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The Kitchen Shrink: Foods and Recipes for a Healthy Mind Paperback – 12 Feb 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Duncan Baird Publishers; New edition edition (12 Feb. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844830020
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844830022
  • Product Dimensions: 27.8 x 22.8 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 709,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

At last, the thinking glutton's cookbook. If we are what we eat then you do not have to be a genius to realise that many of us must be very unhealthy indeed. The author is a professional nutritionist who regularly contributes to many national newspapers, and this, her first book, contains so much good advice and common sense about food, diet and physical and mental well-being that it seems odd that the cookery shelves in our bookshops are not already packed with books entitled The Kitchen Shrink. Philosophers have for centuries debated the mind/body problem, how our physical nature connects with mental life. The answer was there in front of us all along, on a plate. A clever book about an important subject and a cut above your average healthy eating guide. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Natalie Savona trained as a nutritionist at the acclaimed Institute for Optimum Nutrition in London. She runs two nutritional practices based in London and England's West Country which specialize in the link between diet and mental well-being. A member of the expert panel for Healthy magazine, Natalie has also written features for several newspapers, including The Times, Observer, and Evening Standard. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Nicola A. Pengelly on 2 Mar. 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is fantastic! If you are interested in food for health then this is it! The book is well laid out into wonderful sections: Moods, PMS, Over Eating, Energy, Mind etc etc with practical advice and suggestions of what foods to eat. There is a wonderful selection of recipes with wonderful clear and crisp pictures. I have already made the Hot and Sour Soup (had that for tea last night) and have made two of the salads for my packed lunch today and I only got the book yesterday!
Natalie makes it a very personal book full of advice and knowledge, yet you do not feel that you are being over loaded with information.
It's a book that is worth being on your bookshelf and you could pick it up over and over again!
What a good buy!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By jumu on 1 May 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is everything I have been looking for and more. I recently noticed that my mood swings and depression worsen after eating chocolate and other sweets. I read several book about nutrition (can recommend Patrick Holford's Nutrition Bible) and then needed a good cookbook to put my knowledge into practise. I ordered several from Amazon and this is the one that ticked all the boxes:
Easy recipes, inspiring ideas to fight conditions like PMS, Low Sugar levels, Depression and more, explanations and tips.
The advice given is easy to understand and incorporate into my daily food intake.
Most of the ingredients are easy to get and recipes are a really fresh approach for example on using spices; a beanstew with tomatoes and cinnamon! delicous!
I have made many changes, managed to cut right down on sugar and I can say that I do feel better for it. I sleep better, don't get energy slumps and am more patient and calm. Would have never thought that food alone can have this effect.
I now am a firm believer that a lot of behavious problems stem from eating the wrong kinds of foods - I experienced it personally.
I bought the author's other books too, and found the "Wonderfoods for kids" very helpful as well. Every parents should be made to read this.
So, can recommend this book to everyone who wants to optimise their nutrition and beat any of the mentioned conditions. It worked for me.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By greenpapaya* on 19 July 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very comprehensive & informative book about nutrional health relating to mood & energy. Includes a selection of relevant recipes too.

Also highly recommended ~ Natalie's inspiring book 'Wonderfoods'.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
I've put this book to immediate use 2 Feb. 2004
By Elliot Essman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I had to admit that when I first encountered the title of this book, I succumbed to an abiding uneasiness. Who, I thought, knows better than anyone else what constitutes a healthy mind? What if there's some aspect of my brain that varies from the definition? What if I eat what she recommends and end up turning into somebody else? If I am what I eat, shouldn't I change what I eat only with the utmost care?
Further, in matters of nutrition, I am wary. I firmly believe that people do not have opinions on nutrition; they have convictions. Whenever I catch wind of a looming nutritional crusade, I run lest I be targeted as the infidel. There's nothing worse than sitting down to a meal you love and not being able to enjoy it because you're worried about what other people will think.
But Natalie Savona is not the kind of nutritional writer who thinks you should be burnt at the stake for eating burnt steak. She has attracted rather than repelled me with her concentration on the blood sugar/mood connection. In my case, she's preaching to the choir. I remember what all that ice cream used to do to me in my younger days.
The Kitchen Shrink is a beautifully produced, large format book, filled with Savona's food doctrine. Though Savona includes some interesting recipes at the tail end of the book, her writing on the food/mood connection is the gist. She comes to the point quickly. Blood sugar balance isn't the whole story, but it comes first for a reason. We've heard it before (but we can stand to hear it again): the "blood sugar seesaw" puts our bodies through an unnecessary daily workout. It makes our daily stress worse; it is itself stress. Stimulants like alcohol and coffee, sweet, sugary and starchy foods give us temporary highs, then more pervasive, longer lows.
Savona suggests adding certain foods to strengthen the adrenal gland and build up the body's ability to handle stress. "At least three times a week," she writes, "eat pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, hemp, and flax seeds and/or oil-rich fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, or herring." She follows with predictable advice about choosing fresh foods, then specific advice as to which foods, vitamins and minerals enhance levels of serotonin, dopamine, and other mood maintaining neuro-transmitters. She covers familiar ground in talking about good and bad fats, essential fatty acids, and the virtues of olive oil. But then she has an interesting section I found very useful: a complete strategy to use nutrients to give the body's "waste disposal" systems, like the liver, a needed break. Fiber and water are important here, but we should also avoid processed foods, too much alcohol, too many prescription and over the counter drugs, too much food in general. For the truly motivated, she lays out a complete 21-day body cleansing program.
After a short concession to issues of food sensitivity, Savona moves on to what I consider her most original work, individual sections on how to use food to alleviate specific mind/body complaints. She covers, in turn, energy deficit, premenstrual problems, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), insomnia, binge eating, brain fog, and depression. She indexes her back-of-book recipes to menus designed for each particular problem; for pre-menstrual problems, you'll cut down on salt and perhaps start your day with Savona's "Designer Muesli," an amalgam of oats, barley, rye, wheat germ, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, raisins and dried apricots, with soy milk or yogurt. Can't sleep? Have a "Baby Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad" for dinner, or perhaps "Quinoa With Roast Vegetables." For every mood, there's a menu.
Just as Savona was seeming too much the crusader for my particular taste, she presented me with a side bar, designed to get on my good side, that conceded the value of chocolate in maintaining good mood. She even admits that this "food of the gods" (as the Aztecs originally named it) "has been scientifically shown to have built-in feel-good factors, including mental stimulants such as caffeine and theobromine," as well as the important mineral magnesium. Even though chocolate releases coveted endorphins into the brain, Savona counsels moderation because of its high sugar and fat content. (We all know that with chocolate, moderation is more easily preached than practiced.)
There's plenty of material in The Kitchen Shrink to warrant a purchase, even if you've heard much of it before. The book is truly handsome, suitable for gift giving or displaying on your coffee table. My nutrition conscious sister has already appropriated my first copy.
Food writer Elliot Essman's other reviews and food articles are available at [...]
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
What a nice surprise--good advice in a junk food world! 11 Feb. 2003
By The Bee Bee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This was a ... sort of purchase. I bought this figuring I might find a few good dietary nuggets. To my surprise and delight, Natalie Savona has stuffed "The Kitchen Shrink" with loads of truly inspired advice and recipes. This is not the usual "stop eating xyz!" nonsense. Ms. Savona's guidelines--while not necessarily consistent--is nonetheless easy to read and easy to follow. Most importantly, her dietary suggestions just plain make sense--meaning readers are more likely to adopt them and follow them over a long period of time. In the recipe portion of the book, Ms. Savona really struts her stuff. There is an incredible variety of recipes here, and it would take years to try everything.
All in all, this is a pretty impressive volume. Well done, Natalie!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
My Biochem Text was Never This Clear or Delicious 29 Mar. 2009
By Kathy L. Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I always thought that I was the kitchen shrink; the kitchen is the room where my children, spouse, and friends hunt me down to pour out their latest woes. Generally, I offer them a cookie. After reading [i]The Kitchen Shrink[/i], I know a cookie will just make them grumpier after their blood sugar peaks and drops. So I should at least serve some milk with the cookie! And a yogurt / fruit parfait (protein and fiber) would be a healthier treatment (along with mom's tea and sympathy, of course).

Nutritionist Natalie Savona explores the complex relationship between what we eat and our emotional health in her book, [i]The Kitchen Shrink[/i]. This slim volume explains, clearly and concisely, how poor dietary choices can lead to adverse emotional health states. Recipes comprise about a third of the text and are wonderful examples of the type of diet Savona recommends for optimal health.

The book is organized around specific issues a reader may face, such as low mood (blues or mild depression), premenstrual syndrome, sleeplessness, and forgetfulness. Each section includes a diagnostic checklist, so the reader can learn the features of these emotional health disturbances and judge how extensively the problem affects him.
Savona explains the physiology of each problem in terms of nutrient lacks or imbalances. These discussions are among the best features of the book; they are detailed, yet simple and understandable, and go beyond the typical vague advice of "eat - trendy food of the day - It's good for you." With good lay explanations, Savona tells us what specific nutrients do for our bodies and how they do it, and then recommends rich sources and gives recipe ideas.

For example, in the sleeplessness section Savona lists eight different aspects of sleep loss and explains sleep's biochemistry - from hormones (cortisol and growth hormone) to neurotransmitters (serotonin). Our bodies make serotonin from tryptophan, and the book gives the reader a list of good sources.

The nutritional explanation sections throughout the book reference the recipe section, so if the reader feels he'd like to address one of the specific health issues, several examples of what an improved diet looks like are readily available. The recipes are light in fat and sugar, and many have an Asian or Indian flair. Savona also includes several family recipes from Malta, such as Nanna's rice salad, which I'm anxious to try. The book does include fish, poultry, and lamb recipes, but none for red meat. And, of course, it presents many wonderful ideas for vegetables, whole grains, and seeds.

The book is lavishly illustrated throughout with color photographs and also includes informative sidebars (such as "Toxic Metals" and "Phytoestrogens") and tables (such as "Glycemic Index of Foods" and "Key Energy Nutrients").
Kathy writes about food at hhtp://[...]
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Pretty good but a little out of date 25 April 2012
By Jack - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I'm a clinical psychologist and address life style (diet, exercise, how one spends his/her time) as part of psychotherapy. I like the book and associated recipes a lot, but more recent research has outdated some of her comments. My main complaint is that there is little compelling and replicated evidence that various foods have a specific effect on specific mental issues. The general consensus is that a plant-based diet that minimizes fats, simple carbs, sugars and red meat, combined with exercise - especially during mid-day when vitamin D3 is most available - solves and protects against a variety of both physical and mental health problems. She also makes a statement that running and walking are basically equivalent exercises, which is clearly wrong. Running may burn more calories per minute, but it also can damage more muscle and bone per minute. Our bodies are designed for walking, and everything I have seen recently indicates that walking is the best and safest exercise out there.

Obviously, the discussions of the various mental-health issues are superficial. However, that's fine for general reading, given the caveat above.

There's a few other shortcomings I noticed when I read the book a few month ago, but I don't have time at the moment to go back and look them up. I still recommend the book. I just tell my clients about it's shortcomings and go from there.
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