WWB Book Wise Club

WWB’s Fall 23 ‘Book Wise’ Pick is a Book for the Holiday Season and Our Times…

As a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, I am deeply interested in how our overall lifestyle (to include our diet) can affect our health and well-being. I am trained to help you connect the dots and map out what course of action and focus will be best for your personal health goals.

I believe it’s important to look at our health holistically because the main pillars of health all work synergistically to keep us well and free from disease. My Fall ‘Book Wise’ pick highlights an important piece of holistic health and well-being, as our food affects our entire biological system (mind, body and spirit).

Dr. Uma Naidoo is a Harvard trained Nutritional Psychiatrist, professional chef, and nutritional biologist, and author of the bestselling This is Your Brain on Food. Her new book, Calm Your Mind with Food, is available for pre-order now and I am thrilled to feature it here at World Wise Beauty. Cultivating a calm mind and managing your anxiety is no easy task these days, but all you can do is control what is in your control. How about starting with what is right in front of you? The food on your plate!

Calm Your Mind with Food will connect many dots for you, and you will understand the crucial connection between your dietary choices and your overall mental health. Dr. Naidoo’s books are in my wellness library, and I suggest you pre-order her latest and add it to yours! A New Year is ahead of us and managing our personal and collective anxiety is going to be important to us all as we face serious threats like climate change, unstable job markets, and extreme politics world-wide. Calm, clear, and sharp minds are going to be needed! Learn more about nutritional psychiatry with my short Q&A below with Dr. Naidoo, and then drill into the science and applications when you purchase the book. You will look at the food on your plate in a whole new light!

Wishing you a calm, joyful, and peaceful holiday season.


Laura Connolly, CHC, Integrative Nutrition
Founder of World Wise Beauty




Coach Lauroly- I’d love to first ask you for the benefit of our readers—what is a nutritional.psychiatrist and how are you different from a regular psychiatrist?

Dr. Naidoo: I am a medical doctor – yes, I went to medical school! – who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and others. As a Nutritional Psychiatrist, I am dedicated to understanding the inextricable relationship between diet and mental health, and furthermore, to educating the medical community and public on how the food we eat impacts our mental health.  In my practice, I utilize a holistic and integrated approach to mental health care.This combines my own expertise in medicine and psychiatry alongside my skills as a nutritional biologist and chef. My protocol in nutritional psychiatry supports anyone who may also be taking prescribed medications and those using counseling and psychotherapy. It’s meant to be an additional tool in your mental wellbeing toolkit. I’m different from a regular psychiatrist in that I actively utilize science-backed principles of nutrition and lifestyle changes in a leading role to treat mental health, rather than focusing on medications alone.

Coach Lauroly- Thank you for explaining Dr. Naidoo. More people need to learn about your holistic approach to psychiatry. The book’s subtitle is “a revolutionary guide to controlling your anxiety”. I think we have to also understand what anxiety is so we can identify it in our experience. It is true we are living in anxious times, but how do you assess between what is a normal reaction to events in a person’s life to an anxiety disorder. I appreciated how you recognize in the book that there is a complicated spectrum of human mental health. Anxiety can manifest in different ways for each of us. This speaks to bio-individuality which is a foundation of understanding (especially from a nutritional standpoint) that we are all unique in our biological makeup and requirements.

What are hallmark symptoms to look for when we are suffering from anxiety?

Dr. Naidoo: We all face stress as a normal part of everyday life. The term ‘eustress’ refers to the healthy form of stress that motivates us to study extra hours for an upcoming test or spend time preparing for an important presentation at work. However, when this response turns into excessive worrying that hinders one’s quality of life and leads to other undesirable health consequences, it warrants attention.  Regularly having excessive feelings of fear or worry that leads to the avoidance of situations or unhealthy habits is considered anxiety. Symptoms of constant or generalized worry, stress, insomnia, irritability, fatigue, muscle tension, and poor focus – particularly if they interfere drastically with daily life for at least 6 months – are hallmarks of anxiety.

Coach Lauroly- The holistic approach to health is so important, and I am so glad that the field of nutritional psychiatry has made significant traction in the last couple of years. Can you explain what nutritional psychiatry is? It seems to me that mankind has understood the importance of food on our overall health for centuries!

“Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” was ascribed to Hippocrates (400 BC) and has been used to emphasize the importance of nutrition to prevent or cure disease. In the book you connect the gut with our brain. Can you share how food can prevent or treat conditions like anxiety? What is the connection between the brain and our gut?

Dr. Naidoo: The premise of Nutritional Psychiatry rests upon what I affectionately term the “gut-brain romance.” The cells which form the nerves of the human gastrointestinal tract as well as nervous system – our brain and spinal cord – originate from the same embryonic cells. They remain intrinsically connected by way of the vagus nerve, which potentiates speedy communication! This “wandering nerve” acts as a two-way highway, constantly sending signals and chemicals back and forth between the brain and gut. One of these chemicals is serotonin, our natural mood regulator. We produce over 90 percent of our body’s serotonin, as well as other neurotransmitters which govern mood, outside the brain, in the gut—where our food is digested and broken down into vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. This enables a natural symbiosis between food and the body’s brain chemistry.

Coach Lauroly Closing- A natural symbiosis between food and the body’s brain chemistry! We all need to make that connection! Thank you for joining me in advance of your book release on December 26th.  I am honored to feature your book and hope your important work in nutritional psychiatry is widely received and helps many. We may be living in an age of anxiety, but we also have so much more nutritional science and education to help us manage the debilitating effects of depression, stress, and anxiety. Thank you, Dr. Naidoo, for helping us understand the power of food and its importance to our immune system and mental health. You are truly helping us to cultivate wellness wisdom and we thank you!

Dr. Naidoo Closing: Thank you so much Laura for your time! Please feel free to connect anytime with questions in the field of Nutritional Psychiatry.