which includes folate required for smooth functioning of your body. Folate is one of the factors required for proper methylation in the body, to avoid unwanted genes to get activated. Buckwheat is full of essential amino acids, which help in lowering cholesterol, lowering hypertension and improving digestion by reducing constipation. Like Amaranth, buckwheat too is a source of high quality plant protein, which is good for vegetarians and vegans.
Some people who like to fast without salt and only prefer having raw foods, consume fruits, fruit juices (Home made), curd and buttermilk during their fasts. Fruits filled with phytonutrients, also known as anti-oxidants, which detoxify your body avoiding free radicals from attacking your immune system. Different phytonutrients are present in different colored fruits and hence we get a variety of them from the different fruits we consume. Darker the color of the fruits, more phytonutrients they contain. However, fruits except for bananas and citrus fruits are best consumed with the peel, as most of the nutrients are in the peel, so prefer buying organic to avoid toxicity in your body.
Buttermilk is high in calcium, potassium, B12 and lactic acid. It is easy to digest and has a low-fat content. Buttermilk helps to avoid acid reflux and dehydration during the fasts. Curd, although a source of buttermilk, has different nutritional functions in keeping the digestive system and the immune system healthy and strong, as it increases the WBC count necessary to fight any infection.
Although these superfoods are consumed more during the fasting days, we can consume them on a daily basis to live healthy!
Sample Detoxification and nutrient-fill body plan!
Day 1: Only fruits + buttermilk
Day 2: Only Vegetables (Raw, except potatoes with peel) + buttermilk
Day 3: Fruits & raw vegetables (salads) + buttermilk
Day 4: Raw vegetables (salads) + Buckwheat (pancakes, dosa, dhokla, khichdi) + buttermilk
Day 5: Fruits & Amaranth (paratha, chikki, pop-corn) + Buttermilk
Day 6: Sabudana with peanuts (roasted peanuts contain tocopherol, a form of vitamin E)+ fruits+ buttermilk
Day 7: Fruits & Vegetables (salads) + buttermilk
Day 8: Only vegetables (Raw, except potato which has to be eaten with peel) + buttermilk
Day 9: Only fruits + buttermilk
*Make sure to prepare all cooked foods in cow’s ghee and use home roasted dark peanuts wherever possible! And Most important, stay hydrated and have lots of water!
End your Navratri, feeling lighter and more energetic!