The Crazy Makersby Published 02 Apr 2001
|The Crazy Makers.pdf|
|Publisher||Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam|
The Crazy Makers Ebook Description
The Crazy Makers PDF Book has good rating based on 173 votes and 33 reviews, some of the reviews are displayed in the box below, read carefully for reference. Find other related book of "The Crazy Makers" in the bottom area.
Argues that American food manufacturers are developing products that have a detrimental affect on human brain power and identifies a relationship between prepared foods and illness.
The Crazy Makers Reviews
Thankfully, I am ahead of the curve on this stuff. I am not a vegetarian or vegan, and do have the occasional Big Mac, but what I read in this book I realized a long, long time ago, and began making changes to my own and my family's diet. No dies, chemicals, hormones, barely any processed food. I grind our wheat, bake our bread, have a food dehydrator, and dry, can or freeze the fruit and vegetables we eat. Those fruits and vegetables come from a local farm; our milk, butter, cheese, etc., comes from a local dairy, and neither the farm nor the dairy uses any chemicals or hormones. The dairy is where we get our eggs and beef, and what chicken or pork we eat comes from a different farm.
Sure, we're gonna die just like everyone else, but we'll be healthier and less crazy while we're here.
This book covers the effects of nutrition on brain development throughout life. Chapters start with prenatal nutrition and continue through adulthood. I would strongly advise parents skip directly to whatever stage their child is at now. Simontacchi is very alarmist and while many of her claims may be true, not all people react the same way to foods. Some people are far more affected by less than optimal nutrition than others. Reading about stages your child has already passed through is only going to cause parents to feel bad about something they cannot change. Unless you ate an exemplary diet while pregnant, breastfed your child for a few years while eating the perfect diet yourself, and followed with all organic, homemade babyfood, trust me when I tell you that you will be happier if you just move on to the sections dealing with where your children are now. However, don't expect a lot of specific advice--just dire warnings of the dangers of inadequate nutrition.
The author does a good job of explaining the importance of certain nutrients to brain development, however she offers very little practical advice beyond advising readers to eat less processed food. It's good advice, but there are no specifics and the recipe and menu sections definitely send mixed messages. The menus do give some clue as to how the author recommends you eat, but there are several recipes using white flour and lots of sugar. Others called for protein powders--it's hard to get more processed than that. One recipe calls for vanilla yogurt with no added sugars. I've never seen a flavored yogurt with no added sugar unless an artificial sweetener was used. Since she strongly advocates against all artificial sweeteners, it appears she is calling for an ingredient which doesn't exist in the current marketplace. Overall I wasn't particularly impressed with the recipes.
My other concern about this book is that some of the claims she makes don't seem to be particularly well documented. She often cites food journals she collected from teachers who assigned them at her request. I have no doubt some of them were pretty shocking, but there is no way to know how seriously students took them, or how well they were able to understand and complete the assignment. Some of the children were quite young. In one example, a child (age 8-11) wrote that s/he had meatloaf for dinner. Simontacchi counted that as a day with no vegetables. While it is possible the child only ate meatloaf, it is equally likely there were side dishes which the child ate and did not record. The author also took some leaps when evaluating the food journals. One child recorded eating burritos for dinner which the author jumped on immediately as a processed food. It may have been a pre-made frozen burrito, but it may also have been homecooked beans and/or meats and/or veggies on a whole wheat tortilla topped with fresh made salsa. Because of the way the food journal project was conducted there is simply no way to know.
I don't want to make it sound like I don't think good nutrition is important. I think it is extremely important. But, I don't think there is much point in scaring people without telling them how to solve the problem. If you are interested in learning more about how nutrition affects brain development, I would recommend this book. If you are interested in practical advice about how to eat well for optimal nutrition, I'd skip this one.
Note: There is an updated edition of this book which came out in 2007 (the edition I read is from 2000). The updated edition may address some of the concerns I've raised. I don't know much about it other than a new chapter was added. I was unable to locate a copy of the 2007 edition and although Amazon sells it, if you click on the preview it shows the 2000 edition.
This book falls somewhere in between three and four stars. I think that the information presented is important information. The author sometimes contradicts herself. I think this is because she is passionate about her subject and wants to make sure people hear her. I disagree with a previous rater who said that the author is trying to blame all the ills of the world on food. I think she's saying "Have we questioned what impact our food may have?" I think anyone who is considering having children, is pregnant, has young children, has any children should read this. There is also a section for adults. Much of what is here I had heard before, but I do wish I could have known all of this while I was having my children.
I thought I was packing pretty healthy lunches for them. Turns out that I need to take a closer look at their lunches and breakfasts. I appreciated that closer look at things. It's amazing the way advertising, grocery stores etc. lull me into a sense of security to buy utter crap (sorry, it's the best word). I plan to make some minor modifications to what I'm doing and then some more modifications over time to boost the nutrition around here.
There are very few companies that really care about the consumer. This title links in well with the book I read recently "Fast Food Nation." Of course there are exceptions, but in general, I believe this is true. We can't rely on the PR companies put out to the consumer. We need to go to other sources to learn what is best for ourselves and our families.
Are you one of those people who figures diet soda and "light" yogurt are good alternatives to the stuff with REAL sugar in them? Are you, like my mom, convinced that a Kudos bar is a "healthy" snack?
Well, here's some news: foods that are processed in a big plant on an assembly line and are injected with lab created chemicals are not all that great for you. (Sure, those pills in your cupboard are lab created chemicals. I know, I know.)
In this book, the author calls out companies who have a blatant disregard for public health. She gives out "Crazy Maker" awards to companies that, in her opinion, contribute to mental illness and the increases we see in autism/ADHD and so on.
The makers of aspartame received an award. Go ahead and google aspartame poisoning. (please. choose the real sugar.)
The author gives Starbucks a "Crazy Maker" award for helping produce a culture hooked on caffeine. I thought that was reaching a little bit. I mean, really, coffee is evil? After thinking on it for a few days (between sips of coffee, no less) I decided she has a point. Caffeine is a stimulant. It is known to do crazy things to your system, like increase anxiety and irritability. Hmmm. Anti-anxiety drugs are one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the US. Connection?
If coffee shops were shut down and caffeine was banned, you can bet your ass that people would be in some dirty back alley giving hand jobs for a cup of Starbucks!
So by eating a diet that is natural and balanced we can maintain and restore brain health, right?
Not easy to do in a hurried culture.
Much easier to have a doctor fill us up with drugs, right?
Very simply, the old saying covers it : Garbage in, garbage out.
Go have a cup of coffee with artificial sweetener and reflect on it.
Interesting link on sales and abuse of anti-anxiety/anti-depression drugs and children. (scary stats!)
My relationship with this book is a little complex - On the one hand I completely agree with the author that, generally speaking, Western eating habits are horrible and extremely lacking in nutrition. And her thesis, that this poor nutrition is affecting our minds, and especially brain development, makes complete sense.
However, she presents a lot of speculation as concrete evidence, at least on an emotional level, trying to manipulate her reader into agreeing with her without the hard science to back her up. I can respect when someone says "based on what we know, it's likely that this has an impact, and more research is needed." But Simontacchi frequently takes this one step further, saying that, even though there is not yet research to back it up, this damage IS taking place. And that is a leap of faith, not science.
Another criticism I have is the recipe/menu section in the back. After criticizing sugar, her recipes needlessly contain sugar, and she calls on a number of processed foods as ingredients for her meals. Although what she suggests is likely healthier than the average American meal, it is far from ideal. And there ARE plenty of recipes that compare in taste but contain none of these manufactured foods.
So all in all, I'd consider this book to be alarmist without evidence, and without giving the reader the tools that it claims to give in order to deal with this alarm. Disappointing.
Cute cover, though.
The one thing I DID get out of this book is that I started putting raw beets in my salad (which I didn't know you could do) and they are a delicious and nutritious addition. I'm debating whether this take-away benefit could drag this book up to 3 stars, but I don't quite think it qualifies, even with that.