"sensible dementia care should rely on a series of lifestyle changes rather than pharmaceutical drugs"
I couldn't agree more! I've seen the ravages of dementia first hand, from mild to advanced Alzheimer's Disease. It saddens me that even in a facility specifically for memory care residents, food is not utilized to improve brain function, but only to appease what is viewed as "quality of life". Quality of life is important for all of us, but memory care institutions seem to define it as "doing the same thing you've always done".
For example, if dementia symptoms improved with certain dietary changes, surely that would aide quality of life, wouldn't it? Yes, it may require food budget adjustments, but many would be willing to absorb that increase in exchange for improved symptoms (aka quality of life).
As the American population moves into its golden years (beginning January 1st, 2011 and every single day thereafter for 19 years, more than 10,000 American will turn 65), many have already faced the challenges of dementia as a caregiver to parents and spouses. I inlcude myself in this group and would happily make dietary changes if it meant improved symptoms (without sacrificing dining comfort) or avoiding the decline myself.
I would love to hear public opinion on my beliefs. Please share your comments below. And if you'd like help in creating these dietary changes, in your own life or the life of someone you care for, write to me directly!
Have you wondered which "diet" is best? You are not alone! It seems like there's a new one every month and you may have tried them all or know someone who has tried many. I'm frequently asked what I think of the currently popular 'Paleo Diet'.
My answer is pretty much the same no matter which one I'm asked about. Here's the skinny:
Our DNA has changed since we were cave dwellers. It's a cocktail that didn't exist before. With every step of globalization, we have synthesized new genetics. Additionally, the industrial revolution has provided us the chemical means to exponentially alter the mix, from cigarettes to genetically modified soy beans to Frankenfish.
To propose that We, as a race of humans, should be eating one diet of any sort, I feel is ridiculous. I am certainly a proponent of a diet of whole foods, with all the colors of the rainbow, for everyone. End of story. Beyond that, I believe our DNA is so mixed up, that dietary generalization is a silly notion and every body is going to need something just a bit different from the next.
I'm sure there is merit to the Paleo Diet, but our bodies are smart. They will tell us what to eat (and what not to), if we tune in and listen. Not to our taste buds – they've been tricked by the food industry. Not to our minds – they can only playback what we've already experienced. Get quiet, take a couple of deep clearing breaths, then "go inside" and ask yourself what your body needs to eat for wellness. Trust the answers that come – you'll know the difference between those your mind creates and those which are from the REAL you.
I know, it sounds woo-woo. That's why it's called The Holistic Kitchen.
FINALLY, the medical community is coming around! It's so refreshing to see a physician who has been entrenched in Western medicine for a lengthy career, do an about face and publicly admit that doctors and pharmaceutical companies have had it all wrong.
The injury and inflammation in our blood vessels is caused by the low fat diet recommended for years by mainstream medicine.
Foods loaded with sugars and simple carbohydrates, or processed withomega-6 oils for long shelf life have been the mainstay of the American diet for six decades. These foods have been slowly poisoning everyone.
Plus the diet and pills we've been prescribed are actually causing the problem to worsen? What a cruel joke! It certainly is lucrative for the doctors and drug companies who "believe" they offer help….
Get the story here – this is a LIFE SAVING MUST READ, written by a physician, who has changed his tune.
BTW, once you learn what he has to share, you may want to pick up a copy of my book, Chef Nancy's Recipe for Health (print version) or The Anti Reaper Diet (Kindle version), offering 4 weeks of Anti-inflammatory recipes.
As it happens, Oregano, the traditional herb in pizza sauce and widely used in Mediterranean cooking, is a healing powerhouse! It’s been used for centuries for stimulating the immune system and documented for its powerful anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic and anti-inflammatory properties (likely responsible for its anti-aging properties)!
Now if you know me at all, you know I consider anti-inflammatory to be synonymous with anti-cancer and anti-diabetes. Just sayin’…
Oregano has also been shown to be effective against arthritis and rheumatism (inflammation), respiratory diseases such as tuberculosis and digestive issues. Furthermore, the fragrance is known to create a feeling of security. Wow again!
Considering the quantity of Oregano prevalent in the Mediterranean Diet, in combination with the lycopene in cooked Tomatoes and health benefits of Olive Oil, it’s no wonder the Mediterranean Diet receives such attention!!
Oregano, on its own, can be used to activate your defenses with the first symptoms of cold, flu or upper respiratory infections. Continue throughout the infection and 4-5 days beyond, to avoid reoccurrence.
Because of its anti-bacterial properties, Oregano can also be useful in fighting other infections, such as those in the urinary tract. Drink as a tea or take 1-3 drops of therapeutic grade essential oil (diluted with olive oil) in a veg. capsule.
Consuming Oregano as a warm tea, right after a meal can help to relieve gas, regulate digestion and “keep things moving smoothly”.
“The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods” lists all of these conditions in the index under Oregano: Bad breath, bursitis [inflammation], cold sores [virus], depression, hives, nausea, osteoarthritis [inflammation again], pneumonia, sinusitis and toothaches!
Sheesh! I can’t personally speak to all those, but thought the list was sufficient to illustrate just how much respect Oregano deserves as a healing food!
So, Zach my friend, you can feel good about pizza! Just go light on the cheese, see if you can get some whole grains into the crust and load up on the Oregano!! And if you’re feeling adventurous, here’s a super easy (non-pizza) recipe from the Silver Palate that uses a plentiful amount of Oregano, qualifies as “holistic” and is lip-smacking delicious!!
REMEMBER: When cooking with herbs, add dried herbs early on, so their flavor and properties have time to become released. When cooking with fresh herbs, add just at the end of cooking, so their flavor and properties are maintained! And if you need to substitute one for the other in a recipe, remember that dried is 3x more concentrated than fresh, so adjust accordingly (i.e. a Tbl. of fresh is equivalent to a tsp. of dried.)
These are truly one of my favorite summer flowers – something about their sunny colors of orange and gold brighten any balcony, patio or garden spot. They seem so happy and always bring a smile to me.
“But wait, there’s more!” Nasturtiums are a 100% edible gift of nature! Their leaves and leggy stems lend a little spice to your summer salad. If you have a lot of them you can make a spicy pesto or add a bit to your traditional pesto.
The flowers themselves are completely edible and certainly lend elegance and color to your plate, not to mention those "oohs and ahhs" a cook adores. And finally, once the flowers have shined all they can, they leave behind a seed pod (kind of resembles a little crinkly green brain), from which you can pickle your own spicy little nasturtium capers!
While I share my knowledge with you through Kitchen Tips, I am, of course, still always learning. Last year, I planted too many nasturtiums in my garden box for the space. The result was an over crowded, bumper crop and while I basked in the beautiful color on my balcony and ate as much pesto as I could, I DID NOT KNOW I COULD’VE MADE ‘CAPERS’! This I sorely regret, as I adore the little things!
If you’d like to try it yourself, here’s how (thanks to Sandor Katz, my fermenting guru):
1½ cups of small seedpods*, such as Nasturtium or even Milkweed
1 Tb. Sea salt
1-2 heads of garlic
Harvest the pods when they’re small and tender.
Dissolve the salt in the water to create your brine.
Fill a pint jar with seedpods and peeled garlic cloves. Pour the brine over, making sure to cover all.
It’s important to keep them weighted down, so they remain covered under the brine. You can use a smaller container that fits in your pint jar (filled with water for weight) or even a Ziploc bag filled with brine (in case it leaks).
Taste daily until they taste “ripe”. This should take 4-7 days. If a film of mold develops, simply skim it off and continue to keep the pods submerged in brine, until they taste ready to you. Once they are, you can simply put a lid on them and keep them refrigerated, using them as needed. Voila!
Savor the Flavor of Summer!!
*EATING RAW NOT RECOMMENDED – CAN BE TOXIC, ESPECIALLY FOR ULCERS & KIDNEY DISORDERS
While gluten sensitivities are becoming mainstream, the gluten-free alternatives are plentiful and here’s one more you can add to your shopping cart, dinner table, breakfast bowl and snack recipes! That’s a lot of bang for your buck, considering its teeny tiny profile.
Millet is a whole grain that offers a strong nutrient profile in the absence of gluten. High in Magnesium, Potassium, Manganese and Trytophan, Millet is also a good source of insoluble fiber and that’s what helps to slow down the rate blood sugar enters your blood stream (an important factor in preventing spikes that lead to insulin resistance, inflammation and disease).
Studies have shown Millet’s nutrient profile offers many cellular level health benefits, only a few of which I’ve listed here:
- Heart protective
- Reduced risk of type 2 Diabetes
- Promotes healthy cell structure throughout the body
- More, more more!
Millet is available hulled or whole grain. Whole grain always offers more soluble fiber than the hulled version of any grain. Choose organic, if available. Eden, Nature's Path and Arrowhead Mills all offer organic whole grain millet. Store it in an airtight container where it’s cool, dark and dry.
From a culinary standpoint, Millet can be made mushy, like a porridge or fluffy like couscous or rice or it can be used in baking.
In all cases, rinse dry grains before cooking.
Fluffy Millet: 1 cup millet to 2.5 cups liquid (water, broth, combo). Bring liquid to a boil, add rinsed grains. Once it has returned to a boil , cover, reduce heat and simmer, approximately 25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff grains with a fork and season with S&P.
FluffyNutty Millet: While waiting for the liquid to come to a boil, lightly toast dry grains in a skillet, then add to liquid, for a nutty flavor profile.
Porridge: Cook the same as fluffy millet, EXCEPT, stir it frequently and add a bit more liquid along the way.
Baked goods: Grind millet grains first, then sub 1/4 – 1/2 cup of flour with ground millet. Alternatively, use ground millet in place of oats in a recipe. If you want that nutty flavor, toast first, then grind. Stone ground Millet has been used for thousands of years in flatbreads in many civilizations!
Fillers and batters: Use whole or ground millet as a filler in veggie burgers, meatloaf, stuffing, or in pancake or waffle batter!
Share your questions or favorite uses of Millet by commenting below!
Though it’s long been associated with Hippies and substance abuse, Hemp Seed is, in fact, an extremely healthy food source, high in protein, fiber and Omega 3 fatty acids. If you’ve read my special report, then you know how important these elements are to an anti-inflammatory (synonymous with anti-disease) diet and it's especially heart healthy!