Book Review: ‘Jelly Belly’ a helping hand for women over 35

Aparna Santhanam
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By Gajal Gupta
Book: Jelly Belly; Author: Dr. Aparna Santhanam; Publisher: HarperCollins; Pages: 192; Price: Rs.250

Do you wake up tired in spite of a full night’s sleep? Does walking up the stairs exhaust you? Does swallowing paracetamol tablets for even a mild headache make you look for a magic pill that can make you energetic and ready to deal with your chores and duties while also finding a little time for yourself? Fear not, help is at hand.

Aparna Santhanam
Aparna Santhanam

Author and wellness expert Dr. Aparna Santhanam has put together almost all the problems that women 35-plus face, identified patterns and offers solutions that are doable. Some of these problems are physical, although their expressions may be psychological or emotional.

In the crazy mix of trying to keep the home-work balance perfect, women often forget to take care of themselves, leading to a number of stress-related illnesses.

This book is intended to make women more aware of their bodies and more mindful of the factors they can bring under their control.

The 30s is the decade of slowing down of body mechanism but revving up the pace of life in general. And often, this creates Imbalances in the body that may develop into more complex issues later on in life. Check-ups will help you flag these issues so that one can know what precautions to take.

Santhanam’s emphasis is on the “prevention is better than cure” adage . Preventive healthcare is the best way to insure against diseases and so diagnostic screenings are a must.

This is the right book if you are looking for answers to health problems like controlling the effects of fluctuating hormones, loss of energy, nagging headaches, hot flushes and depression. How do you address heat and bone health once you hit 30? What are the essential screening tests and when should they be conducted? How do you fight greying hair and sagging skin, or control urinary incontinence?

Four lifestyle choices are essential: learn right – acquire reliable information and knowledge about health issues; eat smart – focus on nutrition; move to improve – exercise regularly; and release stress – care for your emotional well-being.

Jelly Belly cover
Jelly Belly cover

A balanced diet can usually provide all the nutrition necessary to excel at most daily activities.

“Daily needs for women include 4-6 servings of fruits and vegetables, 3-4 servings of proteins, and some complex carbohydrates along with nuts and legumes along with two servings of dairy substitutes”, the author recommends.

As most of us manage to be good with our diets at home but slip up when we eat out. Santhanam, with some tips, lets you eat out and enjoy any type of cuisine while making the right food choices. There are some tips to eat healthy at any restaurant of your choice like choosing brown rice over white rice if you are eating at a Chinese restaurant and choose tandoori over fried in case of an Indian restaurant.

The author also introduces new healthy recipes with nutritious substitution like paratha pizza, mixed vegetable thalipeeth, steamed dahi vada and more.

“The belly is the most evocative symbol of unwanted weight gain and this is the most obvious indications of problematic and unwanted fat depositions in one’s body which can have serious health implications,” Santhanam says.

The author has tried to cover the most common issues related to health and well-being at this magical yet difficult stage of over 30, but this by no means is an exhaustive list. Also, the book cannot be a substitute for a doctor or a healthcare provider’s role in any way. It’s a guide and a useful one at that.

Our lifestyles, combined with modern stress levels, make us particularly vulnerable to heart diseases and those in the overweight or obese categories are at higher risk. Changes in the lifestyle can be a preventive measure.

The author urges readers to be kind to their bodies, treat it as a temple and nourish it with goodness.



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