Cumin To Ajwain: 5 Spices That Can Be Consumed During Navratri Fasts
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Sharad Navratri is here, and we cannot hold our excitement anymore. This festival is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga, who represents divine feminine energy and is believed to combat evil forces. Throughout the nine days, nine forms of Devi Durga are worshipped. Devotees offer prayers and prasad to the Goddess. The period of nine days is considered auspicious, and people wait for it year-round.

Devotees perform fasts or keep vrat for these nine days. They eat simple vegetarian, sattvik food. While some observe fast for nine days, some keep vrat in jodas (couples), picking only two days of the nine-day festival. Moreover, there are multiple dos and don’ts that need to be followed for preparing vrat ka khana. The devotees are not allowed to have meat, eggs, grains, legumes, or lentils. These are replaced by kuttu (buckwheat), singhara atta (water chestnut), sabudana (saggo), and many others. Besides, veggies like potatoes and lauki dominate the curry preparations. Moreover, there are only certain spices that can be used while preparing these foods. Let’s take a look at them:   

Spices You Can Have During Navratri  

There are certain spices that can be used while preparing Navratri food. One is supposed to use rock salt instead of regular salt. Since it is time to eat light and cleanse yourself from within, too much spicy food can lead to tamas guna (attributes of chaos and destruction). According to Hindu and ancient Ayurvedic understanding, foods can be divided into three categories, namely:   

Rajasic Food: Rajasic foods are typically spicy, pungent, and salty, often containing excessive amounts of stimulants like caffeine and spices such as chilli peppers.   

Tamasic Food: This type of food is often devoid of essential nutrients and can be overly processed or spoiled. Tamasic foods include items that are excessively fried, stale, or overly processed, and they lack vitality and freshness.   

Sattvik Food: These foods are characterised by their natural, unprocessed, and fresh qualities, typically including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and dairy products. Sattvik foods are believed to have a calming and harmonious effect on the body and mind.   

Sattvik food is followed during fasts in Navratri. Vegetables like bottle gourd and pumpkin are considered sattvik vegetables. Similarly, there are spices as well. Have a look at them:   

  • Cumin Or Cumin Powder  

Cumin is considered a sattvik spice in Ayurveda, making it suitable for consumption during fasts. It has a mild and earthy flavour that doesn't overpower the palate and is not considered overly stimulating or tamasic, which aligns with the principles of purity and simplicity associated with fasting. 

Additionally, cumin is known for its digestive properties, helping to alleviate common digestive issues that can occur when fasting, such as bloating or discomfort. Its inclusion in fasting dishes can aid in maintaining digestive balance. Moreover, cumin provides essential nutrients and energy, making it a valuable addition to fasting meals to keep individuals nourished and energised during the period of restricted eating.   

  • Green Cardamom  

Green cardamom has a mild and pleasant flavour that does not overpower the palate, making it suitable for sattvik, or pure, foods during fasts. It complements the simple and pure nature of fasting diets, aligning with the principles of purity and simplicity. Furthermore, green cardamom is believed to have digestive properties that can help alleviate common digestive issues that may arise during fasting. Its inclusion in fasting dishes can contribute to a more comfortable fasting experience. Additionally, cardamom adds a subtle, aromatic note to fasting-friendly recipes, enhancing their taste and aroma.   

  • Cloves   

Like many other spices used during fasts, cloves possess a mild and earthy flavor. Additionally, cloves are valued for their medicinal properties, including anti-inflammatory and digestive benefits. These properties can be particularly helpful during fasting, as digestive discomfort is a common issue, and cloves can help alleviate such concerns. Furthermore, cloves are believed to have a purifying effect on the body, promoting internal cleansing and detoxification, which aligns with the principles of fasting as a time for spiritual and physical purification.   

  • Cinnamon  

Cinnamon is recognised for its potential health benefits, including its anti-inflammatory and digestive properties. These qualities can be especially beneficial during fasting, when individuals may experience digestive discomfort. Moreover, cinnamon is believed to help regulate blood sugar levels, potentially preventing rapid spikes and crashes, which is essential during fasting periods. It is also Sattvik food.   

  • Ajwain   

Ajwain is known for its digestive properties, which can be particularly helpful during fasting when digestive discomfort is a common issue. It is believed to alleviate bloating and gas, ensuring a more comfortable fasting experience. Furthermore, ajwain is considered beneficial for its purifying and detoxifying properties, aligning with the principles of fasting as a time for internal cleansing and spiritual renewal.