Health professionals strictly advice that seniors like me should have a thorough medical check-up once a year. After ignoring this for more than a decade, I finally heeded the counsel late last year and found out, not surprisingly, that I have joined the ranks of 15 million or so Filipinos grappling with diabetes.
Friends consider it a wisdom that in order for you not to have an ailment, all you have to do is refrain from seeing a doctor. I don’t know if it is a form of mind suggestion, but since I was told I have reached the beach of Diabetic Land, I have had two emergency trips to the hospitals in less than half a year. Either feeling numb or dizzy. Those never happened to me before. And what is more surprising is that none, absolutely none, of the check-ups came out with any adverse findings. Which is good.
Still, I am playing it safe. I have had a sweet tooth since forever but, now, I have done a turn around. I think. I stopped my daily glass of apple juice, a liking that I picked up since I tasted freshly squeezed apples at Uncle John’s Cider Mill in Michigan years ago. I have also eschewed putting honey in my hot tea. When I find myself having to drink coffee, that would be sans sweetener and creamer.
I no longer stock on ice cream, though I sneak in a Häagen Dazs frozen double chocolate ice cream bar occasionally. I used to hoard a stash of room-temp chocolate bars in our bedroom. Now they are gone except the very dark ones beyond 60 percent cocoa. They no longer include Lotte’s Dark Chocolate macadamia, ChocNut, or any Choco Mucho.
Since the pandemic had us ball chained mostly to our office, our metabolism dropped several notches lower. Resulting in accumulated fat and susceptible bodies. What’s more, our daughter, Pika, lent me a personal ref for my office and I found myself stocking Bundaberg ginger beer and Stella Artois. Ergo, sugar and alcohol - which is a no-no for whatever disease, doctors say. Like with the chocolate bars, they have been banished.
These days, I am following Doc Willie’s advice in also avoiding kakanin. Bombs of carbo that turn into deadly glucose invaders. And, to me, that is a huge arrgh since I love guinataan bilo-bilo or pinaltok of the Tagalogs. I am saying good bye to puto bumbong, Tia Paring’s suman sa lihiya, Dolor’s sapin-sapin of Malabon, and even the mochi that we get at Susie’s of Pampanga. Their common ingredient is rice, the Philippine staple food that doctors now say is toxic to and even unnecessary for the human body.
If rice is bad, breads are worse, some doctors claim. Specially pandesal which, on top of carbo, contains salt and sugar. Pray tell me, where now will I use my liver wurst spread, Lily’s peanut butter, and orange marmalade. Or even my turkey ham and emmental or gouda cheese? Or my 555 Spanish style sardines?
Even meat fat and protein supposedly aggravate diabetes, so I am stepping on the brakes for adobong baboy at manok, chicharon bulaklak, crispy pata, lechon and the likes. I guess I have to say “mag-break na tayo, hindi ikaw, it is me” to my occasional trysts with steaks.
But not all is lost. There are remedies such as exercise and more water intake on top of the divorce from carbohydrates, naked sugar, and bad protein. And the meds.
Recently, my daughter shared to me a postulate that anger not just worsens diabetes but causes it. I do believe that negative energies in the body can chisel on our well-being, so I tried to search what anger is it that was eating me up.
I am usually a live-and-let live-person, but I found that I, indeed, did have an anger. A seething one. What made me angry in the past few years? And the unqualified, sin duda answer was: the Duterte presidency and what morass it has led us to.
Hold it! A negative emotion must be over-rode by a sense of gratitude. I keep dishing this advise on thankfulness to my godchildren and friends who could be harboring anger or even depression. So, I will vocalize it - to unbottle it.
Thank you, sir, for the trillions of dollars of debt that you left us. For the legacy of badmouthing perceived enemies. For cursing in front of our children. For giving our God a dirty finger. For the lives that were snuffed in your failed drug war. For you have ordered your law enforcers to kill, kill, kill. For saying that we should be a province of China, tongue-in-cheek it might have been expressed - aware as you probably were of gullible followers. For the highly questionable deals at PS-DBM, DA, DepEd, Philhealth, etc. which are now under investigation. For the expired vaccines because of how efficient you handled the pandemic. For the Dolomite Beach as a clear (or is it garbage) symbol of your priorities. Salamat, ha.
I could go on much longer but will stop at these. Sugary words, or whatever that is sweet, the good doctor says, could be poisons to man.