Navratri 2023: 9 Foods To Avoid During 9 Days Of Fasting
Image Credit: Replace your grains with fasting-friendly options like kuttu ka atta | Unsplash

Navratri is celebrated over nine nights to honour the goddess Durga. Fasting is considered an essential part of Navratri, during which many devotees abstain from certain foods to purify the mind and body. While fasting, it's crucial to avoid specific foods that are considered impure or tamasic (dull and negative in energy). Let us explore nine foods to steer clear of during Navratri fasting, ensuring that your devotion remains pure and your fast stays spiritually significant.

Grains and Cereals:

During Navratri fasting, it's customary to avoid grains and cereals like wheat, rice, and oats. These grains can disrupt the purity of the fast. Instead, devotees opt for fasting-friendly alternatives like water chestnut flour (singhare ka atta), buckwheat flour (kuttu ka atta), and amaranth flour (rajgira atta) to prepare various dishes such as puris and paranthas.

Onions and Garlic:

Onions and garlic are commonly used in everyday cooking but are considered rajasic and tamasic, respectively, with properties that can disturb one's focus during fasting. They are also believed to generate excessive heat in the body. To maintain a pure and sattvic (pure and positive in energy) environment during Navratri, it's best to omit these ingredients from your meals. Use substitutes like asafoetida (hing) or ginger for flavour.

Non-Vegetarian Foods:

Navratri fasting is strictly vegetarian, and the consumption of non-vegetarian foods is prohibited. This includes meat, fish, and eggs. These foods are associated with tamasic energies and are considered impure for the duration of the fast. Instead, focus on plant-based proteins like dairy, nuts, and legumes to fulfill your nutritional needs while fasting.


Alcohol is a complete no-no during Navratri fasting. It's not only tamasic but also detrimental to the purpose of fasting, which is to purify the body and mind. Avoid alcoholic beverages of any kind to maintain the sanctity of your fast. Opt for herbal teas, lemon water, or fruit juices to stay hydrated and refreshed during this period.

Excessive Spices:

While some level of spiciness is acceptable, consuming excessively spicy foods can agitate the body and mind. It's advisable to avoid dishes overloaded with red chilli powder, green chillies, or excessive spices. Instead, use milder spices like cumin, coriander, and black pepper to flavour your meals in a balanced and sattvic manner.

Deep-Fried Foods:

Deep-fried foods, including samosas, pakoras, and fried chips, should be avoided during Navratri fasting. Consuming excessive fried foods can lead to digestive discomfort. If you crave crispy snacks, consider making them at home with fasting-approved flours like water chestnut flour or amaranth flour, using minimal oil or opting for air frying.

Aerated Drinks and Caffeine:

Aerated drinks and caffeinated beverages like coffee and strong tea should be off the menu during Navratri fasting. These drinks can disrupt the meditative state of fasting and affect the purity of the fast. Opt for caffeine-free herbal teas, fresh fruit juices, or simply drink water infused with herbs like mint or basil for a refreshing and sattvic choice.

Processed and Packaged Foods:

Processed and packaged foods often contain preservatives, additives, and artificial flavourings, which are not in line with the principles of purity and simplicity during fasting. It's best to avoid foods like chips, instant noodles, and ready-made snacks. Instead, focus on whole, unprocessed foods like fruits, nuts, yogurt, and homemade dishes prepared with fasting-approved ingredients.

Refined Sugar:

Refined sugar is considered tamasic and is not recommended during Navratri fasting. It's best to replace it with natural sweeteners like jaggery, honey, or rock sugar (sendha namak). These sweeteners not only provide the desired sweetness but also offer nutritional benefits that align better with the fasting period.

By opting for sattvic ingredients and mindful cooking techniques, you can ensure that your Navratri fasting experience is not only spiritually enriching but also nourishing for your body. Embrace the opportunity to explore the diverse and delicious range of fasting-friendly dishes that align with the principles of purity and devotion during this auspicious time.