As most of you know, I’m part of a 9-month clinical trial to prevent or reverse cognitive decline. Based on my strong family history of Alzheimer’s, this is an area of concern.

The latest addition in my protocol has been a 10-day colon cleanse.  This involves taking 2 Enzylase (enzyme) capsules along with 2 scoops of TruFiber in water for 10 nights.  According to my doc, this helps to “get the crud out”.  I kept expecting to see things like black tar or other strange things in my “specimens” but they never looked remarkably different. I definitely feel better though.

My doctor shared something else new with me to help detoxify and get the mold and toxins out of my body.

An important aspect of this protocol for certain participants including myself is taking binders. These are substances you ingest, either pills or powder that bind in your system to internal toxins and flush them out.  One of the binders that I take is GI Detox -the binding ingredients include clay and activated charcoal.

People have all kinds of illnesses related to these toxins, including dementia.

Binders help with removing chemical toxins, Mycotoxins (related to mold), as well as Metals.

Watch this powerful 5 min video by Michael Gray M.D., which highlights the positive effects of using a binder like activated charcoal/clay twice a day vs once a day.

Apparently that frequency of dosage helps keep our body’s inflammatory responses down and made the key difference with his patient.

Feel free as always, to ask your questions especially if you have any you want me to direct to my clinical trial physician.  I’m here for you.

Walking, one step at a time, one day at a time. Walking just for the sake of appreciating God reflected in nature. The miracle of a sunset, the soaring granite peaks of El Capitan, the peaceful sound of birds, and distant waterfalls. The wordless mindfulness of hikers masking faces while passing each other during these unique times.

Many of history’s great thinkers were writers who hinged the working of their minds to the steady movement of their feet. They (i.e. Virginia Woolf, Gandhi, Walt Whitman…) felt the need to get up and get the blood moving, leaving the page to go out for a stroll.  How many of us choose to close our computer to take a walk just to be present and experience the world around us without expectation?  These thinkers got their creative juices flowing through movement and so can you.

Aside from the benefits to our mind and soul, research tells us the following about optimal walking for longevity.

The study from the American Cancer Society followed 140,000 older adults and reported that those who walked six hours per week had a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and cancer than those who were not active, but that walking even as little as two hours per week could begin to reduce the risk of disease and help you live a longer, healthier life.

The world’s longest-lived people from the Blue Zones didn’t run marathons or join gyms. Their lifestyles naturally nudged them into moving.  They grow gardens, do house and yard work. They have jobs that require them to move and they walk every single day, almost everywhere.

In Amish communities, one study showed that the average woman logged 14,000 steps per day and the average man logged 18,000 steps and both men and women walked 10,000 steps on their day of rest.  These Amish communities also had the lowest rates of obesity of any community in North America. When this study hit the media, it’s what was behind the movement to reach 10,000 steps a day.

Some of the benefits of walking include:

  •    Activation of the lymphatic system
  •    Elimination of toxins
  •    Fighting infection
  •    Strengthening immunity

How do you fit 10,000 steps into your day?

  • Take several small walks like walking your dog, having walking work meetings, going for a walk with your family after dinner. Research supports doing movement throughout the day vs doing a 40 min gym workout then just sitting all day.

 

  • Walk 5 minutes every hour. Perhaps setting an alert on your computer will help remind you.

 

  • Take one long walk 40-60 min with a friend.  In this time of COVID you can still social distance, be masked, walk outside and get the benefits of social connection and fresh air.  Happy stepping!

This is just shy of the 7 month mark-2/3 of the way through my Recode clinical trial.

I continue to feel strong, alert and energized.  The lead investigator was thrilled with the improvement in my recent 6 MONTH cognitive testing.

I’m at and maintaining what I feel is an optimal body weight for my frame and I’m happy to have finally lost my belly fat with this program. I’m even comfortable wearing crop tops and athletic bras, something I would not have considered a year ago.

 

Adjustments because of osteopenia
With my recent diagnosis of osteopenia, my doctor has added Vitamin K (specifically Designs for Health Tri-K, vitamin K in three synergistic forms that help the Vitamin D keep the calcium in the bones) to my already existing Vit D supreme (also Designs for Health brand) which is important for Ca++ absorption.

Because my spine is more compromised than my hips which are just over the borderline into osteopenia, I’m adding more spine extension exercises into my repertoire to address this deficit.  Think the Bird Dog exercise on all 4’s with opposite arm and leg reach and the following 2 extension exercises.

Because this clinical trial does not allow dairy, I’m hard-pressed to get sufficient Ca++ through my diet as I’m not a big fan of sardines or tofu, two non-dairy high Ca++ options. In addition to my oat milk which has a decent amount, I’m independently adding Bone Builder Forte by Metagenics, a good bioavailable Ca++ supplement.

My blood ketone levels are finally consistently at the ideal levels of over 1.0  for the study. This is thanks in part to the addition of exogenous ketones, specifically Designs for Health Keto-Nootropic.

I belong to a local Keto lifestyle support group where we learn from each other as we share our trials and triumphs. Some of the topics we recently discussed I thought might be of interest to you.

What am I eating?
I start the day with an oat milk latte (which has a good amount of Ca++)

Lunch is typically an omelet with veggies and salmon or sometimes a slice of bacon and a whole avocado drizzled with plenty of olive oil.  Other times it’s a soup with extra olive oil for the increased healthy fat with an avocado.  A Sunday brunch favorite is almond flour waffles topped with crushed berries and nuts.

Dinner can fluctuate between chicken, fish, sometimes beef, with a side of veggies and salad.  Our zucchini crop is abundant so I’m having a lot of zoodles (zucchini noodles) with various toppings like ragu sauce or pesto.

 

Sauna
There are studies linking positive cognitive function with regular sauna use.  I’ve been without a sauna for the last 3 months as a result of the COVID lockdown. My friend recently invited me to use his own far infrared sauna so I’m adding that back in which feels wonderful.  I’m grateful for this detox opportunity.

 

“What do you think is making the most difference?” is a question I get asked a lot.

Honestly, I believe it’s a combination of many factors including:

  • Improved quality and quantity of sleep
  • The addition of targeted supplementation and balancing my hormones
  • Intermittent fasting for regulating my metabolism
  • Getting the junk out of my diet!
  • Consistent and varied exercise has been key including my Pilates, HIIT workouts 2x/week, dancing, walking, and biking.
  • Online brain training because I’m seeing objective improvement and I can see my focus and processing speed improving.

So can I point to one thing?  No. That’s why the Recode Protocol is a multi-modal approach and why a single pill will not address cognitive decline.

 

I wanted to share a question that one of you had which as requested, I posed to my doctor.

“If you have osteoporosis, can the Keto diet be followed? Everything I read is that it is acidic and you need an alkaline diet”

The doctor’s response:
“If you follow the keto diet according to our protocol, then it will be fine because ours is more of a Plant-Based diet with less emphasis on meat, especially red meat.  This keeps it less acidic.”

What I’ve learned independently is that eating too much animal protein also can leach calcium from your bones, so if you have osteopenia or osteoporosis, you should limit red meat to two times a week and keep portions small – 4 to 6 ounces.

A study published in Advances in Nutrition in January 2017 found that cutting down on red and processed meats as well as soft drinks, fried foods, desserts, and refined grains all had a positive impact on bone health.

According to the research, the best diet for the prevention of osteoporosis includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, fish and poultry, nuts, and legumes.

 

After this study is over
With my DXA results, I will personally be adding pasture-raised dairy and A2 milk back into my diet after the study is over, to support my bones.  I’ll also be checking in with my doctor on which supplements I should stay on for the long-term to support my cognition.

Let me know how you’re incorporating Ca++ into your diet and if you have any questions you want me to share with my doctor about the keto diet. Remember I’ve got a direct line.

If you’re on or starting the Keto lifestyle or the Mediterranean diet, share your struggles and wins here.  I’d love to learn from and celebrate with you!

What are your top concerns as you age?  For me, it’s the loss of my mind, my memories, my sense of who I am.
This clinical study I’m in (and Dr. Bredesens’ book) looks at Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) as not being caused by amyloid plaques or neurofibrillary tangles, but instead as a protective response to three different processes…
  • Inflammation (from infection, diet, or other causes)
  • Suboptimal levels of nutrients, hormones and other brain supporting molecules
  • Toxic exposures (like heavy metals and mold)

Dr. Bredesen uses the analogy of a roof with 36 holes. When you’ve patched enough of the 36 holes, it will be sufficient to protect the house from water damage.  Similarly, there are 36 factors that affect whether the brain goes down a synapse-destroying pathway that ends in AD.

We don’t know which holes will make the most difference so you want to address as many as possible to affect a change.  This analogy makes it clear that no single pill can address or patch all the holes that contribute to AD.  That’s why the ReCode approach is multimodal addressing sleep, nutrition, intermittent fasting, diet, hormone balancing, toxicity, infection, brain training, and mindfulness training.  People may have difficulties with one or more of these approaches but they’ve found that if you plug enough holes, it will make a difference.

I feel fortunate that I was accepted into this clinical study and receive excellent all-around support. When I started this 9-month trial, I fell squarely in the category of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) which is a precursor to AD. After just 3 months on this protocol, I tested out of MCI, so much so that I wouldn’t have qualified to enter the study with the new score I got.

If you’re wanting to try this approach, I’d recommend that you start with the NY Times bestselling book,  The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline as a great first step.

I’d then google Bredesen protocol trained practitioners in your area.  The protocol can be overwhelming but doable with the right guidance. Everyone’s treatment is individualized for that person’s unique biochemistry so there’s no blueprint treatment plan. With specialized tests that need to be run and interpreted by a medical professional, it’s daunting to even consider doing on your own.

 

 

Our brain, our sense of who we are is priceless.  We know now that AD is a silent disease with pathology in the brain starting decades before clinical symptoms become apparent.  I think it benefits all of us to start plugging those holes as soon as we can and as best we can!

 

 

 

I recently presented a webinar for a Wellness Wednesday Series on the subject of Brain Power: Protecting against cognitive decline through a targeted research-based exercise program. Plainly speaking, it explores how to exercise and help your brain simultaneously.  The material in this webinar comes from my own research and what I’m learning through the ReCode (Reverse Cognitive Decline) clinical trial that I’m in.

Key takeaway: Aerobic exercise is critical for brain health but there’s moreOur ability to dual task-deteriorates with age. That’s our ability to perform two tasks that have separate goals-a necessary part of our complex life. With increased age, we see slower reaction time, reduced walking speed, increased run-ins with objects, and increased fall risk.

Research-based solution?  Dual Task Training– combining cognitive activity with physical activity to promote neuroplasticity!  Check out the webinar for demonstrations.

“We assume, that physical exercise increases the potential for neurogenesis while cognitive exercise guides it to induce positive plastic change”
~ Bamidis et al, 2014

 

With over 80 active participants from several countries this virtual event was a resounding success!  Thanks to your support, we collectively raised $1,625 to benefit the national organization American Bone Health, a nonprofit that I’ve volunteered with for the last 8 years to increase community bone health awareness and fracture prevention.

It is with gratitude that I express to you my thanks for showing up, being engaged, and asking thought-provoking questions!

Two questions from the chat that I wanted to answer here are:

1) Is walking considered a bone-building exercise?
2) Should I use a weighted vest?

1)  Walking is not considered bone-building exercise but it is great for your heart if you keep up a good pace.   It’s also good for osteoporosis in terms of bone maintenance, helping to prevent further bone loss. So keep walking and if you can add hills and vary speed-even better. Keep in mind that we experience about 0.5-1.0% of bone loss yearly. The rate of loss due to menopause can jump to a 2-5% loss those 5-6 years post-menopause due to the dramatic drop in estrogen.  If your T score remains the same over time that’s a good thing, you’re preventing loss as what you’re doing is offsetting the natural 0.5-1% yearly loss.

(Palombaro KM. “Effects of walking-only interventions on bone mineral density at various skeletal sites: a meta-analysis.” J Geriatr Phys Ther. 2005;28(3):102-7.)

 

2) A lot of people with osteoporosis ask about using weighted vests. Some designs are not suitable for those with osteoporosis including ones where the vest sits on the shoulders with the majority of weight in the upper trunk. This can put undue downward pressure on the spine promoting hyperkyphosis (an exaggerated rounding of the upper back) that puts the spine at risk of increased fracture.  Weighted vests should not be used by those with hyperkyphosis or spine fractures.If you are cleared by your healthcare practitioner to use a vest, make sure the vest has a snug fit, is weighted throughout the trunk with the majority of weight close to your hips. Start with a small amount of weight and make sure to use the spine sparing hip hinging technique we practiced in my Osteoporosis Do’s and Don’ts Workshop to avoid rounding your spine.Weighted vests with lunges, squats, step-ups, side lunges and small jumps 3x per week build bone in the hip according to Christine Snow’s bone research lab at Oregon State University.

 

(Long-term Exercise Using Weighted Vests Prevents Hip Bone Loss in Postmenopausal Women by Christine M. Snow, Janet M. Shaw, Kerri M. Winters, and Kara A. Witzke Journal of Gerontology: 2000, Vol. 55A, No. 9, M489-M491)

While there are no definitive studies on how much weight a vest should have, experts recommend anywhere from five to ten percent of a person’s body weight. This recommendation is based on studies on maximum weight allowances for backpacks. Too much weight can result in injury.

Back extension exercises are great for the spine.   

Remember that back extension exercises (lying on your belly lifting your chest and head slightly, improve the strength of the muscles in your spine and don’t carry the risks of a weighted vest. The pull of the muscles on the bone stimulates bone growth. A study by Dr. Sinaki from the Mayo clinic showed fewer fractures even 10 years after the study in the group that did back extension exercises vs the control group.

 

(Sinaki, M, et al. 2002. “Stronger back muscles reduce the incidence of vertebral fractures: A prospective 10-year follow-up of postmenopausal women.” Bone, 30 (6), 836-41.)

 

(Sinaki, M., et al. 1996. “Can strong back extensors prevent vertebral fractures in women with osteoporosis?” Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 71 (10), 951-56.)

 

To keep us connected and moving, Teresa is currently offering Quarantine Remote BoneSmart Pilates classes, 55 min long, all classes bone safe/spine safe.

Registration links for the classes will be sent when BoneSmart Pilates receives payment. If you have any questions, please contact Teresa at teresa@Pilateswithteresa.com

Participating in these classes will require that you create an account with zoom, it is free at https://zoom.us.  When you pay, please include a note in Paypal or by emailing me, indicating which class/classes you wish to register for. Be specific noting the DATE and time of your desired class.

Schedule is subject to change.  Classes will run through the end of April and we’ll re-evaluate then.

Payment Information:

$20 per class and must be paid in advance in order to receive the registration link. After doing that you’ll receive another email with the actual link to the class so don’t delay the registration step.

**If you’re experiencing financial hardship and just can’t swing it right now, I still want to support you. As a licensed physical therapist and movement educator, I’ve been blessed with a gift that I want to share so please just donate what you can, no questions asked.

Options to pay:
www.paypal.me/BoneSmartPilates/   Preferred method (this requires a PayPal account)
Enter the amount appropriate for the number of classes that you are registering for. For example, if it is just one class, fill in $20.  If it is 3 classes, enter $60 and so on (or enter your donation amount)
Note: You must include a note when you purchase in PayPal (or email me separately), indicating which class dates and times you’re requesting. Be specific

Venmo.com  @Teresa-Marchok (also you must include a note with the specific class, date and time you’re signing up for.  Include your email address with your venmo note so I can send you the registration link.

 

 

 

 

 

5th Installment

This is the start of 5 months on the ReCode Clinical trial, over halfway through.  I think the greatest challenge for me is not so much the keto diet, but just finding time to include all elements of this extensive and demanding protocol. It’s literally a full-time job to take all the supplements throughout the day (see photo below of all my supplements), get my exercise, brain training, and mindfulness breathing in, get a sufficient amount of sleep, and document everything in my binder.

I’m currently struggling with maintaining my ketone readings to desired levels (above 1.0) even though I’m consistently eating a high-fat low-carb diet. To ease my stress, I keep focusing on the fact that my cognitive scores have improved tremendously regardless of my current ketone levels. All I can do at this point is to do my best and try not to stress about it.

Last week I had the honor of sharing my journey thus far in a Zoom meeting with a ReCode support group in Phoenix, Arizona. Doctor Dale Bredesen’s ReCode Protocol is quickly gaining worldwide attention as a viable preventative option to typical meds for Alzheimer’s disease.

One of my subscribers recently asked me the following question on my BoneSmart Pilates Private Forum which I wanted to share with you.

Caroline: “I have been closely following your posts on the ketogenic plan you’ve been following. I have a question about the aerobic component: how do you fill the 30-minute requirement? Do you walk, hike, and run for 30 minutes each day? Or do you do different activities on different days of the week? Would you elaborate a bit about that?”

 

My response: “2-3x a week I do HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) in the form of running (3o sec of hard sprinting follo0wed by 60 sec recovery period with walking for a total of 5-9 intervals. I recently added my daughter (seen in this photo behind me) to this program.  On Fridays, at noon I teach an online  HIIT class. You can access that class on my website under online group classes. The variations I teach in HIIT include both low impact and high impact movements so you can choose the level and variation that suits you. The other days I do fast walking and shoot for greater than 10,000 steps. I walk fast enough to elevate my heart rate into my cardio zone.  I depend on my Fitbit to keep me accountable and to provide the objective data that confirms I’m meeting or not meeting my goals.  Having a Fitbit also helps me track my sleep quantity and quality which is an important component of this study. When we’re sleeping is when so much of brain healing occurs.”

 

I apologize for this short post.  I’ve had to focus on pressing family issues.  More to come next month.

 

Month 4 Installment

So people wanted to know if I had cake on my birthday. Well, I didn’t but I savored every drop of wine in my glass at the last restaurant that we ventured out to before shelter in place.  Almost at the 4-month mark now, I wanted to update you on my 3-month benchmark appointment with another round of cognitive testing to check progress.

The results were remarkable!

In Dec. of 2019 for my baseline testing, I came out positive for mild cognitive decline in both the Mocha 19 and the CNS test. These are standardized tests that quantify cognition. What is encouraging to me is that I improved in 3 months’ time with brain training, exercise, diet, mindfulness, and supplementation to the point where I no longer am in the range of mild cognitive decline. If I had these results in December at baseline I would not have been accepted into the study. The clinical team is very encouraged and excited at my progress.

Someone asked me what my doctor thought about the recent study showing bone loss with race walkers on the keto diet.

Here’s the doctor’s response:

  • We don’t know what kind of ketogenic diet the participants were on. In our study, we are encouraged to do a more plant-based keto diet.
  • The study didn’t actually measure bone loss. They did not look at the participants’ Dexa results before and after. They used just a blood marker which doesn’t measure the actual change in bone.
  • The study was short term, just a few weeks, so it’s difficult to assess the effects of a keto diet on bone, longer-term.  Clearly more research is warranted.

 

Gems to Share

  • Eating mushrooms is good for the immune system and the brain.
  • A recent study showed that people who consumed more than two standard portions of mushrooms weekly may have 50 percent reduced odds of having mild cognitive impairment. My nutritionist told me any mushrooms are good but Portabello and Lion’s Mane mushrooms are best for the brain while Shitake and Mytaki mushrooms are excellent for the immune system.    I’ve since added mushrooms to my veggie omelets a few times a week.
  • The “Ketoterrian” cookbook is the closest to what we’re trying to do by Will Cole. It’s a mostly plant-based cookbook. Here’s the Amazon link if you’re interested.
  • When this study is over, I plan to start a program of carb cycling, which is being keto for a week or so, then allowing more higher carbs for a day then repeating that cycle. There are two things I’ve noted that influence my decision.
    • There are no long-term studies for being on a keto diet. We don’t know how the body, in general, will react over several years.
    • The second thing I’ve realized is that people in the Blue Zones, those who live very long healthy lives, include beans in their diet so as a Puerto Rican, that makes me very happy. Beans and brown rice will definitely picture into my carb cycling.
    • For the sake of the study though I’m sticking with the guidelines for the 9-month duration.

This is my clinical study general recommended workout regimen

  • Strength training minimum 3x week (I do Pilates and when the Y is open, I add weights)
  • Aerobic 6 days/week  (walk, run, hike)
  • (minimum of ½ hr of each of the above)
  • HIIT (high-intensity interval training) 2x week (I’m teaching this in my Friday noon virtual online Quarantine class!)

My doctor recommends the following for just about everyone as baseline support.

  • Fish Oil, Vit D and B Complex.  No matter how good our diet is, it’s difficult to get all the nutrients we need from our food. She also has me on, among other supplements,  Curcumin and Avmacol which have bone saving effects.

 

Anti-Aging Asparagus Soup Recipe

Thanks to my clinical study nutritionist for sharing this delicious, hearty keto-friendly recipe with me.  I love soup and this soup makes an excellent meal all on its own thanks to healthy fats from coconut milk, protein from healing collagen powder, and phytonutrients from asparagus, leeks, and garlic. Those benefits also make it a great way to fight the aging process and support a resilient body.  Recipe serves 4, Cook time 20 min.

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches of asparagus
  • 1/4 cup of pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 3 TBS avocado oil
  • 1 medium white onion finely diced
  • 2 TBS grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 1/2 large leeks chopped (my first time cooking w/leeks!)
  • 3 TBS coconut aminos (this is a liquid in a small bottle you can find at Trader Joes or Whole Foods)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup of full-fat unsweetened coconut milk
  • 4 scoops (about 1/4 cup) collagen powder (optional, not vegan friendly)
  • freshly ground pepper
  1. Cut 4 of the asparagus spears into thirds and set aside for garnish. Roughly chop the remaining spears.
  2. Heat a medium saute’ pan over medium-high heat.  Add the pepitas and continuously stir and shake until the seeds are fragrant and toasted, for about 5 min. Remove from heat and set aside (I skipped these, my nutritionist just adds them to the blender at the blending point of the recipe)
  3. Heat the 3 Tbs avocado oil in a large pot over medium heat until simmering.  Add the onion and saute’ for 5 min.  Add the ginger, leeks, and coconut aminos, stir well and cook down for 5 min.  Add the chopped asparagus, broth, paprika, garlic powder, and salt and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and add the lemon zest and coconut milk.
  4. Remove the soup from the heat and allow to cool for several minutes. Pour into a blender, add the collagen powder (if using) and blend until smooth.
  5. Heat a little avocado oil in a small saute’ pan and add the reserved asparagus spears and lightly saute’ until tender, about 3 min.
  6. Divide into bowls and place pieces of the sauteed asparagus in the center of each bowl and sprinkle the toasted pepitas and freshly ground pepper.  Enjoy!

 

That’s it for now. I’ve been preoccupied, as most of us are, with staying safe and healthy in this age of COVID 19 prevention. Be well. Be safe. Be strong.   As always note your questions or comments below and/or email me.

3RD INSTALLMENT

Next week will mark my 3-month milestone in this clinical study, and I’ll be repeating a battery of cognitive tests to see how I’m faring on this program-results in the next installment.

DISCOVERIES

I’m down another 2 lbs but I’m holding steady in muscle mass as seen by my body composition analysis today. At 13.5% lean body mass I am in the best shape I’ve ever been, but more importantly, I’m feeling strong, healthy and clear-headed.  Subjectively my memory and recall is improving but I won’t know objectively the changes until I get results of the cognitive tests this Friday.

This keto journey is full of discoveries. I received the results of my DNA testing and am positive for 1 Alzheimers gene, ApoE4. In addition, I also learned I’m hypersensitive to a particular general anesthesia, to benzene in plastic bottles and that I’m predisposed to diabetes and obesity.  However, the takehome message from this 68-page genetic profile is that our genes are not our destiny.  With the information gleaned from this report, it will help drive changes in lifestyle, anesthesia choices and supplementation to lessen the chances of falling victim to these and other propensities discovered in the report.

As there’s a big focus on exercise in this clinical study, my daily Pilates practice reminds me how important Pilates is for improving the mind as well as the body. Pilates helps reduce stress (which interferes with cognition) by encouraging you to focus your attention on breathing, good posture, and efficient movement.

Does Pilates—with its emphasis on precision, concentration, and memorization of movement patterns—enhance brain function as well as physical function? Scientists from Yanshan University in Qinhuangdao, China, and Beijing Normal University in Beijing wanted to find out.

In preliminary research, the investigators measured changes in brain activity as a result of Pilates training—and found an increase in the brain’s alpha peak power after 10 weeks of training. Alpha peak power is believed to be related to increased neural network activity, memory performance, and other cognitive functions.

The authors of this study suggested the Pilates method may be a valuable intervention for people with brain-degenerative diseases and cognitive dysfunctions that affect learning, memory, and thinking.  The study is available in Computational and Mathematical Models in Medicine (2013; doi: 10.1155/2013/295986).

If you’re interested in learning more about the BoneSmart Pilates® method and my exercise DVDs which integrate the science of aging and neuroplasticity, check out my website

A recent new study shows how low intensity and high intensity workouts affect the brain differently.  Using resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (Rs-fMRI), a noninvasive technique that allows for studies on brain connectivity, researchers discovered that low-intensity exercise triggers brain networks involved in cognition control and attention processing, while high-intensity exercise primarily activates networks involved in affective/emotion processing. The results appear in a special issue of Brain Plasticity devoted to Exercise and Cognition. Though they were looking at low-intensity treadmill and high intensity running, you can easily make the connection of low-intensity workouts with mind-body workouts such as Pilates. If interested you can read more about the study here.

CHALLENGES

Being a subject in this study is a full time job and it’s challenging finding enough hours in the day to fit all the requirements in.  There are supplements that need to be taken before food, at breakfast, lunch, dinner, bedtime and binders (that clear out toxins) that need to be taken away from supplements and food which is the hardest to finagle the timing.

In addition we have to get our exercise in, sauna/sweating, online brain training and online stress reduction training and document everything in our binder pictured here. There are days when I’m bumping up against my bedtime and just need to prioritize sleep over all else.  I’m still teaching Pilates full time which I love, being a mom and wife and running my online business fulfilling orders and answering forum questions.  Not to mention the shopping, perusing keto recipes and cooking in this novel way. It’s enough to make my head spin!

RECIPES

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that so many of you have reached out to me as I’ve embarked on this journey, to share your recipes and encouragement. My friend Cynthia even found a keto cooking class that I signed up for.  All your support has meant the world to me and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

My favorite keto snacks include macadamia nuts, hard-boiled eggs with salt and pepper-great for on the run, avocados with olive oil and raw cauliflower with mixed nut butter.

Here are three of my favorite Keto recipes.

Keto Almond Flour Pancakes

These fluffy almond flour pancakes are delicious and so simple to make! Just a few common ingredients needed. For a topping skip the syrup and crush a few of your favorite fresh berries with a fork into a compote and place that on your pancake, topping it with crushed pecans or slivered almonds.  It tastes so good to me that it feels almost indulgent.  Here’s a link to this easy keto almond flour pancake recipe.

 

Cauliflower hashbrowns with eggs, bacon and avocado

Yearning for something hashbrownish, I’m thankful to my friend Anne B. for the idea of the cauliflower foundation of this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • small piece of onion diced
  • green pepper slice diced
  • riced cauliflower (i just put a 1/2 a head in my blender to rice it)
  • olive oil
  • salt/pepper/garlic powder to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 or 2 slices of sugar free, nitrate/nitrite-free bacon
  1. Saute’ the onion and pepper in 2 TBsp olive oil  (I added some fresh rosemary from mygarden-add the herbs of your choice if desired)
  2. Add the riced cauliflower, mix and flatten out into a hash. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder. Allow to brown to your liking.
  3. Cook the bacon separately then set by the hash
  4. Create a hole in the hash for the eggs so you don’t need to flip it.
  5. Garnish with avocado drizzled with olive oil and Enjoy!

 

 

Keto Thai Vegetable Cashew curry w/Coconut (and Chicken)

Picture of my sisters and I cooking at my Mom's! Thanks to my friend Ylmia for this recipe. I tweaked the ingredients and added some protein by adding chicken which is not part of the original recipe.  As we made this recipe in NY last week, my mom commented that her 3 daughters orchestrated this meal like “Little Women” working industriously side by side for the whole family, and it was a hit!  If your vegan or vegetarian just skip the chicken.

Serves 2 (we scaled this up for our family)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion2 tsp minced fresh garlicpicture of Keto Thai Vegetable Cashew curry w/Coconut (and Chicken)
  • 2tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 3 Tbsp sugar-free Thai red or green curry paste
  • 1 large yellow or red bell pepper cut into 1-in dice
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Japanese eggplants, cut into 1 in dice
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 3 TBS shredded unsweetened coconut, very lightly toasted
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lime zest
  • chicken thighs cut into 1 inch diced pieces
  1.  Heat the oil in a 12in skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown on both sides. Set aside.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and saute’ until the onion is translucent about 4 minutes.  Stir in the curry paste and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add the bell pepper and salt and saute’ until halfway tender, about 5 min. Add the eggplants and saute’ for3 min. Add the chicken back in and cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low.  Cook until the eggplants and bell pepper are fully tender, about 10 min.
  4. Uncover the pan and stir in the milk and juice. Bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil until the sauce thickens slightly, about 4 min.  Check to see that the chicken is cooked through.
  5. Serve and sprinkle with the nuts, coconut, and zest.

(stats without the chicken)    Protein 11g       Net Carbs 29g      Fat 62 g

The following post is written by guest blogger and nutritionist Sally Duplantier

“As part of my annual check-up, I had my cholesterol tested, certain that the numbers would improve due to a year of great nutrition and exercise.  Imagine my surprise – and disappointment – when the LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and triglycerides had actually gone up.  The overall ratios were excellent and hadn’t changed in the past 10 years.  However, I could not see beyond those other two numbers.  How could they be bad, when I had been so good?”
 
Our Fixation with Numbers
Our fixation with numbers starts at an early age and continues through life.  In school, we have test scores.  At work, we have performance reviews.  In the wellness world, there are blood pressure readings, heart rate, steps per day, calories burned and of course – the number on the scale.  It’s not that these numbers aren’t important.  They serve as markers for health and keep us focused on goals.  The problem is when we are so obsessed with a number that it defines our self-worth.

Numbers Gone Awry
Consider a friend of mine who became overly focused on hitting the daily Movement goal on his smartwatch.  Since he only had 50 more calories to burn for the day, he jumped up and down on the cement floor in his garage.  He reached his goal but also developed shin splints and could barely walk for a week.

A Different Way of Thinking
Try this thought experiment for a day:  ignore the scale (or number of steps or calories burned) and simply focus on how you feel.

  • Is your energy good?
  • Can you do the things you want physically?
  • How do your clothes fit?
  • Are you confident in your appearance?

Weight Watchers calls these “non-scale victories.”  My favorite came from a client who hadn’t lost weight as quickly as she had hoped.  When I asked her about a non-scale victory, she said, “I feel like trying on pants again.”

The Top Takeaway
When it comes to health and especially weight loss, numbers play a role, but they don’t define who you are or what you’ve accomplished.  Cut yourself some slack!

 

Guest author and nutritionist, Sally Duplantier, creator of www.MyZingLife.com