No, I am not a diet freak or a size–zero aspirant- coz I know this just isn't my thing! And, no, I'm not a woman who has ‘let herself go’ with bingeing, family responsibilities, work pressure etc.! None of that baggage and stereotype- I am somewhere in the middle- goes overboard on food sometimes, oscillates to the other extreme of 'no-carb' dictum at moments of crisis!
What I am is a Hypothyroid patient! (like the rest of us- have you wondered why there are so many of us kindred spirits? Yes, the aches and pains and the popping pills variety!)
So, with this pleasant background, I picked up the latest from the ‘celebrity’ fitness expert, Rujuta Diwekar's, The PCOD-Thyroid Book—Four Strategies To Counter PCOD And Hypothyroid: Nutrition, Exercise, Sleep & Relationships, (Westland Books). No, I haven’t read the author’s bestsellers earlier- namely, Don’t lose your Mind, Lose your Weight, Women and the weight Loss Tamasha, and Don’t Lose Out , Work Out- which clearly implies I am not into losing weight or dieting books (BTW Nutritionist Kavita Devgan’s book review is up next!)
My aim was to look at the Thyroid half of the book- but as I read along, I found myself finishing the book in two sittings- one because I could relate to the symptoms and two, due to the illustrative, if not interestingly relayed, case studies in the book; and two because the book is not ridden with dense scientific explanation!
So, as I opened the first page of the my first Rujuta read, Kareena endorses the writer’s achievements right in the beginning, in a cursive hand that lends authenticity to the commendation. There! The celebrity fitness expert status squarely conferred on Rujuta!
Coming to the book now, The writer has divided the book into sections dealing with the Thyroid and the PCOD. In both she successfully dispels myths and fads related to both the lifestyle diseases and sometimes indulgently admonishing the reader for falling prey to popular but false notions around these two!
She focusses on key elements of nutrition, lifestyle, relationship and sleep to tackle these conditions. In both she says ‘popping pills’ is not the answer, neither is going into extreme diets and avoidance. She establishes that traditionally the foods eaten by us, and also the ones' locally produced, are far more beneficial than market processed (Nothing new in there though!) so called ‘fat free’ products. So ghee, banana, cabbage etc. become good and moderation in eating and exercising your best pal!
Aside: For some 'unrelated to the book' laughs, read Jug Suraiya's take on the some self proclaimed dietry dictators who change the definition and exemplifiers of 'superfood' at the drop of a hat!
Hilarious right? Retracing the steps back to the book, its strength lies in tackling popular myths associated with these conditions, emphasising on easy ways, with a little discipline of course, to tackle these conditions and the real life examples used to elucidate these. The book however, relies heavily on repetition that run as a thread throughout its slim size, be it the principles of eating and exercising, or the stress on not following the trodden path of dieting and losing weight!
Here comes the downside for me: The writing seems to be at times flippant, condescending at others, where the writer slips into addressing the reader as ‘Deviyon’, ‘aunty’, ‘darling’. The language can get a bit annoying when the writer, in all her good intentions, tries to make her language colloquial or even endearing: Sample this, 'PCOD and PCOS are like same-same but different’. It is also abounds in simplistic assumptions at times, like, where the writer suggests buying vegetables farm fresh, from the outskirts of the town or better still growing your own! How simple is that!
The good part is that there she does include scientific explanation of how the hormonal cycle works and what symbiotic imbalances lead to these two conditions, however, it obviously doesn't negate the requirement of a good endocrinologist. (Something I'm sure, the writer doesn't intend doing also)
The good part is that the author categorically puts the steering wheel of one’s health in your hands, and suggests that blaming everything on the hormones simply won’t do! Pick up the book if you want working knowledge of the PCOD and Thyroid disease. Also, if you are okay with Hinglish, Mumbayia lingo creeping into your viewer screen. I would have personally liked the book to have less of long-winded sentences (not the author's fault or forte I am sure) and adequate paragraphing. Know, that the greatest tip that the writer gives is to ‘take charge’, stop the hormonal blame game, get up, exercise, eat right, sleep well and engender warm relationships- all this and much more! (No spoilers here!)