MUM!! WHAT WERE YOU EATING ALL THIS TIME ?
By Fareeha Jay
1st June 2019
Mum! What were you eating all this time?
As you all know that I live in UK, so last summer’s my mother came to visit me. When I saw her, I was extremely happy to see her but at the same time became really sad because she looked very week and frail.
After few days when she was fully rested, I started talking to her about her food intake, and by now I was also observing what she was eating.
I was in a shock when she told me about her diet. Because she had high cholesterol, she was not having any fats and eggs. She had stopped having fruit and treats because was diagnosed with diabetes. Because of high uric acid level, she was not having, meats, chicken, lentils and pulses.
I thought to myself: so, what was she having?
No wonder she looked so week and frail.
I took things in control and believe me it was not easy. She resisted to the food changes I was making for her as her doctor had ‘forbidden’ her to have them. I asked her to put her trust in me and believe in me because being a dietitian I was the best person to advise her on her foods. The things which I used to tell her, she always used to look unsure and was reluctantly following it.
The changes which I brought in her diet:
I explained to her that including olive oil, vegetable oil or rapeseed oil is absolutely fine just being mindful on portion. I also made her eat a table spoon of nuts every day. I wanted to give her a portion of oily fish once a week but didn’t because of her high uric acid level, others wise would have definitely made her eat a portion once a week. She started having an egg every morning.
Having high uric acid levels doesn’t mean you have to stop having protein all together. It only means that we reduce the amount of those foods which are high in purines. I made her stop having red meat, oily fish, offal (liver , kidney, heart ) game, seafood specifically shrimps , crabs and shellfish , meat and yeast extracts as these foods are high in purines.
I asked her to be careful with drinks sweetened with fructose therefore trying to avoid sweetened soft drinks and being mindful of jams and sweet condiments labelled as glucose-fructose syrup or corn syrup.
Foods which have medium amount of purines should be consumed moderately. So, I made her eat other fish, chicken, eggs in portion.
Among vegetables asparagus, cauliflower, mushrooms, spinach, beans, peas and lentils have moderate amounts so she ate them but within portion. Before she was not having them at all.
Dairy and eggs are low in purines so I made sure she was having them to get adequate protein .
I made my mother have carbohydrates in all meals, just focussed on whole meal; whole grain and the portion size. She used to have 2 -3 portions of fruit in a day. And I made sure that she was having 3 portions of dairy every day. Mainly she would have yogurt, keeping portions in mind.
She spent a couple of months with me and under my guidance started eating as I explained and now, she’s back in Pakistan. Got her tests done and by the grace of God all her tests were well within the required range.
I am Fareeha Jay, a registered Dietitian. I have a passion and desire to spread knowledge and awareness about healthy eating and lifestyle. The information I provide is based on scientific evidence but explained in a very non-scientific way. I want to break the myths around diet and food. I never want to give diet plans rather I want to empower people on their food and lifestyle choices, so that people can make their own diet plans for the rest of their lives.