Monthly Archives: February 2017

Kitchen Pharmacy: eating for brain power

unknown-1
A letter to friends, family and community:

I recently spent a day at a medicinal foods conference, and learned tons about current research on foods and amino acids and supplements that can deeply heal cells, tissues, blood, and the overall biome we walk around in. I got tons of information on medicinal foods targeting:

brain health, memory & cognition
inflammation
autoimmune disease
chronic pain
sleep disorders
fasting for health/keto diet

Because of my private practice, I have to take CEU’s annually for my license. I decided to help myself and my clients in the area of mood/brain/cognitive functioning. Everyone at the conference was devouring the research on brain health. I streamlined the information and made a list of the medicinals I am now taking, and offer to my clients. I thought I’d share it with you, even though I am not a doctor and cannot officially prescribe.

unknown-2

Here is the website and a few medicinals I am now taking for increased mental/brain functioning. ((Note: I also take VSL3 probiotic, Vitamin D, Multi-B vitamin for overall health:-))

First off, the place I shop online:

Vitacost is the online store I’ve used for years– for everything from food, probiotics, supplements, herbs, bath salts, dog food, and tons of organics (I use the Bham food coop for all fresh organic meat/produce!):

http://www.vitacost.com

And here is the link to the best Fish Oil for the price (nice orange flavor, highest levels EPA/DHA overall)

http://www.vitacost.com/vitacost-liquid-omega-3-purified-fish-oil-epa-dha

“True Focus” is a compound you may want to try in the mornings (increases neurotransmitter activity, increasing mood, clarity, memory and focus–through amino acids and other medicinal foods. Tyrosine/phenylalanine, etc):

http://www.vitacost.com/now-true-focus

I also take caprylic acid, which is a derivative of coconut oil, only much, much more powerful for brain octane. “Bulletproof coffee” has become a popular morning tonic for turning on your brain and focus—full of fats that saturate your brain and fires up your metabolism (it kills appetite, so force yourself to eat a few carbs/protein for genuine energy):

coffee
2 TB grassfed butter (kerrygold at Trader Joes)
2 TB coconut oil or MCT oil ( or caprylic acid in capsules)
5 drops stevia
cinnamon
blend in a blender or Vitamix

Green Tea Extract. Take this capsule in the morning, as green tea is stimulating. A powerful antioxidant, catechins/polyphenols are excellent for staving off cardio disease, protecting neural health, and reducing free radicals that can turn cancerous:

http://www.vitacost.com/vitacost-green-tea-extract-standardized

Spirulina and/or Chlorophyll are both essential green foods. They are what fish eat to produce all those Omega 3’s we then like to ingest. Try combining fish oil with spirulina for a huge boost in mental functioning. Both of these have been researched to show they protect your brain from dementia/alzheimers, improve mental functioning, protect against cardiovascular disease, and detox your overall biome–much like they do in the Ocean. 🙂

http://www.vitacost.com/vitacost-spirulina-natural-algae

images-2

Note: you’ll want to use any of these supplements for 60 before deciding if they work. Everyone’s body/brain are unique. Natural food remedies are slower and more gentle to the system, but also provide actual, genuine healing to the cells, tissues, and bloodstream through the body and brain!
in health, love,

LaurelH

IMG_7414

Advertisements

Practicing Positivity

I found an engaging, uplifting article in UTNE on positivity. Positive emotions can change our brains, says researcher Barbara Fredrickson. She broke it down into doable tasks that help increase positive experiences that in turn enhance overall life happiness. Read the whole article here if you want:

http://www.utne.com/mind-and-body/finding-happiness-cultivating-positive-emotions-psychology.aspx

Here’s an excerpt:

What are the specific benefits of positive emotions?

When people increase their daily diets of positive emotions, they find more meaning and purpose in life. They also find that they receive more social support—or perhaps they just notice it more, because they’re more attuned to the give-and-take between people. They report fewer aches and pains, headaches, and other physical symptoms. They show mindful awareness of the present moment and increased positive relations with others. They feel more effective at what they do. They’re better able to savor the good things in life and can see more possible solutions to problems. And they sleep better.

IMG_1305

How can we increase positivity?

One way is to be aware of the present moment, because most moments are positive. We miss many opportunities to experience positive emotions now by thinking too much about the past or worrying about the future, rather than being open to what is. 

Another way is to pay attention to human kindness—not only what others have done for you, which helps unlock feelings of gratitude, but also what you can do for other people, how you can make somebody’s day. We found that even just paying attention to when you are kind—not necessarily increasing how often you’re kind, but just paying attention to the times when you are—can make you more positive.

Another simple technique is going outside in good weather. One of my former students, Matt Keller, who’s now on the faculty at the University of Colorado at Boulder, found that people who spend even just 30 minutes outside when the weather is good show an improvement in their mood.

IMG_1651

There are more-involved ways to increase your positive emotions, such as to practice either mindfulness meditation or loving-kindness meditation. You can also rearrange your life around your strengths. Ask yourself: Am I really doing what I do best? Being employed in a job that uses your skills is a great source of enduring positive emotions.”

Here are 2 more that I would add:

Use your morning meditation to conjure warm emotions towards people and pets that you love–creates a way of opening those circuits daily!

IMG_3624

Learning to savor. Savoring a positive moment, reflecting on a hug you gave as you walk away, savoring the moments of laughter, savoring the taste of a chocolate cake, savoring a memory of a walk with a friend, etc. Throughout the day, after a sweet moment, close your eyes briefly and savor it.

For more on Positivity, and Fredrickson’s latest book called Love 2.0 go to here website:

http://www.positivityresonance.com

I just ordered her book Love 2.0 and look forward to more inspirations on connections and love!

IMG_5543

Neurofeedback- fast & comforting for reducing anxiety

Hey, here’s an easy and fast way to bring down axiety: NEUROFEEDBACK
Do you carry around a lot of tension, stress, and anxious feelings in your body? Does your mind race and recycle certain thoughts? Do you find yourself distracted with worrisome, rigid, stressed-based behavior? You may have anxiety. Most people are on the spectrum of anxiety–but some people suffer daily from these symptoms. Ugh. Being a therapist, I’m always on the lookout for innovation in this area.
In a recent article from The Optimist, Neurofeedback proves to be an efficient tool helping you managing those awful, anxious states of mind.

unknown

In a nutshell, like the photo shows, clients are hooked up to wires and scanners, and then watch images on a screen. When you learn to control those images on the screen through deep breathing and willful thoughts, you begin to control your nervous system–and your mood.

adhd-neurofeedback-treatment
In the research study, clients began with an MRI. While the fMRI showed which brain regions were active, the EEG measured the activity in the amygdala. Participants are coached to learn deep breathing, relaxing and very subtle states of mind to control the action in their brain.

Then the neurofeedback process begins…by watching a movie of someone riding a skateboard –and trying to control the speed with their minds! Participants were asked to try and mentally make the skateboard go faster or slower. If they were successful,  it meant they were controlling the activity within their own amygdala. Interestingly, participants are simultaneously watching imagining of their own brain during this activity. Gaining control of the pace of the skater –with immediate visual feedback–increases their overall control of brain activity.

images

Results from the tests revealed that people who are able to reduce unwanted brain activity–can effect their mood.  One researcher commented, “It’s actually quite amazing that this plasticity takes place after one or two sessions.” ONE OR TWO SESSIONS! Its really worth finding a local neurofeedback provider and seeing what a couple of sessions could do for your own peace of mind.
In many ways, its a mindfulness awareness practice, with a focus on developing the skill set to control  body states, breathing, and brain activity. Fun.

images-1