Thursday, February 4, 2010

I am sweeter!

I never imagined I would write this about myself. I am sweeter now and it is no fun! I belong to the category where 'ignorance is bliss' and so I had no clue that Diabetes can be so challenging!

It all started innocently, I just went for a medical check before leaving for Bangkok! It was for my travel insurance and lo behold there was sugar in my blood! I called my friend Raghu (Dr) immediately! He advised me to go ahead with my trip and said he would take care of me after my return. He cautioned me to eat moderately and no sweets!

It was lucky for me that Hari and Anita had just moved to Bangkok and Anita knew about diets for diabetes! She advised me not to go on the web and read about my ailment. That is good advice! But by then I had peeped in to the web. The gyan given on-line is scary. You feel like you have just jumped the queue in your journey towards meeting the almighty. It is not the same as jumping queue at the Tirupati temple. There you have your darshan early, feel enervated and then it is back to whatever is your karma!

Anyway Anita took me under her wings and guided me on what not to eat! I know it was not intentional but I was tested thoroughly. She is staying at this swanky service apartment. So breakfast was complimentary and they provide a good spread! I would walk past all the good stuff till we reached the salad section. She would allow me to pick up some cucumber from the there. Then a soup, the Japanese Meso soup was a life saver as I liked it. She okayed an omelet with only the white of the egg and I had the brownest of breads. Thankfully Papaya was approved! Once I got used to it breakfast with Anita was rather fun!

We also had very simple lunches. Vietnamese brown rice with nice and crunchy vegetables was actually enjoyable. Frankly she was of great help during this period of my being in denial. No sweets, cakes and ice creams during dinner. Thankfully none of my hosts insisted on me eating sweets they had lovingly prepared or bought, once they knew I was on a diet. Moderate drinking was not forbidden, but snacking was! No handfuls of cashew or peanuts! Anyway I am already content with just a glass of wine. All I had to do was to steer clear of all the short eats that is kindly offered!

It is no surprise that while I spoke to my friends about my dieting under Anita's guidance, there were opposite views expressed! The seasoned ones advised me to eat and enjoy and let medicine take care of the disease! Their argument was that at my age of three score and ten, there is no point in being so careful! Very convincing and tempting!

Anyway after my return, I went through tests and learnt that I do have diabetes. Hopefully it can be managed with only dieting after a period of treatment. Raghu really took care of me by prescribing me a diet of about 1600 calories per day! It looks manageable when you see it on paper.

But the problem starts when you go out for a wedding and have lunch there! As you settle down in front of the banana leaf, they start serving super fast! It is so confusing as you don't want to waste food and you cannot stop them! Almost everything is taboo as per your diet list. We are served two or three varieties of sweets! Pineapple sweet and sour (gojju!) and even the Kosambari (a kind of salad) has coconut and sweet corn!

It is the same when you go to a temple and are given prasad, everything is made up of rice! No more puliogre, sakkara pongal and nai valaplu! It is painful even to translate and tell you what is being missed!

What really hurts me is to read that my ailment is due to my lifestyle! I was actually very confident that my lifestyle was particularly good! I suppose while I exercised well, I also ate more than my body could handle. Especially the last six months! Raghu tried to console me by telling me that our community has a great incidence of diabetes!

Armed with this information, I plan to form a SIB diabetes support group and will try to influence both the temples and all our relatives to have a diabetic pankti (batch!) separately for us. I used to joke that our Gods had a risk of turning diabetic! Now I suppose the joke is on me! Anyway wish me luck!


Ramesh SK said...

Hi Nidhi,
Good that you have gone about the whole issue in a positive manner. I am sure that with moderate exercise\ eating, it will be kept under check.
My Dad never liked liked sweets till he became diabetic at 59 yrs & he developed a sweet tooth aftr out.
Hi to Tara. My Mom & in laws are here in Abu Dhabi with us & send their best wishes to you & Tara.

Cheers to 1 whisky/ wine a day

Rohini said...

All the best in fighting the temptations! nice title!

Narasimhan said...

Hello Nidhi Mama,

Some home remedies that have worked with my father recently is to take Amla Pachak (Gooseberry Digestive) in the night; keep moving the feet back and forth whenever you are sitting and adding a pnch of Cinnamon powder to Oats Cereal (Radha's idea). He has hit the low sugar level several times now.
- Narasimhan

Sandhya said...

Read the title and wondered how it was possible 'cos you are already the sweetest!! Anyways no are strong willed and I'm sure you'll manage your diet very well. Remember-All Is Well

Prakash said...


Well written blog. Unfortunately the grey script on a black background made reading a bit difficult and has convinced me to have my eyes checked.

Best regards to Tara and self.


ramasamy said...

Can you tell us symptoms - feeling thirsty etc etc.( or going to the toilet at night more than once?? )
You have got me worried. I should go for a check up PRONTO.
Do you recall that we talked about Yoga when you visited us in Melaka?
Luckily, Rama and I have pursued with passion and thus believe our body chemistry is OK besides the heart. Our regimen is very demanding.
May be you should consult a competent Yoga teacher ( preferably Iyengar trained )and
practice for say, 6 months. You may monitor results. This in addition to Dieting directed by Raghu.
There are other issues when we are in the 70's. So a complete check-up is a must.
I am sure you can keep fit without
those Indian sweets which are loaded with white sugar. Sugar price has touched record levels in the international marts and minimising consumption may serve well. Lately, I have been selective in eating Indian sweets.
Jaggery based ones preferred.
Cheer up!!

BSIK Murthy said...


With your regime of walking and diet.U should have no problem. Donot be over conscious. Life style change is what is required. The Diab may go away after some time as happened in my brother's case.
All the best, regards to Tara.


R Narsimhan said...

Hi Nidhi, Welcome to the Sugar Factory Club. You have not mentioned the fasting blood sugar level. What is it like? With the modern treatment available for diabetes, there is nothing to worry about. Example is self, I am a diabetic since 1976. Make the best use of the situation and enjoy. Narasimha

N L Sriram said...

So what does SIB stand for - South Indian Brahmin, or Srivaishnava Iyengar Brahmin?!

Perhaps I should start worrying, especially if this is coming down from Amma's side of the family!


VATSALA said...

Remeber you are in good company. The dignosis sends you a notice that there is now a cieling on food intake but no change in variety. Regular checks would ensure ripe old age

Marisa Narula said...

Hi Nidhi,
Sorry to hear about this, but I know people who have controlled it by diet and exercise alone. My father use to have "kerala" juice every morning and that is excellent for diabetes. You soak the kerala overnight and next morning make a juice of it. Stay away from high glycemic foods - which means processed foods (white flour, white pasta etc.) and eat a lot of vegetables and the juice should help also. But walking is great for diabetes and keeping a balanced attitude. Don't worry too much about it, as that in itself is detrimental. You've gone for Vedanta classes and you know how to meditate and relax. I do not believe in the attitude that you ONLY let the medication do the work and you do no work. It's like saying "Ok God you do the work, but I don't really have a part to play in this". Everything in our life requires our participation and discipline if we want to live a certain way - healthy, and happy and balanced. And I am sure you can do it, but the first thing is to stop worrying about it. And by the way I think it is great that you are using this opportunity to educate the temples...etc. They really need it, as we are encouraging obesity with all the sweet prasads we get. Love to Tara and hope you both are well.