I have loved and learned from Paula Wolfert’s writing on North African and Mediterranean foods through the years. Besides this video being a fun portrait of a really charming person, it’s inspiring how Paula loves life and is taking a DIY approach to her own health and staving off cognitive decline with careful attention to diet.  I also love that she’s gone public with this– it’s brave and a gift to all of us as Alzheimer’s is so scarily on the rise.  Her decision to be “out” takes the shame away. I love that lady!

There are various nutritional approaches to mental decline that make sense to me.  A few years ago Oliver Tickell wrote about the role of trans-fats, and this more recently, in modern diets and fought successfully to have hydrogenated fats removed from foods in the UK.  I’ve read recently, and we’ll all be hearing a lot more about the role of carbohydrates and gluten in spiking the sugar load in the brain, which is apparently deleterious.  And when I first saw the video with Paula Wolfert above, it was in the context of what’s basically an advert for a brand of Prebiotics — and as an advert, therefore made me sceptical.

Not that buying prebiotics is a bad thing, but it’s possible to get “prebiotics” nutritionally, though maybe it’s just easier and more predictable in a supplement.  The Wikipedia article (I have to stop quoting like this!) says ” Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that stimulate the growth and/or activity of bacteria in the digestive system in ways claimed to be beneficial to health.”  In other words, Prebiotics aid the Probiotics that we know are part of “gut health,” found in fermented foods that on this blog I am so fond of making and promoting.  Probiotics encompass  that thriving world of micro-organisms that need to form our “micro-flora:” humans evolved with them for health and immunity.  They are the positive bacteria that help us digest, to glean nutrition from our food, and keep the intestines — our “second brain” — happy and impermeable.  All this is very much in the nutrition and health news; I am just trying to string together what I can…

Anything with inulin like Jerusalem Artichokes, chicory, also dandelion roots, apparently, is a good Prebiotic, and so are leeks and onions.   My nutritionist friend Annie Green  says ” if someone is prone to bloating or IBS-like symptoms its not always a good idea” — she recommends people checking out “FODMAPS” —  so many things to consider.

I have had terrible stomach pain from overdoing Jerusalem Artichokes (which I love) (and which my friend Vicky mixes with Chard to make a delicious soup called Poor Man’s Watercress Soup, should your body be OK with this food).  Just had to mention that soup– it was so yummy!  Maybe if I’d eaten more totally-probiotic sauerkraut that day, the Prebiotics would have vanquished the ill-effects?  Or maybe I’m someone who would benefit from a Prebiotic supplement?

I’m just musing–  not feeling like I have to be authoritative with knowledge in any way, this sunny morning….

There is so much.  So many people and issues with grains, with depression, with mental “disorders,” (hate using that word), with terrible stomach ailments, migraines, allergies.   So many approaches to dietary health, to heal, to help us get old gracefully.  Taking our health into our own hands, not counting on the efficacy of what pharmaceuticals offer (which isn’t to say totally rejecting them, IMHO)– this is part of DIY culture too.  Paula Wolfert, doing it for Alzheimer’s, is a Food Hero.

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