Navratri Vrat Food: What to avoid and what to eat during  the nine-day festival
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The auspicious occasion of Navratri being just round the corner and it is time to start prepping for the celebrations with fervour and enthusiasm. The nine-day fest, which is dedicated to Goddess Durga and her nine avatars, starts on begins on October 17. It marks the victory of good over evil and is associated to the prominent battle that took place between Durga and demon Mahishasura.

Apart from avoiding alcohol, smoking and meat, Goddess Durga's devotees across the country observe Navratri fasts for nine days. The rules consist of satvik diet and here's a generic list of food items that can be consumed during Navratri:

  • Flours/ Grains: While wheat, rice, chickpea, refined flour and corn flour are prohibited, devotees observing fasts can replace them with Kuttu ka Atta (Buckwheat flour), Singhara atta (Water Chestnut flour), Samai ka Atta (Barnyard Millet flour) and Amaranth.

  • All kinds of nuts and dry fruits can be consumed during the fast including almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, raisins, pistachio and pine nuts.

  • Spices/Herbs: Rock salt, black salt, green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, carom seeds (ajwain), black pepper, ginger, green chillies, lemons, dry mango powder can be consumed. Turmeric (haldi), asafoetida (hing), mustard (sarson or rai), fenugreek seeds (methi dana), garam masala and dhania powder (coriander powder) should be avoided during the fast.

  • Vegetables: Potato, raw banana, tomato, sweet potato (shakarkandi), raw papaya, bottle gourd, pumpkin, taro root/ colocasia (arbi) and yam are commonly consumed during Navratri. While people strictly avoid onions, garlic, okra, eggplants and other green veggies.

  • There is no restriction over fruits and milk products. Coconut, honey, sugar, jaggery, tea, sabudana and makhanas are also allowed while fasting.

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