Commitment: What motivated you to write this book?
Dr. Frank Lawlis and Dr. Maggie Greenwood-Robinson: I could answer this question with a lifetime of answers, but here is my best "short answer."
I was very involved personally and professionally with sports and the critical role that nutrition played in performance, and then I studied and applied much of the research to chronically ill patient to discover that food does play a huge difference in the psychological lives of individuals.
But the major push to the cookbook was the awareness that people, especially children were not eating food for their health but merely for taste, "It tastes good." Getting my children to eat for performance was like trying to sell refrigerators to Eskimos, especially in light of the trillion dollar fast-food industry that had much influence that a crabby parent.
I wrote this book out of a mission to get people back to eating for health, and in doing so, healthy food has to look and taste good. This can be real turning point in people's lives.
Commitment: What are some of the most brain-energizing foods that you recommend including in one's diet?
Dr. Lawlis and Dr. Greenwood-Robinson: As I have found in working with groups of people who need some brain boosting foods, such as individuals with ADHD and elderly issues of cognitive deficit syndromes. The main ingredients I recommend are proteins, omega-3 (fish) and complex carbohydrates.
Some favorite dishes of mine are the yogurt deviled eggs (page 8), huevos rancheros with fresh salsa (page 9), the sunshine salad (page 15), vegetable and rice quiche (page 15) and ground chicken stir-fry (page 19).
But I can't emphasize enough that these foods are best eaten in the beginning of the day, instead of the sugary cereals, because that is the natural part of the day to pert up the brain.
Commitment: What foods can slow our brains down and actually hurt our brain?
Dr. Lawlis and Dr. Greenwood-Robinson: The three ingredients that can hurt the brain and actually cause you to lose IQ points are processed sugar, highly salted food with artificial preservatives, or those with pesticides. Of course this includes synthesized foods of any kind. Unfortunately these ingredients are in most products in a grocery store, especially in the interior shelves where shelf-life is longest.
Processed sugar usually cause a roller-coaster effect on your metabolism in which your brain becomes malnourished and can't function. You will feel like a shore-beached whale by the end of the day. If I eat some sugar food, you can count me out for 2-3 hours while I regain consciousness.
Salt builds up the water content in your tissues and may heighten your blood pressure among other things. These foods can throw your whole metabolism system off, creating constipation, increased cholesterol and other natural brain-based nutrients to become either deficient or over-balanced.
Believe it or not the Food and Drug Administration allows the food industries to have some level of bug and mouse feces in food packages, such as cold cereals. Because bugs and rats love these food products and very hard to control the huge quantities, pesticides are usually added to keep the possible rate down at a minimum; however, pesticides are by definition poison to the nervous systems of insects and small animals.
Guess what? Our brain systems are built in similar ways as these living creatures, so we are not immune from the same reactions when we consume these addictives.
Commitment: What would be the ideal breakfast for a mother to serve her children before school, if she wants their brain to work at maximum performance during the school day? What would be the ideal lunch to pack for children at school?
Dr. Lawlis and Dr. Greenwood-Robinson: I usually recommend at least 50 percent proteins with some complex carbohydrates for breakfast for students of all ages. Allowing for some foods that may have some allergic sensitivity for some children, my favorite breakfast is one boiled egg, toasted organic bread (English muffin works well, also), banana or pomegranate smoothie (page 7) and some fresh fruit, especially blueberries. Peanut butter and cheese are also good for that special treat of the day.
For a lunch package, I would recommend peanut butter, chicken or tuna sandwiches, fruits, especially oranges or apples, and maybe a small bit of chocolate.
Commitment: What are the best foods to get us through the afternoon work slump?
Dr. Lawlis and Dr. Greenwood-Robinson: Depending on the cause of a work slump, I would press on the foods containing B and C vitamins. Some of favorites are: nuts, cheeses, yogurts, and fruits (especially bananas). A lot of fiber foods are helpful, which includes your leafy vegetables. Hot cereals, like oat meal, are very good during the day for those work slumps.
Commitment: What are some foods that can soothe our stress and anxiety?
Dr. Lawlis and Dr. Greenwood-Robinson: Limiting your high sugar foods and highly processed meals (highly fried foods) wile upping your vitamin rich (high B and C) will be the focus. I find the following food recipes to favorites for stress issues: Barley Granola (page 35), crab cakes (page 42), Yogurt pudding (age 46), and fruit.
Commitment: How can food to be used to treat addictions, such as alcoholism? What foods can help a person break the hold of alcohol and drug addiction?
Dr. Lawlis and Dr. Greenwood-Robinson: Foods rich in vitamins A, B and especially C are critical for persons in addiction recovery. These ingredients are often deficient due to the addictive substances, so the diet needs to be strengthened in those areas.
Also, detoxing can be enhanced with the right foods. It should be noted that raw foods are better than processed in any form because anything that the body and brain does not see as pure food will not be processed as well as it could. Any garbage in the system is just another challenge. Orange and yellow hues for foods usually are signs of vitamin A. Carrots, sweet potatoes and cantaloupes are high on my list.
I particularly recommend large intakes of pineapple because so many people have told me it taste just right for this process. My favorite recommendations are orange cider (page 54), super-juice tonic (page 55), Quick sweet-sour cabbage (page 57), one-pot lentil stew (page 65) and raw fudge (page 69). These seem to "feel" so good for going through the detox and re-stabilization stages.
Commitment: What foods do you recommend for those who find their memory is slipping and they just don't have the recall they once enjoyed?
Dr. Lawlis and Dr. Greenwood-Robinson: The latest research implies that the greatest factor in mental dementia is basic starvation of the brain. Once I checked for such metabolism as "leaky-gut" syndrome and possible metabolism problems, I would focus on non-processed foods. A memory-boosting diet is one that includes at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, several servings of whole grains, moderate amounts of lean proteins and some fat.
I am really emphatic about green tea and fish. Green tea smoothies (page 103) usually appeals to the appetites of the elderly as does fruit salad parfait (page 105). Oven-cooked green tea rice (page 111) and salmon patties (page 115) are my high list. "Real" chocolate, without addictives, is good for relieving cravings.
Commitment: What foods can help with concentration?
Dr. Lawlis and Dr. Greenwood-Robinson: Concentration and attention are main factors in performance, especially academically, and students who are having problems usually have their origins in poor nutrition, especially what I call "fake food." French fries and diet drinks top my fake foods list. Sugar-loaded foods make the second tier.
On the positive side, vitamin-6 and high mineral foods are the required list to help. These were bananas, chickpeas, potatoes, chicken, oatmeal, pork loin, peanut butter and walnuts. My favorites are grilled falafel burgers (page 84), southwestern bean burgers (page 86), beef stroganoff (page 88) and even pumpkin pie (page 91) are easy substitutes for the bad guys.
Commitment: What foods can help reduce the feelings of anger?
Dr. Lawlis and Dr. Greenwood-Robinson: Anger is not always the result of a situation. It can be anything that just pushes your buttons at the wrong time. And poor nutrition can be the first culprit. There are many people out there with their fingers on the trigger because they ate the wrong breakfast. Zinc is a major player as to whether you make a fool out of yourself on any given day.
Blackberry breakfast bars (page 178), Southwest cornbread squares (page 183), baked chicken nuggets (page 184) and sugarless oatmeal cookies (page 190) are wonderfully anger management foods that I admit are so tasty that I just can't get mad, but the great feature is that there are tremendous ingredients that have long-term management.
Commitment: What are five foods that can help boost one's mood if one is suffering with depression?
Dr. Lawlis and Dr. Greenwood-Robinson: Moods are so influenced by food ingredients by virtue of ingredients as well as a person's history of association. My best five for depression are as follows:
1. Greens in general: The foods of green have high levels of folic acid which is what is so often needed when moods slip into sadness and low energy. This category includes spinach, romaine lettuce, but also nuts and beans, lean meats, and eggs.
2. Fish, for omega-3s and nurturance for the brain.
3. Brazil nuts, for selenium
4. Milk, for calcium
Dr. Frank Lawlis is a renowed psychologist, researcher, and counselor with more than thirty-five years’ experience working with families. He is the cofounder of the Lawlis and Peavey Centers for Psychoneurological Change and naned a fellow by the American Psychological Association. The chief content advisor for The Dr. Phil Show, Dr. Lawlis is also the author of The Stress Answer, The ADD Answer, The IQ Answer, and Mending the Broken Bond.
Dr. Maggie Greenwood-Robinson is a popular health and medical writer, and the author of The Biggest Loser, a New York Times bestseller that is the official diet/fitness book for NBC’s hit reality show by the same name. She is author or coauthor of more than forty books on nutrition’s, exercise, weight loss, brain fitness and health issues, such as cancer. She is a member of the Dr. Phil show advisory board and serves on the Advisory Board of Physical Magazine.
To purchase The Brain Power Cookbook: More Than 200 Recipes to Energize Your Thinking, Boost Your Mood, and Sharpen Your Memory click here.