The Great Navratri Detox
The weather was fast changing. Raina’s mother was taking out the winter clothes that she had put away during the summer season. The change of season in North India always brings a lot of work. The wardrobe and the bed-linen are different as the season changes.
As Mother put the warm pullovers etc. into everyone’s cupboards, she called out to eighteen year old Raina to help her in getting the job done. Raina was watching a TV serial and munching on potato chips. After many appeals from mother, she got up and came to help Mom. She was as usual, feeling lazy.
When Raina was arranging her winter clothes in her closet, she realized that most of the clothes were not going to fit her, because she had put on a lot of weight. She sighed. It was the same story every time when the season changed. She had steadily been gaining weight in the last few years. The last season’s clothes never fitted her. She told mom that she needed to buy some new pullovers, jackets and jeans.
Mother as usual was not happy about this. “How many times have I told you to eat sensible food? Why do you lie around like a couch potato and munch on potato chips and colas all day?” There was no answer as usual from Raina, who turned a deaf ear.
That evening, Raina said “Mama, I was talking to my friend. She suggested the name of dietician who prescribes a diet for weight loss. I want to seek an appointment with her and take advice from her.” Mother said, “I don’t think you need a dietician. You just need self-control. If you eat healthy food, you’ll lose weight. That’s it!” Raina was miffed.
A few days later the Navratri was starting. Mother would always fast during these days. She would eat only fruits, ghia, potato, kutu ka atta , samak ke chawal (natural unprocessed rock salt), sabudana (tapioca pearls), Singhade ka atta (water chestnut flour) and use only sendha namak for cooking. Some interesting snacks she would have occasionally were Chulai ke laddoo (Amaranath seeds laddoo) and Peanut Chikki.
Mother asked Raina if she would like to observe Navratri fast with her. Raina refused. Mother started her Navratri fasts. A few days later Raina spoke to mother about going to the dietician again. After much debate and argument mother gave in. That evening they went for a consultation with the dietician.
The dietician made a note of Raina’s health parameters and dietary habits. She said, “I will be giving you a diet chart. You will have to go off gluten for some time. No fried foods, sweets and heavy food. You need a complete De-tox. There was an elaborate diet chart with fruit juice, boiled vegetables, millets etc. Of course it came with a hefty bill!
Back home, Mom told Raina, “What I am eating during Navratri is also gluten free. The Navratri comes twice a year and both times at the change of season. This is the time we need to boost our immune system and go for De-tox. That’s why we are asked to go off wheat, rice, garlic, onion, heavy foodstuffs and non-vegetarian too. The shenda namak is a great way to De-tox because it is very rich in Potassium. Our culture has a lot of research behind it. It’s all very scientific. Why is it that the word of a dietician holds so much weight and the word of your mom who is sharing with you some ancient wisdom doesn’t?” Raina as usual did not pay heed to what Mama was saying.
In the evening she said, “Mom before I start on the diet prescribed, can we go out for dinner tonight? Can I have one last nice meal please?” Mom shook her head in disdain and said, “You are incorrigible!”
Eventually Mom, Dad and Raina went out to a nice restaurant. Dad and Raina gorged on a hearty meal. Mother opted to eat her Navratri food at home. At the restaurant she had only a bowl of fresh fruit. The waiter told her that there was a special Navratri thali available. It had Aloo sabji, paneer, sitaphal, ghia, curd, samak chawal (Barnyard Millet) ki kheer, sweet petha, kutte ke atte ki poori and pakode, salad etc. As he rattled off the elaborate menu of the Navratri thali, Mom maintained her poise and said, “It’s supposed to be a fast; not a feast. Thank you! But I’ll stick to the fruit bowl only.”
Fasting basically means control or restraint, both on a physical as well as a mental level. What else is detox? If we follow the Navratri diet plan without indulging in the fried stuff, it’s a great way to De-tox… twice a year! Take it or leave it! No charges for dietary consultation.