The Enduring Bliss of Beginner’s Mind

It was the photo that sent me over the edge. I hadn’t seen my cousin in three years and when she posted a picture of her kids walking down the airport terminal, I cracked. They were just so big. Basically adults. The passing of time hit me like a swift fist to the gut and I booked a ticket right away.

The next afternoon I arrived at the airport and promptly lost my bearings. Dodging construction workers and safety cones, I weaved my way to our “secret” parking garage only to find that it was a secret no longer. …

Photo by Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash

Over the past five years, I have seen more commercials for Prevagen than I can count. You know, it’s the pill that is touted as the “number one pharmacist recommended memory support”. The commercials are filled with “real customers” who have gotten “real results” and it all looks pretty convincing if one can ignore the disclaimer at the bottom of the screen.

Every time I see ads for Prevagen, I get mad. Not blisteringly angry, but really irritated.

As a specialist in dementia risk reduction, I know the science behind their claims is shoddy. A quick online search reveals years…

Photo by Carl Cerstrand on Unsplash

Stavanger is one of Norway’s oldest cities. The first time I visited, I wandered into the city center and marveled at the cobblestone streets, quaint shops, and beautiful people. The sky was steely grey and tendrils of cold, humid sea air whipped across the harbor as I hunted for a place to get some food. Cafes serving strong, bitter coffee and fresh pastry beckoned. I peeked inside packed restaurants serving kebabs, pizza, seafood, Indian, and sushi and finally settled on a rambling restaurant with a nautical bent. Service was slow but the portions were generous, and the beer was cold…

Studies show type 2 diabetes increases the risk of Alzheimer’s — the most common form of dementia — by 56%. In fact, type 2 diabetes raises the risk of developing all types of dementia. Understanding why diabetes increases the risk of dementia empowers us to implement simple changes that significantly reduce the risk for both conditions.

Diabetes is so common and so “manageable” that we can easily fall into the trap of believing that it’s not a terribly serious disease. I used to believe that diabetes wasn’t that big of a deal…until my husband lost his mother to the disease…

How moving beyond willpower empowers you to become your best self

Photo by Florian Berger on Unsplash

Habits shape who we are and we can use them to be the people we want to be.

For those of us who are passionate about dementia risk reduction, habits matter a lot. Research shows that reducing risk depends on making long-term lifestyle changes that stick, but if you’re like most people, that’s easier said than done.

I should know. I smoked cigarettes for almost twenty years. Did I know it was bad for me? Absolutely. Did I want to quit? Kind of.

Logically, I knew my habit would eventually kill me but that knowledge and fear did nothing to…

Harnessing the power of neuroplasticity and neurogenesis

Photo by bantersnaps on Unsplash

We used to believe that you’re born with all the brain cells you will ever have…but we were wrong. It turns out that we can create new brain cells and new connections between brain cells throughout our entire lifetime. We do this through two processes: neurogenesis and neuroplasticity.


Neurogenesis is the process of forming new neurons in the brain. Most new brain cells are formed in utero, but neurogenesis continues in certain brain regions after birth and throughout our lifespan. Adult neurogenesis is now accepted to be a normal process that occurs in healthy brains.

The science of neurogenesis shows…

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

Last year I found myself at a crossroads. One road led down the same path I had been trudging along for years. It was paved with good intentions, lots of rules, and looped endlessly back on itself. No drinking during the week…except for tonight. No more wine…after this glass. Never again…until tomorrow.

When it came to alcohol, my ability to bargain and rationalize the breaking of my own rules was second-to-none. I had been down that road again and again and kept ending up back where I started, another year older and apparently none the wiser. And I was tired.

Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

Up at my dad’s house in the mountains of New Mexico is an apple tree unlike any that you’ve ever seen before.

It’s branches come from a dozen different heirloom apple trees, each one carefully grafted on many years ago. It lives on the side of the house, basking in the west sun. When it blooms in the springtime, the scent is heavenly and the fruit erupts in summer with a riot of colors, textures, and tastes.

The first couple of years that the tree put forth fruit, we could reach out of the living room window on the second…

Women are twice as likely as men to get Alzheimer’s during their lifetime. New research sheds light on the reasons why and what you can do about it.

Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

In pre-menopause, your brain energy is high. But in perimenopause — the transition time to menopause that generally hit in the mid to late 40’s — your brain’s ability to metabolize glucose slows down by 20–30% or more.

Your brain uses glucose as fuel to make new connections between neurons. Glucose is a type of sugar that you get from the foods you eat.

Estrogen plays a key role in this process…

Photo by Matt Howard on Unsplash

On Wednesday, I went for a run for the first time in a couple of weeks. It was so hot and sticky outside (hello, Houston!) that the air almost felt solid. I was drenched in sweat. It was awful.

We’ve all been there: trying to do something “good for us” and hating every minute of it. And if we’re honest about it, that can be enough to make us give up on whatever goal we’ve set. I can’t tell you how many times I have tried and failed to break a bad habit or start a new good one. …

Tamara Claunch

Integrative Wellness Consultant & Life Coach, specializing in dementia risk reduction. Lover of human beings in all our quirkiness 🤙🏼

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