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Green Mother: Families fit for the future by Dr Sarah Myhill & Michelle McCullagh with Craig Robinson

Writing.ie | Book Reviews | Non Fiction

By Grace O’Reilly

Families Fit for The Future – Green Mothers is co-written by Dr Sarah Myhill and Michelle McCullagh.  Craig Robinson edited the book with Dr Myhill having “…bestowed honorary womanhood upon Craig, …he is a gentleman.”  Recently first published by Hammersmith Health Books in 2022, this book is an in-depth and thoroughly researched book with table charts, referencing using the Harvard System style, appendices an index and more.  I can’t emphasise enough the hard work that was put into creating this book.  An ideal book for studying and researching in any of the healthcare professions, it is to be noted that Dr Sarah Myhill wrote this book as a “Naturopathic Physician”, having “deregistered from the General Medical Council in 2020”, freeing her to write and speak openly and honestly, and “this book is for educational purposes only.”

The cover design was done by Madeline Meckiffe and the cover image and the black and white beautiful illustrations are done by Michelle McCullagh, and are heart-warmingly based on her own family.  I really like the cover and the simple greens, and white with black inking, it may be one of my favourite books covers, in terms of its appeal.  The table charts and chapters split the book up into various categories, from pre-pregnancy, to infertility, to pregnancy and birth and jaundice, to post pregnancy and breast feeding, weaning, potty training, teething, injections, (including the sensitive topic of Covid 19 injections), and diets and lifestyle to education and so much more, (look at the preface to see what you are interested to read about).

I like to say that while I nodded with agreement to some of the things in the book I also shook my head with disagreement with other things on the pages, but it is important to note that I am a writer, a book reviewer, and yes also a mum, but I am not a doctor, so I read this with a pinch of salt.  Speaking of salt there are recipes at the back of the book.  I do not like the sound of liver pancakes though, but again I may be stood corrected!  The key diet that this book focuses on is the Paleo-Ketogenic (PK) Diet

I was amazed to find that the ultrasound scanning of an animal in the womb can lead to complications for the baby, although as of yet there has been no evidence of that in humans, see pages 24 and 25.  There is the debate like I mentioned above about whether to vaccinate against Covid 19, and there are the ongoing heated arguments whether certain baby vaccinations causes autism, (see page 88 to 112).  As a proud and protective sister in law to my now 21-year-old brother in law, I think that this is a very grey area.  Who can say for sure if autism is ‘caused’ by ‘something’ or is just part of one’s DNA, or nature’s will?  I also agree that “breast is best”, if you can, but I think that there is far too much pressure thrown upon new mothers that they are awful, if they don’t try.  If you want to and you can, brilliant both in terms of health for mother and baby, financial costs and no sterilising bottles, but if you can’t or don’t want to do so, your baby will be perfectly fine bottle-fed formula.  I bottle fed our eldest, Olivia, and breast fed with formula top ups our second Ben, for three weeks.  I found the support of the staff at Holles Street in Dublin, and Wexford General, complete opposites, and in terms of care.  Wexford were brilliant, and Simon and I both firmly agree that if it wasn’t for their professionalism and quick work, Ben and I would not be here.  There were too many missed things in Holles Street and the care if I can even use the word was far from perfect.  I felt like a lamb to the slaughter who was cast aside.  The book looks at Groundhog Basics, Groundhog Acute and Groundhog Chronic in the appendices, no Bill Murray in the film Groundhog Day.  Speaking of appendix, and tonsils, the book suggests that you should keep them in tact if you are able to do so, as the appendix helps with good gut health, and the tonsils help to fight off bad germs.

There are three brains, I only thought that there was one.  The first brain is focused on the immune system, (chapter 8), the second brain, (chapter 111) is about emotional health, and the third brain, (chapter 12) is about “learning to learn”.  As a writer and, as a reader I liked some of the many quotes within the book, many of the people writers themselves, such as A.A Milne, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Aristotle, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Speaking of the second brain and abuse, Shakespeare’s quote from ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, “though she be but little, she is fierce” is apt and I suppose is like the ‘Fight or Flight’ idea, but either way a photographic image or memory is instilled within your brain hence the likes of PTSD perhaps.  A.A Milne’s quote from the famous bear Winnie the Pooh wrote, “When life throws you a rainy day, play in the puddles.”  I like this one a lot, it’s like learning to dance in the rain!  And ‘Huckleberry Finn’ creator Mark Twain’s quote about nappies and politicians made me literally laugh out loud, on page 75 reads, “Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.”

The blurb at the back of the lovely book cover reads,

“In this no-nonsense guide to parenting, beautifully illustrated by Michelle McCullagh, Dr Myhill shows us how we can grow healthy, confident children by feeding and nurturing their first (immune system), second (emotional) and third (intellectual) brains based on a peleo-ketogenic diet and lifestyle.  Michelle’s describes how this is working for her and her young family and provides the recipes that has made this sustainable and easy.  This combination of ‘paleo’ (no dairy, no grains) and ‘ketogenic’ (low-carb, high fat but NOT high protein/meat) gives the best of both worlds for a long and healthy life and all the benefits of growing resilient, contented children.”

Sarah and Craig have co-written a host of other book titles also published by Hammersmith Health Books.

(c) Grace O’Reilly

Order your copy online here.

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