The festival of Durga Puja commemorates Goddess Durga’s homecoming and is considered as one of the most vibrant festivals in India. It is a post-monsoon autumn festival also called Durga Pujo or Sharada Navratri that is observed in honour of Goddess Durga with fervent celebrations spanning West Bengal and large parts of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam, Tripura and Bangladesh.
As we step into the midst of Navaratri festival, it is only appropriate that we ponder about the story of Goddess Durga. It is believed that the demon king, Mahishasura terrorised celestial beings, known as Devas and sages, who then appealed to the divine Trinity – Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesha – for help against their tormentor. In response to the appeal, the collective energy of the divine Trinity and many other assembled Devas led to the emergence of Durga – the future vanquisher of all things, evil. The long-held belief is that Goddess Durga battles and emerges triumphant over the demon to help restore and uphold the sanctity of Dharma.
This is a great story about Devas seeking protection and Goddess Durga successfully rushing to their rescue. During Durga Puja, many devotees offer prayers to the Goddess precisely on the belief that she will protect them and their families in times of need.
During the pujo, many devotees throng various well-known pandals to have a glimpse of their favourite deity even if this means standing in long winding queues for many hours or even few days. While doing pandal hopping, such devotees end up eating lot of junk and sweets. Considering this is a season of festivities gorging on various sweet delicacies is considered part of the festivities. Visiting friends and relatives also insists that all must partake in the festivities through generous helping of sweets and look down upon any resistance or individuals taking smaller portions.
Individuals afflicted from certain aliments however need to take special care while indulging in these gastronomical celebrations since it can take a toll on their health. One of the ailments that need special attention is diabetes and with all the sweet delicacies around – the resolve to resist these gastronomical delights can be tough.
However, there can be a middle path wherein these gastronomical delights could be enjoyed while taking certain precautions. Few of the small measures that could ensure diabetes afflicted individuals keep sugar levels in check include:
Avoid Junk food: One’s lips start salivating on hearing the words like cutlets, fries, parathas, pakodas, rolls etc. Now just imagine having these delicacies in front you – heaven isn’t it. But it is important to use one’s discretion wisely and avoid junk food or unhealthy options that can cause harm to health in the long term.
Choose delicacies with natural sweeteners: One would definitely love to have as much as sweet as possible to enjoy the festival with family and friends. However, the high level of sugar content makes the delicacies risky for individuals suffering from ailments such as diabetes. Hence, it is best to substitute sugar with natural alternatives such as jaggery, dates or figs. These alternatives will not only help to take care of sugar cravings but are also healthy. Jaggery is rich in iron and assists in cleansing the liver by flushing out nasty toxins from the body. In addition, dates and figs are extremely healthy and provide the body with wholesome energy.
Embrace Healthy Lifestyle: What is difficult? It’s difficult to get up early and go for exercise. It’s difficult to refuse a plate piled high with sugar-laden sweets. It’s difficult to give up that mid-week tipple. It’s difficult not to order that steak in your favourite restaurant. Many of us are aware about the ill-effects of these habits but find it difficult to adopt a healthy lifestyle. One must remain cautious throughout the year about his or her lifestyle. Adopting physically active routine and regular exercises helps one to remain fit and thereby keep ailments at bay. For this, one should be mentally strong to continue doing physical activity throughout the year.
Controlling portion size & timing: Individuals should avoid binge eating and try to consume smaller portion sizes. This will help in maintaining the blood sugar levels of diabetes afflicted individuals. In addition, consumption of limited portion sizes should be at regular intervals to avoid any health related complications. It is good to select the right timing to consume food. Consumption during irregular hours such as late nights must be avoided since it could affect one’s health.
Select Healthy Food: Everyone thinks that all Mithais are unhealthy and affect one’s health. However, there are numerous healthy food options available in the market that don’t merely taste good but also provide one wholesome energy. One must also remember that healthy food doesn’t mean expensive food – it is a wrongly held myth that all healthy foods are expensive.
Timely health check-ups: One is recommended to undertake timely and regular health check-ups, especially blood sugar levels to find out about diabetes. A quick medical intervention can be initiated only if it is diagnosed on time. One must also remember that timely and regular health check-ups allow an individual to not only monitor their health but also take timely action.
In conclusion, it would be right to point out that food is an important part of celebrations, especially during festivities but one must not ignore the health issues. This caution is particularly true for people suffering from ailments such as diabetes since good health means festivities everyday rather than only particular days of the year. This Durga Pujo one should try to battle the demon of diabetes by making right food choices, overcoming ill-health and thereby emerging victorious.
Article authored by Dr Varsha Khatry, Head- Medical and Scientific Affair, Roche Diabetes Care India.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and they do not reflect in any way those of Roche Diabetes Care India Pvt. Ltd....