“And among His signs is this,
that He created for you mates from among yourselves,
that you may dwell in tranquility with them,
and He has put love and mercy between your hearts.
Verily in that are signs for those who reflect.”
My parents are, quite possibly, the two most different people on this planet. The differences between them are enough to entertain us for the rest of our lives. As a child I never understood nor appreciate these differences. To my young mind, it seemed an ill thought out plan to have them marry and the reproduce. When quizzed my grandfather, a very philosophical man, sat me down and informed me that they were brought together because they were so different. So that they would complement each other. The perfect pair, in his mind.
Not so in ours.
I argued with the arguments my 15 year old mind could muster. I explained that the differences don’t work and that it was an unfunny experiment that he had conducted. His calm remained uninterrupted. Because he loved to argue, I could never win an argument with him. To everything you said, he had a counter attack. His favourite game was to pick a random topic, and ask me, “Maryam, why <insert condition>?”
I’d dredge up an answer. He always seemed to ask the most obvious question. Like, why did God create Man. *rolls eyes*
Then he’d ask “But why <insert my first answer>”?
I’d think some more. Surely there’s a trick here. Supply another answer.
He’d ask again, “But why <insert 2nd answer>?”
And so on till I almost cried.
But anyway, coming back to the point. My father is one of these people who when he discovers something new, (and beneficial, it has to be beneficial and health related), he rants about it to all and sundry. It doesn’t have to be a new concept to the rest of the world, like the latest technology or any ground breaking research. It just has to be new to him. He collects all the literature, talks to the experts, collects more literature, and then makes sure it becomes part of his daily routine.
The following contestants have come and gone in his game of “Things I Love Now”: Olive Oil, Tuna, Legumes, Cinnamon, Omega 3 Fish Oil tablets, Nigella seeds, Salad leaves, Olive Leaf Extract, MultiVitamins, Lentils, Flaxseed Oil, chickpeas with every meal, yoghurt with at least one meal a day, Nigella Seed Oil (you only get this in Pakistan, he brought a tank full when he visited in April). I may be forgetting some.
The latest though is Exercise.
Recently my dad was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. We knew that he was flirting with the blood sugar levels and with a family history of diabetes, it came as no shock to us that the doctor confirmed what he’d tried preventing for so long. It did to him.
Upon receiving news of the new ailment, the entire household was sat down and taken through the various details of the “lifestyle disease” including a heavy list of Do’s and Dont’s. We’ve now received a thorough education in “GI – What is it and why do we need it”, “Diabetes – Risks and Societal Implications”, “Diabetes – Why Me?”, “Diabetes – A Healthy Diet”. We’re now compiling our own, “How To…” guide on Diabetes.
Dad’s been to nutritionists and consulted most articles on the Internet. Every weekend sees the family discussing a new eating plan and detailing new lists of ingredients to be got from the supermarket. After careful monitoring of the blood sugar results taken before, after and during meals, my dad last needed to break the sugar curve. Last week he discovered “at home exercise”.
My sister sports an impressive collection of workout dvds. It’s a robust range encompassing the low impact “walk aerobics” to the “i-think-my-insides-will-come-out” high impact stuff. Dad’s been benefitting from the “walk aerobics” series for over a week now and if ever you needed convincing that exercise is a good for you, then he’s the person to go to. The sun is shining a little brighter, the birds are chirping a little sweeter and life has suddenly become a lot peachier!
In his adrenaline induced high, he suggested to my mother, “Why don’t you work out as well, take a few centimeters off your belly?”.
To which my mother coolly responded, “This is the way my stomach was designed”, and continued munching on her snack.
Well hey, at least I can see the humour now.