Have you read, “Peak–Secrets from the New Science of Expertise”?


By: Tina Davidson

Did you ever dream of becoming great at something? Maybe it was singing or playing piano?

Well, with enough deliberate practice you might just make your dreams come true.

I’ve been reading,”Peak–Secrets from the New Science of Expertise,” by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool. I recommend you pick up a copy. It is fascinating stuff and I won’t give away too much. Let’s just say I was especially impressed with the memorization skills of London taxi drivers.  I was also quite intrigued with Laszlo Polgar’s experiment–his goal was to raise three genius children. It seems he succeeded.

Here’s my favorite quote from Peak (pg. 179):

“Deliberate practice can open the door to a world of possibilities that you may have been convinced were out of reach. Open that door.”

I hope I’ve shared enough to “peak” your interest about the book.

Let me know what you think!



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Wireless Education and Your Brain

EMF_wifi_toothbrushWireless Education and Your Brain

By: Tina C. Davidson

I recently saw an advertisement that I found kinda alarming. I wonder if anyone else did a double take when they first saw a picture of the iPotty?

Now, thanks to the iPotty, toddlers can use their wi-fi devices hands free in the bathroom. It would be awful if children got their tablets messy while using the bathroom, right?

Is this high-tech helper developmentally necessary?  Most children learned to potty train without the help of an iPad stationed above the toilet. Sorry, iPotty. (To read more about how technology is influencing children, check out the book, The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age. Sadly, tech addiction is starting young!)

So, what should we do since the high-tech potties, toasters, cars, fridges, helmets, dolls, toothbrushes (and who knows what else) all have wi-fi capabilities and are emitting EMFs? What are the health implications for our little and big people?

You can start by checking out a free quiz to test your knowledge of wi-fi safety. The quiz is brought to you by WirelessEducation.org and according to their website:

Wireless Education is the new training portal for Wireless Tech Safety. Our core business is focused on educationtraining and safety. We have researched medical and scientific information so you don’t have to.

I like the sound of that, but I’ll glean what I can from the Wireless Education site and others as I continue my quest for knowledge on the topic. (I can’t sit back and let them have all the research fun!)

How’d you do on the quiz?

I’m sure Jeromy Johnson, an EMF expert, would have scored 100% on the wi-fi safety quiz. He gave a TEDx Talk in February of 2016 on the issue. I recommend you check it out, if you haven’t already.

TEDx talks have become a popular way to reach a large audience on various topics (once videos are online they can go viral). Live talks, operas, musicals, and plays have always been an important tool for passing along ideas.  Your brain will most likely remember something better that it has seen and heard. I think a live performance can be a very memorable experience for your brain.

So far, there’s only one musical out there (that I know of!) that is addressing the health effects of wireless technology. Here’s more on the intention of the musical, Innocenzo:

A Note On Our Intention

We understand the “controversial” nature of this subject. Our aim is not to create or add to any existing conflicts. We are telling the story we have lived with the aim of prevention. Given our experience with electrosmog (ie, becoming seriously ill from it), we have decided not to wait for every scientist in the world to come to an agreement before taking action.

Not everyone is in consensus about the ill effects of wireless technology, but I agree that is is safer to take action now than to “wait and see.” It is encouraging that playwrights and web developers are doing their part to spread the word on how to be safe.

How about your readers? What do you think should be done to further protects consumers from electrosmog? Have you seen Innocenzo?

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Coloring Pages and Your Brain


It was over three years ago when I created my first coloring page for my sons using the software, Adobe Illustrator. I stayed up late into the night learning the program and creating things for my children to color–a much needed creative outlet (confession–I worked on the pages more for myself then them).  After I had completed about ten pages, I had GRAND ideas of creating and marketing coloring books in my spare time.

I quickly realized this was not going to work out… unless I wanted to give up all forms of hygiene and many other time consuming necessities for survival. However, I did end up creating a website, with the help of my tech savvy older brother, where all my friends/family can download them for free (this includes you, so enjoy!).

Those were the glory days–where every coloring page I created was new and exciting. The possibilities seemed endless. (Just think about how many pages one could create on birds?)

Lately, I’ve been in a coloring page creative slump and have focused my creative energy on other “artistic” pursuits.

So, when some inspiration came to me to create a page for St. Patrick’s Day based off a green truck that my youngest son had perforated at school, you can imagine my excitement!!

The minute I saw the truck below, I had a silly vision of a leprechaun driving a green truck and spreading cheer with shamrocks instead of exhaust fumes.

When was the last time you were inspired?


Here’s some finished products below colored by my kids. They never cease to inspire me. Gotta love the pink road chosen by my oldest son because he wanted to make the colors more “exciting.” I get it! Think outside the box.🙂



Can Coloring Help Your Brain?

What benefits does coloring provide? Did you know some people find that coloring books help them take their mind off of chronic pain?

I find it relaxing to create coloring pages and others find it relaxing to color them in. There were millions of copies of coloring books geared towards adults sold last year and it looks like the trend will continue for this year. Why not break out those markers and join the fun!

So, what’s the appeal?

According to Parade Magazine’s article, “50 Shades of Happy–The New Joy of Coloring:”

“It engages both sides of your brain in that it’s both creative and tactical,” says psychologist Alice Domar, Ph.D., executive director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health in Boston. The creativity comes with envisioning the color selection and how it will play throughout the piece, while the tactical involves applying your decisions to the artist’s design. Both keep your right brain from taking over and wandering where it wants, as it does when you just doodle.

Coloring books are also a good ways for people to enjoy life away from screens and electronic devices. All it takes is a coloring page and some coloring utensils–whether it be crayons, markers, or colored pencils. (Although there are plenty of coloring apps out there… remember there is an actual brain benefit by holding a pencil in your hand verses swiping a finger.)

For many, coloring books may be a good form of art therapy. Recently, it has been thought that the rise in adult coloring books has perhaps contributed to the rise of art therapy’s respect and global recognition.

“…United States is not alone in using art therapy as an effective approach to various physical and mental afflictions, including emotional distress, addiction, social development, anxiety, self-esteem issues, and more.” Art Business News, 2015.

For those with Alzheimer’s, art therapy may help improve cognitive skills. It doesn’t seem like it would hurt to try some form of art therapy out with Alzheimer’s patients?

Even the color you choose can have a calming and healing effect on your body. For example,

“The psychological effects from using the color green are similar to those of the color blue, and are perceived as being soothing:” PRWeb Newswire, 2013.

Why Color Alone?

I hope you’ll find some time to download a coloring page you like and share it with a friend.

Perhaps you can find some inspiration in the book, “Draw Your Big Idea: The Ultimate Creativity Tool for Turning Thoughts into Action and Dreams into Reality” by Heather Willems and Nora Herting. I’m interested in checking it out (the title seemed really good!).

For those on the Central Coast, check out slolibrary.org for more information on the Healing Power of Art for Adults taking place on Friday, March 18, 2016.

Healing Power of Art for Adults
Anne Kellogg will lead a workshop exploring the creative process of art and its use to give voice to your deepest self.  Space is limited.  Pre registration required.  Please call or stop by to sign up.


I feel like you’re never too old to color.

Keep on creating and pursuing your dreams! I hope this post contributed in some way to your brain health and happiness.🙂


“KindaChic.com’s Tips for Selecting The Right Colors to Use in Every Room of The Home.”PRWeb Newswire 2 July 2013. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.


Parade Magazine. http://parade.com/409702/hdowdle/50-shades-of-happy-the-new-joy-of-coloring/

Gross, Anisse. “Beyond coloring books: gifts & sidelines 2016: coloring books aren’t going away anytime soon, but publishers are already on the hunt for what’s next in gifts.” Publishers Weekly18 Jan. 2016: 24+. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

Fard, Farah Joan. “The expanding reach of art therapy: though it’s a relatively new approach to mental health treatment, art therapy is gaining traction and making a difference in people’s lives.” Art Business News Winter 2015: 34+. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.


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Mud… Friend or Foe?


Foot model: Thea Gavin

By: Tina Davidson

Book Review

Fuzzy Mud (2015) by Louis Sachar

When I was growing up, I don’t remember reading any good fiction on microscopic creatures.

Recently, when looking for quality reading material (anything that didn’t have Star Wars in the title) for my third grade son, I stumbled upon Fuzzy Mud. It had been placed on the top shelf by a kind librarian, making it easy for tall children (and short mothers) to spot. As any good mother would, I checked out the front and back cover to see if it was appropriate for my child. To my glee, this was no longer a book I was checking out for my son… I had stumbled on a book for me.

Louis Sachar had me at Fuzzy Mud because the Fuzzy Mud book cover mentioned his Newberry Medal Winner, Holes.

I remember Holes fondly because as an adult I got paid to read it. Technically, my supervisors had tasked me with the job of cataloging books to create a mobile library but I found time on my “breaks” to finish Holes in two days. Holes stood out among the other books for young readers that I had the chance to peruse while on the job.  I found Holes humorous and fun–a great escape from the reality of my job (creating the library was the highlight of that job).

When glancing at the cover of Fuzzy Mud, after noticing who the author was, the book did not give off the vibe of fun. The cover art of Fuzzy Mud depicts two children wandering into the woods with one child trailing behind them. The woods do not look inviting. The text on the back cover of the book reads, “Be careful. Your next step may be your last.” Yikes…

The book features Tamaya, Sachar’s 5th grade heroine, and two other main characters, Marshall and Chad,  7th grade boys. Fuzzy Mud features a silent villain, slime mold. This “fuzzy mud” contains “a single-celled, high-energy microorganism” referred to as an ergie or ergonym.  Although the ergie was invented for good it eventually becomes a “Frankengerm.” According to the book, an ergie can only be seen by an electron microscope.  When the characters come in contact with the contaminated mud scary things happen.

I read this book out loud to my son.  When I asked him about it later and if his younger brother would enjoy it, he said, “No. It is too scary.”

This is a good family read that sparks discussion, but there are elements of suspense and danger that might frighten some young children.

It will definitely make you think twice before stepping in a mud puddle.


Disclaimer: No one was injured by ergies when stepping in this mud puddle.

What about you? Read any good books on slime mold or microorganisms lately?

 I’d love to hear about them.


**This is my personal blog. It is solely my opinion.**

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Microbes verse Microbeads

By: Tina Davidson


Let’s start with the unsung heroes, the microbes in your gut.

Microbes may be small but they are up to mighty things. I’ll always be fascinated by them. No doubt they will gain more recognition in 2016.

I mentioned in a previous post that scientists are still figuring out the “Gut-Brain Axis,” so a recent Tweet by @HeartsatPlay caught my attention:

Exercise Alters Gut Microbes That Promote Brain Health / Psychology Today

I recommend you check out the article by Christopher Bergland in Psychology Today. Hopefully, after reading the online article, you’ll be so motivated by the preliminary findings on how early-age exercise promotes gut and brain health that you’ll take your kids (or grandchildren) out on a barefoot walk. Time for us all to invest in the next generation’s developing gut-brain axis (and perhaps college funds?).

Now that you’ve done your due diligence, are you still left wanting more on microbes?  Check out the October 2015 Nature article, “The Tantalizing Links Between Gut Microbes and the Brain,” by Peter Audrey Smith. (Thanks to Christopher Bergland for including this link in his article as well).


Next, on to something hideous: microbeads in your water!

(Side note: Microbes can be hideous as well, but for the intent of this post they will be cast in a rose-colored glow for all dramatic intents and purposes.)

The villainous plastic microbeads were recently banned by the U.S. government in the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015.

Not sure what a microbead is? Here’s how it is defined in the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015:

“(A) the term ‘plastic microbead’ means any solid plastic particle that is less than five millimeters in size and is intended to be used to exfoliate or cleanse the human body or any part thereof; and…”

They have been banned from rinse-off cosmetics (this includes toothpaste.)  After cosmetics containing microbeads get rinsed off in sinks and showers, the plastics end up where they shouldn’t (in the sea) since they are too small to be filtered by waste-water treatment plants.

The folks at BeatTheMicrobead.org really know their stuff on getting rid of plastic microbeads if you want to learn more.

I want to send a shout-out to everyone who supported the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015. I’m glad it made sense to lawmakers that in order to get microplastics out of our plankton we shouldn’t allow plastic microbeads in rinse-off cosmetics. The bad news is that the ban on plastic microbeads doesn’t go into effect until 2018 (grumble, grumble). These microbeads, aka plastic pollution, are known environmental and human health hazards. I hope cosmetic companies and manufacturers use something other than plastic microbeads in their products sooner than later.

There are economically feasible alternatives to plastic microbeads used in personal care products, as evidenced by the current use of biodegradable, natural, abrasive materials in personal care products such as beeswax, shells, nuts, seeds, and sand. (Text from California Assembly Bill-888 Waste management: plastic microbeads. (2015-2016).

In the meantime (prior to the ban going into effect in 2018), support labels/companies that are 100% microplastic free.

Mighty Microbes to the Rescue?

I wouldn’t put it past the mighty microbes in playing some part in ridding our waters of pervasive plastic microbeads. Microbes have helped clean oil spills and scientists are researching microbes that eat and sink plastic at sea (probably best not to have plastic in the sea to begin with though).

What about you? Were you once an avid user of facial products containing plastic microbeads? What would you recommend as an alternative to plastic microbeads?

On a more random note… if you could be any microbe, what one would you be? Maybe bifidobacterium… 


There are approximately thirty species of bifidobacteria. They comprise approximately 90% of the healthy bacteria in the colon.

The quote above is from an article by Stuart Cantor. “Digestive dynamos: clinical studies support the multiple health benefits from probiotics, dietary fibers, botanicals and enzymes.” Prepared Foods Nov. 2015: 28+. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 10 Jan. 2016.

Have you consumed your bifidobacteria today? Here’s to a healthy brain and gut! 

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Buck the Trends–Tips for Brain Health in 2016

By: Tina Davidson


Perhaps you’re feeling a little stressed and fed up with your resolutions already?

Here’s some fun ways you can buck conventional trends and enough a happier/healthier brain in the new year. (Disclaimer:  My ideas on brain health and happiness may vary slightly than yours. Although this list may appear to be a five-step program on how to get yourself fired from your day job, I assure you it is not.)

  1. Eat more fat. Your brain needs healthy fat. Add some eggs, avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, and nuts to your shopping list. (update: If you are interested in learning more about eating fat, check out The Fat Summit). 
  2. Monkey around. Your brain will enjoy the novelty of swinging on the monkey bars at the park while you strengthen your core muscles. I dare you to take the Monkey Bar challenge.
  3. Ditch your shoes and your daily showers. Despite the fact that many businesses state, “No shoes, No shirt, No service,” there are plenty of places that will always accept you sans footwear. The beach will never turn you away and it is a good place for barefoot beginners. Your brain’s sense of position, aka proprioception, will also get a work out.  Spray on some MotherDirt to take care of any unwanted odors (if only life were that simple, right?).
  4. Take a hike. To get the most health benefits out of your hike, I recommend you find a forest to hike in. According to the Los Angeles Times: “Shinrin-yoku is the name given to the Japanese art of “forest bathing,” contemplative walks through the woods that reconnect the individual with nature and can lead to decreased stress, natural mood elevation and even a stronger immune system.” Read more about forest bathing here.
  5. Leave your cell phone in the car and ignore your emails. Try to spend a day (or more) avoiding EMFs and see how you feel at the end of the day. You may piss a bunch of people off who wanted to get a hold of you, but you may also find that life is less stressful when you’re not “connected” every minute.

Basically, become a kid again in the new year.


Squish your toes in some mud.

Swing across monkey bars at a nearby playground.

Experience the wonder of a National Forest ( 2o16 is the National Park Service‘s 100 year anniversary).

Live on the wild side and even skip showering (children don’t need to be bathed every day–remember there’s a drought in California).

Spend more time moving and less time glued to your smart devices.

Do the things you enjoyed doing as a child.  It’s 2016 and the time is NOW.  According to Katy Bowman’s book, it’s time to “MOVE YOUR DNA!”

pathways w sig

What about you?

What National Park would you visit if you could go to any National Park in California? Take my poll and let me know. 

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Personal Hygiene and Your Brain

waterfall at Limekiln State Park

By: Tina Davidson

Should I Stop Showering?

You gotta love Yahoo news feeds. Thanks to a Yahoo article, I just found out about Mother Dirt (no, although some may think, it is not my barefoot mother’s moniker).

I read the article by Molly Shea and watched the interview by Katie Couric with chemical engineer, David Whitlock, and Mother Dirt President, Jasmina Aganovic.

Basically, a scientist, David Whitlock, chose to spray himself with a mist that contains ammonia oxidizing bacteria (he uses the AO + Mist product by Mother Dirt) instead of showering. It has been more than 12 years that he’s gone without a bath or shower. Apparently, he doesn’t smell because the mist contains bacteria that eat up the odors and convert it into something good (I believe it was nitric acid).

How would you feel about your partner or teenager not showering for 12 years?

Food for thought for another blog post: What if the State of California handed out bottles of AO + Mist to citizens in hopes to limit showering and promote water conservation during the drought?

Yes, this post raises some questions. The Mother Dirt products got rave reviews on its website (but who is going to put bad press on their site?) I also watched the Test/Friends video from Buzzfeed where the reviewers tried out the AO + Mist product themselves. The three testers gave it mixed reviews. This trial didn’t seem too conclusive of whether or not the product lived up to the hype (smell was still a factor).

What Does This Mean for Consumers?

Those bacteria friendly products certainly aren’t cheap. You can purchase the bundle of AO + Mist, Shampoo, and Conditioner for $69 (if you sign up for the newsletter, then you can get 10% off). I can buy a lot of Dr. Bronner’s organic pure castile soap for $69. Would it work to just go out and find some dirt with ammonia oxidizing (AO) bacteria in it? How easy is it to find this AO bacteria? Would it work to just put probiotic pills in your shampoo bottles? Obviously, there is a difference there. I’ve got so many questions to research. Any answers?

In 2013, I read a Chris Kresser article, “5 Uncommon Uses for Probiotics.” Some of the uncommon uses were a probiotic cleaning spray and probiotic skin lotions. So, it looks like this trend of using good bacteria is finally catching on in the form of skin care products.

As I mentioned before, most of my summer reading centered around the microbiome and the good gut bacteria that we need back in our lives. You can also benefit from putting these good guys directly on your skin. A quote from Chris’ Ebook on Nutrition for Healthy Skin:

The skin is naturally home to beneficial flora that protect the skin from pathogens and regulate inflammation, but these friendly populations of bacteria can be disturbed through harsh soaps and other environmental toxins. Restoring beneficial bacteria through probiotic lotions or spot treatments appears to reduce skin inflammation from the outside, thus improving acne.

Perhaps this, Mother Dirt, company will help take the good bacteria into the mainstream and revolutionize the skin care and cleaning product industry? I am done with Triclosan, an antibacterial product found in toothpaste and soaps, and I hope more people will start to stand up for a world with less antibacterial products–a world where microscopic bacteria do the work and we reap the benefits.

How Close is the World to Giving up Showers?

What would a world with no showering really look/smell like?

Would there be more kids getting parental consent to jump in the mud to get good bacteria in their system?

According to the dermatologist, Ted Lain, who is mentioned in the Yahoo article, we shouldn’t give up on showers yet and more clinical trials need to be done to show the effectiveness of the Mother Dirt products. He thinks that people in cities still need to wash off grime and bacteria on a daily basis. I guess country kids might have better luck convincing their parents they don’t need a shower every night.

Celebrity Showering Quiz

Our culture is a little bit weirdly obsessed with the showering habits of famous individuals. There is an article online that dishes the info (you determine the validity) on the celebs who bathe with their dogs (Mariah Carey), take luxurious baths (Oprah), or those who are out of the shower in three minutes (Jennifer Aniston). I wonder if any of them would start endorsing Mother Dirt?

Cleanliness is Inspiration for my Mind

Which raises yet another question: What about all the creative people who get their inspiration for work while in the shower? (Many ideas for this blog post popped into my head while I was showering. I was looking for a distraction from my NaNoWriMo novel).

If you’ve ever had a moment of clarity while in the shower, you’re not alone. In a 2012 study conducted at the University of California, Santa Barbara, participants who performed undemanding activities that allowed their mind to wander experienced a significant increase in creative problem-solving abilities.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/health/Healthy-Shower-Habits-Shower-Mistakes#ixzz3qgTBNXaf

It seems that it is the act of quieting one’s mind that helps with creative problem-solving abilities. In the New York Times #1 Best Seller, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” Marie Kondo mentions this idea by writing about the time she went on a hike to a waterfall with one of her 74 year-old clients. The author experienced a meditative like state while standing under the waterfall. In her book, she examines the similarities between mediating under a waterfall and tidying one’s house.

“For this reason, it is essential to create a quiet space in which to evaluate the things in your life.” Pg. 57

For some people, this quiet space might be the shower.

Warning Signs of Not Showering

People may become less creative in problem-solving and smell foul if they haven’t showered in a while.  Poor hygiene can also be one of the first signs of cognitive decline.

Typically in Alzheimer’s disease but also in Lewy body dementia and vascular dementia, in the late mild to early moderate stages, the person you care for may need to be reminded to wash and groom themselves.

When it comes to dementia, more signs of what to look for in terms of personal care/hygiene can be found at dementiaguide.com.

Smarter Hygiene Products

None of the products I use for cleaning or personal hygiene include probiotics, yet.

I make my own deodorant (it is not an antiperspirant) out of coconut oil, tapioca starch, baking soda, lemon oil, and tea tree oil. I can count on it to keep the smell away for one day (don’t try to push 2 days without showering when using your own homemade stuff.)

I use Weleda toothpaste that contains salt. I used to use “dirt” toothpaste (a commercial product made with clay) but the company was forced to put a warning lable on the toothpaste that it may contain lead. This was too unsettling for me to look at every day.

What about you? Dare I ask when the last time you showered? Have any good hygiene tips or products to share? Need a good distraction from NaNoWriMo?

Here’s to keeping your brain happy by smelling good!


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