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Nutrition, health, and news to come from World Parkinson Congress (WPC) and the Brian Grant Foundation (BGF)

Nutrition in general is a vital component to our daily health and to someone with Parkinson’s, diet is even more crucial. Staying hydrated and eating the right fruits and vegetables will keep your digestion active to help avoid constipation. The better your gut is working, the more likely you are going to get top efficacy from your medications.

Summer color and flavor
Summer color and flavor

Eating local from Virginia farmer’s markets in spring and summer is a treat and is my healthiest alternative since I don’t grow my own food. When buying fruits and veggies that are shipped far distances it is easy to forget that produce that travels miles loses some of the nutritional potency as opposed to that of a local provider. Winter and fall is a bit more of challenge for me to eat local.

I noticed a tremor in my left foot at age 17 that only showed up sporadically. At age 23, and after about 9 or so different doctors, I finally got my diagnosis for Parkinson’s disease. It has been over 30 years since my first noticeable symptom and not far from 30 years from my diagnosis date. I truly believe that eating low on the food chain and eating vegetarian has helped me remain on a low dose of medicine.

If it is true that we are what we eat, and I do, then we need a greater awareness and more consideration for the fuel we load into our bodies. Food and food science has changed our diets dramatically with additives, emulsifiers, and sweeteners. I am careful to eat organic whenever possible. I eat healthy but there are times when my craving for a cookie or chip takes over and I have to submit to the urge. Overall, I stay aware of what I am eating and how it may interact with my medication. I am very protein sensitive and my medication can fluctuate tremendously when it comes to dairy, nuts, eggs, and soy.

Trying to find a product without high fructose corn sweetener, wheat, or citric acid, in a large conventional grocery store is more of a challenge these days. Understanding your food now requires knowing a little more chemistry than when I was a boy. Good nutrition is achievable but like most important health decisions a healthy diet takes preparation, planning, and forethought.

Eating healthy isn’t always the cheapest of ways to eat, so compromise and alternatives have to suffice at times. It is so important to read those labels and know what is in your food to make the best choice.

On a personal level, I have little doubt that my being a long-term vegetarian has been of benefit in my digestion and pill absorption as well. Eating lower on the food chain and eliminating meat products helped me maintain my weight, improve my energy level, clear my skin, and feel clearer of mind to boot.

As the 2016 World Parkinson Congress (WPC) nears its arrival to Portland, Oregon, also the home of the Brian Grant Foundation, I am excited to hint about a program that will soon be released. The Power Through Project (PTP) is something new and an event for everyone to take part in. Stay tuned for upcoming announcements. See you in Portland!

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