Month of August observed as peak of Monsoon season brings Shravan which is the 5th month as per Hindu calendar. Shravan month contains lot of rituals and religious festivals. Fasting is usually a part of ritual since years and is followed widely with a view that our digestive system is sluggish during monsoon. Fasting or “Upavas” was initially started with a view to spend fewer hours in cooking and spending maximum time in reciting Prayers of God.
Fasting in monsoon also acts as a good detox and helps to cleanse your body. Unfortunately, fasting has changed to feasting over the years where people tend to consume more of high calorie and high carbohydrate (starchy) foods including sabudana (sago), sweet potato, potato and their deep fried varieties. Sometimes even sweets made with milk and loaded with ghee, sugar or jaggery are consumed. Fried items are added to meals like potato and sago papads to make meals more interesting. Also majority of dishes are usually loaded with ground nut powder and ghee! Consuming oily, fried and high fat foods also increases chances of stomach upsets. Such a feasting during monsoon has also reported to cause increased bloating, hyperacidity, weight gain and digestive problems. The major benefits of fasting like cleansing of body (detox), improved digestion and immunity during monsoon or Shravan will only be experienced if the real intention to fasting will be practiced which was to eat real foods, eat less and less frequently by reducing number of meals and eat foods cooked in healthy way.
Such a fasting during Shravan is also followed by feasting during various festive occasions like Nag Panchami, Raksha bandhan, Magalagauri, Satyanaryana etc which usually have food preparations like Puran polis, Bhajani Vadas or other menu where we again tend to feast.
How can you enjoy Benefits of fasting this Shravan?
- Do not over eat: Stop eating before you feel full.
- Do not focus on food. Stay away from food joints offering you upavas menus that may cause you feasting.
- Eat Complex Carbohydrates: Restrict consumption starchy foods. You can prefer Rajgeera, Varai, fruits and some vegetables cucumber, rajgeera, corriender if allowed.
- Detox: Drink enough water. Damp weather and humid climate usually make us drink less water than required. Also consume fruits which keep you feel energetic.
- Add proteins: You can consume milk, buttermilk and curd during your fast to ensure proteins in your diet that helps to keep you full longer. Intake of curd and buttermilk may also act as probiotic and improve your gut function.
- Add healthy fats to diet: Consume almonds and walnuts during fasting. Avoid consumption of fried foods and foods loaded with groundnut powder.
- Do not binge eat after fasting to compensate your imaginary loss of calories the next day or same day. Keep your diet simple.
- Exercise: Fast cannot be an excuse to say no to exercise. Exercise instead! It will help to keep you fresh throughout the day.