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Potatoes Not Prozac: A Natural Seven-Step Plan to: Control Your Craving [Format Kindle]

Kathleen DesMaisons

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Chapter 1: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Are you aware of yourself, smart and sensitive to others' feelings? Are you committed to your own personal growth? Do you care about things deeply? Do your friends value you and respect your opinion? Are you successful in your work? Are you usually confident and hopeful about your future?

But do you sometimes feel your confidence slip away, leaving you in self-doubt and despair? Does it seem "crazy" that you can be so clear one day and so desperate the next? Worse, you may drop from the heights to the depths in the same day. It's almost as if another person were inside you.

You hate to admit it, but you can be moody and impulsive. You want to get things done, but your attention drifts. You lose energy and get tired. You crave sugar and turn to sweets and snack foods to get yourself going again. Sometimes you eat compulsively. You put on weight. You seem to have no self-discipline. You often feel depressed and overwhelmed.

You may have consulted your doctor. You may have gotten counseling from your pastor or a psychotherapist. You may have been put on Prozac or one of the other antidepressants. But something is still wrong. Your life is still not the way you want it to be and you can't seem to find an answer that works.

If this description fits you, you may be sugar sensitive. Your body chemistry may respond to sugars and certain carbohydrates (such as bread, crackers, cereal and pasta) differently than other people's. This biochemical difference can have a huge effect on your moods and your behavior. How you feel is linked to what you eat -- and when you eat it.

Listen to Emily's story:

I was overweight, depressed and exhausted all the time. I had a lot to be grateful for in my life, but something was wrong. Why didn't I feel better about myself? Why was my battle with those extra twenty pounds so hopeless? Why didn't I have the energy to do more in life? I was so discouraged.

I drank several cups of coffee a day, snacked on gummy bears, and ate healthy foods like pasta, vegetables and fruits. I avoided fats and high-calorie desserts. Sometimes I grazed throughout the day, sometimes I'd skip meals and eat only once a day. Although I had tried lots of diets, I always regained the weight I lost. I would start an exercise program, stick to it for a few weeks, then go off my diet and stop exercising. I still was overweight and hating it. I felt like a failure in this part of my life and I was ashamed of it.

Often I couldn't sleep and I was plagued by anxious feelings. Sometimes my heart would start racing for no reason. I had sudden outbursts of crying or anger. I tried therapy, figuring I was just "not right." But it wasn't enough.

So I went to my doctor and told her my long list of problems. She looked concerned and ordered a series of exams. I too was concerned. Maybe I was starting menopause early. I even worried I might have a brain tumor. A week later my doctor called. "I have good news and bad news," she told me. "The good news is that you are not in menopause and you don't have a brain tumor. The bad news is that I don't know what is happening. Your lab tests and your physical exam results are all normal."

Frustrated and depressed, Emily came into my private practice in Addictive Nutrition. She told me she was a recovering alcoholic with nine years of successful sobriety and had heard that I was using nutrition to help people with her symptoms. After listening to her story and asking her some questions about her background and her eating habits, I recognized what was wrong. I had seen it time and again in women and men seeking help for compulsive eating, alcoholism, drug addiction or this strange collection of symptoms that had not responded to other treatments.

Emily was neither clinically depressed nor suffering from the effects of a bad childhood. She was not weak-willed or lazy. She was sugar sensitive. Emily had a special kind of body chemistry that made her more vulnerable to the mood-altering effects of sweet foods and refined-flour products than her friends were. She was caught in a vicious cycle of highs and lows controlled by her blood sugar levels and her brain chemicals. Emily responded to sugar as if it were a drug.

Sugar Sensitivity

Sugar sensitivity turns a person into Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It's like having two different people live in your body. From one moment to the next your fine sensitivity and openness turn into moodiness and irritability. Your confidence and creativity dry up, only to be replaced by low self-esteem and hopelessness. Your visions for the future dissipate into the frustration born of not following through.

This emotional Ping-Pong remains inexplicable without an understanding of sugar sensitivity. Like Emily, millions of people who have sugar-sensitive bodies are caught in the pain of not understanding a problem that controls their lives. Sugar-sensitive people seem to know instinctively that something is wrong but cannot make sense of what it is.

Do you feel this way? If so, your intuition may be right on target. If you are sugar sensitive you are not inherently weak-willed or without self-discipline. Your behavior reflects a skewed body chemistry which you have tried to correct unconsciously by self-medicating with sugars and carbohydrates.

Your sugar sensitivity is a problem that you inherited. You did not create this dilemma. It is not your fault. What's more, it is a problem that can be solved. I have an answer that you have been seeking for a long time. Clear and simple, the solution to sugar sensitivity makes perfect sense. As you begin to understand how your blood sugar levels and brain chemicals work and interact, you will start to appreciate the power of your own body. Instead of being driven by your body chemistry, you will begin to chart your own life. You will find a straightforward explanation for the behavior you have struggled with for so long -- and a straightforward solution based on giving your body the kinds of foods it needs to keep your emotions in balance and your life in forward gear.

This book tells the story of sugar sensitivity.

Naming the Problem

The story of sugar sensitivity comes out of my own personal history and my work with thousands of clients in addiction treatment. After a long career in public health I started an addiction treatment center in 1988 because I wanted to make a difference in people's lives. The typical recovery rate for alcoholism is dismally low. People relapse. People relapse again -- and again and again. Although addiction experts have tried many alternatives, the picture remains pretty grim. A 25 percent success rate is considered good. But accepting not being able to help three out of every four people who came into my clinic was out of the question for me. I knew there had to be a better way -- and I set out to find it.

My determination to beat the odds comes out of my personal history. When I was sixteen my father died of alcoholism at the age of fifty-one. He was a brilliant, sensitive man who couldn't find his way out of the bottle. They say he loved to party as a young man; by the time he reached middle age he was drinking a fifth of vodka every day.

My father stayed sober for one year, the year I turned eleven. He was a career officer in the Air Force and his superiors had threatened to discharge him from the service if he didn't stop drinking. So he went into detox and rehabilitation for the first -- and only -- time. I remember that year well. With my father sober, life was so much better for all of us. Everything I had secretly dreamed of was happening and we finally lived like a normal family.

One year later, despite being sober, my father was discharged from the Air Force for alcoholism. Past job evaluations had followed him and the Air Force did not recognize -- or perhaps did not believe -- his commitment to sobriety. In losing his job, my father was cut from his lifeline. His sobriety and our family's newfound stability careened rapidly downhill. Five years later he was dead.

It took me twenty-five years to grieve the loss of my father. At the time I felt only relief -- relief that I no longer had to be ashamed of his drinking. All I wanted then was a normal teenage life. After Dad's death, we all colluded in creating a family myth that he had died suddenly of pancreatitis. In reality, he had been dying of alcoholism for five years, but not one of us ever talked about it. We just carried on, folding our wounds into the tapestry of our lives, each trying to make sense of the tragedy alone.

"Don't Tell. Don't Feel. Don't Share."

My history has shaped me deeply. Because of my father's alcoholic behavior I learned to pay close attention to the interpersonal dynamics around me. I learned to immediately "read" the emotional temperature of almost any situation. I learned to grow up early, become a high achiever, be the hero in my family. Most of all, I learned the inviolable rules of an alcoholic family:

"Don't tell. Don't feel. Don't share."

"What you see isn't really happening."

"Everything is fine, even though you feel something else."

I learned to live in dissonance. I kept confronting the discrepancy between what the folks around me said was true and what I experienced in my body and in my heart. I challenged my mother about the lies of our family life. I challenged my religion teachers about the difference between what the church said and how people acted. I constantly asked questions about the gap between the ideal and the real. I studied everything I could to try to find a solution for the dilemma of this discrepancy. I wanted to live what I believed and I wanted the world to do the same.

At nineteen, still dreaming of the perfect family, I married and had three babies in rapid succession. But the gap between my ideal life and my real life still loomed large. Although smart and successful both in school and as a new parent, I was overweight and subject ...

Revue de presse

'This book could be the answer to your prayers'
Healthy Eating
'I very much look forward to recommending this book to all those who I know without a doubt are suffering form sugar addiction and all its myriad consequences' Christiane Northrup, MD
'An important message of hope for successfully battling addiciton to food, alcohol and drugs' Mary Dan Eades, MD and Michael R Eades, MD (authors of PROTEIN POWER)
'Provides clear guidance and real answers in helping people attain proper brain chemistry without the use of drugs. This book can definitely change a person's life' Michael Murray, author of ENCYCLOPEDIA OF NATURAL MEDICINE.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2003 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 275 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 141655615X
  • Editeur : Simon & Schuster; Édition : Revised (8 novembre 2011)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B0061OQLKW
  • Synthèse vocale : Non activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°81.917 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.4 étoiles sur 5  269 commentaires
267 internautes sur 270 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Clear, Simple, Brilliant and Powerful 5 avril 2004
Par David Spero - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
"Potatoes not Prozac" is a cutesy name for a truly wonderful book that will help millions of people heal their bodies and their lives. Her concept of "sugar sensitivity" and her 7-step treatment plan will enable readers to understand and recover from addiction to foods, drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. People who have failed repeatedly at sobriety or weight loss can succeed with this plan, as thousands have already.

Kathleen des Maisons learned about the importance of sugar through her work as a drug and alcohol treatment counselor. She was having the usual low success rate in helping people stay off alcohol. Then she discovered how certain foods lead to addiction to alcohol and drugs, as well as being addictive themselves.
She found that nearly all alcoholics lived largely on pasta, white breads and sweet things. She knew what they were suffering. Her own father drank himself to death at age 51, and she herself weighed 240 pounds and had had problems with drinking. When she discovered the benefits of a diet high in protein and vegetables for herself, she started using it with her clients. Her success rates soared, even with the hardest cases.
She realized that addictive behavior has a lot to do with food, and that sugar was the primary culprit. She believes that some people are born "sugar-sensitive," which means they don't have enough serotonin or beta-endorphin in their brains. Serotonin and beta-endorphin make us feel secure, stable, confident, cheerful. If you have low levels of these chemicals, you are likely to feel badly.
Sugar and alcohol raise your serotonin and beta-endorphin levels. So they make you feel better and more energetic, especially if your levels were low to start with. Unfortunately, eating concentrated sugars or refined carbohydrates causes a rebound effect. Your sugars levels drop quickly, you feel worse than before, and you need more sugar, caffeine or alcohol to pick back up.
Pretty soon you're addicted. You feel alternately great and miserable. The sugar swings stress your adrenal glands. You blame yourself for being out of control and unfocused, for putting on weight or drinking, but actually it's the sugar. It's a physical problem, although emotions do play a part.
Getting off sugar is difficult. Our food supply is awash in sugars and simple carbs. They can't be avoided. Des Maisons gives us a practical strategy based on 12-step recovery programs. Her seven steps are
1. Keep a food journal every day
2. Eat three meals a day at regular intervals
3. Take Vitamin C, B complex, and zinc
4. Eat enough protein at each meal
5. Move from simple to complex carbohydrates, or from "white foods" to "brown" and "green" foods. "Brown" refers to things like whole grains and beans. "Green" means vegetables, of whatever color.
6. Reduce or eliminate sugars (including alcohol)
7. Create a plan for maintenance.
She doesn't spell out a diet or recommend a lot of supplements or medications. She says that, using her steps, each person can figure out for herself what is best for her body to eat. She wants you to go through the 7 steps slowly, not to get impatient and rush ahead. The idea is to build a better relationship with your body and with food, to learn how food relates to your physical and emotional feelings.

Des Maisons writes with a compassion that comes from living with sugar addiction herself. Chapter 3 is called, "It's Not Your Fault." (I also use that title in my book, "The Art of Getting Well: Maximizing Health When You Have a Chronic Illness.") Her plan is based on "abundance, not deprivation." This means you focus more on adding good things (foods, exercise, prayer, pleasure etc), rather than giving things up. She keeps telling us to be gentle with ourselves, to focus on "progress, not perfection." She also has a great sense of humor and an apparent affection for potatoes.
"Potatoes not Prozac" also gives a very clear explanation of the biochemistry of addiction. She explains how serotonin and beta-endorphin are produced, get to the brain, and are regulated there, and how our food affects all those processes. She cites more than 50 studies in support of her ideas, although most of them are animal studies.
I disagree with Des Maisons on a couple of points. I don't think sugar-sensitivity is all in your genes. Your early environment, including the environment in your mother's uterus, makes a big difference. Also, I'm pretty sure that too much stress or too sugary a diet at any time in your life can create sugar-sensitivity or something very much like it.
I would have liked to see more on why, where, and how to get help. She mentions the need for support several times, but doesn't give much specific advice on finding it or asking for it. Reading The Art of Getting Well or Cheri Register's "The Chronic Illness Experience" will give you those skills. I also would have liked to see more on exercise. Des Maisons pretty much just says, "go do it!" Hopefully, that will be good enough for you, because physical activity is just as important as diet change, in my experience.
But these are small complaints. The author's brilliant insights into sugar and addiction, her clear explanations of difficult concepts, her simple but effective treatment plan, and her generous and positive spirit make this book a treasure that can help with a wide variety of health and life issues. It's wonderful.
David Spero RN wwwdotdavidsperoRNdotcom
175 internautes sur 179 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A true way to heal from addictions, depression and much more 10 janvier 2008
Par HB - Publié sur
When I first found Dr. DesMaisons work I was actually looking for a diet book. I was deep in eating disorders and the last thing I needed was to lose more weight. So when I picked up this book seeing "weight loss" on the cover I had no idea how my life would change. I have discovered that my problems with eating had nothing to do with will power, but with a biochemistry that set me up to have no impulse control, erradict blood sugar levels, low self-esteem, depression, even my eating disorder was strongly tied in (I've vacillated between bulimia and anorexia since I was 14, and I'm 31 now).

This book gives the science and the stories behind those who share this biochemistry. It lays out a food based, that's right a *food based* and natural program to heal your biochemistry. The revision is amazing because it incorporates years of practice with thosands of people all over the world into the steps, making them even better. Not to mention you'll see quotes and stories from those who have experienced recovery all throughout the book. I don't know about you, but I find such power in knowing that others have shared the same path!

It has now been seven years since I first read Dr. DesMaisons work, I have a stable relationship, a fantastic job that I never would've thought I was "worthy" of in the past, a joy for life that I thought was only possible when under the influence--and relief from my eating disorders. It is so ironic that what I thought was the problem (food), is actually the solution. Who knew? Well, obviously, Dr. DesMaisons did, and for that I am eternally grateful.
88 internautes sur 90 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Don't believe the detractors; this is a great book! 1 juillet 1999
Par B. J. Andrews - Publié sur
I have been working the Potatoes Not Prozac eating plan for about 3 months now, and have found it enormously helpful. As I read these many reviews, I felt compelled to argue with the critics. This IS different from other plans. My sugar sensitivity is strong, and my cravings have embarrassed me many times (I am 52). I have hidden candy, and I have become angry when someone else ate the ice cream I was saving for myself. I have been a closet sugar junkie. In my humble opinion, the great strength of Des Maisons' method is the order in which she arranges the steps in the program. Eating protein at every meal, spacing the meals realistically, taking a daily vitimin, and eating a potato before going to bed each night BEFORE giving anything up allowed my body chemistry to stabilize and my cravings to quiet down before I tried to adjust my carbohydrates and sugar.
I had often awakened in the middle of the night and not been able to get back to sleep, seemingly because my blood sugar level had dropped and I needed to get up and have a snack (usually an apple). Fear of not sleeping through the night often motivated me to overeat at dinner time, which usually didn't help me sleep through anyway. The potato before bed time not only raises my serotonin level, but it also puts that fear to rest and produces an uninterrupted night of sleep. What a blessing!
One critic said that everyone learns in high school that complex carbohydrates are better for us than the refined ones, but I disagree. Most high school kids have other things on their minds, and I know my high school didn't give me this information. We've learned to prefer whole wheat bread, but how many people give up pasta for a whole grain variety? How many people choose brown rice over white? And how many people go all the way to 100% whole wheat bread? For some of us, these distinctions are critical to our mental, emotional, and physical health. I guess this book just may not appeal to those who are not sugar sensitive, and that's O.K. The rest of us will find valuable help in its pages.
If you have any inkling that you might be even a little sugar sensitive, please do yourself a favor and read this book. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You could feel free of cravings and mood swings!
81 internautes sur 83 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Peace of Mind 4 avril 2000
Par Mrs. R.L. Passarelli - Publié sur
For those of us who have unsuccessfully tried to lose weight for years and get rid of depression, this book (if you are sugar sensitive) provides relief and peace of mind in knowing that the inability to lose weight (and have weird behavorial patterns) is not your fault! I highly recommend reading the book cover to cover to understand fully the scientific research done to date on sugar sensitive bodies. It should be a crime for the food companies to continue to add sugar the way they do. I would say the great majority of the population has some "sugar sensitivity"...the amount of sugar used in every day products is obscene. And the world wonders why Americans are so fat! If you have ever excercised 2-4 days a week, did Jenny Craig/Weight Watchers and only watched yourself continue to gain another 20 pounds, this book might be the answers to your prayers. But don't expect a miracle. It takes an understanding of your body to make the changes in your diet. The hard work is more than worth the effort. Finally, I have the motivation (through knowledge)to beat the 80 pounds that have crawled onto me since my marriage. I am regaining my life and my body. That is priceless.
67 internautes sur 68 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Life changing book 7 janvier 2008
Par ALS - Publié sur
The original edition of this book literally gave me my life back. I had suffered from depression, crazy thought patterns and addictive behaviors ever since adolescence. Life was incredibly painful and felt like a burden that I wished would end. I also had constant blood sugar crashes and had to eat every couple of hours. Nothing had helped, including other self help books, workshops, therapy and Prozac. When I read about sugar sensitivity in a holistic health newsletter, I thought it might be what was wrong with me. I went to a bookstore, started looking through Potatoes not Prozac, recognized myself in the biochemistry chapter, brought the book home, and started the program.

Soon, my depression was gone, I was happy to be alive, the crazy voice in my head that was always berating me went away, and my addictive behaviors just stopped on their own. And I was able to go 6 hours between meals, something I never would have thought was possible. Nine years later, I'm still going strong. The program has become a way of life for me. I don't miss the foods I gave up at all, and I have healed and grown in ways I never would have thought possible.

Since writing the original book, Dr. DesMaisons has changed the steps a bit and done more research, and this book is full of updated information. I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone who is struggling with addiction, eating disorders, depression, mood swings or being overweight. The program outlined by Dr DesMaisons gets to the root of all these problems, biochemistry, and balances biochemistry. It is simple, doable, and will change your life in ways you never thought possible.
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