Good nutrition is a key tool in managing ADHD - this is the book we need!
I so admire Rachel. She has sacrificed a successful and lucrative career in real estate for the dubious delights of neuroscience research - insecure employment, ferocious competition, not to mention misogyny, in order to better understand and help ADHD. Using her formidable determination, intelligence and networking talents she has overcome most of the obstacles thrown in her way to achieve the extraordinary understanding and practical helpfulness clinically that is shown in spades in this book.
It is a particular honour to write few words about Dr Rachel Gow's wonderful book Smart Foods for ADHD and Brain Health: How Nutrition Influences Cognitive Function, Behaviour and Mood. In writing this book Rachel is bringing to bear her knowledge and experience gained from working for a PhD under Professor Eric Taylor, one of the world's leading experts in psychiatry and mental health. In addition, she had as a mentor, Professor John Stein, head of Physiology at Oxford University, an external examiner, she had the best of teachers which the planet could muster. I, myself had the pleasure of being an external examiner hence I witnessed the beginning of excellence. It is my wish for PhD students that they end up knowing more about the subject than I. If that is not the case, the subject stagnates. It has been a constant pleasure for me to see how Rachel has more than fulfilled that wish. In writing this book she has laid out a fund of knowledge on the brain and ADHD and translated it for parents and children affected. Reading this book will enable them to learn and put into practice the best available evidence to help others based on her knowledge and experience. Writing quite frankly of her own experience and struggle with her son's ADHD, inhabits the mind as you read and which reveals the mind of an individual now dedicated to help others. And what an experience - Rachel shares with us intimate and moving story of both her early days when she received the diagnostic labels of 'mild Dyslexia' and probable ADHD and for those of her son. The stigma attached to mental ill health is still with us, damaging the lives of those affected, a calamity which Rachel aims to arrest and reverse. The fact that burden of mental ill-health has been rising, and continues to rise, despite all the advances in medicine and science, is a sad testimony to neglect and difficult to understand or excuse. We have a better understanding of the causes but struggle to help those afflicted. For decades that stigmatism and lack of attention has led to the rise in mental ill-health since 1950. It is now the most costly burden of ill health and at a cost determined by the DoH which is greater than the cost of heart disease and cancer combined. Rachel's book is not only for those with mental health problems or their carers it is a book that everyone should read. The reason for this is that she explains the brain and the likely causes of its problems in easy language. But more than that she provides nutritional advice for maintaining healthy brain which is what we all need, with mental ill health escalating. The brain develops mainly before birth although much takes place in the first two years afterwards. There are no government advisories or recommendations about what to do about safeguarding the development and of the very thing which makes us human, They make recommendations about the need for protein for body growth, But there is nothing about the lipids and essential fatty acids needed for brain growth and maintenance. The brain after all is not a protein rich organ - that is reserved for muscles. The brain is a fat or what we scientists call lipid-rich organ. The fat makes up the membranes which do all the signalling for your awake activities and indeed some when you are asleep. We know that the health and nutrition of the mother before and around the time of conception is of paramount importance to the outcome or pregnancy. The truth of this statement is displayed by the fact that when a mother reports for the first time to register in the maternity unit for pregnancy care, the cells that are going to form the cortex of the brain of the child are already doing so. I am reminded of the parable in the Bible of the seed falling on rich soil or stony ground. But even though there is this over whelming importance of early nutrition of the sort that suits brain development, it is also important to maintain it in good form. The brain likes to keep itself to itself. When active in receiving information or giving it, large swathes of the brain turnover during the activity. They breakdown and are remade in the process of learning, recalling, computing or motor activity. Now no process of recycling is 100% efficient. So there is a continual loss from what was gained from your mother during early development. That needs to be replaced. Hence it is of critical importance to maintain the brain by simply eating brain food regularly. Rachel's book not only provides answers to what to do but even gives delightful recipes. She notes "Changing one's diet isn't easy, and Chapter 10 provides tools for making those changes, including a chart for meal planning." With mental ill health on the rise, there is every good reason to read this book. It is with great pleasure that I recommend this book to all.
Rachel has been an invaluable guide for me as a mum to help me support my four very different boys. Her thinking outside of the box approach is way ahead of anything that is currently on offer for parents and once again highlights the impact of what we feed our children has a direct impact on their behaviour and thinking and subsequently their lives. A must for any parent who is sick of the one size fits all and outdated approach to nutrition we are still taught to accept.
This book teaches parents how to feed their family in very healthy and nutritious ways which may help support their learning and development as well as their mental health.
"This book is simply a must-read for every parent. As a neuroscientist, clinical psychologist and parent, I am fully aware of how difficult it is to combine your expertise with your family life. The impact of nutrition on brain structure and function cannot be ignored, the consequences imply an enormous amount of stress and suffering for the individuals and their families. However, food industry interests' seem to be too strong to fight against them. Rachel shows in her book how little nutritional value is in preprocessed food and drinks, how that is related to brain health and provides us with easy and delicious recipes to enjoy family food in a healthy way. I can tell from experience my children love these recipes. Thanks Rachel!"
"Rachel has been an absolute inspiration to me and help me understand my ADHD through using different skills to embrace it and also to manage life on a day to day basis by eating specific foods and nutrients especially omega 3 oils and less fatty and processed food. I am honoured to be the trust ambassador for Nutritious Minds where I get to help people who suffer like me with mental health and by being part of such a phenomenal organisation/charity i get to not only pass a message and help others i help myself by doing this amazing work. I am so proud of the grt work Dr. Rachel Gow has done by letting people suffering know that its not just about medication its also massively about the food we eat and exercise/nutrition we feed ourselves and I am proud to call her my friend."