The UltraMind Solution
The UltraMind Solution

The UltraMind Solution

becoming clear that the brain is deeply linked to the body, and that the brain and body profoundly shape each other. If the brain is in the body, and the body systems are in trouble, the brain will be in trouble too. (Location 133)

While just treating the brain chemistry can lead to drug dependence, treating systemic chemistry can fix the brain chemistry imbalance and lead to real sustainable healing. (Location 137)

Learning, thinking, and speaking were always easy for me. My brain never failed me. In college, I learned thousands of Chinese characters. In medical school, the intricate patterns and names of our anatomy—the bones, muscles, organs, vessels, and nerves—mapped effortlessly into my mind, and the complex pathways of physiology and biochemistry were clear after one lecture and reading my notes. I ran four miles every day to medical school. I took detailed notes in my classes, able to simultaneously listen to, remember, and write down nearly every word my professors spoke. At the end of the day I ran back again to my apartment, did yoga for an hour, ate a freshly prepared whole-foods meal, and studied without distraction or loss of focus for three hours every night. Then I crawled into bed, fell peacefully asleep within five minutes, and slept deeply for seven hours. The next day I got up and did it all over again. (Location 213)

A recent study in The New England Journal of Medicine discovered that drug companies selectively published studies on antidepressants. They published nearly all the studies that showed benefit and almost none of the studies that showed they don’t work. (Location 344)

What you do to your body you do to your brain. Heal your body and you heal your brain. Change your body and you will fix your broken brain. (Location 377)

The body directly and powerfully influences the brain. Nutritional status, hormonal imbalances, food allergies, toxins, and digestive, immune, and metabolic imbalances, primarily influence mood, behavior, attention, and attitude. You already know about this body-mind connection, even if you have never consciously considered it. Just take a moment to think about how your own body has affected your mind over your lifetime, and then extrapolate that to more serious conditions. Have you ever felt anxious, irritable, jittery, fearful, or even had a panic attack only to have a can of cola or muffin and feel better right away? Why were you anxious? Because your blood sugar was plummeting, and when that happens your body is programmed to respond as though it is a life-threatening emergency. Do you feel foggy and mentally sluggish after eating a large meal? Have you ever felt stressed and anxious and then taken a long walk or ridden your bike a few miles only to feel calm and relaxed afterward? Why did this happen? Because you burned off the stress chemicals, adrenaline and cortisol, which made you feel anxious. Have you ever felt angry and irritable because you have been deprived of sleep? Have you felt happier and that you had fewer problems after a great night’s sleep? Have you ever had the flu and tried to focus and read a book or concentrate on anything only to find it difficult, perhaps even impossible? Have you ever hallucinated or been delirious with a high fever? These are basic examples of the body-mind connection that many of us have experienced. (Location 386)

Even if you don’t have one of these “diseases” and feel “fine,” feeling fine is less than what you could feel. You should and can feel alert, focused, happy, energetic, unstressed, and mentally sharp. That is, if you know how to care for your brain. That is what I will teach you in this book. (Location 462)

Clearly, Clayton’s problem was not a Ritalin deficiency or bad parenting! The cause of all these problems lay in the dietary and environmental pollutants that throw the seven underlying systems in our body out of balance. (Location 606)

I recommended a whole-foods diet free of additives, sugar, trans fats, processed foods, and his particular allergic foods—gluten, dairy, citrus, peanuts, and yeast. This is the diet on which the UltraMind Solution is founded. (Location 615)

But what if I were to tell you that new scientific discoveries tell us that there is no such thing as depression? What we see as the symptoms of depression are reflections of a few common interconnected imbalances in the body that have nothing to do with the medical specialties as we know them. Depression is not a psychiatric illness, but a systemic disease. (Location 678)

THE SEVEN KEYS: STAYING IN BALANCE KEY #1: OPTIMIZE NUTRITION (Location 704)

KEY #2: BALANCE YOUR HORMONES (Location 709)

KEY #3: COOL OFF INFLAMMATION (Location 711)

KEY #4: FIX YOUR DIGESTION (Location 715)

KEY #5: ENHANCE DETOXIFICATION (Location 718)

KEY #6: BOOST ENERGY METABOLISM Life is energy. Once no more energy is produced in your cells, you die. The process of extracting energy from the food you eat and the oxygen you breathe is the most essential process of life. (Location 720)

KEY #7: CALM YOUR MIND A life of meaning and purpose, a life in balance with connection, community, love, support, and a sense of empowerment, are essential for health. The overwhelming stresses of the twenty-first century, including social isolation, overwork, and disempowerment, create enormous strain on our nervous system, leading to burnout and breakdown. (Location 724)

nutrigenomics (the science of how food affects your genes), (Location 736)

The most powerful tool you have to change your brain and your health is your fork. Why? Food is not just calories or energy. Food contains information that talks to your genes, turning them on or off and affecting their function moment to moment. Food is the fastest-acting and most powerful medicine you can take to change your life. (Location 738)

Think of your genes as the software that runs everything in your body. Just like your computer software, it only does what you instruct it to do with the stroke of your keyboard. The foods you eat are the keystrokes that send messages to your genes telling them what to do—creating health or disease. Imagine what messages you are sending with a double cheeseburger, large fries, and a forty-eight-ounce cola. Consider what messages you might send instead with deep red wild salmon, braised greens, and brown rice. (Location 741)

What I do is actually quite simple. The first step is to take out the bad stuff (the things that create imbalance, such as a nutrient-poor, processed diet; toxins; allergens; infections; and stress); remove what’s bugging you. If you have ten tacks in your foot, you can’t take out one, pop an aspirin, and hope to feel better. You need to find and take out all the tacks; taking out just one of them won’t make you better. The second step is to add the good stuff (high-quality whole foods, nutrients, water, oxygen, light, movement, sleep, relaxation, community, connection, love, meaning, and purpose), and the body’s natural intelligence and healing system will take care of the rest. This is the foundation of The Ultra-Mind Solution. (Location 755)

The real problem with conventional medical training is that doctors are not trained to be healers, but to be pharmacologists (except for surgeons). (Location 888)

But here is the bottom line... All broken brains have their root in the body. They are not localized to that three pounds of custardlike gray stuff between your ears! The body and brain interact as one system. Don’t be deceived. The barrier between them is no iron curtain. It is more like cheesecloth. (Location 1019)

Sugar uses up your body’s store of vitamins and minerals without providing any in return. High sugar consumption is tied to so many mental disorders it’s hard to list them all. They include lower IQ, anxiety, aggressive behavior, hyperactivity, depression, eating disorders, fatigue, learning difficulties, and premenstrual syndrome.4 Sugar causes crusting in your brain. Think about that sugary crust on crème brûlé or a crusty bread or crispy chicken skin. Sugar in these foods (and in your body) reacts with proteins and forms little crusts or plaques called AGEs (advanced glycation end products). These crusty sugar-protein combos gum up your brain, leading to dementia, and damage most cells and tissues along the way. So get off the sugar and save your brain. (Location 1084)

Trans or Hydrogenated Fats5 Trans fats come from processed foods, baked goods, most fried foods, margarine, and virtually any product that comes from a factory. They damage cells, increase inflammation, and interrupt normal brain function in everyone from children with ADHD to adults with depression or dementia.6 By eliminating these two foreign, man-made, mood- and mind-altering toxic substances from your diet, you radically transform your health overnight. In fact, if you put down this book right now and do nothing else, you will have made a major impact (Location 1091)

Sleep deprivation also increases stress hormones such as cortisol, which kills brain cells in the memory and mood center called the hippocampus. Sleep is not a nuisance or a luxury. It is part of regular maintenance and repair. Getting enough sleep can mean the difference between a tired, foggy, unfocused, forgetful brain and one that is attentive, sharp, and fully tuned into the world around you. (Location 1113)

Our bodies (and brains) were designed to thrive with exercise, not without it. Exercise has been found to improve cognitive performance, enhance memory, reverse depression, slow or stop mental decline associated with aging, and prevent dementia. In a study by the University of Illinois of third and fifth graders, the fittest kids were also the ones with the fittest brains. (Location 1125)

Exercise also builds new neural connections, rewiring your brain for better mood and cognitive function, making your brain run faster, smoother, and more efficiently.9 (Location 1128)

When you exercise you also increase levels of dopamine, which helps you focus, and serotonin, which calms you down. Exercise can give you the same neurotransmitter and mental benefits as Ritalin and Zyprexa without the risk or side effects. In fact, exercise beats or equals Prozac or psychotherapy as an antidepressant in head-to-head studies. (Location 1130)

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The good news is that relaxing is good for your brain and can increase BDNF. People who meditate regularly actually have increased brain size and cortical thickness,12 along with better mood and cognitive function. But drinking a beer, watching TV, or practicing retail therapy in the mall won’t do the trick. You have to learn tools to actively relax such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing, hypnosis, laughter therapy, biofeedback, making love, exercise, and sleep. (Location 1141)

Bad Brain Food Versus Good Brain Food (Location 1522)

The only source of these amino acids is the protein you eat in your diet. Ideally the majority of this comes from fish, chicken, beans, nuts, and seeds. If you don’t eat adequate protein at every meal, your brain can’t work. You will be sluggish, foggy, anxious, unfocused, tired, and depressed. (Location 1727)

Learning how these four neurotransmitters work and how to balance them is a key part of optimal brain function. So let’s look at these major players: Dopamine and the Catecholamines (epinephrine and norepinephrine): Getting Focused Serotonin: Staying Happy GABA: Getting Relaxed Acetylcholine: Learning and Remembering (Location 1785)

Tyrosine (Location 1827)

I don’t think people need vitamins and they are a waste of money... That is only if they eat wild, fresh, whole, organic, local, nongenetically modified food grown in virgin mineral- and nutrient-rich soils and not transported across vast distances and stored for months before being eaten. And if they work and live outside, breathe only fresh unpolluted air, drink only pure, clean water, sleep nine hours a night, move their bodies every day, and are free from chronic stressors and exposure to environmental toxins. Then we don’t need vitamins. (Location 2022)

For most people, a high-quality multivitamin; a calcium-magnesium supplement; vitamin D; fish oil; and special B vitamin complex including folate, B6, and B12 will take care of the basics. I will give you specific guidelines on this basic supplement program in Part III. (Location 2054)

Few Vitamins and Minerals, Many Jobs Also absent from our current nutritional recommendations is the notion that each vitamin and mineral has many—and sometimes hundreds—of functions. The body uses the same nutrients for many different jobs. A single nutrient may catalyze hundreds of biochemical reactions and suboptimal levels may lead to cellular and molecular dysfunction that is not recognized as a “deficiency disease,” yet still has a dramatic impact on our health.29 For example, just a little vitamin D30;31 prevents rickets, but a higher dose may have a role in treating or preventing heart disease, osteoporosis, tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, depression, epilepsy, type 1 diabetes, and cancer. Folate not only prevents dementia, but also depression, colon and breast cancer, birth defects, Down syndrome, and more. Magnesium plays a role in over three hundred enzyme reactions. That’s only three vitamins and minerals! (Location 2197)

The single biggest environmental influence you can control is what you eat. Remember, food is not just calories; it is information. It tells our genes what to do. (Location 2376)

“Seventy-five percent of women are found to have a mutant gene that threatens their relationships, work, and well-being.” “Over half of aging men will lose their sexual function, their testosterone levels will drop, and their estrogen levels will rise, making men more like women.” (Location 2955)

As they age, men, if you believe all the television commercials, supposedly need the little blue pill (Viagra) just to be men again. Is this just a “normal” part of being a woman or a man? Is it the product of some defective, mutant gene? Why do sex hormone levels drop up to 90 percent through the aging process? Are we destined to suffer from impaired mood, muscle loss, poor sleep, memory loss, and sexual problems? Of course not! This suffering related to your reproductive life cycle is unnecessary. It is not bad luck, but bad habits such as drinking and smoking, our high-sugar and refined-carbohydrate diet, environmental toxins, and chronic stress that deplete our adrenal glands. (Location 2960)

These glands are the ones that produce most of the sex hormones later in life. Beat them to death with chronic stress and poor diet and lifestyle habits and your sex hormones may suffer. (Location 2966)

Most people don’t know that sleep deprivation leads to depression, chronic pain, heart disease, diabetes, and makes you fat! In fact, beside eating whole foods and moving your body, getting enough sleep is the most important thing you can do for your health. Yet it is estimated that 70 percent of Americans are sleep-deprived. The era of Starbucks has been surpassed by prescription stimulants to keep people awake and functioning, like dexadrine and Ritalin, otherwise known as “speed” or amphetamines. Surprisingly, I see an increasing number of patients prescribed these uppers by their psychiatrist because coffee is not enough. If we can’t do ten things at once, then something must be wrong with us, right? Wrong! Our bodies and biological rhythms, which keep us healthy, produce cyclic pulses of healing and repair hormones, including melatonin37 and growth hormone.38;39 When those rhythms are disturbed by inadequate or insufficient sleep, disease and breakdown get the upper hand. Sleep also helps us maintain low levels of cortisol—the stress hormone that makes us depressed and fat (see chapter 12). Most of us need at least seven to eight hours of restful sleep a night. Getting this is more and more difficult. Yet we evolved along with the rhythms of day and night. Our bodies use these rhythms to signal a whole cascade of hormonal and neurochemical reactions that keep us healthy by repairing our DNA, building tissues and muscle, and regulating weight and mood chemicals. The lightbulb changed all that. However, not following the normal rhythms of day and night can be deadly. In fact, when I learned that shift work (like I did in when I worked in the emergency room) leads to a shortened life expectancy, I quit.40 When we are sleep-deprived our cortisol rises with all its harmful effects, including brain damage and dementia, weight gain, diabetes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, depression, osteoporosis, reduced immune function, and more. Sleep deprivation also leads to depression, decreased cognitive performance, and even decreased reaction times.41 Good sleep is not something that just happens (unless you are a baby or teenager). There are clearly defined things that interfere with or support healthy sleep. By following the six-week plan in Part III of The UltraMind Solution, you may restore your natural sleep rhythm. It may take weeks or months, but using these tools in a coordinated way will eventually reset your biological rhythms. But you have to prioritize sleep! (Location 3110)

Imagine the extraordinary beauty and dance of the brain where everything is exquisitely regulated. The timing and coordination of nerve-cell firing and the amplitude (or volume) of the message has to be just right. (Location 3279)

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One spring afternoon, a beautiful little six-year-old girl walked into my office with her mother and sister. On the surface she seemed quite normal, but then the story of her tragic life unfolded. This first-grade student was extraordinarily aggressive with her sister and her peers—kicking, pinching, and hitting them. She threatened to kill herself regularly. She cut her mother and sister out of family pictures. She was anxious, negative, and hopeless. Temper tantrums, mood swings, and attention seeking were regular patterns of behavior. She was also diagnosed with OCD and “perfectionism.” She didn’t make friends at school, and her mother was called daily about her disruptive behavior in class. Genetics might have set her up for problems. One cousin was bipolar and another cousin had Asperger’s, a mild form of autism. She had all the regular childhood immunizations, including diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, hemophilous, varicella, and hepatitis B. She was a very colicky baby, had frequent diaper and vaginal yeast infections as a child, with vaginal and rectal itching (which gives you a pretty strong idea that yeast is hanging around), and had very sensitive skin. And she loved sugar and refined pastries and carbs. While I see children all across the spectrum of mood and behavior problems, hers were particularly extreme. So I began my medical detective work. She had no digestive complaints, but I have learned that even if a child or adult doesn’t complain about their gut, mischief can still be brewing. The bacteria and yeast literally ferment the sugary, starchy foods in the diet, producing “auto-intoxication” with alcohol—a by-product of this process.13Violent, aggressive behavior so commonly seen in drunks can occur from alcohol produced by yeasts in the gut. I wondered if this little girl had a little auto-brewery in her belly. On my detective hunt I found she was low in magnesium, which can make you pretty irritable, and was deficient in zinc, so important to helping your digestive enzymes break down your food. That may have contributed to why she had those little toxic opiumlike peptides from gluten running around her brain (we will talk more about these in a moment). She also had delayed food allergies (IgG) to wheat, rye, oats, and barley (all gluten-containing grains). And, of course, she had low levels of DHA—the brain-balancing omega-3 fat. She also had the typical problems with her methylation train—evidence of severe B6, B12, and folate deficiency—and major problems with the sulfation train, with low levels of glutathione, the body’s main detoxifier. (We will talk more about the sulfation train and glutathione in chapter 10.) And she had a lot of trouble making enough energy in her cells (see chapter 11 on energy). These problems occur in patterns, because they are all connected. It is not usually one thing. It is almost always everything. But the gut is often at the center of the problem—even if there are no… (Location 3814)

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Eliminating food allergens from your diet for six weeks, and taking digestive enzymes, zinc, and probiotics can all help repair the damaged intestinal lining and bring your digestive system, and your brain, back into balance. (Location 3977)

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The pharmaceutical companies have great commercials showing a family rushing to stop their father from eating a big sausage with fried onions and peppers—and he tells them not to worry because he took his acid-blocking pill! (Location 3996)

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YOUR GENES? I want to take a minute to clarify something very important. Many people know you can change your environment to reduce toxins by eating organic food; filtering your water; avoiding mercury-containing fish, vaccines, dental fillings; and more. But most people don’t think you can change your genes. Well, you can. You can’t trade your genes in for new ones (well, at least not yet), but you can change how those genes function. You can change how they work, which ones are turned on or off, and how they control your biochemistry and physiology. In fact, you influence your genes with every bite of food you eat and every thought you think. So if you are born with genes that predispose you to certain problems, you can work around them, help them do a better job, and prevent disease or health problems. You can boost your ability to detoxify by turning on the right genes and turning off the wrong ones. You can help by giving them everything they need to do a good job, such as the right vitamins and minerals and phytonutrients. For example, eating two cups of kale or cabbage will supercharge your detox system and the genes that control it. Know this: though you may have been dealt a certain genetic hand, it is what you do with that hand that determines the course of your life and your health. (Location 4197)

The workers at ground zero on 9/11 were exposed to high levels of toxic metals. In another study,29 160 of those workers had eight or more chronic symptoms, including depression, anxiety, insomnia, weight gain, high blood pressure, and fatigue. After a chelation challenge test with DMSA (an FDA-approved metal chelator), they were found to have high levels of mercury and lead in their urine. After three to four months of detoxification treatment the workers experienced an average of 60 percent reduction in symptoms. (Location 4391)

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The mother of all antioxidants, the master detoxifier, and the maestro of the immune system is glutathione (pronounced “gloota-thigh-own”), a sticky, smelly sulfur (like a rotten egg, or a sulfur hot springs) molecule that is the ultimate product or destination of the sulfation train. Think of it as a sponge that your body uses to soak up and get rid of toxic molecules. It is the body’s workhorse of detoxification. Glutathione needs to be continually rebuilt and replenished from our diet with the help of specific vitamins (B6, B12, and folate), and can only be produced if both the methylation and sulfation cycles, or “trains,” are running on time and at full speed. Any break in that process leads to toxic build-up and more free radicals and oxidative stress and more inflammation. Your body produces its own glutathione. (Location 4472)

Note: The master detoxifier

We make it from foods that contain sulfur—garlic and onions, cruciferous vegetables, egg yolks, and most forms of protein. All these contain an amino acid called cysteine, the basic building block of glutathione. Add a few more amino acids like glycine and glutamine and a few vitamins (B6, B12, folate), and voilà, the magic of the methylation and sulfation trains pops out a little glutathione molecule. (Location 4493)

Glutathione recycles antioxidants. I will discuss antioxidants more in the next chapter. For now you simply need to know that antioxidants are critical for cleaning up free radicals that, when left unchecked, lead to massive cell destruction. Dealing with these free radicals is like handing off a hot potato. They get passed around from vitamin C to vitamin E to lipoic acid (which are all antioxidants in their own right) and then finally to glutathione, which cools them off and recycles the other antioxidants. Then the body can “reduce” or regenerate another protective glutathione molecule. And we are back in business. This antioxidant function is critical. When it doesn’t work well, cells are damaged and cannot produce the energy we need to live (see chapter 11). Problems (Location 4503)

Thankfully, we can easily boost our own glutathione production. First you must get the methylation train running properly, because if it stalls, so does the sulfation train. Sometimes you can take glutathione itself, or the compounds that help your body make more glutathione, such as NAC (n-acetylcysteine), alpha lipoic acid, or milk thistle. But you can also eat your way out of trouble. Using phytonutrient “super foods” from a plant-based diet should be the foundation for everyone’s diet and health. Broccoli sprouts are the biggest inducers of glutathione production, but you can load up on all the members of the broccoli family daily. Take your pick: collards, kale, cabbage, kohlrabi, mustard greens, rutabaga, turnips, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, arugula, horseradish, radish, wasabi, and watercress. (Location 4525)

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Energy is necessary for memory, learning, and the whole information flow inside you that creates the synchronous, harmonious firing of neurons and brain cells. No energy = abnormal cell function and cell death. Abnormal cell function and cell death = chronic illness and brain disease. Is this is why your brain is broken? (Location 4557)

But what does this study really tell us—that aging, including much of brain aging and disease, is controlled in large part by sugar and insulin function in the body! Sound familiar? Too much sugar in your diet causes your body to produce too much insulin. This triggers more inflammation and oxidative stress leading to mitochondrial injury.21 Mitochondrial damage, in turn, leads to even more insulin resistance. That means anything that protects the mitochondria, like resveratrol, will prevent at least part of the damage that leads to insulin resistance and hence mitigate many possible problems. (Location 4783)

This is especially true considering the fact that resveratrol really has an impact on your insulin/sugar balance, which is more effectively treated with diet, exercise, and lifestyle (Location 4839)

A number of “basics” are essential, including omega-3 fats, which make up the membrane of the mitochondria, and the two B vitamins, niacin (B3) and riboflavin (B2), which are necessary to help the enzymes involved in turning food into energy in your mitochondria. We get others from our diet or our bodies produce them. But as we age, or are exposed to any type of physical, toxic, or emotional stress, we need to replace these nutrients. The top mitochondrial nutrients are acetyl-L-carnitine,27 alpha lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, NADH, D-ribose, magnesium, riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), and n-acetylcysteine (NAC). These mitochondrial nutrients and antioxidants can protect your critical energy-producing factories. (Location 4843)

Took away the gluten and food allergies. Got rid of the yeast with antifungals. Killed off the toxic bacteria in his small intestine with special antibiotics. Put back healthy bacteria with probiotics. Helped him digest his food with enzymes. Replaced the missing nutrients and coenzymes to help his genes work better. Added back zinc, magnesium, folate, B12, B6, vitamin A, and vitamin D. Gave him brain-supporting omega-3 fats. Gave him coenzyme Q10 to help his mitochondria return to normal. Helped him detoxify and reduce oxidative stress. Added high-dose B12 shots (with a special form of B12—methyl B12) to turn on his brain chemistry and get his detox system unstuck. Gave him a chelating medication (DMSA) and detoxifying nutrients to help him get rid of the metals. Does this sound familiar? Improve nutrition, reduce inflammation, heal the gut, and detoxify. It is the basis of the UltraMind Solution. (Location 4938)

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Stress is the perception of a real or imagined threat to your body or your ego. One man’s meat is another man’s poison. Thoughts are things. They can heal or harm. Beliefs mold your brain. Perceptions can please or paralyze your nervous system. Life traumas and experiences rewire and reorganize your brain’s connections and communications systems. Other than eating breakfast regularly, and eating more fruits and vegetables, the one characteristic that is present in all the healthy aged is resiliency. Resiliency is that hard-to-measure quality of adapting to change, shifting with changing tides rather than drowning, seeing the glass half full, or knowing how to turn lemons into lemonade. Plasticity is another way to describe this quality—being adaptable, changeable, and malleable. Remarkably, the nature of the brain mirrors the nature of our thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes. A stiff, rigid, “hard” personality is reflected in stiff cells, hard, rigid plaques in the brain, and a general loss of resiliency and the ability to renew, remember, and repair. This is not just a figurative metaphor for what happens. Your brain literally stiffens, slows, and loses function in direct relationship to your thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes about you and your place in the world. How each of us responds to our life—to our perceptions—has enormous implications for how we feel, how we age, and the health of our brain. Why is it that some can emerge from enormous strife and conflict, such as war, violence, abuse, and rape, with a deeper sense of life and beauty and connection to meaning while others are debilitated from minimal life traumas such as a minor car accident? Victor Frankel, the internationally renowned psychiatrist and author of Man’s Search for Meaning, is an interesting example of a man with extraordinary resiliency. Not only did he survive the Holocaust, but he used the horror he experienced to create what was in his time a revolutionary approach to psychotherapy and he wrote about his experience to try to help heal the world. Whether you are consumed by the traumatic experiences in your life or ripen and learn from them is largely a question of perception, thoughts, and your sense of control and place in the world. How each of us measures our life, and creates meaning and purpose in the small and large things, determines, perhaps more than anything, our capacity for resiliency and wholeness. Your mind affects your body. Your mental health affects your physical health. This in turn affects your mental health again. These are not two separate systems. They are intertwined and interconnected in subtle and sophisticated ways you need to understand if you are going to achieve UltraWellness. (Location 4979)

We all know those people in life who see everything negatively. For them, nothing can be right or good. The glass is always half empty. I would hate to see their brains on an MRI. Disconcertingly, studies show that it is not lifestyle or even socioeconomic status, but the perception of our place in the world that determines health. One would think disease risk factors commonly associated with poverty or low socioeconomic status such as smoking, consumption of alcohol, junk food, obesity, and lack of exercise should explain the higher rates of disease and death in poverty-stricken communities. But a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that even after controlling for all those behaviors and risk factors, higher rates of disease and death could not be explained just by these factors alone.1 The key, they said, was not behavior but perception of one’s place in the world. The key findings that could account for the higher risk of disease and death were: 1. Lack of social relationships and social supports. 2. Personality dispositions (thinking the glass is half empty), including a lost sense of mastery, optimism, control, and self-esteem, or heightened levels of anger and hostility. 3. Chronic and acute stress in life and work, including the stress of racism, classism, and other factors related to the inequitable distribution of power and resources. (Location 5091)

Simple dietary changes, a few nutrients, a little exercise, enough sleep, and a little time each day for activating the relaxation response can transform deep-seated symptoms that show up as altered mood, behavior, attention, and memory. Your brain can thrive. You just have to provide the right conditions. In the rest of the book I am going to teach you those conditions. (Location 5360)

1. Eat whole, real, fresh, organic, unprocessed food. 2. Eat a lot of fruit and vegetables full of colorful phytonutrients. 3. Eat foods with plenty of fiber. 4. Eat foods containing omega-3 fats. (Location 5454)

High-fructose corn syrup Sugar-laden foods Candy, cookies, cereals, pastries, pies, etc., including honey, maple syrup, or molasses Flour products, all types of flour Bagels, breads, rolls, wraps, pastas, etc. Liquid sugar Processed fruit juices, which are often loaded with sugars. Try juicing your own carrots, celery, and beets instead, or other fruit and vegetable combinations Sodas or any type of canned or bottled drinks with any type of sugar or sweetener Artificial sweeteners Equal; aspartame—NutraSweet; saccharin-Sweet N’ Low; sucralose-Splenda; acesulfame-K-Sunette, Sweet-n-Safe, Sweet One; neotame Stevia (a natural plant-based sweetner, yes, but it still tricks your body into craving more and eating more) Sugar alcohols Polyols such as mannitol, sorbitol, lactitol, malitol, xylitol, etc. These can cause significant gas and bloating. Toxic Fats Trans or hydrogenated fats (found in most crackers, chips, cakes, candies, cookies, doughnuts, and processed cheese) Processed oils such as corn, safflower, sunflower, peanut, and canola Fat substitutes (Olean and Salatrim/Benefat) Fried foods Food Additives and Chemicals Any food in a box, can, or package; in other words, if it has a label don’t eat it Artificial colorings Any food additives Potassium bromate, propyl gallate, sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate, monosodium glutamate, etc. (Location 5467)

Here are the principles of choosing quality food. They are in order of importance: Real —Choose real, whole, unprocessed fresh foods in as close to their natural state as possible—fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, lean animal protein such as small fish, chicken, and eggs. Clean —Choose grass-fed,* antibiotic-, hormone-, and pesticide-free animal products. Organic —Choose organic fruits and vegetables to reduce the toxic effects of pesticides on your brain, and also your thyroid and your sex hormones, which are very sensitive to the effects of low-level toxins. Local —Eat local foods that are in season. Frequent your local farmers’ market or consider joining your local community-supported agriculture projects. Learn more at www.localharvest.org/csa. (Location 5562)

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Here are the basic raw materials needed for everyone who wants to keep their brain healthy. 1. A high-quality, high-potency, highly bioavailable broad spectrum multivitamin, which contains all the basic essential vitamins and minerals 2. Calcium and magnesium 3. Vitamin D3 4. Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) 5. Methylation factors: folate, B6, and B12. Often special activated forms of these nutrients are needed to be most effective for brain health. 6. Probiotics or beneficial bacteria to improve your digestion, reduce food allergies, and reduce gut inflammation (Location 5682)

In addition to the dietary changes and supplements you take on the UltraMind Solution, there are four basic lifestyle changes I recommend you integrate as well. These are: 1. Exercise 2. Relaxation 3. Improved sleep patterns 4. Brain exercises (Location 5838)

How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep So what are we to do about our sleep problems? 1. For those who can sleep, getting more sleep (around seven to nine hours depending on the person) can have a dramatic benefit for your health and weight. 2. For those who snore or have sleep apnea, get tested and treated as soon as possible. Ask your doctor to order an overnight sleep study done in a sleep lab if this is a concern for you. 3. For those who have trouble sleeping, here are a few tips I use to help my patients get and stay asleep. This is what is often called practicing good sleep hygiene. Avoid Substances That Interfere with Sleep Avoid substances that affect sleep, including caffeine, sugar, and alcohol. Avoid medications that interfere with sleep. Sedatives (these are used to treat insomnia, but ultimately lead to dependence and disruption of normal sleep rhythms and architecture) Antihistamines Stimulants (like Ritalin) Cold medication (pseudephedrine, phenylephrine) Steroids (prednisone) Headache medication containing caffeine (Floricet), etc. Get Back in Rhythm Avoid any stimulating activities—such as watching TV, using the Internet, and answering e-mails—for two hours before bed. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (and try to be in bed before 10 to 11 P.M.). Exercise daily for thirty minutes before dinnertime. Don’t exercise vigorously after dinner (an evening walk is fine). Get regular exposure to daylight for at least twenty minutes, preferably first thing in the morning. The light from the sun enters our eyes and triggers our brain to release specific chemicals and hormones, like melatonin, that are vital to healthy sleep, mood, and aging. Eat no later than three hours before bed. Eating a heavy meal prior to bed will lead to a bad night’s sleep. Create a Sleepy Environment Use the bed only for sleep and sex. Keep your bedroom very dark or use eyeshades. If you have a noisy environment, block out sound by using earplugs (the soft silicone ones work the best). Make the room a comfortable temperature for sleep—not too hot or cold. Create an aesthetic environment helpful for sleeping by using serene and restful colors and eliminating clutter and distraction. Calm and Clear Your Mind Write your worries down. One hour before bed, write down the things that are causing you anxiety and make plans for what you might do the next day to reduce your worry. It will free up your mind and energy to move into deep and restful sleep. Get a guided imagery or relaxation CD to help you get to sleep. Relax Your Body Take an UltraBath. Raising your body temperature before bed helps to induce sleep. A hot bath relaxes your muscles and reduces tension physically and psychically. The UltraBath also gives you the benefits of magnesium absorbed through your skin, the alkaline balancing effects of the baking soda, and the cortisol-lowering effects of lavender, all of which help with sleep. Get a massage, stretch, or do a ten-minute yoga routine before bed… (Location 5949)

You can eat well, exercise, learn to relax, and sleep well, all of which will nourish your brain. But then what do you do with it? Engage fully with your life. In work. In play. In love. But to do that you must keep your brain active. The mental decline we commonly see with aging is very much due to imbalance in nutrition, hormones, immune and digestive function, damage to our energy metabolism, toxins, and stress. But some of it is also from lack of use. Just like your muscles—you need to use it or you lose it. Brain fitness is a real phenomenon. In a study of over 450 adults over seventy-five years old it was shown that just reading books, doing crossword puzzles, playing cards and board games, playing a musical instrument, or dancing can all reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.5 So mental workouts also are needed. That is, doing something new, different, and challenging with your brain. You want to sprout new neural connections and wake up sleeping parts of your brain. In college, I learned two thousand Chinese characters, which I think helped me get through all the memorization of medical school. I started playing basketball at forty and tennis at forty-five. And I spend a lot of time trying to understand the mysterious, complicated world of genes and molecules. You must find what works for you. What follows are some ideas that can get you started. I also recommend Dr. Gary Small’s book The Memory Prescription, Dr. David Perlmutter’s The Better Brain Book, and The Healthy Brain Kit by Drs. Andrew Weil and Gary Small. There are many other helpful tools available for mental aerobics. The important thing is to keep your mind and brain engaged and active. Be creative—write in a journal, paint, make music, or dance. Seek out new ideas through attending lectures or local classes. Try a new hobby. Do math in your head instead of on a calculator. Memorize all your friends’ phone numbers, and all your credit card numbers. Travel and explore new places. Play word games, do crossword puzzles or Sudoku. Join a study group, a book club, or start a “conversation” dinner club where you pick a topic and everyone has to engage and share. Practice mental aerobics (see Resources for more recommendations on products you can use). (Location 5996)

Tags: pink

Living clean and green involves four steps. 1. Drink clean water. 2. Limit your exposure to chemicals and metals. 3. Keep your body fluids moving. 4. Reduce your exposure to electropollution or electromagnetic radiation. (Location 6024)

The best water to drink is water that has been passed through a filtering process. Common and inexpensive filters, such as carbon filters like the ones Brita makes, are available. See The UltraMind Solution Companion Guide for water-filter suggestions. The best filter is a reverse osmosis filter that puts the water through a multistep process to remove microbes, pesticides, metals, and other toxins. This can be installed under the sink. It’s a great filtering system (and it’s cheaper over the long run). Water in plastic bottles contains phthalates or bisphenol A, toxic petrochemicals. So avoid them if you can. Mineral water or still water in glass bottles is acceptable to drink. (Location 6037)

Here are things you can do to minimize your risk from EMR. Do what you can. Try to minimize your exposure and usage of wireless communication devices, including cell phones, cordless phones, and WiFi devices. Turn your cell phone off when not in use and sleeping. Do not keep it near your head or use it to play games, movies, etc. Try to keep your cell phone at least six to seven inches away from your body while it is on, or when you are talking, texting, or downloading. Use air-tube headsets or speaker mode when talking. Wireless and wired headsets may still conduct radiation. Do not keep your cell phone in your pocket or on your hip all day. The bone marrow in your hip produces 80 percent of the body’s red blood cells and is especially vulnerable to EMR damage. The proximity to your genitals may also affect fertility. Children and pregnant women should avoid talking on cell phones. Replace as many cordless and WiFi items as you can with wired, corded lines (phones, Internet, games, appliances, devices, etc.). Minimize or space out your computer use. Sit as far back from the screen as possible; flat screens are preferable. Use wired Internet connections, not WiFi—especially for laptops. Keep a low-EMR sleep, home, and personal zone. Move your alarm clock radio at least three feet from your head or use battery-powered ones; six feet is the recommended distance from all electronic devices during sleep. Avoid water beds, electric blankets, and metal frames, which attract electromagnetic frequencies. Futons and wood-framed beds are better than metal-coiled mattresses and box springs. When using electric stoves, cook on back burners instead of front as much as possible. Metals attract EMR: keep them away from and off the body. Measure EMR from wireless and wired devices with appropriate meters (see www.safewireless.org). To decrease exposures, consider installing EMR filters and preventive technologies to electrical circuits, devices, and appliances. These may help, although human studies are limited. (Location 6077)

Be as vigilant as you can about reading labels and making sure the foods you eat do not contain the following: Caffeine —Cut your daily dose in half each day over the course of a week until you are off it. If you have four cups of coffee, go to two cups, then one cup, then one-half cup, then stop. Processed and refined carbohydrates and sugar —This includes all flour-based products (like bread and pasta) and all forms of sugar. High-fructose corn syrup —Go cold turkey and read EVERY label. High-fructose corn syrup is in places you don’t expect. Hydrogenated fats or trans fats —Found in baked goods, chips, fries, in fact, in almost every packaged food. Read labels for ingredients and look for the word “hydrogenated” even if it says zero trans fats, because if it has less than half a gram per serving the government allows the food industry to deceptively say “zero” trans fats. Processed and packaged foods —This means anything that comes in a box, bag, package, or can. Alcohol. (Location 6110)

DAILY ACTION ITEMS Wake up ninety minutes before you need to leave the house. MORNING RITUAL Do soft-belly breathing upon waking. Engage in physical exercise, relaxation, or a brain exercise during this time (yoga is perfect in the morning). Drink one cup of decaf or caffeinated green tea that has been steeped in hot water for five minutes. (You may also have green tea later in the day. Limit your intake to two cups.) BREAKFAST (7 TO 9 A.M.) Take the first dose of your multivitamin, calcium/magnesium, vitamin D, omega-3 fats, and methylation supplements with your breakfast. (Other than the vitamin D, it is best to take your supplements in two daily doses.) Do soft-belly breathing. Eat breakfast. A few possible options are: Omega-3 eggs A protein shake Gluten-free, whole-grain toast with nut butter and fruit MORNING SNACK (10 TO 11 A.M.) Eating snacks is an important way to stay in balance. Protein is particularly helpful. Possible snacks include: A handful of nuts (almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, or pecans), seeds (pumpkin seeds) Fresh fruit LUNCH (12 TO 1 P.M.) Do soft-belly breathing. Eat lunch. While there are many lunch options, one option that I like is: Two cups of steamed or sautéed vegetables One-half cup of brown rice Sautéed fish—if you don’t have time to cook at lunch, canned salmon is also an excellent option (see Resources for clean sources). AFTERNOON SNACK (2 TO 3 P.M.) Any of the morning snack options are excellent, or, if you are really hungry, you could try another protein shake. BEFORE DINNER Walk for thirty minutes, or do your aerobic-exercise training. Do soft-belly breathing. DINNER (5 TO 7 P.M.) Take the second dose of your multivitamin, calcium/magnesium, omega-3 fats and methylation supplements with your dinner. (Remember, you do not need to take vitamin D again here.) Eat dinner—again, there are many possibilities here. However, one fast and delicious option is: Two cups steamed or sautéed vegetables Four to six ounces of baked or sautéed chicken (try seasoning with salt, pepper, lemon, and a little rosemary or thyme) One-half cup of brown rice or other whole grain BEDTIME OR EVENING RITUAL Twenty to thirty minutes of relaxation. I suggest an UltraBath. (It is not only relaxing, but helps you detoxify.) Do soft-belly breathing before falling asleep. *Caffeinated green tea has so many health benefits and so little caffeine that it is safe to drink on the program. You can also choose decaffeinated green tea. (Location 6215)

Before we move on, let me quickly summarize the principles of the six-week program for you. Remember, it revolves around a handful of simple principles. These are: 1. Eat Healthy. The key to the whole program is eating a diet rich in healthy fats; slowly released, low-glycemic load, high-fiber carbohydrates; plant proteins; and minimal lean animal products; as well as disease- and weight-fighting anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, and antioxidant chemicals and phytonutrients. 2. Take Supplements. The daily supplements outlined in chapter 15 are critical for optimal health, and everyone should take them every day to achieve an UltraMind. 3. Exercise. Its effects on your mind and body have been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt. Our bodies evolved at a time when we used them to survive. Enjoy your body and learn about the pleasures exercise can bring, mentally and physically. 4. Relax. Stress kills you. Relaxation correlates with long-term health. If you think you don’t have the time to relax, think again. You can’t afford not to. Your brain and body will thank you for it. 5. Live Green. Toxins are ruining your health and destroying our planet. We all need to make a concerted effort to live clean and green for ourselves, for future generations, and for the health of the earth. 6. Sleep. Get out of the habit of sleeping too little and then “supplementing” with coffee to keep going. Sleep restores and regenerates your body. It’s the time your cells heal. Give your brain a chance to recuperate. It needs a rest and so do you. (Location 6267)

Other Pause Button Pushers Yoga is a wonderful way to increase fitness and flexibility, calm your mind, and deeply relax. There are classes in almost every town. My favorite yogic technique is called yogic sleep or yoga “nidra.” See the Resources for recommendations on CDs, videos, and DVDs for yoga and relaxation. Massage. Learn massage and use it on your partner or friends. And then exchange. Or get a massage as often as you can. Tense and relax. By slowly tensing and relaxing your whole body (all at once or moving progressively from one muscle group to the next—face, neck and shoulders, arms, legs) and then relaxing your whole body (or each muscle group progressively), you will shift the stress response and enter into deep relaxation. Use biofeedback. There are some wonderful computer-simulated tools and devices that can lead you through various mental and physical exercises that will activate the stress response. See the Resources for some options. Just load it into your computer, put three little sensors on your fingers that measure your heart rate variability, and take a journey into deep relaxation. Learn meditation. Mindfulness meditation is a powerful, well-researched tool developed by Buddhists, but now practiced and used all over the world, thanks to the work of Jon Kabat Zinn, Ph.D., of the University of Massachusetts, in many hospitals and medical centers. Read his book Wherever You Go, There You Are to learn basic meditation techniques or attend a local class on meditation. Pray, chant, dance, and celebrate. All these are ancient tools for healing and all help you deeply relax. Just pull down the shades, turn on the music, and dance in your living room. Practice tai qi quan or qi gong. These are ancient, energy-balancing tools that can help restore your health and calm your nervous system. Writing away stress. Journaling is a well studied and powerful tool to help improve mood and become more intimate with yourself. Studies show how it boosts immunity and improves mood.1 Daily journaling for twenty minutes can be helpful. You can also try this well-researched tool, which can create immediate benefits: Set aside twenty minutes four days a week to write in your journal. Write nonstop about the most upsetting or traumatic experience of your life. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar. Write about all your emotions and thoughts, as many details as you can remember, and any insights you have. Be in nature. A walk in the woods, or on the beach, a hike up a mountain, and watching a sunset all have soothing effects on us and help us push that pause button. Listen to music. Certain types of music have soothing effects on our nervous system. Listen to Bach, Chopin, Mozart, Pachelbel, and Vivaldi. Or to traditional types of music such as Benedictine monks chanting or Sanskrit chants. Be artful. Painting, drawing, sculpting, or participating in any of the arts engages our brains and minds, creating a soothing and calming effect. (Location 7010)