By Naini Setalvad
Obesity, Lifestyle and Disease Consultant
Maha Shivratri –
Jai Jai Shiv Shankar
You cannot be born in India and not know the concept of a fast. I thought it was rubbish. Little did I know that a few years later I would be writing about the benefits of fasting!
Fasting or ‘upvas’ literally means to get closer to God. Scientifically, it is the simplest way to give your entire body system a time to rest, cleanse and rejuvenate. Tomorrow is Maha Shivratri and around India there is special fasting food being made.
A real fast is the complete abstinence from all substances except pure water, in an environment of total rest. The next best fast after water would be ‘fal ahar’ – fruits and fruit juices.
In Hindu fasting today one eats fruits, vegetables like cucumber and white gourd pumpkin. Milk and its products nuts seeds. Rocksalt, lemon green chili, ginger and cumin are the spices allowed. Abstinence must be taken from all grains and pulses. Potatoes, sweet potatoes , yams and flours made from seeds like amaranth , (rajgirha), vergu(samo,moraiya ) and the food is cooked in cows ghee.
There is no better way to stop a vicious cycle of self-destructive behavior than by fasting.
Maha Shivratri Sample diet
2) Fruit + coconut water or lemon water with salt no sugar or tea
3) Dry Fruits- raisins 3tbsp or 4 figs or 5 dates or 6 jaldaloos
4) Cucumber salad + doodhi vegetable + rajgira thepla or samo (moraiya) + butter milk or curd one small cup
6) Nuts- 20 almonds (badam) or 50 Pista
7) Cucumber salad + doodhi soup + potata pattice (app 1 ½ potato) or yam pattice or sweet potato or raw banana or rajghira.