Feeding Your Creativity for Maximum Production
Mind, Body, Spirit
We writers and creatives have voracious appetites to create. New ideas whet our cravings, but we are never fully satiated. We have that incessant hankering for our next big idea. To get there, we devour voluminous quantities of books, we ingest seminars and workshops aplenty, and we chew and savor good ideas and spit out the bad. We are in a constant state of creative digestion.
The first item in your writers/creative’s breakfast or lunchbox should be:
Natural Fresh Water
- Our brains are approximately 78% water. Even a 2% decrease can have a negative effect on brain function.
- The body can only absorb so much water at a time, so don’t chug, sip regularly.
- Reach for a glass of water instead of a cup of coffee. Coffee dehydrates, water hydrates.
- Do not let your brain get dehydrated, it shrivels when it is undernourished. That means your ideas are shriveling too. Drink more purified water and watch what happens!
Lipids/Fats to Nourish Your Brain
- A high percentage of our brains are made of lipids, or fats. It is the fattiest organ in our bodies (www.dentinstitute.com) .
- Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, which is essential for enhancing memory critical thinking and general cognition.
- Walnuts even look like little brains with right and left hemispheres. They have high doses of cancer-fighting antioxidants, and Omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which increases cognitive function.
- Wild-caught salmon reduces the risk of depression. It contains omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which is critical for a healthy nervous system and optimal brain function.
- Trans fats. Read labels – if it says 0%, but has a .5 next to it, you are still getting some. Food companies can claim 0% if there is .5 grams, or less. I know, it is deceiving. Also look for the words, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, aka trans fats.
- Trans fats (artificial unsaturated fat) are added to foods to make them taste good and last longer. They are very harmful to your brain. When ingesting trans fats over time, this bad cholesterol can build up in blood vessels causing them to narrow, which blocks blood flow to all vital organs. This of course can lead to stroke and heart attacks.
- Some foods in which you may find trans fats: popcorn, potato chips, crackers, fried fast foods, frozen pizza, vegetable shortening, and solid margarine and butters (avoid it if it is labeled as partially hydrogenated oil).
Protein/Amino Acids to Unlock Your Thoughts
- The building blocks of protein are called amino acids. Start off your day with a high protein breakfast. Oatmeal (steel cut preferably), turkey bacon, quinoa, Greek yogurt, protein smoothie (add protein powder), smoked salmon and avocado on whole grain toast, beans and rice.
- One amino acid in particular, L-Tyrosine, has been shown to play a role in creativity, mental performance, and mental health by increasing catecholamines (brain chemical) in the brain. L-Tyrosine can be found in fish, nuts, dairy, beans, whole grains, soy, cheese, and meat. Not too difficult, eh?
- Various amino acids are precursors for key brain neurotransmitters. Transport mechanisms exist to get these to the brain through the protective blood brain barrier (BBB). Tryptophan is the rarest amino acid found in food, and is the precursor of serotonin as first observed by Fernstrom and Wurtman (1971). This topic will further require a separate article, which should stimulate your amino acid and neurotransmitter appetite!
- None of them! You need all amino acids! For the brain, you especially need tyrosine, tryptophan, histidine, and arginine (Betz et al., 1994). Eat protein at every meal.
Glucose/Carbohydrates to Rev Your Ideas
- Grazing throughout the day eating smaller, more frequent meals help maintain glucose levels more consistently throughout the day, rather than relying on three large meals. Consistent glucose to the brain helps regulate brain function. Glucose is the primary energy substrate of the brain.
- The more fruits and veggies we consume, the happier, more engaged, and more creative we are! Blue and purple fruits and veggies are especially important for memory.
- Fruits and vegetables foster production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter which plays a key role in motivation, engagement, and curiosity.
- Blueberries contain high doses of antioxidants, which fight free radicals in the body and the brain.
- Mice navigate through mazes more easily after eating blueberries (Eat This, Not That!, Feb. 2016). You can find this book in my library/store by clicking on the link.
- You won’t have to spit out any of the extra food on your plate if you serve up smaller portion sizes. You do not need to have your cake and eat it in two sittings.
- Artificial colors and dyes: Blue #2, used in candies, beverages, pet foods, etc., has been linked to brain tumors. (Mercola, Are You or Your Family Eating Toxic Food Dyes?, Feb. 24, 2011)
- Yellow 5, used in baked goods, candies, cereal and more, may not only be contaminated with several cancer-causing chemicals, but it’s also linked to hyperactivity, hypersensitivity and other behavioral effects in children (Mercola, IBID)
- Creative thoughts are best achieved when in a relaxed peaceful state of mind. Thoughts need time to settle down so creative thoughts are free to emerge. Take breaks during the day. Look up from your computer, and hopefully out a window. Eat slowly and thoughtfully.
- Creativity is spawned during relaxation. For example, how many books are inspired, paintings imagined, and lyrics composed during relaxed state of mind and body during a long warm shower.