Grain Brain



With the risk of sounding didactic, I urge all of you out there to read Dr David Perlmutter’s book ‘Grain Brain“. Yes, in it he discusses the risks of wheat, gluten, carbs and sugar, topics that have been newsworthy for some time and may make you shake your head. Do we really need more ‘fad science’? I would argue not. But I believe this may be different. Dr Perlmutter is an American neurologist that have made links between substances we consume and brain health. And not just any brain health but the biggies like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression, diabetes, behavioural diagnoses (ADHD, autism et al) and recurrent migraines to name but a few. In his clinical practice, the results he’s achieved by simply changing his patients diets, not by medication, are quite astounding and he’s a stern critic of our, the world’s, pharmaceutical industry for whom the links between brain and diet has been known for some time. They do not want our best, they want profit. So in conclusion – this is not about our gut but our brains.

Already, and I’m only 1/3 or the way into the book, I have decided to take his suggestions on board and introduce a new way of eating for us as a family. Dr. Perlmutter’s point is that although a small percentage may be gluten intolerant, we are almost all gluten sensitive. But the biggie here is that we don’t know it. Not everyone has problems in the gut that alerts you there is an issue. Brain degeneration is slow and not immediately noticeable. Yet when it becomes noticeable it can be too late to reverse.


His other point is that we need to eat a lot more fat. High carb – low-fat is a recipe for disaster according to Dr. Perlmutter and many scientists now voicing concern about our eating habits in the West. High fat – low carb is his motto and with fats he means good fats like cheese, olive oil, walnut oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, avocados etc. The point is that our brains need a lot of it to be of optimal use. He is also not a vegan but advocates grass-fed meats such as beef, lamb, game and wild salmon as good sources of protein and fats. Not animals that have been reared with grain feed. However, I belive you can follow his advice even as a vegan if that is what floats your boat.

About a month ago I decided to give Gluten Free a go at home and introduced gluten-free pasta (various shapes) and bread. Some makes were more ‘normal’ than others and overall the children have not noticed. The gluten free pasta has a slightly more yellow tone but mixed with tuna, Bolognese, pesto, tomato sauce no one knows the difference. The texture is great providing you don’t over cook it and the bread toasts as any other toast. We have found the Genius brand to be very good. Overall, however, we have introduced eggs as the breakfast staple instead.

  • Scrambled eggs on (gluten-free) toast
  • Pancakes (buck wheat flour or any gluten-free flour)
  • Boiled eggs + soldiers (gluten-free again)

His book may not be your cup of tea but I think the reading and the mass of scientific studies that underpins his arguments, are quite compelling. Being informed is key, what we then do with the information is totally up to ourselves.


The Big Gluten Debate

A perfectly great gluten free breakfast – omelette with asparagus…

As of late I have decided to embark on a mission to find out more about the timely issue pertaining to gluten, wheat, sugar and their effects on the body.  As a mother of two young children, I consider this important enough to warrant further investigation and I am curious that the research and the findings are now coming from doctors themselves – in a field that was previously deemed ‘alternative health’. There are a number of public leading voices in this field such as Dr. Alejandro Junger, Dr. David Perlmutter and Dr.William Davis to name but a few. Although all are specialists in their own fields (cardiology, neurology etc) what they have noticed in clinical practice is that patients who are prescribed a diet free from wheat, gluten, sugar and starchy foods appear to reap benefit far and beyond what they sought a doctor’s advice for in the first place. As a consequence,  these doctors have begun somewhat of a crusade  to make us, the general public, realise that the modern Western diet is slowly but surely killing us with chronic illness, obesity and diabetes growing in exponential numbers.

My current reading pile…

What is interesting about these thinkers, and what they all tend to agree on, is that health and wellbeing need a holistic approach – meaning that unless you are firing on all cylinders (right food, sleep, emotional wellbeing, exercise, relaxation etc) your body will sooner or later get out of sync. Therefore, looking at health from a purely cellular level and treating the symptom, often with powerful and lengthy cycles of drugs,  may be not be the full answer. The neurologist, Dr. Perlmutter, goes as far as saying that we alter our brains by what  we eat and how we live. Something that previously was deemed to be a ‘done deal’ ie. once your brain was formed you were who you were, is now considered outdated knowledge.  The benefits of a gluten-free/wheat free eating regime has produced  some startling improvments in Dr. Perlmutter’s clinic on patients suffering from Alzheimers, Dementia and ADHD purely from changing their diet!  Weight loss, clearer skin and more energy seem to be accidental by-products of this. Today stress, depression, being overweight and feeling sluggish are issues that almost all of us are dealing with on a daily basis. Perhaps it is time to take note and get in tune with our bodies and introduce a better way to eat which nourishes us from the inside and out. Here is my current reading list on the subject:

Grain Brain, The surprising truth about wheat, carbs and sugar – your brain’s silent killer, by Dr. David Perlmutter

Clean, The revolutionary programme to restore the body’s natural ability to heal itself, by Dr. Alejandro Junger

Wheat Belly, loose the wheat, loose the weight and find your path back to health, by Dr. William Davis

Have a great Saturday! x