My father is nearing eighties, and suffers from diabetes. Even as age catches up with him his craving for sweet is not diminishing. In fact, his diet, which I have been observing for long time, is erratic and so his sugar levels have remained high. He throws caution to the winds when it comes to maintaining strict control over what goes into his stomach. All of us have tried convincing him but in vain. His diabetic dose has gone up, too and so has the cost of medicine. I have been telling him about the unnecessary medical bills and asking whether his hard earned money need to be wasted in such a manner. And that alternative way is available and possible within his control. Till a fortnight ago he wasn’t interested.
Since last two years, my friends in Shikshantar, Udaipur, mainly Manish and Shammi, who have been influenced by the work and philosophy of Ms. Vijaya Venkat of THAC, Mumbai about achieving health through nutrition, have been experimenting with food and healthy ways of living. Their conscious kitchen concept, which links what we eat with organic growing of food, local seeds, transportation that is sensitive to ecology, access and what is given back to earth through composting of kitchen waste, was preying on my mind for long. Gradually, I too started experimenting with my food. Right food makes right body. Believing this adage I started by eliminating food that was not natural, for instance processed food, eating less oily stuff, having fruits, dry fruits and salads in large quantity, sprouts, reducing milk intake, not mixing grains, among other things. My family started adapting to the Conscious Kitchen idea slowly. For the past many years we have been using the kitchen waste into making compost, so that was in place. We started looking for natural and organic grains, a few such as wheat and rice I grow in my farm. We started practising what was practical and in gradual steps. For instance, I haven’t given up on tea, and I like my morning cuppa – that too with sugar and milk. But the efforts to eat consciously have begun in right earnest. In a few months I could feel the difference. I began feeling fresh and energetic and my acidic state was nearly gone.
I brought my story before my father and urged him to try for a fortnight. He was wary, but a few days back he called me and said that he was willing to try. I told him my conditions – to strictly follow what I prescribed. I told my mother not to compromise on anything and that her cooperation was crucial. Otherwise, in the past, she would make some sweet and give a small quantity to my father and say that it was only a tiny portion and that it wouldn’t harm. I reminded her of that and told her not to digress from the diet. I read a few more books, spoke to Manish and came up with a dietary plan. It included tea with honey instead of sugar-free tablets, fruits, sprouts and nuts for breakfast along with vegetable juice (carrot/gourd, etc), eating oil-free food (Shammi had demonstrated to her how to make regular dishes without oil when he had visited us a few months ago), trying alternative to wheat chapati like bhakri, not mixing grains during a meal, eating more fruits and nuts in the afternoon, with fresh fruit juice and have a light dinner again without any oil. Food was to be taken on time and needed to start with lots of salad and lime. We also stopped his nightly milk intake. I tried telling him the rationale of maintaining alkaline state in the body and how this diet contributed towards that end but am not sure how much he understood. Well, we began smoothly but in two days time he called me and showed the fruit dish my mother had prepared and with a frown asked, “Am I a goat to eat so much of fruit?. I reasoned with him to continue for his sake. Once, he complained that his frequency of passing of urine especially has increased which affected his nights. I told him that passing urine was a good sign for a diabetic patient. My mother too was exasperated by his snide remarks but I urged her to be patient. I told them to think of living a pill-free life and the money saved!
Well, it has been a significant twelve days since we began. The good thing is that he is still continuing the planned diet. Initially, we were worried about causing negative effects and of untoward incidents because of the changed diet. But so far save for his occasional complaints, especially about lime shots, everything else has been a smooth ride. After a fortnight, as agreed, we will be doing his sugar test.
That’s the day I am waiting with bated breath!