The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Grain brain.
For the past 30 days I have been taking part in The Grain Brain Challenge. During this challenge that Dr. Perlmutter put together, this is the objective:
His revolutionary 4-week plan to keep your brain healthy, vibrant and sharp
o Shifting your body away from relying on carbs for fuel and adding brain
o Incorporating a fitness routine
o Getting restful, routine sleep seven days a week
o Establishing a new rhythm to maintain these healthy habits
On point number one, as a runner, I always thought I had to rely on carbs for running long distances. I used to eat two slices of peanut butter toast each morning before my long run on the weekends thinking that was what I needed for fuel. The first day I tried two plain eggs, I was nervous it wouldn't be enough but I found I was just fine without them and felt like I had enough to get me started.
Incorporating a fitness routine is of course essential for anyone. We all need to keep active to remain youthful and healthy. If you are not currently living a physically active lifestyle, it is so easy to get active. Just going for a walk is an easy way to get moving.
Getting restful sleep is important for everyone as well. You keep hearing how everyone needs enough sleep for their brain and body to function properly, now is the time to make this happen! Make it a priority. Give it a shot, see how you feel and you make the call. I can guarantee that by the end of the week, you're going to notice a huge difference.
One of the most important parts is establishing a new rhythm to maintaining this new lifestyle. It's the same with any lifestyle change, you need to do it over an extended period of time consistently for it to stick. You need to create a new habit. You need to feel the benefits for you to realize how much clearer your thoughts are. How much better you feel. If you keep falling off the wagon, you will never see the full benefits of this plan and therefore you are very unlikely to stick with it in the long run. Make it a priority to give this your full effort.
Wow! What a month it has been. At first it was easy, and then it became hard, and then I saw the benefits.
Before I even started, I knew this was going to be a "challenge" for me. I had depended so heavily on carbs to power me through the days that I didn't know if it was possible. A big part of this lifestyle includes eggs and let me tell ya, I used them a lot! Thankfully there are a lot of great things you can do with eggs to make it different and I never got bored once. I would make a huge plate of veggies cooked in coconut oil and then scramble some eggs in it, changing the veggies from time to time and adding salsa or hot sauce to make it different. I never got sick of it and will continue to have this for breakfast.
For the most part, I was able to easily make a lunch and dinner without problems as well. My family has had more Meat, Potato Veggie dinners then they have before but no one is complaining. I did have more potatoes then is recommended but baby steps. My thought is that even though they are high carb, they are still a vegetable so I would allow it some nights for dinner if it was a day I was going to be working out or did work out.
After about one week into this, I already felt the difference. The main thing I noticed almost immediately is not getting my normal 3pm exhausted feeling. I remember one day as I was sitting on the couch after work and I realized that I had not had that feeling for days. I wasn't tired. I didn't feel exhausted. I always feel exhausted at that part of the day and now I wasn't. It was great! It helped a lot with running since I normally run in the evening during the week and I wasn't dreading it because of how tired I was (but dreaded it because of rain and cold), I was actually energized for it.
Some people might want to try this lifestyle for the weight benefits and I have nothing to report there. I neither gained nor lost and weight during this challenge. I imagine many people would see benefits in this area though.
The main point of the book is that your brain will be clearer and your overall health will be better. I do feel this is true if we all maintained a grain free diet. I even have my husband convinced that he should try it to help him with some things he deals with on a daily basis. I think I have him convinced but he needs to come to terms with the commitment. Now that I am done with the book, I will hand it over to him to read.
The book is a lot to take in. There are so many facts in there that make a lot of sense because they are all backed by scientific evidence and/or research. He does not skimp on having a solid explanation for the way he believes we should all be eating. The book also has a lot of recipes in the back to help you get started. I also found Pinterest to be rather valuable to finding ideas for what to eat by searching "Paleo" and making sure there weren't any other changes that needed to be made.
Here is my Paleo board if you are interested in seeing what I found. Some recipes would need to be altered but I thought that they could easily enough become paleo and/or grain and gluten free.
My Paleo Pinterest Board
From this point forward I am going to be much more aware of what I am consuming. Will I be able to give up grains entirely? Probably not. I am however lowering them significantly. The one area in which I will find it the hardest to give up grains is beer. I love having a beer. While wine is often okay to drink while being grain free, obviously beer isn't and beer is usually my first choice when I decide to have an adult beverage. I still think that bringing down my carbs as much as I have will still have a positive impact on my health. It's not an all or none kind of mentality when it comes to health. Even making any change toward the better is going to help you. Keep this in mind when making the change. It's not going to be perfect. Don't expect it to be perfect. Expect to make mistakes but I think if you give it a full week of your time, you will already be seeing a big difference and it will make you want to continue on this path to brain health.