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Vegetarian vigil

In doing so, you might become anaemic, so check with your doctor whether you need iron and B12 supplements
Vegetarian food habits decreases the chance of developing colon cancer
Vegetarian food habits decreases the chance of developing colon cancer

Dr Gita Mathai   |   Published 22.09.21, 01:07 AM

I decided to become a vegetarian. I used to eat a lot of meat.

Those who become vegetarian tend to lose weight, decrease their risk of developing diabetes, have healthier gut flora, less constipation-, and decrease their chances of developing colon cancer. However, you have to ensure that you get enough protein by consuming dairy products, nuts, peas and soya. Eat iron-rich foods like spinach. You might become anaemic, so check with your doctor whether you need iron and B12 supplements.

Pureed food and milk

My three-year-old son has a poor appetite, and has to be given pureed food to persuade him to swallow it. He only likes to drink milk. He consumes one litre a day. He drinks all night from a feeding bottle.

Children require 400ml of undiluted cow milk a day after the age of one year. If you bottle-feed him all night and intermittently during the day, his stomach becomes full although calorie-wise the intake is insufficient. If he is sucking on the bottle all night, his intestines do not get rest. He has no interest in actively chewing food because it is easier to swallow liquids.

It is not easy but put a stop to the night feeds or to dispense with the bottle. Reduce the milk intake to 400ml a day. It should be given in a glass, split into two feeds at 10am and 4pm. Make him run and play morning and evening to increase his appetite.

Fallopian tube blocks

I had been operated on for a “burst” appendix. Now I am married and have not conceived for five years. The doctors say both my fallopian tubes are blocked.

The ovum (egg) has to travel down the fallopian tube to get fertilised. This does not happen if the tubes are blocked. You probably can have a test tube baby, which bypasses the need for open fallopian tubes. Go to a good fertility centre.

Heart attack?

I had a heart attack two years ago and have two stents. Often, at night, I get severe chest pain. If I rush to the hospital, I’m told, “This is not a heart attack.”

You are probably on aspirin to prevent blockage of the stents. Aspirin can cause “heartburn” which resembles a heart attack. Ask your doctor if you can be put on pantoprazole along with the aspirin to prevent such episodes. 


I was prescribed sleep-ing pills. I am taking them, but can I make dietary changes that might help?

It may help to have a glass of plain, warm milk at bedtime, not tea or coffee. Milk and dairy foods contain tryptophan, which promotes sleep. Tryptophan is also found in nuts and bananas. 

The writer is a paediatrician with a family practice at Vellore and the author of Staying Healthy in Modern India. If you have any questions on health issues please write to

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