south asian health solution book cover

Though I wasn’t the biggest proponent of The Primal Blueprint, Mark Sisson’s publishing company was kind enough to send me a pre-release copy of their latest release, The South Asian Health Solution by Dr. Ronesh Sinha.

Upon receiving the book, my first thought was not “why do I have book aimed at South Asians?”

Instead, I thought, “hey, is it just me, or does this guy look like he could play Ray Barone if they produced an Everybody Loves Raymond series in India?”

Seriously, I swear Dr. Sinha has the same mouth and eyes! The haircut isn’t far off, either!

OK, now that that’s out of the way, let’s go back to the other question – how does a book with “South Asian” in the title apply to me?

I’m not South Asian. Not Asian at all. Not even Southern. I was born and raised in the Northeast USA! (My family in Texas proclaim I have a ‘Yankee’ accent.)

So you wouldn’t think I’d be able to identify with this book.

And you would be half right. However, it’s not so much about the cultural aspect.

While the book is written with many references to South Asian culture that I didn’t fully understand, the central theme of the book applies to just about anyone who wants to get healthy.

See, the problem faced by South Asians is that they tend to eat tons of sugary carbs and lead very sedentary, indoor lifestyles. Well, for the most part, I’d bet that many Americans on the Standard American Diet (SAD) can relate!

The exceptions would be people like you and me – endurance athletes trying to stay fit and live healthy lifestyles. If you’re a regular here at CoachLevi.com, this book is unlikely to appeal to you, and you may just want to skip to the very end of this review for the quick summary. Simply put, our goals are going to differ from those of the general population.

However, if you are of South Asian descent, or you’re just beginning your journey towards improved health, you might pick up some useful info in this book.

Some of the topics covered include:

  • Understanding key biometrics and lab results used to monitor health (what Dr. Sinha calls the “Metabolic 6-pack.”)
  • How to look beyond LDL to accurately interpret cholesterol, including a discussion of the 2013 cholesterol guidelines.
  • Detailed nutrition advice and recipes that have helped patients and wellness clients from all backgrounds optimize body composition and reverse disease.
  • How to modify cultural traditions that lead to weight gain and disease.

I immediately figured out the connection to Primal Blueprint Publishing.

Just a few pages in, the books says insulin and inflammation are the true culprits behind virtually all major health problems today. That’s essentially the same premise as in The Primal Blueprint, which teaches how to live a more ‘Primal’ lifestyle that will limit your insulin response and decrease chronic inflammation.

And if you don’t get it the first time, don’t worry – just about every chapter keeps going back to the “cut down on carbohydrates” idea as the cure for all ailments.

Similarly, both books are well organized and super easy to read. This one was written in easy-to-understand language, included real-life case studies, and was full of illustrations and anecdotes that helped make sense of complex topics and processes.

Endurance athletes are an exception to the rule.

I totally agree that today’s lifestyle design is not always the healthiest. But when it comes to endurance athletes, we don’t quite fit the mold.

We exercise a lot, through both endurance sports and strength training, and we prefer to spend as much time outside as we can (so we plenty of sunshine and Vitamin D.)

Sure, we eat tons of carbs, but we also use tons of carbs for workout fuel. Thus, we use insulin to help keep our muscles stocked with fuel, rather than storing everything as fat.

The best lesson: Use your brain!

If there’s one thing you take away from this book, let it be the idea of really thinking deeply about what you’re doing when you make any health-related decisions.

For example, Dr. Ron explains how to watch for a problem where total cholesterol is low, and seemingly good, yet that’s misleading, because it’s only low due to low HDL (which you don’t want to be particularly low.) So the number looks good at first glance, but really it’s not. This teaches critical thinking and I like that a lot!

A doctor that’s not all about medication?!

It might sound like fantasy land, but it’s true – Dr. Ron advocates that lifestyle modifications are far better than prescription medications. Finally!

So really, I do agree with the bulk of his advice. We’re talking ideas such as eat healthy, exercise, get your vegetables, avoid carb-rich processed foods, eat foods containing antioxidants, and live a healthy low-stress lifestyle. It’s excellent advice!

He even takes things one step further. Each chapter ends with a quick “For Professionals” section, aimed at fellow physicians. Good thinking! Hopefully his ideas spread.

But… Eventually I simply lost interest.

It’s true. It really didn’t take long for me to get bored with this. I mean, the goal is good health and preventing heart attacks. I want big muscles, visible six pack abs, and superhuman performance so I can win races.

The topics here are just not my cup of tea.

See for yourself.

Is the book right for you? Why not click here to read an excerpt from the book (totally free) and decide for yourself!

My final verdict is…

I thought the book was well put together and it could very well help tons of people get on the right track to improved health. His stance on making lifestyle changes rather than blindly taking some new prescription medication should be commended (and hopefully will be adopted by more physicians soon!)

The thing is, as an endurance athlete, I just couldn’t get that interested in the book. So I can’t recommend you read it, nor do I recommend following the guidelines (i.e. severely cutting back on your carbohydrate intake.)

Official website: www.SouthAsianHealthSolution.org

Buy online: www.Amazon.com

Product Review Details
Company: Primal Blueprint Publishing
Product: The South Asian Health Solution
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 2.0 out of 5
Date last updated: 2014-03-20
Obtained Product: Free review copy from publisher.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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