A Thumbs up Book Review
The Diet Cure
By Julia Ross, MA
Review by Sally Fallon
There are thousands of diet books out there but this one is different. Julia Ross does not tell her readers to limit calories, cut fats or exercise more. Instead she begins by addressing the root causes of food cravings, addictions, eating disorders and weight problems.
Her eight-step program begins with correcting brain chemistry imbalances, which can cause anxiety, depression and emotional eating. She uses specific amino acids in small amounts, depending on the physiological profile of the patient—L-glutamine to stop cravings for sweets and alcohol, for example, or L-tyrosine to enhance concentration.
Amino acids are the key to The Diet Cure. It’s more than just textbook knowledge, but actual clinical experience that leads to Ross’s claim: “They are stronger than will power and more effective and safer for most people than drugs like Prozac and Fen-Phen. . . . These isolated protein fragments are the miracle foods that your brain uses to make its most powerful pleasure chemicals: serotonin—your natural Prozac; dopamine/norepinephrine—your natural cocaine; endorphin—naturally stronger than heroin; and GABA—naturally more relaxing than Valium. A brain that is fully stocked with these natural mood enhancers simply has no need for a sugar high.”
Step Two of the Diet Cure is to replace low-calorie dieting with a sensible diet plan that includes adequate fats and proteins. Some of Ross’s strongest words are aimed at the whole concept of dieting. Ross recognizes that severely limiting calories is not a cure for the complex factors that lead to eating disorders and weight gain. Dieting saps energy, disturbs moods, creates thyroid problems and, ironically, often leads to more weight gain in the long run. She repeatedly emphasizes that modern standards for thinness are unrealistic and downright dangerous, noting that among elderly women, the thinnest have a death rate 50 percent higher than average-weight women. According to Ross, no study has convincingly shown that overweight is an independent cause of health problems.
Unstable blood sugar and low thyroid function are treated in Steps Three and Four. Step Five deals with addictions to foods that one is allergic to, such as sugar, grains and commercial milk products. Steps Six through Eight deal with hormonal problems, yeast overgrowth and fatty acid deficiencies.
Ross warns her readers about the dangers of aspartame, caffeinated beverages, soft drinks, fried foods, hydrogenated oils, iceberg lettuce, MSG, pesticides, microwaved foods, processed meats and, of course, refined sweeteners. In the paperback version, published by Penguin Books, she adds commercial vegetable oils and soy products to the list.
Finally—and most wonderful—Ross is one of the few diet therapists to recognize that saturated fats are not villains but vital factors in the diet and a powerful aid to both protein assimilation and weight loss.
If we have any criticism, it would be a request in future editions for more emphasis on some of the traditional diet principles we hold dear—foods high in fat-soluble vitamins such as cod liver oil; lacto-fermented foods to deal with yeast overgrowth; and bone broths rich in calcium and magnesium to give emotional stability.
Anyone who has experienced the disappointments of dieting, or who suffers from any type of addiction, needs to read The Diet Cure.
Julia Ross was the keynote speaker at Wise Traditions 2001, April 21 in Silver Spring, MD. For details, contact the Foundation at (202) 363-4394. Find more on the Web at www.dietcure.com.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2001.