Feasting and Fasting During Festival: Things That You Must and Must Not Do

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The festive season is here and here are few tips from the experts to help you with what to do and what to avoid during feasting and fasting.

October starts the festive season in India. It begins with Dussera and ends with Christmas in December. Festivals and occasions are a time for feasting and fasting both depending on the community one belong to. For older adults, both fasting and feasting without appropriate monitoring may result in health disorders. Hence, it is essential to keep certain things in mind while you indulge in fasting or feasting during this season.

Explaining how fasting can affect older adults, Vidyashree Chakravarthy C, Dietitian from BR Life SSNMC Hospital, Bangalore, says: “Most of the seniors during this season fast for the entire day and break it in the night with fruits and other kinds of food. It is important to understand the right way to fast as if done in an inappropriate way, the seniors may feel fatigued and develop other complications. It is better if diabetic patients eat at regular intervals rather than fasting the entire day.”

According to her, seniors must keep three things in mind while fasting.

Drink enough water

Drinking water, herbal teas and natural juices can flush out the toxins and rejuvenate your body. It also keeps the electrolyte balance. Milk is also a source of energy which can be included in the diet

Eat fruits and nuts

Consuming more amount of fruits and nuts can keep the gut healthy. It also provides the required nutrition and energy.

Include fibre-rich food

Before starting the fast, it is better to consume fibre-rich food as it takes time to digest and will help you stay fuller for longer hours. It is also healthier than packed food or snacks.

What To Avoid

“While many have a misconception that before starting the fasting it is good to overeat so that they can feel full for a longer time, this can make your stomach uncomfortable and cause digestive disorders. Also, it is ideal to avoid taking oily or greasy food, snacks and junk food as it can cause stomach bloating and acidity. Regular intake of water can help you avoid dehydration which must be prevented during fasting.”

Edwina Raj, Senior Dietician at Aster CMI Hospital, has curated some of the dos and don’ts that the older adults must follow while either feasting or fasting during the Navratri celebration.

All that you must avoid

· Do not push yourself too hard and watch out for symptoms such as palpitation, dizziness, sweating and weakness and refrain from continuing your fast.
· Do not overindulge yourself in eating sweets, refined/processed foods, salty snacks, pickles during the festive season.
· Avoid excess intake of caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea, aerated drinks, energy drinks which acts as a diuretic and flushes out water from your body and makes you dehydrated.
· Do not fast if you are on dialysis and suffering from diarrhoea or liver disorders due to which you may experience a drop in your sugar levels and variation in your blood pressure.
· Do not convince yourself and overeat these self-claimed healthy snacks such as jaggery/millet/ wheat-based sweets. The bitter truth is that they still increase your sugar levels and make you fat.

Dr S Manohar, Director, Internal Medicine, Sakra World Hospital says: “As one age the energy requirements also called basal metabolic rate declines. Ironically, the yearning and temptation to eat increases as there’s a lot of spare time. A special advise for the elders is to have a moderate diet not succumbing to temptation. Small portions of food frequently are better than having two or three large meals. Most of the diet during festivities is loaded with fats and carbohydrates. Consuming such a diet deranges one’s metabolic and related health parameters. Do remember there’s always another day to enjoy. Moderation is the mantra. Be a part of all the festivities but ensure there is no indulgence.”

Keeping these expert opinions in mind, you can surely have a hassle-free and healthy season ahead. Wish you a great time with friends and family.

Want to know about the easy ways to a diabetes-friendly diet and lifestyle? Click here to read more. 

About Author

Sreemoyee Chatterjee

Sreemoyee Chatterjee is the content head of Sliver Talkies. A curious and talkative storyteller, she loves spending time with and working for the older adults and getting the best for them. Sreemoyee has served as a correspondent and on-field reporter for 4 years. A classical dancer and thespian by passion, she spends her leisure by writing poetry, scripts for stage theatres and listening to countryside music.