Say Yes to fasting but conditions apply – Role of upwas in Monsoon
In our earlier article, we have highlighted how to enjoy the monsoon by taking necessary precautions. The monsoon comes along with many festivals and it’s a time of real celebration. Many times these festivals are associated with Upwas (following fasts). We can observe that across different communities across India, upwas is suggested at different occasions which is inherently related to health.
Ayurveda explains the benefits of Langhan to which upwas is a subset. upwas is one of the main key factors associated with metabolic health.
In 2016, Japanese cell biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his research on autophagy (result achieved by fasting), a process where body cells regenerate themselves by removing dysfunctional components.
Recently, there’s been a lot of buzz about the health benefits of upwas and calorie restriction. In fact, intermittent fasting was the top Google diet search trend in 2019.
Upwas is nothing but a holiday to our digestive system to give it some rest. But understanding why and adopting scientifically is the need of the hour. Langhan practices are ‘energetic withdrawals’ and offer lightness to the body.
Need of Upwas:
Seasonal changes, lifestyle changes, wrong food habits are crucial factors affecting balance of Agni (Digestive Fire). In Monsoon, it is already at a minimal level. Weakened Agni is responsible for the assimilation of metabolic toxins and metabolic disorders including fat storage, weight gain, prediabetes, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and even cognitive decline. Hence upwas with minimal intake is recommended in monsoon.
Ayurveda states that following fasts enhances Agni by reducing accumulated toxins. This is nothing but autophagy.
Festivals, upwas and health importance:
In India, Monsoon falls during months June to September (Hindu months starting from Ashadh to Ashwin). Chaturmas is the period of these four months, during which many communities strictly follow some diet restrictions for balancing health.
Broadly we can say that there are two methods of upwas:
1. Half day fasts which are to be concluded with light meals at night. E.g. Shravani somavar, Chaturthi, Nagpanchami, Janmashtami, etc.
2. Full day fasts which are strict for the whole day with upwas specific meals and are to be concluded with light sweet breakfast on the next morning. E.g. Ekadashi, a few days of Navaratri.
If one observes this carefully, it can be understood that fasts are periodic and illustrated in such a way to maintain health. This is a unique diet design associated with rituals and traditions with application of Ayurveda principles.
What should be your ideal Menu Plan during upwas in monsoon:
* Connect with Turyaa Wellness Coaches to know more about your ideal Upwas combos*
1. Do not remain with an empty stomach for more than 6 hrs because it is responsible for increase in Pitta and Vata.
2. People complaining of acidity, heaviness, headache should avoid or consume less heavy food like sabudana/sago, fried food, milk shakes, fruit salads, excess tea, coffee, curd, excess use of groundnut, tamarind etc.
3. If you are having controlled and mild diabetes, then upwas can be done with proper precautions. Intake after every four hours is recommended for such people. Do not use food items like sabudana, potato, sweet potato and fried food items. Milk is recommended because it reduces chances of sudden sugar drop. Restrict sugar intake properly.
4. People with health conditions should consult the expert before following upwas.
5. If you are already on a diet for controlling weight, then upwas is very useful. Here you can modify your upwas day with the principles of intermittent fasting. You can eat more liquid diet, fruits and milk for the whole day followed by a light meal at night.
Concluding here we leave you on a “thought for upwas” to adopt and adapt the correct way to following and enjoying the upcoming “Ashadhi Ekadashi” the healthy Turyaa Way!
Here is your golden chance to start the upwas rituals. Ashadhi Ekadashi is approaching. Let’s celebrate this Aashadhi Ekadashi in a healthy way and keep fasting periodically in the proper way.
Dr. Gayatri Kulkarni – Mulye, (MD Ayurved)
Shruti Kulkarni (Nutritionist)
Vaidya Tejaswini Bhale-Borse (Ayurveda Physician)
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