( By Sangeeta S. Bhagwat )

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Food plays an incredibly important part in chronic disease. Chronic diseases generally have prescribed diets and restrictions. As we normally eat three meals a day, this restriction becomes a constant reminder of the condition. Even if the patient is feeling relatively well, he is not allowed to forget that he has a serious ailment.

Added to this, is the frustration of giving up items that have been thoroughly enjoyed before. To top it all, several medicines may have to be ingested after meals. All these factors make meals a highly stressful affair.

  • Strive to improve the enjoyment. Improve the ambience as much as possible, to distract from the compromises made in the food itself.

  • Use a favorite and allowed food as a treat or incentive, to persuade the patient to eat a required, disliked item.

  • Become well versed in allowed substitutes. For example, when salt is cut down, herbs or lime can add to the flavor.

  • Find different recipes which are tailored to the diet, but are yet interesting. The internet is a wonderful source of all kinds of special recipes and allowed substitutes. You may have to try food from a different nation, but eventually, some of the abundant varieties in the world, will meet both diet and appeal.

  • Attractive presentation will make the food more appealing. Color, arrangement and any possible aroma (allowed herbs or condiments) will enhance interest.

  • Have enjoyable company over. It can be a potluck, so as to minimize your workload.

This may all seem like a lot of work and fuss. There is a reason. If your patient loses interest in food, constantly complains, gets bitter and unhappy and reduces intake, there will be a heavy price to pay.

Without adequate nourishment, immunity, health, well being and will to live, all decline rapidly.

Extra efforts are worthwhile, to avoid the possible complications of reduced intake.

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