The trend toward dietary deficiencies amongst abundance is swiftly veering away from our evolutionary trajectory with dire health consequences – not only in physical health but in mental health. Diet has a profound influence on our minds. With proper lifestyle choices, we can achieve a deep state of mind-body wellness, eudaimonia – human flourishing. This book is about the science of mind flourishing through dietary choices termed neurodietetics.
We as primates have struggled mightily during the past 85 million years to find and eat enough food for survival. Fortunately, every one of your ancestors was successful so that you might succeed in that same endeavor. However, today that survival is in jeopardy. Recently and suddenly, from an evolutionary standpoint, the problem of subsistence in “civilized” countries has inverted: we have plenty of food but are not making selections that lead to long-term survival. Our plant-based ancestral diets for which we have become genetically adapted have become animal-based. For thousands of millennia, primate nutrition happened while seeking a wide variety fruits and vegetables sufficiently energy-dense to supply our needed daily calories. Today we still seek energy-dense foods, but in the form of high fat animal products or sweet processed foods. Less nutrient-dense foods, formerly our staples, are tolerated as side-dishes.
This book was written for a most important but unsung group of therapists – those professionals who work all day with adolescents in a residential treatment setting. These therapists are often not titled as therapists per se, being assigned names such as “technician” or “direct care staff.” We shall call them properly “Milieu Therapists,” or even more formally “Cognitive Milieu Therapists.” While the Individual Therapist may meet individually with the resident once a week for an hour, perhaps with the resident and family for another hour, and with a group of residents once or twice a week, the other 165 hours are primarily the treatment domain of the Milieu Therapists. The Individual Therapist introduces therapeutic concepts but these are practiced in the milieu.