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Drs ramble copyFor the past four years, almost like clock-work, Mr S enters my clinic immediately after Bakra Eid, looking miserable. His statement is always the same: “They made me eat too much again and I feel really sick!”

Although I know that freshly roasted kaleji, grilled gurdas and marinated maghaz masala are hard to resist, I tell my patients that the key to staying healthy is not to starve and deprive your body of essential nutrients, but to eat in moderation. As for Mr S, his health issues are compounded by the fact that he has a sweet tooth and believes that “passing up on sheer khorma and mithai is a sin.” No surprise then that every year I end up prescribing digestive tablets and a usually ignored lecture beginning with, “You really need to watch what you eat…”

Mrs K, a middle-aged, overweight lady suffers from chronic hypertension and high cholesterol. “The tablets that you give me never work during Eid or when I have a busy social calendar!” she exclaims.

This always leaves me speechless, since I have tried repeatedly to make her understand that “medicines don’t really know what time of the year it is. When you eat too much meat, your blood pressure and cholesterol shoot up and the regular dosage you take cannot possibly keep your vitals in check.”

The reason why emergency rooms and clinics swarm with patients after Bakra Eid is that people end up consuming an excess of spicy and greasy meat dishes. While beef and mutton are rich sources of iron and protein, they are also loaded with calories and bad cholesterol (LDL) – primary causes of gastrointestinal and heart-related disorders, including ulcers and atherosclerosis.

The solution to these woes is simple. Stay true to the spirit of sacrifice that Bakra Eid embodies and sacrifice what you love most; in this case, your food cravings. n

– Dr Samia Babar
The writer is Director, Health Awareness Society.

First published in the HEALTH ADVERTISER Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on September 13, 2015.