Sunday, October 27, 2013

Get rid of your GRAIN BRAIN

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Grain Brain. As always, the opinions expressed are all my own!

David Perlmutter, MD, is a name you will be hearing a lot more about.  He is a board-certified neurologist with an impressive resume:
  • President of the Perlmutter Health Center in Naples, Florida
  • Co-founder and president of the Perlmutter Brain Foundations
  • A Fellow of the American College of Nutrition
  • Recipient of the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the American College of Nutrition; Recipient of the Linus Pauling Award; Recipient of the Leonard G. Rowntree Research Award
  • Associate Professor at the University of Miami School of Medicine
  • Frequent lecturer at symposia sponsored by medical institutions like Harvard University, the University of Arizona, Scripps Institute, New York University, and Columbia University
  • Published author in The Journal of Neurosurgery, The Southern Medical Journal, Journal of Applied Nutrition, and Archives of Neurology
  • Author of The Better Brain Book, Raise a Smarter Child by Kindergarten, and Power Up Your Brain
  • Interview guest on 20/20, Larry King Live, CNN, Fox News, The Today Show, Dr. Oz, The CBS Early Show, and Oprah. 
Long enough? And that's not all -- you can learn more about Dr. Perlmutter on his website, but I think it's safe to say that he is a well-respected neurologist and researcher.

His latest book, Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar -- Your Brain's Silent Killers (Little, Brown and Company, 2013), is making big waves in health media and medicine.

You can see from the title that this is not just another book about how sugar is bad for you.  It warns of the dangers of wheat and other grains -yes, even those "heart healthy whole grains" you've all heard about.  While this isn't new in the paleosphere, it is a new take on the effect of carbohydrates on the brain itself.

The book's introduction begins with a quote that really encapsulates the way I've come to view disease and medicine:
Maintaining order rather than correcting disorder is the ultimate principle of wisdom. To cure disease after it has appeared is like digging a well when one feels thirsty, or forging weapons after the war has already begun.    - Nei Jing, 2nd Century BC

Signs of Gluten Sensitivity go WAY beyond the gut!
Immediately, I was interested.  Dr. Perlmutter then goes on to teach about gluten, grains, and genetics.  He implores you to read the science, even if you think that gluten--the "silent germ"--has no effect on you, personally.  "Food is a powerful epigenetic modulator," he explains.  "It can change our DNA for better or worse. [...] food actually regulates the expression of many of our genes.  And we have only just begun to understand the damaging consequences of wheat consumption from this perspective" (Perlmutter, p. 8).

First, the book introduces you to the risk factors, has you take a quiz to determine YOUR risk level, and explains why current testing for celiac disease and gluten intolerance are insufficient for testing your actual sensitivity to and damage from gluten.  Dr. Perlmutter explains the symptoms that go beyond the gut, linking gluten sensitivity to vertigo, headache, paralysis, and epilepsy.  He lists the many He cites observational studies, controlled research, and MRI data to make these connections.

Gluten sensitivity and Headaches
Then, for the next few chapters, Dr. Perlmutter recounts the multitude of research studies illustrating the connection between our modern diets and increased risk of Alzheimer's and other brain disorders, including but not limited to ADHD, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, decreased libido, and chronic headaches.  Although many of us have been taught that our fate is in our genes, this is not the case!  The food we eat affects the level of inflammation in our bodies, and that inflammation sets the stage for many of these brain conditions.  Dr. Perlmutter's description of our body's and brain's processes place the power of our fate back into our own hands.


The rest of Grain Brain is filled with the lifestyle changes--diet, exercise, and sleep--that you can make TODAY to keep your brain healthy, vibrant, sharp, and less likely to develop brain conditions such as Alzheimer's, anxiety, depression, ADHD, and more.

Interested?  Click below to continue reading!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Set a Bedtime Alarm

How often do you become so engrossed in a task--whether work or play--that you suddenly realize it's way later than you intended to go to bed?  Where did the evening go?  Now you've only got six, five... four(?!?) hours to sleep, and no time to unwind properly?

I've spoken before about the importance of shutting down electronics before bed, but if you want to have time to shut down and begin to wind down for sleep, you've got to recognize that it's bedtime 30 to 60 minutes before you actually intend to sleep!

For this reason, I often keep a "bedtime alarm" set, so that on weeknights, my phone will remind me, "Hey, it's almost ten o'clock; you might want to finish what you're doing and start getting washed up and ready for bed." In case you were wondering, my bedtime alarm sound is crickets. Thank you, iPhone.

  This is my little trick to make sure I get my eight hours in. It may seem silly, but why?  It's just a friendly (self-imposed!) reminder.  You can "snooze" it if you need to, but it's just a little tap on the shoulder to let you know what time it is, and that, if you intend to get eight hours of sleep, you need to start getting ready for bed now.

I'd turned it off for a while, because it had helped me get in the habit of getting in bed earlier, so I no longer needed it.  However, last week, I had a LOT to do, and began staying up very late to get it all done.  It's taken its toll; I've been feeling tired and hazy.  That's why I'm going back to my trusty bedtime alarm to help me get back on track!!

Prioritizing sleep is important to me, and I hope to you, too.  If I get any less than seven-to-eight hours of sleep, I'm not myself the next morning.  By having a bedtime alarm, even if I'm in the middle of something, I have a reminder that it's getting late and I ought to wrap it up and hit the sack.

I dare YOU to set a bedtime alarm to help remind you to get a full night's sleep! 

How do you decide when to go to bed?  Do you have a nightly routine? 

Monday, October 21, 2013

get the 21-Day Sugar Detox Book by Diane Sanfilippo

For a few years, Diane Sanfilippo has shared her expertise on sugar cravings in an e-book called The 21 Day Sugar Detox, where she outlined a program for a three-week detox from sugar.  Whether you think you've got a sweet tooth or not, you may be surprised how sugar affects your daily life (eczema, fatigue, mood swings, acne, blood sugar rollercoasters, and more!).  Take a look at the videos below and consider whether a detox might be beneficial for YOU!  

Want some testimonials? I completed the program twice, myself, and shared my experiences here and here.  My friend Amber has recapped her experiences at, and you can also find great experience posts by Sarah on her blog The Paleo Mom, and George of The Civilized Caveman.  Just google "21-Day Sugar Detox Recap" and you'll see countless positive reviews for this life-changing program.

Now, Diane has revamped and added to her program to create an all-inclusive resource in a real, physical, keep-it-on-your-shelf, toss-it-in-your-bag printed BOOK:

by Diane Sanfilippo


It's just as beautiful and well organized as her first book, Practical Paleo, but with an obvious focus on the way sugar affects the body and what we can do about it.

What is the 21-Day Sugar Detox?  Diane explains it as "a guide for the practical implementation and simple, day-to-day support on navigating food choices while on the program."  I'll let Diane explain the program, and the book's three sections for herself:

Section 1: Program Basics (the science of sugar, the program preparation checklist, day-by-day expectations, supplement recommendations, FAQs, daily success logs, food replacement guides, and guides for sugar pseudonyms, dining out, and fats & oils)
Section 2: Level placements, suggested meal plans, and modification advice for autoimmune conditions, pescetarians, and atheletes
Section 3: Simple recipes! Plus additional resources with recommended products, brands, blogs, and more.
I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy for review, so here's a sneak peek at what's inside the book--the old, the new, and the incredibly helpful!  (I've already discussed the program in previous posts, so I thought a vlog would give a better glance into the book itself and my impression of the new format.)

PREVIEW: 21-Day Sugar Detox Book

Don't have time to watch?  Here are some highlights:

Starts with the science of sugar - how it works (or hurts) in the body!

Tips for how to prepare in advance of your detox:

A guide to what to expect each of the twenty-one days:

Diane's amazing guides on replacing foods, dining out, fats & oils, and more!

A quiz to help you decide which level and modifications are best for you:

The program includes three different levels, as well as modifications for autoimmune conditions, athletes, and pescetarians!

Suggested meal plans for each level, followed by incredible 21DSD-approved recipes, which I've already bookmarked and begun cooking!  Some of my favorites are the spaghetti squash bolognese, veggie pancakes, mustard-glazed chicken thighs, and the moo-less chocolate mousse! (I photograph these regularly on Instagram and shared in my previous posts. They're delicious and you'll quickly forget that you're detoxing!)


The best part? It fits right in your bag!  You can keep it with you while on the detox, so any questions can be answered while you're out and about, or you can have the recipes right there with you at the supermarket.

A reminder for any interested in participating, that there is a Facebook page where moderators answer your questions and concerns regarding the program.  You can join groups beginning the program each month, and sign up for daily motivational emails. 

The 21DSD book launches next week: Tuesday, October 29, 2013!  Go to to learn more about the program and see FAQs, or head straight over to Amazon to pre-order your copy today!  By pre-ordering, you get free access to Diane's useful quick-start guides (more information here).

Again, you can learn more at, or order the book online on Amazon.  PLUS, Diane also has another upcoming cookbook, packed with 21DSD-approved recipes!  Keep an eye out for that in December, or go ahead and pre-order it now: The 21-Day Sugar Detox Cookbook: Over 100 Recipes for Any Program Level.

Thank you to Diane Sanfilippo and Victory Belt Press, Inc. for the opportunity to review and share this book with you.

Dare YOU to try The 21-Day Sugar Detox to bust your sugar and carb cravings naturally!

Have you tried the 21-Day Sugar Detox?

Do you prefer E-books or print versions? 

Disclaimer: I was provided this book free of charge for review purposes. The opinions expressed above are all my own.  This post contains Amazon affiliate links; see disclaimer page for details. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

do Oil Cleansing

Here's a dare I've taken on that people have noticed.  I've gotten compliments on my glowing skin, and some have asked me what I'm up to.  If you want to stop worrying about what's on your face and finally have glowing, balanced skin, then this post is for you.

Just as I got rid of the unpronounceable ingredients in my body lotion, I wanted to avoid the artificial cleansers in my face wash, too.  What good does it do to use coconut oil to moisturize my face, if I'm still washing it with strange chemicals twice a day?

Well, I'd heard of "oil cleansing" before, and you may have, too.  There's a website dedicated to it (The Oil Cleansing, and it's outlined extensively with various options in The Skintervention Guide by Liz Wolfe.  THere's also a helpful tutorial on Mommypotamous.

It may seem counterintuitive, but using oil topically actually helps balance your skin.  It's nourishing, cleansing, and moisturizing.  It helps your own skin realize it doesn't need to overproduce oil, and, thinking back to basic high school chemistry: like dissolves like.  Oil can do your skin good.

Click below to read more to learn how to oil cleanse

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Features

Happy Friday!  
Here are a few links to get you thinking this weekend:


Dare you to OWN IT.  Love this honest and encouraging post
from Sarah Fragoso on Everyday Paleo.

The Huffington Post shares 23 Things Every Woman Should Stop Doing.  
Worth reading, reflecting, and reconsidering.

All in favor of the family meal?
Carla Birnberg advocates for the family meal, and I agree!

Lindsay explains the way she is 

The Angry Trainer gives a great explanation
of how social media affects the fitness industry.
Spoiler: it does BOTH--helping people get healthy
but also hurting the industry and standards. Great post.

The basics and what you can do for the cause.


As always, follow along on recent dares, news, information, and healthy living updates 

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Celebrate Kale Day

Scenes from the celebration of the (proposed) first National Kale Day:






A fun time was had by all :) 


There were so many varieties at the store!!  We settled on three to try different ways.

What is your favorite type of kale and how do you prepare it?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Inaugurate National Kale Day

Guess what day it is...


Yes, it's hump day.  But today is also... KALE DAY! 
Mm hmm, you heard me.  All who eat their greens, REJOICE:

Wednesday, October 2, 2013 is slated to be the very first 
National Kale Day!

Happy Kale Day!

Although, I admit, it's not my favorite green (I can understand why some loathe its bitter taste), I do try to eat kale from time to time.  In fact, kale has been featured as a "new food" right here on the blog!  Check out Cook with a New Food: Kale for that post.  Since then, I've come around to it.  Prepared properly, kale can be quite a delicious addition to any meal!

Now, it's time to pay kale some serious attention!  The folks at "propose that National Kale Day will be the first Wednesday in October and will continue to be an annual celebration of eating, growing, and sharing kale through out [sic] America."

Dare you to celebrate this inaugural Kale Day by having some Kale for yourself.

What is kale?

It's a green vegetable, of course!  According to The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia, Kale is "the grandmother of the whole cabbage family" (p. 184).  Rebecca Wood describes the old vegetable's "strident flavor," "sturdy appearance," and ability to withstand cold weather.  It's a green, as you can see, though leaves can range from dark green to a purple color. Although it's long been a staple throughout Europe, kale has recently become quite popular--trendy even--in America.

Why eat kale?

As I've previously explained: 
Kale has been shown to have powerful effects in weight lossreducing risk of diseaseantioxidant powerbrain healthflat abs, and even healthy hair.  Decently low in calorie (34 for one cup, raw, chopped) and a provider of fiber, iron, and calcium, this vegetable is one to start eating today.  Consuming such nutrient-dense vegetables like Kale makes getting your nutrients easy.  

It's a "strengthening vegetable" according to Rebecca Wood: "Kale eases lung congestion, benefits the stomach, and is a specific healer for the liver and the immune system.  Its juice is medicinal for treating stomach and duodenal ulcers" (pg. 185).

That all sounds good to me!  Let food be thy medicine, said Hippocrates.  Let kale be thy medicine!

How do I cook and eat kale?

For three very simple ways to start eating kale, check out this post on cooking with kale for beginners.

For many recipes and tips on celebrating kale, has you covered!  Check out the website for more details on the what, why, and how of KALE.

You can even become a "Kale Hero" and receive a helpful package for learning to love kale:

Dare you to join in the nutrient-dense fun

I have to thank my friend, Alyssa, for informing me of this special holiday.  She has gone kale-happy; we are going to celebrate with a kale party!  I'm looking forward to it, because I've had her kale and it's always delicious.  I'll be sure to let you know how that goes!

Do YOU like Kale? 
How will you be celebrating National Kale Day?

Please share YOUR kale recipes in the comments below! Thanks!