We love our growing Kale and Cocoa community and particularly love your comments and input. So thank you. And a particular thank you to Lynn Dell for leading us to some of the most fascinating research on healthy ageing we’ve read in a long time.
It’s a report by Dr Dale Bredesen at the Mary S Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA on a tiny study he conducted. He treated 10 patients suffering from cognitive decline or early-stage Alzheimer’s with a cocktail of lifestyle changes, dietary supplements and hormones. His intention was to show that the best way to address mental decline is via a broad spectrum of methods rather than one particular treatment or lifestyle change. And the result: 9 out of the 10 patients showed marked improvements and were able to return to work or undertake tasks which had previously been beyond them. Each patient had a bespoke programme, but there were some general points that they all followed which are worth considering as we try to live healthily in middle age and beyond:
- Eliminate all simple carbs and processed foods (some patients cut out gluten too).
- Eat more vegetables and fruit and limit fish to non-farmed, and meat to organic and grass-fed
- Fast 12 hours over night and don’t eat three hours before bedtime (impossible for me – I don’t get home from work in time but I’m trying to eat breakfast later now so I can leave 12 hours between dinner and breakfast)
- Reduce stress – yes please! The patients tried yoga and meditation.
- Get eight hours sleep a night – yes please again! The holy grail for every working mum
- Exercise for between 30 and 60mins a day, 4-6 days a week (we’re big fans of parkrun.org.uk )
- Keep the GI tract healthy and boost intestinal flora – you can read our post on that here
- Consume coconut oil (our post on this brain-boosting oil here – and see the recipe below)
- Take curcumin (extracted from turmeric – our post on that here) and CoEnzyme Q1o
- Take Vitamin B12, C and E – and Vitamin D – our Vitamin D boosting recipes here and here.
It’s not a bad blueprint for living, whatever your age, is it? You can read the whole report here http://www.impactaging.com/papers/v6/n9/full/100690.html
One way and other, there’s been a lot to read this week. This report for a start, and then there’s the release of the hotly anticipated cook book by Deliciously Ella (don’t tell me you haven’t seen her glowing from every newspaper and magazine recently). Her book has certainly been added to the roster of fabulous healthy cookbooks we plunder for inspiration. Apparently the market for ‘wellness recipes’ has doubled in the last year and I’m surprised the figure isn’t more. Our shelves are groaning with our faves, including: A Change of Appetite by Diana Henry, A Modern Way To Eat by Anna Jones, The Art of Eating Well by the Hemsley sisters, Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour – not a ‘healthy cookbook’ per se, but full of delicious, veg-packed recipes. I’m obsessed by the tabbouleh – see the recipe below. But the problem we find with some of these books is that they don’t always address our needs as time-pressed ‘sandwich women’. We’re juggling families, elderly parents, jobs and dogs – there isn’t much time left for spiralizing courgettes and making bone broth. So we pick our way through these gorgeous tomes and fillet out the inspiration that best suits the Kale and Cocoa mission to eat well and age well, while living our busy lives.
This week’s recipe incorporates some of the principals of the cognitive decline research (eat more veg, wholegrains and coconut oil) with some stylish cook book inspiration. It’s a mash up of the Tabbouleh recipe in Persiana and the roast veg in Hemsley and Hemsley. I give you:
BUCKWHEAT TABBOULEH AND COCONUT ROASTED VEGETABLES (serves 4)
FOR THE ROASTED VEGETABLES:
2 parsnips, peeled and cubed
4 small or 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tbs coconut oil
1 tbs pomegranate molasses
salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees.
Melt the coconut oil and stir in pomegranate molasses. Season well. Massage this mix through the chopped root vegetables and roast for 40 mins, or until soft and caramelised.
FOR THE BUCKWHEAT TABBOULEH:
125g buckwheat (groats)
300ml stock or water
100g flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
20g mint leaves, finely chopped
15 cherry tomatoes, chopped
4 spring onions, sliced
2 tbs pomegranate seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbs olive oil
Juice of ½ a lemon
Salt and pepper
Rinse the buckwheat and boil in the stock or water for approx. 13 mins. Drain and rinse well in cold water, then leave to cool. Mix in the rest of the ingredients (reserving a sprinkling of herbs) and season to taste. Top with the roasted veg and rest of the herbs.
(The buckwheat recipe is so versatile – I take leftovers to work with a dollop of hummus, or pimp them up with baby spinach leaves, avocado and smoked salmon for a whole new meal.)