Navratri 2023: Top 10 Foods To Eat And Avoid While Fasting
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The coming of autumn or Sharad season in India also marks the arrival of the long and joyous festive season, which begins with Sharadiya Navratri or Navratri 2023 celebrations. The nine-day festival celebrated across the length and breadth of India is dedicated to Goddess Durga and her nine avatars, with each day of Navratri 2023 demarcated for a set of rituals, offerings and more. Celebrated in the first half of the Hindu month of Ashwin, Sharadiya Navratri this year will start on October 15 and end with Navami celebrations on October 23. October 24 will be celebrated as Vijaya Dashami or Dussehra. 

During these nine days of Sharadiya Navratri 2023, people across the nation will celebrate by worshiping the nine forms of Devi Durga. From conducting pushanjali and artis to keeping a day-long fast, Navratri 2023 celebrations this year are bound to be as joyous and remarkable as ever. For most people, Navratri 2023 is synonymous to the nine-day fast or vrat that is observed to get blessings from Maa Durga. It is believed that observing this fast can not only cleanse the body but also bring forth an auspicious time for all. 

The Navratri vrat or fast, like all ritual fasts associated with Hindu festivals, is completely sattvik in nature. This means that those keeping this fast have to consume only sattvik foods and avoid any foods that are considered to be tamasic or rajasic. In essence, the Navratri 2023 vrat is quite like an intermittent fasting schedule, where people consume minimal to no foods during a large part of the day and consume a select, high-nutrient sattvik meal during a select period of the day, usually evenings after sundown. This is the reason why the benefits of doing the Navratri 2023 fast are many. 

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Foods To Avoid During Navratri Vrat 

As mentioned before, Navratri 2023 fast revolves around eating only sattvik ingredients during the nine-day period. Here are all the tamasic and rajasic foods that must be avoided during the Navratri 2023 fast. 

1. Non-Vegetarian Food: All non-vegetarian foods like eggs, fish, chicken, meat, seafood and other poultry foods should be avoided during Navratri 2023 vrat. All non-vegetarian foods are categorised as rajasic foods because though fresh, they are rich and heavy. 

2. Onion And Garlic: Onions and garlic are considered to be tamasic and rajasic foods, and are therefore avoided by people keeping the Navratri 2023 fast or vrat. Make sure everything you eat is 100% no onion-no garlic in nature.  

3. Table Salt: Because it is artificially processed and often inculdes fortified minerals like iodine, regular table salt is always avoided during ritual Hindu fasts like Navratri 2023. Instead, rock salt or sendha namak, which is considered to be unadulterated and purer, is consumed during Navratri 2023 vrat. 

4. Alcohol: Alcohol and all alcoholic beverages like cocktails, mahua, etc are considered to be tamasic and must not be consumed during the nine days of Navratri 2023. In fact, most people also avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea since these are also not sattvik. 

5. Certain Grains And Legumes: Grains like rice, wheat, oats and their flours are considered to be rajasic foods and are avoided during Navratri 2023. All types of legumes, lentils, semolina and flours made of any or all these ingredients are also to be avoided. 

6. Spices: Navratri 2023 fast involves eating simple food, so heavy and rich spices like turmeric, red chillies, garam masala, nutmeg, etc are usually avoided during this nine-day fasting period. 

Foods To Eat During Navratri 2023 Vrat 

Everybody knows that fresh fruits and vegetables are allowed for consumption during Hindu ritual fasts like Navratri 2023. But did you know that there are other foods that can also be consumed during this time as they are sattvik? Now that you know which foods to avoid during Navratri 2023 vrat, here is a short list of foods you can eat during this nine-day fasting period. 

1. Sendha Namak: Rock salt is considered to be unadulterated, pure and perfect for a sattvik vrat like Navratri 2023. This is the reason why all foods should be cooked with only sendha namak during this nine-day fast. 

2. Whole Spices: While most powdered spices are not allowed for consumption during Navratri 2023 vrat due to the risk of adulteration and impurities, whole spices like cumin seeds, black peppercorns, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and carom seeds can be consumed. 

3. Fasting Flours: Flours sourced from millets like finger millet, little millet, amaranth, pearl millet and even water chestnut and sago are allowed for consumption during the Navratri 2023 fast. Of course, consuming these grains whole in the form of khichdi, bhel or chaat is also allowed. 

4. Dairy Products: During the Navratri 2023 fast, the major source of protein—apart from fresh vegetables—is dairy. Milk, paneer, ghee, curd and khoya are all therefore considered to be sattvik and can be consumed every day.