I read an interesting article this week from Dr. Neal Barnard, who is a well known clinical researcher and author.
Over the years, Dr. Barnard has explored the connection between food and disease.
His latest book, “Power Foods for the Brain”, examines neurological health and memory which effects more than 5 million people in the USA alone.
The book explores how metals commonly found in food, containers and cookware may harm a healthy brain, and how to protect yourself. Those toxic metals include aluminum, mercury, copper, iron, arsenic, lead and zinc.
In a nutshell, “toxic metals” are individual metals and metal compounds that negatively affect people's health.
So how do you know if you're suffering from metal toxicity? Indication of acute toxicity includes sudden severe cramping or convulsions, nausea, sweating, headache, difficulty breathing and impaired cognitive and motor skills.
There is also something called “toxic build-up. Symptoms of toxic build-up are fatigue, digestive distress, aching joints, depression, impaired blood sugar regulation and female reproductive problems such as infertility or miscarriage.
How To Have A Healthy Brain
Here are some guidelines to reducing your toxic metal exposure and how to have a healthy brain.
- Use glass, cast iron, carbon steel, titanium, and enamel cookware. Both aluminum and non-stick cookware are well known for their toxic dangers, and stainless steel can expose you to carcinogenic nickel.
- Minimize consumption of restaurant food as restaurants are required to use stainless steel pots and vats.
- Avoid stainless steel thermoses; the glass lined kinds are best. Later this year I will be offering glass water bottles that can also be used in lieu of a thermos, with neoprene sleeves to protect them from breaking.
- Avoid cosmetics with aluminum bases, mineral powders that contain bismuth, and aluminum-laden antiperspirants
- Avoid vaccinations that inject mercury or aluminum directly into your bloodstream.
- Avoid and remove dental amalgam fillings.
- Avoid stainless steel orthodontics such as braces and palate wideners.
- Avoid costume jewelry if you are sensitive to metals.
- Avoid smoking and second hand smoke as it causes cadmium poisoning.
- Make sure you purchase your natural herbal remedies from a reputable source with strict quality testing. Some colloidal silvers can lead to silver poisoning, and some folk remedies can be high in mercury, lead and arsenic, either due to alleged medicinal properties or through unintentional contamination.
- Avoid conventional household cleaning products.
- Avoid conventional insecticides and herbicides. Also be very cautious when using the “natural alternative” Borax (boric acid), which can also cause serious health problems, including death.
- Avoid canned fruits and vegetables.
- Eat a plant-based diet with lots of green leafy vegetables and dark fruits like blueberries and grapes.
- Try to eat 1/3 of your calories raw and organic.
Now on to some healthy brain, plant-based food. Whenever I go to the Farmer's Market, I always bring too many vegetables home.
Last week it was a big bag of green beans. Green beans are good brain food because they are rich in Vitamin K which supports the brain and nervous system structure.
I paired the green beans with some yummy black-eyed peas.
Black-eyed peas have so many health benefits including being high in fiber content, potassium, protein and iron. They are also low in fat. I served this as a side dish, but you could also serve it over some brown rice for a high protein, low fat, vegan lunch. Hope you enjoy it.
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Curried Green Beans and Black-Eyed Peas
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (optional)
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 12 curry leaves (optional )
- 4 plum tomatoes, quartered
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 pound green beans, cut into 2-inch-long pieces (or Chinese long beans)
- 1 12-ounce carton of black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed (or make fresh)
- salt and fresh ground pepper
- Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the mustard seeds: when they start to pop and crackle out of the pan, about 3 minutes, add the onion, garlic, ginger and curry leaves. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the tomatoes, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Add the beans. Mix all ingredients well. Add the salt and curry powder. Cover pan and cook about 10 minutes until green beans are cooked but not mushy. Add the black-eyed peas, adjust the salt and pepper to taste, and cook for a final 5 minutes. Serve hot