And just like that, the season of festivals knock at our doors again. The month is especially significant for Hindus, particularly the Shiva devotees. The month of Sawan is dedicated to Lord Shiva and his consort Goddess Parvati. Festivals like Sawan Shivratri and Teej are some popular festivals celebrated across North India to celebrate the holy union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. This year, the Sawan Shivratri would be celebrated on July 26. Not to be confused with Mahashivratri which is usually celebrated in the month of February or March, Sawan Shivratri is celebrated on the Chaturdashi Tithi during the Krishna Paksha in the month of Shravan.  

Legend has it that Goddess Parvati observed penance for several years, where she gave up food, water and meditated only to seek Lord Shiva as her husband. Lord Shiva granted her the wish, they got married and became the Aadi-Shakti. That means, Goddess Parvati is the source of half of Lord Shiva’s strength. Girls in India, often observe fasts on certain Mondays of the Sawan month, or all the 16 mondays (solah somvar) for finding a right partner. On Sawan Shivratri, scores of Shiva followers observe ritualistic fasts to obtain his divine blessings. Several interesting rituals like Maha Abhishekam, where the Shiva Linga is bathed with milk, water, and other substances, and overnight vigils also take place during Shivratri. The festival of Sawan Shivratri is also known as Masik Shivratri or Masa Shivratri.

If you are observing the Sawan Shivratri Vrat this year, here are some foods you must not include in your diet.  

1. Meat, Fish, And Eggs

Meat is strictly prohibited during the Shivratri vrat, so is fish and eggs. Shivratri vrat is actually a great time to detox your body. In fact, the rationale of this vrat is similar to Navratri vrat, the season is such that your body can use some break from heavy, meat-based diet. It is easier for your body to digest light, plant-based items and there are options galore. So, reorganise your kitchen, reboot and rejuvenate the right way.  

2. Onion And Garlic

The Vedic scriptures have divided foods as Satvik, Rajasic, and Tamasic. Satvik bhojan is a light, vegetarian meal, whereas, Rajasic and Tamasic are heavy, dense foods. Onion and garlic, due to their pungency, aroma and heavy flavour profile, do not qualify as Satvik, therefore, they are also not permitted.

3. Flours And Grains

Guess what? Everyday grains and flours like wheat (atta) and maida (refined flour) are not permissible either. The idea is to give your body a break and get in touch with your spiritual side. There are plenty of millets, pseudo-cereals and grains like sabudana (tapioca), sama (barnyard millet), ragi, bajra, and jowar that you can use to cook your meals.  

4.Vegetables

To Eat And Avoid: Not just onions and garlic, vegetables like leeks, shallots and mushrooms are also avoided during Shivratri vrat. At this time, you can opt for light, seasonal vegetables such as potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Colocasia, raw banana, raw papaya, lauki or bottle gourd and tomatoes.

5. Be Wary Of Cooking Oils Too

If you plan to go fully Satvik, avoid cooking your meals in seed-based or refined oil, opt for desi ghee instead.  

6. Table Salt Is Also Off Limits

You read that right, and you can go read that again. Regular table salt is not permissible in Satvik Bhojan. To flavour your meals, you can use rock salt or pink salt instead.  

7. All Spices Are Not Allowed Either

India’s favourite spice turmeric is actually avoided during Shivratri and Navratri fasts, as it is considered to be a high energy spice, same goes for hing, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, and garam masala. Spices that are preferred during this kind of fasting are jeera (cumin), black pepper, raw mango powder, tamarind, kokum, and chaat masala.  

Keep these dos and don’ts in mind and fast in a healthier fashion this Sawan Shivratri. Of course, these rules differ from region to region, family to family. Here are some yummy recipes you may want to try.