Wednesday, August 10, 2022

12 Muharam 1444: You are what you eat...(U)

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. 


Surah 114

An-Nas, the second of the two cries for refuge and protection, takes its name from a recurring word which marks the rhythm in the Arabic. In this case protection is sought especially from the evil in a man's own heart in the hearts of other men. An early Meccan revelation


Revealed at Mecca In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. 1. Say; I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind,  2. The King of mankind,  3. The God of mankind,  4. From the evil of the sneaking whisperer, 5. Who whispereth in the hearts of mankind,  6. Of the jinn of mankind. 

(The Meaning of the GLORIOUS QUR'AN, The Final Revelation, An Explanaory Translation by Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall) 

AS a diabetic, I have four appointments yearly with a local clinic; during the latest routine medical check up I was directed by some nurses to go to a dark room where they were screening a documentary regarding the ugly side or effects of diabetes especially during the final stages of patients suffering the disease where 'limps were amputated'...and "oh my God, I was scared!" 

I was forced to spend more than 40 minutes of 'my precious time' with some 15 other 'patients'. A Chinese 'veteran' who was seated next to me showed 'a face full of displeasure face' and he was restless throughout the session and kept on repeating 'aaiyaah, aaiyah!' Once, he left his chair and went out of the room but was 'coaxed' back to his seat by the nurses. 

Many of the 'patients' who were highlighted in the documentary programme, regreted their past lives of having 'bad habits' such as drinking alcohol and taking food and drinks with excessive sugar and salt contents. 

In my opinion, 'the show' was a good effort to 'guide' us as diabetic patients; only perhaps it was quite late to show us 'that stuff' as we had already afflicted by the disease; wouldn't it more proper and more effective to screen it to young citizens of our country such as school children and students of universities? 

We’ve all heard the old adage ‘you are what you eat’; well I must admit that during my younger years I just took for granted the foods I consumed including high level of sugar intake and now at 60, I am diagnosed with diabetes. But why must the authorities took effort to guide me now and not some 40 years ago when I was a 'roaring' young man who was 'thirsty' of information and knowledge?

Only at 50; I realize that there is a need of greater awareness about the foods we are consuming. There are many foods which are silently killing us and compromising our health but we are hardly aware of it till we are stricken by an illness. 

The notion that to be fit and healthy you need to eat good food. It was said that 90 percent of the diseases known to man are caused by cheap foodstuffs. So how true is the saying that you are what you eat? 

There's a book entitled 'You Are What You Eat' by a clinical nutritionist Gillian McKeith to guide us on this subject. If your body could talk what would it say about you, asked McKeith. 

We’ve all heard the old adage ‘you are what you eat’, but have you ever stopped to think exactly how true that is? Put simply, healthy eating is the key to wellbeing. We all have up to 100 trillion cells in our bodies, each one demanding a constant supply of daily nutrients in order to function optimally. 

Food affects all of these cells, and by extension, every aspect of our being: mood, energy levels, food cravings, thinking capacity, sex drive, sleeping habits and general health. If you feed your body junk and convenience foods it’ll simply lay down fat, lower your energy, even your brain power. 

At a time when around half of all women and two thirds of all men in the UK are overweight or clinically obese and the estimated cost to the country is 18 million sick days and 30,000 deaths a year, and 40,000 lost years of working life in England alone (source: National Audit Office), this is a serious issue. 

We occasionally do hear about the harmful aspects of various foods but we do not pay much attention to these little warnings because a lack of awareness about this aspect. 

Thus, I am hopeful that the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education could co-operate in organizing programmes to educate the young about the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle including taking the 'correct foods' and for Muslims 'halal' (permissible) ones because in Islam, food consumed must be clean, pure and safe. 

Regarding dietary regulations; many verses of the Qur'an draw man's attention to his own self and invite him carefully and seriously to study his body and soul and the nature of their mutual relationship. It is therefore necessary to keep the physical body very healthy so that other things (i.e., spirit and soul) may also remain healthy and so help him in the service of both his material and spiritual attainment. Diet has therefore played an important role in Islamic medicine. Islam has prohibited certain foods because of their ill effects and allowed all other pure, good and clean things.

"O Muhammad! Ask them who has forbidden the decent and clean things that God has produced for His servants and (who has forbidden) the good and pure things of life granted by Him. Say: All these things are for the believers in this world but on the Day of Resurrection, these shall be exclusively for them. Thus do We make clear Our revelations to those who possess knowledge." (Qur'an 7:32) 

And in Surah Al-Baqara, we read, "O believers! Eat of the good and pure things that We have provided for you and be grateful to God, if you are true worshipers of God." (Qur'an 2:172) 

Then people in general are advised to eat good and pure things and not to indulge in impure, bad and harmful things, following their open enemy, the Devil.

"O People! Eat of what is lawful and good on earth and do not follow the footsteps of the Evil One, for he is your open enemy." (Qur'an 2:168) 

The Qur'an has also given very useful tips regarding a balanced diet which contains every useful ingredient necessary for the growth, strength and repair of the human body, including animal protein, fat, calcium, iron, salts, etc. The most balanced diet consists of meat, fish, fresh milk, cheese and fruit. 

Fish is considered to be food of very high protein and very important for human consumption. The Qur'an refers to this fresh food in these words, "It is He Who has made the sea subject, that you may eat thereof flesh that is fresh and tender." (Qur'an 16:14)

Nowadays our government is said to be very concerned about the rakyats' health and a 'precaution step' was taken by abolishing subsidies for sugar resulting a higher price for that necessity in the name of having healthy citizens; then let us guide or younger generation for better health with my 'two cents worth' suggestions. 

Perhaps the government was right in checking the intake of sugar by the rakyat. This was because in maintaining a nutritious diet and a healthy weight, sugars should be used in moderation by most healthy people and sparingly by people with low-calorie needs. 

But from my own observations and experienced in bringing up my children; the young are fond of carbonated drinks either tinned or bottled ones. These drinks are very high in sugar contents; so why not the ministries concerned precaution the young not to consume these drinks. Do dot be 'afraid' if these products could not be sold because of the small demand resulting in the government losing a lot in tax collection for isn't it we are hoping to produce healthy citizens? 

The young generation too should be stop from taking too much fast food which are known to be with high level of salt (sodium chloride); so stop from establising too many of such restaurants and kiosks including those with international trademark. The young should be reminded that a healthy diet is an important part of being a good and healthy citizen. 

Nowadays we are witnessing the mushrooming of 24 hours restaurants including of the fast food chains and 'mamak' outlets or those operating until the wee hours of the night. 

Many of the patrons are young men; at times they are glued to huge TV screens that aired football games. They are seen having drinks non stop for hours. To 'produce' healthy citizens, why not the authorities 'stop these type of business'; let us teach our 'rakyat', that there are specific times for them to have breakfast, lunch and dinner! 

I was told by a friend who had previously resided in an European country, it was difficult to find a restaurant that was open 24 hours in that country; the people there disciplined themselves by observing specific time for their 'makan' (eating) time! Here, we had our 'makan' at any time we wish even at 2.00 am! 

Nowadays 'makan-makan' (occasionally eating) have become part of our society. Even there was a TV programme called 'Jalan-Jalan Cari Makan' (Traveling Seeking For Food).

Taking food without specific time could lead to many unwanted circumstances such as overweight. Dieticians reminded us that it is important for people of all ages to maintain a healthy weight. 

People who are overweight increase their risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, breathing problems, and other illnesses. To maintain a healthy body weight, people must balance the amount of calories in the foods and drinks they consume with the amount of calories the body uses

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