Today's topic is not about diet. Although it may sound like it.
The focus of today's tip is on science. Neuroscience, to be specific. And it's a doozy.
It's central to your mental strength, ambition and peace-of-mind, really.
Without getting too deep in the weeds, and as you already know, 10,000+ years ago our traditional food sources made a huge shift. (1, 2)
This food shift dramatically increased the food supply. It changed our core human diets from hunting 'big game' to eating 'grains'. And just for clarity, grains are plants and are literally the seeds of grasses. (2)
You know all this already, and you are probably wondering what this has to do with mental strength.
It never occurred to the psychological sciences that this shift in food supply would have an impact until someone noticed a drop in schizophrenia cases during World War II ...
Here's another way to say that...
Let's just chalk this up to, "maybe that was a coincidence?".
At this same time, in the United States, both wheat consumption and schizophrenia cases increased.
Then the people of the South Pacific islands who traditionally ate a low consumption of wheat were introduced to Western grain products. And guess what?
Recent scientists have found that grains may affect much more than just schizophrenia. Grains can negatively affect our body and brain. (2) In fact, grain-related chemicals can cross the blood-brain barrier in all of us, can set off immune system reactions for those of us that are predisposed and they contain properties during digestion that mimic the activity of opium. (2)
It's not "news" that grasses and plants have to defend themselves. Most have no thorns, have no protective hard shell, they can't run and they can't pick up a stick to defend themselves from an attack.
But, like most plants, it is well documented that grasses produce toxins, largely known as 'self-defense proteins'. Plants have engineered a wide variety of poisons—over 50,000 defensive compounds—to deter, harm, or kill anything that decides to feed on them. (2)
So where does that leave us?
Well, no need to panic just yet.
Let's take pasta for example, many of the self-defense proteins in pasta —though highly resistant to digestion—are destroyed in salted water during cooking and do not make it to your plate. Yet self-defense proteins can still be found in a host of items such as beer, couscous and raw flour.
Lastly, the neuroscience researchers reported that a grain-free diet could improve the mental health of many and be a complete cure for others. (2) If being grain-free could cure mental health issues, what could it do to promote mental fitness, strength and toughness?
This is absolutely worthy of more testing and research.
The purpose of this tip is to start a highly thought-provoking conversation and challenge some long-time beliefs. Of course its ultimately up to you and your medical doctor to add great things to your life, remove things that don't work so well and find out what works best for you -- so...
In the meantime, here are some related tips and strategies to help you develop your mental strength:
Until Next Week,
Your team at Mental Strength
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