Book Review: Health Tips, Myths, and Tricks by Morton E Tavel, MD.

Health capture


Everyone seems to be hung up on the pros and cons of the foods they consume. Some of us focus on those food items that help us lose weight, the sports lovers among us focus on foods that build their stamina, parents focus on foods that could help bring up healthier children, and some others just eat anything they fancy as and when they feel like it. So, yes, I have to admit that as someone who loves food and also cares a great deal about my health, I wanted to know what a reputed physician had to say about what I eat on a daily basis. Who wouldn’t want to have a doctor talk to them about things that mattered the most?

As a now-retired physician with extensive experience in his field of Internal Medicine and Cardiology, M D Morton E Tavel comes to the aid of millions like me who have been waiting for some practical medical advice; the sort of advice that could help us take better care of our health while steering clear from overspending on so-called miracle medical cures that are completely bogus.

Published in 2015 by Brighton Publishing LLC, Health Tips, Myths, and Tricks: A Physician’s Advice is non-fiction work that promises to have our backs when we stumble over false claims that promise better health, a longer lifespan, lower body weight, evergreen skin, shiny hair, healthy blood pressure levels, fitter bodies, and so much more. Divided into three parts, this book serves as a handy guide that serves us some positive health tips, busts some age-old myths, and pulls us from the dark well dug out for us by the quacks and “wannabe” medical practitioners. To someone like me who has been devoted to all books and content associated with food and health for years now, Dr Tavel seems to be a doctor with sound scientific knowledge and extensive experience; most importantly, he seems to advocate only those medical concepts that are backed by solid medical evidence.

Chapters 1–32 of Health Tips, Myths, and Tricks deal with recommendations for good health. They talk in detail about what we consume in solid and liquid forms and point out what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong with regards to food. With detailed explanations on what obesity is and a simple formula to figure out if we are underweight, overweight, or obese, Dr Tavel explains what people belonging to each of these three weight categories can do to help themselves.

As a science major, I have always wanted to see scientific proof for everything before I believe it. That’s exactly why I believe in what Dr. Tavel talks about in his book as he supports all his recommendations with scientific proof. Furthermore, when an author and a doctor tells you with so much confidence that dark chocolate is good for your blood flow, what else can you ask for from life?

After educating us on the good foods and drinks, Dr. Tavel then moves toward discussing day-to-day issues of modern man that include overuse of painkillers, following the dash diet, the danger of relying heavily on dietary supplements, and so on.

After reading the chapters of the book that dealt with the myths, I can confidently say that I am now more well-informed about what exactly goes on in our body when we indulge in energy drinks, spend on organic foods, and get picky about hard and soft water. In the initial chapters of the “myths” section, we get a glimpse into how the media has been irresponsible in spreading rumors about vaccines and their effects on infants. If you are a parent to a newborn, this book is an invaluable compendium of helpful facts for you.

It’s true: Health Tips, Myths, and Tricks throws some light into a lot of misleading information that we have been fed over the years that have affected our decision-making process with regards to our eating habits and our daily activities. However, the last few chapters of the book that deal with the so-called “tricks” failed to convince me too much. Agreed, Dr. Oz and many others quoted in the book may justifiably be called “quacks.” However, the author seems to blanket all ayurvedic and homeopathic treatments and practitioners under this smelly umbrella as well. As someone who has been living in India for years and has been enjoying the benefits of these branches of alternative medicine, I think the book needed to be more objective before making such strong statements against them. I have been suffering from allergic rhinitis for quite some time now and conventional medicine could not help me with this condition despite prolonged treatments. I found the answer in homeopathy. Thanks to the latter, I am free from nasal allergy now. Ayurveda has helped me combat my sinus mucosal thickening in a surgery-free manner as well — something that conventional medicine told me was impossible. So, though there are many quacks out there, not all practitioners of alternative medicine can be branded in this manner.

All said and done, will the book benefit readers? A big YES! And that’s why — after due consideration — I rate this book a 3 out of 4 stars. I haven’t found any major grammatical errors while reading. If one can ignore this one section that talks negatively about all forms of alternative medicine, the book is a treasure trove of sound medical advice. I respect the fact that Dr. Tavel has authored this book with a good intention to help the general public as much as possible. In his own words:

”As a member of the mainstream medical community, I and others have always sworn to the principles embodied in the so-called Hippocratic Oath that dates back to ancient Greece.”

One of the statements in this Oath is “If it is given me to save a life, all thanks.” I think someone who believes in this cannot possibly go wrong with his medical advice — at least not intentionally so.

I have already recommended this book to a couple of family members who I thought could benefit from it. I personally think that this book is for all of us, as we are all targets of medical shams and witness new health fads every single day. To make the deal a little sweeter, the book is an interesting read and — I can assure you — it will not lull you to sleep due to boredom. If only we had textbooks like these during school!