The first book I read that really impacted me and was the catalyst for me to change my eating habits was Power Foods for the Brain by Neal Barnard. That must be over 10 years ago. It was right when my aunt was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in her mid fifties. She was only eleven years older than me and her diagnosis at such a young age hit me hard. She was the first of the three sisters to get diagnosed. A few years later I recognized the signs in our mom… the oldest of the three girls. Then we found out my aunt the middle sister was also in the throes of dementia. Needles to say if anything was going to motivate me to look into how to prevent this disease… this was it!
Approximately ten years later… last fall my aunt, the youngest died. She had been bedridden for several years, but, because she was in overall good health except for her brain, she was able to hang onto life even though she had lost all ability to function independently. It certainly hit home the fact that a healthy body is of no use when your brain isn’t healthy. Nothing happens in the body without the brain sending the signals. So, if you spend hours on your surface appearance and you don’t look after what is under the cover, beneath your skull, you won’t have a chance in fighting this type of disease.
That may sound harsh but, it’s the truth! I’ve seen too many people, basically kill themselves with poor choices and lack of motivation to change. One thing I can say about our mom is, she tried her hardest with the information that was available to her to stay healthy. She was a pioneer in that sense. She was so interested in health… she read so much and learned so much about natural healing. Unfortunately for her it wasn’t enough.
One thing our mom lacked, and we (her children) think contributed to her illness is that she had untreated PTSD. She needed emotional and mental healing. She had experienced huge personal traumas starting from infancy and then into her teens. She never really dealt with these traumas in an effective way, so she could move past them. Now there is evidence that points to things such as untreated mental illness, trauma, PTSD as being significant contributors to this illness. Not to mention our mom was profoundly hard of hearing (another indicator of being more susceptible to Alzheimer’s Disease). Emotional health is huge and needs to be addressed when you look to make changes in your lifestyle. Your body has to heal emotionally as well as physically to keep all diseases at bay.
There is more and more information on this disease that researches are uncovering (which is very exciting), but right now we have to use the information we have - which includes information on diet, emotional health, social connections, and physical activity to our advantage. If this a topic you’re interested in, I hope you will follow along in my journey to gain as much knowledge as I can for myself and my siblings. I’ll share what I learn from reading books (as I mentioned at the very beginning), to listening to scientists and researchers, and everything else related to brain health here on this blog and on my YouTube channel.
This is a tough time for my family. Our mom is in the very end-stages with her fight with Alzheimer’s Disease, which has placed us all in a perpetual state of grieving that has increased ten-fold from the grief we have felt as the disease progressed… you’ll know what I mean if you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease.