Potatoes Not Prozac – Kathleen DesMaisons (Health/Self-Help)
This book was recommended to me by a friend who knows all about my ridiculous mood swings and occasional lapses into mild depression. I’d been wondering for some time if they were being triggered (or perhaps just worsened) by the food I was eating, so I wondered if changing my eating habits would make a difference. The first few pages of this book described my symptoms perfectly… and I realized that, without a doubt, I am what is called a “sugar-sensitive” individual. Mmm… oh dear, even thinking about sugary foods is making my mouth water right now… okay, okay, book review. Stay focused.
So, the premise of this book is not to be a “diet book”, but to change your eating habits so that your blood sugar is stabilized, your seratonin doesn’t spike and drop (which can cause a lot of problems in mood, energy, etc), and your sugar cravings are controlled. Apparently she’s done quite a bit of research into sugar sensitivity and actually uses the program she’s described in this book to help alcoholics become 100% reformed (is that the right word?). Apparently 90% (or some crazy stat like that) of the people she’s treated never have a relapse, as compared to only 20% in a typical AAA program. But anyway, that wasn’t why I was reading this, just thought I’d mention it because it was interesting. Also, apparently this system is excellent for weight loss, because it reduces cravings and offers healthier alternatives for those times when you really just need to eat something. Again, not why I was reading the book, but my friend read it looking for some weight/health suggestions – and she was very pleased with what she read – and I believe has implemented some things mentioned in the book.
The title itself, “Potatoes Not Prozac” really just refers to a concept DesMaisons introduces in her final step of the book (I believe there are 7 steps), which involves eating a potato before you go to bed. The idea is that potatoes are nature’s perfect food, and eating one before sleeping will release regular amounts of seratonin while you sleep, helping you feel better and wake up refreshed. This part of the book was really the only thing I took issue with, because I heard from another doctor (on a radio program) that there is no scientific proof that this kind of thing has any effect whatsoever. I also mentioned the concept to a medical student, who laughed… so, while I can’t recommend eating a potato before bed (who knows, maybe it does work for some people?), I would recommend reading this book if you think you might be sugar sensitive and are looking for change/improve your diet.
That said, it doesn’t mean that I’ll be giving up ice cream or cake anytime soon. It just means that I’m going to be more aware of the effect that sugar has on me (ie. just thinking about walking through a bakery makes me salivate) and can make wiser choices according to my food “needs” and “wants”.
Rating: 3 coffees out of 5