Beautiful tomatoes were grown in a friend’s garden last. summer
Hugh Roberts, who challenged us all to show what sits atop our Christmas tree, has chosen the Alzheimer’s Research UK research charity to receive his very generous gift of L250 sterling. Hugh pledged to give a pound to charity for each entry his challenge received from participants around the world.
I learned of Hugh’s challenge early on in December through fellow blogger Sue Vincent and chose to participate. Hugh published his round up post earlier this week, with links to all participants, and the story behind his tree-top angel, Angela.
Hugh chose to support the Alzheimer’s Research charity because that is the disease which took both his grandmother and his mother from him. It runs in his family; as degenerative brain disease runs in many of ours.
We have our own legacy of Parkinson’s disease and stroke casting a shadow in our own family. It is absolutely heartbreaking to witness the elders of our family, who we love, and respect, wrestle with these devastating changes to their lives.
Flowers, vegetables and herbs grow together in my friends’ deck garden.
Which is why I stumbled across the wonderful book, 100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer’s and Age-Related Memory Loss, by Jean Carper, earlier this summer. Although the suggestions in this book are wide ranging, and include physical exercise, community involvement, sports and games; the suggestions always return to nutrition. By the way, gardening is also a wonderful way to keep one’s brain healthy and active !
Food is a very personal subject for us all. Food is comfort. Food is tradition. Food connects us to our family’s roots. Food is recreation and food is survival.
It is often only when facing a serious health challenge, whether diabetes, blood pressure, or cancer that we come around to realizing that food is also our best medicine.
Remember that the first humans were given a garden to meet all of their needs. Indigenous people the world over, who are generally very healthy and long-lived, still understand how to “live off of the land.”
My friend fashioned this lovely dragon fly ornament for her garden. Creating works of art also protects and strengthens our brains.
Physicians and medical researchers establish a clear link between what we eat and how long we live. Our quality of life is a direct result of our nutrition. And I learned this summer, from Jean Carper’s wonderful book, that eating the right foods also protects our brain from Alzheimer’s, dementia and other degenerative brain diseases.
Researchers and practicing physicians have proven over and again that plant based foods are the ones which heal us. Animal based foods feed the diseases which kill us and destroy our brains.
This is jarring for most Americans and Europeans, who eat meat, eggs, fish and dairy multiple times every day. Our traditional meals and favorite foods are all centered on animal products.
And yet, learning to eat and enjoy plant based meals is always the prescription for good health. We must eat from “the garden.” We not only need to eat plant based foods, but also choose those which don’t come laden with the agricultural chemicals which will poison us. Locally grown food, grown organically, nourishes us and heals us.
My friend coaxes fruit, vegetables, flowers and herbs from her steeply sloping garden.
After reading Jean’s book this summer, I compiled a simple half sheet list of “Foods Which Protect Our Brains” for my parents, and shared it with my siblings. There is abundant research to back up the healing powers of each food on the list
Since then, another close family member began treatment for a very aggressive cancer. One of her survival strategies has been to follow a vegan, and mostly raw, diet. And it is helping her to remain active and energized as she continues with the other treatments her doctors prescribe.
Herbs hold the power to heal us. Our own garden in July-
Dr. Joel Fuhrman, whose book, Eat To Live, I read several years ago, realizes that he is a “doctor of last resort.” Most of his patients would never consider following his diet advice unless it was their last hope of survival.
What is that radical advice? To under-consume calories. He recommends a mostly raw diet of only selected vegetables, little or no oil or butter, whole grains, and no sugar. A typical meal includes a huge bowl of salad chopped vegetables dressed with a home-made fat free dressing.
Dr. Fuhrman has since generated cookbooks and a number of additional titles including: The End of Diabetes, Super Immunity, Disease Proof Your Child, and The End of Dieting. His advice is based in his own practice with terminally ill patients, as well as up to date research in disease prevention. Dr Fuhrman’s first book, Eat To Live, clearly describes how animal foods create and feed those diseases which destroy our bodies and brains.
Dill in our garden last July
I “returned to the garden” in 1986, giving up all flesh foods, for a variety of reasons. I won’t bore you with those reasons, but they were far ranging. And I’ve never once been tempted to add meat back into my diet. I haven’t been as successful with eliminating dairy, although I continue to reduce the amounts we consume. 2015 may be the year for that final shift, however.
I prefer to focus on learning new ways to prepare delicious meals rich in colorful vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts, and herbs.
Our creators (Elohim, from the Hebrew) gave us every single thing we need for healthy living, and we honor them, and ourselves, by living vibrant, healthy lives.
Fig tree in our garden, August 2014
Please allow me to share the list of brain healthy foods I compiled for my parents this past summer, based on reading Jean Carper’s book, 100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer’s and Age-Related Memory Loss.
Adding these simple and delicious foods to our diets in greater quantity may protect our brains, and our lives, for many more years to come.
Foods to Eat Frequently
To Heal and Protect Our Brains:
Coffee, Tea, Cocoa (Caffeine)
Fresh Vegetables (5+ daily)
Spinach, Chard, Kale, Tomato
Nuts: Almonds, Hazelnuts, Pecans, Walnuts, Cashews
Fresh Fruit (5+daily)
2 Apples each day (or apple juice)
Berries: Blueberries, Blackberries Strawberries, Cranberries
Juice: Pomegranate, Apple
Cranberry, Purple Grape
Olives, Olive Oil
Eggs, Fish, Fish oils
Our pear crop, August 2014
Woodland Gnome 2015