The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Grain Brain.
Since I've chosen to be a healthier person in terms of fitness and food, I have been much more conscientious about my foods. But I never really stopped to think about gluten and the affects it has on people and their bodies.
Then I was given the opportunity to read Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter and participate in a 4-week challenge. In the beginning chapters of this book, Dr. Perlmutter reveals some pretty amazing data linking gluten and other damaging carbohydrates to a long list of medical conditions. Here are just a few of those medical conditions:
- chronic headaches
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
For me, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder stood out on that list. I have (quite a bit) of anxiety and my son was recently diagnosed with ADHD (inattentive type). I've been noticing in myself a very cloudy/unfocused brain as well. Sometimes I feel so completely overwhelmed, I'm not really sure where to start. I had high hopes that Dr. Perlmutter's book would provide us with some answers and suggestions in improving my anxiety and reducing Tucker's ADHD symptoms.
There were four key components of the Grain Brain program:
- move away from carbohydrates and add in healthy brain supplements
- establish a fitness routine
- get consistent, restful sleep seven days/week
- establish a rhythm in maintaining the healthy habits
How did I do?
Moving away from carbohydrates and using brain healthy supplements.
Dr. Perlmutter recommends adding coconut oil, DHA derived from fish, fish oil or algae, probiotics, resveratrol, turmeric, and vitamin D.
As part of the challenge, I was actually sent 3 of the recommended supplements.
- GNC Preventative Nutrition resVida
- Spring Valley Omega-3 Fish Oil Soft Gels
- BrainStrong Adult DHA Supplement
I already had vitamin D and coconut oil and the purchased the turmeric. Below you'll see my morning supplement routine.
|resVida, fish oil, turmeric, DHA|
Actually, I did have the kids start an Omega -3/DHA supplement routine as well. But I found some child ones instead. There was no way they would be able to take these larger pills. Taking these supplements was actually the easiest piece to the challenge. I kept them in the kitchen where I prepped my lunch/breakfast for the day, so it was quite easy to take them and not forget them.
Part of the Grain Brain, challenge was to be gluten free for 10 days. I am sad to report I didn't quite make it. I had some really great days and then some not so awesome days. However, what I did notice is on the days I stayed 100% true to the plan, I didn't feel snacky hungry. I felt completely satisfied with my meals. And to be honest, on the other days that I wasn't truly gluten free, it's not like I was eating every single gluten-based food. I mean, at a birthday party, I ate some Nilla wafers (like 5). In my defense, my friend made her pumpkin dip and I wanted it….and it only tastes great with the Nilla wafers that were sitting next to the dip. Darn. The rest of that day, I stayed on track. I did have a girls night out, and I did have regular pizza dough instead of the gluten free dough.
However, I did clear out the bleached, all purpose flour, and did stock up on gluten free flours. Thanks to my dad and Barb, I have two awesome large bags of gluten free all purpose flour and more coconut oil - from there last trip to Costco. - Since there isn't a Costco in Maine, I need to rely on my dad and Barb to stock me on those goodies! I am very appreciative! This family does love it's baked goods, and not having pancakes, muffins, scones would be detrimental to our winter living in Maine.
Eggs, Kale, Onions, local/nitrate free bacon
quinoa, onion, kale, zucchini, local pork
salmon topped with fresh mango salsa
Boudreau raised chicken, onion, spinach
Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Dough, mushrooms, spinach, cheese
It wasn't that hard at all. For me anyway. The kids were not going to eat some of the things above. But they did enjoy Bob's Red Mill GF Pizza Dough, eggs, chicken, bacon, sausage. The green stuff above? Nope. Not them. I am working on them though!!!
Establish a Fitness Routine
This was the easiest part for me. Already done. I work out 5-6x a week. If I don't work out, it shows. Even the kids ask "did you work out today?" If I'm not in the best of moods. And because they are awesome, they will always give me time to work out or join me!
Yes. This is one thing I am not usually very good at. I made sure to power down and be in bed by 9:30 and was usually asleep by 10. I get up at 5:30 every morning, so 7.5 hours is pretty darn good for me. I felt like I had tons of rest!
Establish a Rhythm With My New Healthy Habits
I'm not sure if we will ever be 100% gluten free. I am confident we can be reduced gluten for sure. As a family, we are making more conscientious choices in flours, snacks. Tucker's been taking Larabars to school instead of the Nutter Bars he was taking before.
Soooo….did I notice anything?
Oh my goodness, yes! It's almost like I have a new/clearer brain. I am so much more focused (at work anyway). I have been more on top of all of the paperwork associated with being a Special Educator. I don't think I have felt as anxious lately. There were definitely some stressors in my life in the past 4 weeks that made me feel incredible anxious, but being GF doesn't mean no stress. Right?
Any changes in Tucker. This boy has made some great improvements in the past four weeks. He comes home from school, starts his homework (without fighting/arguing/whining), sits at the table and focuses on his work. He has been bringing his home/school folder home much more consistently as well. Prior to this, he was forgetting it at school at least 2x a week. In addition to the reduced gluten lifestyle and taking supplements, Tucker is also seeing a chiropractor. He was seeing her 2-3x a week. Just this past week she reduced him to 1x a week due to his progress! Woohoo! As for school, his spelling test grades have jumped back up. (He did start off the year with some really low spelling grades). The rest of his grades have gone up as well.
So, yes. Making these changes in our lives has definitely been positive and worth while. I know that in time and creativity, I am going to be making so many more awesome Grain Brain friendly recipes based on the successes we experienced in this challenge. I also know for sure we are going to continue with the supplements, especially since I've already purchased more.