You spoke and we listened. The feedback from our last Brain Warrior’s Live Class, while positive, clearly stated that you would like more time having your questions answered. Below is a list of several of the most frequently asked questions and answers along with one of our favorite Amen household recipes. If you prefer watching the video to hear these questions answered, go to my Facebook page in the video section.
Q: Can you tell us how much fruit — and what kind — is ok to consume?
A: ½ cup berries or one piece of fruit. If you aren’t insulin resistant and you exercise, you may be able to tolerate 2 pieces of fruit or so. The exception is extreme athletes who may need more carbs. Berries are the best for your brain and they are low glycemic. Apples and cherries are also fine. Limit high glycemic fruits like bananas, pineapple, mangos, etc. to small amounts and occasional treats.
Q: Is bottled water ok? If so what brand is healthiest?
A: Compared to what? It’s better than NOT drinking water. However, avoid plastic when possible and don’t let it get hot. Opt for filtered water when possible. Be careful not to consume too much alkaline water because you don’t want to decrease stomach acid long term.
Q: What are your thoughts on cultured and fermented dairy and vegetables?
A: Fermented foods are great. Lactic acid free cow’s milk yogurt if you aren’t symptomatic, goat or sheep’s milk yogurt or coconut milk (unsweetened, not plain), sauerkraut and kimchi are a few examples of probiotic rich foods.
Q: Do you put homemade kefir in the same category as commercial dairy?
A: Kefir is in same category as yogurt depending on the base, EXCEPT if you’re adding sugar and if you’re allergic to the milk proteins. Also be careful of harmful bacteria when preparing at home. There are many stories of people becoming ill from contaminated homemade kefir.
Q: I get extreme abdominal pain when eating avocado. What is a good fat substitute?
A: Focus on what you CAN have. Coconut butter/ oil, olive oil, nut or seed butter, egg yolks and fatty fish are a few examples.
Q: You speak a lot about how brain warrior food will help you lose weight, but what if you need to gain weight?
A: If you are trying to gain, increase portion sizes and calories as needed, and focus on increasing some of the healthy carbs like sweet potatoes, bananas and quinoa. Enjoy some of the healthy desserts and breakfast recipes that include more carbs, like “Tanana Pancakes”.
Q: Is oatmeal/ porridge (gluten free) made at home with rice milk bad or can I still eat it in the morning?
A: We recommend avoiding all grains for the first two to three weeks. Then add gluten free grains, including oatmeal, back in “like a condiment”. Eat small portions, ½ cup or less at a time. Try adding some protein powder and coconut oil or slivered almonds to make it a complete meal. Avoid rice milk if it has high sugar content.
Q: What kind of protein powder do you recommend if I’m allergic to milk?
A: We recommend sugar free, plant based protein powders. I’m biased to the brand I helped create, “Omni Protein”. It is sweetened with stevia, contains branch chain amino acids- great for athletes and vegans, as well as fiber and digestive enzymes. It can be found at www.brainmdhealth.com
Q: I found black bean rotini and the only ingredient listed is black bean flour. Would that be appropriate for the BWW plan?
A: It’s probably better than wheat based crackers and pasta depending on other ingredients, but always look at the carb content. Think of it as an occasional treat. We find that many people find reducing the consumption of legumes improves digestive issues.
-Check out Flax Snax crackers which may not be as carb heavy.
Q: RE: fruit juice: I drink lots of water everyday and I add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to make it taste great. Is this ok to do?
A: A squeeze of lemon or lime isn’t considered “fruit juice”. It’s very health promoting. Go for it. Avoid orange juice and other types of juice for drinking. Squeezing a little over a salad is fine.
Q: Is avocado oil ok? I love it. Do I need to throw it out?
A: Enjoy! It’s one of the best oils for you and one of the best to cook with. My quick start guide provides a basic guideline that doesn’t include avocado oil because it isn’t always easy to find and is more expensive. Avoid soy, corn, safflower, sunflower and cottonseed oils.
Q: Why do you recommend eliminating commercial gluten free bread?
A: Most gluten free bread replacements are full of starch, which are like “super carbs”. The elevate blood sugar even FASTER than sugar and bread. Think of these products as “recreational drugs”. Instead focus on coconut wraps, vegan flat bread or lettuce wraps, in place of bread.
Q: I want to optimize brain health (focus, memory, and mood) for a type 4 brain. A gluten-free diet solves my sensitive digestion. Do I need to make any changes in your menus or recipes to make them gluten-free?
A: All of my recipes are gluten free except for my very first cookbook from years ago, “Change Your Brain, Change Your Body”, which has a few recipes containing whole grain products. Check out recipes available on tanaamen.com and in The Omni Diet.
Roasted Vegetable Salad – Serves 6
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
½ teaspoon pepper
2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced in thin strips
2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and sliced in thin strips
½ red onion, sliced
2 cups asparagus tips
1 cup jicama, diced
1 cup hearts of palm
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (gluten-free)
1 garlic clove, minced
½ avocado, diced
¼ cup shaved, raw almonds
1 teaspoon raw, unfiltered honey
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup artichoke hearts, diced
1 pound pan-seared salmon, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes
415 calories 117 calories from fat 53.3g protein 21.3g carbohydrates 8.1g fiber 8.9g sugar 13.0g fat
6.9g saturated fat 122mg cholesterol 373mg sodium
Finally a protein powder that's sugar free, gluten free, has 22 grams of protein and is only 130 calories!
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