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Dr Rangan Chatterjee

Author of How to Make Disease Disappear

11 Works 292 Members 8 Reviews

About the Author

Dr. Rangan Chatterjee is changing the way we look at illness. He is known for finding the root cause of people's problems by taking a 360-degree approach to health, which was highlighted in his groundbreaking BBC One TV show, Doctor in the House. He regularly lectures on this subject at events and show more conferences around the world. show less

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I wanted to read this to help with a mental reset around my health and fitness.

I’ve listened to Chatterjee’s podcast a lot and always find his conversation and attitude toward health to be realistic. He is a gp and uses his medical background and real world experiences to inform his health advice. This book is no different.

As the title suggests it breaks down your health into four pillars: Relax, Eat, Move & Sleep. And then in each section outlines strategies that can help.

For me it was more reminding me about things l already knew but what I like about Chatterjee is how he is realistic about what he advises. Even with intermittent fasting, he suggests a 12 hour window is much more realistic. He suggests working movement and exercise into your whole day rather than just 3 times a week in the gym and then forget about it. (Although he’s not saying you shouldn’t go to the gym unfortunately!
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rosienotrose | 4 other reviews | Jul 11, 2023 |
At first, I didn’t think this book was as good as the author’s previous ones, which I loved. Perhaps I didn’t find the beginning of the book very good. But I soon began to appreciate it.

To begin with. I will list what I thought were the book's negative features. I may have said this before in a previous review, but if so here it is again. Dr Chatterjee is a handsome man and it’s fine to see one or two photos of him. But it was overwhelming for me that the book included quite so many photos of him. Enough is enough.

It is a beautiful book with glossy coloured pages. But I don’t always have the best light at my disposal when reading and I often found trying to read the text somewhat difficult. especially when the print was white.

There is no point in a book being beautiful if one can’t read the text; the book’s content is what is important, not its appearance.

The aim of the book is to help us improve our life so we feel less stressed and happier.

Dr C distinguishes between Core Happiness and Junk Happiness.

Core Happiness consists of contentment, control and alignment. “Feeling aligned means that the person you want to be, and the person you are actually being out there in the world, are one and the same.”

A Junk Happiness habit is something we use to “numb the inevitable pain of living”. He said it, not me.

One of Chatterjee’s Junk Happiness habits when young was gambling. Another such habit could be a glass of wine, chocolate, Instagram or online shopping. (That’s what he says. For me, online shopping is not a Junk Happiness habit but necessary since there are quite a few things I can’t get hold of in the physical shops.)

Happiness is about making internal, not external, changes.

We’re told that if we follow the advice in the book we’ll become happier and healthier.

These days we have to make many choices; too much choice affects our health. Dr C maintains that this is one of the main reasons most of us feel burned out, overwhelmed, and stressed out.

He suggests methods of eliminating choice; we should save our energy for decisions that matter.

He introduces the concept of a Want Brain and the idea that purchasing what we want will make us happy.

We should not equate success with happiness. Dr C personally knows many highly successful people who are miserable.

He reveals his own problems/challenges by way of illuminating his points.

He used to hate losing and thus treated himself with a lack of respect when he lost, e.g. at pool.

Self-love and self-compassion improve physical health.

People who are self-compassionate are more likely to look after themselves and adopt healthy lifestyle habits.

The links between self-compassion, health and happiness are overwhelming.

“Self-compassion is the practice of extending kindness toward yourself. It’s about being there for ourselves and empowering ourselves to alleviate our own suffering.”

He gives us some mirror exercises reminiscent of Louise Hay’s though he doesn’t actually tell us to say “I love you” to ourselves in the mirror. He perhaps thinks that many of his readers would regard that as too much.)

We’re told about Dr Edith Eger, who survived Auschwitz. She was rescued in 1945 by an American soldier who saw her hand twitch in a pile of corpses. Dr C spoke to her in his podcast. (I’ll have to hear that episode, podcast No. 144.) In Auschwitz she reframed the situation so that the guards became the prisoners. She told him “The greatest prison you’ll ever live in is the prison you create with your mind.”

He tells us to seek out friction – the more you risk friction by telling your truth, the more aligned you become.”

He advises us to talk to strangers. Positive interaction with strangers helps us to feel connected and appreciated. Begin with a smile and a moment of eye contact and take it from there.

There’s a section about how to take a daily vacation, which can include meditation.

We need periods of stillness. He quotes Thich Nhat Hanh: “Don’t just do something, sit there.”

Feeling gratitude every day is the cure for negativity, It is virtually a non-negotiable for happiness. It brings us into alignment.

Throughout the book we’re provided with case studies, which are both enjoyable to read and help us understand what Dr C is telling us.

So, all in all, this is another very readable book to add to your collection of Dr C’s books.
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IonaS | Jul 8, 2023 |
An inspiring collection of relatively simple health interventions that are said to make a huge difference in many people's lives. I like that they all pretty much seem attainable, even the exercise ones, which otherwise are probably the ones I'd find the most daunting. But Dr. Chatterjee sets out some simple goals and suggestions that make you want to give it a try. He also doesn't promote any one certain diet, but rather the principles of eating whole, non-processed foods as much as possible, and de-normalizing sugar. This is basic stuff, but sometimes we need to hear it from a source that seems legit and can explain why.

My biggest takeaway on the science front was that when we get stressed, our bodies make extra cortisol, and to do that they have to steal ingredients that would otherwise be used to make other super important things like hormones. (Something I also learned about in Lara Briden's book on women's health.) No wonder reducing stress is so important. I always thought that was just sort of a feel-good, soft, catch-all suggestion, so it was interesting to read the details.

The other thing I really had very little idea about was how insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes happens. I'm grateful for the semi-decent habits that mean this is probably not going to be a huge worry for me and my family, but it made me thoughtful and a bit sad about how widespread it is, even though it's preventable. Modern habits are the worst, especially when they're rooted in lack of knowledge.

I'm reviewing this book under its UK title instead of its American one... in America, it's called "How to Make Disease Disappear," and I just instinctively cringe at something so clickbait-y.
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Alishadt | 4 other reviews | Feb 25, 2023 |
I much appreciated Dr Chatterjee’s previous two books but I now realize that this one is actually the best, though I didn’t think so at first.

I didn’t like it so much at first because there isn’t much text and it thus isn’t like the other books. But the great thing about it is that it helps us all to really get started on doing things to improve our life (or find new ways to do so).

The basic idea is that though most of us cannot spend much time every day on various pursuits (exercises), we can all spend five minutes, three times a day, five days a week on such things.

We will feel better within days and our initiative will lead to “meaningful and long-lasting” change.

His plan is easy to follow and requires only “the smallest amount of willpower”.

He calls the various things we can do “health snacks”, some of which are for our mind and reduce stress and anxiety, some for our body to get us to move more, and some for our heart to “strengthen our essential connections”.

We should do one of each kind a day. I understand this completely as an optimal solution, but my suggestion is that we could begin by doing the ones we feel for, no matter which category they fall into.

Dr C tells us that the important thing is to get into the habit of doing our three health snacks a day. These will have biological effects on our body just like medicine (but will be much more positive – my comment). They will change our system and rewire us.

When you do some of his Body health snacks, you can “change the expression of your genes, wind back the ageing process and increase levels of the brain hormone, BDNF, which helps you make new nerve connections and may improve your mood”.

He has six tips for making changes that stick:

1) Start easy.
2) Connect each snack to an existing habit.
3) Respect your rhythm.
4) Design your environment (e.g. Leave a dumbbell by the kettle that you can work out with whenever you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, go through your cupboards and remove all the sugary snacks, and consider removing the TV from your bedroom.)
5) Use positive self-talk
6) Celebrate your success.

An example of a mind health snack is “the brain tap” – “Transfer those whirring thoughts out of your head and on to a fresh piece of paper”.

Another is “Spend five minutes each day enjoying nature, whether through sight, sound or smell”.

Being in nature lowers stress levels, lessens depression, improves mental focus, boosts the immune system, increases endurance, reduces tiredness, reduces chance of disease.

As regards Dr C’s breathing exercises, which are placed in the Mind section for some reason, these are “Simple Breathing” and “Breath counting”. They are all well and good but I’m somewhat disappointed that he doesn’t include some of the good breathing exercises he presented in one of his previous books, which I much preferred, since I don’t own those books.

The part of the book I am most enamoured of is the Body section which deals with physical exercises.

Unfortunately, most of these I am unable to do without the aid of one of my physiotherapists, who have both gone on holiday for the next three weeks. I can’t do them by myself because I can’t do an exercise and look at the book at the same time, and am unable to remember exercises in my head without having done them hundreds of times.

Some of the exercises I just can’t do with or without help, e.g. one called “wall cogs”, whatever that means. This exercise requires that one’s bottom, upper back and back of one’s head always have contact with the wall; but it is impossible for my bottom and the back of my head to have contact with the wall at the same time, presumably because my back is not straight.

I can sort of do Jogging on the Spot and Jumping Jacks, and can do Sumo Squats, and do these each day while my physios have abandoned me.

I can’t do each of these exercises for five minutes but I can do a minute or two of each one, the one after the other.

There are loads of exercises, all illustrated by photos, though personally I also need verbal explanations for these.

And, as regards photos, though the good doctor is a personable man, as I mentioned in a review of one of his previous books, I really feel we could do with fewer photos of him, and perhaps instead photos of his wife.

The heart snacks have the intention of improving the quality of our connection with friends, family and partners.

One example is the “Tea Ritual”- “Stop what you are doing and sit attentively with a friend or partner”.

Another is “Perform a five-minute act of kindness”.

A third is “Do something you love for five minutes each day”. (I presume this has to do with one’s connection to oneself.) That’s easy for me. I love reading and writing book reviews. So I do things I love for a couple of hours every day, more or less.

It’s important that we choose the health snacks we really want to do.

We are told that the “Ripple Effect” occurs, by which Dr Chatterjee means that tiny changes in routine can trigger new, positive changes in other areas of our life.

Since I’ve learnt much about optimal nutrition from the Medical Medium, Anthony William, I would like to comment on Dr C’s brain-nourishing smoothie.

He extols the values of blueberries but fails to mention the vastly superior qualities of wild blueberries, which thus would be an even better ingredient for his smoothie.

And in his “Happy Brain Smoothie”, Dr C recommends using cow’s, goat’s or unsweetened plant milk, whereas I would suggest that cow’s milk is not to be recommended.

Otherwise, his suggestions for Smoothie ingredients, such as raspberries, cinnamon, turmeric and ginger, are of course mostly excellent. (It was in fact the neuroscientist Miguel Toribio Mateas who created the smoothie.)

The book also comprises case stories so we can hear how doing the various exercises has helped Dr C’s patients.

I feel that the print could have been larger so as to take into consideration us older readers or others whose sight may not be perfect.

But, all in all, I feel this latest book of his provides an excellent help for us time-constricted and stressed denizens of the modern world. If this book can’t help us to improve our lives and ourselves, what can?
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IonaS | Aug 1, 2020 |

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Works
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Members
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Rating
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ISBNs
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