Recently, someone told me they were surprised that I had a sense of humor. Hmm. I guess they have not been around me very much. There are times in my life I am quite serious and intellectual. Then there are times in my life I am just “downright stupid.” There have been those days when I wake up singing a children’s song like If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands or I love pumpernickel, pumpernickel bread. Those years of listening to Barney songs are embedded deep in my memory. When I laugh, I feel myself open up and it allows me a moment to get out of my head and to get creative.
Some of my most inspirational moments have happened when I just did not care or when I was not concerned about getting it right. Tonight was one of them. I had been having this kind of mental block and not feeling especially creative. The only thing I was craving was pasta. Hmm, perhaps that was in part because Tuesday was National Pasta Day. Seriously, do we really need a day to celebrate pasta? Pasta should be celebrated every day. It is one of those foods that you can incorporate into just about every meal. But that is not where I am heading today, although if I had some orzo in the pantry, I would love to coat that in a cinnamon butter sauce in the morning for breakfast.
So tonight, I mixed some left over chili with some elbow macaroni and cheese and had a very impromptu chili mac which tasted so good I probably, well definitely, ate far more then I should have. However, as the saying goes, it was just what the doctor ordered. See it seems that carbohydrates are actually good for your memory. Yes, there is now scientific evidence that being on a low carb diet can decrease performance on memory-based tasks and the same study found that when you are on a low calorie diet you could experience confusion.
A study from the psychology department at Tufts University showed that dieters who drastically reduced or eliminated carbohydrates from their meals performed more poorly on memory-based tasks than those who did not. Yet when carbohydrates were reintroduced in the dieters’ meals, cognition skills returned to normal. “This study demonstrates that the food you eat can have an immediate impact on cognitive behavior,” explains Holly A. Taylor, professor of psychology at Tufts and corresponding author of the study. “The popular low-carb [and] no-carb diets have the strongest potential for negative impact on thinking and cognition.” The researchers went on to explain that too few or no carbohydrates deprives the brain of essential fuel, forcing it to “run on empty,” so to speak. Glucose — carbohydrates that have been broken down to individual molecules — serves as the brain’s main fuel, and because the brain has no way of storing glucose, it must rely on a regular carbohydrate intake from foods.
So if we want to maintain our memory and not be confused, we should avoid being on a low carb, low calorie diet. Now I feel so much better about eating those pasta dishes in celebration of National Pasta Day. So dishes like chili mac, Italian wedding soup, mac and cheese, lasagna, angel hair pasta with sundried tomatoes and goat cheese, fettuccine alfredo are all keeping my memory focused and the calories are keeping me from feeling confused.
I wonder if we could now break out in a song and sing, “let us eat pasta together on our seats.”