Honoring the Female Pioneers in the Field of Mental Health Nutrition

Because March is Women’s History Month, in today’s blog I would like to honor all the female pioneers in the area of nutrition, mental health, and addiction recovery.  It may surprise some of you that these pioneers started writing in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, before many of you were even born.

Barbara Reed Stitt, PhD

Food and Behavior was originally published in 1983 as Food, Teens and Behavior by Barbara Reed Stitt, PhD, former Chief Probation Officer of the State of Ohio. It is described by Amazon as Examines the relationship between nutrition and the criminal behavior of young people and recommends a program for changing the behavior of teenagers through diet”. I first came across her work in 1993 as required reading in my nutrition training course through The National Institute for Nutrition Education, and was blown away by her case studies and the way she connected the dots between food (or the lack thereof) and criminal behavior. I had the privilege of meeting her in person in 2013 when she graciously spoke at a training the Alliance for Addiction Solutions put on in Denver, CO. Thank you, Barbara!

Joan Mathews Larson

Seven Weeks to Sobriety was first published as Alcoholism: The Biochemical Connection by Joan Mathews Larson in 1992. I read it as soon as it was published and it changed my life! Not only did it put me firmly on the path of becoming a mental health nutritionist specializing in addiction recovery, but the information in it about how people with Scandinavian parents might have a lifelong depression only relieved by alcohol, described me to a T! The moment I read that, I switched from beer to Evening Primrose Oil, and my deep, dark, lifetime depression immediately lightened.  I still take it 😊. She is an inspiring example of a woman who turned tragedy (the death of her alcoholic son from hypoglycemia-induced suicide) into a life-time passion to save lives and educate the public. Thank you, Joan!

Julia Ross

The Diet Cure: The 8-Step Program to Rebalance Your Body Chemistry and End Food Cravings, Weight Problems, and Mood-Swings—Now, was published in 1999, and was the first of several books written by our friend Julia Ross, MA, utilizing diet, amino acid therapy and other nutrients to help people support positive moods and successfully change their relationship with food and other addictive substances. I first met Julia just around 1990 in the San Francisco Bay Area. I had just learned about her clinic, which was one of the first in the country to address substance use disorders (including sugar) using amino acid and nutrient therapy, along with other modalities, and I was eager to learn more. She was my first introduction to amino acid therapy, and her nutritionist, Krispin Sullivan, identified that I had been suffering by a lost diagnosis of Celiac Disease my whole life. Thank you, Julia!  (and Krispin!)

We give a heart-felt round of applause to these brave, powerful female pioneers, without whom you all would not be reading this blog post! If I have left anyone out, please send their information my way, and I will acknowledge them in the next post!

Happy March!

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