Wow! I really loved this book! Everything I have researched and learned over the past 2 years on this “nutritional awakening” journey that I have been on…was in this book, PLUS MORE! It is great to know that through my “study” of nutrition and health, I had come to many of the same conclusions that DR.SEARS recommends (here is a great cliff note version on his website)! I would highly recommend this book to ALL moms, whether you have a colicky newborn, preschooler who is tantrum prone, irritable or bouncing off the walls, or grade-schooler who may be having more “difficult to manage” behavior problems or even some learning delays. Heck, even if your kid is good as gold and never gets in trouble or throws a fit… you should read this book…because as Dr.Sears mentions in the book, you may not be seeing the “outward signs or symptoms” of a poor diet now or you may not have one of the “quirky kids” who’s brains are wired differently, but that does not mean that the damage is not being done on your child’s inside, setting them up for health issues in early adulthood. Dr. Sears quotes the research that states that our generation of children may be the FIRST generation in history to have a shorter health span (life expectancy in good health) than their PARENTS (us!). SCARY!
I love how he begins the book… with a mom coming in his office and saying that her son’s teacher thinks he has ADHD and wants him on medicine. Dr. Sears asks what the child eats ( I was THRILLED when I read this because sadly in all the specialist appts we have been to for my daughter, I am the one to initiate the conversation about nutrition and what she eats, not any of the Dr.’s). The mother lists off: Pop tart, Hi-C, pizza, chicken nuggets, etc. And Dr. Sears exclaims “He does not have ADHD, he has NDD- Nutritional Deficit Disoder.” Shocked the mom asks if there are Meds for that and Dr. Sears says, “No, not the prescription kind. He just needs to eat real food, because real food is REAL medicine.”
He goes on to list the plethora of NDD “symptoms” including:
mood swings, tantrums, restless sleep, poor attention span, impulsive out burst, labeled with a D (ADD, ADHD, BPD or OCD), behavior problems, hyperactivity, frequent infections, dry flakey bumpy skin, GI issues (reflux, abdominal discomfort, constipation, diarrhea), vision problems, allergies, dry brittle hair and nails, pale skin esp on earlobes).
Dr. Sears does an AMAZING job of explaining the biochemistry and nutrition of a child’s body in an easy to understand and even amusing way (complete with cartoons)! I just love his strategies on how to integrate “grow foods” into your child’s routine and his “traffic light eating” techniques (which you can download from his website HERE). He even gives you “word tracks” you can uses when your child refuses to eat something! And reminds us gently that IF WE DON’T BUY the FAKE FOOD, they CAN’T EAT it!
I also love that Dr. Sears does not just say “eat this NOT that” in this book, but provides both the science AND the explanation behind the science as to how his Dirtiest Dozen list affects a growing body. He suggests playing EYE SPY with your child in the grocery store for the BAD WORDS on Labels: HFCS, Hydrogenated Oils, Numbers (ie Red 40), Monosodium Glutamate, Aspartame.
He also includes a SUPERSNACK list that is excellent and do-able even for the busiest of moms! The book ends with sample menus and recipes for even the most pickiest of eaters.
Overall this book gets a double thumbs up A++ from me! If your child is on medication for behavior, please consider reading this book to help ween them off the meds, and if you are getting pressure to put you child on medication , get this book to see if you can avoid it! Though I truly believe nutrition cannot solve all medical problems, I do believe it is the least toxic of the “medicines” we have at our disposal, and since food is being consumed over nearly HALF of each day we live…WHY NOT start there? In the long run you will be instilling a LIFESTYLE of health instead of a LIFESTYLE of prescriptions!