535. Man in Blue – High Blood Pressure – High Cholesterol

We are in a small Gurdwara somewhere in Continental Europe, it is a weekday and only about ten people sit together for lunch time langar. The management has instructed the langar crew to use less salt and less ghee/butter/oil, and the sevadars obey the instruction.

The fulka, dal, sabzí and dehí are served and then the sevadar does the last round and supplies the sangat with liberal amounts of salt and butter. There is only one foolish person who does not want extra salt and butter, and who requests fulka without butter.

This same foolish person has since April of this year either eaten Gurdwara food, or the food on offer in Panjabi families. You cannot complain because the food from Guru and the food on offer in Panjabi families is prepared with love and it is tasty.

But of course the foolish person gets loose motion. Not the sort of loose motion you get through illness, it is just that the system is too much oiled and buttered and whatever goes in comes out to readily.

This foolish person after his arrival back in Southall goes to Dr A K Sandhu’s surgery for a ‘MOT’ and is told by Dr Sandhu junior that his cholesterol is a bit on the high side.

In the Southall Singh Sabha Gurdwaras it is not all bad. Some days the salt levels are reasonable, some days the food is really spoiled by too much salt. Dal is usually not prepared with too much oil, butter or ghee, but with sabzí you take a gamble.

And of course the dehí is never low fat, and the milk used to make the milky Panjabi style tea is not skimmed milk.

The foolish person mentioned above wants to taste the vegetable and the dal, not just salt and butter. The foolish person agrees that the tea needs milk with some body, but not necessarily the variety with the highest fat content.

Do Panjabis want to be unhealthy, do they want to be overweight, do they want high blood pressure and high cholesterol ? Is it that they want to be with God so much that they poison themselves in order to obtain an early death ?

One aspect of the problem I recognise. Most of the Panjabi Sikhs are not from the cities but from the countryside and used to work in agriculture or in related industries. When you do hard physical work the fatty food makes sense. It does not make you fat, it gets burnt up by the hard labour.

Also, apparently when the outside temperature is near to or over the body temperature, salt helps retain liquids in the body.

But most of us in the UK do not do hard physical labour and temperatures rarely get over 30 degrees Celsius. What kind of Akal Purkh di Fauj are we, overweight, with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes ?