Until, it’s too late, before non-communicable diseases like diabetes take on us. In common Nepalese word, we call it “Sugar.”
Nearly ten years back, one of our near and good neighbor uncle, who happens to be my friend’s father, Mr. Purna Bahadur Tamang, in his early 40’s, all of a sudden, suffered from “Sugar.” He did a whole-body medical check-up and found him in a circle with diabetes. With shock, he came back home and retrospected his food habit and lifestyle. He was sure he never had alcohol and smoke in his whole life to date. He feels sorry for himself and reminiscence that he always accompanied good social life. Back then, hearing the news, we were fascinated and feel sorry for him.
Being in a local, organic and natural food promotion business gives a sense of reasoning behind my neighbor’s uncle’s diabetes. His body weight indicates the result of irregular and improper food habits, i.e., more intake of junk foods, fatty foods, and more calories and zero-calorie burn. But now, he is cautious with his diets and regular morning walk has made him control his diabetes. No more white rice, prefer to have fewer calorie foods and no more sweets. His weight is under control now.
Not too far to go, my three maternal aunts, who are in their late 40 and early 50, are affected by the same disease. Looking after their urban life and food habit, they were over-weight, loved sweets, had heavy meals either in lunch or dinner, and had no physical activities to burn the calories. Now, It is more than a decade, they are in good shape and carefully look after their meals intake every morning to evening, whatever they eat.
Even my business partner’s father-in-law in the ’60s is suffering. Hearing experience from my partner, it’s pretty challenging to manage the food habit accordingly as needed by their body. Reasons are similar ones.
In overview, I feel why this happens? Many of the people who are in their ’40s suffer from this disease. Why do people have to start looking after their health and take care of their food habits only after any illnesses? Why not early precaution? Very irony!
They are just the representation of busy urban life. Even though most of the urban population are aware of the importance of proper food behavior, why not in action. Why is the tendency to accept an appropriate food habit less? Maybe more influence of the western culture of having food in restaurants and hotels that is in trend. In retrospecting our social dynamics, sugar-related by-products are typical on most occasions; beverages or drinks or high-calorie foods are common in celebration. In likes of children’s birthday, passed in an exam, got selected for a job, visa accepted, and every bit of festivals got babies. These special events are hard to imagine without sweetness or sugar-sweetened beverages or drinks or any high-calorie processed food.
Now the common trend has evolved. If anybody comes from abroad, the first expected gift would be imported chocolate. Even adults prefer to have chocolate as a souvenir. The ads on TV and print have positioned chocolates to be a good gift on every occasion, i.e., Mother’s day, fathers day, Bhai Tika, Valentine’s day. Whether for adults or even for age-old people. We are so less likely to resist consuming it. The big question is, when are we going to stop it and analyze ourselves? Before it’s too late.
While overviewing the whys and what, the other sides of urban lifestyle should also be responsible for increasing non-communicable disease, i.e., diabetes. In reality, in Nepalese culture, during the late ’20s and early 30′, we are more career-oriented, more family-centered, and the pressure of achieving high in the future is always at stake. The stress of meeting deadlines, ambition to earn social respect, and fighting to stand out in tough competition creates challenges to maintain the healthy lifestyle that we might have imagined down the line. Alas, we are likely missing out on our timely breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and most importantly, timely sleep and much-needed rest. We readily accept to put our life at risk of affecting shortly.
One of my friends who is Umesh Ghimire, is in the early ’30s. He believes in a philosophy called “work hard and party harder.” Even it sometimes inspires me too. Yes! he is aware of his sedentary lifestyle but less likely to roll his foot on the road and post some early morning pictures on social media with soaked faces with sweat. Whenever I meet him, he says, “should have start morning walk” and reminds himself, one day he will start.
He is just a typical representation of our generation (30’s). Similarly, among many friends, two of my friend Sudeep Ghale and Suraj Gurung have overweight issues and are trying very hard to reduce the weight. Happy to hear and see, they both started doing physical exercises and losing some weight. Still have a problem arranging and subconsciously accept the proper nutrition food. They tend to have heavy meals whenever they eat. Hopefully, they might gain their shape in the coming days and free from early havoc.
Still a big question mark? Changing our culturally-rooted food habits is always a challenge. So what could we possibly do and start in the early ’30s? It is always easy said than done. But the fact is how long we are going to bind ourselves consciously. It is just a matter of time; we need to get rolling. The only precaution is better than regrets after on.
According to the research, the diabetes population soars with the increase in age, and it is more prevalent in urban residents, more prominent in males. Whereas, WHO’s data says that the percentage of diabetic patients has increased from 19.04% in 2002 to 25.9% in 2009 in Nepal and is continuously growing. And now, in 2021, we can assume its impact in our daily life, in our family, relatives, friends, and professional field.
What can we do? The only way out is a change, whether we love it or hate it, but we can’t ignore it. For a preliminary start, burn your calorie and try to practice healthy food-consuming habits.
For example, if we had a heavy calorie today, it is always wise to burn your calorie tomorrow via physical activities, cycling, running, or any outdoor or indoor activities. Bring change in a positive attitude to motivate psychologically and morally. Let us force our minds with the negative impact of high-calorie foods, spices, hard drinks, fries, fatty foods, and a sedentary lifestyle. Always try to think if I am affected by the diseases and what will happen to our loved ones, kids, and family. If I am overweight, my selfie picture looks worst to put on social media. If I am to inspire others to live a healthy life, we need to start within ourselves.
Just ask yourself the point of hard-earned social status and economic standard when you had to boycott the foods we crave by the early ’40s—living a life with no taste in your food as a patient. Bit harsh, but this is the reality.
But in the name of diet and proper food behavior, please be careful. In today’s world, with access to social media, we seek an alternative way we are easily accessible to different strategies, i.e., Keto diets, intermittent fast, are evolving. We need to ask, is it our lifestyle or food habit. Does it suit our daily life schedule? Does it sustain for a more extended period in our family? What about our financial burden in practicing? Will our family accept the new food style system, i.e., breakfast, meal, or dinner we consume daily? Some may be lucky enough to afford and accepted by the family. But what about the significant population.
So many questions need to be asked and solved. So we are good enough to make the right choice. Let us not let this so-called diabetes our weakness, inheritance from family genes, or unhealthy urban lifestyle. Why not try to stop this inheritance now and lessen the possibility of transferring it to the next generation.