Brain Maker – Polarising, with a thread of common sense
There are plenty of ‘revolutionary’ ideas around food and lifestyle at the moment. Pete Evans, with his controversial Paleo books, and the unfortunate business of blogger Belle Gibson, who lied about having cancer to all her followers and seemed to be beating the disease, simply by switching to a wholefood, healthy lifestyle. You only need to visit a food court in the CBD at lunchtime, or the cafes of Bondi, to see everyone enjoying an overpriced, yet delicious, cold pressed juice. So what are we doing wrong, and what should we be doing?
According to the author of Brain Maker, Dr David Perlmutter (best selling author of Grain Brain), we can prevent MS, Alzheimers, Depression and Anxiety by not having a c-section and eating a diet full of pre and pro biotics. If, like me, reading that statement throws you in spin and horrifies you, then this book is not going to be for you. His rational is based on many hours of research, hundreds of mice having needless tests (surely you can do diet and food tests on humans without the undue stress placed on a small animal?) and the odd reference to Harvard. There are also lots of anecdotal examples of how Dr Perlmutter had sad, overweight, patients, even one who had MS, come into his office, only to be cured of all ills a few weeks later. He even has videos of successful before and after shots on his website.
I could do with losing a couple of pounds, and can feel heavy, sluggish and even a little down on the odd day. Anxiety also grips me on occasion, but I have no major body issues. The food suggestions make sense; Less carbs, more good fats, less processed foods, filtered water and reduce fructose intake, all good stuff right? After reading through this book I have decided I will consciously cut down on the carbs, ramp up the pro-biotics and add some kimchi into my diet. Will I pin any hopes of a radical transformation on it? No. It would be good enough to lose an inch or two and feel a bit lighter.
What if my partner had MS? What if my Mother’s brain was failing with dementia? Would I cut out all modern treatment to follow the diet? No WAY! But, some will. They may believe the pages of Brain Maker and make the right decision; They may pin everything on the claims and still find heartbreak. This book, if claims are true, will build momentum, wipe out suffering, major diseases and the need for billion dollar pharmaceutical industries (which I do agree, want us to keep popping those pills and buying those scripts).
This book raised questions for me about my own diet, and raised more about the state of our health systems, and the power a book can be to peddle any kind of diet. The diet makes sense to me in places, as a healthy way to live, but I do not for one second think that dementia could be avoided completely by following this diet, or a child will get MS because she was born via C-section, took antibiotics and was formula fed. The claims of solving the worlds most debilitating diseases fell flat with me.
Take what you need from this book, enjoy the tasty recipes and read with an open mind. Learn all you can from each side of the fence before plunging in and following something which may or may not serve you.
2.5 stars from me (too many mice tests and grand claims of miracles in Dr’s offices).