For those intending to fast during Navratri, getting away from wheat and rice - some of the grains that are not allowed during the period - can be a trial. Why not pick flour substitutes that are gluten-free, and high in protein, antioxidants, fibre, and vitamins? Conservative nutritionist and lifestyle coach Raksha Lulla and health coach Shriya Naheta Wadhwa pick their favourites.
Rich in B vitamins, manganese and iodine, singhada atta is a great source of an essential mineral profile that takes care of energy levels, the thyroid gland and levels of blood sugar. It is an excellent source of dietary fibre as well. Lulla suggests rolling it into rotis, puris or cheelas. Wadhwa adds, "Its sweet flavour pairs it perfectly with recipes involving almond, chocolate, honey, and hazelnut. Try making brownies, dosas, and pancakes with it too."
This special pahadi hero millet works well when turned into upma, dosa, kheer (for ekadashis) and other fasts, says Lulla. "It is quite a rich source for iron and fibre content for days that forbid most vegetables," she adds.
This pseudo-cereal takes a long time to get digested and leave the body, resulting in sustained energy and satiety. That*s the primary reason for chosing it on fasting days. Mix rajgira with other ingredients - boiled potato to make stuffed paratha, with jaggery to make chikki, and with milk to make kheer. It enhances a dish*s calcium and iron properties. Shriya Naheta Wadhwa, health coach and founder of Zama Organics, feels that in its modern avatar, rajgira*s earthy, nutty flavour works well in a variety of cakes, waffles, pancakes, bread, and crackers. "Rajgira flour is also high in protein and antioxidants and helps ease inflammation," she adds.
A healthier substitute for refined sugar, Naheta says jaggery detoxes the liver and blood, treats lung and bronchial infections, relieves constipation, increases energy levels, and relieves stress. Lulla adds that its natural minerals act as antioxidants which are important post exercise and fasting. "Pair it with rajgira to make chikki or ladoo - a powerhouse of glycogen replenishing properties and a good energy bar which our ancestors created - to keep you fuller longer and delay fatigue," she adds.