Monday, April 17, 2017

Book review: 3 Books on Food, Nutrition and Wellness

1. Don't Lose Your Mind Lose Your Weight

Author: Rujuta Diwekar
Publisher: Random House India
Pages: 288
Price: Rs 199
Genre: Non Fiction / Self-help / Health / Nutrition
Rating: 10/10
Format: Paperback

 Of all the books I have ever read about food and nutrition, this book has been the best and the simplest to follow. I first read this book about 4 years back and incorporated a lot of learnings into my lifestyle. I benefitted tremendously along the way; but no matter how motivated you had been, you lose some amount of enthusiasm as time passes. So, I re-read it recently.

I first read about Rujuta Diwekar when Kareena Kapoor accredited her for her own metamorphosis during Tashan.

When Rujuta wrote this book, it was lapped up by everyone. The best thing about this book is its simplicity. The book is easy to read, even for non-readers. The language is very simple; in fact, it is very conversational (with a liberal use of hinglish). This was perhaps the first time a nutritionist talked about the wisdom of eating traditional Indian food and giving more importance to local food.

She tells you to follow some basic principles and use your common sense. For example, don’t start your day with tea or coffee but with a fruit. She asks you to eat every 2 hours and keep the food portions small. Eat more during the day. Food should be directly proportional to your level of activity. Give importance to nutrition over calories. Add Ghee to your daily diet. There are several such nuggets of information which are easy to understand and adopt. Once you understand the basic principles, you can plan your own diet according to your lifestyle. But she cautions, just eating right without exercising is only half the battle won. Both are equally important. She writes “….exercise is a part of adopting a better lifestyle but it is NOT an alternative to eating right.”

She says that food has unnecessarily been made into a villain, when in fact; all food is good if eaten wisely. Follow a diet which you can follow all your life. Any sort of extreme diet doesn’t work because they are not sustainable. This is what I love the most about this book, you are not asked to eat some fancy or exotic things, you just need to eat regular Indian food – but you must take care of the proportions and timing.  

I have always recommended this book to everyone and cannot say enough how life-altering this can be. It is every bit worth the time and money.

If you want to read only one book on food and nutrition, this has to be it. I have also read the author’s second book ‘Women and the Weight Loss Tamasha’, but it didn’t appeal to me much. I do wish to read her latest book ‘Indian Superfoods’ though.

2. The Great Indian Diet

Author: Shilpa Shetty Kundra, Luke Coutinho
Publisher: Random House India
Pages: 288
Price: Rs 299
Non Fiction / Self-help / Health / Nutrition
Rating: 7/10
Format: e-book 

Shilpa Shetty has, unarguably, one of the best bodies in Bollywood. She is a strong proponent of healthy living. She managed to shed all the weight she had gained during her pregnancy through healthy eating and exercising. I had read some excerpts from the book and found it interesting. This book has been co-authored by Luke Coutinho who is a nutritionist, master coach and mastermind behind GOQii’s lifestyle and health coaching model. 

In its approach towards healthy eating, this book is similar to Rujuta’s ‘Don’t Lose Your Mind…’ but it certainly has a lot of additional information about different things that create the Great Indian food. 

It dwells into the evolution of Indian food, the incredible health benefits of common spices, different oils and variety of grains that we usually eat in Indian homes, the Acidic and Alkaline food, reading labels before buying packaged food, and so on. 

Obviously, different books and authors bring different things to the table, so one needs to use common sense and not blindly follow anything. Shilpa recommends 3 main meals and 2 in-between meals as against Rujuta’s recommendation of eating every 2 hours. Shilpa starts her day with tea, while Rujuta’s first principle talks about never to start your day with tea or coffee. 

In my opinion, this can be a good book to read in addition to Rujuta’s Don’t LoseYour Mind, Lose Your Weight’.

3. Eat Delete: How to Get Off the Weight Loss Cycle for Good

Author: Pooja Makhija
Publisher: Collins
Pages: 248 
Price: Rs 199
Non Fiction / Self-help / Health / Nutrition
Rating: 6/10
Format: Paperback

I have a fascination for books on food, nutrition and health. I have read quite a few books in this genre and several are on my TBR list. It never kills to learn more, right? You always take away something useful from each one of them.

This book came to me a long time back through the publishers. Pooja Makhija is also a celebrity nutritionist (like Rujuta Diwekar). 

The cover page is vibrant and appealing. The book comes with a little booklet to record your diet. The back cover informs: For the first time in India, a leading nutritionist has worked with psychologists to give you a combined mind-body weight loss solution. Figure out not just what to eat, but also why you eat the way you do. Tackle the problem at the source.

Much of the initial part of the book dwells into convincing the reader that food is not an enemy, neither should it be considered entertainment. As they say ‘it’s all in the mind’. I have read this often about running too. To beginners, even 1 Km looks impossible but people are doing ultra-running like it is a jog in the park. So, Pooja targets the psychology of people first in her book. Will power is not something that you are born with; you can cultivate it with practice. If you want to lose weight, you need a strong will power. She has even given tips on how to avoid a party or how to stick to your healthy eating plan if you must attend a party, because most people flounder when they eat out. 

There are questions which show you if you are in the red zone of weight loss. The book discusses different mindsets of people and why inspite of the fact that so many people want to lose weight, they even know that they should be eating healthy; and yet their will power is not strong enough.

In her book, Pooja also talks about the significance of eating frequently and exercising. She advises how one can go about restricting certain food items initially to achieve the desired weight loss. She says “Whatever you want to eat can be re-integrated into your system when you have lost the weight you wanted to. Long term weight loss is about balance, proportion and control.”

She has certainly put me into a spot by saying that drinking warm lemon water can cause bone leeching! I haven’t found any solid proof to support this; on the contrary I have found several articles on benefits of drinking that. I even checked with a doctor, who said that lemon water may not have any benefit (though I disagree) but it surely does no harm.

Personally, I found this book as an average read, however, the experience of reading any book is unique to every reader. To someone who hasn’t read anything on food and nutrition and requires some conditioning of the mind to get on the path of eating healthy, this book can certainly offer much more.    

Review Book Courtesy: HarperCollins India