Tag Archive for: Janet Rich Pittman

Brain Healthy Christmas Cookies to Spread the Joy

Holidays and special events…we all overeat, especially at Christmas.  It is so hard to turn away and not indulge during the celebrations. Every specialty food is loaded with preservatives, additives and yes…sugar.  But I have found a Christmas Cookie which gives the perfect ingredients for the proper, nutritious feeding of our head brains and our gut brains without excess sugar.

These cookies date back to the middle ages when the advent of celebrating the birth of Christ began to replace traditional European solstice rituals.  Around this same time, commerce instigated gastronomic changes into the world of cooking, particularly introducing foreign spices.

Nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper, along with other spices, were just starting to become widely used with dried exotic fruits like citron, apricots and dates adding sweetness and texture to desserts.

These ingredients, along with sugar were not always readily available and quite expensive.  Combined with lard or butter, gastronomic treats hosting these ingredients would have been prized as expensive delicacies.  Only on the most important holiday could families afford treats like these which led to a baking bonanza to prepare for Christmas.

And unlike pies or cakes, cookies could be easily shared and given to friends and neighbors. Christmas cookies date back to these medieval gifts.

For example peppery Papparkakor from Sweden, lemony Krumkake from Norway, almond flavored Letterbanket from Holland and/or spicy Lebkuchen from Germany are traditional Christmas delicacies.

Granted, however similar, ingredients today are not the same ingredients of the middle ages.  So in translating traditional ingredients for modern day ingredients, we have two basic ‘good head brain and gut brain’ problems…flour, specifically gluten, and sugar.  In analyzing these historic Christmas cookie recipes for healthy brain ingredients, Lebkuchen from Germany, holds the best promise as it calls for no flour, you can make it low sugar and it has a high ratio of nuts.  Honestly:  this recipe is a bit involved but the taste without the guilt is so worth the effort.  Treat you and yours.  Merry Christmas.

Thanks go to economist David D. Friedman for his medieval German cookbook research and Kimberly Killebrew, her website, The Daring Gourmet, for the inspiration for making this dish brain food accessible.


German Lebkuchen


  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups honey
  • 1 teaspoon quality pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 2 cups hazelnut meal ^
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons Lebkuchengewürz, homemade preferred(see **below for the recipes)
  • 4 ounces candied lemon peel, homemade preferred, **
  • 4 ounces candied orange peel, homemade preferred, **
  • Blanched whole almonds cut in half lengthwise +

^I did not have any hazelnut meal in the pantry so I used 4 cups of almond meal and cookies were superb!

+just buy sliced Almonds at grocery

For the Chocolate Glaze:

  • 3 ounces quality dark chocolate powder
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil – do not use butter

Directions: Place chocolate and oil in a small bowl and slowly heat, stirring occasionally, until melted. If glaze becomes firm, reheat.


1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
2. Pulse candied lemon and orange peel in a food processor until finely minced. Set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until foamy. Add the sugar, honey and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
4. Add the ground almonds and hazelnuts, salt, baking powder, Lebkuchengewürz, and candied lemon and orange peels and stir vigorously until thoroughly combined. (You can use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat for about 2 minutes). The mixture will be wet but if it is too thin to scoop add some more almond or hazelnut meal.
5. Scoop blobs of the mixture onto a greazed or parchment paper lined cookie sheet and press down with the bottom of a glass to make flat. Dip glass in bit coconut oil if dough sticks.
6. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 25-28 minutes. Remove the cookie sheet and allow to cool completely.
7. Once cooled, place a wire rack over a cookie sheet (to catch the drippings). Dip half the Lebkuchen in the chocolate glaze letting the excess drip back into the bowl and then place the Lebkuchen on the wire rack. Arrange 3 almonds on each Lebkuchen while the glaze is still wet and leave out to hardened.
8. Keep stored in an airtight container or in refrigerator to keep chocolate solid if you have hot Christmas weather. They will keep for several weeks and the flavor improves with time.
9. Makes about 35


Authentic Lebkuchengewürz (German Holiday Spice Blend)**

THE essential ingredient to authentic tasting Lebkuchen, absolutely NOTHING compares to the bold and vibrant flavors of homemade Lebkuchengewürz!
Servings: 4 tablespoons


  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground green cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground star anise
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions–Combine the spices together and store in an airtight jar in a cool, dark place for up to one year.


How to Make non sugary Candied Lemon and Orange Peels**

Store bought candied citrus peels coated in crystallized sugar loaded with preservatives and additives is NOT what we want. Honey is the answer.  Plus the taste is so much nicer.  (These homemade citrus peels are the 2nd key to good tasting Lebkuchen.)



  • Peels from 3 oranges and 4 lemons (Can also use grapefruits, Meyer lemons, limes as long as washed and scrubed as citrus is highly sprayed. Use organic if possible.)
  • 2 cups water
  • ¾ cup honey



  1. Slice both ends of the citrus fruits and remove peel. You can remove a little of the white pith but not necessary.  (I just keep all my citrus peels and store in freezer and pull out when needed.) Slice the peels into ¼ inch wide strips.
  2. Cover peels in water and boil for 15 minutes, pour in a colander to drain and rinse twice.
  3. Boil 2 cups fresh water and honey to blend honey. Bring peels to a boil then simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally or until peels become translucent.
  4. Use splotted spoon to remove peels to a wire rack to drip dry. Save excess syrup and add to your smoothie or hot tea.
  5. You can wait to cool to immediately use in Lebkuchen or keep drying for one or two days. Can store in airtight container in refrigerator for few months.


Lefties have Better Brains


Your dominant hand, whether  left or right, is determined by the functions of your brain and is part of your cognition.  And lefties have better, healthier brains, better in the sense in that their brains are ‘fatter’, they have more brain cells.

Your dominant hand is determined

by the functions of your brain and

is part of your cognition.

New brain cells make you smarter, quicker, giving you instant recall and allowing for proper snap decision making.  We all need new brain cells, so how did lefties gain the advantage?


Let’s travel back to 8th grade science, where we learned that our right hand is controlled by the left side of our brain and the actions of our left hand are controlled by the right side of our brain.  But we need to make sure we realize that both sides of our brain DO NOT mirror each other.[i] Each side is responsible for certain actions and we have a bundle of nerves called the corpus calosum[ii] that link the two hemispheres which are in part, responsible for inter-hemispheric communication (in other words, both sides communicating for proper brain function).


Lefties use these corpus calosum nerves  when challenged with right hand actions.  Their thoughts, dominant on the right side of their brain are forced to communicate with the left side of their brain.  This forced communication creates new brain cells.[iii]  Consequently, lefties have a larger bundle of these corpus calosum nerves linking our two brain hemispheres than do righties.

Left handed individuals

have more of the corpus calosum nerve fibers

than right handed individuals.



When  we humans learn something new and process new facts, we create new connecting brain cells or synapse[iv].  These are cells that string neurons together and continue your train of thought.


Lefties are constantly learning and processing new information.   And it is because… we live in a right handed world.


Lefties are constantly

 learning and processing

new information.

Reading is backwards, for lefties, to them we should read right to left.  Writing is backwards too.   In our school years, desks were all for right handers.  Scissors and string instruments played havoc, maybe still do, as well.  And through life:

  • Numbers and the ‘enter’ key are on the wrong side of computer keyboards,
  • Phone and mouse are on wrong side of a desk,
  • Major tools are right hand equipped,
  • Door handles and locks are opposite what the inclination is,
  • Everyone greets with the wrong hand as well as
  • Bumps elbows while eating with groups.
  • Credit card swipes are on the right and
  • Even the direction for driving our cars is in favor of right handed folks.

The list goes on and on.


So it’s quite understandable how lefties’ brains develop more cells, they are constantly processing a new way to accomplish a task, a task that is counter to their inclination to reach with their left hand, a task that we righties have already established a routine for.  Voluntary muscles and the nervous system is in automatic gear for righties.  With everything made for the right hand, there is no need for righties to ponder or think of another, new way.


A challenge for righties, especially on national left hander’s day August 13 every year, is to grow more brain cells, create more synapse by using your left hand.


If on your computer, right now, move your mouse to the left side of your keyboard.  If you still have a box phone, change sides too.  If you only use a cell, keep it always on your left.


Turn off the light switch, which is on the right side of the door usually, and grab then use the TV remote with your left hand.  Put your keys in your left pocket, swing your purse over your left shoulder.  Tonight, brush your teeth with your left hand.  Be more observant and whenever you reach your right hand, stop and accomplish the task with your left hand.


Yea, it’s hard.  You really have to stop and process your actions.  This awkwardness, this difficulty is the evidence that in fact, you are creating more brain cells.


The awkwardness, the difficulty in using your left hand

for various everyday tasks

is evidence you are creating more brain cells.

If you are truly serious about creating more synapse, building up your brain cell synapse foundation to truly have good brain health then  enacting on these ‘left handed ‘ actions cannot be just for today.  You have to do this for the rest of your life.


If you are truly serious about building up your brain,

 to have good brain health,

use your left hand for the rest of your life.

Your new goal?  To become ambidextrous.  Yep, righties, change everything you do, from this point forward, except for writing, and do it with your left hand.  You will know you have accomplished this new goal of creating a thicker area of corpus calosum nerves, of fattening up your brain, when it feels more odd to accomplish a task with your right hand than with your left.


At that time, try working on writing with your left hand.  And never stop creating more brain cells.


I’ve been ‘left handing it’ for a number of years and still have trouble styling my hair with my left hand.  I don’t yet write with my left but I sign my name and initial with my left hand and prefer to use my left hand for many tasks now.  Again, it is a continuous life goal to become ambidextrous!


To progress in life and age successfully, we need as many brain cells as we can keep functioning.  Strive for a fatter brain.  Righties, take a play from the lefty play book and always try and use your left hand for your dominant hand.


Wishing for you good brain health, giving you pointers, tools and tips for the best in brain health,



[i] http://www.rightleftrightwrong.com/brain.html


[ii] http://science.sciencemag.org/content/229/4714/665.long


[iii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18612086

[iv] Whitlock JR, Heynen AJ, Shuler MG and Bear MF. Learning induces long-term potentiation in the hippocampus. Science. 25 August 2006, 313(5790): 1093-1097



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.


Janet Rich Pittman
SCALA, CDP, Brain Health Specialist, Dementia Prevention Specialist,
Dementia Administrator, Dementia Practitioner


For more ways to power up your brain, read my ebooklet, 9 Signs You’re Experiencing Brian Drain with Ways to Keep Your Brain Fully Charged.  The electronic version is free or $7.99 for a printed version, shipping included.

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!

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!)

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.


5 White, ‘Brain Damaging’ Foods

They kill your brain cells, point blank. Over time, brain fog, lack of memory, and additional cognitive impairment leading to Alzheimer’s and other dementias pursues.


What are “they”?  The 5 white brain damaging foods.  These include:

1) white wheat flour

2) white rice

3) white corn (yes it is white when processed, when the skin is removed)

4) white potato and

5) white sugar


All of the above damage, stop or even kill the neurotransmitter communication between your gut brain (the gastrointestinal tract or GI tract) and your head brain (the Central Nervous System).   With no communication, the cells in both brains die.


Here’s how the killing spree begins:


It starts with gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.


Some perspective. Did you know that we humans have nearly 23,000 genes in our bodies? Guess how many wheat gluten has? The answer: around 150,000.


So, in a nutshell, we can’t digest gluten, which essentially eats us, not the reverse.

According to Alessio Fasano, M.D., the father of ‘no gluten’, Harvard scientist and author of book, Gluten Freedom, whether you are a celiac disease victim or not, gluten dissolves the lining of every consumer’s small intestine allowing partially digested foods to seep out of the intestine into gut tissues, eventually ending up in your blood.  Your immune system is called in to attack these invading, partially digested food particles.


Think of it this way, your immune system is constantly in attack mode whenever you eat:


  • cereal for breakfast
  • a donut for morning snack
  • a  sandwich for lunch, along with crackers and pretzels for an afternoon snack
  • a roll with dinner or
  • a cookie for a midnight snack


Do this every day, 365 days a year, for all of your life (but hopefully not beyond this reading) …and your immune system never rests.  It just sort of goes mad, crazy.

As your immune system eats up all the invading chemicals, it eats up the good healthy cells too.  This is called chronic inflammation or hyper inflammation.


Gluten eventually gets into your blood, eats the lining of the blood vessels and breaks the blood head brain barrier where these undigested particles seep out into your brain, depositing toxins and other invading chemicals.


The head brain’s own separate immune system (the glyphatic system) is then called into action to flush out these foreign invaders.  BUT, it too goes mad, resulting in hyper inflammation and killing more head brain cells, the good and the bad.


Additionally, the blood bowel barrier is also broken where foreign invaders run rampant and hyper inflammation ensues (no one ever talks about that—hello IBS, hemorrhoids, constant diarrhea or other elimination troubles!)


The solution and the near instant reversal of such problems?


Give up the gluten!


AND say bye bye to white foods that turn into sugar, like white potatoes, rice and corn — all simple carbohydrates which turn immediately into sugar.


Did you now that consumption of excess sugar creates insulin resistance? Let’s take a look at this.


Insulin is needed to get nutrients into our cells. It’s also a major switching station for many processes in the body. We all know the pancreas produces insulin.  Well, our head brain also produces insulin and head brain insulin is specifically used to get nutrients into our head brain cells.


The more sugar we eat, the more insulin is needed to get the nutrients up in the head brain cells, until finally our brain just gets worn out and quits producing insulin, and becomes insulin resistant.


And really, can you blame it?  It is over worked with trying to get rid of the sugar plus it has better things to do like ensure the heart keeps beating and the lungs get enough oxygen.

Kim and Feldman from the neurology department at the University of Michigan published a study reviewing insulin resistance at the core of developing Alzheimer’s disease.


Interestingly, another name for some types of dementia and varying stages of Alzheimer’s is “Diabetes III”.

Here, the insulin resistant brain cells are starving, our head brain immune system then goes mad, and all this results in hyper inflammation…all due to our MAD diet (Modern American Diet).


Yes, we are doing this to ourselves. The top caloric intake foods in the United States as per the US Dietary Guideline Advisory Committee: grains/dessert breads, breaded chicken, soda, pizza, alcoholic beverages and pasta.  Look at how the 5 White Damaging Brain Foods make up the top of the MAD diet and perhaps the daily diet for many of us.


To make sure we keep our memory and full cognizance as well as overall good health, we’ve got to treat and feed both our head brain and our gut brain with all natural, no processed foods, specifically staying away from the 5 White Brain Damaging Foods…I’ll say it again….white wheat flour, white rice, white corn, white potatoes and white sugar.


What you eat, affects your brain. Eat to better your brain, not damage it.


Helping get and keep your Gut-in-Gear so you can keep your memory, have good brain health and age successfully,






Alessio Fasano, M.D.


Info on no gluten:

His book, Gluten Freedom

And video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=0rTAhlJ9PMM

Kim and Feldman from the neurology department at the University of Michigan published a study reviewing insulin resistance is at the core of developing Alzheimer’s disease.




Special thanks to Healthy Meals Supreme, reprinted from their blog https://healthymealssupreme.com/5-white-brain-damaging-foods/



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.



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 way, 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.


Diets in Action – Diets for Brain Health

Anne was caring at her home for her mother suffering from beginning Alzheimer’s said she would do anything for her mother but needed to keep her career moving. A strict ketogenic diet was my advice for the beginning of her mother’s protocol reversal program yet Anne did not know what a keto diet was nor did she have time to cook one. The first step in getting her mother’s cognitive decline stopped and leveled out was 1. hiring home health care to help with activities of daily living and activities in the protocol plan and 2. subscribing to delivery of fresh Keto meals and snacks.

Bob’s cognitive impairment was slight, not full blown Alzheimer’s yet along with some other issues, his LP-IR score was high and his sdLDL was too high so the ketogenic diet was not for him. He was a sugar fiend and his leptin receptors shot, they were non functioning. So while difficult at first, we did get him off sugar, licorice tea was most helpful, and got his gut in gear with specific individualized dietary tools and methods which paved the way to work further on his cognitive impairment.

When I am counseling folks in my Brain-in-Gear Program, I start by addressing their symptoms based on the food they eat, their microbiome, their personality and their life activities. Again, this is a START.  For the Brain-in-Gear Program I spend an entire 12 months with them fully addressing their bodily health and cognitive performance through a developed protocol for them, an individualized and specifically tailored plan of action created just for them. (My actions are based on my experiences as a dementia administrator, dementia practitioner and schooling under Dr. Dale Bredesen, the first MD research scientist to scientifically reverse 109 of 110 patients/participants under clinical trials suffering cognitive impairment in ‘beginning to middle’ Alzheimer’s.)

Developing an individual’s protocol begins with what they eat. And after learning what they eat I suggest making small changes inroad to getting their gut in gear.

And when their gut is indeed in gear, when they have a clean gastronomic palate, a ‘clear as can be’ canvas of operation, a foundation of health we both can count on, I then can help further identify the cause of the cognitive weakening and other symptoms they are experiencing. That’s right, a precursor to my Brain-in-Gear Program is my Gut-in-Gear Program.

No cookies after every meal? No nightly ice cream before bed? Drinking only once or twice a week? Yes, this first step, making the small dietary changes, is the hardest. (Yet I make it easy though, first with substitutions.) And for most, making these changes is huge, even significantly life altering. But that is what we want, correct? A definite change in our cognitive behavior, a return to ‘normal’ thinking. Our brain function has changed for the worse, now we must change it back to the better.

And that change does not happen out of the gate. A colt is not going to win the Kentucky Derby without winning a few preliminary races.

So to get the gut in gear for cognitive impairment, it’s a slow steady process. It 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 – it’s a start!


But, the temptations to fall back to the old ways of eating are vast and easy, hampering morale and confidence. Plus you really don’t know exactly what to eat or not to eat.  Again, I address that in the full Gut-in-Gear Program.  You try new things, new substitutions.  But in this beginning, after your first taste of horrible diary free ice cream, you will never want to try anyone else’s dairy free anything again, so I am going to give you my Super Secret 5 Best Tips for Getting your Gut-n-Gear.

It’s a guide of examples in making lateral shifts. And it’s a start. If you would like more help in truly getting your Gut-in-Gear so to firstly get and then keep your Brain-in-Gear. investigate participating in my Gut-in-Gear Program.

On this 5 Secrets substitution list,  enjoy what you find, and tell me how/if they relate to you. Also, share any other substitutions that have worked for you.

Helping to keep your memory, age successfully and have good brain health, 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.  



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.

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

Meditterranean ,
FMD-Fasting Mimicking Diet,
Longevity ,
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.


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.  




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. She has a 9 Step Alzheimer’s Reversal and Memory Retention Process to develop an individualized protocol  and get that memory back and keep it! Here are the steps.  Here is there explanation. Click here to learn more about Janet.

Explanatory List of Brain Diets

Here is a list of brain enhancing diets.  The recommendation for my Gut in Gear participants is based on their current cognitive abilities and is tailored to them depending on THEIR microbiome, lifestyle, genes, health condition and motivation.  My suggestions are a combination of many of these diets.



Metabolic Enhanced Neurodegerative Diet or Mind Exercise Nutrition Do It,

Combination of a Paleo and Keto diet




Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension

Various servings of specific all natural foods from U.S.-based National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute



MIND— Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay

Eating specific all natural foods per a scheduled number of times a day or week.

From Tufts University




Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil. Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods. Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month.



Paleo-Cave Man diet, all natural foods around paleo times.



Keto-Ketogenic Diet—low carb, high fat diet.



FMD-Fasting Mimicking Diet

1100 dropping to 800 calories a day for 5 days to mimic a water fasting diet.

From Dr. Valter Longo



Longevity Diet

Eat whole grains and high quantities of vegetables (tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, legumes, etc.) with generous amounts of olive oil (3 tablespoons per day) and nuts (1 ounce per day).

From Dr. Valter Longo



Nordic Diet

Eating that focuses on locally sourced foods in the Nordic countries — Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. … Compared to an average Western diet, it contains less sugar and fat but twice the fiber and seafood.



Atkins—low carb diet

From Dr. Robert Atkins



MAD (current 21century)  Modern American Diet

SAD (current 21century) Standard American Diet


To figure out which diet is best for you and your brain health…click here.

Or if you want to quickly talk, for free, about how to resolve your brain health issues click here to schedule an appointment.


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 professionals. Sincerely, I wish you and yours the very best in brain health.   




Janet is a Certified Dementia Practitioner, a Masters Health and Wellness Coach specializing in Dementia 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.

Greek Yogurt and Kefir—Are They ‘Brain’ Safe to Eat?

No, and here are four quick reasons, but…

The four reasons:




Gut Intolerance


Casein is a protein that envelopes nutrients and will not allow their absorption.  So when you put fruit on your cereal and coat it with milk, it is a waste, you just pass all the nutrients.

IGF-1, or insulin growth factor1, is a hormone our bodies naturally create and which dairy consumption increases.  We need IGF-1 to develop and grow our bodies from infancy onward but after our late 20s, when our brain has fully developed, we don’t produce as much or need as much, a balance must be established.  When we don’t have enough IGF-1 our brain function suffers, when we have too much, damage ensures due to overabundance, damage like cancer progression.  Just let your body makes its own IGF-1, and you do that by eating clean, go moderate on meat proteins and by-pass the milk.

Lactose is a type of sugar that requires a special enzyme to digest it.  Many folks don’t produce this enzyme or call it up to digest the lactose in milk.  Consequently, bloating, pain, cramps, diarrhea, gas, nausea and possibly vomiting –just general all out stomach torture–is a result of not being able to digest the lactose. Is this you?  If not, intolerance has been known to occur suddenly so be watchful, just bypass the milk.

Even if you seem to digest milk okay, it still messes up your gut flora; it keeps your microbiome off kilter.  Gut imbalance leads to difficulty digesting foods, inflammation and overall problems with immunity.

Yet with everything, there is an exception….kefir and Greek yogurt.  Again, your microbiome must be in balance, the good and the bad bacteria equaling out. Your microbiome needs just a bit of fermented food to keep the good bacteria stirring and working.  Fermented products such as kefir and Greek yogurt can give the gut needed bacteria and help it stay in balance.  But, understanding the intolerance, just omit it from your diet. Eat kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi and miso; these are other fermented foods that will certainly do the gut bacteria balance trick.

If Greek yogurt and or kefir are all you have and if you can tolerate it, consume it with the knowledge of IGF-1 and casein. To get around casein, eat your Greek yogurt or kefir first thing in the morning with no additives and at least 30 minutes to an hour prior to consuming with other foods. In other words, no blueberries with the yogurt and wait an hour before you sip on your morning bone broth.  To ease with the IGF-1 production and prevent an overload, go easy on other animal proteins same day.

Basically know, only baby cows are to drink cow’s milk. Omit it from your diet to ensure the best brain health.

So how do you get rid of dairy?  If you are used to it every day, i.e. nightly ice cream, yogurt or cream in your coffee, check out my 5 Secrets to Getting Your Gut in Gear, found here.

Here’s to your good brain health,



Janet Rich Pittman, SCALA, CDP

Brain Health Specialist


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.


Again, if you are used to it every day, i.e. nightly ice cream, yogurt or cream in your coffee, how do you get rid of dairy?  Check out my 5 Secrets to Getting Your Gut in Gear, found here.










8 in 2018: YOUR Top Questions Regarding YOUR Brain Health and Dementia

8 in 2018: Answers to YOUR Most Frequently Asked Questions:

1.In the Q&A after your speech, you advised never to retire. Could you go over that again.

Janet: That’s right. Never retire your brain, always keep it working for the rest of your life, specifically working to solve new problems or challenges. From shopping in a new grocery store to learning a foreign language to finding a tutor for your son/grandson, these are brain exercises.

Brain exercising is putting new information on top of old for an accomplishment, for a result. Here is the ketch: you have to have many of these new accomplishments EVERY DAY. How many? No one knows for sure. The only science I have found behind this is that college educated individuals and/or those devoted to continuing education and the usage of it, mentally last the longest.

Also to ensure your mind keeps churning all of its gears, one must have something to sink their teeth into, a purpose in life, a reason to get up and go every morning. Fine if you want to ‘retire’ from your current job. We all need a change of pace, a different routine, less stress. But…

Light two of your brain candles with one flame…get a new job!! This way, you never retire your brain and you always have a challenge before you. Brain challenge/brain exercising examples at your new job: learning a new software, understanding new company procedures and keeping up with the names of all the new employees. Plus, you’ll have some fun mad money! Never RETIRE!!!! Here is 1.47 minute video I made talking more about what happens when you finally get there, get to retirement.

Here is an article I wrote describing the number 1 side job you need to get to help your brain.




2. Hello, I watched your advice on the news and you brought up balancing hormones so do you believe in taking bio-identical hormones? would that really make a difference? I really am scared to take those because of breast cancer but I noticed my memory is getting worse, I cannot speak the words I want during conversation.

Janet: Yes, I believe in bio-identical hormones, at any age FOR ANY GENDER. But you must take what your body is missing, not just a prescription for any and all. You are right, too many hormones can cause cancer, but what they don’t tell you is that not enough hormones can cause cancer AND memory problems.

And about needing to stop and think about what to say, the words you are thinking not coming out of your mouth…that tells me your synapse brain cells are weak. This symptom is a direct correlation to hormone imbalance, poor nutrition and lack of sleep, each or a combination of them all successfully balanced. There is no cure for memory loss and mental weakness BUT there are actions, primarily a combination of, that you must revolve your life in and around so to better your mental health. Here is a signature article I wrote, How to Keep Our Brains Young.





3. My parents are both in good physical health, my dad is 85 and my mom is 78. Do you think their diet of high carbs, processed foods, white bread, and sugar is contributing to their brain drain?
Janet: Quick answer is yes. To understand why, take about a 20 minute read of my most popular give away 9 Signs You’re Experiencing Brain Drain with Ways To Keep Your Brain Fully Charged, here.

Perhaps all three of you could read one of my signature articles I wrote, We Are Starving our Brains and Don’t Even Realize It  or Why Are Our Parents and GrandParents Coming Down with Alzhiemer’s and Other Dementias.

All these writing talk about the 6 WHITE Brain Damaging Foods we consume wholeheartedly without knowing in our daily diets…white sugar, white flour, white rice, white potatoes, white corn (it is white when processed after it’s endosperm, shell, is taken away) plus these last four turn to sugar, along with all milk products (this includes cheese).

For more on the Brain Damaging Foods, here is another article.

Your parents might enjoy 5 Secrets to Getting Your Gut in Gear, found here also.





4. “I eat whole grain wheat, rice, oats & flax meal. If I quit putting milk with these, what can I use? What do you eat for breakfast?”
Janet:  I suggest no wheat whatsoever, wheat contains most gluten of our food consumption and in a phrase summary, gluten opens/dissolves the lining of our small intestine, for everyone who consumes wheat, celiac disease or no. Thus, partially digested food seeps out of our intestines, seeps into our blood, digests the lining of our arteries, breaks the blood brain barrier and eventually causes hyper inflammation. As we are all different, with different DNA and different immune performance levels, bodies react differently. Dr. Alessio Fasano, brought over from a University in Italy by MIT who now practices at Harvard discovered this and wrote a book on it, Gluten Freedom.

For rice, only wild and brown, if brown, try to get the sprouted, it is just easier on the digestive track. Oats have a hint of gluten, go easy on them and get oats that have not been processed, get preferably steel cut, 2nd choice get old fashion. When they are processed their endosperm (shell) is removed from being heated and bleached (in order to cook quicker and look nice) which pulls away the natural nutrients from oats.

Flax meal, great!! Good omega 3.

For your oatmeal, you could also stir in a bit of almond butter, honey, molasses or maple syrup—just a bit though, sugar, any type eventually is bad for you. We cook steel cut oatmeal in filtered water and add Extra Virgin Olive Oil (great antioxidant and is needed to help with sticking, you could add either grass fed butter or coconut oil) and Vietnamese Cinnamon, the taste is so much better

For my breakfast: I stick to protein, smart carbs and veggies
Today: I had left over of shrimp casserole, fresh kale from my Dad’s garden, carrots and 2 slices of bacon with green tea.
Shrimp Casserole: made with basis of a puree of freshly roasted mirlton or cayote squash mixed with eggs, flax seed meal, sprinkle of tapioca flour for thickening, cajun spiced ghee sautee of fresh shrimp my buddy caught, not farm raised shrimp.

Yesterday’s Breakfast: kale (from my Dad’s garden), carrots, egg muffin, bacon, celery with almond butter, green tea
Egg Muffin: onions, garlic, celery, green red and yellow bell pepper sauteed in bit of bacon grease placed in butter greased muffin tins (6 muffin sections in tin) and topped with stirred up eggs, baked till set and put in refrigerator.

Day before: kale (from my Dad’s garden), left over baked chicken with fresh herb butter sauce, carrots, ½ green banana, green tea

My carbs: I only eat smart carbs which are complex carbs: all vegetables, occasional beans, wild and sprouted brown rice, quinoa rarely (once month–gluten issue).




5. I can’t believe that you eat bacon or grease.

Janet: I personally eat a ½ keto, ½ paleo diet, no gluten and low low fruit diet. Your brain is mostly fat, it needs fat to help the nutrients swim all around and be accurately distributed. Good fat is necessary for good brain health, but you cannot combine it with bad fats like trans fats or hydrogenated oils (canola, sesame seed, corn, etc.). It’s like putting water in oil, it doesn’t mix, digest, assimilate into your cells correctly. The only fats you should be eating are grass fed natural animal fats (butter and fat in meats), olive oil, coconut oil.

A marathon runner, age 62, I counseled was having memory issues and finance issues, he could not understand numbers any longer. After a quick review of his lifestyle and diet he was a perfect Alzheimer’s prevention specimen except for his diet. For years, decades, he followed a low fat, high complex carb, high protein diet. Insulin resistance was a contributing factor but mainly, the lack of fat took it’s toll on his brain. After some key supplements based on further testing and a strict ketogenic diet (diet high in fats), he now tutors his coworkers in spread sheet formula development.  He was starving his brain of fats.   To learn more you would enjoy an article I wrote on Starving Your Brain.

Mr. Marathon Runner: at 62, he still runs by the way.




6. You say go super low on sugar, what about fruit? I eat a lot of fruit.

Janet: Sugar…consumption and processing/digestion of it truly depends on each person. Just keep it as low as possible and only from natural sources, fruits, honey, maple syrup, molasses, homegrown stevia leaves. Just know ball park your body and brain can only successfully process/digest 5-8-10 grams sugar a day. And don’t sleep on it. If you consume fruit or any sugar, consume as little as possible and be sure and consume before 2pm so to process all your sugar and not interfere with your sleep.  Need help sleeping and staying asleep? If my 19 Ways to Get to Sleep and Stay Sleeping flyer does not do the trick, email me and let’s schedule some one-on-one time together.  We can get you sleeping!




7.You say we must do physical exercise, brain exercise and eliminate chronic stress. I walk about 30 minutes daily when I do my praying. I assume this helps as praying reduces my stress. Because I am busy with e-mail reading & correspondence, and reading 2 Christian magazines is this a good amount of reading?

Janet: Just make sure you get some huffing and puffing in that walk, God will approve!!!. Extra oxygen up in your brain along with a faster than normal beating heart activates your Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor which gets your glia cells reproducing faster and your synapse linking those neurons together and your stem cells creating more neurons! In other words, exercise creates new brain cells and also strengthens and matures new brain cells which keeps your train of thought flow and your memory pop up as instant as possible. Here is a quick 2 minute read of an article I wrote on exercise creating new brain cells.

Also, in regard to all that Christian reading, please understand the difference between reading for entertainment or fact finding vs. reading for an accomplishment. You and your brain have to do something–accomplish something with those facts, put the facts to use!! Reading is nice and okay but only goes so far. Reading is a tool to create new brain cells.  Here is an example of how it work:  you are a history buff and lecture here and there so you read to understand why the Brits almost won the War of 1812 and if it had not been for their loss of the Battle of Mobile Bay in Mobile Alabama we, the US, might still be under British rule! You then use that newly learned trivia in your new lecture. A question comes up about the pirates, so you go back to your sources, read some more and are prepared for the next lecture to answer the questions! For more on brain exercising, review question #1 above or click here to quickly get to it.



8.  What are the first signs of dementia that you notice?
Janet:  It is not Memory Loss! Memory loss is what most folks acknowledge with beginning dementia, yet it is low on the list. Gait is the primary indication dementia has been percolating upstairs and is working to set in. Are you or yours taking the streets like a New York Fashion Runway or are you shuffling your walk, barely lifting your feet from the floor? Poor balance and a weak gait are the leading signs of dementia. I created a 45 second video here on the first thing to look for in dementia,

For Brain Health Members exclusively, I have here a check-off list for the Top Signs Your Cognizance is slipping.

If you have any additional questions, feel free to email me, Janet@JanetRichPittman.com.

Helping you keep your memory, age successfully and have good brain health, I’m YOUR Brain Health Specialist, 




                                                                                                            Janet Rich Pittman

Good Brain Health Makes You Happy


True happiness isn’t weight loss, having a nice car or a lot of money. Sure they are nice but what happens when you can’t enjoy them or even know you have them?  Ultimately, true happiness is having your brain in balance and at peak performance.

When you are tired all the time, no spring in your step, you’re sluggish, falling asleep at your desk 2pm every day, forgetting names and events…you’re brain is telling you something, it’s not happy, therefore you probably aren’t either.

At times like these, deep down inside, we all know our brain is not functioning on all cylinders.  But why?  And how do we get it functioning at its peak?  Here we go over a couple of signs or causes we are having brain drain coupled with ways to get our brain energized and pumped up.

Get Happy with J podcast with your host Jittuan Woods.  Enjoy this fun 26 minutes to get your brain powered up!