We Indians love to blame. When the car does not start we blame our fortunes, when the food is bad we blame the “bai” (housekeeper) and when we start packing the extra kilos we blame it on our age, our genes and most importantly our hormones. Rujuta Diwekar, renowned nutritionist for many celebrities, including the Bollywood star Kareena Kapoor and the author of bestsellers like Women and the Weight Loss Tamasha, Don’t Lose Your Mind Lose Your Weight, in her new book, The PCOD-Thyroid Book, talks about how we should stop blaming and start doing something. Most importantly, eating and resting.
This may sound counterintuitive in a world that is obsessed with fad diets and slogging it out in the gym for hours. However, in this book, Rujuta explains succinctly the importance of eating well and sufficient resting for good health. As for PCOS/PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease), she describes it as “spreading like an epidemic and is fast becoming everybody’s favourite condition to blame their weight gain on!” She then goes on to describe hormones, their functions and the disorders in detail. She believes that instead of blaming our hormones for the weight gain, it is time to make lifestyle changes.
Unlike a medical treatise on the subject, the book is casual and fun, albeit a bit condescending. The frivolous writing style peppered with too much “Hinglish” makes it a bit annoying but some of the concepts presented in the book with a boring subject are exceptionally good. One of these concepts which I found particularly fascinating was when she called women “hormonally vibrant” so “when we get easily bored with one kind of hormone dominating our system, and since we believe in democracy and equal opportunity, we allow our ovaries to be influenced by different hormones every few days. They (the hormones), in turn, if we allow them full freedom of expression help us to keep our ovaries strong” or when she likens the hypothalamus to the “show organizer” with money (gonadotropin-releasing hormone, GnRH) who employs a choreographer (pituitary) for talent spotting and auditioning a dozen or more dancers (follicles which secrete estrogen).
The book is engaging and for someone who has never heard of the concepts of hormones and PCOD, it is a good introductory read. It also drives home some important points about loving food, avoiding a sedentary lifestyle and basically loving your body. With some really scathing remarks, Rujuta shoots down many misconceptions about thyroid, particularly the aggressive diagnosis. Instead, she advocates a holistic lifestyle for long lasting results such as eating homemade food (including “ghee” and “bananas”) which are rich in nutrients and exercising regularly.
While there is much to rave about, the book does lose out on some aspects. The author uses a brash, know-it-all tone that really makes you want to put down the book. The scolding and the use of too many colloquial terms like “Deviyon, Darlings and Aunty” to refer to her clients were some other jarring aspects in the book. Moreover, the book has been compiled from Women and the Weight Loss Tamasha and follows a similar line of content as her previous books. This makes it sound a bit repetitive, especially for someone who has read her previous books. Also, for women suffering from this condition, the concepts are nothing extraordinary and something they might have already read or heard from their nutritionist.
Despite its flaws shortcomings, The PCOD -Thyroid Book is an extremely useful read, not just for women suffering from thyroid and hormonal imbalances but for everyone, including men, who are looking to lead a better, fitter life. It talks about the “leave behind a legacy of health and harmony” and how we can create it. The best part about this simple, informative book is that it ends on a positive note.
Even if someone is not an obsessive health freak, I do recommend reading this book at least once. It may sound like “common sense” but as they say “common sense does not seem that common these days”.