I’m Taking Action After Reading Grain Brain By Doing These 4 Things…
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So you read the book Grain Brain! Congrats… but now what?!
I personally learned some eye-opening information on how sugar and carbs affect the brain and the science behind it after joining our monthly keto book club and reading the Grain Brain book by David Perlmutter, MD.
The biggest takeaway for me from Grain Brain was how devastating the typical American diet can be on a person’s brain health and can be ultimately linked to so many ailments like cancer, diabetes, migraines, Alzheimer’s, obesity, and inflammation.
We thought we were eating healthy due to years of expert recommendations to eat low fat foods, but they have now been proven to be not helpful at all.
“For many health may not seem to be the most important thing in life, but without it nothing else matters. And when you have good health, pretty much anything is possible.”
If you haven’t yet read the book, get yourself a copy so you can fully understand what it’s all about. It may change or further confirm your outlook on the “WHY” behind the important shift to eating less sugar and carbs.
Chapter 10: Let’s start a new way of life in a 4-week plan of action!
The last chapters of Grain Brain deep dive into some very specific actionable plans for us to follow in order to change our health for the better!
“Within a matter of days or just a couple of weeks, I predict you’ll have clearer thoughts, better sleep, and improved energy. You’ll suffer fewer headaches, manage stress effectively, and feel happier. “
During Week 1: “Focus on Food”
This week, we’ll be clearing out the pantry and saying goodbye to all the processed foods with carbs and sugar like noodles, cereal, bread, candy, etc. You’ll then restock on all the recommended healthy fats, proteins, and veggies.
Foods to stock up on according to Grain Brain include:
- low sugar fruits and veggies like avocado, bell pepper, zucchini, cucumber
- proteins like eggs, wild fish, shellfish, grass-fed beef, pork, & poultry
- veggies like leafy greens, spinach, broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, mushrooms, green beans, jicama
Note: I noticed that some of the eat/drink “in moderation” foods recommended from Grain Brain don’t necessarily fall into the strict keto diet guidelines like allowing red wine, legumes, and quinoa. So it’s best to use your own judgment on those for how the foods you incorporate will fit into your keto lifestyle.
“It’s imperative to lower net carb intake to just 20-25 grams a day for four weeks. After that, you can increase your net carbs to 30 grams a day.”
During Week 2: “Focus on Exercise”
Grain Brain recommends participating in aerobic physical activity for at least 20 minutes a day. Establish a routine of getting your heart rate up above 50% of your resting baseline. Make it a goal to break a sweat once a day to force your lungs to work harder.
If you’ve been sedentary, try going for a 20-minute brisk walk. But if you’re already active, try increasing your workouts 30 minutes a day.
“Remember, in addition to all the cardiovascular and weight management benefits you’ll gain from exercise, studies show that people who exercise regularly, compete in sports, or just walk several times a week protect their brains from shrinkage.”
During Week 3: “Focus on Sleep”
It’s not only important to focus on diet and exercise, but also sleep hygiene! 7 hours of high-quality sleep each night is the bare minimum to aim for to allow your body healthy levels of fluctuating hormones, according to Grain Brain.
Some Tips from Grain Brain to Improve Quality of Sleep:
- Maintain regular sleep habits by going to bed and getting up at the same time, every day, all year to create consistency.
- Don’t go to bed on a full stomach, so make sure to time dinner about three hours before bedtime.
- Eat on a regular schedule. This will keep appetite hormones in check throughout the day.
- If you need a nighttime snack, try something high in tryptophan like turkey, an egg, or a handful of almonds.
- Get rid of brain-stimulating electronics in the bedroom like TVs, phones, and computers. Aim to create a peaceful space with a plush bed and mood lighting.
During Week 4: “Put it All Together”
“Don’t panic if you feel like you haven’t totally hit your stride yet. Use this week to find a rhythm in your new routine. Identify areas in your life where you struggle to maintain this protocol and see what you can do to rectify that.”
Here are some helpful tips from Grain Brain on Week 4:
- Plan each week in advance and fill in your schedule with times to exercise.
- Create shopping lists and meal plans ahead of time. Check out these free keto meal plans from Hip2Keto.com!
- During grocery shopping, stick to the perimeter of the store to avoid sugary processed food.
- Identify your specific good health motivator. Whether it’s being able to run a 10K marathon, climb a certain mountain, or even to keep up with your kids, have a big picture view of why you’re on this journey.
- Eat meals at home initially and then towards the last part of week 4, figure out restaurants that have healthy options. Check out our keto restaurant guides from Hip2Keto.com!
Chapter 11: Eating Your Way to A Healthier Brain
Chapter 11 of Grain Brain is full of recipes that abide by the Grain Brain dietary principles. They are meant to be a helpful tool to give you confidence in low carb cooking at home.
I personally appreciate that these all seem relatively easy to accomplish with minimal ingredients! Pictured above is a recipe for keto lemon chicken from Hip2Keto.com that is similar to the version in Grain Brain.
“You can never control what goes into products, but you can control what goes into your dishes. Knowing that most people have busy schedules and have limited time to cook, I’ve chosen simple dishes that are relatively easy to prepare, and above all, are filled with flavor and nutrition.”
Some must-try recipes included in Grain Brain are:
- Huevos Rancheros
- Oatless “Oatmeal”
- Fish Tacos with Avocado Slaw
- Sea Salt’s Akaushi Beef Tenderloin with Brussels Sprouts
- Chocolate Coconut Mousse
Unfortunately, these are not available online, so you’ll have to get the book to check them out!
Epilogue: The Mesmerizing Truth
To sum things up, we’ve now know that Americans have been duped into believing that low fat, whole grain, and low cholesterol foods are healthy when they’re actually destroying our brain health and overwhelming our current US healthcare system.
However, there is hope and power in the knowledge that we can regroup and make the doable shifts outlined in Grain Brain to take our health back and “say goodbye to grain brain”!
“Though some consider the beating heart to be the center of life, it’s really the brain that takes center stage. Our heart wouldn’t beat without our brain, and it is our brain that allows us to experience the world on every level – to feel pleasure and pain, to love and learn, to make decisions, and to participate in life in ways that make life worth living.”
If you are also finished reading the book Grain Brain, let us know in the comments your thoughts on these actionable takeaways from the ending!