Devotees fast every monday in the month of Sawan. It is said that lord Shankar, pleased with his devotees, showers his blessings on them during this fasting month. This is also a month for introspection in the mid-year, amid a soothing monsoon. During this time, immunity is at its lowest therefore foods that are easy to digest are preferred. Many opt for ‘nirjala vrat’ or ‘water fasting’ and only consume water the whole day. Others opt for a special Sawan diet and have three full meals or just eat on fruits, known as ‘phalahar’, mentioned Lakshita Jain, certified clinical dietician, lecturer, diabetes educator, meat technologist, and founder of NUTR.
Sawan diet: Foods you can add
Buttermilk, curd, sago /arrowroot/amaranth/foxnut/singhara, nuts, dates, bottle gourd, arbi (colocasia), coconut and peanut
Drink three to four litres of water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated during the fast of Sawan. You can consume lemonade, coconut water, and smoothies during the fast. All these things are full of nutrients:
*Milk and milk products
*Add milk and its related products like buttermilk, yogurt, cottage cheese or paneer, homemade butter (without any salt) and ghee. Millet kheer makes a perfect sweet tooth for dinner.
Include fruits in the diet which have high water content such as grapes, litchi, orange, or any seasonal fruit. Add other fruits such as banana, plum, pear, kiwi, pineapple, avocado, apple, orange and pomegranate or any seasonal fruit. Eating fruits during fasting provide the required fibre.
Sweet potato, colocasia, lauki or bottle gourd, potato, suran and ratalu vegetables can be added during the fast. “All these things are sattvik and keep the body healthy and full of energy,” said Jain.
Cook in sendha namak (rock salt) instead of regular salt. Adding sendha namak and lemon to a glass of water and having it twice a day will keep your energy levels intact, mentioned Jain, “Regular salt, epsom salt, rock salt and pink salts are avoided,” added Jain.
Cereals and millets
Sago or tapioca (known as sabudana), rajgira, arrowroot, fox nuts, singhara and buckwheat can be had. Use it in chapati, thalipeeth or puri to go with classic potato curry.
Moong is the only pulse which can be added. Moong is a great vegetarian protein. Kabuli chana, all the types of dals and rajma should be avoided.
Dry fruits are a great nutrient dense-food that will keep you full. Add cashews, almonds, raisins, walnuts, etc in your diet. They are nutritious and maintain energy in the body.
Black pepper, coriander, green chilli, rock salt, fresh and dried ginger (sonth), clove, cardamom, and cumin in all forms can be added. All other kinds of spices should be avoided.
Foods to avoid
Methi, turmeric, onion and garlic, grains/Lentil, alcohol, jaggery, eggs and meat. “Spices such ashing or asafoetida, salt of all kinds except rock salt, red chilli, fenugreek (methi), turmeric and any other seeds should be avoided,” said Jain. Grains, rice and lentils should be avoided as they are considered ‘anna’.
Vegetables like onion, garlic, radish should be avoided as they are known to be heat-inducing foods.
Sample Sawan Diet Plan
Early Morning: 2 Dates + Raisins with Lemon water
Breakfast: Banana shake
Lunch: Plums + Pear + Pineapple + Papaya
Dinner: Pethe ka halwa
Before sleep: Anjeer Milk