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Love and Light

Service Wing - Health Awareness Workshop on 23rd March at Tooting Sai Centre

On 23rd March, Tooting Sai Centre held the first of its many future Health Awareness workshops on 'Heart Disease Prevention'. This was the culmination of many months of debate as to how best to present it, whom to invite, what topics would be covered and most importantly, to make this process very informal and in a language that any member of the Centre could understand. It was decided to conduct the workshop in English, with occasional Gujarati and also in future Tamil if required.

The Workshop started with three Aums. All 38 of us there agreed that God has given us a human body and our job is to look after it. It needs to be in the best possible health in order to render service, both to our families and others in society.

The two facilitators of the Workshop, Dr Krishna and his daughter Dr Chandni, started off by explaining what heart disease was. In their easy going and welcoming style, they soon engaged all the members there into asking questions about any heart issues that they were confused about.

Then the importance of stress and Blood Pressure was discussed, including causes of Blood Pressure and what we can do to mitigate it. Of particular importance was when members were asked how much salt they should have in their diet , there were a wide spectrum of answers and it soon transpired that many members were not sure how much 6 grams of salt was. It was not until it was pointed out that this was a tea spoonful and shown to them that the message sank home. These practical and visual tips are very powerful messages to get simple truths home. The same exercise was done with sugar, and after some wild guesses the members themselves came to the conclusion that most of them were having excess sugar and salt in their diet without being aware of it. Further analysis also showed that some of the savoury snacks that we all take for granted are not in the best interest of our health. The message here was one of MODERATION and cutting down on all of these non-healthy food items.

Further introspection amongst the members revealed an alarming lack of exercise, and it was recommended that if all else was not available , then at least a 20 minute brisk walk ( initially for a few sessions per week and then daily if possible) would go a long way towards reducing Blood Pressure and maintaing fitness. It was emphasised that medications prescribed by the GP's must be taken as prescribed and not on an ad-hoc basis.

The importance of diet was discussed and the need to reduce butter, ghee and oil in the diet .

Emphasis was made in the need to increase the amount of 'greens' in the diet at the expense of starch based foods. Again the language was very simple and clear to understand, and more importantly it was related to the actual diets of the members present rather than the general population as a whole. The medical terminology usage was kept to a bare minimum and only conditions that people were familiar with were discussed.

Having seen the success of this Workshop, many further ones are planned with the next one being on the all important and common DIABETES. This Workshop will be in May and a flyer will be sent to all the Region 1 Centres inviting them to attend. It is open to everyone including family and friends, and would encourage you to book your place to help manage the session and make it more interesting and interactive.

Swami's message on prevention is warmly embraced by us all.

Jitesh Patel
Tooting Sai Centre