Now, on to my article. If you walk along the streets of Chennai or any rural village in Tamil Nadu in the evenings, you will find mothers holding their children on their waists, pointing to the moon and feeding them what is fondly referred to by Tamilians as ‘Thachchi Mammu’. In case you are wondering what this ‘Thacchchi Mammu’ is, let me assure you it is not some exotic dish eaten by the tribes of Congo that made its way to Tamil Nadu. It is simply curd rice. My mother brought me up predominantly on rice and even now I find it very difficult to resist a plateful of curd rice with a liberal dollop of ‘Avakkai pickle’
Because of being brought up mostly on rice, most vegetarians from Tamil Nadu become inordinately fond of rice items and tend to eat rice for almost every meal. At least, that was the case in most vegetarian households like mine. Rotis and Chappathis rarely find a place in the food eaten in most Tamilian vegetarian households. Well as destiny would have it, I married a non-vegetarian and that brought me into close proximity to non-vegetarian food. I tried out everything I could lay my hands on. Chicken, fish, prawns, I tried them all.
Of these, I loved Chicken and prawns the most. I love spicy prawns made in the typical Kerala style with a lot of onions and masala. I am also extremely fond of sweets like Laddu, Gulab Jamun, Maalaadu (a special kind of Laddu which is made only in south India), Kaju Katli and several others. And as far as Black Forest pastries are concerned I am ready to sink my teeth into one any time of the day or night. I also love Pizzas and French Fries.
As a result of indulging in tasty food over several years, ably supplemented by a sedentary lifestyle, I ended up putting on weight severely. I kept telling myself that I would soon start off with exercises and everything would be fine. In addition to being overweight, three years back I was diagnosed as a severe diabetic with a high cholesterol level. This was really surprising because our family does not have a history of Diabetes from either my father’s side or my mother’s side. The doctor informed me that I was suffering from Type-II Diabetes and at that point in time my HBA1C reading was 9 which was extremely high and meant steps had to be taken to bring the sugar levels down immediately.
My weight was 100 kgs. The doctors immediately prescribed a high dose of Metformin and a strict diet to bring the sugar levels down. Here is what the doctor told me to avoid in order to improve my health and longevity and get fit once more. I had to end my wonderful long-lasting love affair with rice, especially ‘Thachchi Mammu’ and ‘Avakkai pickle’. The doctors advised subsisting on the minimum rice-intake possible. This meant I had to switch to eating Chappathis and Rotis as a staple diet. I was really upset. But well, I had no choice. Health, after all, is important. For the last three years, I have been mainly eating Rotis and Chappathis as a staple diet.
The second thing the doctors advised me was to do with my intake of sweets. At least when it came to rice, I did not have to completely give it up. But as far as sweets were concerned the doctors were very clear. ‘No more sweets’ was the cardinal rule. Same went for Black Forest pastries. And though I find it very difficult to avoid sweets at times, I am managing to say no to sweets by and large. Then came junk food. I had told the doctors I loved Pizzas, French Fries and junk food of all kinds. I had been indulging severely in these. They told me to reduce it as far as possible. In fact, they told me it would be better to completely give it up. So, Pizzas and French Fries, another favourite, went out of the window.
As far as non-vegetarian items were concerned they told me to avoid Prawns as they had too much fat content and added to one’s weight. Of all the non-veg food I had taken to, it was prawns that I liked best. In fact, I loved it even more than Chicken. Well, being in my position if the doctor says so, you had to do it. They told me to avoid many fruits as I was a diabetic. The first fruit they mentioned was Mango which again was my favourite. My heart cried in anguish. The other fruits I had to avoid were Cherries, Grapes, Pineapples and Banana. When it came to fruits I tried to argue with the doctor. I told him this was the first time someone was telling me that fruits could be bad for health. The doctor patiently convinced me that this was indeed the case. So, there it was, the final nail in the coffin. Several fruits to be avoided.
Well, the next question you may have is, ‘have I been able to diligently follow this diet?’ Well, the answer is by and large, yes. And the reason I have been able to follow the diet is mainly due to the meticulous care and attention my wife and my twelve-year-old daughter bestow on my health. They just won’t let me eat anything that is not suitable for me and continuously keep tabs on what I consume. The next question that comes to the mind is, ‘has it been effective?’ Well, as far as Diabetes is concerned the answer is a big ‘yes’. My HBA1C level has now dropped to 6.8 which means ‘diabetic but in excellent control’. But the weight is still a problem. The doctors tell me to walk for at least one hour daily but my busy work schedule does not permit that. But never mind, I am planning to shelve some of my official responsibilities soon which means I would get more time for exercise.
Hopefully, that would bring down my weight as well. So, you see my fitness journey is still ongoing. I have managed to control Diabetes, but I need to work on my weight problems. I have enjoyed sharing my experience with Diabetes and weight issues with all of you. I hope you find it useful.
I would also like to take this opportunity to introduce Surbhi Prapanna who is a Homeopathic therapist by profession and is an ardent blogger, writer and nature lover. She blogs at Surbhi’s Crazy Creative World. She writes extensively on medical ailments and their cures.
I am participating in the ‘Get Fit, Stay Fit’ blog party with BonHappetee!