Before Intermittent Fasting became all the rage in the health community, we had our very own 9-day Navratri fasting, twice a year. 

Yes, fasting is ingrained in our culture. 

From detoxification to reducing the levels of inflammation throughout the body, the benefits of fasting are even backed by science today. According to a recent research study published in the Science Daily, fasting or calorie-restricted diet could help delay the onset of age-related cellular degeneration.  

Navratri fasting is a good way to practice mindfulness in our thoughts, actions, and eating habits. As opposed to starvation, fasting allows you to look inward, feel calmer and make eating right a conscious effort and not a forced decision. It’s the time when you allow your digestive system to relax and reboot itself naturally. To get the maximum benefits out of it, it is important that you do it the right way and do not make these 5 common fasting mistakes:

#MISTAKE 1 Having more  fried foods. 

 Reheating the same oil all day and then frying all those kuttu pakodas, potato chips and sabudana papads in it will only give you indigestion, heartburn, belching and unwanted weight gain. Theses fried foods contain a high percentage of sodium and carbs, which is way beyond your daily consumption bracket. Eating them will make you feel more fatigued and lethargic. Binging on these oily snacks will result in a calorie surplus. 

 Make it right: Instead of deep-frying, try to have your food in a simple form. For example, swap kuttu pooris with kuttu pancakes or kuttu chapatis. Instead of refined oil, try to use ghee because it has a high smoking point. Avoid olive oil, as it is not meant for frying. Avoid reusing the same oil for frying because it can create free radicals, which are harmful to the body.

#MISTAKE 2 Overeating at night

 Consuming all your calories with just one meal is not how it is meant to be. Bringing discipline in your diet is the very purpose of fasting. When you overeat at night, you undo all the good work that your body had done throughout the day. The sudden overload of calories sends your system into a frenzied mode. And not to forget, the night is the time when our bodies are least active, so there is no chance of burning those calories. As a result, they get stored as fat. 

 Make it right: Fruits, nuts, vegetable soups, and water are the best way to save yourself from binge eating or overload your body at a time. It prevents a sudden spike in your blood glucose levels or slipping into a food coma. Include yogurt with main meals because it aids in digestion and prevents acidity.  

MISTAKE #3 Overdose of Sugar

For most of us, the solution to every problem or challenge lies in sugar. Isn’t it? The body craves more glucose while fasting and it is, indeed tough to control those cravings. But isn’t fasting all about exercising some self-restraint? 

 Make it right: Strictly avoid aerated drinks during fasting because not just liquid sugar is the unhealthiest, it also makes the body crave more sugar. Plus, don’t overdo sugar in your tea or coffee or even, curd. Go for buttermilk over mishti dahi or frozen yogurts. The best natural substitutes of sugar are: 1 Fig (soaked) or 1 Pind Khajur; 2. Munnaka or 3 Raisins or 1 tsp of Jaggery or 1 fruit

MISTAKE 4#    Not drinking enough WATER

If you don’t drink enough water while fasting, you would feel all the more tired, hungry and sleepy. It has scientifically been proven that lack of hydration adversely impacts our physical performance. Studies have shown that even mild dehydration increases feelings of anxiety and fatigue.  

 Make it right: Drinking water will keep your hunger pangs at bay. You will not feel constipated or irritated. There will be a better supply of nutrients all over the body, and it will help control sugar cravings also.  Coconut water, Lemon Water and Buttermilk are good options. 

MISTAKE #5    Giving vegetables a miss. 

 Aloo sabji for all nine-days of fasting is not just boring, it’s unhealthy too. In fact, Navratri is the best time to initiate a healthy relationship with veggies. Traditionally, ‘saatvik bhojan’ is recommended for fasting days. 

 Make it right: Along with fruits, vegetables are also important. Eating vegetables protects your liver from fructose and glucose overload. Anti-oxidants are equally important. Sautee veggies in ghee and add sendha namak and black pepper. You can also have veg soups or stuffed veggie tikki or stuffed pancakes. Add veggies such as carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, bottle gourd, and beetroot. Avoid starchy vegetables such as sweet potato, potatoes, corns, and yams.