The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan
I just finished up Dr. David Perlmutter’s new book, The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan. If you’re not familiar with Dr. Perlmutter’s work, he is a neurologist that is a big proponent of the connection between gut health and brain health. Referencing both his experience in his own practice and the most current research in the scientific community. This book is really a how to, to follow his protocol and plan to a healthier life. His other two books, Grain Brain and Brain Maker, were the why and what. I know keto and low-carb diets are in these days, Dr. Perlmutter was one of its early advocates and has been promoting it for years. In short, his protocol is a diet high in fiber and fats (yes fats), moderate amounts of meat/fish, low carb and dairy, plenty of water, a regular exercise routine, good sleep, a breathing exercise, and healthy relationships.
As a neurologist he kept finding gut issues with his neurology patients and began to look into it further. After realizing that there are more neurons produced in your gut then in your brain, including serotonin and melatonin, among other things he really began advocating the brain-gut connection as critical for our health. He contends that from eating too many grains, carbohydrates, gluten, sugar, and other processed foods we’ve been wreaking havoc on our bodies. By eating this way it eats away at the lining of our guts, causing permeability or leaking. This is not good, as that’s how the bad stuff gets into our bloodstream. That travels everywhere, including our brains. To make matters worse, a leaky gut could ultimately can lead to a leaky brain. You can imagine that not being too good. This also causes disruptions in our gut microbiome. That is a topic of mounting research in terms of its importance and prevalence in our health. Essentially that is the bacteria that live in your stomach, which outnumber the human cells in your body by a pretty large margin. Putting it lightly, this causes major issues downstream health wise. If you’re interested more into the microbiome I’d recommend checking out his other two books. All of this weakens our immune systems because it’s too busy dealing with those contaminants, making you more susceptible to a slew of health issues.
He talks about and presents research that shows eating a standard American diet has shown a connection with illnesses like obesity, diabetes, allergies, asthma, autism and even Alzheimer. He is a believer, and he’s not alone in the medical community, referring to Alzheimer as type 3 diabetes. Not necessarily because diabetes leads to Alzheimer but that they are caused by the same thing, a diet heavy in processed carbohydrates. This is purely anecdotal, but I lived with terrible allergies, to the point I rarely remember ever being able to breath out of both nostrils and having to get allergy shots for years. Since I cleaned up my diet, among other things, my allergies have been near nonexistent the past couple years.
This book, as I mentioned above, is a how to for his lifestyle prescription. Before you really do anything, he recommends you get yourself tested for a series of biomarkers and talk over your anticipated changes with your physician. For his diet, healthy fats and fibrous veggies are the bulk of it. As well as moderate amounts of meat or fish, about 3–4 oz in a meal and no more than 8oz in a day. Be sure to get quality animal products too. Low amounts of other carbs, starch, sugar and even fruit because of its high sugar contents. He’s a big fan of eggs and speaks very highly of them. One should also drink plenty of water, a little coffee or tea is ok too. Wine is fine to have as long as it’s no more than a couple glasses in a night. Dr. Perlmutter says we need to be more active as well, and should exercise regularly. Quality sleep is a must, as well as the importance of healthy relationships. On top of the clean diet to keep your microbiome up to speed, he recommends probiotics and prebiotics to ensure gut health. He goes into several other potential supplementation options too. A few big ones he names are: Vitamin D, magnesium and DHA. He also speaks out against the liberal use of antibiotics because it does some serious damage to the gut microbiome and its overuse has led to the formation of some antibiotic resistant superbugs. He points out that journaling and writing things down is a great way to ensure success when making these changes.
I hope you found this helpful and I’d recommend checking out Dr. Perlmutters works or even his YouTube channel that he’s pretty active on. As someone who is going against conventional wisdom, he is not without his detractors or naysayers. To keep the air of subjectivity going you can check out this somewhat lengthy rebute to Dr. Perlmutter. I’d implore you to look more into this stuff for yourself, find what’s best for you.