Brainfood – Wellness for mind and body



Did you know that the connection between mental health and nutrition is rapidly becoming one of the top wellness topics in the U.S. and Europe? There’s a good deal of research and evidence to show that people who eat well tend to have lower levels of depression and better cognitive functioning.

A study by Fang Li, from the Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics, Medical College of Qingdao University, in China shows that having a diet rich in fish may reduce and even prevent depression ( Adding fruits, vegetables and grains can also bolster the positive effects of fish consumption.

Conversely, having a diet that lacks such important vitamins as Vitamin D has been shown to lead to cognitive deficits in subjects according to Joshua W. Miller, PhD, professor and chair, Department of Nutritional Sciences, Rutgers University


 As a Holistic Wellness Coach who has worked with clients with serious mental illness, I found that many of them had poor eating habits and little knowledge of the benefits of healthy food and natural supplements. Many of my clients had comorbid diagnoses like diabetes and substance abuse issues that also contributed to their mental illness.


The focus of my holistic work is to help clients of all walks of life better understand the benefits of good nutrition on their mental and physical wellness. In addition, to promote the importance of utilizing their own wellness strategies to help them find their best and healthiest selves.

Find your freedom and Reduce Your Stress


Photograph by Derek Keats


You need to feel some sort of freedom in your life to achieve and maintain your health and wellness. Feeling trapped in a corner by your relationships, job or life circumstances are a sure way to raise your stress and increase your risk of sickness.

People and animals that perceive that they’re backed into a corner are more likely to be adversely affected by stress. There’s irrefutable evidence that feeling trapped can raise our stress and increase our cortisol levels. This in turn can activate our fight-or-flight response and slow our body’s natural healing factor even if there’s no physical threat to our well-being. Just the perception that we are cornered by life circumstances can increase our stress. Chronic stress ultimately increases the chances that we may adversely our health.


Stress researcher and Stanford University Neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky has made a career of studying stress in humans and animals. His most famous research has been done over a period of 20 years studying the hierarchy of a baboon troop in Africa. He wrote a classic book called “Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers” and has contributed some of the most important work to stress management research..

Sapolsky’s research on the baboons in Africa focused on the hierarchical relationship between the alpha males and the subordinate males and what the stress levels of the respective groups were. By tranquilizing and measuring the cortisol levels of the baboons, Sapolsky could determine how high the animals’ stress levels were. He discovered that the alpha males had the lowest amount of stress in the troop as they were able to dominate the lower-ranking males and make their lives unpleasant. In turn, Sapolsky found that the subordinate males had higher levels of cortisol and were much more stressed out.

Here’s more detailed info on Sapolsky:

How To Meditate and Find Calm In the Eye of Your Storm


When you have a chronic physical or mental illness, negative repetitive thoughts may intrude on your everyday thinking. For over 25 years, I’ve contended with bipolar disorder and found that meditation can lessen the symptoms of depression and my obsessive thoughts.

Sitting or lying down for a good meditation session and channeling the obsessiveness into clearing your mind can help circumvent the thoughts. Sometimes I use a mantra like “Peace” when I breathe in and “Strength” when I breathe out and that can derail the negative thought-train. Usually, I sit in silence with incense burning to add another sensory experience that can help shift my thought pattern.

Meditation is great for coping with chronic illness. But, for those of you with a condition like chronic pain, sitting still and meditating can be difficult if not seemingly impossible. Thus, meditation can seem to be an impossible endeavor. Instead of sitting uncomfortably, you can lie down and get comfortable with a soft blanket underneath you. The key is to be comfortable but not so much that you fall asleep.


Being focused while meditating is important to receive real benefit from the endeavor. In traditional meditation, having a proper posture that keeps your back straight and enabling your energy to flow properly is the best approach. But, lying down with guidance and sometimes keeping your legs bent and your feet on the floor can keep you from falling asleep.

I find lying down more difficult as I’m usually fall asleep which isn’t helpful to my meditation as it’s not the focused attention (taking a nap is definitely not the same as meditating). I recommended that if you lie down that you don’t close your eyes but try to focus on a particular spot on the ceiling with your eyes half closed.

Some people I have taught meditation to find that meditating in silence to be too challenging. When I’ve worked with clients at a mental health clinic to teach them about meditation, I used melodic soundscapes to add a subtle sensory experience to add to the meditation (contact me through my blog or PM me on my Facebook site). For those of you beginning a practice, this is a great way to begin. In addition to its simplicity, soundscapes can transport you to unknown realms that aren’t associated with particular memories or life moments.

Something to think about when clearing your mind is that there your mind is never blank or free from thoughts. Think of it like a room that you want to unclutter or clean up. There are always going to be objects in the room, some of them you want there and you can ignore and other objects that intrude on your attention. There isn’t any perfect way to meditate – there will be moments when your mental room is clean and neat and other times your room will be distracting and messy.

If you choose to take on the meditation challenge (whether you have an illness or not), try to sit or lie down for 10 minutes a day. See if you can do it around the same time for at least five days in a row. I’ll be glad to help you personally and coach you through the experience. Having someone that you’re accountable to can help you stay on track.

In addition, if you can find some people to sit with and/or a meditation teacher, this can facilitate your practice more easily. I have also put some meditations on Soundcloud to help instruct you.

Feel free to also drop me a line if you take on the challenge. I’d love to hear about the challenges and successes you face or succeed with.

Meaningful Connections Are Critical To Health

We all know that being independent and taking on life’s challenges is important, but to find true health, we need meaningful connections and support from family and friends. Finding mental health and wellness is based on having solid relationships. Many people believe that you can overcome difficulties in life on your own (especially man men), but if you’re lonely, you mental and physical health is going to suffer.


When I was a mental health practitioner, I found that my clients who tended to be the most sick and required the most attention from me and my staff where those that had little or no meaningful supports. Unsurprisingly, those clients who had the supports tended to be the most stable had good encouragement from family and friends.

Here’s a good article that presents evidence on the importance of supports as it looks at the detrimental effects of loneliness:

Music as Medicine? Heck yeah!

As a Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Musician and Sound Healer I’ve always known there is much more to music than simple pleasure. We all know that our favorite dance song can raise our mood or the most sublime classical piece can lower our anxiety and relax us. Now there’s evidence to prove that there’s even more going on in our brains when we listen to music. Enjoying your favorite tunes can help fight depression, reduce pain and anxiety.

Check out this great article from

Here’s a link to my music and meditations

The Sweet Sound of Cats

For my clients who can’t handle or don’t want the big responsibility of a dog (I love them but always have too much going on the get one), I recommend getting a cat or two.

It’s proven that the purr of a cat is beneficial to our health. Check out this article by Melissa Breyer for more info:

There’s also a lot of entertainment value in the various meows of cats. Though they’d prefer to communicate via their visual cues cats seem to have learned the value of “talking”  from us humans.

Take a look at this great article about cats and communication:


Our cat Krikit who loves to chat and express herself with various meows. Her purr is amazingly stress relieving.

The Measure of Wealth

so true

The Weaving Serpent

Learned something special today after hiking into Lava River Cave. It was a challenge to say the least…but we did the walk and I felt a sense of accomplishment I hadn’t felt before was we finished. And I learned what real wealth is.


I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. In 30  minutes I can hike in forests, caves, canyons and deserts. I am surrounded by beauty. And I am surrounded by abundance.

Money can’t buy that. And money can’t buy that sense of accomplishment.

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