I have been experimenting with the supplements, food and lifestyle practices that sharpen up my brain power for many years, searching for those lifestyle practices that give me the best energy and clarity.
Some people would say I am disciplined, but not really. I just like to feel really really good!
So recently I have been paying more attention to what specifically makes my brain feel super powerful, especially since menopause has a huge effect on how our brains function.
- I like having a brain that is sharp and feels powerful.
- I like being able to write and speak articulately.
- I love being able to focus on a challenging project, the creative messy struggle of learning a new skill.
So anything that up my brain power is super interesting to me.
Here are two things that I have been focusing on in the past month that have made a huge difference in how much easier it is to use my brain:
#1. Meditation – simply sitting quietly, do nothing for a few minutes daily centers and grounds me for the rest of the day. It has a huge impact on my ability to stay focused and not get distracted.
Meditating does not have to be a complicated or even spiritual pursuit. But it can feel ridiculously hard, because it is the opposite of how you normally spend your day – running around being productive and getting stuff done.
Meditation is sitting in one spot, not moving, and doing nothing. The world keeps moving, your thoughts and emotions keep going, but you are doing nothing. That is the beauty of it.
#2. Radically reducing white carbs and processed whole grains, along with more servings of healthy fats – my food centers around whole foods, mostly plants, but I discovered that eating too many whole grain breads and crackers, and drinking a little alcohol almost daily, keeps me from thinking clearly and being able to focus.
The joys of feeling sharp and energized more than make up for the absence of these foods in my meals. Over and over I find that my ideas of what is pleasurable to eat is not related to the reality of what is pleasurable in my body!
When I feel confident in my body and brain, that is the greatest pleasure of all.
These small tweaks have made a big difference in my energy and my brain power. :
>>> wine or beer once a week (or not at all!) I prefer sparkling water with a little apple cider vinegar and stevia…maybe a drop of essential oil like fennel or wild orange…I sleep better!
>>>> snacking on vegetable and fruit slices with avocados, nuts, seeds, and nut butters rather than eating whole-grain toast and crackers.
>>>>> replacing pasta and rice with high antioxidant veggies like riced cauliflower, spiralized squash, steamed broccoli or roasted brussels and root veggies, or the occasional quinoa or buckwheat.
>>>>>> including more fatty fish in my diet, and adding in a little grass fed butter and coconut oil
I still use honey and maple syrup when I want a sweet taste, so this is not a radical no sugar no carb regimen. But changing the quality of the carbs is important.
I also had the unexpected benefit of letting go of some of the winter weight I put on, even with the extra fat intake!
Remember, these are not rules to impose on yourself! Experiment and see what works for you – no matter what state your brain is in, you can always make it better.