Lovneet Batra says to make plans the day before the fast so that you can stay hydrated and energised during the fast. Her suggestions include changes to the diet, ways to stay hydrated, and simple tips that can help women stay healthy and strong while following this important tradition.
Karwa Chauth is a major festival that occurs at the start of the holy month of Kartik in the Hindu calendar, and it is accompanied by a spirit of festivity and devotion. The festival of fasting is celebrated primarily by married Hindu women. This year, the auspicious day falls on the 1st of November. It's a day when married women fast from sunrise to moonrise, abstaining from food and water, with the hope of ensuring the long life and well-being of their husbands. While traditions and rituals vary, one common challenge faced by fasting women is how to stay hydrated and maintain their energy levels throughout the day. With this in mind, we asked the advice of nutritionist Lovneet Batra, who offers helpful insights and nutritional suggestions to ensure that the Karwachauth fast is not only spiritual but also healthful.
Karwa Chauth fasting involves a considerable period without food or water, and it's important to approach it with proper planning. Lovneet Batra emphasises planning a day before the fasting to stay well-hydrated and energized during the fast, especially as it extends throughout the day. Her advice encompasses dietary choices, hydration strategies, and lifestyle adjustments that can help women maintain their health and vitality while observing this important tradition. She recommends the following:
1) Don’t hydrate with plain water: Drinks that are high in electrolytes are better than plain water. These drinks, which have a small amount of carbs (about 6%), help you stay hydrated and absorb water well, so you stay energised during the fasting day. This plan helps you stay healthy during the strict observance of the festival without putting your health at risk. Eg: shikanji with jaggery or coconut water with pinch of pink salt or have fruits with pink salt.
2) Have easy to digest foods: Prepare your body for fasting by consuming easy-to-digest foods like dal rice, khichdi, or curd rice in advance. These complete meal combinations are gentle on your digestive system. They ensure that your body receives essential nutrients and remains nourished during the fasting period, making it easier to endure the day while reaping health benefits.
3) Avoid mixing too many food items and don’t have processed food: Don't eat a lot of different kinds of foods the day before your fast, and stay away from outside food or processed foods. Too many things in one meal can make your digestive system work too slowly. By sticking to a simple, home-cooked meal before you fast, you can make sure that your body is ready for it and that the change from eating to not eating goes more smoothly.
But going without water for a whole day can be hard, so it's important to stay refreshed and energised to make it through the fast easily. Go for a glass of chaach or lassi at the time of sargi and avoid caffeine intake.
Women adorn themselves with colourful traditional attire, apply henna designs on their hands, and gather with family. The day holds immense cultural and emotional importance, strengthening the bond between couples. While the core essence of the fast remains the same, the way it's observed may vary depending on family traditions and personal beliefs. Some women observe the fast by eating a single meal before daybreak (known as sargi), while others go without food and water until the moon rises and the fast is broken.