Saturday, February 17, 2018
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I wrote about the food items being very costly, especially those recommended for diabetes patients. Dr Saad Usmani has reacted sharply to that and said, ‘Criticism is fine. But if it is accompanied by a constructive solution then that would be still better’. He lauded Shanti Chowdhury’s efforts and said critics must offer constructive solutions as well.

I told him, ‘You are a doctor. Will you suggest that hi-fi diet recommended by Dr Sarita Bajaj? Many people won’t be able to even follow what is contained in the recipe let alone acting on itt’. He made no comment but said, ‘My advice to diabetes patients would be to avoid over-indulgence and also keep away from food items forbidden by doctors’
Well, in a way his suggestion was right—that we should give some constructive solution as well. I thought of the K.M.Munshi days when no-profit-no-loss restaurants by the name of ‘Annapoorna’ came up in many cities. They comprised wholesome dishes at cheap rates and people had to line up in a queue to serve themselves after purchasing the necessary coupons at the counter. I remember that the stalls were widely attended.. But. As far as I remember, with the departure of K.M.Munshi as the State’s Governor this scheme also waned away.

I would like Dr Chowdhury to place before the  Diabetes Education Foundation(DEF) the proposal to start some chain of  diabetes-friendly food stalls. They need not be entirely no-profit-no-loss basis.  Also, many elderly people suffering from diabetes, who cannot stir out of the house, could order packed food. If the DEF foodshops or canteens  can similarly introduce home-supply service of the diabetes friendly food, it could indeed become very popular.
The cooks can be advised by experts like Dr Sarita Bajaj who may give them the recipes. Or Shantiji can make available the various  back numbers of her journal containing these recipes to the cooks of the proposed Diabetes friendly food stalls. If some such scheme is undertaken even by the Allahabad Medical Association, it would be a big success. I am sure some of the diet-conscious doctors too would patronise these food stalls.
By merely publishing the menus in magazines is not enough. This is because half the names of the items mentioned therein are not followed by the housewives. I would suggest that the Diabetes Education Foundation should also consider the feasibility of opening cooking classes for diabetes friendly food. I am sure some of the imaginative doctor-housewives will come out with delicious ‘kheer’ and ‘halwa’ recipes which, when cooked, would become so popular that the entire household would love to have them. These classes and the food stalls will become superhits in no time!  They may seek Dr Saad Usmani’s advice on whether or not diabetes-friendly Biryani, Sewaiyan and Zarda can be made. Then on Rotary Idd-milans  such dishes could be served exclusively to those who are supposed not to touch these. Of course, I will add, ‘No over-indulgence please’ as the host may not like to be rude!

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