Book Review: The Anger CureGerry Shepherd November 1, 2007
Publisher: Basic Health
Publish Date: 2007
Internalized anger manifests as depression, insomnia and a host of other health problems. Kathleen O’Bannon, a certified nutritional consultant and author of several books, wrote The Anger Cure to help us overcome anger, rage, negativity, violence and panic disorders.
Underlying outbreaks of anger are dysfunctional circumstances arising out of low blood sugar and adrenal, liver, or yeast imbalances. She zeroes in on these conditions with a series of tests so readers may evaluate their health weaknesses. There is also a digestion test, a general health test and a road rage test.
As a nutritionist with over 30 years experience, this author has fine-tuned her diagnostic skills, her grasp of the food/rage connection, and the lifestyles and foods that cause our undoing. She is generous with questionnaires, diagrams and lists. These reveal symptoms, foods to avoid and foods as medicine for specific conditions that unleash anger. She is particularly concerned that we steer clear of coffee, alcohol, refined white flour, rice and sugar, processed foods, nicotine and chewing gum.
Chewing gum may come as a surprise but has profound consequences for users. Like food, gum triggers saliva in the mouth, alerting the stomach that food is on the way. The stomach responds by producing acids to break down the food which, in the case of gum, never arrives. So the acid pools in the stomach damaging one’s digestion.
O’Bannon is also adamant about not drinking with meals. Fluids dilute stomach acids which should be breaking down food so it can be properly absorbed. Every mouthful of food should be chewed until it is liquid before swallowing. It is the first step in digestion. Provocatively she asks: Would you drink cold fluids with food if you knew it was a great way to get fat?
So what does all this have to do with anger? The author takes several chapters to explain how it works. Stress, real life violence on TV, and the connection between frequent television viewing and aggressive behaviour all come into it. Subtle situations like shallow breathing, incompatible food combinations, and an imbalance of vitamin, mineral and enzyme supplements can launch unsuspecting eaters down the trail to road rage.
To help us study the anger processes, each chapter opens with a brief case history which is then expounded upon. These small sagas are fascinating and helpful. We are also treated to an inventory of emotional and psychological symptoms that serve as warning signs of trouble ahead. A summary at the end of each chapter, itemizing the most important points covered, makes for a handy recap.
Depending upon which sample test a reader may have flunked, a selection of specific foods is offered. A yeast problem calls for avoidance of bananas, cheese, corn, melon, mushrooms and wine. Medicinal foods for yeast problems allow asparagus, avocado, broccoli, eggs and olives. Other health challenges require a different set of foods.
Personal histories are enlightening and none more so than the author’s own. Her desire to be an opera singer was thwarted by breathing difficulties. Years later she learned she was allergic to coal dust which had been lodged in her lungs since childhood. It did not lead to road rage but it profoundly affected her life.
O’Bannon provides a choice of recipes. While some sound appealing, she is fond of using a lot of dairy, tofu, frozen vegetables and even mayonnaise, which are banned from many health-designed diets. These should not detract from the main body of the text. Wise Vitality readers will be able to omit or substitute ingredients with foods more compatible with their needs.