We Are Starving Our Brains and Don’t Even Realize It…Here’s the Remedy

(11 minute read) To put a stop to our cravings and hunger, we often eat on the go.  Seeking anything that will stop our stomachs from rumbling, we don’t pay too much attention to what we inhale, except for the taste. We don’t seem to care about the high price we are paying, the price for convenience.  Even though we are ‘filling up’ on a daily basis on fast and junk foods, foods laden with harmful proteins, toxins, preservatives, and synthetic dyes, we are starving our brains. We are causing both our brains to be malnourished.

Yes, we have two brains in our bodies, a gut brain and a head brain.  In order to understand how to feed our bodies and brains the correct nutrients, we must first gain an understanding of how our two brains integrate with one another.

The first brain is the one most people are aware of, that gray matter behind our eyes and between our ears. For a long time, we assumed neurotransmitters were created there, along with neurons, but recent research has found the existence of a second brain, the one in the gut. Michael D. Gershon, M.D.,the father of this brain gut concept called neurogastroenterology and chairman of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at New York–Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center goes into much more detail in his book The Second Brain. He explains, believe it or not, the guts is where the majority of neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, and gaba are created, based on the foods we eat.  In fact, we create more neurotransmitters in the gut brain than in the head brain.


What are neurotransmitters?

Neurotransmitters are messenger molecules, created from the synergy of our DNA and the foods we eat. For our brains to function properly, these must remain in balance. Stemming from the vagus nerve, neurotransmitters travel and branch out throughout the digestive system, throughout the body, and up to the head brain. In other words in this case, what happens in vagus doesn’t stay in vagus!

If you really think about it, you are probably quite aware of the physical connection between your head brain and your gut brain. Maybe you’ve been faced with the challenge of a presentation or performance, and your stage fright manifests with a tightening gut, difficulty concentrating, breaking out in a sweat, or trembling. People with a really bad case of nerves might find themselves nauseous or unable to eat. If that worry builds over days, it can result in constipation, diarrhea, or even a hives breakout. This is because the head brain and the gut brain are intertwined; what affects one affects the other.

The trouble is that most of us have eaten the Modern American Diet (MAD) or Standard American Diet (SAD) for our entire lives. We don’t need just a presentation to make our ‘brains’ not function properly, it’s the food we are eating.  The stuff we stuff into our mouths is too often laced with toxins (aluminum, fluoride, pesticides, and even arsenic); preservatives; bleached sugar; excess gluten; genetically modified grains; and hydrogenated oils, and none of these things are good for us.


Here’s what happens when we’re not eating for brain health: 3 Key Concerns…

First, because we eat too much sugar, the brain quits producing insulin. (Our head brain as well as our pancreas creates insulin.  Insulin is the hormone we create to get nutrients into our cells.) When the brain quits producing insulin, the neuronal supportive cells become insulin dependent and nutrients cannot get into these cells. When nutrients cannot penetrate the brain cells, these cells consequently shrivel and die. This leads to diabetes Type III, otherwise known as diabetes of the brain.

When we eat these MAD foods for a period of weeks, months, years to decades, we destroy the gut lining and produce severely weak neuronal transmitters.  If the neurotransmitters produced in the gut brain are off kilter, they will cause an imbalance in the head brain as well, robbing our energy and negatively influencing our mood, emotion and cognition.  The distorted or crippled neurotransmitters do not effectively communicate with other body systems causing improper creation and function of the hormones that aid in digestion, sleep, and even our sexual lives. Think of this communication as your state of health. Poor brain-bodily communication is the second wave of damage caused by the food we eat.

With this destroyed gut lining or leaky gut, we send the immune system into overdrive. This is the third wave of brain trouble called hyper inflammation, where the good, healthy cells are gobbled up right along with the weak, damaged ones. This hyper inflammation happens in the head brain as well, leading to the production of damaged cells that will not perform properly in the body, thus inviting disease, disease which range the gamut, from cancer to dementia and all before or in-between.

To learn more on how these so-called foods damage your brain and what brain foods to eat, subscribe and read: 9 Signs You Are Experiencing Brain Drain and How to Keep Your Brain Fully Charged to Avoid Dementia.  Click Here.


What MAD does to our brains:

On the whole, we are guilty of malnourishing ourselves and starving and sickening our brains and bodies. It starts with brain fog, no inertia, constant fatigue, insomnia, mood disorders, memory problems, and trouble focusing and leads to diabetes, depression, Crohn’s disease, thyroid issues, and a medley of other horrible conditions, including cancer. In fact, science can now feasibly trace Alzheimer’s and other dementia, like Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), to initial problems in the gut.

Dr. Mark Hyman, a family physician and a medical director at the Cleveland Clinic, presented research and theories of fourteen MDs, PhDs, and specialists from around the U.S. in an education program I recently attended on the brain/gut connection.  After describing this immense problem, the prescribing conclusion was the same from all the speakers:  for better health, clean up your gut.

If we want our brains to enjoy full function, we must pay attention to what goes in our mouths. Instead of starving our brains, we need to provide them with a buffet of healthy nutrients. Dr. Thomas A. Sult, a family practitioner and lecturer in the Hyman Program, summed it up quite well: “The best medicine always starts with a variety of foods.”


How to Eat Clean for a Healthy Brain:

Yes, it is a given,  we must change the way we eat.  But how hard is that!

Take Ann for example.  She is head soprano of our church choir and after congratulating her great solo at social hour one Sunday, Ann asked me the one simple thing she could do to help her think clearer.

“I just cannot give up my Blue Bell ice cream”, she fretted.

And that got me to thinking.  I was the same way years ago when I started to change my diet to get my head brain in shape.  I spent hours and hours researching and trying to figure out what I could and could not eat. It was intimidating, unapproachable and so time consuming.

For you to get the jump start to the right path, Ann inspired me to create a food substitution list. Actually it is the 5 Secrets of Substitution to Get you Gut In Gear, get it hereIt is my hope that this will help you to begin to understand what foods to avoid and why and what foods you can enjoy for better brain and body health.

But right off the bat, here are a few things you can do,  now,  to clean up your gut brain and your head brain:

  • Sugar, it is more addictive than cocaine. Let’s get off this deadly drug. First, say no to candy bars and other hard candies as well as high fructose corn syrup. If you have to have sugar, opt for honey, molassas or maple syrup…they are all natural with no preservatives or additional chemicals.  But even these natural sugars in excess can be bad.  If you must quench your sweet tooth, grab a piece of fruit or make yourself a cup of licorice tea.
  • Remove gluten from your diet. That’s a protein in all wheat products that not only damages our intestines by opening them up (leaky gut) but also opens the door to hyper inflammation.  No bread? It is super hard to do, I know from experience.
    • Just get started.
      • Breakfast: substitute oatmeal, eggs, bacon, sausage for your cereal.
      • For lunch, let’s work on a decrease of your sandwich bread.  For one week go to just one slice of bread, i.e. have a fold over or open face sandwich.  Work to eating no sandwich bread at all concentrating on the meat(protein), veggies and fruit. When you are faced with hamburgers and hot dogs, just don’t eat the bread, eat two meats instead and load up the lettuce, pickle and tomato.
      • No rolls for dinner.
      • Avoid all processed foods. Gluten is added as a filler and emulsifier.
    • Better yet, eliminate all wheat from your diet for two weeks. At the end of the second week, down a loaf of French bread or have a huge bowl of pasta.  In an hour, analyze how you feel.  The fatigue and sleepiness always hits me the next day, about 12-14 hours later so just keep an eye out–YOU know your body.
  • Say NO to fake food colorings in your foods. Many unnatural dyes have been banned in Europe and Australia due to the brain damage they cause.  For more on this read one of my articles We Are Dying Our Brains, found here.
  • Strive to eat Paleo (all natural foods) and/or Ketogenic (low carbs, no simple carbs, moderate proteins, all natural good fats–NO saturated fats is the key) for the rest of your life. To get started, check out my  5 Secrets to Getting Your Gut in Gear, also found here.

We are starving our brain of  nutrients.  We are preventing nutrients from penetrating and massaging our brains so to help us be productive, energetic and at optimal living.  It is with hope you can see what our MAD/SAD diet does to our brains and how to eat better.

Helping you keep your memory, enjoy good brain health, and age successfully, I look forward to communicating with you soon!

The purpose of this information is to convey knowledge.  It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure your condition or to be a substitute for advice from your main healthcare professional. Sincerely, I wish you and yours the very best in brain health.  


Why Our Parents and Grandparents are Coming Down with Alzheimer’s (and other dementias too) Will We Be NEXT?

(8 minute read)

At social events, from church to ballgames to cocktail time, stories of our children and parents seem to bubble up in every conversation. Oftentimes, the brain condition of our parents weasels its way into those discusses. And understandably so, since 1 in 9 human beings age 65 and older suffers from some form of dementia. The statistics are even grimmer for those 85 and older, a whopping 1 in 2.5 are drowning in it!

As a society, we are now facing our third generation of Alzheimer’s and other dementia with no cure.  We are seemingly helplessly watching it vacuum away the minds and lives of our loved ones. Many of us have buried grandparents who were scourged by the disease, and several see our parents slipping away. When we experience the brain fog, poor balance, and exhaustion of those senior moments, we worry that we might succumb to it too.

By studying global populations for an answer, we encounter the healthy Blue Zones around the world.

Dan Buettner, in an article he authored in National Geographic Magazine, revealed certain areas in which the elderly live to be 80, 90, or even older than 100, with strong minds and bodies, then finally die of old age. How do they do it, while our own parents and grandparents in a supposedly well-nourished nation cannot remember our names or whether or not they took their medication this morning? We can glean–learn a lot from the unifying characteristics of the people who live the longest in those Blue Zones:

  • They eat no processed, packaged foods.
  • A large time between meals is  part of their routine, their daily experience.  Mostly they go 12-16 hours a day NOT eating.
  • Sitting still is not part of their daily routine either; they are constantly active, exercising their bodies and minds.
  • Along with getting plenty of sleep, stress is not in their lives.
  • They enjoy a sense of community and are committed to their families, friends, and a life purpose. This, in turn, helps them remain active and plays a vital role.

Closer to home, some folks exhibit these same characteristics, albeit not the nutrition aspect, yet they slowly sink into the abyss of Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. What, then, is the problem?

In search of the root cause of why some succumb while others do not, nearly 200,000 published studies, representing years and years of scientific research, have been conducted on Alzheimer’s.[1] These studies indicate that dementia is not a normal part of aging. On the contrary, it is an actual disease, and it can be stopped and even reversed in most cases. The only way to stop disease is to discover and halt the root cause, so we must begin with a basic understanding.


What is dementia?

Simply put, dementia is the death of a significant number of brain cells, specifically neurons and their connecting cells, the synapse, which leads to cognitive impairment. Other supporting cells, the glia, die as well. The fatality of these cells causes the brain to malfunction, and we experience cognitive impairment. Ultimately, because the brain cannot function as intended, it cannot communicate properly with the organs, thus the body begins to shut down and we face total body death.  In a  nut shell:  brain cells die causing our cognition and bodies to become weak, impaired and ultimately non functioning.


What is cognition?

Cognition is defined as our ability to think, feel, and act upon new information (“oh I love your new hair cut”), to process thoughts and take or make physical actions based upon those thoughts (“curb coming lift leg”).  That is voluntary cognition.  Breathing, heart beating, digestion are involuntary cognition.  (For a list of the 8 main voluntary cognitive skills which are the first to subside when dementia percolates in our brain, click here.)

What causes dementia?

Dr. Russell Blaylock, a neurosurgeon, neuro-research coordinator, health practitioner, and lecturer, was one of the first to put the pieces together. When it  comes to the root cause of brain cell death, he cites three main culprits:

  1. cell starvation, when nutrients and hormones cannot be delivered to or absorbed by the head brain;
  2. immunoexcitotoxicity, or super-hyper inflammation and
  3. a combination of both of the above.

There are several triggers to this starvation and super-hyper inflammation, I’ve grouped them into seven based on the findings of Drs. Blaylock and Dale Bredesen.  Dr. Bredesen was the first physician to publish a solution for the reversal of cognitive impairment. This knowledge, combined with studies and theories of other doctors (Drs. Edward Group, Datis Kharrazian, Thomas Lewis, Charles Gant, Alessio Fasano, Sidney MacDonald, Tom O’Bryan, Tom Suit, Raphael Kellman, David Perlmutter, Mark Hyman, Elizabeth Boham, Frank Lipman, Drew Ramsey, Ann Hathaway, and many others) can lead us to some long-sought answers about dementia.

The following are these seven triggers, experienced separately on occasion but mostly in combination; they are the leading causes of brain starvation and super-hyper inflammation in the brain:


The 7 Triggers to Alzheimer’s and Other Types of Dementia

  1. toxins collected and stored in the brain
  2. lack of nutrients
  3. serious and long-term infections
  4. trauma, high ACE score, stress, depression
  5. historical, consistent lack of sleep
  6. no cellular energy
  7. giving up on the challenge to age healthfully


Considering the wide array of causes, it is no wonder that there is not one magic pill or miracle cure to rid the world of dementia. That said, just as there are multiple causes, there are multiple, and combined, methods to reverse Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Cross-referencing these triggers with key lifestyle factors in the Blue Zones, where dementia does not seem to be a problem, we begin to understand why our parents and grandparents are afflicted with the disease. Not only that, but we can also determine where we are in terms of probability.

For ways to discover your susceptibility to these triggers and advice on fighting them, even reversing their effects, which are the early symptoms of dementia, let’s talk.  You can enjoy, long-term, good brain health as you age and NOT fall into dementia, Alzheimer’s.

As a former Dementia Healthcare Administrator having managed three dementia lock down facilities, my help was to no avail.  I hit the research books trying to answer the all encompassing dementia question of why…why do some live to 100 with a sharp mind, why are the symptoms of dementia patients so varied, why are there no cures?  With years of continuous neurodegeneration research and much schooling I am a Dementia Practitioner as well as a Master Certified Health and Wellness Coach specializing in dementia prevention and REVERSAL.  My education pride is my official training from Dr. Dale Bredesen, the first MD who, under scientific study and clinical trials, reversed cognitive impairment of 109 of 110 individuals, YES reversed Alzheimer’s.

Following Dr. Bredesen’s protocol, I provide individualized, personal plans of action so you or a loved one can restore precious memories, regain brain energy and have good brain health. Actually, it is not just a plan but an individualized, detailed protocol system.  We follow 9 steps, a ‘map’ if you will. Click here to view the map.

Click here to schedule a FREE 15-minute telephone appointment.  There is no cost to you.  We’ll talk for 15 or so minutes, you give me your story, or the situation of your loved one, along with the symptoms, and together we can see how to get the brain in gear and make sure NOT to fall into dementia/Alzheimer’s.

Right now?  It may not be the right time. But let’s stay in touch; know I am available if you ever need me.  To help you though, take advantage of free membership to my Brain Health Revolution.  As a member, you will receive a few times each month some quick facts, tidbits, checklists and notes of interest on how to enjoy a healthy, strong brain and how to prevent dementia. You can also receive more detailed information on the triggers listed above, including my ebooklet 9 Signs You Are Experiencing Brain Drain and How to Keep Your Brain Fully Charged to Ward Off Dementia. Get the booklet and join The Brain Health Revolution here. 

Helping you keep your memory, enjoy good brain health, and age successfully, I look forward to communicating with you again!

The purpose of this information is to convey knowledge. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure your condition or to be a substitute for advice from your main healthcare professional. Sincerely, I wish you and yours the very best in brain health.     




[1] Pubmed.com, National Library of Medicine Database



How to Keep Our Brains Young

(9.5 minute read) Think of your head brain[1] like a house, any kind of house. Just as you upkeep your house, you must consider maintenance and renewal for your brains[1].

While we grow and mature, the brain creates the strongest cognitive foundation possible for full function. Then we add a good education, strong upbringing, and high values and morals to sweeten the cognition pot, thus strengthening brain function all the more.

Many houses have strong foundations. Mine, built in 1908, has survived a flood and a Category 5 hurricane, as well as a medley of other typhoons of varying degrees, an indication that my home has strong bones. However, in spite of its sturdy foundation, I cannot just leave it alone as it seemingly rots and deteriorates before my very eyes.

A responsible homeowner stays on top of maintenance and routine repairs, and they catch problems early, so they do not turn into financial disasters. Ultimately, wise home ownership is an investment of attention, time, and effort to keep the house sturdy and standing proud, functioning at its best, for as long as possible. It is the same with the brain; it does us little good to let it sit atop our shoulders and become brittle and old, left to rot away.

Like deterioration in a home, deterioration in the brain begins slowly. “When people start to have loss of focus and concentration, motivation, and depression; when they have difficulty sleeping, [experience] inefficiency in the work they do, and have problems with completing tasks; and timelining…remembering projects, those are all serious red flags,” explains Dr. Datis Kharrazian.

At first, we may not pay much attention to forgetting words or names or losing our grasp on instant recall. We dismiss the fact that we feel tired all the time and struggle to get eight hours of sleep nightly. Our joints and muscles ache, yet we just slap the air and tell ourselves, “It’s hell getting old.”

Dr. Datis Kharrazian is a Harvard Medical School research scholar, associate clinical professor of preventative medicine, fellow of the American College of Nutrition, and author of Why Isn’t My Brain Working? He says this overlooking, the idea of waiting for more serious signs, is the biggest mistake his patients make.

Without proper maintenance and no minor repair work, the supportive cells that keep our neurons in check get mad, go crazy, and eat each other up. Once this hyperinflammation becomes a problem, it isn’t too long before dementia sets in. The neurons that carry our thoughts and memories begin to shrivel and pull away, and we no longer create proper, healthy, sufficient neurotransmitters. These messages of action and renewal travel to and from the brain neurons to the gut neurons and, ultimately, to and from various body organs, to instigate proper thought and action: Doctor’s appointment tomorrow. I need to get up early to get my power walk in. I need to get list of medicines and supplements ready. Wait. What is that nurse’s name again? Is there gas in the car?

Instead of creating new, healthy, energetic cells that would efficiently spur our thoughts and keep the body rolling along, we can only muster weak, limp cells. In other words, cell renewal in the brain and body is no longer strong and vibrant. Consequently, the brain and body slowly rots away. Some people nonchalantly write this off as aging, but what is really happening is deterioration.

The good news is that you can renew your cells to be stronger and more vibrant. Over time, you can grow stronger and younger, as stated by authors Dr. Henry “Harry” Lodge and his patient Chris Crowley in their national bestseller, Younger Next Year.

Of course our hair will turn gray, and our skin will sag and wrinkle with the passing of time, but we can strengthen the muscles, heart, and brain. In fact, Dr. Lodge and Crowley contend that these can be even better, even younger, than before!

At 79, Harriet Anderson is the oldest woman to finish an ironman.

Montserrat Mecho boasts outstanding achievements and athletic prowess as an 80-year-old skydiver, windsurfer, skier, diver, and swimmer. Jack Weil has found success in another arena; at 107 years old, he is the CEO of a Western clothing company.

How did these awe-inspiring people do it? It doesn’t always require going back to business school or hiring an athletic trainer to accomplish these amazing feats. They first improved their brains.

And they did that in 4 ways, ways you can employ to keep your brain young.

  1. They grew strong, vibrant brain cells by aerobically exercising 5 to 6 days a week.
  2. They created energetic, vivacious supporting cells for their brain neurons by accomplishing new tasks many times every day. These mental accomplishments varied from a new way to drive home to new way to foam roll an aching muscle to understanding a new charge on their credit card statement.
  3. They created beefy, spirited neurotransmitters to communicate with the stomach and other organs in their body. This communication is called health.  The majority of our neurotransmitters are created in our gut brain, not in our head brain.  To create the correct neurotransmitters, you have to eat clean whole foods.  You have to get your Gut in Gear.  How do you do that?  To get started, get my  5 Secrets to Getting Your Gut in Gear, found here also.                                                                                                                                                                                                             And you might want to grab 9 Signs You’re Experiencing Brain Drain (1) 
  4. They continually repaired their brain through a healthy lifestyle, complete with purpose and responsibility.

What about you? You can carry your brain to better health.  You can get back to that confident place where you rely on your instant recall and memory, where you always find your words and continuously know what is going on around you.  Where you can snap a rebuttal and quickly close a deal.

For the continual brain fog and when something is ‘just not right’,  I give a service of  12 weeks to get your Gut in Gear.  Yea, your gut because beginning cognitive impairment, leading to Alzheimer’s and other dementias, is first a gut disease.

For those who are really slipping, my 12 month service, Brain in Gear, is a complete cognitive turn around, my Alzheimer’s/dementia REVERSAL program.

Yet, when these are not appropriate. I offer a counseling service, So It Will  Not Happen To Me, where I will point you in the right direction to a healthier brain and help you keep it healthy. It’s just two calls and after our agreement to work together and you receive my NDA (non disclosure) agreement and HIPPA agreement (this is no one’s business but yours and mine, this is serious), you give me your story and concerns and we’ll get you on a path to good brain health!

The bottom line is that you must maintain your brain health much like the way you maintain your home or anything else that is valuable and dear to you.

If neither service is right for you, let’s stay in touch.  You never know what the future may bring.  If you are not already, be a member of my Brain Health Revolution where I will email you about two to three times a month tips, tid bits, guides and articles on how to have a healthy brain.  You can join here.

You’re on your way to good brain health! I look forward to communicating with you soon.




[1] The terms “head brain” and “your brains” are not typographical errors! We all have two brains, the head brain, which sits atop our shoulders, and the gut brain. The gut brain harbors more neurotransmitters than the head brain, and damage to the gut brain is a major factor in most diseases. For more information, read my article “We Are Starving Our Brains and Don’t Even Realize It.”

Have you read my ebooklet: 9 Signs You Are Experiencing Brain Drain and How to Keep Your Brain Fully Charged to Ward Off Dementia? Get it here.

For a link to my brain quiz, click here.

For my guide to food substitutions, click here.





 The purpose of this information is to convey knowledge. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition or to be a substitute for advice from your healthcare professional. Sincerely, I wish you and yours the very best in brain health.                                                                                                                                   www.JanetRichPittman.com