Current Projects

“Feed your head.”

… “White Rabbit” by The Jefferson Airplane (1967)

Take Charge of Parkinson’s Disease: Dynamic Lifestyle Changes to Put YOU in the Driver’s Seat, begins with an overview of Parkinson’s Disease (PD), including the physical and emotional consequences of PD, the attack on the brain, as well as current medical research and recommendations.

Part II, The Memoir… Passion, Risk, Reward: Our Story… tells of one couple’s life with PD as they live and learn in Minnesota, Mexico and Bellingham, Washington. Author, French-trained chef, writer and Master Gardener, Anne Mikkelsen, blends her personal culinary journey with her husband Mike’s career as a potter and sculptor, and their adventure together with Mike’s Parkinson’s Disease.  Anne offers wisdom and lessons learned, sharing defining moments from almost 30 years as a Parkinson’s carepartner.

Anne says, “Over the years our constants have included exercise, taking some calculated risks, maintaining our individuality—including Mike’s ability to create art—and eating good food everyday.” Take Charge. . .celebrates the magical communication that happens when good food is mindfully prepared and shared—an enduring and essential communion when the symptoms of PD commandeer voice, expression and physicality.

Anne’s professional restaurant career began at the dawn of the Food Transformation in the Seventies when Simone Beck and Julia Child introduced her and millions of Americans to fine home cooking “the French way.” Anne studied under Beck at L’Ecole des Trois Gourmandes in Provence, France. Anne owned and operated two restaurants and a bed & breakfast in Minnesota, and hosted “Cooking with Panache,” a weekly cable cooking show in Minnesota.  Her life’s trajectory led her to create a new way of cooking and eating while maintaining French techniques, adding an inventive palette of food nutrients that she combines in new exciting ways. Result: “variety” that is known to favorably impact the brain.

Part III–Menus and Recipes–includes more than 80 recipes geared toward Taking Charge of Parkinson’s. Anne serves up re-focused nutrition, adding some “delicious science” in an irresistible collection based on “Smart Foods”… anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, mitochondria-boosting ingredients like herbs and spices and nutrient-dense, naturally low-calorie foods, namely legumes and olives. The recipes also feature whole grains and dark rich fruits and vegetables, as well as the occasional animal-based foods, like Pacific Salmon and eggs from free-range hens.

Look at the vivid colors of nature's bounty.

Look at the vivid colors of nature's bounty...

Satisfying to family chefs as well as “foodies,” and appealing to multi-cultural palates, the book will re-introduce familiar ingredients and introduce many new key ingredients in the light of “neuroprotection,” in an engaging, understandable style. Approximately 50 key “Smart Foods” ingredients—accessible to the average consumer—are utilized in the recipes.

The principle of variety is critical, however not in the traditionally held sense of a “varied, balanced” diet.  It is one thing to have a list of healthy ingredients, but quite another to achieve a memorable, “multi-sensory” culinary experience.  Accompanied by Anne’s lyrical stories and commentary, each recipe in this collection (that salutes “eating occasions” like midnight snacking), capitalizes on the hues, textures, and olfactory sensations of its ingredients.  Food preparation and cooking techniques presented are friendly for the family meal preparer, yet adventurous enough for the more experienced cook.  Setting up staples for a “brain healthy pantry” is covered, too.

A Note on Nutrition

Nutrition, defined by The American Heritage Dictionary, is, “The process of nourishing or being nourished; especially the interrelated steps by which a living organism assimilates food and uses it for growth and for replacement of tissues.” But this general definition also includes the possibilities that nutrition could be harmful, such as a fuel for fat cell accumulation, cancer cell promotion, or brain tissue degeneration.

The Standard American Diet is pro-oxidative and pro-inflammatory.  It does not promote health, and likely promotes cell death. What the consumer needs is insight into what (hopefully) protective and healing nutrition is:  possibly that which supplies all macronutrients and micronutrients for effective normal cell function, and also for protecting cells from intrinsic or extrinsic toxins; or if the cells are already sick, for nurturing those cells and establishing an environment whereby the cells might flourish normally once again. Studies suggest that nutrition may even modulate the toxicity of environmental pollutants.

There is no shortage of macronutrient (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) “diet” philosophies out there–high protein, low fat, low protein, low carbohydrate, etc.–each claiming to be of premier merit for optimal health.  The reality is that most “diets” are ultimately designed and marketed for weight loss, not necessarily overall health.