Pitru Paksha is a period of 16 days during the autumn months of September and October that is dedicated to our ancestors in the form of prayers and offerings. Shradh rituals and donations are made during this time to pay homage to one’s forefathers and gratify their souls. Religious scriptures say that the Pitru Paksha period is observed to pay respects and homage to the ancestors. Our ancestors are very near and dear to us. Pitru Paksha is the time of the year when Hindus pay respect to their ancestors by performing rituals and forbidding themselves to do certain things. It is believed that during Bhadrapada Maas, for 16 days from Purnima to Amavasya the souls of our dead ancestors come to earth in the form of energies. This year Pitru Paksha commenced on 24th September and will end on 8th October, 2018.
The day of the Shraadh is usually decided by the pandit or priest, keeping in mind the death anniversary of the ancestor for whom the Shraadh has to be performed. Pooja is then conducted in the house and a special meal “satvik bhojan” is prepared to honour the soul of the dead.
Clinical nutritionist Dr Rupali Datta said that, ”During the Pitri Pooja, the food is first offered to Lord Vishnu which is then given to the ancestors and Brahmins. It is believed that offering meat, eggs or alcohol to the almighty will be a sin. There are verses in Vedic Shastras like Srimad Bhagavat which mention that during this period one should never consume non-vegetarian food. The reason behind this belief is that meat is obtained by killing animals and this could count to ‘adharma’. Some Shastras also note that only vegetarian food should be consumed using butter or desi ghee. Only sattvic foods should be consumed during this period. Also milk, sugar and curd or dishes using these ingredients must be offered to the ancestors. For instance, kheer, poori, pumpkin and lentils. Therefore, one must not only avoid offering meat but also avoid eating it while observing the rituals of Shradh.”
(Dr Rupali Datta is a clinical nutritionist at Fortis Escorts)
Pure satvik food should not include meat and even onions and garlic should be avoided during this period.
According to the celebrity nutritionist, Nmami Agarwal some other sources of protein are lentils, dairy products like cottage cheese, milk and yogurt, nuts and whole grains like wheat, barley and millets.
Other foods rich in protein to include in your diet are:
1. Lentils: Lentils are an excellent source of protein and grow in pods. They come in numerous varieties like black, green, yellow and brown. Celebrity nutritionist says, ”Increasing the consumption of plant foods like lentils decreases the risk of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases and promote overall well-being like increased energy, and weight loss.”
2. Nuts: In addition to being a good source of fibre and good fats, nuts can also be a good source of protein. She further recommends, ”Nuts like almonds, cashews and walnuts are rich in protein and should be included in your diet.”
3. Dairy products: ”Foods like milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese are not only loaded with proteins but also contain good amounts of calcium”, nutritionist Nmami Agarwal added.
4. Whole grains: Not all grains are a healthy source of protein. Many are refined, ultra processed and stripped of essential nutrients, making them act like sugar in the body causing more harm than benefit. So, the nutritionist suggests some best whole grains that are high in healthy plant proteins and are a must in your diet to meet the daily requirements. These include millets, wheat and barley.
(Nmami Agarwal is a celebrity nutritionist)
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