Sep 3, 2014

The Crazy Makers

I am currently reading The Crazy Makers by Carol Simontacchi.  I must say this is quite a mind-blowing read.  It is forcing me to look at food in a completely different way than ever before.

Ms. Simontacchi prefaces her book with the following:

To mothers and fathers everywhere who are struggling to understand why their children...
can't learn
can't cooperate
can't relax and enjoy life,
Or why their teenagers are...

To the men and women who are...
unhappy and uncertain
struggling just to maintain their sanity
beset with mental struggles that have appeared
seemingly from nowhere...

To the mental health practitioners and educators....
frightened at the increase in mental disorders...
searching in the wrong places for the answers.

I pray this book will bring some understanding.

Here is's review:

"We already worry that our food makes us fat, dull, disease-prone and sleepy.  Now we have to worry that it also makes us crazy.  According to certified clinical nutritionist Carol Simontacchi, the food industries that give us packaged, processed, artificially flavored, chemical-ridden, artificially colored, nutrient-stripped pseudo foods such a sodas, processed soups, sugared cereals, and fiberless bread "wantonly destroy our bodies and our brains, all in the name of profit."  We Americans (adults and children) eat 200 pounds of sugar and artificial sweeteners each year.  Our children's test scores and grades drop.  We become viollent, illogical, moody, depressed, drug-addicted, and crazy.  The reason, according to the author, who is pursuing a doctorate in brain nutrition, is that we're starving our brains with lack of nutrition.

This isn't a process that begins when teenagers start snacking on sodas, chips and ice cream.  Rather, this nutrition deprivation starts in the womb:  mom doesn't get the right nutrition (essential fatty acids, high-quality protein, unrefined carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water) so baby is born already brain-nutrient deficient, says the author.  Infant formulas, processed baby food, and sugared cereals exacerbate the problem through the stages of childhood, with kids not getting the nutrition their growing brains need.  Simontacchi also skewers prepared foods, additives, over-processed grains, school vending machines, and fast-food chains.

This book isn't only about children.  Starbucks and its ilk get a "Crazy Maker Award" for "encouraging us to self-medicate with stimulating beverages that mask the symptoms of nervous system and adrenal exhaustion."  We adults are genuinely fatigued, but instead of getting the sleep and rest we need, we succumb to the "marketing hype of sophisticated companies that convinces us that self-medicating with an additive substance is the answer to our energy crisis."  You may not accept all Simontacchi's views, but once you've read this book, you won't reach for a cafe latte or feed your kids sugar-frosted cereal with the same complacency."

Here is Publisher's Weekly review:

"Why have depression rates soared in the post-WWII era?  Why does one in four adults have a mental health crisis in any given year?  According to Simontacchi, a clinical nutritionist (Your Fat is Not Your Fault), the cause is a diet that consists of processed food deficient in crucial nutrients.  Turning her attention first to the eating patterns of pregnant women, Simontacchi finds a connection between prenatal nutritional deficiencies (in fatty acids and B complex vitamins, among others) and "hidden" defects, which show up not at birth but later, as poor memory and the inability to concentrate.  She also reports on a small study she conducted with teenagers:  one group was given a nutritious breakfast drink and the other group was not.  The youths who received the drink, she discovered, felt better in six areas of emotion, such as anxiety, depression and vigor.  She also finds links between poor eating habits of teenagers and fatigue, depression and self-destructive behavior.  Throughout, Simontacchi documents her arguments with reference to mainstream journal articles and nutritional studies.  But her tone is sometimes overwrought:  "We are systematically starved," she writes, eating not real food but "toxic food artifacts" made by food manufacturers.  Her comments about the superiority of breast milk over formula may plunge into guilty despair anyone who didn't breast-feed her children for at least a year.  But in a more positive vein, she offers pro-active strategies for improved nutrition including pages of sensible suggested recipes for improving not only physical but mental health as well."

Here is Library Journal's review:

"Simontacchi, a certified clinical nutritionist and the author of several books on nutrition, claims that processed food products are affecting healthy brain development during all stages of life, from infancy to adulthood.  Processed foods lack essential nutrients and contain coloring agents, artificial flavors, toxins, and other substances that may be linked to anorexia, bulimia, poor cognition, mental illness, depression, headaches, fatigue, and other ailments.  Simontacchi challenges many contemporary views about the foods we eat and takes the food industry to task for destroying our bodies and our brains by manufacturing "food artifacts."  Her blanket condemnation of processed foods and her failure to discuss the cultural, genetic, and psychological causes of these illnesses may turn off many readers, who will find her solutions questionable.  Nevertheless, she backs up her assertions with references to research showing the impact of poor nutrition on human health and brain development.  She recommends unprocessed organic foods, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and the appropriate combination of fats, vitamins, minerals, proteins, and carbohydrates to maintain healthy brains.  A multi-step approach to better nutrition and menus to help achieve it are also included."

I, myself, am on a journey to eat healthier and make wiser choices.  I know that sugar is a drug for me.  No question about it.  I feel amazing when I remove sugar from my diet.

I hope this post gets you thinking about what you are eating......

Take care and be healthy,

Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
and your wages for what does not satisfy?  Listen
carefully to me and eat what is good, and delight
yourself in abundance.

---Isaiah  55:2

1 comment:

  1. Debbie - so nice to meet you! I'm stopping over from a comment you left.
    I love your signature verse on your sign off : )