Mrs. Shakuntala Ramakrishnan
No.126 Rainbow Retirement Homes
West Lake Road, Shantinagar
Nainital – 263004

28th April 2020

Dear Nana

Sub: Eat well and stay healthy, Nana! Please stay safe from the Coronavirus.

I hope you’ve stocked up on your groceries during this countrywide lockdown. You know very well. I’m a very outdoorsy person. I’m really missing the best part of my day! I’ve gained over 1.5 kilos already sitting at home.*hmph* Work from home isn’t helping at all to keep my hands off the cookie jar. I was wondering if you were eating well and so I thought I’d write to you.

I’ve read way too many health and nutrition blogs, received numerous pieces of solicited as well as unsolicited advice on my food habits, purchased multiple recipe books for myself, and even gifted some. I believe it’s safe to say we are in the same boat despite me being 25 years old and you, 75! We are not eating healthy.

I’m trying to wonder what is different, especially when it comes to the challenges you face with healthy eating habits and how you would probably address them. We both are well aware of what we need to do to eat healthily. It brings me to think about motivation levels. I’m going to go ahead and say that planning is all good, but the execution is going to depend on motivation. What do you say?

I remember seeing you skip many meals, and I’m not sure if all of them were religious fasts, so I’m worried you may be suffering from a decreased appetite. You need to eat well so that your immunity levels stay high! I did a bit of research, and this is what I’ve found.

Multiple factors may cause decreased appetite. Some of these causes are easy to address, so I’ve put down a few solutions to those. Some causes may be relatively challenging to treat, and you’ll have to approach your doctor.

Here are three reasons of low appetite that are easy to resolve:

a) Decreased sensitivity
As you age, the sensitivity of your senses is lowered. Of course, my main motivation to eat food is taste and smell. You can improve the sensitivity of your tongue by using the tongue cleaner and regularly cleaning the white stuff off your tongue. It is proven that by smelling strong scents frequently, you will activate all your smell receptors and improve your sense of smell. You could also keep your tongue and nose sharp, so to say. Next time I visit, I will check if you have been exercising your nose with different strong scents every day. I tried coffee, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, and vanilla essence. I noticed I could pick out a few individual scents in my deodorant after that. It was an excellent experience.

b) Low activity level and low metabolism
Before you tell me that you do a lot of work at home and are very active, let me tell you that I only count the specific time taken out to do exercise as physical activity. Well, only if you exercise and later come to eat, will you feel hungry, right? You definitely can’t go out for morning walks anymore with the lockdown. I hope you’ve kept safe that yoga DVD that mum got you. Some yoga every morning is going to ensure that you don’t skip your breakfast and rather eat a hearty one!

c) Frequent Eating
Me, mum, and you, all of us, suffer from eating frequently. We keep snacking on titbits in the kitchen like coconut pieces, cheeslings, some chana dal, dates, raisins, cashews, etc. This lowers our appetite at mealtime. We need to give our digestive system regular breaks. I believe that doing this will help to improve digestive power. I’m sure you will agree.

Here are more causes which may be more challenging to address:

  1. Weak digestion
  2. Acid reflux
  3. Constipation
  4. Medications
  5. Stress

If you have any of these problems, then please tell Dr. Anita. It may be small, but you need to keep her informed. She will obviously never come to know unless you tell her.

I will video call you soon, Nana. Tell Rufus I miss him. You both take care and stay safe. I guess dogs don’t get infected by COVID-19, so Rufus is indeed fortunate.

Lots of love

Your beloved grandchild

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