Can a healthy Indian diet help prevent heart disease, diabetes and cancer?

The answer is yes, according to Patel, a medical doctor passionate about the power of diet to ward off and even reverse the negative and all-too-common effects of the modern diet. Citing the most recent scholarly research as well as studies dating back to the 19th century, Patel makes a clear case for Indians, who are genetically disposed to heart disease and diabetes, and non-Indians alike to switch from a diet of processed foods high in fat and sugar to one low in meat consumption and high in vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains. Whereas the deservedly touted Mediterranean diet offers an acknowledged road map for healthy eating, the traditional Indian diet is, Patel claims, an equally good alternative with the added benefit of being heavy in spices, which have been proven to have curative powers; for example, the compound curcumin in turmeric, a spice common in Indian cooking, has been shown to have cancer-fighting abilities. This book, however, is not meant to be merely a treatise on medical and food science; it’s also meant to be a practical manual. To that end, Patel offers advice on how to make a healthy Indian diet an everyday reality and, to get readers into the kitchen, Balasubramanian and Jannu of contributed more than 30 flavorful recipes for vegetarian, meat and grain-based dishes as well as chutneys, pickles, spice blends and yogurt. Although this book is useful to anyone interested in healthy eating and Indian cooking, the recipes are not geared toward the beginning Indian cook. Many use ingredients or spice blends—such as curry leaves, dried fenugreek leaves and Chana Masala—that will require a trip to an Indian market and, in some cases, ingredients mentioned in the method do not appear in the ingredients list, making a general familiarity with Indian cooking a help to “sleuth out” what Balasubramanian and Jannu intended. An enthused, accessible argument for and explanation of the benefits of eating a healthy Indian diet, complete with recipes for the seasoned Indian cook.


Pub Date: June 26, 2011

ISBN: 978-1461122135

Page Count: 198

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2012

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...


A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.


A study of swimming as sport, survival method, basis for community, and route to physical and mental well-being.

For Bay Area writer Tsui (American Chinatown: A People's History of Five Neighborhoods, 2009), swimming is in her blood. As she recounts, her parents met in a Hong Kong swimming pool, and she often visited the beach as a child and competed on a swim team in high school. Midway through the engaging narrative, the author explains how she rejoined the team at age 40, just as her 6-year-old was signing up for the first time. Chronicling her interviews with scientists and swimmers alike, Tsui notes the many health benefits of swimming, some of which are mental. Swimmers often achieve the “flow” state and get their best ideas while in the water. Her travels took her from the California coast, where she dove for abalone and swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco, to Tokyo, where she heard about the “samurai swimming” martial arts tradition. In Iceland, she met Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, a local celebrity who, in 1984, survived six hours in a winter sea after his fishing vessel capsized, earning him the nickname “the human seal.” Although humans are generally adapted to life on land, the author discovered that some have extra advantages in the water. The Bajau people of Indonesia, for instance, can do 10-minute free dives while hunting because their spleens are 50% larger than average. For most, though, it’s simply a matter of practice. Tsui discussed swimming with Dara Torres, who became the oldest Olympic swimmer at age 41, and swam with Kim Chambers, one of the few people to complete the daunting Oceans Seven marathon swim challenge. Drawing on personal experience, history, biology, and social science, the author conveys the appeal of “an unflinching giving-over to an element” and makes a convincing case for broader access to swimming education (372,000 people still drown annually).

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61620-786-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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