Food not eaten during Navratri
Nine days of Navratri are considered to be very auspicious, when the nine avatar of Goddess Durga are worshipped. This most essential festival celebrated across the country happening about twice each year. The celebration goes on for nine long days when the different forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped each night.
People worship nine forms of Durga on these nine days and follow nine days fasting ritual. There is variation of number of fasting days, some devotees only fast for first and last day of Navratri, while other fast in couple. Even there are variation of what people eat during these nine days. Some keep fast only by drinking water while other eat fruits and some take one meal a day.
Fasting during Navratri is not only a religious practice, but also has several scientific reasons associated with it. The word ‘fasting’ can have many connotations—many fast in a belief to connect with the almighty, while others do so to rejuvenate their body. In a nutshell, when done in the right manner, fasting holds a lot of benefits to keep the body healthy. As the season changes we also need to bring slight change in our immune system, so as we fast during these days and consume only healthy food to keep away from seasonal diseases. One of the most commonly known benefits of this arduous practice is to cleanse the body and calm the mind.
According to Vedic scriptures the food we consume is divided into three categories, Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic. Sattvic food is allowed to be eaten during fast, which are generally fresh food and vegetables. Rajasic and Tamasic are generally sour and bitter, salty or dry and should be avoided. Consumption of alcohol, smoking and eating meat is strictly avoided.
The popular vegetables eaten during these days should be Satvik in nature and provide lot of energy and hydration. Devotees fasting can consume Kuttu ka Atta (Buckwheat flour), Singhara atta (Water Chestnut flour), Samai ka Atta (Barnyard Millet flour) and Amaranth. Potatoes are commonly eaten in meals, while other vegetable like tomato, spinach, cucumber and carrot are also eaten. One is also allowed to eat pumpkin, lauki, arbi basically any type of root vegetable can be consumed during the fast. All type of dry fruits like almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, raisins, pistachio and pine nuts are allowed.
Among the herbs and spices allowed are Rock salt, black salt, green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, carom seeds (ajwain), black pepper, ginger, green chilies, lemons, dry mango powder can be consumed. Garam masala, Turmeric Powder, Asafetida, Mustard seeds, Fenugreek seeds must be avoided.
All type of dairy products like, milk, paneer, cheese, butter, cream, yoghurt are allowed. Buttermilk and Lassi are great options to keep you hydrated through the day during Navratri. You can use Ghee, vegetable oil, peanut oil while cooking food, mustard oil and sesame oil should not be used as mustard seeds are not allowed to be eaten in fast.
The food eaten are Kuttu Ka Cheela with Aloo ki sabji, Singhade Ka Halwa, Singhare Ke Pakore, Sabudana Khichdi. Onion and garlic are considered tamasic in nature and should be avoided during these days. There are some rules set of what you should eat and what not during these nine days. Coconut, honey, sugar, jaggery, tea, sabudana and makhanas are also allowed while fasting.
Foods to be avoided
All type of lentils, rice, wheat flour, all purpose flour, gram flour, corn flour, millet flour, semolina should be avoided.
Common salt is not allowed to be used in place we use Sendha namak or upvaas ka namak is used which has low sodium content.
Turmeric is a common used spices in India and is refrained to be eaten in fast. Dhania (Coriander), asafoetida (hing), mustard (sarson or rai), fenugreek seeds (methi dana) is also avoided during navratri fast.
Onion and garlic is not used in kitchen for these nine days. Usually ginger is added is most vrat recipes. Okra, eggplants, mushrooms, shallots and leeks are considered tamasic so not used.
Non- veg and alcohol
Non-vegetarian food, egg, alcohol, smoking, drinking aerated drinks should be avoided.