Monday, May 23, 2011

Of this and that........

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.


Sumana said...

All the best HHG and i am sure you are a very balanced & cautious eater. I see my parents are so restrictive in their diets and i tell myself, "Shame on me" when i cannot control something. It is tough to just stop eating things you love or which are a part f your daily diet. Like the morning tea, if you are asked to drink sugarless then probably we might just end up giving tea.

R's Mom said...

Awww! Hugs HHG...All the best for the weight loss and guess what I think we should do it together...I need to lose TEN kgs myself and let me at least start with 3...what say? so by the June 23rd, both of us should lose 3 kgs..will you be my weight loss partner? ;) and do enjoy stuff in mom just got diabetes about a month ago and the doc told her the same thing..enjoy stuff in moderation and you can live happily :)

Anu said...

Dear Maam

This was one of your cutest posts. loved the story about the people in your neighborhood.

Warm wishes


Neha said...

A new follower :)

All the best on your weight loss plan. I, too, am working on losing weight and doing both - exercise and right diet. Btw, the best way is to keep your metabolism going. Eat smaller meals - every 2-2.5 hours. It always works. And always go on a diet that you can sustain so that there are no chances of regaining all the lost weight.

Let's do it together!! I've lost 0.8 in the last 1 week. I'll keep you updated!

Deepa said...

I can so relate to you being monitored by phone calls :) I do the same to my mom. she has sugar for the past 1 yr and even before that we used to keep warning her ;) Sadly Indian food though yummy isn't well-balanced. Make sure every meal has a protein content and reduce the carbs and increase the veggies. Protein fills you up well. Brown rice is also a good option. Good luck dear HHG !

Shachi said...

Wish you all the best! It's very tough to deal with health issues at an elderly age. And from reading this post I am proud of you for being so aware and taking good care of yourself.

Hip Grandma said...

Sumana:I only try to be cautious. Of what use is caution when one feels deprived and unable to accept one's medical condition? I keep reminding myself that i've had more than my share of yummy, spicy food. Forsaking sweets is not that much of a problem. Please go ahead and enjoy good food while you can.

R's Mom:That was a very motivating offer. We'll be weight loss partners and pat our backs on June 23rd won't we?? Come on. Let's do it. Hurray!!So it is losing 3 kilos by June 23rd right?

Anu:Thanks. And you know the two old men actually pluck flowers early in the morning from a neighboring park and chuckle over their achievement. Really a high spirited duo I must say.

Neha:Welcome here.Please do keep me updated with your progress. I would be motivated (read shamed) into losing weight.

Deepa:You do it to your mom? Well I understand your concern as much as I understand my children's. You are right about our food habits. Palatable but unhealthy.

Shachi:You know at my age one is quite set in our ways and giving up something like rice and switching to daliya is difficult. I have no problem with rotis as replacement. Unfortunately south Indian preparations taste better with rice.

dr.antony said...

There is nothing forbidden in diabetes except direct sugars.
Eat in moderation,do regular exercise and reach the ideal weight if you can.
I never insist on dietary restriction,especially in the elderly.That is the only thing they enjoy,and why refuse that simple pleasure.And it is not going to make big differences at that age.

Good control of diabetes should start at the beginning.Much of the damage is done in the first ten years.

dr.antony said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Delurking for the first time, have been reading your blog for long time :)
This topic is close to my heart as many of my family members suffer from diabetes. I became cautious after I had gestational diabetes and the doctors here in the US told me that if I don't take care, I might get diabetes sooner as it runs in my family (I am not overweight). So for the past six years I have changed the way I eat, I stopped eating rice, I have the usual southindian fair with dalia (there are different types so please do experiment, some dalia tastes verymuch like rice if you cook it right). Important think I have noticed is that you need to add protein and fibre in every meal, breafast is very important, a good balanced breafast with protein and carb, eg: oatmeal with yogurt and add some cut apples, will keep you full for a long time. Addai with brown rice tastes the same as with raw/white rice and doesn't spike blood sugar levels. Lastly early dinner is key to weight loss, you need to have dinner by 7:30, if you feel hungry before you go to bed have half apple and some nuts.
Sorry for a long post like comment, I thought of sending you a mail but din't know your email id.


Hip Grandma said...

dr.antony:True, after a point too much diet restriction need not be insisted. At the same time one has to maintain one's health to avoid being a pain to others. A balance has to be struck and it is the person concerned who has to decide.

My diabetes has been under control since the past 10 years so I think the same diet chart should be okay. However, in most diabetics there is a loss in weight. in my case there is a regular and steady increase and that is worrying.

dipali said...

I'm largely in the same boat as you, HHG, with diabetes, hypertension and overweight. Need to lose at least ten kilos, but I wonder how!
Apparently that will also help the acid reflux which can be very distressing.
I guess a minimum sum on medication is par for the course for people of our generation. As long as we keep functioning reasonably well, I guess it's okay.

Hip Grandma said...

dipali:let us shake hands. It helps to know that I am not alone.