As a clinician, I believe in a holistic approach to wellness. It is well known that there is a mind-body connection, specifically in the gut and psychological funtioning. If we take care of our bodies, we are more likely to have a better functioning brain. According to Dr Daniel Amen, renowned double board certified Psychiatrist, well known for his SPECT scan studies, there is a direct relationship in how we eat and how we function.
First, in today’s society of fat free this and that, we are depriving our brains of much needed fats which is impairing our ability to function at optimal levels. There are good and bad fats. Diets high in saturated fats can cause heart disease. Diets high in Omega 3 fatty acids can help with depression, memory, anxiety, ADHD, dementia and a host of other issues. For the past 6 or 7 years, I have regularly recommended to clients that they get these things into their diet on a regular basis:
Nuts: Walnuts, Almonds, Cashews, Brazil Nuts, Macadamia (Peanuts are legumes, not nuts)
Fish: Salmon, Shrimp, high in Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Olives: Olives of any kind, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Avocado: Avocados and Avocado Oil, Guacamole, Avocado Chocolate Mousse (Paleo/Keto)
Eggs: Whole, fresh, preferably cage free eggs.
You are not going to get fat consuming fats. You will gain weight and be unhealthy (at risk for diabetes and a host of other medical problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and possibly heart disease and/or stroke) by avoiding needed fats and consuming a diet laden with sugars and grains that are not good for your body and brain. For more information on this, consult Dr Amen’s book, “Brain Warrior’s Way” and related cookbook. Daniel Amen and Bessel Van der Kolk both spoke about the mind-body connection at The Evolution of Psychotherapy conference in December 2017. Dr Amen also spoke about things like sugar substitutes which also raise insulin levels and wreak havoc on the body and brain as well. Stevia is reportedly the only safe alternative as it is a natural plant. This is also the only one I’ve seen that does not contain warnings about risk for cancers.
Did you know that there are actually amino acids that you cannot get if you don’t eat any meat products? A complete plant protein doesn’t necessarily mean it has everything you need. It only means it has most of the essentials. Your body can make 13 of them on its own, but there are nine it needs from outside sources. According to Livestrong.com, “They are histidine, lysine, threonine, methionine, isoleucine, leucine, valine, phenylalanine and tryptophan. Although you can get amino acids from both plant- and animal-based foods, only animal protein contains all nine essential amino acids.” Get the full details here:
Did you know?
What you don’t want is to over eat things which are loaded with nitrates and nitrites, preservatives. These are neurotoxins. There are other neurotoxins as well, such as mold, mildew, and some cleaners. Sausages, bacon, hotdogs, packaged and processed foods are not our friends. There are uncured bacon and sausages (not containing those ingredients) available at many grocery stores, if you look for them.
The food pyramid and other nutrition teaching tools were not made with brain function in mind. Some of them were invented for fattening cattle and pigs. Is this what we want for our kids and ourselves?
Let’s be the example. Eat whole foods: vegetables, meat and a reasonable amount of fruits. Practice meditation/relaxation, exercise regularly, get out in the sunshine, practice your spiritual traditions, love one another. Live life to the fullest.