The Connection Between Dementia and Dirty Air

Healthy Living, Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease, Prevent Memory Loss

As I preach and teach… and nag and nag, I’m sure!… we need to do everything within our power to…

  1. Find any and all things in our lives that pose a potential threat to our mental and physical fitness.
  2. Eliminate these things!
  3. Find any and all steps we can take and changes we can make to improve the health of our brains and bodies.
  4. Implement these things!

In keeping with this theme, I’d like to point you to a great article about the quality of air and its link to dementia. Unlike the kale salads or exercise I’m usually pushing on you, this is a fairly harmless step you can take!

I hope you’ll check out the article and share it with everyone you know: The Connection Between Dementia and Dirty Air


~ Joi

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Turmeric: Surprisingly Powerful in Alzheimer’s Prevention

Brain Food, Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

Buttery Rice Pilaf with Turmeric and Seasoned Salt

Buttery Rice Pilaf with Turmeric

One of my daughters and I were talking about books the other day (a favorite subject for both of us). We were comparing our favorite subjects to read about. Between us, our subjects covered everything from mysteries to angels and from poetry to ancient Egypt.  Three of my own favorite things to read about and research are: brain health, healthy food, and heart health. Given that one of my main blogs is a mental fitness blog, I guess it’s a good thing the subject fascinates me so much.


Fortunately the three intertwine beautifully, so reading about one often means I’m reading about the other two as well. For example, many of the foods and activities that support a healthy brain also support a healthy heart. And healthy eating? It’s at the center for health, period -whether we’re talking about the brain, skin, heart, feet – or anything in between!

I’ve been reading a great deal lately about the benefits of turmeric on the brain – especially when it comes to Alzheimer’s prevention.

Curcumin, the key chemical in turmeric, is believed to prevent or delay Alzheimer’s symptoms. In his wonderful new book, “The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan,” David Perlmutter, MD has this to say about Turmeric:

Turmeric is being studied today for its potential applications in neurology. Research shows that it can enhance the growth of new brain cells, as well as increase DHA levels in the brain. In some people, turmeric can even rival the antidepressant effects of Prozac. It’s been used for thousands of years in Chinese and Indian medicine as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments.

Dr. Perlmutter goes on to say that if you’re not eating a lot of curry dishes, he recommends taking a supplement of 500 mg twice daily.

My favorite way to cook with turmeric is by adding it to rice and rice pilaf dishes. In the picture above, I had made a basic rice pilaf and used turmeric and seasoned salt as the seasonings.


Due to the wonderful effects turmeric is now found to have on the brain, more and more recipes are popping up for this tasty, colorful, and brain-healthy spice. A quick Google search can give you a lot of recipes to choose from.

Make each moment count double (and make this the year you get 110 percent serious about your brain’s health!) ~ Joi

The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan

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Prevent Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease by Staying in the KNOW…… NOW

Brain Food, Motivational, Must Reads, Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease, Prevent Memory Loss

Healthy Brain Happy Life by Wendy Suzuki
Staying on top of scientific research and information can put the odds in your favor when it comes to preventing Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Fortunately, preventing Alzheimer’s, slowing dementia’s progress, and slowing the onset of  mental problems (hopefully for good) is front and center when it comes to medical research these days. However, the research won’t do you any good if you don’t follow the information and heed the advice.

Below is a list of sources for you to count on. Reading articles and books about the brain actually benefits you two ways..

  • it stimulates the brain
  • it can help save your brain!

When you visit the following website, see if they have an e-mail newsletter and sign up for it. This is a great way to stay on top of the research being done. Also, follow them on Twitter and Facebook for more information as it becomes available.


All links open in a new window.

  1. National Institute on Aging
  2. Alzheimer’s Association
  3. Alzheimer’s Research Forum


In addition to following online information portals, you should also build a library of books that’ll also stimulate and, hopefully, save your brain! Below are some of my favorite books – I own and highly recommend each one:

All links open in a new window.

When you find a great book that inspires and motivates you, find the author’s website and find and follow them on social media. You can never have too much inspiration and motivation when it comes to living healthy!


Finally, here is a roundup of some of my favorite articles online about Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and preventing them from showing up on your doorstep. Don’t just read the articles, take notes and make plans to implement the advice – whether it’s in the area of food or habits…. or, better yet, both!

All links open in a new window.

Make each moment count double!
~ Joi

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Taking Your Life Back One Day at A Time

Addictions, Positive Affirmations

It didn’t happen overnight, and unfortunately, the same holds true on the other end: you or a loved one won’t stop overnight either. Addiction is a painful reality that affects everyone. It, of course, takes a toll on the participant, but the family and friends are also victims. Their lives become disrupted. They often feel the same anguish as the person going through it. For a woman and a mother, this becomes an embarrassment to them. They feel like a failure, that they disappointed their children and their family.

It starts out simple enough a drink here and there, a couple of pills or a few trips to a casino and before you know it you’re hooked. It’s a disease that eats away at your very core and takes you away from your true self, piece by piece, until one day you say, I have had enough. By this time you’ve probably lied to just about everyone you love and to yourself that you don’t have a problem. But, in the end, you must face the truth that you are an addict and take one of two roads. You can either pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start anew or go out of this world alone. The choice is truly yours.

The first step is to realize that you are an addict. Admitting this is half the battle. Once you reach this point then you can start the long process of recovery. The good news is that there are many facilities, such as womens drug rehab center, that specialize in treating various forms of addiction. They have a trained staff and are more than qualified to help you achieve a full recovery.

Start by acknowledging to family and friends that you have a problem. This is probably the most painful thing you’ll need to do. It admits to you and loved ones what they themselves already knew. But it also opens the door to unity. When you have the support of family and friends, and you will, you feel an inner strength that I can do this.

You can start by going it alone in the sense that you don’t need to go into a rehab center. But again, depending on the dependency this may not be an option that works for you. If you have family members at home who are willing to ride the train with you, it’s a starting point that you can try. However, more than not, many people find that it’s just too difficult to stop their addiction cold turkey without a doctor and hospital support staff around them.

It’s also important to realize that this addiction did not happen overnight and as much as you would love to wake up and not need your pills, alcohol or gambling habit, it will take courage, resilience and strength to overcome it.  You can do it, but you must be honest will yourself and give you the best chance for success. If it means going into rehab for a few weeks, therapy and monitoring, take it. There is no shame in admitting you have a problem and you need help. There is, however, a selfishness in luring family and friends along falsely, intended or not intended, if you decide to go it alone.


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Why the Mediterranean Diet and MIND Diet are SO Healthy for Your Brain

Brain Food, Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease, Prevent Memory Loss

Chef Salad

Chef Salad: Excellent Way to Work in Several Servings of Brain-Healthy Food

We know how beneficial certain things are for the health of our brains and for prevention of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease:

  • physical activity
  • mental workouts
  • “brain foods” such as walnuts, blueberries, and fish
  • reading
  • taking on new hobbies

A growing body of research shows that eating one of the most delicious “diets” in the world, the Mediterranean Diet is also greatly beneficial to our brains.

You already know how incredibly healthy eating “like a Greek” is for your heart – in fact, foods that fall under the heading “Mediterranean Diet” are foods your heart would request if it were able to fill out its own menu!  It just so happens, your brain would sign its name to the same menu.

From the May 2016 Issue of Cooking Light Magazine:

Martha Clare Morris, ScD, a nutritional epidemiologist at Rush University in Chicago…. (has) been researching the MIND diet – a hybrid of the Mediterranean Diet and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) – to reduce age-related cognitive decline and the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease among more than 1,000 volunteers in the Memory and Aging Project. Her findings: Those who adhered to the MIND diet showed significantly slower cognitive declines – the equivalent of being 7.5 years younger – than those who didn’t. Her team also found that following the MIND diet may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by up to 54%.

54% is very impressive!  The MIND diet focuses on foods that are shown to benefit the health of the brain.  It’s very easy to implement these foods into your daily diet – simply add more of the following:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Other vegetables (carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, squash…)
  • Berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries..)
  • Beans (at least every other day)
  • Nuts (most days)
  • Whole grains (aim for 3 servings daily, at least)
  • Fish (at least twice a week, not fried)
  • Poultry (at least twice a week – again, not fried)
  • Olive Oil (most days)

Chef salads, smoothies, wedge salads, vegetable soup, stews… these are just a few ways to “sneak in” several helpings of brain-healthy food. Adding fish or poultry to a salad – and creating a “chef salad” is my husband’s favorite approach. You’d be amazed how delicious a well-done chef salad is.

And your brain will appreciate every bite!

Make each moment count double! ~ Joi

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How Can a Life Coach Help You? How Can You Find a Life Coach?

Healthy Living, Infographics

There are a thousand and one ways to change your life. You can join a gym, meditate, think positively, set goals, etc. Another way to change your life is by working with a life coach — a trained professional who has a variety of tools and methods to help you reach your goals and change your life.

If the concept of a life coach isn’t new to you, you still might be wondering, “Okay, but where do I find a life coach?”. This new infographic, Your Find a Coach Guide, outlines everything you need to know. According to the infographic, a life coach can help you:

  • achieve your goals
  • do what you love
  • be successful
  • change your career
  • find happiness
  • be more confident

There are four basic places where you can find a coach. You can try:

  • using a matching service
  • getting a referral
  • searching a coaching directory
  • doing a local search

Good luck in your search!

Find a Life Coach

The Complete Guide to Finding a Life Coach

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Book Review: How to Draw Cool Stuff

Books and Reviews, Brain Gym, Mental Fitness

How to Draw Cool Stuff
I was recently sent the highly unique and ridiculously cool book above to review and, I have to tell you, I’ve really gotten a kick out of it. While one of my daughters, Brittany, was born with uncommon artistic abilities, I struggle with stick people. For those, like me, who would love to be able to express themselves creatively yet somehow struggle with getting our hands to do what our brain commands, How to Draw Cool Stuff is the crash course we need.

How to Draw Cool Stuff shows simple step-by-step illustrations that make it easy for anyone to draw cool stuff with precision and confidence. These pages will guide you through the basic principles of illustration by concentrating on easy-to-learn shapes that build into complex drawings. With the step-by-step guidelines provided, anything can become easy to draw. This book contains a series of fun, hands-on exercises that will help you see line, shape, space and other elements in everyday objects and turn them into detailed works of art in just a few simple steps. The exercises in this book will help train your brain so you can visualize ordinary objects in a different manner, allowing you to see through the eyes of an artist. From photorealistic faces to holiday themes and tattoo drawings, How to Draw Cool Stuff makes drawing easier than you would think and more fun than you ever imagined! Now is the time to learn how to draw the subjects and scenes you’ve always dreamt of drawing. How to Draw Cool Stuff is suitable for artists of any age benefiting everyone from teachers and students to self-learners and hobbyists. How to Draw Cool Stuff will help you realize your artistic potential and expose you to the pure joy of drawing!

How to Draw a Penguin
While the book states that it is for Teachers and Students  (and it would be excellent for either) – make absolutely no mistake about it, anyone will enjoy this book as much as I have. It’s simply a lot of fun to learn how to draw pumpkins, praying hands, spider webs, treasure chests, hands, pointing fingers, penguins and much, much more.  I look forward to decorating birthday and Christmas cards and envelopes in the future with my new-found skills!

I love that the book gives step by step, VERY detailed pictures and descriptions. Each lesson also includes a “Know, Understand, Do” page that goes into further detail about what it is you’re trying to do and the process that’ll carry you from A to B. This is a step that a lot of similar books don’t take and it makes a world of difference.

The Vocabulary that’s included throughout the book is also very educational and interesting. As someone who spends a great deal of time researching, reading, and writing about mental fitness, this educational aspect is one of my favorite things about How to Draw Cool Stuff. I often say how important it is – for mental fitness, your brain’s health, and for the prevention of all forms  of dementia (including Alzheimer’s Disease) – to learn something  new everyday and to challenge yourself in areas that are new to you.

Learning about new things is as wonderful for your brain as vegetables are for your body. But How to Draw Cool Stuff goes a step further – the fact that the reader is encouraged to be creative as they learn makes the benefits even greater.

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein 

How Being Creative Helps Your Brain’s Health

  • One way creativity helps your mental fitness is by helping you relax. When you are able to sit down, pencil and paper in hand, and work on your drawings, you leave stress behind.
  • When we learn a new skill, it builds confidence. Learning something new not only gives us confidence in that particular area, it increases our confidence in all areas of life. We become aware that “if we did this… we can do that!”
  • People who suffer from anxiety-related conditions benefit greatly from learning to draw. Very often, the feeling of anxiousness responds beautifully to “busy hands.” Why? Because when our mind and hands are busy creating something cool… they pull away from anxious thoughts and worries.
  • We know that using our brain as often as possible is great mental exercise, right? However, if we don’t use different areas of our brain, we aren’t getting as good of a workout as we could. Being creative uses a different part of our brain (and uses it differently) than, say, reading a book or even learning a foreign language.  CNN reports that taking part in creative endeavors protects neuron growth by promoting the production of new neurons.
  • Being creative can help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. Engaging in artistic activities improves communication between different parts of the brain. This communication if VITAL to the prevention of cognitive deterioration (memory loss, dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease…).

Read more about How to Draw Cool Stuff  by clicking the link. This is a wonderfully fun and mentally stimulating book – a perfect 10 out of 10!

Make each creative moment count double,

~ Joi

How to Draw a Pumpkin

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Why You Should Avoid Excess Sugar for the Sake of Your Brain’s Health

Brain Food, Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease, Prevent Memory Loss

Fruit Smoothie
Fruit Smoothie
A new study has found that sugar isn’t such a sweet thing when it comes to protecting your brain’s health. In fact, consuming high levels of fructose (from added sugars) harms as many as 940 brain genes.

Many studies are cropping up showing the relationship between what we eat and our mental fitness or brain health.

It’s no surprise to any of us that excess sugar is unhealthy – from weight problems to diabetes, excess sugar has a well-deserved ugly reputation. These new findings are a bit of a surprise, however, because few of us even suspected the harm sugar could have on the brain.

These studies now allow us to see that added sugars actually change our brain in a very negative way. The researchers found that 734 hypothalamic genes were altered as well as 206 hippocampal genes.

These genes govern separate but extremely important areas of the brain:

  • cell metabolism
  • cell communication
  • inflammation
  • overall brain function.

To say that these genes are vital is an understatement.

According to The Health and Sciences Academy, “…certain alterations can lead to leptin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and brain diseases such as Parkinson’s, depression, and bipolar disorder.”

However, this same study  found that Omega-3 oil DHA (found in fish, fish oil supplements, and some egg & dairy products) “has the potential to normalize the genomic impact of fructose.” So, including enough DHA in your diet can help to offset the damaging changes caused by the added sugars.

A Few Actionable Tips:

  • While you don’t have to get obsessive about avoiding sugar, simply try to cut back on the amount of sugar you add to foods and drinks. For example, if you normally drink sweet tea, try adding fresh fruit to your tea instead of sugar. Frozen peaches and frozen raspberries allowed me to break a sweet tea addiction I’d had for years. Also, try to forgo sugar in your morning coffee. You actually taste the coffee, itself, much better and it’s a beautiful thing.
  • We know that blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are excellent for your brain’s health. Start using these delicious, naturally sweet berries in smoothies – if you’re like me, you’ll come to love them even more than milkshakes.
  • Stay clear of artificial sweeteners. The dangers of these “sweeteners” are really just coming to a head, and they may do even more harm than sugar.
  • Fruit does not count as added sugar – although many juices do due to added sugar. In fact, when a sugar craving hits, reach for fruit. The only thing your brain knows is that it’s delicious.. it’s liable to think you’re eating dessert!

Make each moment count double! ~ Joi

Did you know that certain (very popular) over-the-counter drugs can actually shrink your brain?! See Common Drugs that Can Shrink the Brain for more information. You’ll also find safer alternatives to turn to instead.

The Best Essential Oils To Reduce Stress and Anxiety: Using Aromatherapy to Bring Calmness and Stillness to Your Life

Anxiety, Must Reads, Relaxation, Stress

Many people deal with stress and anxiety so regularly that they’ve become part of their everyday life. In fact, most of the people I know who aren’t strangers to at least one (tress or anxiety) simply view it as a part of life. They don’t panic about it or seek sympathy.  The only way you can put it is this – they cope.

Coping with stress and/or anxiety is certainly doable. The trick, if there is one, is to find what works for you, personally. What works for one person may not work for the next.

However, it’s been my experience that one thing just about all of them have a measure of success with is aromatherapy. Using essential oils are inherently relaxing to every single bodily system we have! The article below, contributed by aromatherapy expert Marilyn Reid of will give you all the information you need to not just cope… but win when it comes to anxiety or its cousin stress.  Everyone who deals with these conditions seeks the same things – calmness and stillness.  Essential oils invite both of these beautiful states into your world. ~ Joi

If you are suffering from stress, essential oils can be a superior choice to pharmaceuticals which often come with frightening potential side effects. When not managed, stress can lead to pain, weight gain and other physical ailments. However, once you start using essential oils, you will notice many of your symptoms that are associated with chronic stress lessening.

Essential oils have been used since the ancient Egyptians. Today, you can purchase them online or your local health food store. However, you should read the label carefully. The bottle should contain 100 percent of that type of oil, have the scientific name of the plant and the distillation method.

If this information is not presented, the product inside is likely inferior. Be sure to do your research to find out if the manufacturer has a good reputation and make sure you are buying it from an authorized retailer. Do not compromise quality for affordability.

Lavender is one of the most popular essential oils and is a fantastic choice for stress reduction. The sweet floral fragrance from the tiny purple flowers is incredibly calming. The oil works well for relaxing your mind and body and helps to create a sense of inner peace. Lavender benefits extend beyond restoring the nervous system to include calming an upset stomach and treating a wide array of skin irritations.

Rose is another floral essential oil that can work wonders to treat your stress and anxiety. To make an ounce of this fragrant oil, 60,000 flowers are steam distilled. Though one of the costlier essential oils, the benefits of it are remarkable. While reducing depression and balancing emotions, the oil can also treat some skin conditions, including rosacea and acne. Both genders have reported a positive effect on libido as well.

For those who have undergone trauma, such as an auto accident or domestic abuse, vetiver oil is an effective nervous system tonic. It can reduce hypersensitivity while producing a sense of calm and aiding in self-awareness. These benefits are particularly useful in the treatment of PTSD.

Records of frankincense use date back at least to the New Testament, when frankincense was presented as a gift to baby Jesus. It is sometimes called olibanum and is extracted from tree resin. A few drops of the oil is great for treating anxiety and many find that it has spiritual benefits as well.

Vanilla has a reputation for being the closest in scent and taste to breast milk. The real benefits of it are increased clarity and tranquility. The oil can also soothe stomachs and minimize sugar cravings.

Experiment to find out what works well for you. You may respond best to a mix of two or more essential oils and your needs may vary according to the season or over time. Consider keeping an essential oil diary, noting each time you use them, the amount and application methods. Make another column or entry for your reactions to the treatment.

Aromatherapy is among the best delivery systems for essential oils. The nasal cavity contains 50 million scent receptors. The messages from these receptors are processed through the limbic system and directly impact emotions, libido and memories and can invoke physical responses, such as heart rate reduction.

Use a diffuser made for aromatherapy, add a few drops to your bath or mix the essential oils into a carrier oil for massage. The exact amount will depend on several factors, including your sensitivity, body weight and method being used.

Take others into consideration when planning essential oil use. Those with weak or sensitive systems, including children, elderly and animals may all be quite sensitive to your choices. Be considerate and minimize exposing others to your essential oil treatments. Start letting go of your stress with these beneficial essential oils!

Marilyn Reid is a successful business owner and natural health enthusiast. She owns a site,, which is dedicated to providing tips, ideas, and recipes for use with essential oils and aromatherapy.

Also see: Guide to Essential Oils for Getting a Better Night’s Sleep

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Finding and Keeping Motivation When Depressed: A User’s Guide to Your Depressed Brain


Depression is a physically and emotionally draining state of mind, and therefore creating motivation when depressed is one of the most difficult things one can do. Doing simple tasks seem to take a lot of energy. Everyday routines such as taking a bath, cleaning the house, making meals all of a sudden take a huge amount of effort. Sometimes even getting out of bed is difficult.

Creating motivation when depressed appears to be very tough since the instinct is to wait for the energy to return. People who suffer from depression fall into the trap of waiting and give in to the urge of staying in bed believing one will be re-energized and recharged. Well, this is not the case sine if some people waited for their depressive episodes to wear out they would be in bed for the longest time possible. Depression has to be actively confronted and this calls for creation of motivation.

The concept of mind over matter is suitable and it helps create motivation. Creating a change in mindset as well as manageable behavioural steps changes the whole experience of depression. This serves as a platform to move on with life as well as understanding and working on the cause of depression. Some of the steps that can break the depression cycle include:


1) Opposite Action.

This basically means doing something that is good for you to avoid taking up a bad habit. An example is avoiding the habit of sitting on the couch all day and watch television and instead go out for a walk which would be healthier. This goes hand in hand with the principle that your behaviour can lead to positive changes in your emotions.

2) Make Your Bed.

Getting out of bed is very tough when dealing with depression. Take easy steps such as sitting on the bed and place your feet on the floor. Visualize the idea of waking up is similar to leaving al, your troubles and thoughts in bed. Make a move and nicely make your bed. This signals the brain that going back to bed during the day is not an option. It gives you a chance to think of doing other things rather than sleep all day.

3) Wash Up.

It is advisable to have routine setting steps soon after leaving bed. Simple things such as brushing your teeth and washing your face will act as a pace setter to take on small duties during the day. It also helps one to wake up and feel fresh. The brain is trained that one is getting ready to do something useful for the day. Go ahead and take a shower for a fresher feel.

4) Get Dressed.

This acts as a crucial step to separate from the bed to day. Sitting on the couch while still in pajamas is a temptation to going back to bed. It gives one a lazy feeling. Getting dressed signals the brain that one is getting ready to do something or go somewhere. On the other hand feeling smart will act as a motivational tool.


5) Go Outside.

Leaving the house is one of the most difficult steps for people suffering from depression. The idea of not having a place to go tends to hold people back. The goal for this step is going outside, not having a place to go. Just leave the house and lock the door, then do whatever comes into your mind for instance walk around the block, down the street or get into the car and drive around.

6) See Family and Friends.

Think about this as more about the people rather than the activity. It acts as tool for mood improvement. Visit them rather than having them come over to your house. The more you leave the environment of depression the higher the chance of overcoming it.

(7) Make a List of Activities.

Write down the activities that you feel you enjoy doing. Include both indoor and outdoor activities. Mix up the activities in such a way that you have time with friends as well as time for yourself. The activities can be a mix of productive, hobbies and self-care.

8) Schedule Activities.

Ensure that the activities are spread throughout the week. Give specific days and time for each activity. Spread them out as much as possible and stick to the time plan.

9) Daily Necessity Schedule.

This is for those that have trouble getting motivated to take up daily activities. It helps in creating a daily home schedule. Choose a specific time for each activity to help you get daily necessities actually functioning on a daily basis.


10) Choose One Exercise.

Take up simple exercises such as walking, running, swimming, riding etc. just to ensure your body is moving. Make sure that what you choose to is a daily routine when you go outside. If it is an indoor activity ensure to do it before you leave the house.

Avoid self-criticism and practice self-compassion. Do not see yourself as a lazy and unproductive person. Use encouraging words such as those you would tell a friend. Always ask for help as well as company where possible. Have someone you can talk to and also one whom you will call upon when you need help.

It is likely that you will not feel like doing any of the above. Waiting to” feel like” you will probably never do anything. Ensure to fight hard and at least take up on activity every day. Take the initiative to find out what works for you. Bear in mind that it is not easy but at the same time not impossible. Ensure to give yourself credit for every progress made. The best thing to do is to step out of your comfort zone.




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