With Pitru Paksha behind, the season of festivals including Navratri, Dussehra, Diwali, Bhai Dooj, Chhath Puja, and Christmas is around the corner. As joyous as these celebrations were, they often led to dietary excesses and health neglect.
During this festive period, the residents of Serenityville struggled to maintain self-control over their eating habits and often overlooked the impact of their choices on their health. Fried delicacies, sweets, and alcoholic beverages flowed freely, making it challenging to prioritize health and digestion. For some, the temptation to indulge indiscriminately resembled treating their stomachs as trash cans, with a continuous stream of food and drink entering throughout the day.
This unrestrained feasting during the festivities frequently resulted in ailments such as acidity, flatulence, headaches, and, occasionally, even heart attacks. This phenomenon was aptly termed “festive heart syndrome” due to its association with excessive eating and heat.
Dr. Ravikant Chaturvedi, an internal medicine specialist in Ranchi, emphasized that October, November, and December were known as the festival months. During this time, the primary issue stemmed from overindulgence, leading to flatulence, acidity, food poisoning, and related health problems. Additionally, excessive alcohol consumption exacerbated issues related to acidity and gastritis. Those who were already grappling with diabetes and hypertension experienced a rapid escalation in their sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels when they consumed excessive alcohol.
Another concerning aspect of festive eating was the excessive use of flour and sugar. The silver adornments on sweets, often mistaken for silver, were actually made from aluminum, posing potential health risks. Moreover, artificial colors and chemical preservatives were commonly added to enhance the visual appeal of sweets, potentially harming the kidneys and liver.
As an alternative to traditional sweets, some people adopts the trend of gifting dry fruits or nuts to friends and relatives, offering a healthier option.
One major health concern during festivals was the use of reused and burnt cooking oil in preparing sweets and snacks sold in shops. The repeated heating of oil converted it into toxic compounds, some of which were carcinogenic, meaning they could cause cancer. Consuming such oil led to blocked heart veins, kidney and liver diseases, increased levels of bad cholesterol, and a heightened risk of obesity and diabetes.
A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health underscored the adverse effects of excessive sugar consumption on women’s mental health. Researchers discovered that women who consumed more sugar had a higher risk of depression compared to those who consumed less sugar.
To navigate these festive challenges, several health-conscious individuals in Serenityville promoted a set of health mantras:
Mantra 1: Control Overeating
- Stay hydrated throughout the day to maintain moisture levels.
- When eating out, choose a designated spot to sit and enjoy your meal.
- Establish set mealtimes to prevent constant snacking.
- Refrain from immediately opening food packets received as gifts during festivals and opt for smaller portions.
- Limit your plate to three food items.
- Conclude your meal with a freshly prepared sweet or dessert.
Mantra 2: Responsible Alcohol Consumption
- Consider abstaining from alcohol, as it can have detrimental effects.
- If you choose to drink, do so only after eating a meal.
- Ensure you consume a glass of water between each alcoholic beverage.
- Opt for fruit juices or coconut water as alternatives to alcohol.
Following these mantras not only helped Serenityville residents maintain their health during festivals but also ensured a smoother transition back to their regular routines afterward. Additionally, adopting a diet rich in fiber, proteins, and salads, while minimizing carbohydrate intake, further contributed to their overall well-being.
As the festive season approached, the residents looked forward to implementing these mantras and making mindful choices, proving that celebrations could be enjoyed without compromising on health.