Book Review: The Gut by Payal Kothari

Book Name: The Gut

Author: Payal Kothari

Publisher: Rupa

Genre: Non-fiction

Rating: 5/5

Book Blurb:

How does the gut affect immunity?

What is the connection of our gut and mental health?

How can we cure issues like acidity, obesity and brain fog?

The good news is that almost any ailment can be healed. The key is not just managing the symptoms but treating it from its root cause—the gut! 

Your gut is a host to 100 trillion bacteria, good and bad, living in synergy with each other to help fight against pathogens, diseases and germ attacks. It also helps accelerate your weight loss journey as well as build and boost immunity to fight any virus. The gut is also the main reason you can remember and reason things; it is where your fight-flight responses lay. It helps builds your cognitive fitness and protects your mental well-being as it is also your happy hormone secretor. 

However, modern lifestyle changes have made our guts more vulnerable than ever before. Payal Kothari’s The Gut is all about understanding your bio-individual needs. It simplifies ways to heal simple and chronic illnesses by eating the right foods and releasing stress from your gut. The gut is the core of who we are, and this fascinating book tells you how to start listening to your gut instincts—from simple things like what to eat to closing a million-dollar deal!

Picture Credit: Rupa
Picture Credit: Rupa

Review: Payal Kothari’s The Gut deals with the health issues of the digestive system. This is a very well-written book, deeply researched and although the author uses a lot of technical terms but her manner of writing is par excellence. So it comes across as conversational and not full of medical jargon.

Most people tend to suffer from bloating, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and acidity but they never seek medical advice for such issues considering it a part of human life. Payal dispels many myths surrounding fad diets such as the highly recommended keto diet which was originally developed for epilepsy patients. There is nothing wrong in following a keto diet provided you practise it under the care of a qualified nutritionist. These diets are not meant to be used by the layman without medical supervision.

A brief review of medical history will show that many of the circulating respiratory viruses also tend to impact the gut adversely. The Gut is treated as a mini-brain and this book explains why. I suffered from IBS for a very long time and my quest finally took me to a well-trained gastroenterologist. By this time, I had imagined myself suffering from stomach cancer and a host of other diseases and had kept a journal of all my symptoms. When I recounted all the symptoms, the doctor blurted out- IBS!

What most people don’t know is that as the body grows old, it produces less quantity of hormones and enzymes. So while in childhood, you can digest milk easily, as you grow older, you might experience lactose intolerance but it could also be a symptom of IBS. If you also suffer from these symptoms listed below, I suggest you read The Gut and set things right asap. This book is a gold mine of information and has been written at the right time since Covid-19 is also known to cause long term digestive issues. Here are some classic symptoms which should not be neglected:

Immediate urge to pass stool after a heavy meal; bloating and stomach gurgling after taking milk; acid reflux, burp after even drinking water, hyperacidity (which increases when lying down). If these symptoms start occurring often, then it is time to consult a nutritionist. But please don’t go for the pay by hourly rate self-advertised nutrition counsellors on Twitter or Facebook. Anybody who tries to sell you a bucket full of whey protein is quack. You need to set your gut right, and for that, you do not need any additional supplements. A traditional Indian diet is sufficient.

Payal covers a lot of ground in this book. The Gut explains how serotonin levels affect your thinking and in turn your digestion. At the very end, A Gut Reboot Diet is also explained. There are some handy recipes and cheat codes as a bonus read.

Having suffered from digestive issues as a child and constantly battling even after reaching adulthood, I can tell that this book is written by somebody who knows what she’s talking about. Moreover, the recipes and diets are written keeping in mind the needs of the Indian public so there are no fancy avocados or exotic foods that only ultra-rich people can afford.

I do love criticising works but The Gut is the most complete, well-organised book that is scientific, yet written for unscientific folks. You can’t criticise a book that’s perfect!

Most people can have a better life if they eat less, read more and remove sugar from their diets. The Gut is the book that will teach you why.

P.S. We are trying to arrange an interview with the author so if you have any questions, ask on our twitter handle and we will try to incorporate some of the queries.

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