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Making it Through the 4th, Secrets to Eating Right

 

You’re following my emails, blog posts and FaceBook posts giving hints and facts of eating to make you ‘brain smart’ and age ‘successfully’ and healthy. You’re feeling great. But now it’s time to go out to or host the BBQ gathering for the 4th.

Complete with BBQ pork ribs or pulled pork laden with sauce loaded with high fructose corn syrup, HFCS, and other preservative chemicals, a typical 4th of July food table will most probably abundantly host store made potato salad and cole slaw, potato chips, jarred spinach dip, corn chips, hamburgers and hot dogs for the kids, complete with water melon, maybe a box cake with red, white and blue icing and/or ‘gourmet’ cookies size of mini Frisbees.

And that is just the food.

What about ice chest full of sodas, red and blue dye sugar drinks, did you read my article We Are Dying Our Brains? get it here, various beers and low and behold pina coladas and daiquiri’s from bottled premix.

Of course this table and all its accoutrements is the center piece of any July 4th outing. Except for the watermelon and drowned cabbage in the slaw, the table serves no brain foods.

Okay, so what do you serve?

Here is a list of typical 4th of July foods, why they are brain bad for you complete with suggested substitutions.

Store Potato Salad
Why Bad: White potato is one of 5 White Brain Damaging foods. For the others check out the article I wrote here. Plus, what is that white stuff? Dairy? Oil? What type of oil?
Replacement Suggestion: If you have time to make homemade mayo and make your own pickles (some store bought are okay, read the ingredients!!!!) power to you and could you please come to my house? Like me, many of us are still trying to figure out if we invited everyone and who did we leave out along with what is the total to feed going to be and where is the grocery list again? much less cook all day for this event. So, tonight when you go to bed toss in the oven a couple of medium sweet potatoes cut into chunks with skin on and doused in olive oil, bake for about 30-40 minutes because you want them chewy smooth, not mush. Keep in the fridge or if ready to make the salad, add slices of apples (be sure to coat, maybe soak a bit first in real lemon juice so they will not turn brown), raisins and throw in some nuts, roasted walnuts or pecans and salt and pepper to taste. Viola! Great potato salad. (Yea, I always keep sweet potatoes in my refrige for quick go to side dish.)

Store Cole Slaw
Why Bad: Again, what’s the white stuff? Oil? Preservatives? Your brains don’t know how to digest all the hydrogenated oils and it is true torture to our brain cells. (Stay tuned for the how and why, that is my next big article.)
Replacement Suggestion: Buy your own cut up cabbage and add your own homemade mayo, recipe given below except add extra garlic or hot sauce or both. OR you could make a quick balsamic dressing with balsamic vinegar and EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). Not for the kids? What about ranch? Search the internet and make your own ranch dressing, yes there is a way, bit involved but taste is all natural and NOT commercial, so good for the kids!!! You’ll love it too!

Chips
Why Bad: Again, white potato problem, it’s a White Brain Damaging food. Why? How? Check out 5 White ‘Brain Damaging’ Foods article I wrote here. Plus it is cooked in hydrogenated omega 6 rich bad fat. Over time, omega 6 oils really do a number on your brain. (Again, that article is coming.)
Replacement Suggestion: if using for a base for a dip try sliced cucumbers, zucchini and yellow squash as crackers. For a snack,concentrate on serving good dips.  Keep reading, recipes coming.

Jarred Spinach Dip:
Why Bad: It’s a time issue, I get it. But there is nothing natural in that jar of spinach pulled off the rack by the potato chips. I mean really? Again, what is that white stuff.  To be honest, I am afraid to even read the ingredients.
Replacement Suggestion: Make your own spinach dip with homemade mayo, recipe below, and drained and thawed from frozen spinach from the grocery. Throw in few sprinkles of Cajun seasoning, be adventurous and add chopped water chestnuts, jalapeno peppers, cherry tomatoes or red bell pepper. No homemade mayo? When you make a batch once a week, there is no going back. Still no time, go to the gourmet deli cooler in the grocery, pick up spinach dip container and read the ingredients.
How to eat it? Celery hunks are GREAT for scooping, say NO to corn chips!

What about adding some of these following suggested items to your 4th of July table?

Homemade Hummus
How to make it easy: Once a month I soak, then boil up a bag of garbonzo beans, drain, cool, divide up and load one cup into a zip lock bag and freeze. When time to cook, I thaw out a bag night before and get up few minutes early and make the dip when I finish making breakfast. See another easy recipe below. Of course you have not done this for this forth gathering, but maybe next time or next event. For now, buy a can of garbanzo or chick peas at the store. Check the ingredients.
Replacement Suggestion: store bought hummus in the deli cooler, read the ingredients.
Dip with celery hunks, sliced cucumbers, zucchini and/or yellow squash.

Homemade Guacamole
How to make it easy: Easy is an understatement. Making fresh guac is time consuming. Actually peeling and seeding the avocados is the heavy time consuming part. So, next time, divide it up. Buy your avocados say week before needed. For the ripe avocados, peel and pull out the seed the night before you have to whip it up and serve the dip.  For storage, make sure you seal well so flesh will not brown. Then toss all ingredients together and poof, great guac at hand. I do have a great guac recipe but I do not have it ready at this article publication date. Stay tuned.
Replacement Suggestion: You can find all natural store made guac but I have not found one that is fantastic. If you have, tell us from what store and let’s try it out!

 

The 4th of July, it’s a fun event. I get it and it only happens once a year. But instead of grabbing or serving a box cake and Frisbee size cookies, celebrate the summer with blackberry almond/coconut flour cobbler or simple watermelon slices along with all your other foods you have made substitutions for.

If time is not on your side, just serve your best. Hopefully this article will plant a seed, giving other ways of eating healthy for both your brains.

Want more suggestions for everyday substitutions? Check out my three page white paper 5 Secrets to Getting Your Gut-in-Gear, click here for the link.

Maybe you could make spinach dip and hummus your ‘go to’ quick and easy chip and dip food. Over time you will be able to snap them up and get good at improvising, adding different ingredients for additional flavors.

Concerned the kids or other family will not like it? They probably won’t, now. But if you keep serving all natural foods and making suggestions such as these given, they will have no other choice but to starve. Of course they are not going to starve, I don’t mean to be harsh, just making the point. Eventually they will come around, I promise! You are, you are coming around, right? Don’t give in, we all benefit from tough love.

Over time, your family and friends will want no one else’s _____________ (you fill in the blank) but yours.

Happy 4th of July and thank you God for giving us the freedom to make choices and substitutions.

Helping us Get our Gut-in-Gear so to keep our memory, have good brain health and age successfully.

Mayo Recipe
1 egg yolk
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice (got to be fresh or else taste is way off)
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup REGULAR olive oil (extra virgin is tooooo strong)
With an emulsion hand held stir blender, blend first five ingredients. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while blending. It will get very thick. If you want it a bit thinner, add little bit egg white back in. (Yes it is raw but the lemon juice and salt ‘cook’ the egg!) (What to do with extra egg white?  Throw it in your next smoothie!)

Hummus
1 can (15oz give or take) drained garbanzo beans, sometimes called chick peas (really try and boil your own because can brine is taste displeaser)
3-4 Tablespoons lemon juice (juice from one large lemon, got to be real!)
1 large clove garlic
½ cup tahini (this is sunflower seed paste concoction found in many Mediterranean dishes, can get it at the store, check the ingredients, get as all natural as possible with no additives, some processors add soy and other preservatives, again read the ingredients!)
salt and 5 or so rounds of cracked pepper
¼ teaspoon cumin
2 Tablespoons water (you could use left over egg white if making mayo)
3 Tablespoons olive oil (can be EVOO, depends on your taste)

With hand help emulsion blender or in a lid covered blender, add all ingredients except oil. After you get a paste consistency, trickle in oil to emulsify. Next time instead of cumin, add z’atar seasoning or Cajun seasoning, or sundried tomatoes and basil or add a red bell pepper or loaded it up with just garlic.

PS—these are my tried and true recipes.  Hope you enjoy! Get my 5 Secrets to Getting Your Gut-in-Gear.  You’ll get a laugh and learn too!

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.

www.JanetRichPittman.com

For a better brain…which diet is best for YOU?

Our brain fog, forgetfulness and severe energy depletion is taking its toll and wearing us down.

Recent healthcare mantra touts this is NOT part of normal aging yet when consistently experienced, leads to dementia.

So you perk up and pay a bit more attention to your health, your actions and what healthcare professionals are saying: that our cognitive impairment, brain fog, forgetfulness and lack of energy begins in our gut brain, it starts by the foods we eat.

Yes we have a gut brain, a small and separate nervous system in our gut that communicates with our head brain. Communication between these two brains is called… health. For more details on this in ‘easy English’ you can read this article I wrote here.

Bottom line: for our head brain to function at top performance we must first get our gut brain in order and functioning correctly. And we do that by accessing our diet and changing what we eat.

“But what about these other brain helping diets? Where do they fit in?” you say maddened with confusion in reference to the

MEND,
DASH,
MIND,
Meditterranean ,
Paleo,
Keto-Ketogenic,
FMD-Fasting Mimicking Diet,
Longevity ,
Nordic,
Atkins,
MAD and
SAD diets.

For an explanation of each one, click here.

Well yes, the majority of these diets will help some with improving their brain health, but the problem is, the same diet will not work the same on all people.  Just ONE diet will not work for all because everyone is different with different genes, different lifestyles, different motivations and different health conditions. And yes, different too based on what you have historically eaten, even since a baby.

Specifically, depending on a person’s DNA, which codes for the amino acids that make up proteins and proteins power our cells, people will require different diets to optimize their own health. This is also why pharmaceutical drugs won’t work the same in every person and may result in a whole host of different side effects.

Every diet must be different for every person based on their microbiome, head brain/gut brain connection and their daily activities of life.

Making eating changes in finding that perfect diet is very doable with smart choices and easy substitutions. Taste buds change, you begin to feel the difference. Pretty soon the good food choices start to crowd out the bad where there is no question of what to eat.

Here’s where I suggest people start. I’ve put it together in an easy to consume (get it?) Gut in Gear guide with 5 easy swaps to better health – even before you take on the diet.

GET THE GUIDE here NOW

Helping you keep your memory, have good brain health and age successfully. Here’s to your good brain health!

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.  

                                                                                  www.JanetRichPittman.com  

 

 

Janet is a Certified Dementia Practitioner and former Dementia Healthcare Administrator.  After years of being at the bedside, holding your mother’s hand trying to caress the dementia away, Janet immersed herself in brain research.  Now Janet is on a mission to power up people’s brains to prevent Alzheimer’s and other dementias, even reverse cognitive impairment.  Learn more about Janet here.

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, what happens in vagus doesn’t stay in vagus in this case!

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:

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, they 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 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, right 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.  
                    www.JanetRichPittman.com