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The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan: Boost Brain Performance, Lose Weight, and Achieve Optimal Health Hardcover – November 15, 2016
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"The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan provides a step-by-step, proven approach that will help you reclaim and sustain health, vitality, and happiness for a lifetime."―Melissa Hartwig, author of Food Freedom Forever and coauthor of The Whole30
"Dr. Perlmutter, an acclaimed neurologist, has for years been a pioneer of the gut-brain connection. In The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan, he combines his clinical expertise, insights into the latest scientific developments, and immense compassion into a powerful prescription for brain health."
―David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD, professor, Harvard Medical School, and author of Always Hungry?
"Dr. Perlmutter's groundbreaking work has changed the way we think about inflammation--its causes and the damage it can do. I've gotten tremendous benefit from his books and The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan gives us simple and direct ways to prevent and treat diseases in easy and delicious ways."―Bonnie Raitt
"Dr. David Perlmutter is one of the first people to not only suggest that modern degenerative diseases are likely caused by poor diet and alterations in gut health, but he has produced clinical research indicating these conditions may be avoided or reversed by altering one's diet and lifestyle. The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan is the culmination of more than 35 years of clinical practice and research that will help you look, feel and perform your best."
―Robb Wolf, author of The Paleo Solution
"Dr. Perlmutter sifts through the emerging research on how to create brain and body health. And he created The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan, a manifesto for the new medicine, the roadmap for how to care for the one precious human life that you have. If you want to live strong, feel good, boost your brain function, and become more connected and engaged to your own life, then you need a plan. This book is that plan."
―Mark Hyman, MD, author of Eat Fat Get Thin and director of Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine
"If everyone were to follow The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan, there would be a dramatic reduction in obesity, diabetes, cancer, dementia, arthritis--in short, the world would be a better place."
―Dale Bredesen, MD, professor and director of Alzheimer's Disease Research, UCLA
"The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan presents a comprehensive, practical, step-by-step approach aimed at people suffering from a variety of chronic neurological, psychiatric, and medical conditions. Dr. Perlmutter not only gives specific dietary recommendations, including a diet rich in plant-based fiber, but also prescribes important lifestyle changes such as physical exercise, stress reduction, and improvement in sleeping habits."―Emeran A. Mayer, MD, author of The Mind Gut Connection and director of the Oppenheimer Center for Stress and Resilience at UCLA
About the Author
David Perlmutter, MD, is a board-certified neurologist and a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition. He was the recipient of the Linus Pauling Award for his innovative approaches to neurological disorders. With his books now published in twenty-seven languages, Dr. Perlmutter is setting new standards for what healthy lifestyle means around the world. He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Grain Brain, The Grain Brain Cookbook, and Brain Maker, as well as The Better Brain Book and Raise a Smarter Child by Kindergarten. He lives in Naples, Florida.
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Here's how the book is laid out: Part I of the book reviews, for those new to his program, the concepts: "Part I explains the what, why, and how of the program. I’ll detail the ground rules, present new data, and offer a 3-step framework that will help you execute my recommendations." Part II provides the details on how to use his program, and which foods to eat. Part III includes "final tips and reminders," plus snack suggestions, shopping lists, and also the 14-day meal plan with recipes.
To start, the doctor sets a backdrop to review WHY this plan is needed. Why do Americans need to change at all? The author explains the sad state of American health. In particular, a huge number of people suffer from some sort of mental illness: "The United States is among the ten wealthiest Western nations where death from brain disease, most commonly dementia, has skyrocketed over the past twenty years. . . 5.4 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is predicted to double by the year 2030!"
For those not familiar with the author's prior book explaining his plan, the doctor gives an overview of the diet. It's called a "ketogenic" diet, which means that 80 to 90 percent of calories from fat, and the rest from fibrous carbohydrates and high-quality protein. Instead of meals having a big protein-packed entree and small side dishes, this plan calls quite a drastic change. The main entrée is mostly "fibrous, colorful, nutrient-dense whole fruits and vegetables that grow above ground, with protein as a side dish." Other key features of the plan are: low-carb, higher fat and fiber, avoidance of gluten and sugar, and lots of "the incredible egg."
Besides just diet, the author provides a lot of tips on exercise. I actually thought the exercise tips were just as good as the diet tips. The doctor cites studies showing huge reduction in Alzheimer's for those at high levels of exercise: "Those at the highest level of exercise activity experienced an incredible reduction of risk for Alzheimer’s of 50 percent when compared to those who were more sedentary." I thought the best exercise tip was this: "Establish An Exercise Routine You Can Sustain." Here's another interesting point. The doctor notes that the problem people have with exercise is not just starting it, but continuing it.
The latter part of the book contains "Final Reminders." For example, "Drink Water Throughout the Day," and "Find a Partner" who shares your goals. In terms of eating, the author reminds us to "Make Vegetables Your Centerpiece. . . . A full three-quarters of your plate should be filled with fibrous, colorful, nutrient-dense whole vegetables that grow above ground."
Since I love to eat sweets (especially chocolate!), I was pleasantly surprised to see lots of healthy snack ideas. He suggests snacks such as "a handful of raw nuts, olives, and/ or seeds (no peanuts), a few squares of dark chocolate (anything above 70 percent cacao) • chopped raw vegetables, or hard-boiled eggs.
I was especially happy to see protein bars on the list of snacks. From the author's recipe online, here are the secret ingredients for a recommended protein bar:
• 2C almonds – soaked overnight
• 2 tbsp. ground flax seeds
• 1/2C shredded coconut
• 1/2C nut butter or coconut butter
• 1/2 tsp. sea salt
• 1/2C pastured butter or coconut oil or a blend of the two (melted)
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• Stevia, to taste (optional)
• Cacao chips (chopped, optional)
Besides the snacks, I just had to try one of the desserts listed. So I made the dessert with ricotta cheese, berries, and sliced almonds. It's simple to make--even I was able to do it.
All in all, I found THE GRAIN BRAIN WHOLE LIFE PLAN to be a useful, and encouraging book. The book is easy to read and nicely laid out. From similar books, I was already aware of many of the doctor's ideas, but it was good to have them reinforced. There is a useful Bibliography at the end, containing helpful reference information; for example, links to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Advance Review Copy courtesy of the publisher
What I didn't like - even after having read his previous work, it felt like the book was trying to do too much. It spends a lot of space describing anecdotal evidence of some miraculous cures of patients with neurological disorders, trying to establish the credibility of the approach - and I have to admit skipping most of that part. But then, it tries to give recommendations for dieting, supplements, exercising and cooking recipes (the latter being another part I skipped). And that do-it-all part felt mildly rushed. Another minor disappointment was the cursory coverage of food sources of probiotics.
Overall, it builds nicely on a wider literature of low-carb diet variants, and I did find the information on supplements reasonably well set up - that's mainly the part that I would recommend this book for. Well worth both the money and the time I spent reading it.