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3/27/09 11:16 A

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Hi Rekha, thanks for the excellent information. I always had a feeling that the food during Navratri was unhealthy (puris, alu, etc.) but nice to see it validated! Unfortunately I find it challenging to fast for all of the days for the Navratri so I only do a couple of them.

One of the items that I like to eat is to just microwave a sweet potatoe and then add some low fat yogurt or sour cream to it. It is quite filling and not fattening.

Does anyone else have any suggestions for foods to include?

Thanks again.

Edited by: RAGGARWALAX at: 3/28/2009 (22:10)

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REKHAKAKR's Photo REKHAKAKR SparkPoints: (18,405)
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3/27/09 5:49 A

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read this somewhere so thought to share it with you.

Is your navratra fast actually turning out to be a fattening feast? Dietary experts say thatís more often the case.

Itís that time of the year when many restaurants welcome you with boards proclaiming "vrat food available here". Delicacies on the menu include kuttu atta puri, paranthas, sitaphal (pumpkin), paneer, aaloo ki sabzi, rabri, rasgulla, pakodas, mithai, namkeen ó the list goes on. A quick calorie count of these food items reveal they are much more fattening than a typical Indian meal.

Says Dr Ritika Sammadar, senior dietitian, Max Healthcare: "The real problem is with the choice of food. Kuttu ka atta isnít bad for health and a kuttu ki roti without ghee would be just as fattening as normal flour roti ó which is around 70 calories. However, during the navratras people end up having puris (150 calories) instead of rotis. They also pack in pakodas, mithai and namkeen which are known to be extremely fattening and donít detoxify the body."

Moreover, says Sammadar, many people end up binging during the navratras ó skipping breakfast or lunch but overeating in the evening. Contrary to popular perception, this is actually unhealthier than having regular meals.

"People are having milk and fruits like bananas in any case, which are calorie-rich food. In the end, people end up consuming more than what they do on normal days," she adds. It doesnít help that most people tend to eat out a lot during navratras, and end up consuming far richer food than they would at home.

Fasting doesnít make up for bingeing: Experts

The belief that the nine-day fasting during navratras is a form of penance may not be so true, after all. The usual perception about the twin benefits of fasting during religious festivals is that itís the best way to lose some pounds while making gods happy may not work quite that way. Dietary experts say that the fasting phase actually turns into a weight-gaining process.

Part of the problem lies with the commercialisation of navratra food. "The same dishes cooked at home wouldnít be so fattening. The concept of going to the nearest restaurant for a meal during navratra is both ironical and self-defeating. What is served there is nothing but junk food," says Sammadar.

Dieticians say people feel less guilty about binging during "vrat" under the illusion that the fasting would more than make up for the heavy meals they consume. A typical Indian meal with a green vegetable, two rotis (without ghee), lentils, curd, salad comes to be around 500-800 calories depending on the amount of oil used and quantity of servings. By contrast, three kuttu puris, paneer sabzi and sweets add up to 1,000 calories.

Dr Sunita Sehgal, senior dietitian, Rockland Hospital says that during navratra people on fast completely stop eating green vegetables and lentils, replacing that with sweets, puris, parantha, salty snacks, milk, paneer to mention a few.

"The food we eat during navratra is also at fault. The diet is completely devoid of fibre and vitamins and full of carbohydrate and fats. This is not only bad for health, but is more fattening as well," says Dr Sehgal.

She adds that this kind of diet heavy in carbohydrates and fats also leads to poor digestion. "In the last couple of days I have had a number of people coming to me complaining of poor digestion."

Many offices and companies have also been serving navratra food for their employees. Some companies have even gone to the extent of giving special food packets for the benefit of those people who donít like to have their food cooked along with food cooked for those not fasting.

some common food consumed during fast

kuttu ki puri (2-3) 400 cal
samak ki kheer 100 gm 275-300 cal
dry fruit burfi 350 cal
paneer kofta 400 cal
sabudana namkeen 250 cal
sabudana vada 2pc 200 cal
potato pakora 2pc 250 cal

Edited by: REKHAKAKR at: 3/27/2009 (05:50)
Rekha Kakkar

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