June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month: Two Books to Consider

I just learned that this month is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Not so coincidentally, I have been reading two books that address these issues. Here are two mini-reviews, which I will follow up with a focus on food and the brain in a future posting.

Having watched Dr. Amen on PBS with his talk on memory and mental health (“Memory Rescue”), I decided to read some of his books. (The inside of the book lists 20!) The first one is Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, which was first published in 1994 and has been updated twice. Dr. Amen is a clinical neuroscientist, psychiatrist, and brain-imaging expert who heads the world-renowned Amen Clinics. His website is www.amenclinics.com, which contains information and resources for optimizing your brain.

Part One introduces the reader to brain imaging, his specialty I believe. Just as a medical doctor uses tests (X-rays, CT scans, etc.)  to “see” inside a patient’s body, Dr. Amen uses single photos emission computed tomography (SPECT) to “see” inside a patient’s brain. This section also includes 12 principles to change your brain as well as your life. Here are a few, in the author’s own words, with photos of the brain using SPECT:

Your brain is involved in everything you do and everything you are….
Your brain is the most amazing, energy-hungry organ in the universe.
Looking at the brain gives us the opportunity for many powerful insights not possible by just listening to symptoms alone.

Part Two discusses and explains the brain systems themselves and looks at love and depression, anxiety and fear, worry and obsessiveness, boosting memory, and much more. This is a very comprehensive section.

Part Three is called The Brain Warrior’s Way and includes The Brain Warrior Diet. He lists 52 Brain Superfoods, which I will post separately in a few days, because the list needs its own posting. Continue reading “June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month: Two Books to Consider”

Diabetes and Dementia

I am currently reading a book to review entitled The Alzheimer’s Prevention & Treatment Diet, which has good information about diabetes and dementia that is worth mentioning now, during National Diabetes Month, while I finish reading the book.

diabetic diet has an emphasis on whole foods

Early in the book the authors, Dr. Richard Isaacson and Christopher Ochner, PhD, write about the link between these two ailments, specifically type 2 diabetes. The theory revolves around the fact that diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance, which is defined by the authors as “a condition in which the body manufactures a hormone called insulin but is unable to respond to it properly.”  Since the job of insulin is to help your cells take in glucose, defined as a simple sugar that your body’s main energy source, as well as to clear the bloodstream of excess glucose once no more energy is absorbed, the constant and persistent elevated levels of glucose can lead to many problems because of insulin resistance* And since insulin is essential for the brain to function properly, memory problems can result when there is insulin resistance.

*an impaired response of the body to insulin, resulting in elevated levels of glucose in the blood (a key component of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome (definition from the Internet)

I have been reading that some “experts” are calling Alzheimer’s “Type 3 Diabetes,” and as more research is revealed, I think we can benefit from knowing how strong a link there is between memory loss and insulin. So if you are diagnosed with pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes, then whatever steps you take to correct the problem, especially with a diet that doesn’t include lots of denatured foods, like white flour and white sugar, you may be on your way to help prevent memory loss.


Concerning diet, in UnDo It! by Dr. Dean Ornish and his wife, Anne Ornish, here is a great deal to learn about diabetes and memory loss. For example, they note that in a study of more than 200,000 men and women over a period of 20 years years by the Harvard School of Public Health, the results demonstrated that a whole foods plant-based diet substantially lowered the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. (I believe plant-based does not necessarily mean no meat, but rather that plants are eaten more than meat, depending on the researchers’ guidelines.)

In this same book, the authors note that lowering one’s blood sugar with lifestyle medicine is better than by just using drugs alone, which tells me that eating a whole foods diet with recipes similar to what I post on Menupause, is a giant step in the right direction to avoiding diabetes.  Since diabetes runs in my family, I take special care to be sure I don’t overload my body with “empty” calories, especially carbs,  or sugar-laden foods in place of naturally sweet foods.

I just copied some info that might be helpful and you may wish to investigate:

The best food choices for diabetics according to the American Diabetes Association. These foods help diabetics control blood sugar and lose weight, which makes blood-sugar management easier.

Image courtesy of share.baptisthealth.com


The 16 Best Foods to Control Diabetes


Here are the 16 foods:

fatty fish     leafy greens      cinnamon          
 eggs         chia seeds           turmeric
Greek yogurt    nuts        broccoli
extra virgin olive 
flax seeds      apple cider
garlic     squash    shiritaki noodles*

*Shiritaki Noodles (or Rice):

A meal that helps balance blood sugar? Yes!*

Source: https://miraclenoodle.com/

Glucose is a sugar that circulates in your blood. High carbohydrate foods, like regular pasta, rice, grains, etc., have a high glycemic index – they are rapidly digested and cause substantial fluctuations in your blood sugar. When you eat them you suddenly have lots of energy…and just as suddenly, you crash.

The Konjac plant fiber in Miracle Noodle, Miracle Rice, and Ready-To-Eat Meals, slows down your absorption of glucose, helping your blood sugar even out so you won’t have spikes of energy and exhaustion.

In fact, a study published in Diabetes Care confirmed that a diet rich in high-viscosity Konjac plant fiber, “improves glycemic control and lipid profile.

Miracle Noodles and rice are approved for these special diets: Keto, Paleo, Certified Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Soy-Free, Certified Vegan, Certified Kosher, Blood Sugar-Friendly.

They’re naturally low in carbs and calories, Certified Non-GMO, contain no additives, and are made from the Konjac plant.

(I plan to look for these in my health food stores  es)…….

Finally, some time ago I reviewed Suicide by Sugar by Nancy Appleton, PhD (also from Square One Publishers). Here is the internal blog link to that review: https://www.menupause.info/suicide-by-sugar-a-sweet-review/. 

On p. 10 of the book is a topic called: “Sugar by Any Other Name is Just as Troublesome,” with a list of sugar in its many forms. Use very sparingly! (Keep in mind that all not only sugars, but empty carbs can raise blood sugar levels.)

agave syrup or nectar    barley malt   beet sugar    brown sugar  cane sugar  cane syrup confections sugar crystalline sugar   date sugar   evaporated sugar cane   fructose   fruit juice concentrate   galactose   glucose granulated sugar   high fructose corn syrup   honey   invert sugar  lactose    liquid cane sugar or syrup maltose  maple syrup    molasses.   maple syrup   powdered sugar    raw sugar  rice syrup    sugarcane syrup table sugar  turbinado sugar   unrefined sugar   white sugar

When reading labels on foods you buy, check to see if any of these is near the top of the list, which means the amounts

are high. When I buy a treat, which is not too often, I check the sugar levels by seeing how many grams of sugar in a

serving and aim for 5 grams or less. (Check with your own doctor for his/her recommendations.)

Diabetes is a serious illness that can often be controlled by changes in lifestyle, especially diet. Consult with your doctor for testing and treatment. If you are pre-diabetic, find a health practitioner with lots of experience with this disease, since diabetes can result and is linked with memory loss.


P.S. Please note that my WordPress program doesn’t seem to keep all the words in lists the same size. I have tried several different ways and nothing works, so my apologies.




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