Overcoming Brain Fog with Monica Tarr
“[Cognitive decline] is possible to reverse—and it’s preventable. The reversal works best when you catch it early, and there’s not really too soon a time to start.” – Monica Tarr
I had the delight of speaking with Monica Tarr, a board-certified functional medicine health coach who helps high-performing professionals preserve and improve their brain health.
Before health coaching, Monica was a consultant helping Fortune 500 companies grow their customer base and develop high-performing teams.
- Monica’s experience with debilitating brain fog
- The seven pillars of enhancing cognition and reversing cognitive decline
- The power of prevention and how brain health increases courage
Monica’s experience with debilitating brain fog
Brain fog is not a life sentence.
When Monica was in a cycle of fear and two-hour-long midday naps, she initially chose to push through, ignore the warning signs, and chalk it up to menopause—and then she realized it was deeper than that, and if she was going to beat the odds, she had to take action.
Monica’s family has a history of memory loss. After she lost her father, it was clear her mother had dementia, and was a reflection of what could have been Monica’s future. Also around this time, Monica began reading a gift from a friend: The End of Alzheimer's by Dr. Dale Bredesen.
“I started reading that, and then having an understanding that I had a genetic propensity to have that disease later in life, I thought, ‘wow, there is something that can be done,’ And took the book to my doctor and said, ‘I'm all in. Let's do this. Is there anything in here you object to?’” Monica says.
She was determined to address her cognitive decline instead of pushing through it and ignoring it, and, with that, free herself from unintentional 8:30 pm bedtimes.
Armed with Dr. Bredesen’s research and the proof that cognitive decline is reversible, she got to work.
The seven pillars of enhancing cognition and reversing cognitive decline
Through her efforts, Monica learned of Dr. Bredesen’s seven pillars for battling brain fog:
- Stress Reduction
- Brain Stimulation
Starting with nutrition is the recommended model and with good reason.
“It's meant to create a dual fuel for your brain,” Monica explains. “As we age, we get less proficient at using glucose, which is the main fuel for the brain. We're encouraged to take this lifestyle so we can create an alternative fuel that is used very efficiently for the brain, and then the body can wave back and forth between those two fuel sources.”
Monica regained her energy throughout the first six months of implementing the seven pillars, and her mental clarity followed. Her photographic memory returned—along with her short-term memory—and she can feel the change if she strays from her new lifestyle. However, now she knows how to jump back into it and maintain the proper ketosis for her body without backsliding.
“I had gotten a short temper, was very quick to sadness, just losing myself—my personality, the parts of me that I loved,” Monica shares. “My sense of humor, the ability to feel joy, and enjoy the smallest things all came back alongside the boost in energy and the clearing brain fog.”
After such life-altering results, Monica set out to share what she learned with others and help them achieve increased cognitive strength.
The power of prevention and how brain health increases courage
Reversing cognitive decline—though possible—is much more challenging than overall prevention. It takes a full-throttle approach to see results, and that’s if you catch the symptoms in time.
“The better story to me is that it's preventable,” Monica says. “People don't even need to get to this situation, they can go through their whole lives without experiencing what I experienced. And there's no ‘too soon’ time to start.”
We could be at the pinnacle of health and still benefit from focusing on preventative measures. As the population grows older, the risks increase as well—yet so do the solutions and our knowledge of how to address such afflictions before they even take root.
“You're working at such a high level of performance that you get more done, you feel less stress, you don't feel overcome emotionally, and you can balance things—you can make hard decisions with a lot of confidence because you don't feel as though you're always in catch up mode,” Monica explains.
We can even pass preventative care to our children and instill the seven pillars into their natural routines, giving them the best shot at robust cognitive health and successful lives.
What is a way you could incorporate one of the seven pillars into your life? Is there something you’re doing already to support your brain health?