On the days when I fast, I regularly struggle to think of a kicking off point and working out what topic I shall muse upon becomes more and more difficult. This dilemma made me wonder if there was anything in the claims of foods actually being good for the brain because I for one struggle to think of ideas when my tummy is saying “Please Sir, I want some more”. Normally I can get away with this issue as up to this week, I have only fasted for 2 days, thus leaving the other 5 to write my posts for what I call the “lean times”. Now however, I have stepped up my fasting regime and further increased the number of days I reduce my calorie content on, thus as I write today I am beginning to feel I could be spinning out of control.
I do wonder however, if this type of feeling can also be related to the fact I allowed myself a fancy French meal and a Chinese takeaway over the weekend? Did this make my brain on Monday morning feel as sluggish as the rest of me? I can only assume that all of those bad choices and fats that I piled in must have had some kind of detrimental effect on my usually sharp wit and easily formulated ideas. A glut of the correct food and my writing can be prolific, but reduce my carbohydrate and calorie intake to a drastic daily level and I appear to be at sixes and sevens. In fact it’s almost so critical it makes me want to speak like Scotty on the original Star Trek series and say “I canny mek it Cap’n, I canny mek it”!
So brain food. What is it?
Well, from what I can tell, it is the same as any healthy food that we are already being recommended to eat. It is whole grains, rice and pastas, it is fish with oils, it is fresh fruit and vegetables and it is also good quality lean meat.
Like I said very similar to a regular healthy balanced diet.
So how come I have managed in the past without eating all these healthy foodstuffs.?
Back then it was quantity of calorie and carb not quality, and although fairly certain it made me no dummy, I did fill my body with a very good selection of low quality foodstuffs, that even as I ate them I could feel the damage they were doing to me with each mouthful, which in hindsight (the most wonderful of things I am sure you will all agree) I now see that maybe I wasn’t making the most sensible decisions even though I was functioning, being able to write and also perform technically difficult tasks without issue or failure. Imagine then if I had been eating these healthy brain foods all along, I may even have been smarter than Stephen Hawking. Actually, probably not, maybe Stephen Dorking, the well-known brain donor but not the genius in the wheelchair…
Things have changed now and definitely for the better (I am told) but it still means I am currently restricted to 800 calories per day when on this diet. If I am honest, it forces me to eat very healthily and there appears to be plenty, so I stand a chance of actually being full enough to sleep at the end of the evening. This was something I never seemed to worry about when not considering what I would put in my cake-hole (or pie-hole depending on whether I was savoury or sweet at that moment) I would simply eat what I pleased and go to bed without thought of that days calorie consumption and I never, honestly never struggled to cope with the lack of brain power I am currently having to.
Today I have had a small bowl of porridge with blueberries, a yogurt and an apple, a handful of seeds (brain food I am just now informed) and dinner this evening was a chicken salad. My treat for being so good? I will allow myself a nice mug of Yorkshire Gold tea. However, as healthy as these ingredients sound and the fact that I am full, I really am struggling to keep this post alive. This makes me wonder if I would work better on fats and carbs. If you reference back to a previous post Obesity – A Biological Response Or Not? it argued that many of us have a set level at which out brains feel we are at optimum fat stores and calorie intake. This being the case, it is hardly a surprise that I am struggling to write anything of any noteworthiness because my brain is completely fixated on my getting more calories for its fat stores, even though my stomach is actually quite full up at this stage.
I usually write post after post and have them awaiting publication on a schedule so I have no need of worrying, yet this post I find myself constructing at the 11th hour and I would say it is all because I am feeling completely uninspired. So completely uninspired that I am almost struggling to make sense of the whole thing. But then I think I have said that before 😉 So, it is my opinion that yes there is such things as brain food and like I say they are simply sensible choices of regular everyday eating, but I would absolutely hang my hat on the fact that even healthy eating needs calorific content if you are to manage tasks that are just a little bit more difficult than the norm.
Or at least I hope so, otherwise it might come to light that I am actually really rather dim.
Stay out of the fridge.