Book Review, The Four Pillar Plan, Dr Rangan Chatterjee

Mary Tweed
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Dr Rangan Chatterjee’s book, The Four Pillar Plan is a well laid out book explaining his belief in progressive medicine and setting out how we can all become “the architects of our own health” by adopting a healthier lifestyle and taking more responsibility for the decisions we make that affect our long term health and happiness. He firmly believes that good health is founded on the intertwining pillars of good nutrition, getting enough sleep, and building in time for relaxation and exercise. His is a holistic approach to treatment; he does not just treat the symptoms, but delves into root causes and then takes a multi pronged approach that encompasses all the foundation blocks of health in order to restore well being and maintain good health, avoiding popping a pill wherever possible.

The book is divided into the four pillars, namely Relaxation, Eat, Move and Sleep. Each section takes a detailed look at the effects that a lack of sleep/relaxation/exercise/healthy food has on the human body and brain. He then suggests a multitude of small, feasible steps that anyone can take in order to bring about change. As he states, it is possible to “consciously change your lifestyle to unconsciously change your biology” and reverse many conditions, such as Type 2 diabetes, depression, IBS, migraines, fatigue, back pain and anxiety to name but a few. He illustrates various points using case studies of patients he has treated, which breaks up the medical facts and make this a very readable book.

At times, the science can seem over-simplified, but I believe this is the beauty of the book; he has clearly read the research papers and spoken to the experts, then pared back all the jargon in order to deliver the information in an easily comprehensible and accessible form. He has distilled complex research findings and communicates them to his audience. The book also features several simplified infographs, which aid understanding, as well as many photos of himself striking various different poses!

The section on Movement was of particular interest. He cites the statistic that in Europe and the US, 50% of women and 40% of men are not active enough and this inactivity is leading to severe, yet preventable diseases. He is a proponent of the benefit of outdoor activity and incorporating small amounts of movement into daily life, rather than encouraging his readers to all start running marathons. This section includes short 5 minute workouts that can be performed in your own kitchen or at your work desk, as well as more specialised exercises that fire up the all important glutes - ideas I shall be using in forthcoming classes.

As well as recommending this book, I can also highly recommend his podcast, which is called Feel Better, Live More. In each episode he interviews an expert in a field relating to one of the above pillars. He approaches each interview with an open and enquiring mind and is able to extract useful information and ideas from all.

Happy Reading!

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