September is Brain Aneurysm
Awareness Month, and Maisha Wynn is raising awareness of this potentially fatal
condition by sharing her own powerful story and educating others about
prevention and maintenance. Wynn, a lifestyle personality, vegan enthusiast,
chef, author and founder of Live To Wynn, a lifestyle consulting firm, says
that brain health is directly tied to overall wellness. Her book, The Wynning Way: A Guide to Creating Success
outlines how people can take control of their lives and promote brain health
through lifestyle changes such as diet modifications, mindfulness and having an
attitude of gratitude.
has your own experience with a brain aneurysm turned you into an advocate for
overall brain health?
In 2016, I was experiencing excruciating
headaches that brought tears to my eyes. I was reluctant to get it checked out,
but eventually went to the ER. After five hours of testing, I was told I had
been living with an unruptured brain aneurysm. I was shocked. Symptoms can
include dizziness, headaches, numbness, and slurred speech, but many people
don’t experience any symptoms. One in 50 people in America are living with a
brain aneurysm, and if it ruptures, about half of those will lead to fatality.
African American women are twice as likely to be affected, and high blood
pressure is another risk factor. My mother died with a multitude of health
conditions, including hypertension, and was taking over 15 medications to
manage them. It reignited my commitment to take control of my own health and
manage my aneurysm holistically through diet and behavior modifications.
does what we eat contribute to brain health?
only fuels us, it heals us. I follow a vegan, plant-based lifestyle that
includes lots of nutrient-dense foods like blueberries, kale, spinach,
pineapples and Swiss chard, which contain antioxidants that promote brain
health. Omega-3 is another great vitamin and I get that through flaxseed, nuts
and soybeans, not supplements. Your body is a temple, and you need to treat it
with love. Nourishing food gives you energy to move through your life with
intention and interact with others with a positive light. This allows
strengthening social relationships that are also important to brain health.
What lifestyle changes can people make to
prevent a brain aneurysm?
An active heart is a healthy heart, which leads
to a healthy brain. Any kind of physical activity that moves the energy around
is beneficial. I regularly practice Pilates, which helps with blood flow to the
brainwaves, but it’s important for people to find an activity they truly enjoy
whether that’s walking, swimming, dancing or biking. Doing this outside and absorbing
vitamin D can act as a natural antidepressant and help regulate sleep.
Embracing self-care and respecting yourself and your body is an act of love
that will directly enhance overall health and wellness. Taking time to read,
journal and meditate stimulates different parts of the brain and keeps it
What can people do to reduce stress and
heighten overall spiritual wellness?
Stress is a silent killer and prolonged, chronic
stress has a direct negative impact on our emotional and physical well-being.
Women, especially, need to set healthy boundaries and learn to say no to some
of the demands put on them and others and say yes to putting themselves first.
Disconnecting from your phone and other devices and spending time in nature
will help you feel a sense of connection to something greater, whether that’s
time in your garden or a walk on the beach. Expressing gratitude is perhaps one
of the most important practices for overall wellness. We only have one life and
waking up truly feeling grateful to be able to see a new day makes a huge
impact on how we positively interact with ourselves and others. There is power
in what we think and what we speak. I don’t use the words “try” or “maybe”; I
set the intention that, “I will,” and, “I can.” It’s important to have goals
and dreams while being open to what the universe has in store for us.
Carrie Jackson is an Evanston-based writer
and frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine. Connect at CarrieJacksonWrites.com.
“If you’re looking to boost
your immune system while detoxifying your body and mind, this is the recipe for
you!” says Maisha Wynn of LiveToWynn.
1 large organic pineapple, peeled and chopped
2 inches fresh ginger root, peeled
½ lemon, peeled
peeled and chopped pineapple, ginger, lemon and cucumbers in your juicer.
Pour it in your favorite
glass and enjoy. Cheers to nurturing you from the inside-out.
Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric from Pexels