Not-so stealthy tips on healthy foods

The new book focuses on just about everything related to healthy food together with lifestyle interventions, writes Humra Quraishi

First and foremost, this book is an easy relaxed read. Nah, it doesn’t read like a medical journal; not laden with technical terms or those medical prescriptions! On the contrary, one could read it as one go, simply because the manner in which it’s all put together. More like friendly chats, along the strain of an informal conversation.

Written by the US-based oncologist, Dr Shubham Pant, there’s stress “on the mundane solutions” to try and keep cancer at bay, to harness the growth of the rogue cancer cells. With that, focus on foods that should be put up there on the table, together with those that ought to be out, out of sight!

Dr Shubham Pant focuses on just about everything related to healthy food together with lifestyle interventions. He does so, through a series of offloads, coupled with grim inputs. To quote him from the Author’s Note — “Cancer is a truly life- changing diagnosis which can take a physical, mental, economical toll. We normally take the simple things in life, like the ability to relish and taste our food, for granted…until it gets taken away from us. Patients who could eat a 10 -course meal struggle to get a small morsel of food down. Taste buds go for a toss and things that were appetizing become repulsive overnight. Many patients develop a metallic taste, losing the ability to distinguish between salt, sugar or both. People who were epitome of heath whither on account of cancer or side affects of therapy.”

In this book, this oncologist at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, focuses on the fact that though on one hand there those genetic and environmental factors which are beyond our control, but there are also two crucial factors — diet and lifestyle — which are within one’s control. As he explains in this book, “For example, placing tobacco between cheek and gum or teeth for long periods can lead to chronic inflammation in the oral mucosa and increase the risk of cancer in the mouth. Similarly, when one is obese, the body is in constant stress and that creates a low level of chronic inflammation that, in turn, can lead to adverse outcomes. Food through a healthy diet rich in vegetables, whole grains and whole fruits can help the body’s repair mechanisms and fix some of the damage.” He also points out that an increased or excessive consumption of red meat and processed meats do drag along the cancer risk.

 There is an entire range of facts and anecdotes which this young oncologist has webbed and inter- webbed in, in this book. And perhaps to make it simpler for the readers, he has also included simple no-fuss recipes along with relevant photographs which could go a long way in making one eat just right!

It is a significant book, along the general knowledge strain. Not just for cancer patients or survivors but for all adults and even teenagers, as its laden with everyday basic facts and factors which we tend to overlook or bypass. Perhaps, after reading this book, we would be more aware of the dos and don’ts, and that in itself could make all the difference!

In fact, Dr Pant starts this book with Rumi’s this particular quote which nudges one to introspect and live on — “I learned that every mortal will taste death. But only some will taste life.”

(the end of the book review — by Humra Quraishi)