July 12th was Bucketts of Love’s first camp in Kushma, Nepal. I’m really excited that we are reaching more villages in Nepal other than the one’s near Chitwan.
It’s been a few months since our last camp because at the moment it is rice-planting season and the Nepali people are very busy planting rice! Understandably so, they will not want to lose a day of work to come to a health camp, even though it is free of cost. Living in a third world country definitely makes you see things from a different perspective.
Kushma is located in the Western region of Nepal and is 57 kilometers from Pokhara. Dr. Tritha lal Upadhyaya is a Diabetes and Endocrinologist specialist and works at the hospital Gandaki Mecdical College in addition to a Diabetes and Endocrinology clinic in Pokhara. I will be going with him every Saturday to a different village for the health camps! This trip was a two-hour drive with beautiful views of the Himalayan Mountains along the way.
Thirty-five people showed up to this camp, twenty were already diagnosed with diabetes and six people found out they had diabetes after being tested that day. Counseling and education was provided and each patient was advised to go for a follow up blood test.
I asked Dr. Tritha about the notion of advising Nepali people to plant brown rice instead of white rice since it is much healthier and reduce your risks of diabetes considerably.
According to the article, “Brown and Local” by, Mansu Subedi,
“Processed rice has the same detrimental outcome as any processed foods consumed on a daily basis; too much could very well be responsible for the kind of central obesity that has become common among the Nepali population. Some studies in Asia have claimed the association between consumption of polished rice and incidence of diabetes”.
“Unpolished rice or brown rice offers more nutrient rich whole grain calories (complex carbohydrates), whose positive effects range from preventing heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and colon cancer among others, to providing an energy source that is low in sodium and naturally cholesterol free”.
Despite its health benefits, brown rice is only grown in a few regions of Nepal. The country’s corrupt government struggles to provide citizens with basic necessities, so, the production of rice is also proving a challenge while problems of food security have been surfacing in many regions. Food security in Nepal is based on the responsibility of the government and countrymen. Changing the white rice production to a less processed and locally-harvested whole grain rice is a very doable option when it comes to boosting health, and at the same time, it could do wonders for Nepal’s economy also.
Hopefully this will become a reality in the future, but right now it is a slow process. Knowledge and awareness is the first step to change.
Kathmandu Post (Brown & local)