|Year : 2013 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 59-60
As fit as Fauja Singh
Sanjay Kalra1, Bharti Kalra2, Navneet Agrawal3
1 Department of Endocrinology, Bharti Hospital and BRIDE, Karnal, Haryana, India
2 Department of Gynaecology, Bharti Hospital and BRIDE, Karnal, Haryana, India
3 Department of Medicine, Diabetes Obesity and Thyroid Centre, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India
|Date of Web Publication||6-Jul-2013|
Bharti Hospital and BRIDE, Karnal, Haryana
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Kalra S, Kalra B, Agrawal N. As fit as Fauja Singh. J Med Nutr Nutraceut 2013;2:59-60
"I am extremely careful about different foods. My diet is easy phulka, dal, green vegetables, yogurt and milk. I do not touch parathas, pakoras, rice or any other fried food. I take lots of water and tea with ginger. I go to bed early taking the name of my Rabba as I do not want all those negative thoughts crossing my mind."
Fauja Singh, India-born centenarian marathon runner
The vibrant English language contains, within its 250,000 words strong vocabulary,  over 200 similes, which help us describe concepts using suitable nouns. While most of these similes use common nouns, some depend upon proper nouns or names of inanimate objects. "As black as Newton's knacker," for example, refers to the knacker on the door of Newton's Prison in London. Other similes utilize proper nouns, which refer to animals, as in "as mad as a March hare," an endocrine simile of sorts. Yet others take the help of puppet characters, as in "as pleased as punch" or "as proud as punch."
Very few similes are based upon names of real people, perhaps because very few real people have an appeal as global as that of English language. "As old as Methuselah" celebrates the longevity of Methuselah, a Biblical character who lived till the age of 969 years. "As happy as Larry" is based upon the unbeaten Australian boxer Larry Foley (1847-1917).  These individuals are remembered through language, for their longevity and for their sportsmanship.
In this editorial, the Journal of Medical Nutrition and Nutraceuticals proposes a novel simile, saluting both the long life, and the sporty nature, of Fauja Singh, India-born centenarian marathon runner. This editorial delves into the nutritional makeup of the champion athlete and explores the benefits of his chosen dietary habits.
According to the American Dietetic Association, "appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases."  The best proof, or example, of this statement, is Fauja Singh, who recently retired from competitive running, just 5 weeks before his 103 rd birthday. Fauja Singh has been a life-long vegetarian and attributes his stamina to his diet.
This is an issue worth discussing in detail. A gradual shift from plant-based diets to animal-sourced nutrition has been linked with an epidemic of lifestyle diseases. Obesity, diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidaemia, cholelithiasis, Alzheimer's disease, and certain cancers occur more often in people who report high meat consumption. Conversely, vegetarians are found to be leaner and healthier than omnivores, with a lower risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 
Fruits and vegetables, in particular, are healthy choices for all and should make up half of one's meal plate.  Lentils and milk base products provide the much needed protein in a vegetarian diet.
Vegetarian diets, when well-planned out, have been shown to meet the needs of athletes.  However, it is necessary that athletes and related sport professionals be aware of the risks and benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle, and supplement essential nutrients such as vitamin B12 and vitamin D in their diet through nutraceuticals. If used correctly, vegetarian diet can be a performance enhancer in athletes. It must be noted that most sportspersons from Haryana, which contributes the bulk of India's Commonwealth, Asiad, and Olympic medal winners follow a vegetarian diet.
However, not all people believe that vegetarian diets are healthier. The main predictors of the belief that vegetarian diets provide health benefits for all respondents were found to be the belief that meat is neither healthy nor necessary and frequent searching for information on healthy eating. 
This should not detract us from the main purpose of this editorial: A strong appeal to create a living eulogy, in the form of a panegyric simile: As fit as Fauja Singh. This alliterative phrase should encourage readers, and countless people through them, to adopt a fitter, and healthier lifestyle. The idea may sound far-fetched initially, but if it motivates even one person to begin exercising, to follow a healthier diet, to achieve weight loss, to reduce avoidable cardio metabolic illness, this editorial will have been worth its print.
"The first 20 miles are not difficult. As for last six miles, I run while talking to God."
Fauja Singh, centenarian India-born marathon runner
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