Chaturmaas is a holy period of four months starting from July to October and is very important in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism for conducting various rituals, penances, austerities, fasting etc., According to the Hindu lunar calendar this period starts from Shayani Ekadashi in the month of Aaashad and continues till Uttana Ekadashi in the month of Kartik.
While few devotees abstain from having their favourite food, some may have one meal a day. Ayurveda strongly recommends avoiding eating certain food items in these four months like green leafy vegetables in Shravan, curd in Bhadrapad, milk in Ashwin and pulses and dal in Karthik, as these monsoon months are known for spreading several infections.
According to Ayurveda, monsoon vitiates vaata, kapha and pitta (movement, metabolism and structural) functions of the human body leading to several disorders and infections.
The chances of water contamination are high in this season, waterborne diseases become prevalent and since rainy season breeds ground worms and many studies suggest that green leafy vegetables are prone to bacterial infections in this season such as spinach, lettuce, cabbage etc.
As the monsoon months progress into August and September, it is recommended to avoid curd, fermented food products as monsoon months slow down the metabolic activity, weakening the digestive system, stimulating lactose intolerance. Naturopathy practitioners also advice patients to abstain from alcohol, idli and dosas made from fermented batter and dhokla.
Avoiding urad dal, masur dal is advised as they are high in protein and it doesn’t go well with the digestion during end of monsoon. In some parts of India, onions, garlic, eggplant are also avoided to stop intervention in the digestion.
Even if you don’t observe the Chaturmas Vrat, follow these simple tips to help you stay healthy:
1. Wash all green leafy vegetables thoroughly before cooking.
2. Boil milk at high temperature to kill germs and bacteria.
3. While consuming milk, make it thinner by adding more water and to reduce lactose intolerance.
4. Substitute curd with buttermilk, eat instant dosas, idlis to reduce the effects of fermented food.
5. Try having early dinners to avoid slowing down of metabolic activity and to keep fit.