Are you head strong? Do your diet and habits really maximise your energy levels and mental abilities to allow you to reach your full potential? This book takes what has been mentioned in many other books about being mindful of how your diet influences behaviour, decision making and resilience etc but explains the microbiology behind these ideas and takes it to the next level. A lot of detail is presented regarding how mitochondria function and the ways they can be both negatively and positively influenced by our diets and surroundings.
The scientific nature of the approach to this book really drew my interest much more than any other similar book I have come across lately. However it is actually because of the holes in the science presented that actually I was dissuaded from following some of the more outlandish ideas. The author is putting forward some pretty bold ideas about diet, nutrition and environmental toxins yet he holds no qualifications in any of these fields. He has clearly put in thousands of hours of research into this field over decades and it is possible that with time some of his ideas will get good scientific research to back them. But in actual fact most of what he is presenting is what has worked for his body over the last 20 years and not what is being recommended by any big scientific organisations. Bear in mind that he openly admits to having spent many of those years on powerful drugs such as modafenil. And also consider that the end result of the book is that he strongly recommends you purchase his own brand of premium coffee and brain octane oil to add to it, and he also has his own range of health supplements and premium snacks and chocolate, and he would love it if you download his paid apps, and he also has a variety of tech gadgets worth $3000+ available via his site. And if you want to take this to the next level you can even pay the author $15,000 to go on a 5 day intensive course with electrodes strapped to your scalp to get neural feedback about how well your brain is functioning.
All of that makes me a bit sceptical about some of the fine details of what is being offered here. There are also some areas that seem contradictory. If you want to get a good summary of the key points in the book have a look here:
Don't get me wrong, I liked this book and listening to it has had a very positive impact on my mindset about using food as fuel appropriately to help me function well. But if you choose to listen to it be cautious that it may bring out your inner hypochondriac and do a little research for yourself. I am fortunate that my wife has herself had a keen interest in this field for some time now. So my diet has slowly and naturally evolved over the past year to already be much healthier than it used to be. Previously I regularly had takeaways and ready meals and sugar laden snacks whereas now, thanks mainly to my wife, I eat barely any refined sugar, and the vast majority of my meals are cooked from scratch using organic ingredients. So now I can just use ideas in books like this to fine tune what I am doing day to day. I will be explaining some of these points more in the coming weeks.
Dr Chris Harper