Friday, September 22, 2017

Fasting - the science beyond



               That time of the year again when I start thinking fondly of pandal hopping. A mere recall of the Niramish bhog and my ever favourite Bhog er Khichuri, gets the taste buds salivating. Well, the feast is another story for another time. Let’s talk about fasting.
                We have long since established a scientific logic prevailing behind our socio-religious practices, be they at the spiritual or culinary levels. That includes the change in food patterns, as also fasting. Fasting or vrat in its varying degrees, from complete to partial abstinence is in itself, a scientifically essential detox for our digestive system.
                Take Navratri for instance. There are two major Navratris in a year (four in all). Both of these occur during major seasonal shifts – beginning of spring and autumn. These are also times when the human immunity level is at its lowest. Eating light and avoiding rich, heavy and spicy foods helps the body adjust to the new season naturally.
                That brings us to the importance of eating right during fasts. Getting plenty of energy and fibre rich foods while staying hydrated is the order of the day. Hence why there is inclusion of more millets as grain substitutes and not surprisingly so, considering that millets were an Indian staple in the days of yore.
                And it’s not just Navratri that highlights the significance of fasts. Similar science revolves around fasting on Ekadashi, the 11th day in the lunar cycle. Atmospheric pressure being the lowest on Ekadashi, makes it apt to abstain from heavy foods to sustain the mind-body balance. The concept is simple and similar for the most part. Eating light puts less pressure on the digestive process, helping the senses stay alert and active.
                So this season, while you observe fasts and enjoy the feasts, don’t forget to honour what your body truly needs. Here’s a light yet energy rich recipe to try..
SWEET POTATO & APPLE CHAAT
Ingredients
300 gms sweet potato - boiled, peeled & diced
½ green apple, diced
½ red apple, diced
Few spinach leaves, roughly shredded or chiffonade
Few Walnuts, roughly broken
1 tbsp chaat masala
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin seeds - roasted and powdered 
2 tbsp yogurt, beaten
Lemon juice-to taste
Fresh Coriander, chopped
Fresh mint, chopped
Method
1.       In a mixing bowl add cumin seed powder, chili powder, chaat masala and lime juice and mix well.
2.       Now add sweet potato, diced apples, spinach, walnuts and mix well.
3.       Transfer to serving bowls and pour remaining seasoning on top.
4.       Sprinkle the chopped coriander and mint leaves and serve immediately. Optional to serve with whisked yogurt too.

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