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All on an empty stomach

WhatsApp forwards galore bringing health tips won’t do it

With the increased frequency of receiving, reading and forwarding messages relating to health through WhatsApp, we get a sense that we have become more health-conscious, indeed demi-doctors who could take care of ourselves. Of course, it is another matter of concern that the frequency of our visits to doctors has not come down. Rather, it has become more frequent than ever before.

Today, when I opened the WhatsApp on my mobile, one of the first messages received was a video in which a doctor was very persuasively sensitising the audience about the goodness of taking one litre of water on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, which will help neutralise alkalinity in the stomach.

A few days back, a forward was received on the virtues of taking a fruit that would serve as a detoxicant if taken on an empty stomach every morning.

One message reportedly from a guru exhorted the goodness of a ginger-honey drink as a blood purifier if taken every morning on an empty stomach.

I am a diabetic with creatinine above the permissible level. My loving sister googled (another demi-doctor on hand) and shared a message on WhatsApp. It advised taking a concoction made of barley, wheat, black jeera (kalonji) water every morning on an empty stomach as a cure for diabetes and to reduce the creatinine level. Of course, there was improvement in my creatinine level. I am not, however, sure if the reduction was on account of the concoction, or my reduced consumption of protein-rich food as advised by my diabetologist.

One of our children was suffering from dry cough and all our efforts to get to the root of the problem failed. As a god-sent, one WhatsApp message popped up in my mobile, recommending ‘Tulsi Arc Water’ every morning on an empty stomach as a cure for it. She was very religiously taking the TAW every morning and found considerable improvement in her dry cough. She was not sure if it was the placebo effect or the TAW effect taken every morning on an empty stomach.

Recently, one of our relatives was diagnosed with cancer. Soon, a rush of forwards and messages poured into his WhatsApp account. A few messages are worth mentioning. One recommended taking a concoction of wheat sprouts, garlic and apple cider every morning and of course on an empty stomach for a sure cure of cancer. Another one counselled drinking asparagus juice every morning on an empty stomach. Another strongly recommended drink was green tea, to be taken every morning on an empty stomach.

My wife was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. The doctor prescribed a tablet to be taken every morning on an empty stomach. Having been forced by me to maintain good health, thanks to WhatsApp-cum-demi-doctor’s advice, she is in a dilemma as to which of the drinks she should take first in the morning.

The list is endless. In present-day life, most of us may be suffering from more than one illness or disease. It is an everyday challenge to start the day as a variety of drinks are waiting to be taken as the first thing in the morning.

I recall my childhood days when my mother used to force me to drink a spoonful of castor oil mixed with milk on an empty stomach once every three months. It was considered a detoxicant and it surely emptied the stomach.

In order to follow various recommendations, suggestions on wellness, humans should be blessed with the features of ruminants so that we can have multiple chambers of our stomach.

As I was reading another forward on health in my WhatsApp, my grandson started humming the rhyme ‘….stomach aching, stomach aching just now, call the doctor…..’ I just laughed.

Just then my wife called the housemaid to the kitchen to collect her breakfast. The maid politely declined to take it saying, ‘Amma, today is Ekadasi and so I am on fast for the whole day.’ Her faith in going on empty stomach for a day in a month is the best wellness tip that should be posted on WhatsApp and read by one and all.

santhraj5@gmail.com

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 4:26:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/all-on-an-empty-stomach/article18307010.ece

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