One of the hardest parts of working in a pharmacy is seeing the stark contrast between the cheerful 90+ year olds who waltz in to buy cod liver oil or vitamin D tablets; and the 60 year olds who resignedly hand over their prescriptions for 5+ medications sagely muttering, “when you get to my age…” Statins to swallow alongside fat-free diets, laxatives to knock back after chewing through high-fibre bread; hundreds of capsules of tramadol, thyroxine, and pain killers dispensed every day. And picking up a weekly prescription seems, for many of our customers, to be an inevitable way of life, staving off surgery or death for just a few more years.
It would be neither ethical nor professional for me to suggest customers ditch their margarines, low-salt condiments and low fat breakfast cereals when they look for over-the-counter relief for joint pain, heartburn and inability to sleep at night. I am unable to offer advice when I take their blood pressure and give them readings of 180/100. I can only apologise when they ask me how I look so well and I have to answer high-fat, low-sugar and no sunscreen.
But, if I could, I would recommend Dr Perlmutter’s Grain Brain to every customer who walks through our door. Because, while the book focuses on brain function (depression, migraines, bipolar, Alzheimer’s etc) the advice would be equally relevant to anyone looking to relieve digestive issues, inflammatory conditions, circulatory diseases and diabetes, to name but a few.
Grain Brain is authoritative, comprehensive, well referenced and a surprisingly easy read. Perlmutter’s case studies are presented with compassion, the four week plan is totally do-able and his recipes realistic. (Quick Flat-Roasted Chicken with Roasted Seasonal Vegetables and followed by Chocolate Truffles anyone?)
When I coached nutritional therapy clients one of the major stumbling blocks in avoiding gluten was that breakfast was boring. And this despite an enormous array of options, from Flojo’s SuperSmoothies to full fry-ups to eggs on gluten free toast. And this was from people who had only had toast for breakfast for years! Here is Perlmutter’s excellent explanation for that scenario, “We’ve known since the late 1970s that gluten breaks down in the stomach to become a mix of polypeptides that can cross the blood-brain barrier. Once they gain entry, they can then bind to the brain’s morphine receptor to produce a sensorial high. This is the same receptor to which opiate drugs bind, creating their pleasurable, albeit addicting, effect.” Sound familiar?!
Gluten-Free has become big business in the last decade or so and for every desperate soul who purchases commercially produced gluten free bread and sadly passes on the offer of biscuits in order to alleviate bloating, control their weight or deal with other seemingly inexplicable ailments there is a sceptic who believes that there is no scientific explanation for avoiding the very grains that have apparently sustained the human population for thousands of years. If either of these sounds like you, your friends or your family, please read Grain Brain and then lend your copy out! Your brain and body will thank you tenfold!
Some Gluten Free Recipes: