I’ve been a declared diabetic since the past 10 years and hypertensive since the past 12 years. Popping pills is something I’ve never liked but these health conditions do not allow even a day’s break from pill popping. I feel a little depressed at the thought of spending a fortune on pills and potions. Yes if I add the massage oil I apply and ayurvedic medicines I swallow for my arthritis and I think I spend a neat 1000 rupees per month to maintain my health. When I feel low I crib about these things, worry about the load my liver and kidneys take and wonder when the two will revolt. I know that they will sooner or later.
Apart from popping pills these ‘sukh rogs’(luxury ailments) prevent me from consuming food of any kind without feeling guilty and gluttonous. No sugar and minimum starch for my diabetic condition. Less salt, almost no pickles and papads and minimum oil for my hypertensive constitution. And a low protein diet with no tamarind, uncooked tomatoes and minimum salad vegetables is recommended for my arthritis. Any vegetable that grows underground is to be avoided. I am not a great fan of potatoes but yam and coco yam roasted crisp in oil and consumed with Mysore rasam……. The thought makes my mouth water.
Is it fair? I feel like throwing caution out of the window and consuming my favorite south Indian items with plenty of tamarind and asafetida. But I am subjected to weekly grilling by my children and glares by my husband the moment I extend a hand towards the pickle bottle. Poor man, he offers to give up spicy food on my account.
Oh, no why would you do that? I say and I really mean it.
But take the case of Mr. Cha…. and his friend Mr. Cha…….. residing in our apartment complex, both nearing 80 years of age. I haven’t met a cuter pair of oldies. One is tall and thin while the other is short and though not stout appears so due to his short stature. On quite a few occasions the two would stop me on my way to college and ask to be dropped at the local market some half a kilometer from my area. There would be other occasions when I would see them getting into someone else’s car and invariably got down near the market. They would not have any shopping bag or any such stuff and I’d regularly spot their sons and daughters in law carrying loads of stuff from the car parking area to their house. I assumed that their children did the main marketing and the two of them went to purchase things for themselves and I mentioned this to an acquaintance.
”Don’t you know why they go to the market so often?” she asked. “It is an open secret in our complex.”
The point is that after college I hardly go down to join the chat session that the ladies in our complex indulge in, after preparing dinner, in the play area of our complex. So I have very little knowledge of what goes on in the complex. It seems Mr. Cha…. and his friend are both diabetic and their wives do not include sugar or items rich in starch in their menu. The two go to the market, visit a few grocery shops and ask for jaggery to taste. They find fault with its quality saying that it was a little sour or slightly salty and move on to the next shop. That way they would cover a few shops and return home. The following day they would visit a few hotels and sweet shops and ask for whatever sweets that was fresh saying that they would taste the items first and decide on what to buy for the family. That way their craving for sweets would be satisfied as would their desire to outwit their wives.
I wonder why the desire to eat forbidden food is the general rule. It actually began with Adam and Eve. I felt like crying the moment my doctor said that I would have to reduce consuming tamarind. The pani puri and dahi papdi that we occasionally ordered from the college canteen included uncooked tamarind pulp diluted as per requirement. This had to be stopped as would the spicy chutneys and Tambrahm delicacies like ‘vattal kuzhambu and milagu kuzhambu’. My friends offered their support and for the next few days we survived on sprouted lentils and roasted Bengal gram. I felt more deprived than them and we decided on a middle path. We’d order pani puris once a month and restrict it to two plates between the six of us. And I would be allowed just one piece – no cheating or making a sad face – I was warned. My children were better. They monitored on a weekly basis and that too over the phone. Out here I have at least 5 well wishers ready to give up their favorite food items for me. I am indeed touched.
Actually my doctor is not that particular about my following a strict diet chart. God bless the man! He allows me everything and anything I wish to eat as long as I restrict my consumption to one or two pieces per day of any one form of fruit/sweets/pickle or papad. Fair enough. I love fruits and would gladly restrict myself to a permitted level rather than eat in excess now and be denied fruits in any form later.
Eat what you want to, but in moderation is the message. I have taken up the challenge of losing at least 2 to 3 kilograms of weight in the next four weeks. I am trying out what my daughter describes as liquid diet. Like a little dalia mashed and mixed with dal, vegetables and diluted with rasam. Or well cooked oats blended with milk. Anything that I consume has to be diluted and gulped down. Do wish me luck since I need to lose not just 3 kilos but at least 10 kilos of weight. I am starting with 3 kilos since I want to set realistic targets.