Aug 11, 2015

Book Review - Nalam 360 by Dr. Sivaraman

Ever since I read his two books (aaraam thinai - volume 1 and 2) last year, I have become a big fan of Dr. Sivaraman. His ideologies, beliefs and principles resonate with me completely that I google him often to explore more about his work :-) That's how I came across his other books published by Vikatan publications. I searched far and wide in Bangalore but couldn't get them. Amazon and Flipkart have shipping charges that are almost the same as the cost of the books. During my last visit to Chennai, I made a trip to Vikatan office and bought his other books along with a few more interesting ones.

Nalam 360 is a series of articles that he has written focused on various ailments, ranging from allergies, migraine, thyroid, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity etc. In his usual style of being informative, witty and thought-provoking, he has written about the causes of each ailment and how it can be treated/controlled using traditional medicines and eating practices that have been followed by our forefathers/foremothers.

We have become a generation of instant gratification and instant relief from any pain. Popping pills for minor ailments like headache or fever have become a second nature. We don't take the time to think about why our body is sending these signals. Dr.Sivaraman reiterates on the basics like eating right, proper exercise, sleeping on time, keeping the mind at peace and slowing down. Some of our traditional Indian practices when it comes to food are so amazing that the quote "food is medicine" is the need of the hour.

5 key take-aways from this book

- The mother's body can detect any infection in her baby using the saliva when he/she drinks milk from the mother's breast. Then the required antibodies are produced in the mother's milk and the baby gets them during the next feed. What an amazing response mechanism nature has given! Not possible in the days of bottle feed and pumped breast milk.
- Foods that taste bitter (kasappu and thuvarppu) are great immunity boosters. He recommends regular intake of gooseberry, green tea, holy basil, fenugreek seeds etc
- Black pepper helps to fight allergy-causing foreign particles in the body and can be so helpful to combat sinusitis allergy
- The best way to fight migraine is to include ginger regularly in the diet
- In a 24 hour duration, around 1 to 1.25 litres of saliva is secreted in our tongue that helps to break down carbohydrates and starts the digestion process. Most of the common ailments like headache, acidity, food reflux, heart burn etc all have an underlying cause which is improper digestion. Concentrating on eating without distraction, chewing the food nicely and not gobbling up etc will help saliva do its work properly, thereby preventing indigestion.

There are many more such interesting insights on Indian spices, grains and food practices that we can learn from this short book. I have been incorporating many such ideas in my cooking and hoping to spread the message as much as I could. Would love to connect with readers who share interests in these traditional food practices. Do write to me.

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