Optimize your Brain [Podcast Notes – Dr Amen]
Notes from the following Podcast interview with Dr Daniel Amen, plus my 2 cents and notes.
Do this to Reprogram your brain on what you want for your life:
What do you want?
… with your relationships?
… with your work?
… with your money?
… with your physical/emotional & spiritual health?
Write it down on a piece of paper.
It starts with that.
The brain makes happen what it sees – but if you never tell it what you want to see, it will make “random things happen”.
I want a kind, caring, loving, supportive relationship with Tana; my wife.
But I don’t always feel that way.. I may feel irritated, overwhelmed from work. But if I know that’s my goal, and I get that in front of my face on a regular basis, I’m much more likely to act toward her, in a way that’s going to bring her close to me.
So it’s really having that definition, and part of it is having fun – and being psychologically healthy.
The longevity studies surprised us. Surprised people in a lot of ways. People who work the hardest who are passionate about what they did and successful- lived the longest. (Deepest level of meaning & purpose.)
When we evaluate people we do it in 4 circles:
I want to know the biology,
… your psychology – how do you think?,
… your social circle – who do you hang out with?,
… but it’s the spiritual circle most psychiatrists never talk about. – it’s Why do you Care?
What is your deepest sense of meaning and purpose?
Because whenever I’m there – I’m the happiest – when I’m at the centre of God’s will (however you define that)…for me, when I’m in the centre of doing that – I am the happiest I’ve ever been.
So it’s not just about your brain, it’s not just about your thoughts, it’s not just about who you hang out with – it’s that deepest sense of meaning and purpose.
You have to put your brain in a healing environment.
Stop the toxins, then give it the highest quality nutrients, air, water possible.
Low cholesterol levels = associated with homocide, suicide, depression
Chloesterol is not the problem – it’s “sugar” & high-inflammatory diets.
Stop poisoning yourself and only give yourself nutrients that serve our health.
- High healthy fat is good.
- Low-glycemic, high-fibre carbs (carbs are not the enemy, bad carbs are the enemy)
- Colourful foods (foods with many different colours because they have huge antioxidant support)
- Protein in each meal (because protein helps stabilize blood-sugar, because when blood-sugar goes low – blood-flow to the brain goes low and then you make more bad decisions).
High blood-sugar levels = brain atrophy
We want to ‘stabalize’ your blood-sugar.
Too Low blood-sugar levels = low blood-flow to brain = make bad decisions = need “brain fuel”
If you have a problem with addictions, you have to eat healthy food often enough so that you don’t get hungry. If you have no energy in the brain (from sugar or fat) = you don’t have enough fuel in your brain.
Not a fan of fasting = a fan of “Routine”
When they took the fat out of foods, they replaced it with sugar.
- Blood-sugar = normal = 65-100
- People close to 100 = brain atrophy
- Blood-sugar around 85 is healthy for you
Exercise, but not too much (my extreme athletes do not have healthy brains)
From other sources related to Dr Amen:
GOOD FOOD LIST
Take out the all bread, pasta, crackers, cereal, most grains, white rice, white flour, soda/diet soda, sugar and artificial sweeteners out of your diet. – Dr Amen
Huge list of foods he recommends here: http://danielplan.com/healthyhabits/goodfoodlist/
- Fresh Herbs (basil, chives, coriander/cilantro, dill, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme)
- Breads (sprouted grain sugar-free bread, Ezekiel pita bread, and similar)
- Artichoke Hearts
- Kidney/Black/Pinto Beans
- Good Grains (Quinoa, Brown Rice, Bulgar Wheat, Cous Cous, Oats and similar)
- Oils (Coconut, Walnut, Almond, Olive, Sesame, etc)
- Extracts (“Real” Vanilla/Maple/Coconut etc)
- Nuts & Seeds (Raw – Almonds, Cashews, Walnuts, Chia, Flax, Pumpkin, Sunflower seeds)
- Pasta (Gluten-free / Whole-wheat, etc)
- Legumes (black/garbanzo/lima/kidney/mung/pinto beans, and lentils)
- Meat (chicken, turkey)
- Seafood (Wild – halibut, salmon)
- Frozen Foods (Organic – blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, cherries, green beans, mixed veg, peas, raspberries, strawberries)
Speciality Items (Almond Milk, Hemp Milk & Seeds, Green Tea, Coconut Water, Chlorella, Spirulina, etc)
* Penny’s 2 cents: Cutting down/out Pasta, Rice, Legumes, Cereals & Dairy helped me turn around my health so I consider them all to be highly-inflammatory foods to be taken only in moderation – if not cut out completely (could also be the “quality” of the foods I purchased – i.e. I didn’t grow it myself, not organic, not grass-fed, likely to be “old” – shipped from foreign countries, etc.). Also Oats makes me crave ‘crap’ and makes me tired in the afternoons.
- coconut oil
- olive oil
- grape seed oil
- green leafy vegetables (and other vegetables)
* Penny’s 2 cents: Need to be more careful about sources of seafood since Fukashima. I’ve loved adding coconut oil for everything – it’s very versatile.
Plenty of clean water to keep yourself well hydrated.
Thirty minutes 3 or 4 times a week is all you need. If you don’t know what to do, walk fast, like you’re late.
Stimulate new brain cells by using them, by learning something new, they connect to other cells and become part of the fabric of your brain.
i.e. Learning new dance steps
GRATITUDE & POSITIVE THINKING
- Write down 5 things you are grateful for EVERYDAY and then meditate on these things throughout the day. This exercise has been shown in scientific studies to increase your overall level of happiness in just three weeks.
- Notice what you Love about other people – a lot more than what you don’t
- Focus on what you love about your life a lot more than what you don’t.
- Kill the ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) – you don’t have to believe every thought that goes through your head, especially if it’s negative.
* Penny’s 2 cents: Probably the biggest and most important change I made to my life.