The Premise of Grain Brain
Today marks two weeks until the release of my new book, Grain Brain. I’m fortunate in that I really ended up having the perfect title for this book. Remember those old PSAs with the egg frying in the pan, meant to symbolize your brain on drugs? My message is sort of the same, except that the egg represents your brain on grains. A central piece of this message is the idea that, contrary to popular opinion, Alzheimer’s and dementia are not genetically inevitable, they aren’t a symptom of old age, and there’s no reason you’re destined to get it if you live to see eighty. Brain disease starts in your daily bread. Why? Well, consider that, in terms of the real age of our species, the human genome has only had a fraction of time to cope with and respond to the introduction of grains to our diet. We’ve only made the transition from hunter-gatherers to sedentary farmers in the last two thousand years or so, and in that time, especially the last one hundred years, science and agriculture have made grains increasingly more complex for our bodies to handle. Consider that many modern grains now have 40x more gluten than they did just sixty years ago! So, genetically speaking, when we feast on “healthier” grains like seven-grain bread instead of white bread, or whole wheat penne instead of classic fettuccine, we aren’t doing our body any favors. In other words, a grain is a grain is a grain, and regardless of its wholeness or color, it’s can be the cause of anything from your migraine headache to a full-blown case of ADHD or dementia. How do we turn the tide in this battle? A key first step is moving away from the low-fat, high-carb diet that has become customary. Let’s get back to a diet reminiscent of the one our ancestors lived on, a high-fat, low-carb feast for the senses. Today known as the modified ketogenic diet, this plan requires that we consume much higher levels of fat while dramatically restricting carbs. It may sound scary at first (I can’t tell you how many people balk at my endorsement of enjoying high-fat, high-calorie avocados and extra virgin olive oil), but a ketogenic diet is a powerful life change that will pay dividends for years to come. I lay out more of the plan to fight grain brain in my book, and I’ll continue to discuss how we can eat and live for better health here on my blog.