Brain Awareness Week, plus scrumptious ‘Smart Cookie’ bar recipe

HEALTH – March 12th begins Brain Awareness week. There are a number of things you can do to ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s. You can:

  1. Get adequate amounts of sleep;
  2. Avoid sleeping with the light or television on, because this prevents you from getting into the deep sleep necessary for your brain and body to rejuvenate;
  3. Do 30 minutes of cardio exercises every day to increase the oxygen flow to the brain and increase elimination of toxins in the body;
  4. Exercise your brain. Your brain is a muscle so it must be exercised just like the other muscles in your body. Ways to exercise your brain include:
    • Learning something new every day;
    • Doing different types of puzzles, such as Fill in the blank, Matching, Multiple choice, Short answer,Essay,Video game puzzles;
    • Listening to Mozart (it stimulates both sides of the brain);
    • Learning how to play an instrument (it exercises both sides of the brain);
    • Doing memory exercises, for example, pick words from the dictionary and try to remember the definitions. Every day increase the number of words and definitions you have to remember;

You can also eat foods that reduce inflammation and increase concentration, such as cocoa (that is at least 75% pure) and foods rich in omega-3, such as wild fish (i.e. salmon) and nuts (i.e. Brazil and walnuts). Follow the recipe below for a delicious treat that is also good for your brain!

Recipe: “Smart Cookie” Bar 

–Ingredients —

  • 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup figs, black stemmed and cut in half
  • 1 cup fresh dates
  •  1/2 cup walnuts minced
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp xantham gum
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbs coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup cocoa niblets
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds raw
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds – raw
  • 2 cups buckwheat soaked and dehydrated
  • 1/2 cup raisins chopped

–Procedure —

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly mist an 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium heatproof bowl, cover the date and figs with hot coconut water. Set aside.
  3. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, chop the walnuts until they are in small pieces but not mealy. Add the buckwheat flour, cinnamon, baking soda, xanthan gum and sea salt. Process for 30 seconds, or until the mixture is combined and the walnuts are a little finer. Sprinkle the coconut oil evenly across the walnut mixture. Pulse until a dough forms. Turn the dough out into a large bowl.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the dates and figs to the food processor, reserving the coconut water used for soaking; wait to wash the processor bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the soaking liquid, the lemon zest, orange juice and vanilla. Let process for several minutes, until smooth.
  5. While the food processor is running, use wet hands to firmly press two-thirds of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle 1/2 the assorted nuts and raisins. Once the date and fig mixture is smooth, spread it evenly across the dough topped with nuts. Top with remaining nuts and raisins. Break the remaining dough into marble-sized pieces, sprinkle them across the fig and date paste that has been topped with nuts and lightly press in.
  6. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through, until the top becomes lightly golden brown. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Cut into 14 squares These also freeze well.

Servings: 25        Yields: 25

Cooking Times

Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Nutrition Facts:

Serving size: 1/25 of a recipe (1.7 ounces).
Percent daily values based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.


Other Foods Good for the Brain

Eat breakfast: eggs (free-range AND cage-free), tart cherry juice (seasonal), tea (green + apple cider vinegar + honey + fennel + turmeric), sourdough bread,

Omega-3 : (fatty acids) = fish 2x/week

Short term memory boost= fructose found in fruits, caffeine (small amount)

Vitamin E : nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, filberts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed, and unhydrogenated nut butters such as peanut butter, almond butter, and tahini) and chocolate (minimum 75% cocoa) daily, one ounce each daily (nuts and dark chocolate)

Vegetables: artichokes, eggplants, red onion, spinach, popcorn

Fruits: apples, grapes, cherries, red fruits, figs, dates, avocado (1/4 – ½ daily),

Berries: especially blue berries

Beans: especially lentils and black beans (1/2 cup daily)

Grains: whole grain, whole wheat,

Beverages: Pomegranate juice 2 ounces daily diluted with seltzer water or club soda, Fresh brewed tea – 2 to 3 cups daily

Herbs and spices: garlic, rosemary, sage, cloves, cinnamon, turmeric, ginkgo, ginseng, ginger, horseradish + lemon juice (1/2 t)

Foods that Diminish Brain Function:

Alcohol, artery clogging foods (restricts blood and oxygen to the brain), high glycemic foods (cause mood swings, sluggishness and irritability).


Author: Mama Vega
Source: Mama Vega*s “The good Stuff… A Taste of Home”
Copyright: Mama Vega Corporation March 2012

Health Disclaimer

All information in this recipe is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals and conduct their own independent research on any matter relating to their health and well-being.

The information and opinions expressed here are believed to be accurate, based on the best judgment and research available to the authors at this time, and readers who fail to consult with appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries.