What to keep in mind this Dashain


Dashain ma ta maasu khane (We have to eat meat in Dashain)” — we often hear this before the onset of Dashain. This is a festival of merrymaking, eating, and enjoying with family and friends, and without meat, for many of us, none of our celebrations is complete. People savour deep fried oily meat items. Alcohol and pickles too come on the list. However, one needs to be more careful regarding the consumption of food during the festival as the food eaten will have an adverse effect on one’s life.

How to eat meat

Deep fried, roasted and barbecued — a variety of meat is at home. To make it tasty, an ample amount of spices, salt and oil are added. “Meat has protein and should be consumed not more than 100 grams a day. Consumption of more than 100 grams of meat a day is not necessary as protein can’t be stored in the body. It is a waste,” informed Dr Bidhan Nidhi Paudel, Physician Gastroenterologist, at Department of Gastro Medicine, Bir Hospital, Kathmandu.

Barbecued meat should be avoided as it contains carbon which is harmful for health, “as it leads to the production of carcinogen — a substance that is involved in causing cancer”. When the food items are deep fried, the oil used once must be thrown away as reusing the oil will have an adverse effect on your health. Gastro-intestinal problems will be seen. “One suffers from indigestion,” added Dr Paudel.

Green leafy vegetables and fruits must be added to food as fruits are rich in antioxidants. It gives energy to the body. Fruits and green leafy vegetables will activate vitamins in the body.

There is a tradition of eating raw meat in some of the cultures. However, the human body doesn’t have an ability to digest raw meat. “There are no such enzymes in our body like some animals.” If meat is eaten raw, then there are high chances of one suffering from tapeworm infestation. “If the animal is ill, then the disease can get transmitted into human beings,” cautioned the doctor.

Diabetic and immune-compromised people must not eat oily, fried, spicy, sour, sugary food items in the name of festival. “They should eat their regular diet to stay healthy.

Eating stale meat is not good for health either. One can keep raw meat in the freezer and cook it as per the need rather than reheating the same item for many days. Stale food leads to gastro-intestinal problems — indigestion, diarrhoea, food poisoning et cetera.”

Bottled pickles and drinks

Khalpi — bottled cucumber pickle — is another charm during the festival. These bottled pickles are rich in salt and are sour. Eating of such salted food will lead to high blood pressure and can be a cause for stomach cancer.

Also festival means over-eating and this causes gas, food poisoning, diarrhoea and vomiting among others. This is why one must be conscious about the amount of food one consumes.

And you cannot get away with cold drinks. Intake of such carbonated drinks will lead to gastritis. If someone is suffering from asthma and other respiratory tract infections, then s/he shouldn’t drink such items kept in a refrigerator. “It will be better to drink water,” suggested Dr Paudel.

Along with meat, alcohol too is consumed during the festival. Direct influence of alcohol has psychological, social, and physical problems. Drinking and driving could be fatal. Those who are chronic drinkers are prone to pancreatitis, gastritis, hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, jaundice, liver cancer, esophageal cancer, cardiomyopathy, malnutrition among others. “There will be deficiency in vitamin D and thiamine, and impotency. Abortion and abnormality in children can be seen if a woman drinks alcohol during her pregnancy. Decreased immunity, risky behaviour and fractures of bones too are seen in people when they drink alcohol. This is why one must avoid drinking alcohol,” informed the doctor.

How can Dashain be celebrated without flying kites? Colourful kites in the sky add fun and flying them adds that extra excitement to the celebration. However, one must be careful while flying kites. “Flying kites on an open roof top should be avoided. Open grounds can be used for the purpose. Parental guidance is necessary too,” Dr Paudel advised.

Be careful and have a fulfilling Dashain!