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Food for thought (and language learning!)

Brain Food
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This evening, I started thinking about what foods would help boost my language studies on Duolingo, and it grew into this.

(Quick disclaimer though: I am not a doctor or nutritionist. These suggestions might not be appropriate for everyone's individual health needs.)

bunny and kale
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  • Food! This website recommends a protein packed breakfast, a lunch with a low glycemic index. (If you have blood sugar issues, please talk with your doctor before changing your sugar intake habits!), and "oily fish for dinner". It's not super detailed about it except mentioning "omega-3, an essential fatty-acid". As a substitute for fish, it says you can eat chia or flaxseeds. But, yanno, maybe add some other food to those ;)

  • This website suggests: Oily fish, eggs, dark leafy greens, instead of coffee or energy drinks try green tea, peanut butter, and fresh fruit are all really good brain primers for intense studying.

  • After looking at several other articles, these seem to be the most regularly repeated suggestions: eggs, fish (or chia and flax seeds), whole grains, and blueberries (which are high in antioxidants).

  • And of course, what kind of person would I be if I didn't link you to some yummy snack recipes? (Ignore the nuttella energy balls and sweetened yogurts. Those are fast track to sugar crash. :P)

  • (PS The secret to eating kale is to blend it with blueberries!)

hydration bunny
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  • Hydration! (Water + Electrolytes.) Water alone won't keep you hydrated if you're running low on electrolytes. According to This article you can make your own electrolyte solution by adding 1/2 teaspoon of table salt and 2 Tablespoons of sugar to 4 cups (1ltr) of water. How much water per day? In general, the NHS recommends we aim to drink around 1.2 litres of fluid a day. But, if you're doing something strenuous or it's really hot/cold outside, you might want to consider drinking a little more.

sleepy bunneh
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  • Sleep!
  • Having a hard time sleeping? Try these tips to improve your sleep hygiene. (“Sleep hygiene” is having a set of relaxing bedtime rituals you can do every night. Once you set up a sleep ritual, it will signal to your body that it is nearing bedtime.)

  • Avoid caffeine before bed.

  • Have quiet, comfortable bedroom. Wear soft bed clothes. Consider earplugs to reduce night time noises.

  • Filter blue light before sleep: If you won’t turn your computer off an hour before bedtime, try filtering out the blue light for 1-2hrs before bed.

  • Don’t end the day by reading the news.

  • Exercise daily, even if it is just to take a 15-20 minute stroll (but not within 2hrs of bedtime.)

  • This week I invite you to share a short summary of what you're doing each day to nourish your brain for your language studies. It's 11pm on Saturday for me, so, I'll start filling in my summaries tomorrow. ^_^

Sunday: Bicycled to the store and will take a 20 min walk later. Breakfast: whole wheat toast & avocado, plain Greek yogurt blended with unsweetened frozen blueberries. Lunch: Low sugar, high protein & fiber smoothie with the dark leafy greens, berries, seeds, yogurt, and oatmeal. Dinner: Salmon. (Yay for bulk ingredients and things being on sale!) Plan to be in bed by 11pm.

Monday: Pretty much same as yesterday, except going to try making this hummus recipe that uses white beans and sweet potatoes.


August 6, 2017



I've been using f.lux to filter out blue light at night for several years, and it works really well. It adjusts itself automatically over the course of the day, so you don't have to mess with it. (I don't work for the f.lux people or have any connection to them, I just use the thing.) https://justgetflux.com/


Thank you so much for linking to a way to get my screen to filter it out! I haven't looked at it yet, but I'm planning to tomorrow evening.


Thanks usagi for looking after us we do need reminding.


Morning: whole wheat toast with avocado, a luscious ripe peach, and coffee.

Dinner (which we have around 1-2 pm in these parts) Actually there is fish on the menu. Sardines which I'll bake. And a salad of fresh veggies.

Supper: probably goat's milk yogurt and another peach.

I've never tried blue light and I do stay up really late on the pc. One of our teammates has made it a personal crusade to remind me to "get to sleep". (and whom I am ever grateful to)

Thanks KateVinee for the link.


So people actually eat Avocado Toast O.o


Yup, at first I didn't like it and now I can't seem to get enough. Especially when the bread is crispy.


Yup or fry them up. They taste like eggs if you do that.


I eat it every Saturday for breakfast. It's soooo yummy


Woo, yumm. I suddenly really want avocado and toast. I already need to make a store run tomorrow, so, I know what's going on my shopping list! I really need to get my energy up. I still have 4 skills to go before I finish the Japanese tree, and only 3 days to do it! So, thanks for some ideas! ^_^


Goat's milk yogurt? Does that have benefits over cow's milk yogurt? :)



Sleeping is just so important

thank you for this lovely post



Thank you so much for sharing this! (especially for your sleeping tips).


Tip No. 1: If you have an IOS phone (warning: only certain IOS phones have this feature. Your phone may not be included) go to the control center, and press night shift. At 7:00 PM to 7:00 AM, your phone will have orange light instead of blue, and it does not make much of a difference. Warning: Turning on Invert Colors will automatically disable Night shift.

Tip No.2: If you have trouble sleeping, try Melatonin. It makes you sleepy in 20 minutes at the most. I usually fall asleep at 1:00 unless I take this. There are side-effects though. Read them below. Thank you for the link Usagiboy7.


Tip no.3: For sleep, try lavender and chamomile spray. Spray it on your pillow, and it makes you sleepy, because lavender does in general and chamomile has a lulling effect. Sounds weird, but it actually works. The only side effects are, some people don't like the smell.


Eat a delicious bowl of oatmeal for breakfast every day! Add a few tablespoons of (freshly ground) flax seeds and maybe some blueberries or other berries for extra flavor, or some raisins/dried cranberries, or slices of banana. Instead of flax seeds (if you just can't stomach the taste), you can also just mix in a few tablespoons of peanut butter or other nut butter. Very filling and very nourishing brain and body food. Enjoy! :)


This is awesome, but I refuse to stop eating Nutella.


lol. My taste buds recently changed. I went from loving Nutella to feeling pretty meh about it. But suddenly, not only do I not hate curry, I love it! It was a good trade off in my opinion. But, I still remember how it used to taste. And yeah, it was hard to put down. Now, it can't tempt me into a sugar crash during language studies. mwahahahaha!


Usagiboy, you, my friend, are an inspiration, and thank you for such a caring post!


The bunny pictures are adorable. ❤


I don't filter blue light before sleeping (I use computer before bed) and I sleep fine. I must be odd.


Not everyone has trouble sleeping. Those suggestions are for folks who do. :)


How is everyone doing with adding these brain gaining food and practices this week?

I think it has really helped me that I've already got a lot of the ingredients. So, the cost didn't hit me all at once.

Over the summer, if there has been a sale on fruit or veggies, I've stocked up and frozen them for smoothies. I've been slowly adding spices to my collection for over a year. I wouldn't be able to afford these meals otherwise. Eating a variety of these brain foods is expensive on a very fixed income.

(Please note, smoothies are not automatically healthy, even with the fruits and veggies. Most recipes contain outrageous amounts of sugar. And, if they are blended too fine, the healthy fibers in the fruits that you are after are obliterated.)

I recommend using these two free resources https://www.recipal.com/ (put in your recipe and it generates a nutrition label drawn from official FDA databases.) and http://www.glycemicindex.com/ (so you can see the glycemic index of the food you are putting into your recipes. Foods with lower glycemic index are better for most people.)

I use the two resources above to create low sugar, high protein and fiber smoothies.


Very interesting. I might have to try that.

Have you every tried dehydrated kale chips? That is a really good way to eat your kale.


I have made kale chips (albeit in the oven). They were surprisingly delicious. But, it adds a lot of salt, oil, and energy bill to eat them everyday like that. It's even worse with the store bought ones. I think of those as a bit like 99.99% of fruit smoothies. They are "healthy" with air quotes. More dessert item than health food because the pros-have been consumed by the added cons.


Update: Sorry, I completely missed KateVinee's comment before.

I think "f.lux" is worth a dedicated thread re-post every 3-6 months (old threads are almost invisible / going to nirvava on the DuoLingo discussion forums) :-)

Quote: Filter blue light before sleep:
If you won’t turn your computer off an hour before bedtime, try filtering out the blue light for 1-2hrs before bed.

You can do so by install the tool f.lux which reduces the blue and green proportion according to a recommended curve: https://justgetflux.com/

If you need a better dimmer for your laptop, to further more adjust the opacity, use "DImmer V1": http://www.nelsonpires.com/software/dimmer/

Source: This is the Memrise community thread where I got the tips: https://community.memrise.com/t/user-script-idea-read-out-loud-play-audio-for-the-given-l1-english-text-to-be-able-to-close-your-eyes-and-blindly-type-the-l2-foreign-language-word/18717/8

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