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Updated: October 9, 2011 00:56 IST

What's life without a little salt or sugar?

  • Aparajita Banerje
Comment (18)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
The Hindu

This World Heart Day, most newspapers and journals filled their pages with health tips. There was no dearth of awareness campaigns on how we should get up early every morning, do exercise regularly, keep weight in control, eat plenty of salad, avoid fatty, oily stuff, avoid excess salt and sugar, reduce alcohol intake, give up tobacco and the list goes on and on. Then there are the home-based remedies of controlling weight suggested by our urban, upwardly mobile uncles and aunts like drinking lukewarm water with drops of lemon juice every morning and shunning bananas and mangoes as they are high calorie fruits. Their advice is endless — eat less, drink eight glasses of water everyday, drink bottle gourd juice without sugar or salt and so on and so forth.

A common sight in city parks these days are men and women, boys and girls walking and sometimes running so vigorously that their red faces and thumping chests seem to be on the verge of explosion. It appears as if in one day they plan to lose all the extra calories they have accumulated over years. I wonder if all these rules, regulations, restrictions and hard work can actually give someone a good life worth living or the objective is just healthy existence.

Out of all the health concerns, the trendiest is weight management. No doubt, maintaining a decent weight is an important part of the overall well-being, but at what cost? I personally know many people who have permanently damaged their knees by running crazily on the treadmills. Many cases of heart attacks are reported among people during morning walks. Excess diet control, if not managed properly, causes gastric ulcer among many people. What is often forgotten is that various factors are responsible for one's weight. If only 30 minutes of jogging and drinking lukewarm water in the mornings could make everyone slim, then there would be countless John Abrahams and Deepika Padukones on the street. That doesn't mean one should not work out. It only means that the expectations should be realistically set.

There are many who dread attending parties and family get-togethers when they are not in good shape as most people in our upwardly mobile middle classes are often ready with questions: ‘Oh! You have put on a lot of weight, why don't you try this Kellogg's K cornflakes?', ‘Oh my God, I couldn't recognise you, haven't you struck the gym yet?', ‘Have you tried the new sugar-free?' or ‘Why don't you cut down on your sugar and salt?' To fend off such questions, some avoid get-togethers while some start a mad workout and a saintly diet regime. To all those victims of the mindless questions, I just say: “Weight is a question of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.”

The unsolicited advice is often put forth in a way as if following it could help us escape death and not following it would kill us today. I am not an authorised person to comment on such advice as I am neither a doctor nor a gym instructor nor a nutrition expert. But as a layman, I believe that the beauty of reality is that it is grey and never absolutely black or white. Neither a saintly restricted life can make us immortal, nor will a carefree life kill us today. These would only add to or subtract a few years from our lives. Therefore, what is most desirable to me is a balanced life with a little salt, a little sugar, a little spice, a little oil, some nutritious food, some exercise, good sleep and loads of fun. After all, how many of us would prefer a long disciplined existence of 90 + years to a fun-filled, happy life of 60.

(The writer's email id is:

Very good article. It clearly says that it is good to be focused in your health but not obsessed.

from:  V Ramasamy
Posted on: Dec 2, 2011 at 11:56 IST

i totally agree with the writer... v need more of such articles... congrats to her

from:  Neha Singh
Posted on: Oct 21, 2011 at 00:18 IST

Congrats for such a beautiful article.Thinking of health all the time can lead to high B.P., diabetes etc.So let us live a fun filled life with a balanced diet with no tension.

from:  Anuradha das
Posted on: Oct 16, 2011 at 10:41 IST

Well fabricated article.Author has aptly highlighted the way people think about their health. Though a lot has been done in the name of health awareness , but still people need to understand the importance of balanced life. Balanced life is not only about food , rather its multifactorial.

from:  manu
Posted on: Oct 14, 2011 at 10:12 IST

I think in his practical experience he commented the wonderful article . At least after going through this article people can wake up.

from:  Gunasekaran.L.
Posted on: Oct 12, 2011 at 12:13 IST

“Weight is a question of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.” - This is a beautiful statement that I came across in this piece. Kudos to the author for the well-meaning article. Ultimately, the most challenging parts are 'discipline', 'moderation' and the like.

from:  D. Chandramouli
Posted on: Oct 12, 2011 at 11:18 IST

Its heartening to read. We make rich of doctors, dieticians, the sugar free manufacturers etc out of our hard earned money. In my case, as a diabetic II at age of 33 was frightened with the vocabulary by the doctors that my dooms day is not too far.My disablement assured shortly due to stroke, heart attack, kidney failure is, if I donot reduce my food intake, stop eating sweets, (its ok) but idly, dosaa, rice. But like this writer, one of my friend suggested to live fully, eat carefully. I did it, its since last 15 years I am fine. I wish to live another 15 years happily and pop off, so that my wife lives her life fully with out my bossism.

from:  SATHYA
Posted on: Oct 12, 2011 at 06:35 IST

It is absurd to describe a "fun filled" life as one in which people can indulge in unhealthy eating practice and die at 50 or 60. Also , the assumption that people who lead a disciplined life are losing out on "fun" is baseless. It is not just the longevity of life alone - it is also about the quality of life that one leads.
I know of people who indulge in eating unhealthy food and do little or no exercise - finding it difficult to climb a few steps and get exhausted even if they walk for a mere 10 minutes or so. These are people in their late 40's or early 50's - what sort of "fun" are they having in their life? There is so much more fun in leading a healthy and active life!

from:  Hariharan
Posted on: Oct 12, 2011 at 06:02 IST

It was a real beautiful article. the way you wrote is excellent and refreshing

from:  Vicky Varghese
Posted on: Oct 11, 2011 at 10:38 IST

Why would a long disciplined life be just existence and not fun-filled and happy? Astonishingly, only those who have discipline seem to have lots of fun and happiness. It is easy to say be balanced, but how is the million dollar question. To be balanced requires tons of discipline, while easy to shift one extreme or other. It is nice to say take little salt, little sugar, little spice, little to live a quality life without debilitating illnesses like diabetes, strokes which makes not only one miserable, but even one's family,community and society. Good health is being a good citizen.

from:  Srinivas
Posted on: Oct 11, 2011 at 01:18 IST

The observation of Aparajita and others are quite welcome for the hale and hearty younger adults. As for the bulk of the older group, caught in the web of hard work, tension, worries, pollution, etc. and the compulsions of social life styles, apart from personal weaknesses and temptations, there is need for extra caution in not allowing the policy of what is life without a little salt or sugar turning out to be gradually shifting to habitual over-indulgence, without caring for limitations required for a healthy life. The trend of 50 years of life of fun and joy is better than more life" may be pleasant to read and imagine, but let us not forget the possibility of missery of pain and suffering that such a life-style could make us undergo - and for how long - before our departure. Hence, let us commit ourselves to some discipline also while enjoying our day to day life!

from:  K.K. Raman
Posted on: Oct 10, 2011 at 18:21 IST

Kudos to Mr.Aparajita Banerje. It is a very practical approach towards life forcing none to follow the food habits. One should comment about other's health and force them to do whatever they feel or think is right. Live life happily as long as you can.

from:  M V VASU
Posted on: Oct 10, 2011 at 11:40 IST

I liked the article which spoke about the common sense.I totally agree to have every item in our food diet to make it as balanced intake of food.

from:  Hima Rekha
Posted on: Oct 10, 2011 at 10:43 IST

We need not take this article 'with a pinch of salt' -- it is down to earth. The fine point in the article is to be in the realistic 'grey' zone rather than the utopian 'white' or the foolish 'black' one. The mistake most people do is to alternate between the 'white' and 'black' -- starving and over-exercising on some days, and over-indulging in bad foods and slumbering on some days. The bottom line should be 'moderation' for a healthy as well as fun-filled life. And, remember that 60 or 90 depends more on the genetics than anything else, including 'starving and running to exhaustion' in the name of good lifestyle!

from:  Dr T Rama Prasad
Posted on: Oct 9, 2011 at 21:06 IST

It is true that life of 50 years with fun and joy is far better than more life,but when your family need you ,you have to live for your family.
According to me one should hit the gym, and over weight should not allowed, avoid the spices dishes from your dinning table,

from:  Syed Modassar Nazar
Posted on: Oct 9, 2011 at 12:29 IST

I am 100 pc agree to Miss/Mrs Aprajit for this wonderful article on today's mad world. In todays world even if u are not feeling bad for your obesity, the people around you will comment like anything that U will bound to think over you are overweight. Even if you dont have to time for work out, your surroundings will force you to take less food. It is ridiculous that we cant live our life our own way

from:  khusbu Agarwal
Posted on: Oct 9, 2011 at 12:29 IST

nice should take care of his/her body..coz a healthy mind lives in a healthy body...such things really make a difference

from:  Arjun pareek
Posted on: Oct 9, 2011 at 11:11 IST

First of all kudos to Aparajita ! This is not only for the straight forward manner the views expressed but the honest way it is presented. I admire the 'guts' of the writer as everyone will likely redicule such theories as updated .On any day you switch on to any TV channel you will get sermon speech how to be healthy and what bodily exercise you should do. And the pity is by a live demonstartion by a few good looking girls. In such programs, 'yoga' is a must as if any one could imitate by seeing the program in the TV.Alas! soon we will realize we are being fooled ! Further when few people assemble in a park or a open ground, regardless of the gender or age you could 'over hear' many interesting dialogues, of Dos & Do -nots how to keep oneself healthy. Surely there are many 'forbidden' items but may be dear to you. So forbidden fruit becomes delicious & in practice keep the 'advice' at bay! While I endorse the bold advice of Aparijita I wish all of us follow!

from:  P M Gopalan
Posted on: Oct 9, 2011 at 05:04 IST
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