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The Happiness Diet: A Nutritional Prescription for a Sharp Brain, Balanced Mood, and Lean, Energized Body
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The Happiness Diet: A Nutritional Prescription for a Sharp Brain, Balanced Mood, and Lean, Energized Body

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  391 ratings  ·  60 reviews
For the first time in history, too much food is making us sick. It’s all too apparent that the Modern American Diet (MAD) is expanding our waistlines; what’s less obvious is that it’s starving and shrinking our brains. Rates of obesity and depression have recently doubled, and while these epidemics are closely linked, few experts are connecting the dots for the average Ame ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published December 6th 2011 by Rodale Books
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3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  391 ratings  ·  60 reviews

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Feb 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
I'm still not going to eat meat.
Mary Karpel-Jergic
A book which links what we eat to our health - this book is more about metal health so an emphasis on foods which are good for the brain and which prevent depression. However, the book is also an interesting introduction to the food processing industry and a fairly convincing argument for eating wholesome foods; fruits and vegetables. Interesting summaries of why the various fruit and veg are beneficial to the health and a few recipes at the end for good measure.

Some of the background info on pr
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book is a serious downer. My rating is a bit low, because I don't think the tone of the book is helpful to those picking it up because of the title.
The set up is not unique: intro and scientific explanation for why this food plan is vital, followed by recipes. One interesting bit of formatting is the way the 100 facts for why one should avoid processed foods are sprinkled in boxes through the text. Basically, we are being poisoned. That is what I got from this book. The first half of the bo
kitty kitty
Nov 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: health, nonfiction
Very easy to read to get basic info on what is really in our food and what it can do to our health. I have fibro and chronic sleep problems so I am always looking for some answers to feel better. I was raised organic so much of what is in this book is no surprise but did explain what a lot of the additives in our food are and how we are mainipulated into thinking that these foods are good for us-like chicken is labeled as having no additives but they are allowed to put anything in thier feed.
Dec 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
I grabbed this off the library shelf to force myself to read a nonfiction book (I read way too much fiction!) and I actually read it straight through because it was so well-written and full of astonishing and alarming facts. I had no idea how dangerous pesticides and processed foods are for the brain. This book is specifically about eating to create a healthy brain (which leads to happiness -- hence the title). I will definitely be buying organic from now on. I've read Michael Pollan and other a ...more
Kristen Nace
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
While some of this stuff I already knew, I really enjoyed this book. It really motivated me and their plan resonated with me. They are of the Micahel Pollan variety thinkers- just eat REAL FOOD in moderation and you will be fine. Real food as in meat, fats, dairy, plenty of fruit and veg. It's all the processed/refined crap (sugar!!) that is making us so fat and unwell. Plus there are some interesting factoids I entertained my co-workers with this weekend. (Most milk from non organic factory far ...more
Amanda Trivett
May 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Not a whole lotta new info for those familiar with this topic at all, but good recipe ideas and great emphasis on the role of Omega 3 and Vitamin D in one's mental health capacity. Check it out from the library, but perhaps not worth a purchase.
Michael MacDonald
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good complement to wellbeing collection

Highly recommended for those looking for a holistic perspective on personal self-care.

The book offers a strong argument for food as strategy for health.

It does lean a little too heavily on vilifying common foods rather than just focusing on the “good foods”. This can distract from the message in my opinion.

Ultimately - I was hoping for a read that was targeting strengths and assets of certain foods. This book does that, but only by pointing to the “path
Brenda Humphreys
Feb 07, 2019 rated it liked it
I didn’t get much out of this book. Most of the information I already knew. It is also hard to follow the instructions. Mostly, it says to eat organic food. The author recommends we get our nutrients from food instead of from vitamins and supplements. It is hard to get all the right nutrition in your body without supplements. I take them and will continue to do so. If I lived on a farm and grew all my vegetables, then I may not need them. Also fish is very important to eat for the omega 3s. I ca ...more
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book is useful because it covers the dangers of pesticides and how processed food affects your health, however, the author or "nutrition expert" still includes a diet with milk and eggs. He breaks down the dangers of processed foods yet skips the dangers of dairy. Not one mention of how dairy screws up your body. The author does recommend eating a wide range of vegetables and fruits, which is great, but doesn't cover the science behind how eating bananas can also activate happiness in the b ...more
Leo Sorge
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good collection of many scientific papers about nutrition, written in a coherent flow. Great comparison with "normal" use of food. Easy of use looks split on two levels: many single points of failure/advantage to know food by food, plus a full 2-week diet (veeery difficult to follow)!
Angie Carter
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Honestly, just read the "100 factoids" and "100 reasons not to take supplements". It was the only part of the book I liked. The rest is alot of the authors opinions & personal experience with food. Bottom line message: do not eat processed food!
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, diverting
Interesting perspective.
Katy Westenskow
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved the research and insight and recipes and meal plans at the end. Hoping to implement some of these great ideas soon. For now, I'm loving eggs and legumes and need to increase the fish🤣
If you want to be completely grossed out by everything you eat, feel like everything you are eating is giving you cancer and is full of bug parts, this is the book for you.

There are a lot of interesting and gross facts about food in here, although, some of them are a stretch. For example, just because something is linked to cancer and a food has that in it does not mean that food will cause cancer, but that's what the authors imply. They clearly set out to scare you out of eating processed food,
Nov 10, 2015 rated it liked it
If you want to be completely grossed out by everything you eat, feel like everything you are eating is giving you cancer and is full of bug parts, this is the book for you.

There are a lot of interesting and gross facts about food in here, although, some of them are a stretch. For example, just because something is linked to cancer and a food has that in it does not mean that food will cause cancer, but that's what the authors imply. They clearly set out to scare you out of eating processed food
May 19, 2012 rated it liked it
I think this would be a great book to introduce people to the idea of a truly whole foods diet that is free of processed foods--especially if they aren't interested in getting too deeply involved in the nutritional science behind the recommendations. The explanations for why we should eat this way are direct and simple to understand, but don't contain a lot of scientific references or jargon.I personally prefer books with more science, but I know that not everyone wants all that information. It' ...more
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health, non-fiction
Insightful and educational, I really enjoyed reading this book. I say enjoyed, because I learned a lot and it validated my beliefs about what passes for food in our country. However, there is so much information that was not enjoyable to read, just because it is disturbing to realize how vulnerable we are to what is presented to us in grocery stores.
Scattered throughout the book are the “Top 100 Reasons To Avoid Processed Food". Nearly all of them should be disturbing to anyone who ever eats
New Providence
Apr 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was fascinating for the facts and info on agri-business. Really had not much interest in diet part since actual recipes can be found in other sources. Also liked the info on pairing foods to increase their effectivness. And foods that cancel out each other's benefits.

Some of the info was very scary. Have read before about our meat supply but this was alarming and will make you think twice about what you buy the next time you head to the meat counter in the supermarket.

Frederick Myers
Jul 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read this book mainly for the food science information, not "the diet". The book presented a lot of useful information related to the nutritional benefits of whole, non-processed foods. It underscored the obvious points about highly processed, engineered food vs the real stuff. In addition, it took a bit of a deep dive in describing the overall nutritional benefits of eating food the lives its life (animals and plants) in their natural state as well outlining some "super foods" that people don ...more
Mar 24, 2012 rated it liked it
I found this book reasonably readable and informative. The thing is, though, that it just seemed to string out basic information into waaaay more than it needed to be. I felt like it made whole chapters out of things that could have been just a paragraph (or a single sentence). I was looking for something different from the same standard advice I've gotten in small bites in health articles for ages, and this was just the same old thing with a few extra details, most of which I found kind of unne ...more
Christina Boyle
Feb 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health-and-aging
Eat well to protect the brain from aging. This book reviews the brain chemical impact of eating various foods. If there is a punchline it would be that humans are omnivores for a reason and restrictive diets create more work for you to recreate the optimal chemical environment for brain health. Eat organic grass fed meat and wild fish (fish low on food chain) and eggs and grass fed dairy and as many vegetables as your can manage every day. Seek out beans and heirloom grains. The amount of work y ...more
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
I like this book. There's lots of good little tidbits but the diet recommendations (manu/recipe provided) are just not realistic to me and some of the warnings about different foods are just a little bit too nit-picky. The marketing on this book is brilliant and I was about as excited to read it as I would be to eat the burger on the cover but wound up a little disappointed when it just tasted like paper and I wound up with a book and no slipcover. I give 2 stars for getting me so excited over n ...more
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
I loved the information in this book. The "100 reasons why to avoid processed foods" could be terrifying at times, but it was fascinating to learn about the birth of Crisco and Coca-Cola. I have always felt that the demonization of the egg was wrong and this book comes to the rescue of nature's powerhouse full of vitamins and minerals that our body needs all inside the barnyard egg. I deducted a star because the recipes seem incomplete and even incorrect. The almond joy oats recipe however is pr ...more
Aug 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Not too much new here but I did really like the way the book was laid out. There were some good recipes as well. I did also really like the sidebar information: how it was presented and how terrifying some of the information was. For a moment I felt guilty and then figured that you can't feel guilty about the choices you made without having the information. Now that the information is there, just do the best you can to make better, healthier choices!
Kathleen Johnson
Apr 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, health
Great, scientific (but not complicated) explanation of how our Modern American Diet (MAD) is making us fat and sick by producing food that is high in sugar, dangerous chemicals, and low in nutrients. It also explains a lot about how fat has become so misunderstood by the American public. Bring on the whole milk, bacon, and eggs (and lots of fruits and veggies). Most importantly for me, chocolate is good for you! Good by processed food and hello real food.
Elizabeth Licata
Oct 15, 2012 rated it liked it
The diet itself is very healthy and has good advice. Some of the assertions that they make are a little exaggerated and/or unproven, so the accuracy of the claims are a little suspect. However, the foods they recommend would be approved by any respected nutritionist, so go ahead and follow it. Do note, though, that their concept of "serving size" is quite generous, so cutting it down would not go awry if you were trying to lose weight.
Jessica  Fraser
May 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
The message here is processed food = depression, dementia and other problems with brain chemistry (like ADHD), and low energy. Top 100 reasons to avoid processed foods running throughout; very gross in some cases, frightening in others. Basically, eat lots of fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy - but not just any: only wild caught fish, grass fed animals, and organic produce. And eat a wide variety. Pretty obvious...maybe I will someday when I can afford it!
Aug 29, 2012 rated it liked it
This book told me everything I already knew about whole foods. What it did educate me on was how horrible processed foods are. There is a tid bit on every page about certain processed foods. So what I learned is if you take the easy way out and indulge in processed food you can count on having an early grave. So spend some time cutting up an onion, chop up a tomato and some cilantro and make some salsa instead of buying stuff premade in a jar.
Jan 27, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a good informational book for anyone just learning about whole foods and why you just limit the amount of processed foods you consume. It was easy to read and I liked how the authors discussed how our mood, energy and memory are affected by food (this was a little different than other books I had read). However, I didn't find it as engaging as other books such as Animal, Vegetable, Miracle or Crazy Sexy Diet which were informative and captivating.
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