Does food affect our brain? How does what we eat affect our health? Those questions are the seeds that have grown the content of colormyfood. They’re the cornerstone of my eating lifestyle and why I cook the way I do.
My father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2008. This disease causes the brain to stop producing dopamine (a neurotransmitter) that helps regulate movement and ultimately affects common daily activities.
After going through shock, denial and grief, I launched into an all-out effort to learn about Parkinson’s, its prognosis and treatment. My dad is my friend and mentor. His life is the stuff books are written about and movies are made of — fighting the Communists at the height of the Cold War when Cuba sent Che Guevara into Bolivia to overthrow the government and use our country as the base for the Communist take over of all of Latin America. My childhood was interspersed with dad going into hiding because there was a price on his head for planning revolution, a brief exile, a bomb thrown at our house until finally after tremendous sacrifice, the tide turned and in 1979 my dad became an architect of Bolivia’s democracy. He served as Congressman, Senator and Ambassador in his passion for building a better country. But that’s a different story.
Back to Parkinson’s; we found a world-renowned Parkinson’s expert in Houston and for the next 7 years, my dad followed Dr. X’s prescriptions of continuously increased dosage. Every checkup, I asked if nutrition mattered. The doctor’s only diet recommendation was to reduce animal protein because it interferes with the absorption of Parkinson’s medications.
My blind faith in the world-renowned expert eroded as I witnessed my athletic, handsome father’s brisk walk convert to a shuffling gait, his hands freeze and handicap his ability to use his beloved camera or the computer so instrumental to his prolific writing. Reaching beyond “what the doctor said”, we sought additional alternatives: consistent exercise, physical therapy, acupuncture, and yes — food.
The more I researched, the more I kicked myself for not doing so earlier. Obviously diet has a direct impact on our health. Duh. But what I didn’t know is how much diet can impact the health of our brain.
I wish I knew in 2008 what I now know. Would it have made a difference in the progression of my father’s disease? I’ll never know. But I do believe what I’ve learned can help slow further progression. I have faith it will help my brain’s health. And I’m keenly motivated to share what I’ve learned with hope it may help others.
I’ve chewed through more books than I can recall, spent innumerous hours on the Internet seeking and digesting credible information and made endless notes.
Now I’m streamlining what I’ve learned into weekly blog posts on food and health.
Join me on this empowering discovery of food as a path to wellness. Jump in with your own experiences and lessons learned, with your questions or comments.
And on colormyfood you’ll also find recipes to incorporate knowledge into what you eat.
Next week’s blog post will be on food and brain health.
For Further Empowerment
Plant-based diets in general, and certain plant foods in particular, may be used to successfully treat Parkinson’s disease.
More than a cookbook of colorful, flavor-bursting recipes, this wonderful resource show us how nutritional and culinary science can help us to live healthier.