Click on the video below to view her informative presentation and get resources and information on this important topic that impacts the brain injury community and their families.
There are many studies to support both the benefits and drawbacks of eating meat. Whether or not people should eliminate meat from their diet will remain one of the most debated and controversial subjects in the field of health and nutrition. Don’t worry, I’m not here to convince you to eat or stop eating meat. I have a better idea in mind.
Instead, I want to share some cooking methods involving meat that could help your brain prosper—or not. Here are a few cooking methods you might want to consider when you’re craving fried chicken or broiled chicken knuckles. By the way, I have never eaten chicken knuckles (and don’t plan on it)!
Frying, broiling and barbecuing meat can be harmful cooking methods if not done correctly. Such cooking methods can result in meat damage called Advanced Glycation End-products or AGE. This damage occurs when the meat is either overcooked, seared or exposed to high cooking temperatures and causes an increase of toxins and poisons.
When the brain is bombarded by food toxins, it becomes inflamed. This inflammation, also known as neuro-inflammation, singes and burns our brain cells. Simply put, the brain is on fire. Neuro-inflammation often is the result of a traumatic brain injury. Common symptoms of existing neuro-inflammation are brain fog, impaired cognitive abilities, mood swings, memory loss and fatigue, among others.
If we’re not conscious of how we eat, the toxins from what we eat could be throwing gas onto the fire already burning inside our heads. This goes back to a recent article I wrote, about how using a wooden spoon was a healthier way to prepare food. Click here to read more.
After suffering a traumatic brain injury, I was aware of the fire burning inside my head. To put out that fire, I had to change the way I prepared meals—particularly meats. Instead of cooking meat in hot grease or prolonged high temperatures, I would bake the meat. I even ate less meat to alleviate digestive stress that is associated with a meaty diet. Digestive stress is a leading contributor to chronic inflammation and can cause lots of damage in our bodies.
The seemingly small changes I made in how I prepared food gave my brain the best chance to heal. And I made a shocking recovery!
Instead of advising someone to eat or not to eat meat, I’d ask them to consider how they are preparing those meaty foods. Once you know the how you start, you will gain a sense of what’s happening inside your head.
And remember, even the small steps toward a better brain can go a long way.
I sure hope this article helps. Do you eat meat? If so, what are some of the ways you prepare your favorite meat dishes? I’d love to know!
Chef Myron Norman is a brain injury survivor, research writer and author of the new release: Lifesaving FAQs of How Food Reversed My Brain Damage. His work has attracted professional athletes, trauma survivors and clients such as Nancy Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D., Founder of the National Alzheimer’s Association and Maria Shriver, Emmy Award Winner and Founder of The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement. Chef Myron welcomes reader comments or questions at www.healthybrainbooks.com
Forging new pathways, navigating new dreams.
The theme of the 2018 Washington State TBI Conference was absolutely perfect for superheroes: new paths, new dreams and how to make them happen.
The Brain Energy Support Team (BEST) team members were honored to hear conference participant’s stories, dreams and the paths they wanted to take going forward into the future.
We had the opportunity to learn new things from each other, have important conversations, give hugs and high fives to old friends, and meet some extraordinary new friends, all in the course of two terrific days of sharing, caring and supporting fellow superheroes and their families.
Enclosed are a few of our favorite pictures of day two. For day one thoughts, click here.
Many thanks for stopping by the BEST exhibit booth and taking this wonderful journey of togetherness and learning with us. You are all the BEST.
We cordially invite you to peruse our website anytime! Here, you’ll find news you can use, powerful and important stories, resources, educational tools and more.
We also cordially invite you to stop by Our BEST Space to say hi, take a tour, enjoy some special events and Space programming and shop at our brand new Superhero Shoppe in University Place, Washington! There’s something for everyone at Our BEST Space.
We’ve also included website links to the conference keynote speakers for more information. Just simply click on the name in bold and you are on your way!
May 29, 2018 Speakers:
May 30, 2018 Speakers:
The Brain Energy Support Team (BEST) is feeling extra energized this afternoon!
We’ve just kicked off day one of the 2018 Washington State TBI Conference in Tacoma, Washington, and superheroes from the Washington State brain injury community are reuniting for two special days of sharing, caring, conversations, information and resources.
The BEST Superhero booth is located in the exhibit and vendor area at the stunning Hotel Murano located in the heart of downtown Tacoma. For those attending the conference, either today or tomorrow, we cordially welcome you to stop by, say hello and get some great information and news you can use. We can’t wait to meet you!
Click HERE to register. Note: Scholarship applications are now closed.
BEST Administrator, brain injury support group facilitator and coach, nutritional food consultant and brain injury survivor, Robin Spicuzza, knows this well: healthful eating has become a way of life and a passion for her, especially since her brain injury.
Learning about what to eat, was interesting and fairly easy. However, storing and preparing foods, was not so easy. Through trial and error, over the years Spicuzza found a system that works well for her to store and prepare healthy foods quickly, easily and efficiently. Whether Spicuzza is on the go or just wants good nutritious food fast, her techniques have helped her be at the ready.
“After my brain injury, I was on my own. And when it came to food, I got tired of throwing food out that didn’t turn out right or getting sick from the expired food I ate,” explains Spicuzza. “I also tried to read recipes. Some of them were very confusing to follow and the measurements would end up being off.”
“The good news is that I was eventually able to find a food storage system and healthy staple foods that really worked for me. I also realized that I needed to find recipes with just three or four ingredients maximum. With a little preparation, I was able to do that, too.”
Following are Spicuzza’s tips for keeping organized and cooking good foods fast and easily.
1. Dry-erase labels on all food containers: Spicuzza uses this system to label what the food is and food’s expiration date.
2. Keep a calendar: Spicuzza likes to keep a handy calendar nearby to record what food she’s purchased and when, as well as keeping a daily log of what she’s eaten each day.
3. Use freeze dried foods: Spicuzza is a big fan of freeze dried foods. Not only do they lock in the nutrition through the freeze-drying process, they have extended expiration dates, so they remain safe to use for a long period of time.
4. Make a food list(s): Make a list(s) of the healthy foods that are important to you and post them in a convenient place so that you can review as much as you need to. Here’s an example of list that Spicuzza keeps to the right.
1. Consider investing in a pressure cooker: A pressure cooker is a sealed pot, with a lot of steam inside, that builds up high pressure. This special cooker helps food cook faster. Spicuzza said this is a key tool for her at home. According to Spicuzza, a pressure cooker can make healthy soups from scratch in under 15 minutes. Frozen meats can be defrosted or beans can be prepared in mere minutes. Spicuzza often prepares her freeze-dried foods in the pressure cooker for a fast and easy meal.
2. Stir-fry: Stir fry cooking is another fast and healthy option that uses a small amount of ingredients and prepares quickly. Spicuzza likes pairing stir-fried vegetables and meats with brown rice for a fast and healthy meal.
More ideas: For those in the Puget Sound Washington region, Spicuzza coordinates Soup Group, a healthy and nutritious food activity at Our BEST Space in University Place, Washington on the third Wednesday of the month at 1 pm. This group activity focuses on healthy, quick, simple and low-cost meals that participants can make at home.
To learn more:
To learn more about healthy freeze-dried and emergency essential foods, click here to be connected with the Emergency Essentials Foods Facebook page. For more information on tasty and low-carb foods, click here.
Editor’s note: The Brain Energy Support Team (BEST) is pleased to introduce brain injury survivor, writer, author, consultant, chef and neuro-nutritional expert, Chef Myron Norman, as our newest BEST guest blogger. Welcome, Chef Myron!–KT
It never fails. Whether I’m at the local market buying a fresh jar of honey or talking food tips with a traumatic brain injury survivor (TBI) survivor, I get asked: “Can you tell me what foods work best to heal my brain?” I cringe every time I’m asked that question.
While what we eat does play a big part in brain health and recovery, how we eat can affect our brain recovery just as much or more. Unfortunately, individuals impacted by neurological impairments tend to overlook the importance of how to eat focusing solely on what they eat. This is not a healthy balance. Allow me to explain.
For me, knowing both the hows and whats of food and brain health drove my recovery following a traumatic brain injury: a commonly overlooked balance of diet and information that can have a positive or negative impact on the brain. Below I’ve listed one example of how and what you might be eating just to give you a basic idea of what I’m referring to;
- How: Using a metal spoon when cooking in a metal, iron or aluminum pot can cause aluminum, iron and other toxic metals to unknowingly spill into your food. These toxins can cause neuroinflammation which can further damage the traumatized brain. Knowing when to use a wooden can go a long way.
- What: Consuming high amounts of trans-fats is not good for the brain. Trans-fats are typically found in snacks, sweets and lots of shelved processed foods. Some studies have shown a significant reduction of strokes and heart-attacks when trans-fats are reduced or eliminated from the diet. The Food and Drug Administration has already issued a ban on trans-fats in the United States, a ban that will phase out trans-fats altogether over a three-year period.
The how deals with food preparation and lifestyle choices that either prevent or allow our bodies to benefit from the healthy food selections we eat. The what deals with what we put into our bodies, i.e., medicines, vitamins, steak, pork chop, spinach, milk, cake, ice cream, coffee, sugar, mangoes, honey, turmeric, double cheeseburgers, soda, water, cereal and just about anything else you may eat for whatever reason.
A person can eat lots of healthy foods yet still struggle with brain fog, depression or sleepless nights, not knowing that even the simplest how can offset the nutritional potency of healthy foods. An example of this may be a person who consumes foods with the chemical tryptophan (a food chemical that can improve a person’s sleep cycle) while watching television or using their cell phone just before bedtime.
The blue light effect is not as much the problem as the images stored in the hippocampus that continue to play out even after the television or the device has been shut off. Thus, preventing the chemical tryptophan from having an optimum impact on the human sleep cycle. In this case, one healthy food strategy becomes practically worthless when coupled with another poor lifestyle choice. Now, imagine all the how and what behaviors the average person learns over the course of a lifetime. Toss in a brain injury or neurodegenerative disease and you have nothing but trouble.
It’s impossible to memorize all the hows and whats of healthy brain eating in a single day. However, as we regularly consume bite-sized amounts of information about the how and what of our diet, application of that knowledge can become habitual over a surprisingly short period of time. Knowing how to eat not only aligns our brain health, such knowledge doesn’t cost a single penny and can be applied right now!
Chef Myron Norman is a brain injury survivor, consultant and author of the new release: Lifesaving FAQs of How Food Reversed My Brain Damage. He specializes in translating critical brain research into easy to understand and doable applications, all while addressing the emotional trauma that prevents millions of everyday people from correctly applying lifesaving research. His consulting work has attracted professional athletes, trauma survivors and clients such as Nancy Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D., Founder of the National Alzheimer’s Association and Maria Shriver, NBC Emmy Award Winner and Founder of The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement. Chef Myron welcomes reader comments or questions at www.healthybrainbooks.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s note: The Brain Energy Support Team (BEST) is pleased to introduce writer, musician, instructor, stroke survivor and stroke awareness advocate, Andy Dovey, as our newest BEST guest blogger. Welcome, Andy!–KT
As you may be aware, there is a great deal of talk about neuroplasticity. This is defined as the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections, not just when we’re young, but also throughout all our lives. So, the more often you perform an action or behave a certain way, the more it gets physically wired into your brain.
Of course, this can be positive, but it can also be negative. We can learn things correctly and get into good habits, but also the opposite. Your repeated mental states, responses, and behaviors become neural traits.
Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to adjust themselves in response to new situations or to changes in their environment. I prefer to call this learning. I think that’s something we can all understand and relate to! So, us traumatic brain injury (TBI) and acquired brain injury (ABI) survivors have some degree of brain damage, so does this mean we can learn? Or in many cases, re-learn?
When I was in hospital, unable to grip much with my left hand, I thought (naturally enough) that the problem was with my hand. But the problem was really with my brain. The electrical impulses generated by my brain that sent signals to the muscles in my hand weren’t getting through. Possibly those electrical signals weren’t even being generated. My stroke, my brain attack, had damaged part of my brain and these signals were scrambled, interrupted or maybe just not firing. The net result – spasticity in my hand.
I also had balance issues. I couldn’t stand up without swaying around like a tree in a hurricane and I couldn’t walk unaided. This wasn’t due to my muscles suddenly becoming weak and uncoordinated overnight. I hadn’t suddenly suffered instantaneous muscle wastage. No, this was due to brain damage. I was unable to get the correct signals from my brain to my limbs and muscles at the correct time and in the correct sequence in order to stay upright and walk. My limbs and muscles were fine, my brain was not.
As an aside, we see similar issues with sufferers of Parkinson’s Disease. Medication tries to re-balance chemicals in the brain (mainly dopamine), and recent advances in technology have resulted in surgery to implant micro-electrodes in the brain to enable deep brain stimulation in order to attempt to alleviate some of the more severe symptoms of the motor systems (shaking, etc).
So, five years later, how come I can now walk once more (albeit with a stick)? And I can grip once more with my left hand? (And other things that I won’t bore you with, for now)! Well, if you think about a toddler who is learning to walk, it takes time, practice and lots of repetition before the wobbly, stumbling toddler can walk and run with good balance and coordination. What’s happening in this time is that the toddler’s brain is learning to trigger the correct electrical signals at the correct time and in the correct way in order to stimulate the correct muscles to do their job, in a beautifully coordinated piece of bio-engineering. The toddler’s brain is being hard wired to perform this task. We call it learning. It does this so many times that the neurons in the brain (and central nervous system) generate connections (synapses) that become information super highways and are so super-efficient at what they do that we don’t even think about it. We just walk. Or run. Or play tennis, or golf, or the piano, or juggle, or whatever.
As I know from my own experience, when you have to now really think about walking, making every movement a conscious exercise (because those information super highways have been damaged and disrupted), it is not only extremely difficult, but also very tiring as the brain is working overtime to re-route those signals and build new super highways.
In the early days of my physiotherapy, I remember being asked to walk and then look to one side when told to do so by the physiotherapist. How hard can that be, right? I lurched forwards (I wouldn’t call it walking) and the physio said, look left and as I did, so I crashed into the wall on my left. Just fell over. It was just too much for my brain to cope with. I can now look around as I’m walking (to a degree) but it makes me very unsteady, so I have learnt (that word again) to stop walking, steady myself and then look around. It’s still a very conscious exercise, but now much safer!
My point is that we can relearn things but that (in this case) relearning is NOT a short cut and is, in effect, the same as learning for the very first time. It’s just that (unlike the toddler) we can remember we used to walk OK and expect to be able to do it again fairly quickly and easily. So, whatever your brain trauma deficits are, try and look upon them as learning opportunities. Say to yourself, if I had to learn this thing (whatever it is) from scratch, how long would it take me and how many times would I have to do it in order to be proficient. And remember that your estimations will be based on prior experience when your brain was operating at 100 percent. It isn’t now, so the learning will take much longer and will be very draining due to your reduced brain processing power.
Take care everyone, and thanks for reading my blog from Scotland!
About Andy: On May 28 2013, Andy was struck down by an ischemic cerebellar stroke. He developed complications and two days later underwent emergency brain surgery to decompress his skull due to hydrocephalus. He almost died and has five missing days of which he has no memory of whatsoever. Prior to his brain attack, Andy was a professional musician, a drummer, and earned his living both as a player and teacher. He has been unable to return to work but is writing a CD of music inspired by his stroke story in order to raise awareness of stroke, particularly among younger people. As fellow brain injury survivors will understand, work is progressing at a snail’s pace! This project will also raise funds for the charity Different Strokes. Please visit www.brainattackmusic.com to read more and to listen to some demo tracks. Andy lives with his wife in the beautiful Scottish Borders, very close to where the River Teviot meets the world famous River Tweed and has two sons, a stepson and stepdaughter, all of whom have flown the nest and are making their own way in life. As well as a deep love of all types of music, Andy enjoys watching sport, reading about history, learning about the brain and enjoying the peace and calm of the Scottish countryside.
May is Stroke Awareness Month.
This month, the Brain Energy Support Team (BEST) will be sharing information about stroke, stroke prevention and personal stories from stroke survivors. As we begin the month of May, we’d like to start here with the facts. Check out the infographics above and below courtesy of stroke.org.
In addition, writer, BEST guest blogger and stroke survivor, Isaac Peterson, has written extensively about his experiences and journey forward after having a stroke in 2016. Click here for a catalog and links to Isaac’s writing.
Click HERE to register.