Must Have/Must Do: Tuesday's book: Foods for Mind and Body by Michael van Straten
Tuesday 25 November 1997
Everyone I've shown her to so far has wanted the book in which she appears. For van Straten's goddess of brain-food prefaces illuminating advice about which foods increase your mental energy and concentration. And mental energy is today's philosopher's stone: a healthy brain is worth far more than gold these days. The prospect of spending a fifth of our lengthened lives short of several essential marbles haunts us all.
The biggest irony of the current obsession with food is that it's harder than ever before to eat right. We are so deluged with contradictory research that none of us can remember what's good for us and what isn't. Moreover, the range of choice is so infinite, and so deeply tangled up with convenience, fashion and fear, that most of us simply don't know where to start.
Michael van Straten, a renowned naturopath, leads us through the jungle of rumour and offers lucid answers in a highly palatable fashion informed by both modern medicine and traditional herbal lore.
He explains what key foods we need to maintain physical strength, stamina and mobility, and why men and women should be eating different things. Then he maps our needs at different stages in our lifecycle, from infancy, through teenage, twentysomethings, "prime time" and third age.
The next section covers the role food plays in mental energy, concentration, sleep and mood. Then there's a whistlestop tour of fashionable diets, and a detailed and dashingly designed food index explaining what the good- for-you foods do for you. Finally - and hypochondriacs may well have started here - there's an ailments index which explains how food can help everything from asthma and arthritis to TB and varicose veins.
Van Straten is not promising miracles, but what he says makes a whole lot more sense than the official medical line of hitting everything on the head with costly wonderdrugs. Nor is he a fanatic: chocolate eclairs are allowed occasionally if you eat wholemeal bread most of the time.
But the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Since I read the book two weeks ago, I have been religiously (and food is, of course, now a religion) snacking on "trail mix" to keep my blood sugar in balance, sipping rosemary tea for remembrance (so that's what the Bard meant) and wrapping myself round five fresh fruits and vegetables a day. The result? Pinky and Perky have nothing on the new bright-eyed bushy-tailed me.
HarperCollins, pounds 19.99
Life & Style blogs
Video shows how to turn your phone into a 3D hologram
The 'world's most beautiful vagina' has been debunked by science
Porn block in India: hundreds of sexual websites banned, internet outraged
What do the emojis on Snapchat mean?
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Chris Leslie: Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm the poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor
Landlords renting properties to illegal immigrants to face up to five years in prison
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
- 1 Sabrina Corgatelli: US hunting tourist posts picture of herself with dead giraffe after Cecil the lion outrage
- 2 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 3 A-level results 2015: UK exam board OCR admits it 'estimates' hundreds of pupils' grades after papers 'go missing'
- 4 Giant Minion terrorises drivers in Ireland as 40ft inflatable blocks busy Dublin road
- 5 'Cool kids' can go on to become losers in later life, study finds
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Garden Centre complex base...
£36000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Buyer is required to join thi...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45000: SThree: SThree Group have been well es...