Shraavan, the month of festivities and fervor is here. Considered the most auspicious month for Hindus, Shraavan is replete with many important events and festivals . In many parts of India, Shraavan is dedicated to Lord Shiv and devotees observe fasts to seek His blessing. Fasting is done for sixteen Mondays (“ Shraavan Somvaar”) that fall in this month. In many others, Tuesdays are the days of fasting as well, where Lord Shiv’s wife, Goddess Parvati is worshipped.
Fasting can be good for health if done correctly. Generally non vegetarian food, alcohol , garlic and onion and some other foods are not consumed during this month. In some regions, milk , green leaves, brinjal and other vegetarian foods too are avoided. While it may not be harmful to exclude some foods temporarily, careful planning of foods can still compensate for the missed nutrients and the fasting periods can actually result in weight loss and increased fitness.
Here are some tips to fast right:
- Avoid overeating when breaking the fast, and be very careful in selecting the right kind of foods, devoid of refined sugar and simple starches. Refined sugar can spike the blood sugar levels dangerously , which can damage the organs in the long run. Eating too much after a prolonged period of fasting can also set in a condition in some people, called reactive hypoglycemia where the blood sugar levels can drop down suddenly after eating a meal high on simple sugars or refined carbohydrates. Selecting whole grains and millets like ragi , kodo millet, bajra will ensure slow and steady sugar release , besides providing the fiber and vitamins that are much needed.
- Drink lots of water, buttermilk, coconut water and fruit juices without sugar throughout the fast and after to avoid dehydration.
- Those who perform heavy physical labor or young mothers need to be very careful to replenish fluids throughout the fast to avoid electrolyte imbalances.
- It may not be safe for all diabetics to fast, and it is advised that certain high risk people listed below consult their doctor before commencing the fast: Diabetics with poor glycemic control or those on insulin or certain medications who have frequent episodes of low blood sugars (less than 70) or “hypoglycemia” should not fast. Some diabetics are unaware of the low blood sugar and have no symptoms whatsoever, which can be more dangerous and fatal , because it can result in sudden coma and death. Fasting should also not be done by pregnant and nursing women, heavy industrial laborers , those suffering from any kind of ailments or those who are on medications.
- Fruits are generally allowed during fasts, and it is good to eat 3 or 4 fruits that are rich in fiber and minerals such as guava, watermelon, papaya, apple, and banana.
- If milk is not allowed, fresh set curds and buttermilk or lassi will provide the calcium and proteins during the fasts.
- Avoid fried foods or oily foods as they can are not only devoid of nutrients and fiber, but also can be toxic.
- Remember to eat healthy after the fast, and include plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grain cereals, low fat milk and milk products and water.
Fasting can nourish both the soul and the body when done correctly. Select the right kind of foods that nourish you with the ideal balance of nutrients , from the wide array of healthy options at Calorie Care. Visit caloriecare.com today for health and nutrition solutions.