When it comes to “Brain Food” it’s a fact that your brain almost gets first dibs on pretty much everything you eat - you’ve likely heard this before - the brain is an energy pig. It consumes 20% (!) of the energy used by your body…ever notice how you often get rosy cheeked when you’re concentrating really hard on something? But the fact remains that not all foods are equal and this is especially true when we are fueling our all important Mega Processor.
For people who need to be productive for long hours during the day - feeding your brain properly becomes a critical focus. More often than not busy executives will resort to bottomless cups of coffee accompanied by sugary treats to keep themselves “focused”, awake and working through the workday - sometimes, well into the evening.
The trouble with this strategy is:
• Office coffee is horrible and horrible for you…
• You end up vibrating from the excess caffeine (not in a good way)
• As a result of the above you could be less than your best self when dealing with other people.
• You become a slave to the sugar roller coaster which demands constant replenishment
• You eventually will end up exhausted and wired at the end of the day - sleep quality goes up in smoke…cortisol levels go up….your midsection starts to get all pudgy and soft….you get the idea.
So. What is the alternative? I touched on some of these principles a bit last week but here they are again with a bit more detail:
Coffee or Tea?
• Have one or two great coffees a day - tops. Skip the sludge.
• Consider swapping your coffee for Matcha Tea - for people who like green tea Matcha is magic. You get the caffeine but delivered slowly and in the company of L Theanine, a calming amino acid..the result is a long smooth ride, focus and energy together…no jitters - worth a try.
• For your first coffee or Matcha at home consider blending it with a great MCT Oil like Bulletproof’s Brain Octane which converts to ketones - a spectacular fuel for your brain. Add some coconut milk for creaminess if you prefer not to have your coffee black
• Egg yolks contain Choline a precursor to acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter involved in learning, reasoning and memory formation - and no egg whites do not count so ditch the egg white omelette.
• Eggs are also satiating and filling - natures perfect package of protein and fats - have them for breakfast or try one as a snack instead of the Timbits next time - stop what you’re doing, have your egg (or two) and a glass of water.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
• We know that omega’s are good for the brain - if you are not the type to take supplements then fish is the way to go.
• Wild salmon, sardines, mackerel even Tuna are great sources of omega’s - but sourcing good quality fish is key…here are my latest two finds:
• Vital Choice (vitalchoice.com) sells a canned salmon called Redtresca. You have never had canned salmon like this. They choose bellies of wild Alaskan salmon and can them in their own oil with sea salt. That’s it. Each can delivers 36 gr of protein along with…4500 (!) mg of omega 3 Fatty Acids - you can skip the fish oil on the days you enjoy one of these. They also sell canned Mackerel and Sardines - I haven't tried them myself but guessing they are just as great.
• Tuna - has become a real problem as the oceans have become more polluted and mercury levels have skyrocketed. Another Paleo (FX) find, SafeCatch Tuna makes Tuna safe and delicious again. Every Tuna used is tested for mercury - only the best get purchased by SafeCatch - incredible but true. Their cleanest product is the Elite Tuna - again, it is stored in it’s own oil, slow cooked to preserve nutrients and it is truly delicious…they deliver to Canada just order at: www.safecatch.com
Strange but true - Beef liver is a great source of Choline and GABA - you know about the choline but did you know that Gaba due to its stress reduction effects is also in supply in this super food? 6 ounces a day does the trick - but likely is too much of a good thing…but once a week it can certainly work in the rotation! I like to buy organic liver- it’s a bit of a myth that liver stores toxins (it doesn’t, it processes them but that doesn’t mean there might not be a few intermediates remaining that didn’t quite make it through) so it’s always better to keep sources clean to ensure the lowest toxic load possible.
So there you have it - your real food Nootropic Stack: Matcha Tea with Brain Octane in the morning….a breakfast of eggs with or without salmon or tuna….the occasional Liver steak for dinner…..it always seems to come down to the same principles though….healthy fats, steady blood sugar and respect for your very own temple.
Note: None of the links above are affiliate links - in case you were wondering :-)