by Vaishali Sudan Sharma
A simple guide on healthy ways to fast during Karwa Chauth
Nobody quite knows how, when and why this festival originated. Since, Karwa Chauth overlaps with the wheat-sowing time, hence, one theory is that long time ago, the wheat-eating area dried-up and rivers of the region got waned from the effects of the monsoon. Due to this, men would have to undertake long-distance journey and their wives would fast to pray for their husbands’ protection and for a good harvest. So, this age-old ritual of fasting begins from sunrise and ends once the prayers have been offered to the moon at night. Basically, married women spend good 15-to-16 hours without consuming a drop of water and a bite! Therefore, in order to survive the day, women are supposed to eat a pre-dawn meal before the sun rises.
I have been married for 3 years now and one could easily say that I am a pro at keeping Karwa Chauth fast but, well, the truth is that I still get scared when I think about battling those crazy hunger prangs. Luckily, I am good at self-control. Besides, keeping busy during the day really helps and I eat healthy at pre-dawn time. Fasting cleanses the system and regulates digestion. But, my theory is that it is also important to fix your own body in order to survive such long hours of empty stomach. Therefore, my advice is that one should prepare way well in advance for the same.
Last year, a dear friend’s grandmother, age 65, got extremely unwell on Karwa Chauth. Thankfully, she realised that her body was no more able to handle fasting, hence, this year she has decided not to go ahead with it at all. Very wise decision! Why? Because, it is imperative to know your own dietary restrictions and undergo fast only if your health permits. Let’s face the reality, fasting is hard, obviously the whole purpose is defeated if one has to kill herself and her yearnings to be able to achieve the purpose.
Therefore, I am listing down a few tips on how to fast right. It has worked for me and I hope it does for you too:
At pre-dawn time:
- Do not consume acidic food items and caffeine based beverages. Stay away from coffee as much as you can. It causes acidity and other gastric problems that will make you feel unwell during the day.
- Go for at least 2 fruits, a banana and an apple perhaps or opt for a smoothie/banana shake Fibre keeps you feeling fuller for the day.
- Protein rich diet at pre-dawn will help you gain control of food cravings and it will also reduce your chances of experiencing bouts of high and lows throughout the day. A bowl of sprouts with peanuts, dices of home-made paneer and almonds is highly recommended.
- Avoid anything which is overly sweet. It only worsens the hunger prangs and makes you double-triple thirsty.
- If bread is what you like, go for whole-wheat over multi-grain. It is a great source of carbs and dietary fibre.
- Remember to eat well and chew properly.
When breaking the fast:
- Don’t over eat at all!
- Avoid caffeine based beverages right after breaking the fast. It intensifies acidity and results in stomach-discomfort.
- Try and avoid fried items, such as parathas, puris. It causes nausea and flatulence.
- Break your fast with a banana. It is easily digestible and a great source of energy. You can also try some oats. Plenty of fibre and an excellent stomach-soother. Have half a cup in cold milk. You can cut some banana and papaya in it.
- Hydrate yourself. Drink lots of water. I wouldn’t recommend drinking fruit juice on an empty stomach for the simple reason that it is acidic in nature.
- Have a cup of yogurt or a glass full of yogurt-based-smoothie. It helps soothe the stomach.
- Avoid rice. It is difficult to digest at night. As it is your stomach has been empty through the day. Consuming rice can only make it more susceptible to indigestion.
You know, it’s all in the mind and honestly, any kind of fasting requires dedication. The ritual of Karwa Chauth fasting has preceded us by years and years. The cause is special so, don’t get too hassled. Remember, to stay nourished prior and post the fast.
Happy Fasting & Feasting ladies!
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