Feeding the Mind

by Patricia Renard Scholes
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You awaken too busy to eat breakfast, so you slurp a cup of coffee on your way out the door. You have twenty things to finish before you break for lunch, but you’re right in the middle of one of them, so skip lunch. In the afternoon, you justify going to the snack machine because you haven’t eaten yet. You get home to enjoy supper with your family, but don’t have the time to cook, so it’s another night of fast food. By evening you’re wiped.

Sound familiar?

So what do you do to break the cycle?


“Oh, no,” you say. “I eat too much already. Are you truly advising me to eat?”

I am.

The Self-Motivated Person

Some of us work for others. Some of us work for the business we are personally developing. But we all have one thing in common. No one needs to stand over our shoulder to make sure we stay on task. We do that ourselves and take pride in what we are able to accomplish. Nothing stops us when we get going. We ignore minor aches and pains. We often work through lunch or skip breakfast. Minor malaises (sometimes major ones) we shove aside as too trivial to acknowledge.

We accomplish what we begin. And we believe we are successful.

Indeed, we are, to a point.

We too often discount how we feel as not worth recognizing. Doesn’t the end result matter more?

It could. We will always have a deadline we need to finish. What matters most, however, is if we treat our bodies – and, therefore our minds – as a valued treasure.What we do beyond our work matters. Those minor aches and pains may be signals that you’re not treating your treasure right. Most importantly: Are you eating enough to feed your brain?

Basic Nutrition

Far too many of us worry needlessly about our weight. We go from one diet to another to a few more pounds, and still step on the scales to moan over the results of the last pizza party. What we do is eat “food” that fails to feed us.
People in our society tend to want the “quick fix” rather than the “long term” approach to dieting, or anything else, for that matter. But that’s not how our bodies are made. We need to find a food plan that we can use forever.

One of our greatest enemies is sugar. It’s in practically everything. The worst is high-fructose corn syrup, which is the ingredient in all sugared sodas. Diet sodas are so full of chemicals they can’t even begin to qualify as food. In addition, it is now legal to not mention on a list of ingredients that sugar has been added to nearly all milk products, which includes powdered milk, canned milk, 2{44c8773cfc5435cd81ad20e0c4d9124b8149e87e023df21bb722cbe5a8d7cc51} and fat-free milk. Yogurt, unless it is the plain variety, offers too little value to qualify as a food. The presence of sugar outweighs any value it may have had. What about the pro-biotics in yogurt? Once again, their value is overshadowed by the poison of sugar.

Oh, did I call sugar a poison? Yes. The body doesn’t know what to do with sugar except to turn it into fat. It’s not a food. It’s not found anywhere in nature. Raw honey (not processed. Most honey is processed, and so has lost its food value.) comes close and can be eaten in small amounts. Stalks of sugar cane are next, but no one eats their sugar that way unless they live where it’s grown. Sugar beets follow, but the food value in beets is so wonderfully high that it can be considered a food. Then we have fruit. Most diets allow a person to eat a serving of fruit daily, raw, not canned. Most dried fruit has sugar added.

One good way to start is The 21-Day Sugar Detox diet plan and daily guide (https://21daysugardetox.com/) by Diane Sanfilippo. She provides a list of permitted and non-permitted foods to eat. It resets your taste buds and your cravings. By the end of the 21 days, the brain fog is gone, as is the majority of the sugar craving. (Personal note: I lost 15 pounds right away, and I’m still losing weight. It works.)

You will also find that many of your body aches and general malaises vanish. I thought I had arthritis. What I had instead was inflammation caused by sugar.

Another way to increase brain health is by intermittent fasting (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-health-benefits-of-intermittent-fasting). Healthline lists ten benefits to fasting in this way, one of which is brain clarity. This is not as hard to do as it sounds. I eat lightly between 6:30 am and 3:00 pm, nothing after 3:00. But for most people a 10:00 am to 6:00 pm food plan works better.

The Nutrition of Brain Health

So what’s the bottom line? How do we keep our energy up and our brains functioning their best?

• Eat plenty of fatty fish. This includes salmon, trout and sardines.
• In brain health, coffee is permitted. It increases alertness, improves mood and sharpens concentration. Plus, it’s high in antioxidants.
• The list includes berries, with blueberries topping that list. The more deeply colored the berry, the better it is for your brain. They’re wonderful in smoothies!
• The deep yellow spice turmeric is the main ingredient in curry powder. Its active ingredient, curcumin, crosses the blood-brain barrier, meaning it can directly affect the brain cells and helps them to grow.
• As high in protein as steak, broccoli is another excellent food for your brain. It’s high in vitamin K, which is linked to improved memory.
• Heading the list of seeds, pumpkin seeds are filled with brain-boosting minerals such as zinc, magnesium, copper and iron.
• Gotta have just a bit of dessert? Use dark chocolate. It’s filled with flavonoids, caffeine and antioxidants, all of which are good for the brain. But get the lowest sugar content possible, or you defeat your purpose.
• Nuts improve cognition, with walnuts leading the pack with omega-3 fatty acids.
• While you should never drink fruit juices, you can have one medium orange a day. Other fruits high in antioxidants and vitamin C are bell peppers, guava, kiwi, tomatoes and strawberries.
• Eggs are no longer forbidden. Yes, they have fat, but the brain needs fat. Sugar causes inflammation, weight gain and brain fog, not eggs. Moreover, eggs contain acetylcholine, a mood-regulating memory-enhancing neurotransmitter.
• In my opinion, green tea is better than coffee, but I’m biased. Among other things, green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that crosses the blood-brain barrier.(https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-brain-foods)

This is how you eat your way to a healthy, sharp-as-a-tack mind. As a side effect, the rest of your body will also enjoy good health.

Bon appetite!

Patricia Renard Scholes
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