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Gutless Fearless

Cover Story Health and Wellness July 2018

Gutless Fearless

Gutless Fearless1

Favourite cuisine
Anything Indian, for its variety and healing properties
Biggest inspiration
Inspiration is all around, but to be specific, Winnie the Pooh
When Foursome was published
Future plans
Travel, conduct cooking workshops

Pune-based Natasha Diddee is inspiring thousands of people to lead a happy, healthy life through her culinary journey

Her energy is contagious, and smile, stupefying. Natasha Diddee, a 40-year-old Pune-based food stylist, blogger and recipe developer, is on a unique journey. A gutsy and gutless one at the same time, quite literally. Having lost her stomach to a surgery five years ago, owing to the presence of two perforated ulcers and a tumor around it, Diddee was not going to let fate decide her destiny. Instead, she was all set to transform her setback into a life worth sharing and inspiring.
“I decided that I’d die one day just like everyone else, but I’d be damned if I let this condition take me. So I decided to live, not exist,” the home chef says, exuding a charismatic air. Diddee’s Instagram page is a colorful palette of traditional Indian dishes and all kinds of gastronomic delights. And if there is one thing she constantly tries to convey to the world through her social media platforms, it is the fact that “food can heal you.”
Talking about the tumultuous days before the tumor was discovered, Diddee says, “I was under a lot of stress. I had gone from an unhealthy 88kg to an unhealthy 38kg because I couldn’t eat or drink. No doctor diagnosed me correctly until Dr. Suryabhan Bhalerao’s presence of mind came to my rescue. He insisted to go in laparoscopically to investigate what was going on inside, and eventually, detected the tumor around my stomach.”
Owing to the lack of a stomach, Diddee suffers from severe ‘Dumping Syndrome’, where the food she eats is excreted every one hour. As a result, she has to take eight-nine mini meals every day to retain the required nutritional level in the body.
“It’s been five years since that surgery and the journey has been quite tough. I take vitamin B shots every month since I cannot produce it anymore, as the stomach is where it is produced. This deficiency has also affected my memory retention capacity,” Diddee says. She also suffers from severe vitamin D deficiency and has developed carpal tunnel syndrome as a result. “But other than that, I’m living a full life,” she adds. The brave and happy soul sounds like a real hero, unafraid and positive in the face of adversity.
One would easily assume that someone lacking a gut cannot eat, let alone enjoy the process of cooking. But Diddee’s Instagram page speaks otherwise. From exotic wok-grilled meals to desi Malvani style peas and potatoes, she has her followers drooling for more.
“I started Instagramming as @thegutlessfoodie to spread the word about how much food can heal us. I also maintain another Instagram page, which goes by the handle @thegutlessfoodieeatsout, to let people know that despite lacking a stomach, I do lead a full and happy life by eating the food of my choice,” she says. Diddee has authored a novel, Foursome, which came out last December to good reviews. She is also a recipe developer and gets invited by restaurants to review their menu. To Diddee, life could have seemed unfair and ruthless, but she chose the road less traveled, one where she can look back and say, “I shaped my destiny.”

“It’s Been Five Years Since That Surgery And The Journey Has Been Quite Tough. I Take Vitamin B Shots Every Month Since I Cannot Produce It Anymore, As The Stomach Is Where It Is Produced.”

Natasha Diddee ,
Food Stylist & Recipe Developer
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