Breakfast fit for the gods!

The elderly in Lucknow’s Chowk area share the secret of their longevity!

Representative image
Representative image


Ram Babu Rastogi, an octogenarian, owns a chain of jewellery stores in Lucknow. He begins his day with a plateful of ghee-soaked kachoris and hot jalebis, washed down with a glass of thandai.

His friend and neighbour Tariq Siddiqui joins him for breakfast every day. However, he opts for nihari (a stew cooked on slow fire) and kulcha and adds a plate of kebabs to his breakfast. Other friends, Kishori Lal Gupta, Priyam Srivastava and Anand Khanna also join them for breakfast every day and order food of their choice from shops in the Chowk area in the old city, a food hub.

Breakfast is rarely prepared in families living in the Chowk area. But an overdose of ghee on a daily basis and fried stuff, says Dr L.N. Tandon, a geriatric health expert, has landed half the people in the area to suffer from lifestyle disorders. Diabetes, hypertension and abnormally high levels of lipids in the blood, were found, in over 50% of the people in a doorto-door health survey.

"People in the Chowk area consume unhealthy food and do not exercise. After breakfast, most of them sit in their commercial establishments or go back home to sleep. Many of them are accustomed to having sweet dishes like makkhan malai and rabri after dinner. Too little exercise and too much consumption of fried food have led to these disorders," Dr Tandon said.

The elderly in Chowk area, however, are not perturbed. "I am 82 years old and have been eating this food all my life. My father lived up to the age of 87 and my grandfather died at the age of 91. Why should I change my food habits at this age? I will not live on till eternity if I switch to a healthier lifestyle," said Ram Babu Rastogi.

His friend Priyam Srivastava, who gorges on kebabs every day except on Tuesdays and Thursdays, echoed similar sentiments. "I agree my blood sugar levels are high and so is my blood pressure. I take my medicines and remain mobile; I have no problems so why should I give up on this food?" he asked.

Sudha, his wife, had the last word. "People from other localities come to eat the food here. There is no question of giving up on our routine diet. Don't people who eat healthy also suffer from diabetes?"

(This article was first published in National Herald on Sunday)

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