Genius Foods

Genius Foods book coverI have been focusing on my physical health quite a bit lately and this lead to learning more about how food influences our physical and mental health. Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life by Max Lugavere and Paul Grewal is a great resource and overall interesting book that delves into nutrition and health.

Max Lugavere lists a “genius food” with each chapter for a total of 10 important foods to include in your diet. Each chapter delves into a different affect within the body that is influenced by the foods we eat. Sometimes things get a little technical as far as biology and chemistry, but Max does a good job of making sure you can understand these processes without needing a science degree. There is a lot of great information that I took away from the book and have already started implementing to improve my mental and physical health.

I had started my health-focused mindset long before discovering this book, but this book has reinforced and supplemented my diet and exercise habits, and I already have a lot more energy, have lost a total of 15 pounds, and I am well on my way to reaching my health goals for this year. I had a lot of weight to lose so this change little but significant.

This book came out in 2018, but Max began his journey into how food impacts the brain several years ago after his mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He delved into how the disease manifests and what can help reduce and prevent further development. His journey was an extensive one that eventually produced this book. Paul Grewal is a medical doctor who provides snippets within each chapter about the topic discussed, practical application, or examples of how he has seen or treated certain symptoms for patients in relation to each topic. There is a “Genius Plan” discussed in the final chapter that outlines a diet and exercise regiment that, if followed, will result in vastly improved health. I admit I am not attempting that regiment but am continuing my own journey with a few modifications made as a result of the new information from this book. The regiment seems a little restricting, but that is why I’m sure it would work very well. My own regiment is proving to be a great improvement for my health.

Overall, I think this book has a lot of great information about how our diets impact our physical and mental health. Not just which foods are good, but how our bodies process different nutrients and how they can affect us at different times. This is why I’m recommending this book. I think you will learn a lot about how what you eat affects you mentally and physically, and you may likely change your diet or be more conscious about your food choices once you know more about certain food items.

As for me, I am continuing my health journey. It was hard to get started, but know I am on a roll with keeping up with exercise and focusing on what I eat. I have more energy which makes it easier to exercise, and I am happier overall. I’m already seeing other positive changes like clothes fitting better. I’ve always known physical health is linked to mental health. I’d just let myself go a bit over the past several years because I was happy and content (and quarantine weight is real as well). Now I am happier and equally content. I’m also overly excited about becoming a father and want to be healthy so I can ensure I can live a long happy life with my wife and children.

I hope that you eventually give this book a shot if you also want to improve your physical and mental health or simply want to know more about how our food choices impact our bodies and minds. Perhaps this can be the seed that makes you start your own journey. If so, I wish you the best of luck and feel free to contact me if you want an accountability buddy.

Happy Reading.

Silver Linings Playbook

The Silver Linings Playbook book coverI finally got around to reading The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick. I had seen the movie a long time ago when it first came out in 2012 and put the book on my TBR. Now, roughly eight years later, I have gotten around to reading it. The book is a quick read at 289 well-spaced pages, and I read it over the span of a few days while fitting in homework, family holidays, and video game time.

All of these may make me sound like I am in high school or college, but I am well beyond those years (except the homework is for another degree so technically I am in college again I guess). I kind of wish I had read this book in high school because it probably would have helped me since I dealt with major mental health issues back then, primarily depression. This book came out in 2008 when I would have been a junior in high school. I really wish I read it when it came out, but you can’t change the past.

Perhaps I am drawn to this story because of my past, or because this book, like all good books, has a human element that captures you when you are reading it. The story is about a man in his early to mid-thirties who is recently taken out of, not technically released, from a mental health facility. His only goal is to get back together with his wife, and we as readers go along for his journey through therapy, family struggles, Eagles football, and his new friendship with a woman who is also struggling with her own mental issues after the death of her husband. I promise the story is not all down in the dumps. It is rather upbeat and hopeful despite all the conflict, mental and otherwise. It is called the “silver linings” playbook after all.

I first saw the movie and I have to say that I think I like the movie a little better than the book. Blasphemy, you say, but hear me out. The book is still good which is why I am recommending it. I like the movie because it does have a stellar cast with Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert de Niro. The movie adaptation did change a few things from the book but I think they were good changes that made the story stronger, but I also think they were changes needed for the different medium. The book is told in first person so we see everything through Pat’s eyes, the main character. We get to read his thoughts and how he sees everything and why he reacts the way he does. You don’t get thoughts in movies very well even with voice overs. There is also a lot more family dynamic in the book, which I appreciated because it really expounded on Pat’s issues and showed how many “normal” people also have issues related to mental health even if they aren’t diagnosed or treated. The different perspective caused by the medium of film made some of the changes necessary though they kept the overall story the same, but I liked the changes.

I am recommending this book for a few reasons. It is a good story. It is a great look into mental illness and how it impacts peoples lives. It is a bit inspiring because Pat is always looking for his silver lining through the all the turmoil and he is really working on himself, and I think we all need to take time to work on ourselves sometimes. I hate to say many people probably don’t know how to work on themselves, which is another reason I liked the book. It gives a perspective on how to do so.

I am very glad I finally got around to reading this one. As I tell my wife, I am going to read all of my books eventually, it is just going to take time (while I accumulate even more books (sorry dear, I love you)).

If you have ever struggled with mental issues, or knows someone who has, or are interested in the subject, or simply want to give this book a shot because it is a good book, or liked the movie and are interested in the book, then I encourage you to read it.

Happy Reading.