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From the February 23rd, 2000 issue of Smart Life News [v7n7]. Copyright (c) 2000. All rights reserved.

Book Review:

How to Gain Control
of Your Diet and Life

review by Steven Wm. Fowkes

The Diet Cure, by Julia Ross, M.A., Viking/Penguin, New York, ISBN 0-670-88593-2, $23.95 hardback.

Don’t get put off by the title; The Diet Cure offers a wealth of guidance for gaining control of one’s life through diet and supplements. Julia Ross is a clinical psychologist with extensive knowledge of nutrition and metabolism. She is currently the Executive Director of Recovery Systems, a Marin Clinic that deals with weight problems, eating disorders and addictions using nutritional education and counseling. I’ve had some interesting conversations with her over the last several years. She knows her subject. The Diet Cure is superbly organized. There are three basic sections dealing with 1) identifying the eight most common “imbalances” that undermine our lives, 2)the means for correcting the imbalances, and 3) the Master Plan (overall dietary strategies, supplement plans, meal ideas, recipes, exercise and relaxation strategies, and professional services). Sections 1 and 2 are organized into eight chapters, each of which deals with one of the eight imbalances. Identify it in Section 1 and do something about it in Section 2. It’s efficiently simple. There is even a brief 8-section questionaire at the beginning of the book that allows the reader to quickly identify which of the eight imbalances to read first. These imbalances can be the basis for weight problems, depression, emotional distress, sleeping difficulties, substance abuse, or other medical or health conditions.

Ross is excellent at relating these imbalances from a patient perspective: what problems occur, what they feel like, what the doctors say or don’t say about them, and anecdotes about real people who have been through the Recovery Systems program. The anecdotes are extensive, so much so that it detracted from my experience of reading the book. However, nine out of ten readers will probably find this a big plus. Ross is not writing to scientists or her colleagues, she is writing to people with problems, everyday people, people who might benefit from the nutritionally oriented clinical program that she and her associates have developed over the last ten years. There are no complicated explanations of mechanisms and no visual diagrams, illustrations, flowcharts or molecules like you might expect to find in Smart Life News. Ross keeps it verbal, with simple, practical information about what to do and how to succeed. If you want deep explanations, read some other book.

The Diet Cure covers 1) brain chemistry imbalances, 2) the problems with processed foods and low-calorie dieting, 3) blood sugar instability and stability, 4) hypothyroidism and sluggish metabolism, 5) food allergies, 6) sex and adrenal hormone imbalances, 7) yeast overgrowth, and 8) fatty acid imbalances. The clinical foundation of the book is impressive. Julia Ross has delivered the kind of basic clinical effectiveness that patients often expect but rarely receive.

This is an excellent book for anybody who feels “out of control” with their diet, weight or condition. Julia Ross’ program is both innovative and effective. It deserves emulation by other health-care providers.