Thursday, July 28, 2011

Disrupting Alzheimer's - Ingredients for the brain

Now that's a mess! Notice the carpet of brownie crumbs...
Tuesday was the end of a massive work week. All of that hard work culminated in an extensive cleanup of cupcake cottage. I'm talking a major dish washing, floor mopping, laundry doing and car cleaning effort. I was even wearing a sweat band. On my head. It was necessary. So there I was, listening to the Joy the Baker podcast, scrubbing tiles in my industrial black rubber gloves, thinking about the week gone by and how lucky I am that this is my life.

On Monday I was in Kiltegan, County Wicklow at a respite center called Sli an Chroi. This was where the latest residential programme of the Disrupting Alzheimer's project was taking place. 

Disrupting Alzheimer's is a project developed by Christy Fleming; a loving and talented man whose brother Paddy was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2008. Paddy is only 57 years old. Paddy was a strong believer in holistic therapies and Christy and his family have been challenging Paddy's Alzeimer's by a holistic approach. Everyone was invited to participate in activities like Falun Gong and Circle Dancing, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique - this is a very interesting tapping technique that stimulates meridian points), singing and dancing and meditation. To be honest, the energy about the place was just electric. And the more responsive Paddy was to the activities, the more motivated everybody became to give that much more. 

Paddy, Christy and Lorraine on their morning walk
I was hired to cater for the group. The food was to be nutritious vegetarian with an emphasis on brain healthy ingredients such as nuts, seeds, whole grains, coconut and raw produce. There is a very interesting study being undertaken by Dr. Mary T. Newport, whose husband suffers from Alzheimer's. She has been tracking his progress on a high keytone diet, rich in raw coconut oil and the results seem to show promise. The menu was developed by the previous chef and adjusted by me in order to put less of an emphasis on specialist Greek recipes (of which the previous chef is an expert). 

Here are some facts about the week. I made up most of what I cooked. I had the courage to do this thanks to my new iPhone which allowed me to quickly access helpful websites like when the need arose.I also took photos and texted them to my father at regular intervals for approval. I love to cook to music and I got through a lot of Beatles material that week. Whenever Paddy passed by the kitchen he stopped in to join my in singing along for a little while. I was channeling Irish mammy and Jewish mommy, who are very similar, and found joy in building my day around preparing 3 square meals for the troops. And washing dishes with a view overlooking a field of cows. That's about the only good thing I can ever say about washing dishes. Washing dishes is otherwise the bane of my very existence.

My workspace

The menu:

Monday Dinner
Tagliatelle with mushrooms and Bechamel
Bruschette with tomato and rocket
Green salad

Tuesday Lunch
Baked potatoes with lemon, olive oil and toasted hazelnuts
Green veggie burgers with quinoa

Green veggie burgers with quinoa
Greek salad

Tuesday Dinner

Bean & Roast veg pie with basil mash
Bean & Roast veg pie with basil mash, tzatziki and black eye bean salad

Tzatziki sauce
Black eye bean salad with ginger dressing

Wednesday Lunch

Spaghetti al pesto
Caprese Salad
Caprese salad
Garlic bread
Super healthy apple, berry and hazelnut crumble with sesame seeds

Wednesday Dinner 
Roast vegetables
cabbage, celery and carrot salad
hummus and pita chips
High fibre breakfast muffins, baked sans muffin tins

Thursday Lunch

Spanish chickpea casserole
Basmati Rice
The gorgeous scenery at Sli An Chroi

Thursday Dinner

Italian Fresh vegetable fritata
Lentil soup
Apple and carrot salad

Friday Lunch 

Squash and coconut soup
Vegetable and potato salad

Read more about this wonderful project at



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