|This book ties in with the book Sugar Blues reviewed on this site|
Nutrition for Depression – Psychology Book Reviews
————Potatoes not Prozac, by Kathleen DesMaisons, PhD
Introduction to Potatoes Not Prozac: Solutions for Sugar Sensitivity Review(off-site link)
Diet and nutrition is one aspect of mental health (and general health) that is of importance when considering depression and (most, if not all) other mental health disorders. Any book that gives good, sound guidelines on diet and nutrition is of value for those with depression. It is one of the first-line defenses that anyone with depression should consider.
For those who consume a lot of sugar in one form or another, or who are sugar sensitive, who over-consume or have addiction or compulsive tendencies with alcohol, Potatoes not Prozac offers a good program or plan of action.
The concepts can be implemented with various levels of commitment. There are good principles for general nutrition in this book as well as a program to help you to make big changes in your diet and way of life. The changes the Potatoes not Prozac recommend lend themselves well towards good mental health. Diet and nutrition are just one aspect among many for prevention and recovery with mental health disorders of most types.
Review and Highlights of Potatoes not Prozac
Potatoes not Prozac is an interesting book from an author who has a Ph,D. in addictive nutrition. The majority of the book is devoted to the idea that sugar addiction is similar to other addictions such as that of alcohol, and that the two go more or less hand-in-hand. Many alcoholics have established life patterns of poor nutrition that includes poor eating habits and sugar addiction. The sugar addiction adds to the craving for alcohol.
Much of the book, Potatoes Not Prozac (off-site link) is based on sound and proven nutrition, that is, the nutritional principles that lead to the insulin spike in diabetes, the highs and lows of eating sugary foods along with refined carbohydrates and white flour.
For some, DesMaisons indicates, sugar is a strong addiction, like a drug, that can take a great deal of effort to break free from. She outlines a seven step plan, most of it based on solid nutritional guidelines, to help the reader to create for himself a better nutritional lifestyle, in small steps leading to bigger steps. By keeping a careful journal of what you eat, eating three good meals a day, with an emphasis on a good breakfast, gradually cutting out sugary foods, learning to identify refined carbohydrates and hidden sugar in foods, you can get a handle on your diet, develop a healthier lifestyle and break free from the highs and lows of a sugary lifestyle. This can help with depression, ADHD and other mental health issues such as bipolar disorder (not mentioned in the book), as well as alcoholism and other compulsive disorders. She claims that serotonin buildup in the brain, the principle by which SSRIs such as Prozac work, can be achieved by eating more foods that contain the protein which contributes to the production of seretonin –tryptophan., notably potatoes.
Instead of a candy bar, a drink or Prozac before you go to bed, eat a potato. This will contribute to more tryptophan in the bloodstream, along with a higher seretonin level in the brain. Serotonin contributes to a better sense of well-being. Additionally, DesMaisons also points to beta-endorphins, the feel good opiate-like neurotransmitters in our brain upon which the runner’s high is based.
Endorphins contribute to a sense of well-being. Exercise, for one, produces endorphins in the mind, which helps fend off depression. DesMaisons links serotonin, endorphins and blood sugar level in its simplest metabolic form, glucose, as the vital nutritional elements in fending off depression, alcohol addiction and sugar addiction.
Protein, she says, is not to be avoided, but embraced in modest quantities during each meal. She recommends only three vitamin supplements, C, B-complex and Zinc. She also ties in helpful information on quitting smoking.
Much of what she has written about has more or less become a standard part of nutritional mainstream thought. She presents her scientific evidence for some of her tangential ideas and claims in the appendix, referring to numerous clinical studies, some of them based on experiments with laboratory rats and mice. The chain of studies on which her work is based lends credibility to her tangential ideas, but it is more like somewhat-supported circumstantial evidence than scientific proof.
In any case, any alcoholic should read this book, most with depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD or other mental health disorders will benefit from the principles in Potatoes not Prozac. Like many books, take what is good from it and use it to your advantage. If you follow the program of Potatoes not Prozac strictly, that won’t hurt either, and can help you if your regressive dietary habits are strongly entrenched. The book is also good for anyone who has low blood sugar, diabetes, or a compulsive personality when it comes to any type of consumables.