Does What You Eat Support Focus and Motivation
A nourished brain is a vital brain. Its vitality depends on the energy that we derive from the food we eat, and the quality of that food determines how much of our vital energy reserves will be restored or depleted.
Since 1916, the Department of Agriculture has recommended what food groups are necessary for an adequate diet, and in 1992 officially organized them into a “good guide pyramid,” with bread, cereal, rice, and pasta at the bottom; fruits, vegetables, meats , dairy products in the middle; and fats, oils, and sweets at the top. The pyramid is meant as an outline for what to eat each day in what amounts. (i.e. more of those at the bottom and less of those at the top) Recently, the food pyramid has been replaced with the food plate, reorganized to include specific types of grains and fats. However, we must go beyond the classical food pyramid and consider what a good food pyramid for the brain is.
A Brain Nourishing Diet
The brain nourishing diet, however, is somewhat different in that it substitutes beans for most animal-derived protein, limits dairy consumption other than organic, and emphasizes fresh food and whole grains, and eliminates or minimizes white-flour products.
The components of food may be classified as micronutrients (vitamins and minerals as well as phytochemicals) and macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats) with micronutrients playing a vital role in the metabolism of the macronutrients. But food is more than just its physical components; it has essence as well, just as we do. Fresh food has the life force still present within it, so its nutrients will be easily assimilated, adding to our own life force – our energy.
Let’s suppose that the food you eat has been concentrated through the process of dehydration and preserved with chemicals to prolong its shelf life (though not its life force). You will still be eating carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, and if you take vitamin supplements, you will in western theory, be “satisfying” your brain’s basic needs. You’ll be getting the right molecules, but as eastern science has pointed out, and many western nutritional biochemists agree, it won’t be giving you the energy you need. You’ll feel heavy and dull-devitalized. If you keep eating this way for a long time, you’ll feel older than your years, for there will be nothing in your system to restore your vital energy that supports your brain. That is why I caution the use of microwaving food, although here most nutritionists disagree. When you microwave, you are changing the molecular formation of the foods. Who knows what that will do on the biological level to the assimilation process? My guess is that it will change the way food gets incorporated into the cells. My advice to my clients who feel brain fatigue and fogginess is to stick to preparing fresh foods daily with natural heat.
Experiment for yourself.
It’s easy to see for yourself the difference fresh food makes. For a week, eat only pre-prepared foods. Then for another week, eat only fresh food. Take note of your energy, the speed of your responses, your overall emotional state. I promise there will be a huge difference. You won’t go back to processed foods again. If this seems too arduous an exercise, prepare some fresh orange juice and then have orange juice from a can, container or bottle. See how you feel. It’s very informative.
If fresh food is the equivalent of two hundred volts of energy, processed food gives off one hundred volts or less. But simply eating fresh foods isn’t enough. Our soil is systematically being demineralized; pollutants fill our air and water. Even when we eat fresh food, we may still not be getting the RDA requirements of basic nutrients, to say nothing of trace minerals like selenium and zinc.
Later I’ll be recommending supplements of phytonutrients, herbs, and vitamins and minerals to help complete your diet. For now, however, I just want to stress how important good nutrition is to regulate your brain’s energy. Devitalized food and inadequate amounts of trace minerals and vitamins leave the average person’s brain energy impaired. When you’re young, you have a natural resiliency that cannot be completely subdued by an improper diet, but as you get older, this is not longer the case and it becomes obvious how all your functions are linked to your dietary practices.
Correcting your diet, even after years of processed foods and canned juices, can do wonders for your overall brain health and your cognitive capacity. If this blog does nothing besides convince you to eat better for a better brain, it will have achieved a great deal of its purpose.