Posted on Dec 25, 2020, 6 p.m.
Body on Fire was written by cardiologist Monica Aggarwal and internist Jyothi Rao who used their own experiences along their journeys to health, wellness, and professional experiences to group together in this in-depth evaluation of the various effects of inflammation on chronic disease supported with references to clinical study and their tips/tools for approaches to restoring balance.
The concept for the title of this book is fitting, being derived from the battle within the body when there is an imbalance and it becomes irritated and inflamed. The authors believe that there is more to healing the body of excess inflammation than using pharmaceuticals, as such the pair of doctors strongly advocate how holistic lifestyle changes can be utilized to treat the root of the issue directly rather than just managing the symptoms. The knowledge provided in this book can help to empower the reader and lead to healing and enduring wellness.
MONICA AGGARWAL, MD, is board-certified in cardiology, echocardiography, and nuclear cardiology. She is focused on educating people about the importance of plant-based nutrition and its benefits in treating and potentially reversing chronic illness.
JYOTHI RAO, MD, an A4M fellow, has worked in clinical practice since 1997. She is board certified in internal medicine as well as in anti-aging, functional, and regenerative medicine. She is also the medical director of Shakthi Health & Wellness Center in Maryland.
Recently Dr. Rao gave us a bit insight into the journey leading up to this very well written and informative book:
“Being able to write Body on Fire with my friend and colleague, Dr. Monica Aggarwal has been a wonderful journey that started when I was four years old. My grandfather was a doctor in a village in India. He would put me on the handlebars of his bicycle as he saw patients in their homes. He listened to their symptoms, learned about their real stressors, and cared for them holistically. I spent my early years watching my grandfather heal, counsel, and befriend the people in his village. It was then that I knew I wanted to be a physician just like him.”
“Once I became an internist, I became frustrated with my ‘toolbox’ which basically consisted of prescriptions and referrals to specialists. I did occasionally pass on advice of “get some more exercise, diet and go on a vacation.” But what did that even mean? Something was missing, so I started looking for other solutions. In my search through the literature and my fellowship at A4M, I learned about the power of lifestyle: the concept that daily choices affect genes which can change health destiny. This was what I had been looking for. I started putting it into practice and I was thrilled with the results. I wanted to scream it from the rooftops! This book is doing just that. The practical advice, holistic approach is all in one place. Dr. Monica Aggarwal was equally passionate about empowering patients with more tools to not only improve symptoms but truly heal, and so, Body on Fire was born.”
“I always knew that what we ate mattered and that too much stress was not good for us. But learning about the autonomic nervous system, specifically the power the parasympathetic system (rest and digest) plays in keeping us in balance was essential to the book. Delving into the physiology of digest, brought forth the influence of a plant-based diet and its impact on the creating a diverse microbiome which is critical to good health. In addition, we discuss that what you eat is as important as when you eat. For the rest part, we discuss how negative stress or distress breaks us down and impacts not only our physical health but also mental health. I am deeply passionate about implementing ways to create rest, with sleep promotion as well as with yoga, meditation, and breathing techniques. I now use these tools every day with my patients as my new prescriptions. I am happy to say both Dr. Aggarwal and I have had amazing success with our patients when using these tools in an integrative model.”
“The most profound message from this book is that our health is in our control. Even our thoughts and outlook matter. Especially given this challenging climate, the book reiterates the importance of how our whole body is connected. You can start with sleep, diet or maybe just change when you eat, but start somewhere. Body on Fire has practical tools on improving the rest and digest system. Improving these systems can help fight and prevent some illnesses, as well as increase our resilience to stressors and help us to age better.”
Throughout this book, the doctors provide an honest and practical guide to help the reader learn how to live a stronger, healthier, and more vital state of being via making better lifestyle choices/habits that affect overall health and well being to impact inflammation. The doctors also explain how the mind-body connection, intermittent fasting, plant-based diets, staying hydrated, being mindful, improving gut flora, adequate sleep, yoga, and physical exercise along with having a positive mindset as well as other easy to implement lifestyle habits, all backed by science, can offer far-reaching benefits for overall health, well being, longevity, and anti-aging regimes.
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