The Good Mood Diet
by Susan Kleiner, PhD. RD, with Bob Condor
What inspired you to write this book?
I have been in the world of sports nutrition and avoided the diet world for my whole career. Thirteen years ago I started working with everyday people, not just athletes. I saw that their problems are exactly the same, but they approach the solution so differently. The world of sports nutrition, and sports, is very positive, based on what an athlete needs to do to succeed. THe diet world is very negative, based on what you can't do. I always wanted to bring the positive approach of the sports world into everyday life, but couldn't figure out how to get the message across. Almost a decade ago I started to incorporate the science of neurobiology and how food effects mood and brain health/function into my practice of sports nutrition. The results were dramatic in helping my athletes with mental focus and mood, as well as enhance their physical energy and body goals. When I applied it to my everyday clients, it worked just as well. WIthin a week I would hear back from every client "Doc, I don't know what you've got in this diet, but I feel better than I've ever felt in my life." Then they'd stick with the diet without problems, and accomplish all their goals. But it was how they felt that was the key, not the weight loss. Their clear message of that rang in my ears! And that was the inspiration.
When did you first think of the concept of a "Good Mood Diet"?
As I mentioned above, it all really fell into place when I realized that it's all about how you feel, not what you weigh. By focusing on the brain, feeding the brain, and on what you NEED to eat rather than what you can't eat next, your whole outlook flips to a positive approach. That alone puts you in a good mood. The "one day...one week...one month..." saying on the cover of the book is actually a quote from one of my participants in the Seattle PI test group. So it all really evolved over a period of a decade, but really coalesced during the past 7 years.
How did you decide which recipes to include in the book?
I work with a wonderful colleague and friend, Karen Friedman-Kester, MS, RD, LD. She is a dietitian and a culinary expert. We have been creating recipes and cookbooks for 15 years. She is fabulous at translating my guidelines into delicious and easy recipes. I do create some of them, but most of them are created by Karen. Our goal is to make them fairly easy and quick, very practical, with ingredients that you should be able to buy at a local supermarket most of the time. We're both busy career women and Mom's with school aged kids, so we have our families and friends who test them for us to make sure that they can work in everyone's lives.
The recipes are very delicious, do you have plans to issue a "Good Mood Cookbook"?
I hope so. Everyone should write in and request it so I can have ammunition to sell the idea to my publisher!
What is the biggest resistance most people have to the diet?
There has actually been an incredibly positive reaction to the book. I that's because it really has been road tested over so many years, and I know it works, and is practical. Probably the most frequent question that I get is about my recommendation to eat 5 servings of fish/week. But in the book I explain that you don't have to do that right away. It can be a long term goal. If you're not a fish eater, try to add one meal a week. It can be shellfish too. Once you've got one, try two, and so on. if you're never going to eat fish, if you just hate it, then use a supplement. IF you're allergic to it, then you can't take fish oil supplements. Then it becomes that much more important to do everything else. The flaxseed everyday will help a little. But when people hear or read all of this, they don't feel as resistant and they're willing to try it. Once they try it, they're hooked.
In the Acknowledgments, you thank the participants of the Good Mood Diet Clubs, are these clubs still active, if so, how can a person join one of these clubs?
There are clubs that have started up all around the country where I was speaking for the book tour: New York, Cleveland, Chicago, Houston. They are at the 92nd Street Y in NYC, The Cleveland JCC, Andersen's Book Shop in Naperville, and the Executive Round Table in Houston. You can also go to www.goodmooddiet.com, and get onto the online Good Mood Diet Club by clicking onto the chat room in the "Join the Club" page. You can also create your own Good Mood Diet Club! That's the wonderful thing about it. Go online to the Join the Club page. Download the log page and the 12-week discussion guide and start your own group. You've got the book and the guide, now you just need the support. You don't need to give someone $20, step on a scale and sit in a room with 40 strangers. That's not a support group. Instead, find one friend, spouse, parent or child, neighbor or co-worker, your book group, card group, or the person you walk your dog with, and create your own Good Mood Diet Club. That's a real support group in your own life.
Do you have a book tour? Is there a schedule available so people can meet you in person?
I have completed the official tour for now. But I still make lots of appearances. On www.goodmooddiet.com you can go to my speaking schedule and see where and when I'll be speaking, as well as listen to interviews that I've already done on radio and TV. In fact, I'll be on the Sunday NBC Today Show March 25th.
What are your current projects?
The Good Mood Diet is still a project that I'm working on. I'd like to create more specific programs for certain populations, and I'm working on doing research studies to study the diet. It's a lot of fun to be working on something that makes people feel so good!
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