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Food in my thought

As children,we used to recite this short,funny Bangla poem about a fat boy who always thinks of food and talks about eating.

As children,we used to recite this short,funny Bangla poem about a fat boy who always thinks of food and talks about eating. All these years later,I was mouthing the lines again,but this time the little boy was none other than yours truly. Soon after finding out the existence of another life inside me,all I could think of all the time was food,and I gorged,effortlessly putting on five kilos in less than a month.

At 11.30 am,my day would start with a full mug of milk and a breakfast heavy enough to last me two hours — till lunch to be precise. At 4.30 pm,I would be barely in office and a call would go to the canteen,asking about the menu. An hour after stomaching the dish of the day,it would be time to open the can of biscuits. Another hour later,my fruit box would come out of my food basket,followed by a pre-dinner snack before it’s time to call it a day in office. Once home,a proper dinner of two chapatis and one or two curries would be on the menu before peace and sleep descended.

Add to this the cravings for special dishes. I would get up early to fix a special breakfast of egg rolls,or spend my off-day preparing golgappas,because the mint-jaljeera water served in Delhi shops did not give me the kick that came only from tamarind. A photograph of a Rajasthani thali uploaded on Facebook by my brother did not let me sleep for a week,till I made my husband drive me to the nearest Rajdhani outlet. With Masterchef Australia,Nigella Feast and all other cookery shows making things worse,I found myself hopelessly drawn to all baked beauties,and in no time my little OTG learnt to successfully churn out apple pie,fruit tart and quiche.

Forgetting my fatigue,the cook in me would go on an overdrive to satiate my great Bengali sweet tooth. I would make halwa after coming back from office,or take pains to grate a coconut and make laddoos out of it,following all the minute instructions given on the phone by my mother sitting miles away in Jharkhand. And I had already decided ice-cream would be the mainstay of my gastronomical journey to motherhood.

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After following this ‘routine’ for almost a month,when it was time to visit my doctor,I was in for a surprise,or shock. I thought weight gain was normal during pregnancy and I could go on eating without feeling guilty and having to watch my ever-growing waistline (pregnancy or not). But my doctor told me I was overweight in any case and had unnecessarily gained five kilos. She made it clear she was not going to let me put on more than four,or at the most five,more kilos over the next seven-odd months.

And,giving two hoots about my sweet tooth,she banned anything remotely sugary from my diet,looking at the crowd of diabetics in my family. I have all the reasons to develop gestational diabetes,according to my doctor.

You hear about parents sacrificing for their children. Giving up sweets,though only for these few months,is my first.

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But with sweets removed from my palate,I have kind of lost my appetite,and things are back to square one on the diet front – breakfast limited to a cup of milk,followed by lunch,some fruits and biscuits in office and then a normal dinner at home. Also,the guilt associated with food is back to haunt me when I salivate at paranthas and pakodas and all greasy savouries. Besides,I have been told to check my carbohydrate intake,which means less rice and wheat but more veggies,pulses and,though I can’t stand its smell these days,fish.

On a visit to the doctor last week,the weighing scale showed me 2 kg lighter. A pregnant woman losing weight may give jitters to people like my mother,but my doctor was okay with it. So,in my three months of pregnancy,I have gained three kilos. If all goes well,I may not gain more than 10 kg by the end of my third semester. But that is possible only if I am able to maintain this regime,which seems highly unlikely once I am in Kerala where I am going later this month. While Kozhikode,my husband’s hometown,is a foodie’s paradise,the occasion is my sister-in-law’s wedding. There will be a variety of good food in front of me and I am in no mood to look the other way.

Apart from sweets and any food with MSG in it,my doctor has till now not banned anything else for me — not even papaya and pineapple,though I am keeping them at bay to avoid any risk. But I sure will have to ask her about sea food before I head down south.

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Since half the population you know has experienced motherhood and parenting,there will be many people telling you what to eat and what not to. But here is a piece of advice: Go by what your doctor says. This eliminates a lot of confusion and you have the assurance that the instructions you are adhering to are coming from none other than a certified expert.

First published on: 06-03-2011 at 17:51 IST
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