Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Brain Food Challenge

My favorite food is hands down any sort of breaded chicken dipped in any sort of sauce. It is my down fall. In the winter months, I created a new meal that consisted of a breaded chicken patty, raisin bread, brie and honey. Yum. It used to be that my roommate/cousin would eat this sort of unhealthy dinner with me. And that we would weekly (ehem, biweekly) get Chinese takeout. Well, a few months back, she committed herself to what has been deemed the BRAIN FOOD CHALLENGE. I finally hitched a ride on the band wagon once I realized she was serious about the whole brainy eating. On top of that, it was actually impacting her in a noticeably positive way.

I'm not nearly as faithful. I cheat sometimes (like with skittles at the movies). Overall, I am making a valiant effort. And I fully believe that the challenge is paying off.

My cousin works for a company called Marbles the Brain Store. It is a fantastic gaming store that sells games, books, and puzzles that focus predominantly on keeping your body and mind strong.

Thus, the Brain Food Challenge made its way into our lives. As a writer, a strong brain is important. When I cloud it with bad food, my ability to think straight -- in my case, think my way through a labyrinth -- is obscured. I am the type who could easily just eat bad food. I really like spaghetti in a can and store bought cookies. It is good stuff - for about twelve minutes. Then the hunger returns with a vengeance because you fed your stomach crap. And your brain screams at you with a sugar high migraine. And your body decides it is time for a siesta.

This is no way to treat yourself, especially when the alternative is so much better.

Basically, the BRAIN FOOD CHALLENGE is when your diet consists of the 50 best brain foods according to Dr. Amen (more information about Dr. Amen here).

It is a lifestyle that cuts out processed foods, refined sugar, dairy, white flour, red meat and breaded chicken. I call it a lifestyle because it is just that. The challenge is to commit one full month to eating only these top brainy foods. The reality is that after one month has transpired, you probably will not want to go back.

We have come to discover that within limitations, there is a sea of possibilities. Like roasted beets, primal fudge and sprouted wheat berries. This challenge is similar to the paleo diet and the new fad, the whole 30. Only more 'brain' focused. There is no calorie counting or point system. It is simple and delicious.

What we have found is that brussel sprouts are probably the most delicious food out there. A real cookie is too sweet. Apparently corn isn't good for you? And there really is no limit to what you can make out of peanut butter (the natural kind of course). We have more energy. Our taste buds have completely changed. A big fat juicy burger just sounds like a stomach ache. And my brain dreams up the most fantastic things at night.

When your lifestyle is healthy on a regular basis, those times when you splurge become that much more special.

Eating healthy isn't about dropping a few pounds (though kicking sugar to the curb will slim you down) or forcing yourself to give up the foods you love. It is about acknowledging that we only have this one body, this one mind and this one heart. So treat it with respect! And challenge it.

Return here often to discover new recipes and ideas on how to beet the challenge (pun intended). 

*Note: The Brain Food Challenge will not improve your grammar.

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