What is independence? For some, it's the freedom to express and do what they love. For others, it's the ability to be self-reliant and stand tall against all odds. But for Kalyan Karmakar, Rushina Munshaw-Ghildiyal and Adarsh Munjal, three food bloggers living with diabetes, independence is all that and more.
These self-styled food gurus have been cooking up a storm and setting an example for people with diabetes through their diabetes-friendly lifestyles. Their fighting spirits have inspired thousands across the country to lead healthier lives. So, we asked them: What does independence mean to you?
Here's what they had to say.
Kalyan discovered his passion for food early on; he was raised in a Bengali household that epitomised a live-to-eat philosophy. He started his blog, Finely Chopped, in 2007 while juggling a full-time career in marketing. Today, he's a full-time food blogger, influencer, author and columnist. He has prediabetes and has taken his diagnosis as a challenge to reinvent himself.
"Independence is being able to take charge of my life rather than being a slave to circumstances," he says, "to take action, to face whatever life throws at me and work towards being in a state of happiness rather than being bogged down by life."
A culinary expert, writer, consultant and mom, Rushina is a foodie who's constantly on the lookout for the road less eaten. Her illustrious food career started off as a humble blog in 2002, and she's never looked back — not even when she was diagnosed with diabetes.
"Independence means having the freedom to arrange my life in my own 'normal,' whether that means switching off from work at 6 p.m., asking for specific foods to fit my diet, going for a walk at whatever time, playing hopscotch with my daughter, crying over a sappy love story, reaching out to a friend or planning my meals," she says. "It means being able to give the best I can to all the facets of me, to myself, my work and my family."
Adarsh, who's best known on social media as The Big Bhookad, is a food writer, critic and stylist who's not afraid of a challenge. He's competed in a number of culinary challenges, but the biggest challenge he has faced has undoubtedly been living with diabetes.
"Independence means having complete freedom and control of my own life and pursuing it with endeavours derived out of my free will while understanding and adapting to responsibilities that come along with independence," he says. "Independence means that I can make my own choices, but also that I take the responsibility of facing all the benefits or consequences of those choices."
"In the perspective of diabetes, I am a man who has it. I control my insulin intake with great pride (for being able to deal with it alone, without depending on anyone else) and discretion, without telling anyone unless there's a need to do so. This is my freedom, my independence in taking care of this personal responsibility on a daily basis."
"In a nutshell, independence, to me, is what its definition stands for most human lives across the world: freedom to make my own choices and to pursue my life without any hesitation, worry or guilt."
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