The South Asian Health Solution is the first book to provide an ancestral health-based wellness plan culturally tailored for those of South Asian ancestry living in India, the United States and across the world - a population identified as being at the highest risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and related conditions. Dr. Ronesh Sinha, an internal medicine specialist in California's Silicon Valley, sees high risk South Asian patients and runs education and wellness programs for corporate clients. He has taken many South Asians out of the high risk, high body mass category and helped them reverse disease risk factors without medications. His comprehensive lifestyle modification approach has been validated by cutting edge medical science and the real-life success stories he profiles throughout the book.
Inside you'll learn:
- Look beyond LDL to accurately interpret cholesterol and other heart disease risk numbers
- Modifying cultural traditions that lead to weight gain and disease
- How to effectively manage sleep, stress and fatigue
- Specific advice for women, children, and seniors
The South Asian Health Solution explains complex medical circumstances and terminology in an easy to understand voice, allowing you to grasp the how's and why's of dietary and lifestyle modification to prevent disease.
Q&A with Ron
1. There are tons of health related books currently on the market. What was it about the subject you chose to write about in your book that made you feel so passionate about spreading the word and getting your book published
South Asians, who are mostly Asian Indian, have one of the highest risks of heart disease and diabetes in the world, and most books and content don't address their needs in a culturally sensitive way. Conventional wisdom and advice about nutrition and disease nearly ruined my health, and I was seeing the same pattern repeated in my patients and the South Asian community at large. Having a family history of heart disease and/or diabetes was more the rule than the exception, and I was seeing too many Asian Indian patients having heart attacks in their 30s and 40s. The final straw was my wife, who is a pediatrician, regularly sharing stories of kids developing adult onset diabetes and adult-like cholesterol disorders. For the first time in human history, our children have a shorter projected lifespan than the generation before them. That's completely unacceptable and we can never call ourselves a progressive society until we fix that.
2. What is it in particular about your book that makes it such an essential must-have to anyone who is interested in improving their health?
Despite the title being "South Asian," I've shared the most effective dietary and lifestyle changes that have worked in patients of all cultural backgrounds. I've had dramatic results in my South Asian consult patients who have shed body fat, dropped medications, and improved their energy level and overall quality of life within a relatively short time. I've also had the opportunity to apply these principles on a larger scale to large companies with similar success. This book is a must-have because it doesn't just tell you to "eat healthy and exercise more." It gives you practical methods that can fit into a busy, culturally diverse lifestyle with all its temptations and constraints. It also gives a family-centered, gender-sensitive, multigenerational approach to healthy living that includes chapters on pregnancy, childhood, women's health and aging. This isn't a battle we can win alone. Everyone needs to be on the same page and this book describes how.
3. What is your favorite part of your book and why?
I enjoyed sharing the patient stories (names changed) and my own personal struggles, since they added a more human touch to the book, rather than me just preaching to the reader. From a sedentary software engineer to a mother-daughter duo with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), I selected diverse stories that most people of any cultural background could relate to. Co-writing the children's chapter with my wife was especially enlightening since I got a deeper understanding of the challenges she faces in her pediatric clinic. I learned through her experience and definitive research how insulin resistance and heart disease starts early in life and is made worse by how we feed and raise our children.
4. What is the main problem that the subject of your book tackles?
Standard dietary guidelines, non-sustainable and inflexible advice about exercise, cultural myths, and the misinterpretation of key numbers like cholesterol panels are feeding the worsening problems of insulin resistance, obesity, heart disease and all chronic conditions including accelerated aging.
5. What tools does your book suggest readers use to solve this problem?
The book goes into details on which tests and numbers are the most important indicators of good health, using culturally adjusted parameters when appropriate. Many of my Indian heart attack patients were told their weight and cholesterol were "normal" by their prior doctors or were inappropriately put on medications when simple lifestyle changes could have resolved their issues. I also provide very specific nutrition advice that can be applied to virtually any diverse cuisine with an emphasis on vegetarian and non-vegetarian Indian diets. Finally, I share some of the most effective exercises, high-tech tools, and apps that have helped patients lose weight, manage stress, and get fit in the comfort of their own home or the convenience of their workplace.
6. What do you see as the essential important message readers will take away from your book?
Despite all of the barriers to good health we face each day, very specific and simple changes can result in profound improvements in mental and physical health. I've had diehard, rice-eating Indian immigrants who have never exercised a day in their life lose weight, increase activity, and transform their bodies. There is a South Asian Health Solution for every individual regardless of their background. Patients and doctors need to be more creative in finding those answers and I'm hoping this book will help.
7. What did you learn about yourself in the process of writing this book?
I realized that one of the greatest challenges to staying healthy is writing a book. Despite my busy day job, my mind and body were consumed 24/7 with voices echoing from my manuscript. This forced me to find even more time-efficient ways to combine work and exercise, like typing for hours while on an elliptical machine. I share these techniques in the book.
8. What did you discover about others during the process of writing this book?
A: An even greater level of empathy for the struggles people face in staying healthy. I used to think it was irrational for someone to not want to eat healthy and exercise. After gaining a deeper understanding of human behavior, brain function and the addictive nature of food, technology and being sedentary, I totally get why we're facing a current health crisis.
9. What quote from your book do you think best summarizes its content, over all message, and intent?
"Today's modern lifestyle layered upon insulin resistant genes is a recipe for early onset heart disease and other chronic illnesses. It is time for us to reset priorities, traditions and outdated belief systems, and instead focus on helping current and future generations become healthier and happier."
About the Author: Dr. Sinha works with large employee groups in Silicon Valley, helping South Asians, as well as those of many other ethnicities, to improve their health and reduce their risk factors while still respecting patients' cultural dietary and lifestyle customs. From his breadth of experience in the Silicon Valley, Dr. Sinha created PRANA, the most comprehensive South Asian health website. he hosts a South Asian radio show in the Bay Area and blogs at southasianhealthsolution.org.