Brain Foods for Readers and Writers

For a long time, I’ve been experiencing brain glitches. That’s what I call it when I can’t think of the right word or name. It’s frustrating because I know this word, but it’s just slipped out of my brain.

photo credit: *n*o*o*r* via photopin cc

photo credit: *n*o*o*r* via photopin cc

I’m proactive, and right away I did something about it. I took supplements that were supposed to improve brain function. They seemed to work for a while…but it didn’t last. That brain glitch came back. And as I got older, the glitch happened more often. Not just in conversation, but in my writing. When I can’t think of the right word while writing, I type ZZZ, then continue on and hope I’ll find it in the next draft. In the last manuscript I wrote in 2012, there were many ZZZs.

This is scary for most people. It’s way more scary when someone in your family has had Alzheimer’s, which is what my mother had. And it’s frustrating that the advice you get is to exercise and keep your brain active. My mother was a huge reader. She would walk more than a mile home from the library once a week, carrying a pile of books. She also did crossword puzzles in ink.

From the Dr. Oz Show, I learned that inflammatory foods are a cause of Alzheimer’s. Inflammatory foods also contribute to heart disease, arthritis, and high blood pressure, and they accelerate the aging process. I’m not sure about the acceleration of the aging process, but all the other health issues run in my family.

My mother was a thin woman, but her diet was awful. She loved sweets, and so do I. She loved chocolate, and so do I. She loved cheese, and so do I. The best anti-inflammatory diet is to eat mostly vegetables and fruit, with some grains and nuts. It’s okay to eat meats and even cheese and chocolate, but in small amounts.

photo credit: .craig via photopin cc

photo credit: .craig via photopin cc


For the first three weeks of the year, I ate only vegetables, fruits and nuts. Two days after I started this healthier way of eating, the ‘missing word glitch’ went away. Gone. Just like that. I’ve slowly let inflammatory foods back into my diet in small amounts, but I’m still eating mostly fruits and vegetables. When I go off it too much (last weekend my husband made carrot cake, and I love carrot cake), then the glitch does start to come back. It’s a good reminder to eat healthy again. I love the Mediterranean Diet, which is fairly healthy, and so does my husband. You can eat delicious foods that are healthy.

This is a blog for readers and writers. I want to keep reading books by my writer friends. And I want my readers to keep reading mine. If our brains diminish, that’s not going to happen. There are lists of foods to make yourself smarter, but it’s also important to avoid foods that make you dumber. How do you rate your eating habits?

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16 Responses to Brain Foods for Readers and Writers

  1. Amy says:

    Oh, Edie, I am horrible. I know what I should eat, but I just choose the wrong, quick things. And I really hate vegetables. I know I need to find a way to work them into my diet, though and I know I will feel better. I hate cooking, thus, I hate coming up with new things to try. However, with my kids out of school this summer, my husband and I have vowed to come up with healthier snack alternatives for them so hopefully that will go for us, too!

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Amy, I’m not a great cook, either. For many years, I chose the fast, quick things, too. My husband still brings them home, so I have lots of temptations.

      Good luck on your healthier eating!

  2. My diet is healthier than twenty years ago but in times of high stress and I’ve been in that for over a year, it slides away from healthy more often than I like. Usually happens when I’m doing a 40-45 hour day. Yes, I wrote day and that’s exactly what I mean. I’m in one right now. :-(
    Casey Clifford`s last blog was …Dreams Do Come True

  3. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Edie,

    My son and I were just talking about this and the last week. Normally our diet is very good and all my kids adore vegetables. But this last week we had two birthdays and Mother’s Day celebration, I was incredibly stressed and the Friday and Saturday we hate starch heavy. As much as I love starch (home made pretzels, pizza and pasta), my body hates them. I’ve been dealing with a horrible headache, fatigue, and irritability ever since. Back to greens for us! :)
    Dale Mayer`s last blog was …New Release! – UNBOUND

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Dale, you can’t have a birthday without a cake! Or in your son’s case, a cheesecake. Let’s hope this is a green week for both of us – and we both have a lot of energy. :)

  4. This has started happening to me within the last couple years! It’s very frustrating! I’m so glad for this blog and am totally going to read the list. I’ve already started to eat healthier, but need to be better and this is the perfect blog!

  5. Liz Kreger says:

    Hmm. I don’t think my diet is too horrible. Yes, I like my sweets, but in moderation. Thing is … with the meds I’m on, even chocolate loses its appeal after a bite or two. So, most of my junk food is in moderation.

    I’m also an avid gardener and make it a point of planting lots of veggies. If the mature plants don’t get eaten, I feel guilty. ;-) So – I make it a point of trying to make sure nothing goes to waste. I plant tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cucumbers … you name it. Also helps that I love veggies and fruit, so they tend to be a regular in my diet.

    Not sure if I personally see a difference with regard to “brain glitches”. I have other circumstances that probably contribute to them other than diet … but I do get them. Like you, I’ll substitute a line for a word and hopefully go back when the correct word or phrase pops up.

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Liz, your diet might account for the fact that you’re doing as well as you are. Whatever it is, I’m glad for it!

      Last night my husband said the radishes he planted 3 days ago were already starting to grow. Let’s hope this will be a good season for vegies. Much better than last year.

  6. Misty Evans says:

    Edie, I sure needed this post. I try to eat healthy and do a fair job at it, but I didn’t realize all the sweets could be causing my memory to fail. I’m going to moderate some of these foods and see what happens. Thank you!

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Misty, I was going to say ‘sugar is the worst.” But actually the fake sugar is worse. It’s not real food. And they’re saying now that real butter is better than margarine. And full fat is better than low fat.

      Isn’t that crazy? All these years, we were eating food made out of chemicals and was told it was healthier for us.

      Good luck!

  7. Edie,
    I’m seeing this late, but I had to comment — great post!! :)
    You know what a chocolate/ice cream addict I am…sigh. I’m well aware of the right foods to eat but don’t eat them nearly as often as I should. When I cut down on sugar and lots of extra starches, though, I always feel better, too, and I hadn’t thought about it, but I’ll bet my memory is stronger then as well.
    Marilyn Brant`s last blog was …Fabulous Spring Reads!

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Marilyn, ice cream is another food my husband buys that is hard for me to resist. I’ll just take a spoonful, and then I think another spoonful won’t hurt. And before I know it, I’ve eaten half the box.

      Good luck to both of us on resisting!

  8. Wow – thanks for this post, Edie! I have exactly that problem and it drives me nuts! I’ve noticed it’s worse during certain times, so I call it the “PMS Brain Death.” :)

    Years ago, I went on an anti-inflammatory diet to help with arthritis (and it did help) but then fell off the wagon. Hearing it can help with those annoying brain glitches is even more incentive to get back on!

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Kate, I’m glad I can help! I just realized that because of his healthy diet, I’m pretty sure I have an iron deficiency. So have to pick up some iron pills.

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