Jim has always been a huge lover of sugar. A gallon of ice cream would never last in our house longer than two days. I was astonished at how much sugar Jim could eat and not pack on the pounds. And since Jim always kept a reasonable weight, I never really pressed him on the sugar issue. But if I knew then what I know now, ice cream would have been banned from our house.
Jim was diagnosed with dementia 14 years ago and for the first 12 years we carried on like we always had – same diet, same lifestyle. Jim did start taking Aricept and Namenda. But these medicines are not curative and did not lead to any reduction in Jim’s memory issues. My hope was that they were slowing down the rate of decline.
As Jim’s condition deteriorated to the point he could no longer talk, no longer tie his shoes, and barely get up the stairs in our home, I got desperate. As I started looking for anything that could make a positive difference, that our modern diet plays a significant role in the prevalence of dementia and Alzheimer’s today. I did further research on the internet and found many medical professionals saying that Alzheimer’s disease is primarily predicated on lifestyle choices. demonstrated that even mild elevation of blood sugar – a level around 105 or 110 – is associated with an elevated risk for dementia. And diabetics have double the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The bottom line seemed to be that eating lots of sugar and other carbohydrates harms both your brain structure and function.
So what to do? The obvious thing to me was to eliminate sweets immediately. I stopped buying ice cream, cake, pie and candy. Other obvious sources of sugar, including items such as ketchup, were removed from the diet. Also excluded were processed foods that include ingredients such as fructose and hydrogenated fats, or any ingredient that I couldn’t pronounce.
The main idea was to replace refined carbohydrates with healthy fats.
And what could be eaten? The main idea was to replace refined carbohydrates with healthy fats. Your brain does not need carbs and sugars. Healthy fats such as saturated animal fats are far more critical for optimal brain function. Healthy fats to add to your diet include:
- Butter made from grain-fed organic milk
- Organic eggs (specifically the yolk)
- Coconuts and coconut oil
- Raw nuts such as pecans and macadamia
- Grain-fed meats and pasture-raised poultry
This is the diet we follow for Jim. Because diet is not a one-step improvement program, Jim’s doctors also focus on recommending supplements for Jim and . After a year on this balanced program, Jim can now do many more things for himself. My favorite example is tying his shoes, but there is also brushing his hair, getting in the car all on his own, and putting on his own jacket. For me, these victories bring great joy!