Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Navratri and Diet

Though fasting is a ritual of purification and it has it benefits but for a common person (like me), fasting has it challenges specially when so much starchy oily food is available and which I can eat without guilt on the pretext of fasting.

I do not fast but my husband do and as he is trying to keep his weight in control you can understand who takes all the stress while he happily fast.

The thing about fast is that the best available food that will give you satisfaction are starch based. There is no escaping from that. Of course there is an option of being on fruits and veggies diet but when one is fasting for 8 -9 days then that is not much of an option.

Moreover, diet based solely on fruits and vegetables (that too restricted) tend to make one feel weak. So, with pressure of work and running around fasting on fruits is not quiet an option for my husband.

The best way to maintain/lose weight during fasting is to make sensible choices and eat starch at a moderate amount (we all know that don't we).

Here are some pointers to get you started:

1. Mistakes you should not do : Don't stop eating your starch and carbs. In a day or two your body will go in withdraw sysmptoms. If you are eating fruits and veggies the whole day you will not only feel weak but will feel really hungry at the end of the day. This will then make you choose oily calorie filled meals such as fried potato chips, sabudana vadas, sabudana khichadi and what not. Remember, just because you are fasting you cannot excuse yourself from exercise and for exercise you need energy.

2. Healthy items: Every household have a set of food items which are allowed during fasting, so figure out the healthy ones. For example, in my house we can eat cabbage, tomato, spinach, paneer, pumpkin, bottle gourd, sweet potato and potato. SO, that a nice handy list of options and you can create real healthy meals out of these.

3. Know your starches :

A) Sweet potato is the best bet because it has a low GI index. You can google calories in a medium size sweet potato (200 -300) and have that with a bowl of curd, crisp cabbage stir fry on the side. This becomes a full meal and it does gives you satisfaction. It takes lot of time to digest a sweet potato so you won't feel hungry after eating it.

B) Sago or sabudana, well this is pure carbohydrate with really less fibre, it is infact pure starch. I remember, my mom use to use the starch of sago seeds to starch her cotton saree (what lovely days). The thing is if you accompany starch with lots of oil or lots of potatoes it will not only increase you carbs amount it will also shoot your sugar levels.

So should you give this up, I don't think so. In my experience with Sago, if hubby dear eats it for breakfast he is not hungry for a long time. So, I do use sago during fasts but it is allowed only in breakfast. You can increase the amount of veggies in it and decrease the amount of sago seeds, this increase the volume and a bowl of this will see you through comfortably till lunch.

Its a myth that Sago require lots of oil to cook nicely, just use 1- 2 tsp of oil, saute them, cover for two minutes and your sabudana khicadi is ready.

Don't have plates full of sabudana khichadi, a bowl is good enough. If you are hungry after 2 hours, chew a fruit (you are fasting aren't you.)

Grilled Sabudana Vadas

C) Flours :If sabudana was not enough starch, enters the flours that can be eaten during these days, sinhgada (water chestnut), kotu and rajgirah. Moreover, its very difficult to knead the dough unless you make use of potato or arbi (taro root). Usually, puri or paratha's are made out of this (and I love them). So what should you do, use arabi (taro roots) and little curd to knead the dough instead of using lots of potato to knead it. Grill them like a roti and have it with a low calorie sabji. @ of these roties with a sabji will make a meal of
300 -400 calories which is good enough.

D) Potatoes: Its used in most dishes during the fasting days. I have seen people eating lots of potatoes during these days, they eat fried pottao chips and boiled potato. You can take a medium potato and divide it into 2-3 pieces use one piece for your one meal dish, so if you are making sabudana khichadi, you will use only one part of this potato, for sabji you can use the second part and so on. Cut the potato very finally so that you get the taste in small amount.This way you get the taste and you need not eat one whole potato at a time.

4. Yes you can make soups: You just need to pressure cook the tomatoes, grind them and cook them as we make our regular tomato soup but to thicken it use Makhana. Take a fist of Makhana and grind it to a powder and mix into this soup, you can also use finely chopped panner pieces. It becomes a small less calorie meal.

You can do the same thing with Pumkin soup (No one is stopping you.)

Include these low calorie soups in your meals to fill your stomach.

5. Snack - Don't snack on roasted peanuts. You can have a small fistful only once a day. Snack on fruits and during teatime you can have roasted makhanas.

Sabjies that you can make

1. Paneer bhurji with tomato OR mashed spinach paneer tastes great with roties.

2. Pumpkin sabji - This is one healthy vegetable which will do you good,

3. Cabbage - A stir fried cabbage is always a good side dish. One quick dish is to make tomato and cabbage and have it on sides with your sabudana (I know it sounds strange but tastes nice), this guarantees a full stomach with less sago. Cabbage Potato Salad is a complete low cal meal.

4. Raita - Bottle gourd raita and pumpkin raita.

5. Small mini meals
- If you have an urge to eat something and which could be your mini meal the sweet potatoes are really a good option. You can make sweet potato pancakes or sweet potato nests.

Be regular with your exercise. If you lose weight then very good and if you maintain your weight still pat your back, you did absolutely fine.

There is no need to struggle with your hunger during fasting. A small amount of starch will not give you withdrawal symptoms and most of the day you can have veggies and fruits.

Happy Fasting.


  1. Lovely information and good motivation,shiva.

  2. Dear Kanthi,

    Thanks for liking the pots.

    Have a great day ahead.



  3. very informative post. will use it as am fasting :)

  4. Dear Scribbles,

    Thanks for dropping by. I am glad you found it useful.

    Lots of love to you.



  5. Hi Shiva, You are as usual spot on !! Always count on you for the best eating options.
    thanks a ton

  6. Dear Soul Speak,

    Thanks a ton for liking the post and recipes.

    Lots of love to you.



  7. good info....quite useful...thanks

  8. Dear Baarish,

    Welcome to my blog. Thanks for liking the blog post.



  9. Dear Vibhu,

    Thanks for liking the blog post.

    Lots of love



  10. nice info. good going keep it up..

    1. Dear Paras,

      Thanks for appreciating the post.


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