Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Doing the right thing

I meant to write an entry on healthy diet last week, after the term break but found myself bogged down with other matters.

Well, during the term break, I had to ensure that the house was filled with food for the kids. You know how kids are: always wanting a snack and munching on something. So, instead of stocking up on biscuits, crisps and chocolates (ooppss!!), I bought plenty of fruits instead. In two and a half days, the two bags of oranges, one bag of apples, one bunch of bananas and two small buckets of plums were all gone! We had them in all forms - smoothies, shakes, fruit salads and just simple slices.

Like every other mother, I worry about the kids not wanting to eat vegetables. But with the 5-a day campaign (5 portions of fruit/vegetable) that Britain promotes, I think that substituting fruits for vegetables is not too bad after all. Click here or here for further information.

Back home, my sister, Kak Long, is going through a no-starch diet, changing it to an all-vegetable and fruit diet. Oh-uh.. Kak Long is not much of a vegetable eater, nor is she good at keeping to strict diets (pantang). The more reason that I feel like rushing home and fuss over my big sister! I've typed out a range of meals in a table form - complete with simple recipes. Some I got from the Net but most just from what I do from time to time. Kak Long's having trouble keeping to the vegetarian diet (no animal produce) and finding it hard to cope with the hunger.

In my opinion, she's not doing it right - not the right amount, not the right choice of veges/fruits, not often enough and not appealing enough. Of course, without sugar or salt, food becomes bland and tasteless. But there are ways of making our diet interesting. Well, at least we have to try to make the best out of things.

I'm probably the last person on earth to be writing about health. However, it is always my intention to try being as healthy as possible, and also to prepare healthy meals for the children. While growing up, my ageing parents were rather conscious of their food intake, and it certainly rubbed on me a little. In 1997, my step mom was diagnosed with lymphoma (early stage) and she went through a serious process of change of diet. I've seen the work of chemotherapy and radiotherapy - how it weakens the body with nausea, vomit and sheer lethargy. The burning sensation, the falling of hair, the loss of weight. But my step mom Alhamdulillah recovered, and it has been as long as the age of my twin boys - 11 years.

I am hopeful that Kak Long will be better. She needs a little push, perhaps. A little nursing, pampering and fussing. She needs all the support and love possible. It is not easy and it won't be easy.

My past experience made me read a lot about caring for a cancer patient, and also understanding the cancer patient's feelings. The sheer pain my late husband went through resulted in a lot of psychological and emotional upturns. And I had to bear them all. Almost single-handedly. It certainly wasn't easy.

Sometimes friends and relatives mean well when they come visiting but at times, these can also erupt negative feelings and vibes. I recall a friend whose mother (advanced stage of cancer) refused visitors simply because she felt they were too overwhelming for her to handle. This is totally understood.

Visiting the poorly is a good gesture and recommended in Islam, but one must keep to the common etiquettes or adab. Make the visits short (and sweet - by bringing gifts either for the one who's sick or for the family. Even a piece of prayer is good enough as a gift!). Avoid coming in a crowd - preferably without children. Mr D suffered a sense of panic attack every time hoards of people came to visit. The strange faces, the bullets of questions, and the filled up room always choked him to despair. He'd lose appetite if he were eating, and he would vomit the contents of his stomach out, as a result of the anxiety. If you asked the wrong question, he'd be puking the next minute. But how does one know what would possibly be the wrong question?

Please try to be sensitive to the poorly, especially to cancer patients. Offer kind and motivating words, only if you think you are able to do so. If, on the other hand, you are not one who is so diplomatic or careful with your words, refrain from talking too much. This is not the time to be sarcastic, patronizing or resentful. And do bear in mind, the patient and the family can be rather sensitive at this point. Cancer is a disease everyone is afraid of. Smile and offer good words. It goes a long way, InsyaAllah.

Some take an easier step out: to stay away from the sick - no phone calls, no visits. They either say they wouldn't be able to control their emotions or that they wouldn't know how to react. Again, this is normal. In my opinion, visiting or calling up the family members to give support is another option to consider. Do not make excuses for not being able to come. It makes things worse. Remember - the less you say, the better.

Oh dear, I've moved from talking about health to dealing with cancer patients. See how the mind works? Well, hope everyone eats healthily so that they remain healthy (God willing)!


ummi said...

Kak D,

I recommend if you can get this book from Darussalam book shop in Coventry road, birmingham.

Title: Healing with the medicine of the prophet
By: Imam Ibn Qayyim al jauziyah
Publish by : Darussalam

I read couple of book about medicine of the prophet. But, this one is the best one I read so far. It's good for every body. Because now a day we forgot about the best medicine actually been show by our beloved prophet. The medicine it self is coming from what we eat and what we should avoid when we had a certain disease and this been shown already long time ago by Him.

Of course the best medicine our prophet told us is quran and honey and this is already in hadith. this book also tell us about disease and how to treat people in the way been done by prophet s.a.w. and sahabah.

It's not from a doctor but from our beloved prophet and it's such a good book.

Another thing is the best honey is from Aldi. We alreay make experiment about that. Get the forest honey. But, need to be drink before you take anything when empty stomach. Make in glass and don't stir with metal spoon. Need to used plastic wooden spoon. Take breakfast 45 mins after that. Insya Allah one will feel much better if you do istiqamah with it.

D said...

Thank you ummi,
InsyaAllah will use the book as guidance, as I was presented it when my late husband was unwell. jazakallah..

myheartbleeds said...

Salam D,

Alhamdulillah, I'm back... and with a 1.5 liter bottle of zam-zam for your Kak Long.

Let me know where I can send it to. It would be my pleasure to do so...

kc said...

dear d;

thanks a lot for the do's and dont's when dealing/visiting cancer patients. very useful information.
having said that, i offer my prayer for yr big sister and her family at home. may Allah gives them the bestest of strength in this time of need

take care as always. have a safe trip back home..

melatiblossoms said...

Hi kak D, I am always a silent reader in any of the blog, however I feel like writing in yours this time, or more precise to request. If it is not so much trouble for you, would you consider to share with us the healthy recipe. Being here in Leeds, we always having meat for our dinner. Most of the time red meat. I believe red meat is not so healthy if consumed so much. Thank you so much. Hope you will have a safe journey. Pray that you will be blessed throughout your lifelong journey.

Nikki & David Goldbeck said...

A new resource being use to improve kid’s nutritional status is a new book “The ABC’s of Fruits and Vegetables and Beyond.” Out only a few months and already being bought in quantity for class use. I hope parents and teachers interested in getting kids to develop a friendly attitude towards fruits and vegetables should take a look at it.
It is designed for kids of all ages as it is two books in one – children first learn their alphabet through produce poems and then go on to hundreds of related activities. Coauthored by best-selling food writer David Goldbeck and Jim Henson writer Steve Charney. More at

Earthmom said...

Salam D,
Sorry to hear about your sister. Hope she can recuperate . And all the best for your trip back to M'sia.
I went back last month and managed to visit a friend the day before she passed away from breast cancer. :-( It was heart-rending to see her like that and I couldn't say a word initially. It was a really tough situation. Nothing I could think of could probably alleviate the pain.:(