Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Mood Cure, by Julia Ross

I just finished reading 'The Mood Cure' by Julia Ross.  Her subtitle is: 'The 4-step program to rebalance your emotional chemistry and rediscover your natural sense of well-being'.  Once again, I was able to order it through my wonderful libraries' interlibrary loan' system.

I first heard of the book at 'The Nourished Life'.  And shortly after that, I heard about it from 2 other sources.  I love it when that happens!  I was really excited to read it.  My family, and myself, have some minor health issues, but our biggest issues, by far, are related to moods.  So I was excited to read this book.  She recommends WAPF and Nourishing Traditions, and is recommended by them.  She is also on the Board of Directors there and has spoken at some of their Wise Traditions Conferences.  

Julia Ross, M.A. is a psychotherapist and has worked in clinics for over 30 years using nutritional 'therapy'.  She uses the information in the book to help clients who come to her clinic.  Here are some quotes that sum up the book nicely:

"If you're often feeling depressed, anxious, or stressed,  you're not alone.  We're in a bad-mood epidemic, a hundred times more likely to have significant mood problems than people born a hundred years ago.  And these problems are on the rise.  Adult rates of depression and anxiety have tripled since 1990. Even our children are in trouble, with at least one in ten suffering from significant mood disorders.  Our mood problems are increasing so fast that, by 2020, they will outrank AIDS, accidents, and violence as the primary causes of early death and disability."

"In this book, I'm proposing that much of our increasing emotional distress stems from easily correctable malfunctions in our brain and body chemistry-malfunctions that are primarily the result of critical, unmet nutritional needs."

"Your brain is responsible for most of your feelings, both true and false.  In concert with some surprisingly brainlike areas of your heart and gut, it transmits your feelings through four highly specialized and potent kinds of mood molecules.  If it has plenty of all four, it keeps you as happy as you can possibly be, given your particular life circumstances.  But if your brain runs low on these mood transmitters-whether because of a minor genetic miscue, because it's used them up coping with too much stress, or because you aren't eating the specific foods it needs-it stops producing normal emotions on a consistent basis.  Instead, it starts hitting false emotional notes, like a piano out of tune."

Ross found there to be 4 common mood imbalances and she addresses each one, describing the general signs and symptoms of each, and then explaining what occurs in the brain to cause them. And then she follows that with a list of amino acids and drugs/herbs that often relieve them.

There are the four divisions.  She gives a lengthy questionnaire for each:

1.  Lifting the Dark Cloud: Eliminating the Depression and Anxiety Caused by Inadequate Serotonin

2.  Blasting the Blahs: Rebuilding Your Energy, Motivation, and Capacity to Focus

3.  All Stressed Out: How to Recover from Adrenal Overload

4.  Too Sensitive to Life's Pain?  How to Amplify Your Own Comforting Endorphins

After that, she walks you through 'Creating Your Nutritherapy Master Plan'.  She first describes the 'Bad Mood Foods'-including possible allergens, and then the 'Good Mood Foods'.  She follows that up with a two week menu plan and a guide to her 'master supplement plan'.

She next addresses some special concerns that may need to be addressed while following her plan of healing.  Including medications that you might be on and how to get off them slowly.  She addresses antidepressants, sleep issues and addictions of all sorts.  Her thoughts on addictions were really impressive and should be read by anyone with substances abuse issues of any sort (including chocolate/sugar like myself).

The final sections has some 'tool kits' with extra information on subjects such as practitioners, testing, thyroid, adrenal and sex hormone tests and suggestions, as well as a special chapter on food cravings and why and how to deal with them.

I really enjoyed the book. I've believed for some time now, that the mood issues we have in my house are directly related to our nourishment, or lack thereof.  Most of the books I've read on nutrition mention the topic of moods briefly.  But I wanted more scientific and anecdotal evidence that there truly was a connection.  And that is exactly what this book did. 

I do not intend to use her amino acid suggestions, but I can see how they could be really helpful.  I am encouraged to continue on the path that we are on in regards to nourishment and health.  I have definitely seen improvements in our moods and I look forward to continued improvement as we get rid of more 'bad foods' and eat more 'good foods'.

I was also really excited to read her chapter on addictions, specifically tobacco.  My husband smokes, quite heavily sometimes.  He has tried to quit every few months since I've known him, and has been unsuccessful.  After both of us reading that section, I feel better equipped to work on a long-range plan for helping him to stop.  Another one of those 'baby steps'. :)  

The areas that I disagreed with her were:

1.  Her use of supplements.  I have come to believe that the body can not use the vast majority of vitamins and minerals that are available in 'pill form'.  God gave us food to nourish us, and if you take a part of it out, it does not act the same in the body.  Fat being a perfect example.  The majority of nourishment from any given food is useless without enough fat to carry it to the cells.  Most supplements simply add to the burden of our already overloaded livers.  As my husband heard on an episode of Big Bang Theory, it's just expensive pee you know. 

2.  There was no mention of what I have come to believe are two of the best 'good mood foods' we have easy access to-homemade bone broth and cod liver oil.  She also made little mention of fermented foods or drinks like kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut, which are incredibly good for the gut. 

3.  Her suggestion of 4+ servings of vegetables daily.  Now, granted, if you don't get your vitamins and minerals from supplements, you should get them from the whole foods they are in, like vegetables.  But, unfortunately, in America today, I believe the vast majority of our foods are sadly lacking in vitamins.  The produce can only be as good as the soil it's grown in, and most soil in America is completely lacking in nutrients of any kind.  And to add insult to injury, most produce is sprayed heavily and some are even genetically modified.  I can't say I have an 'answer' except to seek out good produce and utilize that well, by adding lots of butter or other saturated fat and/or fermenting them, which makes the nutrients more readily available to your body.

So, that is my review of a fantastic book.  I'm so glad I 'stumbled across it' and was able to get a hold of a copy.  It has encouraged me greatly on my road to better health.

I would encourage anyone who deals with any hormonal issues, to read this book.

Now I might try to get a copy of her other book 'The Diet Cure'.


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  2. >God gave us food to nourish us

    stopped reading right there.

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