I currently live in Charlotte, NC and after spending 7 years as a personal chef and caterer, I am now happy to share my love of cooking with friends and family. My heart is in the kitchen, but my soul is in the stars!

This is your brain. This is your brain on real food.

Do you ever have one of those moments where you walk into a room and have no idea why?  Or maybe you totally forget what you're talking about in mid-sentence? 

Yeah, me too.  And if it's happening to me at the ripe old age of 40 too many, how bad will it be in 10, 15, or 20 years? 

Que The Healthy Mind Cookbook by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson.  I couldn't get my hands on this book with 120 recipes to "enhance brain function, mood, memory, and mental clarity" fast enough. 

Along with recipes, photos and a lot of food and brain related research, The Healthy Mind Cookbook also contains a section called The Culinary Pharmacy that lists 80 ingredients used in the book with notes about the roles they play in helping memory, mood, energy, sleep and more.  The information was garnered from peer-reviewed studies conducted with humans and animals in a lab specifically looking at the connection between food and the brain.  Even though science has not yet proven definitive connections between diet and the brain, it is still a very important connection to study.

It is somewhat expected that fading memory and advanced age go hand in hand because it was believed that the brain was incapable of producing new cells to replace old or damaged ones.  But recent discoveries show that new brain cells can, in fact, be produced.  Omega-3's are linked to a chemical known for jump-starting neuron growth and foods rich in vitamin E like nuts, seeds, broccoli and citrus also show a link to increased neuron growth activity.

Personally, I don't need years of research and studies along with approval from the FDA or government to tell me that food affects stress, anxiety, mood, depression, memory, cognitive function and learning.   Realizing that our brain is comprised of 60% fat, it makes me wonder if the deprivation of fat due to years of the low fat/no fat diet fads could be the cause for the onset of Alzheimer's and dementia.  Do I want to take a chance with my brain health?

NO.  NO.  NO.

I want my medulla oblongata to have a fighting chance! 

After my initial glance through the book, I had no doubt that it would be one that was given a coveted spot on my kitchen counter instead of being relinquished to gather dust on the overburdened cookbook shelf.  I chose 17 recipes to try and as of this posting, I've prepared 5 of them and have not yet been disappointed.  I like the book because it makes me get outside of my real food box - it contains combinations and  ingredients that I don't normally purchase or already have on hand.  Nothing weird, just different items like chili paste and bean thread and fresh mint.  The book also contains a resource for buying special ingredients online in case you can't find them in your local grocery store.  I also liked the fact that ingredients are repeated in recipes throughout the book without being redundant or repetitive.  It helps to not waste food. 

The Thai It Up Steak Salad (pictured on the book cover) scared me at first with it's inclusion of fish sauce and bean threads but I was very pleasantly surprised.  The marinade/dressing was very spicy from the chili paste, but I couldn't stop myself from eating it.

The Shrimp-Stuffed Avocados 2.0 is perfect for lunch or as a quick and light summer dinner on the patio. I was piggish and ate two servings at one sitting.  I had some "stuffing" left over and served it over salad greens.  I liked the combination of the crunchy apple with the smooth, rich and creamy avocado.     

I eat a lot of seafood but honestly tire of so much shrimp and salmon.  The Baked Halibut with Tomato, Mint and Fennel broke up that monotony.  The  topping was an interesting combination that I wouldn't have thought about and again, it scared me but I was game to try something new and I'm so glad I did.  I served it alongside wilted fresh spinach from my garden.  I had a bit of the tomato, mint and fennel mixture leftover and tossed it with some nice chunks of Feta cheese and served it over salad greens. 

The Rosemary and Pear Muffins was written for making mini muffins and I gave thought to changing them up to make standard sized muffins instead.  But I stuck with the plan and in retrospect, I'm glad I did.  They are perfect bite-sized savory morsels.  I've enjoyed a couple for breakfast each morning at my desk with an apple and slice of cheese. 

Julie's Sweet-and-Sour Cabbage was a great way to use up the remaining red cabbage from the Thai salad and since it keeps for up to a week in the refrigerator, it's been a great side dish addition to lunches and dinners this week. Crunchy, colorful and tangy, it's been a nice change from my regular green salads. 

There are so many more recipes that I want to try, but I already declare The Healthy Mind Cookbook by Rebecca Katz and Mat Edelson a great addition to my real food cookbook collection! 

I received this book free to review from Blogging for Books. The opinions expressed in this review are my true thoughts and feeling regarding this book. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.


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