Summary-The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan - David Perlmutter

Summary-The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan - David Perlmutter



Here is a summary:

  • Diet-related diseases are the leading causes of death in the US and other Western nations. Conditions like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and dementia have reached epidemic levels.

  • The author has been a neurologist for over 35 years. At first, there were few treatment options for neurological disorders. Now, while there have been some medical advances, brain disorders remain challenging to treat and cure.

  • Major neurological diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, depression, ADHD, autism, etc. lack effective treatments despite massive research funding.

  • Headaches and migraines are extremely common, afflicting up to 10% of the population.

  • Autoimmune diseases have been increasing, which some experts link to modern agricultural diets and grain consumption.

  • Usage of ADHD medications is disproportionately high in the US compared to other nations. Autism rates have also spiked dramatically in recent decades.

  • The solution to many of these health issues may lie in our diet and food choices rather than medical interventions. Improving diet could help curb and potentially reverse some of these disorders.

The key message is that diet plays a central role in brain and mental health. By changing diet and lifestyle, we may be able to significantly improve neurological and mental well-being as well as slow or prevent certain brain disorders. Medical research has focused too narrowly on interventions rather than the foundational role of nutrition. The author proposes a "whole life plan" diet and lifestyle program to optimize brain health and functioning.

The chief goals of the Grain Brain Whole Life Plan are:

  1. Reduce and control inflammation: Inflammation is the underlying cause of most chronic diseases and health issues. By following an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle, you can decrease inflammation in the body and improve health.

  2. Turn your body into a fat-burning machine: By switching to a high-fat, low-carb diet, you can become efficient at burning fat for fuel instead of carbs. This helps with weight loss and provides the brain with a steady energy source.

  3. Balance gut bacteria: Having the right balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut is essential for health. The plan helps balance gut bacteria by avoiding excess sugar and processed carbs and consuming probiotic foods.

  4. Balance hormones and increase leptin sensitivity: Following the diet and lifestyle recommendations can help balance hormones like insulin, leptin, and cortisol. Increasing leptin sensitivity in particular helps regulate hunger and fat storage.

  5. Take control of your genes: While genes determine your genetic make-up, lifestyle and diet choices influence how those genes are expressed. The Grain Brain plan utilizes the concept of epigenetics to help optimize gene expression and health.

  6. Balance your life: In addition to diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management are key to health and balancing your life. The plan provides recommendations for optimizing all these areas.

The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan can benefit and relieve symptoms for many chronic health conditions and diseases. By following the plan, most people start to feel better within days to weeks, though it can take longer for long-lasting metabolic and health changes. The ultimate goal is to optimize health and prevent disease by living proactively instead of reactively.

Here's a summary:

  • Inflammation is the body's immune response to injury or insult. Acute inflammation is beneficial but chronic inflammation can lead to disease.

  • Chronic inflammation is systemic and long-term, spreading via the bloodstream. It's linked to many chronic health conditions and even mood disorders.

  • The diet and lifestyle in the Grain Brain Whole Life Plan help reduce inflammation by limiting pro-inflammatory foods and promoting anti-inflammatory foods and habits.

  • Fat, not carbohydrates, is the body's preferred fuel. We evolved eating a high-fat, low-carb diet. Carbs stimulate insulin and fat storage; fat does not.

  • A ketogenic diet that is high in fat, low in carbs, and moderate in protein turns the body into a fat-burning machine and produces ketones for energy. Ketosis is healthy and provides benefits for the brain and body.

  • The gut and gut bacteria play a key role in brain health. Optimizing gut health and the gut barrier is important for brain health and reducing inflammation.

  • "Leaky gut" refers to increased intestinal permeability, allowing bacteria and toxins to enter the bloodstream. It contributes to inflammation and health issues.

  • Probiotics and prebiotics help balance gut bacteria. Fermented foods, fiber, and resistant starch feed good bacteria. Limiting sugar, processed foods, and antibiotics is also beneficial.

  • The gut-brain axis refers to the close connection between the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system. Gut health influences brain health and vice versa.

  • Vagus nerve stimulation activates the body's relaxation response, lowering inflammation and stress. Doing so provides benefits for both gut and brain health.

That covers the key highlights related to inflammation, fat metabolism, the gut microbiome, and their connections to brain health. Let me know if you would like me to explain anything in the summary in more detail.

  • The gut and brain have a close connection. The gut influences the brain's function and long-term health. An unhealthy gut is linked to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

  • The human microbiome consists of over 100 trillion organisms, mostly bacteria, in the gut. These outnumber our own cells 10 to 1. The microbiome supports our health and physiology, including brain health. Our lifestyle shapes our microbiome.

  • The microbiome affects the immune system, inflammation, disease risk, and more. Certain gut bacteria help reduce tumor growth and enhance cancer treatments. The microbiome produces neurotransmitters, vitamins, and more to support health. They influence weight, hunger, and metabolism.

  • Microbes have inserted their genes into human DNA over evolution to help us adapt. The NIH and White House have major initiatives to study the human microbiome. This research could lead to new treatments for neurological conditions.

  • Intestinal bacteria help control gut permeability or "leaky gut." Leaky gut allows substances to enter the bloodstream that shouldn't. This contributes to inflammation, autoimmunity, and other issues. Several factors like diet, stress, infections, and medications can cause leaky gut and an unhealthy microbiome.

  • Bacteria in the gut's mucus layer need dietary fiber to thrive and regulate immunity and inflammation. Fiber feeds beneficial gut bacteria. As they metabolize fiber, they produce SCFAs like butyric acid that support gut and overall health. But most Western diets lack fiber.

  • SCFAs help regulate various functions, inhibit pathogens, improve immunity, and signal fullness to the brain. When SCFAs are low, the body may extract more calories from food, contributing to obesity. Prebiotic fiber feeds gut bacteria to produce SCFAs.

  • Gut bacteria help maintain the blood-brain barrier, which protects the brain. The blood-brain barrier and gut lining are similarly structured. Gluten may increase permeability of both.

  • There is a connection between gluten-containing foods, leaky gut, and neurological problems. Leaky gut can lead to a “leaky brain” where the blood-brain barrier is compromised. This has been linked to Alzheimer’s, stroke, brain tumors, MS, seizures, and autism.

  • The microbiome, which is shaped largely by diet, influences the gut and brain. Studies show the microbiome can change dramatically based on diet, even in just a few days. Traditional and high-fat, low-carb diets tend to support a healthier microbiome than the Western diet.

  • The gut microbiome is linked to autism. Up to 80% of children with autism have gastrointestinal issues, and research suggests their microbiomes and the byproducts of certain microbes may influence the brain and behavior. Fecal transplants are being studied as a treatment.

  • Hormones have a huge influence over health, mood, and metabolism. Imbalances can lead to many health issues. Diet and probiotics can help rebalance hormones.

  • Insulin is a key hormone for transporting glucose into cells. Too much insulin from a high-carb, high-sugar diet can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes. High blood sugar and insulin resistance are linked to problems like obesity, Alzheimer’s, and other brain disorders.

  • Nearly half of Alzheimer’s cases may be caused by hyperinsulinemia, too much insulin in the blood. This is preventable through diet and lifestyle changes like in this protocol.

  • Other metabolic hormones like leptin and ghrelin are also influenced by insulin. They help regulate hunger, appetite, and fat storage, and can be rebalanced through the right diet and probiotics.

  • The protocol in this book aims to balance the gut microbiome, hormones, and insulin through diet and lifestyle interventions. This can help treat and prevent numerous health issues and brain disorders.

Here is a summary of the key points:

• Leptin and ghrelin are your two chief appetite hormones. Leptin suppresses appetite and ghrelin stimulates it. Keeping them in balance is key to maintaining a healthy weight.

• Insulin resistance and leptin resistance are major drivers of weight gain and obesity. Reducing insulin spikes and improving leptin sensitivity are priorities.

• You can influence how your genes are expressed through diet, exercise, sleep, and other lifestyle factors (epigenetics). Activating the Nrf2 pathway, for example, turns on the body’s natural antioxidant systems.

• Protecting your telomeres—the caps on the ends of chromosomes—is important for health and longevity. Oxidative stress shortens telomeres; exercise, diet, and omega-3 fats help preserve them.

• Homeostasis refers to the body’s ability to maintain balance and stability internally. Overriding the body’s systems that control homeostasis through poor diet and lifestyle choices can lead to health issues.

• Keeping a food and lifestyle journal helps you gain awareness of patterns and make better choices. Record your reasons for change, goals, events affecting you, emotions around food, instances of mindless eating, etc.

• The dietary rules focus on reducing inflammation and insulin resistance through limiting sugar, processed carbs, and unhealthy fats while increasing healthy fats, protein, and high-fiber, low-glycemic carbs. Intermittent fasting also helps. Staying hydrated, managing stress, and exercising regularly are important too.

• Allowing for occasional indulgences in moderation is important for success and sustainability. Deprivation often backfires. But get back to healthy choices as soon as possible.

• Making incremental changes over time is the key to success. Don't overhaul your diet and lifestyle overnight. Take it step by step.

  • Eliminate gluten from your diet completely, even if you do not have noticeable sensitivity. Gluten causes inflammation and leaky gut in many people and can lead to autoimmune disease, neurological issues, and weight gain.

  • Adopt a low-carb, high-fat, high-fiber diet. This type of diet is best supported by research. Low-carb diets lead to weight loss, improved metabolic health, and reduced inflammation. Focus on healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, and avocados. Get fiber from non-starchy vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

  • Cut out sugar and sugar substitutes. Sugar causes inflammation, weight gain, and health issues. Artificial sweeteners are not healthy alternatives.

  • Avoid GMOs when possible. Genetically modified foods are not proven safe and may promote inflammation.

  • Don't overeat protein. While protein is important, too much can stress your body. Focus on moderate portions with each meal.

  • Eat eggs. Eggs are very nutritious and help support brain and overall health. Eat the whole egg - both yolks and whites.

  • Be flexible and kind to yourself. Making long-term diet changes is challenging. Learn to use frustration as motivation, but also be content with your progress. Your attitude and perspective significantly impact your success. Make positive changes at a sustainable pace.

  • Pay attention to your body and how you feel. Notice how different foods and portions affect your energy, mood, and symptoms. Make adjustments based on your body's feedback. Recalibrate one day and one meal at a time.

  • Success will build up over time through consistency. Stay committed to your health and well-being for ongoing progress and benefits. But go slowly and be realistic in your approach.

  • A study compared low-carb and low-fat diets in 148 obese people. The low-carb group lost more weight, reduced waist size and improved cholesterol over 1 year. This shows restricting carbs and eating more fat can help with weight loss and heart health.

  • Heart disease and obesity are risks for brain disease. The study found lower inflammation (measured by C-reactive protein) in the low-carb group. High carb, low fat diets have been wrongly promoted and caused health issues.

  • Cholesterol is important for brain and body health. It acts as an antioxidant and helps make hormones and vitamin D. Low cholesterol is linked to brain issues like depression or dementia. Claims that cholesterol is bad were based on flawed research.

  • Recommendations to limit saturated fat and cholesterol have been removed from guidelines. The greatest health risk comes from replacing them with sugary carbs. High-fat, high-carb diets are the worst. The only way high-fat diets work is when combined with low carbs and more fiber.

  • The PREDIMED study found a Mediterranean diet high in olive oil or nuts lowered breast cancer risk by over 50% compared to a low-fat diet. The diet is low in sugar, high in fat and linked to better brain health.

  • Diets have changed from high-fat, high-fiber and low-carb to the opposite. This has led to health issues like chronic disease, affecting the brain. A hunter-gatherer type diet with less fear of fat and cholesterol, fewer carbs but more fiber is recommended.

  • Sugar (with many names) is in most processed foods. Intake has risen 5 times and is linked to health issues like fatty liver disease, insulin resistance and high blood pressure. Fructose in fruit and as a sweetener causes inflammation and other issues. Juice has little fiber so spikes insulin. Both sugar and juice should be limited.

Summary: Refined sugar and artificial sweeteners are harmful and have negative health effects. Artificial sweeteners were once thought to be inert, but research now shows they disrupt gut bacteria and metabolism. Popular sugars and sweeteners to avoid include cane juice, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, malt, maltose, maltodextrin, dextrose, beet sugar, turbinado sugar, invert sugar, aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin.

Genetically modified foods also have potential risks and lack long-term safety testing. The most common GMOs are corn, soy, sugar beets, and canola. GMOs are often engineered to be resistant to herbicides like glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, which is toxic and damages health. Glyphosate acts as an antibiotic, disrupts hormones, impairs vitamin D and mineral absorption, and inhibits amino acid synthesis. It may contribute to obesity, cancer, and other diseases. Due to these risks, it is best to choose organic produce and animal foods as much as possible.

While protein is necessary for health, too much animal protein can be harmful, especially processed red meat. A large Harvard study found that eating more than one serving of unprocessed red meat per day increased the risk of early death by 13%, and eating one serving of processed red meat daily increased the risk by 20%. In moderation, meat can be part of a healthy diet, but plant-based sources of protein are preferable when possible. A balanced diet with moderate portions is key.

In summary, limit intake of refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, GMOs, glyphosate, and excess red meat. Choose natural sweeteners, organic produce, grass-fed meat, and plant-based protein sources. An optimal diet is based on whole foods, not processed products. Moderation and balance are essential for health and longevity.

Here's a summary:

  • A long-term study found that people who ate higher amounts of red meat had higher death rates, especially from heart disease and cancer. Eating less than half a serving of meat per day (less than 3.5 servings per week) was associated with lower risks.

  • However, these findings don't tell the whole story. The absolute risk increase was small, in the single digits. Meat eaters also tend to have other unhealthy habits like smoking and lack of exercise, which the study tried to account for but makes the results hard to interpret.

  • Many factors influence health risks, including age, genetics, and how long someone has had certain habits. This makes it hard to apply the study's results to everyone.

  • Moderation and high-quality, unprocessed meat are key. Grass-fed organic meat may be healthier than conventional meat.

  • Low-carb diets don't require high protein. Most people only need 46-56 grams of protein per day, which can easily be obtained from a variety of plant and animal sources. Too much protein may increase health risks.

  • Eggs are a nutritious source of protein and the idea that they raise cholesterol is a myth. Choose pastured eggs when possible.

  • Good health requires more than just diet. Reducing stress, sleeping well, limiting medications, and self-care are also important.

The plan provides strategies and tools to improve health from multiple angles. Making changes can seem difficult, but starting small and building on success helps. The rewards of improved health and vitality are worth it.

Here is a summary of the key points:

  1. Take a quiz to assess your risk factors for brain and other health issues. The more “yes” answers, the higher your risk.

  2. Get baseline blood tests to determine your current health status and set target goals. Key tests include:

  • Fasting insulin: Ideal < 8 uIU/ml, target < 3

  • Fasting blood glucose: Normal 70-100 mg/dL, target < 95 mg/dL

  • Hemoglobin A1C: Good 4.8-5.4%, target < 5.4%

  • Fructosamine: Target 188-223 umol/L

  • Glyphosate urine test: Target undetectable levels

  • C-reactive protein: Target 0.00 to 3.0 mg/L, ideally < 1.0 mg/L

  • Homocysteine: Target < 8 umol/L, elevated > 10 umol/L

  1. This program has many benefits for both physical and mental health. By following it, you can feel younger, more confident and productive. Success will lead to more success.

  2. The program is doable but requires commitment to reach the point where the guidelines become second nature. It includes:

  • Prelude: Assess risk, get blood tests, consider fasting

  • Step 1: Improve diet, review medications and supplements

  • Step 2: Add exercise, sleep, stress reduction, environment detox

  • Step 3: Plan and schedule meals, sleep, exercise

  1. Don't feel doomed if your numbers aren't ideal or risk is high. You can take control of your health. The key is following the guidelines to see results and make long-term changes.

Does this summary accurately reflect the key highlights and main steps from the program outline? Let me know if you would like me to clarify or expand on any part of the summary.

Here's a summary:

The author recommends taking several supplements and testing certain lab values to optimize brain and overall health before starting the diet protocol:

  • Homocysteine: Most people can lower high homocysteine levels by supplementing with B vitamins and folic acid. The author recommends 50 mg of B6, 800 mcg of folic acid, and 500 mcg of B12 daily. Retest levels after 3 months.

  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency is common. The author recommends 5,000 IU per day, testing after 2 months, and adjusting dosage to achieve 80 ng/mL. Maintenance is usually 2,000 IU per day.

  • Repeat lab testing after a couple of months to monitor improvements. Changes in symptoms and lab values can inspire commitment to the program.

To prepare your mindset:

  1. Turn off "autopilot" and break unhealthy habits and routines. The diet and lifestyle changes in the program will help with this.

  2. Consider jump-starting the program with a fast, such as:

  • A 24-hour fast before starting the 14-day meal plan. This helps physically and mentally prepare for reducing carb intake. Check with your doctor first, especially if on medications.

  • Skipping breakfast 1-2 times per week. This maintains mild ketosis for a few hours.

  • A 72-hour fast. A longer fast further optimizes health and ketosis. Again, check with your doctor first.

Fasting helps reboot metabolism, promote weight loss, increase mental clarity, activate detoxification pathways, reduce inflammation, and spur antioxidant production.

  • Fast for 72 hours several times a year by only drinking filtered water. Start with shorter 24-hour fasts first to build up to it. It is best to do these fasts during seasonal changes like the last week of September, December, March and June.

  • Going cold turkey on cutting carbs can be difficult for some. You may experience mood swings, low energy and cravings at first but these will pass within a week. Stay motivated by knowing these effects are temporary. Have snack alternatives on hand like nuts, jerky and veggies. Avoid temptation by not going to carb-heavy restaurants. Take the challenge to commit to this lifestyle long-term. Believe in yourself even when others don't support you.

  • Check with your doctor before starting, especially if on medication. The goals are to nourish your body and microbiome, supplement properly, move more, sleep well, support your emotional health and clean up your environment.

  • You are now ready to start Step 1 which is editing your diet.

The diet allows:

  • Mostly non-starchy, colorful vegetables that grow above ground

  • 3 to 4 ounces of protein with each meal (no more than 8 ounces total per day)

  • Fats from sources like nuts, seeds, olive oil, and butter

  • Low-sugar fruits like avocados, cucumbers, and tomatoes

  • Fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut

  • Healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and ghee

  • Grass-fed meat, poultry, eggs, and wild-caught fish

  • Herbs, seasonings, and some condiments like mustard and salsa

The diet avoids:

  • All gluten-containing grains like wheat, barley and rye

  • Processed carbs, sugar, and starch like chips, candy, and white bread

  • Starchy vegetables like corn, peas, and potatoes

  • Packaged “fat-free” or “low-fat” foods

  • Margarine, vegetable shortening, and most cooking oils

  • Non-fermented soy like tofu and soy milk

  • The term “natural” - check the ingredients since it’s not tightly regulated

Occasional foods (1-2 times per week):

  • Carrots

  • Cow’s milk, cream, and legumes like beans

The key is to choose organic, non-GMO, and grass-fed options whenever possible for the healthiest diet. Limit protein to no more than 8 ounces per day and fill most of the plate with non-starchy vegetables. Use healthy fats for cooking and add fatty extras like coconut oil, nut butters or olive tapenade for flavor. Enjoy fermented foods daily for gut health and probiotics.

Here is a summary of the supplement and food recommendations:

Lentils, peas: Okay in moderation, especially if organic. Avoid commercially-made hummus with lots of additives. Homemade hummus with just chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper is fine.

Non-gluten grains: amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, brown rice, white rice, wild rice, sorghum, teff. Oats should be gluten-free. Limit grains since processing can increase inflammation risk.

Sweeteners: Natural stevia, dark chocolate (75% cacao or more)

Fruit: Berries best, limit sugary fruits like apricots, mangos, melons, papayas, plums, pineapples.

Buy organic and non-GMO when possible. Buy produce seasonally and locally if possible. Brighter produce has more nutrients. Be cautious of GMOs in papaya, zucchini, yellow summer squash.

Drinks: Filtered water, coffee, tea, red wine in moderation. Limit coffee/tea to 1-2 cups a day. Kombucha tea is good for gut health. Limit wine to 1 glass per day for women, 2 for men.

Herbs/spices: allspice, basil, bay leaves, black pepper, cayenne, chili powder, chives, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, curry powder, dill, garlic, ginger, mint, mustard seeds, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, parsley, red pepper flakes, rosemary, saffron, sage, savory, sea salt, tarragon, thyme, turmeric, vanilla

Pantry: almond flour, broth (beef, chicken, veg), canned fish (salmon, tuna, anchovies), canned tomatoes (incl. paste), canned veggies, cocoa powder (75% cacao or more), dill pickles, hot sauces, nuts, seeds


•DHA (omega-3): 300-500 mg per day •Turmeric (curcumin): minimum 500 mg turmeric extract standardized to 95% curcuminoids, 2-3 times per day •Acacia gum (prebiotic fiber): 1 tbsp in water before dinner •Probiotics: minimum 10-15 billion CFUs, 1-2 per day on empty stomach •Vitamin D3: 1000-2000 IU per day •Magnesium glycinate: 200-400 mg per day

•Pycnogenol (pine bark extract): 50-200 mg per day •CoQ10: 100 mg per day for antioxidant support

• Avoid multivitamins, vitamin C or E above 200% Daily Value.

  • DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is important for brain and heart health. It is found in fish oil or algae supplements and breast milk. Aim for 1,000 mg per day.

  • Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides that provide energy for the brain. Consume 1-2 teaspoons per day.

  • Turmeric contains curcumin, which is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It supports brain growth and may help with mood. Take 500 mg of turmeric extract twice per day.

  • Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that protects the brain and may help with dementia or stroke recovery. Take 300-500 mg per day.

  • Coffee fruit extract increases BDNF, a protein important for brain health, brain cell growth, and risk reduction Alzheimer's disease. Take 100 mg per day.

  • Vitamin D is important for brain and body health. Get your levels tested and supplement to reach the upper range of normal. Most adults need 5,000 IU per day.

  • Prebiotics, like acacia gum, feed the good gut bacteria. Get 12 grams per day through foods or supplements. Acacia gum supplements are well tolerated and support weight loss.

  • Probiotics can be obtained through yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, and cultured condiments. Choose dairy-free options if sensitive to dairy.

  • Fermented meat, fish, and eggs also provide probiotics. See for more information.

In summary, consume omega-3s, medium chain triglycerides, turmeric, alpha-lipoic acid, coffee fruit extract, vitamin D, prebiotics, probiotics, and fermented foods for optimal brain and gut health.

Here's a summary:

• It's best to make probiotics on your own or buy high-quality supplements with many strains of bacteria, rather than highly processed commercial products. Some recommended probiotic strains include:

  • Lactobacillus plantarum

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus

  • Lactobacillus brevis

  • Bifidobacterium lactis

  • Bifidobacterium longum

• A good probiotic should have at least 10 strains and as many of the recommended strains as possible. Different strains provide different benefits, especially for brain health and gut health.

• In addition to the recommended strains, look for these strains for weight loss:

  • Lactobacillus gasseri

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus

• For mood issues or depression, look for:

  • Lactobacillus helveticus

  • Bifidobacterium longum

• Some supplements to consider, in recommended amounts:

  • DHA: 1,000 mg daily

  • Coconut oil: 1-2 tsp daily

  • Turmeric: 500 mg twice daily

  • ALA: 300-500 mg daily

  • Coffee fruit extract: 100 mg daily

  • Vitamin D: 5,000 IU daily

  • Prebiotic fiber: 12 g daily

  • Probiotics: 1 multi-strain capsule daily

• Some common medications to use cautiously include:

  • Statins: can reduce brain function and increase health risks. Cholesterol is important for the body and brain.

  • Acid reflux drugs: can cause nutritional deficiencies, infections, and other issues. They disrupt the gut microbiome.

  • Acetaminophen: can affect the brain and emotions. Depletes glutathione, an important antioxidant. Linked to ADHD in children of mothers who took it during pregnancy.

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories: can damage the gut lining and cause stomach issues.

  • Antibiotics: kill good and bad bacteria, persistently disrupting the gut microbiome. Linked to weight gain, diabetes, and dementia risk. Should only be used when truly necessary.

• In general, we rely too heavily on medications. It's best to minimize medications when possible and support the body's ability to heal itself.

  • Regular exercise has significant benefits for both physical and brain health. It reduces the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias by up to 50%.

  • Exercise helps maintain gray matter in the brain, improves mood, digestion, circulation and immunity. Even light activity like walking can add years to your life.

  • The key is finding physical activities you enjoy and can stick to long-term. A good plan includes both cardio exercise to increase your heart rate, and strength or resistance training.

  • Aim for at least 20 minutes of moderate cardio exercise 6 days a week. Build up intensity and duration over time as your fitness improves.

  • Options include walking, jogging, biking, swimming or exercise classes. Golfing alone does not provide enough activity.

  • Check with your doctor before starting an exercise plan, especially if you have any medical conditions or take medications.

  • Start slowly and build up an exercise routine you can sustain. If you can't run 5 miles, walk to the mailbox. Any activity is better than none. Build on small successes.

  • Vary the intensity of your workouts. Go hard some days, moderate other days. The minimum should be 20 minutes of elevated heart rate 3 times a week.

In summary, establishing a long-term exercise routine with both cardiovascular and strength training components can have significant benefits for brain and physical health, mood and longevity. Start small and build gradually to find activities you enjoy and will stick with. Aim for at least 20 minutes of exercise 3 times a week, and build up duration and intensity over time as your fitness improves.

  • Exercise 450 minutes per week (about an hour a day) for optimal health benefits. This can be accumulated in short bouts of exercise throughout the day. Consistency is key.

  • Pay attention to how you feel during exercise rather than relying on fitness trackers. Notice your breathing, sweating, muscle burning and soreness. Push yourself but don't overdo it.

  • Visualize yourself being physically fit and active. This can help motivate you to reach your goals. Think of all the benefits of being in shape.

  • You can create your own home gym for strength training using free weights. Focus on upper body, lower body and core. Include core exercises in each workout.

  • Some recommended exercises:

Shoulders: Lateral raises and front raises. Hold weights and lift arms out to sides or front.

Triceps: Triceps extensions. Hold weight overhead and lower behind head by bending elbows. Extend back up.

Biceps: Bicep curls. Hold weights with arms by sides and curl up while keeping elbows in.

Chest: Pushups. Lower yourself toward floor and then push back up.

Lats: Wide rows. Bend at waist with weights in front of shins and row weights up by drawing elbows back.

  • You can also do bodyweight exercises like pushups and sit-ups or take group fitness classes for strength training.

Thighs/Quads: Lunges

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart and slight bend in knees

  • Hold weights at sides

  • Step forward with one leg and squat, keeping torso straight

  • Push back to start. Alternate legs.

  • 3 sets of 12 reps

Calves: Tippy-Toes

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart

  • Hold weight in each hand

  • Rise up on tippy-toes and hold 5 seconds

  • Lower back down.

  • 3 sets of 12 reps

Core: Classic Sit-Up

  • Sit on floor with knees bent and heels on floor

  • Cross arms on chest

  • Lay back as far as able and sit back up

  • 1 minute reps, 30 sec rest, 5 rounds

Core: Bicycle Crunch

  • Same start as sit-up

  • Twist to bring opposite knee and elbow together

  • 2 minutes, 30 sec rest, 5 rounds

Take time to write meaningful fitness goals

Pay attention to pain, especially in back and knees

  • Lower back pain is common but often due to muscle issues, not disk problems. Piriformis syndrome can mimic disk pain. Stretching can help.

  • Knee pain also very common. Patellofemoral syndrome causes pain with bending knee or stairs. Braces usually make it worse. Strengthening quad and hamstrings helps. Rest, ice, physical therapy may help avoid surgery.

Make room for sleep

  • Most don't get enough sleep. Impacts health, inflammation, brain

  • Sleep studies show how critical sleep is for health

  • Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night to feel rested

  • Establish bedtime routine, limit screen time and exercise, and sweets before bed

  • Sleep can be described as nourishment for the mind and body. It repairs and rejuvenates us on many levels, which is why we spend about a third of our lives asleep.

  • Sleep is essential for health and well-being. Lack of quality sleep is linked to health issues like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer's.

  • Some strategies to improve your sleep:

  1. Prioritize and protect your sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends.

  2. Have a sleep study done to check for disorders like sleep apnea.

  3. Watch what you eat and drink, especially late in the day. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and certain medications that can disrupt sleep.

  4. Create a peaceful sleeping environment. Keep the bedroom dark, quiet, and cool. No electronics.

  5. Unwind before bed. Avoid screens and do relaxing activities like taking a bath, reading, or listening to calming music.

  6. Dress comfortably for sleep. Wear loose, breathable clothing that suits the temperature.

  7. Try melatonin supplements if your sleep-wake cycle gets disrupted. Melatonin is a natural hormone that regulates your circadian rhythm.

  8. Rule out sleep apnea, which causes you to stop breathing during sleep. Signs include excessive daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, and nighttime choking or gasping. Sleep apnea can be treated with a CPAP machine. Losing weight can also help.

  9. Don't underestimate the importance of sleep. It's essential for health, cognition, mood, and quality of life.

  • Improving your diet by reducing inflammation and eating anti-inflammatory foods can also help you sleep better. The case study of A.K. shows how switching to a low-carb, high-fat, gluten-free diet dramatically improved her sleep quality and reduced her joint pain.

  • Four simple ways to reduce stress and find calm:

  1. Practice deep breathing. Take deep, slow breaths to activate your body's relaxation response.

  2. Spend time in nature. Go outside and experience the calming, rejuvenating effects of nature.

  3. Exercise regularly. Exercise releases feel-good hormones and activates your body's relaxation response.

  4. Limit screen time and be fully present. Reduce distractions and focus your awareness on the present moment.

  • Neurogenesis, the growth of new neural connections and neurons, has been proven in humans since the 1990s. This shows that human brains remain pliable throughout life and can form new connections and cells. This is known as neuroplasticity.

  • Factors like physical exercise, sleep, diet, and nutrients can positively impact neurogenesis. Reducing stress also helps, as chronic stress inhibits the formation of new neural connections.

  • Four additional ways to support neurogenesis are:

  1. Practicing gratitude. Gratitude exercises like keeping a gratitude journal have been shown to physically change the brain and make people more attuned to feelings of gratitude.

  2. Maintaining strong social connections, especially in person. Love and social bonds are vital for well-being and brain health. An example is given of how the author's close friend Mike McDonnell was an important part of his life for 30 years before passing away.

  3. Planning downtime. Taking time for rest and avoiding constant stimulation is important for the brain.

  4. Spending time in nature. Exposure to natural environments enhances cognitive abilities and emotional well-being.

  • In summary, a combination of nutrition, physical activity, stress management, gratitude, social interaction, rest, and time in nature can help support neurogenesis and optimal brain health across the lifespan. A balanced lifestyle that incorporates all of these elements will contribute to brain plasticity and health.

The author describes an experience where he felt extremely anxious and lightheaded after learning of the loss of his friend Mike. His symptoms worsened and he was taken to the hospital, where his heart rate became dangerously high. Medications were not working to control his heart rate. While talking to his nurse Bob, the author felt a wave of gratitude and love, and his heart rate suddenly returned to normal.

The author says this experience showed him the importance of social connections and relationships for health. Research shows that social relationships can enhance longevity and health. Even in teenagers, social isolation can negatively impact health. For middle-aged adults, the quality of social relationships matters more than the quantity. Cultivating healthy relationships starts with having a good relationship with yourself.

The author recommends the following to strengthen social connections:

•Designate a regular date night with close ones •Have weekly dinner parties with friends •Establish a weekly walking or hiking group •Call long-distance friends regularly •Maintain a daily ritual with close ones like sharing a meaningful quote •Prioritize time with family and limit device use •Leave work at a reasonable time to have dinner with family •Have device-free days to focus on in-person relationships

In summary, social relationships and connections are vital for health and well-being. Make the time to cultivate close relationships and limit distractions from social media and technology. Nourish relationships through authentic interactions and quality time together.

Taking personal downtime and connecting with nature can be powerful self-care strategies. Personal downtime allows our bodies and minds to recover from stress, renew themselves, and gain more strength and energy. Getting into the habit of having insightful, distraction-free conversations with yourself during downtime is important for well-being. Scientists have found that we need breaks in stimulation and activity for our brains to turn experiences into long-term memories. Some suggestions for personal downtime include:

• Daily - Turn off your phone for deep breathing. This calms your mind and body and helps you evaluate how you feel.

• Weekly/Monthly - Reflect on your contentment, relationships, stresses, and remedies.

• Annually - Set new goals and address challenges. Consider big life goals and how to accomplish them.

Journaling your thoughts, feelings, and experiences can provide accountability and help you navigate challenges.

Getting outside in nature also has significant benefits for wellbeing. Spending time outside enhances feelings of calm and improves mood through biological mechanisms. Some suggestions include:

• Take daily walks outside on breaks or after work/meals.

• Sit by windows with views when possible. Notice the outdoors.

• Do outdoor hobbies like gardening, birdwatching, or exercising outside.

• Take mini “nature retreats” - go for hikes, visit parks, camp, etc.

The time we make for stillness and connecting with nature helps us maintain clarity and psychological health in our technology-saturated, fast-paced world. Downtime and nature are powerful, yet underrated, self-care essentials.

  • Spend time outside and connect with nature regularly. Enjoy the outdoors by taking walks, exercising outside, stargazing, etc. Bring nature indoors by decorating with plants. This helps detoxify your environment.

  • We live in a sea of chemicals, many of which accumulate in our bodies over time. It can take years or decades for chemicals and products to be officially labeled as dangerous or banned. Don't wait for that - avoid harmful chemicals and products when you can.

  • Avoid things like BPA can linings, nonstick cookware, microwaves, plastic, toxic personal care products and cosmetics, toxic household cleaners and detergents, indoor air pollution, toxic mattresses and upholstery, etc. Choose natural alternatives when possible. Ventilate and filter your home's air.

  • Set a regular routine to reduce stress on your body. Try to regulate when you eat, exercise and sleep. Eating most of your calories earlier in the day and avoiding food close to bedtime can be helpful. Sticking to a routine will help you stay on track with your health goals.

  • Plan ahead to set yourself up for success. Having schedules and routines in place will make unforeseen challenges easier to navigate without derailing your progress. Take time to intentionally plan your approach to your health and wellness.

The key message is that detoxifying your environment, avoiding harmful exposures when you're able, and establishing good routines can significantly improve your health and help you achieve your goals. Planning and preparing accordingly sets you up for success. Connecting to nature provides additional benefits for both body and mind.

  • A study found that eating lunch later in the day is associated with less weight loss. Researchers studied 420 overweight or obese participants in Spain who were on the same 5-month diet and exercise plan. Those who ate lunch after 3 pm lost 17 lbs on average while those who ate before 3 pm lost 22 lbs.

  • It's best to avoid overeating late in the day when you're tired. It's easy to make poor food choices and overeat at night.

  • To maximize your body's energy needs and avoid overeating at night:

  1. Plan your meals and snacks for the week ahead based on your schedule. Choose 1-2 days to skip breakfast. On those days, have a nutrient-dense lunch between 11:30 am and 1:30 pm.

  2. Make a grocery list based on the meals you plan to make. Do your shopping ahead of time.

  3. Identify meals and snacks you can bring for lunch when away from home.

  4. The more you plan your eating habits, the easier it will be to stick to a good plan. The same is true for exercise.

  • Exercise when it works for your schedule. The most important thing is that you do exercise, not the exact time of day. Some tips:
  1. When planning your meals, also plan your exercise. Decide what kind of exercise and for how long. Aim for 20 mins of cardio 6 days a week, weight training 3-4 days a week, and stretching.

  2. If you have trouble sleeping, exercise in the early morning. Morning exercise can improve your sleep at night.

  3. Here is a sample exercise plan:

Mon: Brisk walk (20-30 mins), weights and stretching (20 mins) after work Tues: 50 min indoor cycling class, 10 mins stretching
Wed: 30 mins brisk walking, 15 mins weights and stretching during dinner Thurs: 30 mins elliptical, 10 mins stretching Fri: Yoga class (60 mins) Sat: Power walking group (90 mins) Sun: Elliptical (40 mins), weights and stretching (20 mins)

  • Get 7-9 hours of sleep per night based on what you need to feel rested. Go to bed and wake up at the same time daily, even on weekends and holidays. Aim to be asleep by 11 pm.

  • Use journals to plan and track your progress:

  1. Food journal: Plan your meals in advance and record what you eat each day. Note how foods make you feel.

  2. Exercise journal: Record your exercise plans and what you accomplish each day (duration and type). Note any pain or soreness.

  3. General journal: Record your thoughts, feelings, goals, gratitude, worries, etc. Writing can help reduce anxiety and keep you on track.

  • Follow a daily checklist to stay on track: supplements, meal planning, exercise, sleep schedule, journaling, etc. Plan your day and week ahead to make the best use of your time and energy.

Here are some key tips for getting back on track after straying from the protocol:

•Don’t beat yourself up over it. Everyone slips up now and then. The important thing is that you recognize the mistake and get right back to your plan. Guilt and shame serve no purpose.

•Recommit to the protocol. Start fresh right away. Go back to the basics of limiting grains and sugars, eating healthy fats and proteins, and consuming lots of nonstarchy veggies. Review the 14-day meal plan for inspiration.

•Monitor how you feel. Pay close attention to any symptoms returning, like fatigue, joint pain, digestive issues, or brain fog. Use this as motivation to stick with the program. Refer to your health journal or start a new one to track your progress.

•Chalk it up to science. Remind yourself why you started this program in the first place. You know that your biology requires fat and nutrients found only in real, whole foods. Grains simply don’t provide what your body and brain need to function optimally.

•Get extra rest. Lack of sleep compounds the effects of carb and sugar overload. Aim for eight to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep per night to help your body and mind recover.

•Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of filtered water to flush out toxins and support your cells and organs. Herbal tea, bone broth, and coconut milk can also help rehydrate you.

•Move your body. Go for a walk or do some gentle yoga. Movement stimulates feel-good hormones and the release of pent-up energy from excess carbs and sugar. Even light exercise will make a difference in how you feel.

• Forgive yourself—and then move on. Learn from your experience without judgment. You’re human. Just get back to nourishing your brain and body, and commit to making the healthiest choice in each moment. Success is a journey, not a one-time achievement. You’ve got this!

  • The author ate pizza and got sick with a cold sore and eye infection, suggesting their old diet caused health issues.

  • Establishing new habits requires balance. You may occasionally eat unhealthy foods, but aim for 90% adherence to the new diet. Re-commit when you slip up.

  • Headaches and cravings are common when starting a new diet, but will subside. Distract yourself from cravings and remind yourself of the benefits. Make sure you eat enough fat and have snacks on hand.

  • If hungry before bed, distract yourself. Have herbal tea, read, call a friend, or exercise. Focus on your health benefits.

  • Vegans should supplement with vitamins D, B12, and omega-3s. Add fats like olive and coconut oil.

  • Pregnant women should take prenatals, probiotics, 900-1000mg DHA, and limit fish. Breastfeed if possible. C-sections lack vaginal bacteria, so ask about using gauze to transfer bacteria to the baby. Probiotics and breastfeeding help.

  • Only take antibiotics if absolutely necessary. Ask for narrow-spectrum drugs that target the infection. Take probiotics halfway between antibiotic doses.

  • Feeling better does not mean you should stop medication or the diet. Talk to your doctor before making changes. Your condition may recur or worsen without continued treatment and diet change. Focus on long term health.

The key points are: adhere to the diet as much as possible, manage challenges like cravings and illness, focus on overall health and wellness over the long run rather than short term fixes, and make sustainable lifestyle changes. The diet and recommendations aim for lasting change and improved quality of life.

  • Congratulations on embarking on this new dietary protocol. Within a week, you should start noticing many benefits like improved sleep, energy, and mood; reduced chronic symptoms; and weight loss. The long-term effects will be even more substantial.

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day, aiming for at least half your body weight in ounces. You can also drink tea, coffee and wine in moderation. Avoid most juices, smoothies and other sugary beverages.

  • Use olive oil and coconut oil liberally in your cooking and salads.

  • Don't follow the advice to eat "everything in moderation." The healthiest diets focus on eating a limited range of nutritious whole foods regularly. Eating from a diverse range of foods, including less healthy options, tends to lead to poorer metabolic health.

  • Some snack ideas include nuts, seeds, nut butters, celery sticks, olives, cheese, dark chocolate, berries, and plain full-fat Greek yogurt.

  • A basic shopping list should include:

•Olive oil, coconut oil •Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans) •Seeds (chia, hemp, pumpkin) •Nut butters (almond, pecan) •Avocados •Leafy greens (kale, spinach, romaine) •Cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts) •Other veggies (zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms, bell peppers) •Fruits (berries, citrus) •High-quality protein (poultry, fish, eggs, grass-fed meat) •Fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt) •Herbs and spices •Dark chocolate •Cheese

Here's a summary:

Stick to consistent breakfasts, lunches, and dinners using the same basic ingredients and recipes each week. Plan your meals in advance and shop accordingly.

Avoid cheating or veering from the diet plan. Stay vigilant against temptations and find ways to overcome them, like suggesting an alternate restaurant when dining out. Track what you eat to stay accountable and read labels carefully or avoid packaged foods altogether.

Find an accountability partner to follow the diet plan with you. Work together to plan meals, shop, cook, and exercise. Share challenges and successes to stay motivated.

Make non-starchy vegetables the centerpiece of your meals, filling 3/4 of your plate. Limit protein to 3 to 4 ounces per meal and 8 ounces total per day. Get fats from foods like nuts, seeds, nut butters, coconut oil, olive oil, and avocados.

Stock up on foods like nuts, nut butters, dark chocolate, avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, and nut milks for snacks in addition to non-starchy veggies, cheese, olives, jerky, and hard-boiled eggs. Snacks should be minimally processed and high in healthy fats and protein.

The 14-day meal plan provides recipes as a model to follow. Feel free to adjust it based on your tastes and needs. Some recipes require advance preparation, so review the full plan and schedule time to shop, prep, cook, and ferment certain items. Simper meals of veggies, protein, salad and olive oil also work great. Add non-gluten grains, coconut oil, or nut fritters in moderation if more calories are needed.

In summary, the guidelines focus on whole, unprocessed foods high in healthy fats and protein and low in sugar and excess carbs for optimal health and weight management. Planning, preparation, and accountability help ensure success.

  • Leafy green salads are an excellent substitute for high-carb foods like potatoes, bread, and pasta. Add lots of cooked or raw vegetables like cucumbers, radishes, and broccoli to make the salads more filling. Use olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dressing. Avoid processed dressings which are unhealthy.

  • Don’t throw away your old kitchen tools and utensils. Use what you have and consider buying some new equipment to make cooking more fun.

  • Buy organic, grass-fed, and local ingredients whenever possible. Try new foods and take time to appreciate your food before eating. Listen to your body and eat what it needs.

  • The 14-day meal plan includes recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert with an emphasis on vegetables, healthy fats, and high-quality protein. The recipes use ingredients like eggs, nuts, avocados, olives, coconut, dark chocolate, yogurt, fresh and steamed veggies. Some recommended meals are frittatas, salads, grilled meat and fish, soups, smoothies, etc.

  • Some breakfast recipe examples are:

  • Broccolini, Mushroom and Leek Frittata: Eggs whisked with cheese and egg whites, mixed with sautéed broccolini, mushrooms, and leeks. Baked until set.

  • Baked Eggs and Greens: Eggs baked in a dish over sautéed greens like kale or Swiss chard and tomato sauce. Parmesan cheese is sprinkled on top.

  • The 14-day meal plan provides recipes to get you started but feel free to repeat it or experiment with your own recipes once you get the hang of this style of eating. The most important thing is listening to your body's needs.

Here is a summary of the recipe: Ingredients:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil

  • Unsalted butter

  • Leeks

  • Garlic

  • Swiss chard

  • Sun-dried tomatoes

  • Basil

  • Heavy cream

  • Eggs

  • Fontina cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish.

  2. Heat oil and butter in a pan. Add leeks and garlic and cook until leeks are soft.

  3. Add Swiss chard by handfuls until all is wilted. Add sun-dried tomatoes and basil. Cook for 10 minutes.

  4. Add cream and cook for 6 minutes.

  5. Pour into baking dish and make indentations. Crack an egg into each indentation.

  6. Sprinkle with cheese and salt and pepper.

  7. Bake for 15 minutes until whites are set but yolks are runny.

  8. Let stand for 5 minutes, then serve.

The recipe yields 12 servings with the following nutritional information per serving: Calories: 297 Fat: 21 g Protein: 17 g Carbohydrates: 10 g Sugar: 3 g Fiber: 3 g Sodium: 585 mg

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, preferably grass-fed

  • Freshly ground white pepper

  • Reserve 1⁄2 cup of the cauliflower pieces

  • Place the remaining cauliflower and leeks in a saucepan with 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 12 minutes.

  • Sauté the reserved cauliflower in a frying pan with the butter for 7 minutes. Keep warm.

  • Remove the cauliflower and leeks from the heat. Transfer to a blender and puree, adding cooking water until a soup-like consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Ladle the soup into bowls. Top with the sautéed cauliflower and drizzle with brown butter.

Meatball Soup:

  • Make lamb meatballs from 2 lbs ground lamb, eggs, almonds, herbs, seasonings. Shape into 1.5-inch balls.

  • Heat olive oil in a saucepan and brown the meatballs. Remove and reserve.

  • Add carrots, onions, mushrooms, fennel, and garlic to the pan. Sauté, then deglaze with wine.

  • Add stock and simmer. Add quinoa and simmer 15 minutes, then add meatballs and simmer until warmed through.

  • Add jalapeño, sugar snap peas, and radicchio. Simmer until vegetables are tender.

  • Serve topped with olive oil and fresh herbs.

Layered Vegetable Salad:

  • Soak sliced red onions in ice water. Drain and pat dry.

  • Make layers of savoy cabbage, onions, jicama, and radishes in a salad bowl.

  • Make a dressing of yogurt, mayonnaise (made from avocado oil, egg yolks, seasoning), anchovies, and herbs. Pour over the salad.

  • Refrigerate at least 6 hours. Toss before serving.

Mixed Greens with Toasted Walnuts:

  • Toss onion wedges in oil and balsamic vinegar. Roast 30 minutes. Process into a dressing with walnut oil, stock, and vinegar.

  • Toss mixed greens with enough dressing to coat. Add toasted walnuts and shallots. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Here is a summary of the Jicama Salad recipe:

Nutrition per serving: Calories: 180 Fat: 9 g Protein: 10 g Carbohydrates: 12 g Sugar: 3 g Fiber: 5 g Sodium: 350 mg

Ingredients: -1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes -1 tbsp chopped cilantro -1 tbsp chopped chives
-3 tbsp champagne vinegar
-2 tsp lime juice
-1 tsp lemon juice
-2 tsp olive oil -Black pepper -3 cups julienned jicama -1 cup shredded radicchio -Parmesan or ricotta salata cheese


  1. Combine tomatoes, cilantro, chives, vinegar, lime juice, lemon juice, and olive oil. Season with pepper. Refrigerate 1-4 hours.

  2. Soak jicama in ice water for 1 hour. Drain and pat dry.

  3. Toss jicama with tomato dressing.

  4. Place radicchio on plates. Top with jicama salad.

  5. Shave cheese over the top.

Here is a summary of the recipe:


  • 1 1⁄2 pounds red or green cabbage, shredded

  • 1 small green chile pepper, minced

  • Sea salt

  • Coconut oil

  • Onion, chopped

  • Garlic, minced

  • Ginger, chopped

  • Red curry paste

  • Vegetable stock

  • Coconut milk

  • Eggplant, cubed

  • Red bell pepper, cubed

  • Broccoli florets

  • Baby spinach

  • Dried red chile peppers, stemmed and seeded

  • Peppercorns

  • Caraway seeds

  • Coriander seeds

  • Ground turmeric

  • Ground cinnamon

  • Shallot, minced

  • Lemongrass, minced

  • Cilantro leaves

  • Shrimp paste

  • Fish sauce

  • Lime zest

  • Broccoli florets

  • Mushrooms, sliced

  • Feta cheese, crumbled

  • Basil, chopped

  • Cabbage

  • Jicama

  • Kale

  • Granny Smith apple

  • Leek

  • Garlic

  • Hot red chile pepper

  • Sea salt

  • Whey or vegetable starter culture

  • Dandelion or mustard greens or kale

  • Ginger

  • Garlic

  • Red or green chile peppers

  • Distilled water

  • Apple cider vinegar

  • Coconut sugar

  • Star anise


  1. Make the red curry paste by blending dried chiles, spices, shallot, lemongrass, cilantro, shrimp paste, fish sauce and lime zest.

  2. Make the Thai vegetable curry by sautéing onion, garlic and ginger in coconut oil. Add red curry paste, stock and coconut milk. Simmer eggplant, bell pepper and broccoli. Add spinach.

  3. Make the broccoli, mushroom and feta toss by sautéing mushrooms and garlic in olive oil and butter. Add broccoli and feta, broil briefly.

  4. Make the mixed vegetable kraut by massaging cabbage, jicama, kale, apple, leek, garlic and chile with salt. Pack into jars with whey or starter culture and distilled water. Ferment 1 week.

  5. Make the Asian-scented greens by packing dandelion greens, ginger, garlic and chile into a jar. Add vinegar, coconut sugar, salt, star anise and distilled water. Ferment 3 days.

Combine 1 cup distilled water, 1/2 cup vinegar, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 1 tablespoon salt in a saucepan and heat until boiling. Remove from heat and add 3 star anise. Let brine cool for 3 minutes.

Pour brine over greens (such as kale, Swiss chard, and mustard greens) and assorted chili peppers in an ass canning jar or crock. Make sure greens are covered.Add a resealable bag with a little water to weigh down the greens. Seal the jar and refrigerate for 3 days. Greens can be stored for up to 6 months.

Roast a 6-pound grass-fed lamb leg at 450 F. Make 20 slits in the lamb and insert garlic cloves. Coat lamb with a mixture of 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice and zest, 1 tablespoon rosemary, and 2 teaspoons thyme. Place on a rack in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F and roast until internal temperature reaches 135 F, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours total.

Make a sauce with 3 leeks, 1/2 cup chicken stock, 1/4 cup wine, and 4 tablespoons butter. Season with salt and pepper. Slice lamb and serve with sauce.

Pan-sear 4 (6-ounce) hogfish or snapper fillets in olive oil with garlic and rosemary. Add quartered artichokes, kalamata olives, and a shaved brussels sprout slaw. Serve immediately.

To make shaved brussels sprout slaw, thinly shave 2 cups brussels sprouts and toss with a liquid olive oil dressing of 1 egg yolk, 1/2 cup olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.

Form 1 1/2 pounds ground grass-fed beef into 4 patties. Grill burgers for 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Top with sauteed onions if desired.

Generously coat the outside of the lamb with the oil mixture, patting it into the meat. Generously season with salt and pepper. Place the seasoned meat on the rack in the roasting pan. Transfer to the oven and roast for 40 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and continue to roast for another hour or until the internal temperature reaches 135°F for medium-rare. Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes.

Make a sauce with the roasting pan drippings, leeks, stock and wine. Add butter and cook until a rich sauce forms.

Cut the lamb into thin slices and serve with the sauce.

Nutrition: 540 calories, 29 g fat, 58 g protein, 5 g carbs, 0 g sugar

Roast chicken thighs:

Toss 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs in olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 400 F for 25 minutes until cooked through.

Make a parsley sauce with egg yolks, vinegar, olive oil, parsley and shallots.

Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Nutrition: 600 calories, 52 g fat, 35 g protein, 1 g carbs, 0 g sugar


Coconut chia seed pudding: Combine almond milk, stevia, coconut milk and chia seeds. Chill for at least 4 hours. Top with toasted coconut. Nutrition: 170 calories, 15 g fat, 3 g protein, 7 g carbs, 1 g sugar

Chocolate mousse: Melt chocolate, fold into whipped cream. Chill before serving. Nutrition: 500 calories, 46 g fat, 5 g protein, 20 g carbs, 11 g sugar

Ricotta with berries: Top ricotta with berries and toasted almonds. Nutrition: 135 calories, 9 g fat, 8 g protein, 7 g carbs, 0 g sugar

Here's a summary:

For day-to-day commitment to our short- and long-term goals: Digital Natives Judith Choate Gigi Stewart Fabrizio Aielli and Seamus Mullen Jonathan Heindemause Nicole Dunn

For adapting to ever-changing demands: Digital Natives Judith Choate Gigi Stewart

For thoughtful counsel: Digital Natives Judith Choate Gigi Stewart Fabrizio Aielli and Seamus Mullen Jonathan Heindemause Nicole Dunn

For navigating social media: Digital Natives

For creating delicious recipes following the Grain Brain Whole Life Plan: Judith Choate
Gigi Stewart
Fabrizio Aielli and Seamus Mullen

For nutritional analyses and handling last-minute changes: Jonathan Heindemause

For work in public relations: Nicole Dunn

For support and inspiration: All others

About the author:

  • David Perlmutter, MD, is a board-certified neurologist focused on brain disorders and disease prevention.

  • He has published many works, lectures worldwide, and frequently appears on media programs.

  • He received the Linus Pauling Award in 2002 and was named Clinician of the Year in 2006.

  • He has written several books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Grain Brain.


  • The summary lists many studies, books, and other sources that informed The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan.

  • The sources cover topics such as the gut microbiome, nutritional ketosis, holistic medicine, and the relationship between diet, inflammation, and brain disorders.

Here are summaries of the research articles:

Zhan et al.: A study found that shorter telomeres, the caps on the end of chromosomes, may be associated with increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Zonis et al.: A study in mice found that chronic intestinal inflammation may lead to reduced production of new neurons in the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in memory.

Mason: An opinion piece arguing that the herbicide glyphosate is harmful to human health and the environment.

Thongprakaisang et al.: A study found that glyphosate may promote the growth of human breast cancer cells in vitro.

Suez et al.: A study found that artificial sweeteners like saccharin, sucralose, and aspartame may lead to glucose intolerance by altering gut bacteria in mice and humans.

Pan et al.: Two large studies found that higher consumption of red meat, especially processed red meat, was associated with higher mortality, especially from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Toledo et al.: A study found that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts reduced the risk of invasive breast cancer in women at high risk of cardiovascular disease.

Valls-Pedret et al.: A study found that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts slowed age-related cognitive decline.

Brandhorst et al.: A pilot study found that a diet that mimics the effects of fasting may promote regeneration, increase cancer resistance, and improve cognitive performance.

Leslie and Torgan: Summaries of a study finding health benefits of short-term fasting in mice and humans.

Perlmutter: A summary recommending gradual reduction of carbohydrate intake to avoid negative side effects.

Azad et al.: A study found an association between infant antibiotic exposure and higher body mass index and abdominal fat in children.

Calame et al.: A study found that gum arabic, a fiber supplement, improved measures of gut health in a dose-dependent manner in humans.

Hegazy et al.: An animal study found an extract of acacia arabica gum reduced blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and fat accumulation in diabetic rats.

Holscher et al.: A study found that psyllium fiber supplementation changed gut bacteria composition and metabolic function in humans.

Frenk et al.: An analysis found increasing prescription rates for opioid pain medications in the U.S. from 1999 to 2012.

Graham et al.: A review discussed links between chronic NSAID use and intestinal damage and bleeding.

Culver et al.: A study found statin use was associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes in postmenopausal women.

Durso et al.: A study found that acetaminophen impaired both positive and negative emotional responses in humans.

Liew et al.: A study found an association between prenatal acetaminophen exposure and higher risk of behavioral problems and hyperactivity disorders in children.

Kennedy: A summary of evidence linking long-term use of proton pump inhibitors to increased risks of nutritional deficiencies, bone loss, and other harms.

Lam et al.: A study found an association between proton pump inhibitor use and vitamin B12 deficiency.

Mazer-Amirshahi et al.: An analysis found increasing rates of prescribing proton pump inhibitors in U.S. emergency departments from 2007 to 2012.

Littlejohns et al.: A study found that lower vitamin D levels were associated with increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Matthews et al.: A study found an association between severe vitamin D deficiency and longer hospital stays, higher costs and mortality in surgical intensive care unit patients.

Mikkelsen et al.: A study found an association between antibiotics use and increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Mor et al.: A study found an association between prenatal exposure to antibiotics and higher body weight in children at 7 years of age.

Million et al.: A study found correlations between body mass index and levels of specific gut bacteria (Lactobacillus reuteri, Bifidobacterium animalis, Methanobrevibacter smithii, and Escherichia coli) in humans.

Pärtty et al.: A study found probiotic exposure in infancy may decrease the risk of neuropsychiatric disorders later in childhood.

Reyes-Izquierdo et al.: Two studies found a whole coffee fruit concentrate increased levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein important for neuronal growth, in humans.

Here's a summary of the sources:

  • A study found that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels increased in healthy subjects after consuming a high-fat meal.

  • An article discusses confusing food labels like "all natural" and "light."

  • A study found a link between antibiotic use in children and higher body mass index.

  • A study found a possible link between proton pump inhibitor use and heart attack risk.

  • A study found that NSAID use can increase intestinal permeability ("leaky gut").

  • A study found that a formula with pre- and probiotics was well tolerated in critically ill children and may positively impact gut flora.

  • A review discusses the benefits of fiber and prebiotics for health.

  • A review discusses the role of nutrition in preventing or delaying Alzheimer's disease.

  • A study found a link between low vitamin D levels and increased dementia risk.

  • A study found a possible link between antibiotic use and increased breast cancer risk.

  • A review discusses how proton pump inhibitors may negatively impact gut microbiota.

  • A study found that high BDNF levels were associated with a lower risk of dementia.

  • A report from WHO discusses the threat of antibiotic resistance worldwide.

  • A study found that curcumin may increase BDNF levels in the brain.

  • A study found that the gut microbiota can be resilient or prone to long-term changes in response to the same antibiotic exposure.

  • A study found that discontinuing statin use was associated with increased risk of death and cardiovascular events.

  • Sources discuss the relationships between sleep apnea, memory decline, and dementia risk.

  • A study found a link between snoring/sleep apnea and earlier memory decline.

  • A study found that people underestimate their smartphone use.

  • A study compared muscle activity during hip adduction and knee extension exercises.

  • An article discusses diet tips from the world's "Blue Zones" where people live the longest.

  • A study found that interacting with nature may improve cognition and mood in people with depression.

  • A study found that extreme diet and exercise can negatively impact gut bacteria diversity.

  • An article cites statistics on increasing prescription drug use in the U.S.

  • Studies found that aerobic exercise can help treat depression.

  • The Environmental Working Group provides research and consumer guides on environmental health topics.

  • Studies found that exercise can increase the size of the hippocampus and improve memory.

  • Studies found that new neurons continue to form in the adult human hippocampus, and exercise promotes this neurogenesis.

  • A study found that expressing gratitude can change neural activity in the brain.

  • Reviews discuss how sleep deprivation impairs cognition, learning, and memory by reducing production of BDNF and disrupting brain connections.

  • Sources discuss how strong social connections and relationships support long-term health and longevity.

  • A study found that meal timing can influence weight loss effectiveness.

  • Sources discuss how C-sections and lack of vaginal birth can negatively impact infant gut microbiome and health.

  • A study found that diet quality and diversity, along with lack of central obesity, are associated with lower diabetes risk.

  • A source argues that the advice to eat "everything in moderation" could lead to poor health in Americans due to lack of diet quality.

  • The passage contains copyright and publication information for a book

  • It provides the publisher's address, website, and social media links

  • It specifies that the content of unaffiliated websites is not the responsibility of the publisher

  • It mentions that the publisher operates a speaker's bureau to arrange author events

  • It includes the ISBN for the ebook edition



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