The temptation to say, “Completely no” but, “just only in odd occasional treatments”.
Posted on December 19th, 2010

Dr Hector Perera UK

The doctors always say, “Have a balanced diet”, that means a varied diet. Actually sometimes we can have odd occasional treatments but not so often as possible. When these seasonal greetings come, you will find plenty of invitations and occasions. It could be from friends and families for such lovely treatments where you find it difficult to refuse or resist the temptation to over drinking and eating. There will be plenty food and drink that you hardly cannot resist, the temptation is so high, you will find any excuse to be there than not to be. Some people drink more alcohol over Christmas period. In fact, research suggests that their consumption triples over the festive season. Some people would suggest that you abstain completely, but you should certainly limit your intake, drink water in-between alcoholic beverages and swap mixers such as coke for healthier tonics like pure fruit juices with no added sugars.

In this festive season too many people around the world cannot forget home sweet home, Sri Lanka. Once you get there, you are not quite sure where to start or what to do first because the time is too tight. You need to go here and there, see this relative that friend, go to this and that musical show, go bargain hunting, time to see new films, must go to the beach, go for many dinners and parties and much more to be done but where is the time?

 As visitors are on a tight rope.

When you get to a dinner party or for a special occasion, I am sure you would find too many varieties of food and drinks that you really cannot refuse to eat but just one thing, don’t eat too much of everything. Your close relatives and friends want to treat you in the most enjoyable way by giving so much to eat and drink because they think it’s a real treat.

The song starts, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”. Christmas and New season is just round the corner, time to enjoy, meet friends and relatives in festive mood. Enchanting musical atmosphere in top class hotels, dance till dawn until you fall down under the influence of Dutch courage, full of happy smiling people, eating and drinking and you think that you are one of the lucky persons to be there.

There is a sudden life style change as you come for a vacation in Sri Lanka but it’s you need to be watchful about yourself. Ladies, the festive season sudden life style change can change you waistline dramatically, so watch out! It is possible that your figure will go into freefall when the festive party season really gets going? Since you are in Sri Lanka, you have avoided too many turkey dinners with all the trimmings, rich puddings and mince pies but there’s lot more things here to change your waist line only if you are not careful.

The changes in the frequency and variety of food consumption are other reasons for tension and worrying then changes in food habits. We don’t have a balanced diet programs when we are in parties or in special occasions. In the good old days we had a balance diet, where nutrition was a priority. I am sure the dietary patterns have changed once you come for a holiday. Where are the fruits and vegetables, are they rotting on market shelves?

Apart from special occasion eating, once you are on holiday, eating out is more often a passion. Less home cooking due to convenience. One other huge problem is for the people who are used to alcohol and smoking. One cannot resist the local products such as arrack. Smoking is directly linked to heart diseases. I doubt how many think what is best while you are on holiday? Simply because the food and drinks or smoke are there, it is you have to be watchful what to eat and drink, how much to eat and how often to eat. I think one must not blame the holiday, it’s you need to have a sensible life style, whether you are on holiday or not.

Where to start?

I couldn’t say no to a classmate from SSC [senior school certificate] who invited me for a Sunday lunch with more old school friends. I went all the way to a small town but a fast developing place called Phulwella in Matara to meet this friend. He was so delighted to see me after all these years. He is a doctor in charge of a province after being in medical profession for many years. A whole bunch of other friends were there as well, most of them are happily married, well settled, some come from abroad and some want to go.

At the start there were too many drinks, local and foreign hard and soft drinks. I pretended to be non alcoholic since hard drinks are not healthy but one or two other friends insisted, “never mind just a sip, after all this time” then I accepted just a little dash of hard stuff because too difficult, the temptation to say, ” completely no”.

Where to start, eating? Piping hot chicken buriyani, yellow rice, fried rice, noodles to be tasted with hot hot chicken curry, fried and cooked mutton, then roast pork, curried pork and rice pulling varieties of pickles. Then in the far corner of the table there was fried sheer fish in large slices, cutlets and many more similar things in different shapes and sizes.  One pretty lady came and said,”aiyae, [brother] how about nice fish curry”. I couldn’t say no even the plate was nearly over flowing with too many things to eat. As I said, the temptation was so high to say, “No” with such gastronomically tasty, colourful verities of dishes. A good excuse came through, “just only in odd occasional treatments” so I was free of guilty feeling. Quite easily one forgets about the health aspects for a while and eats as much as possible but that would not be the end. “Here come summer”, sorry the desserts! Where to start? Local ones such as watalappam then fruit salad with ice cream and down south special yoghurt or curd with coconut treacle. Which one to choose but the temptation would be too much to say “completely no” to any of them? Again the same excuse pops up, “just only in odd occasional treatments”. Your mind says, “No more” but the temptation to say, “Completely no” over takes that time. Later on, I am sure a few others also must have thought, how much fats, oils and far too much salts and sugars did they consumed. What did the doctors say, not the food containing too much fats, oils, salts and cholesterol? I knew a little about this but the “temptation to say completely no” was over powered by, “just only in odd occasional treatments”.

 

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