Starting a new diet or nutritional plan can often prove difficult. That’s understandable because the first few days and weeks of making any lifestyle change are challenging. As you may be used to eating eat out often and just getting lunch from the cafe close to your work. Keep in mind why you want to make your lifestyle change for better health, and don’t fall off the bandwagon going back to old ways after a week. Follow these 5 key steps and you will be well on your way to having better brain and overall health.

Set aside cook time: 

What ruins many grain and gluten-free diets is the on-the-go moment when it’s easier to reach for a granola bar, or a peanut butter sandwich, instead of a hard-boiled egg, vegetables & avocado, or another Brain-friendly snack. When we’re in a rush, we have little to no time to prepare a meal, and it’s often those gluten-filled options that are easily accessible and available as we’re walking out the door. How can we prevent this? Set aside a few hours on Saturday or Sunday and use that time to cook all your meals and snacks for the week. Grill seven chicken breasts, hard-boil 12 eggs, sauté a few servings of vegetables, or whatever else your stomach desires. If you do this, you’ll have all of your meals and snacks prepared for the week, not only saving you time (consider you only have to clean up once!), but also saving you from making poor dietary choices. And of course don’t have those poor food choices stacked up in the cupboards for you to be lazy and grab them instead.

If it can go bad, it’s good for you. If it stays good, it’s bad for you: 

This is one of my favorite sayings about the food we eat. I think we all have seen the famous image of the fourteen-year-old McDonald’s meal that hadn’t aged a day. Upon seeing that, I think we all intuitively know that there’s something wrong with food that doesn’t “expire.” When at the supermarket, remember this saying when making the choices of what to stock your kitchen with.

The Anti-Alzheimer’s Trio: 

It’s become one of my staples of conversation, and it should become one of the staples of your diet. When it comes to eating “memory food” there is no better trio of items to fight Alzheimer’s and dementia than grass-fed beef, avocados, and coconut oil. This group of high-fat, brain-smart foods are fundamental for optimal brain health, and should work their way into your weekly meal plan as well.

It’s all about a cup of coffee: 

I’m a big fan of coffee, and super thankful that it’s not only savory, but brain-healthy as well. Not only does coffee activate our Nrf2 pathways (nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor), helping to fight off oxidative stress and protect against neurodegenerative diseases, but recent studies have found that high levels of coffee consumption can be associated with up to a 65% reduction in risk for dementia. I really enjoy my cold press black coffee so drink up!!!!

Make sure you get enough DHA: 

Your body is only minimally able to make DHA, a critical fatty acid for brain health. So supplementation is key. I recommend a total daily dosage of DHA at around 1000mg. This can come from eating wild fish or better, take either a fish oil supplement or a DHA supplement derived from algae.

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Ty Lucas is a certified strength coach, bio-signature practitioner and is currently studying naturopathy. He is a strong believer is having healthy body function and hormonal profile, then getting the body to optimal body composition and performance levels. Ty the owner of Myathletes coaching which is one of the leading contest prep and body composition businesses in Australia.