Essential Resources on Health and Wellness from DiaMedica Publications

Take Charge of Parkinson’s Disease

Dynamic Lifestyle Changes to Put YOU in the Driver’s Seat
Anne Cutter Mikkelsen with Carolyn Stinson

A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness
Publication Date: November 2010
Price: $14.95
ISBN 13: 978-0-9823219-3-5
Trade Paperback: 192 pages
Size: 6 x 9

Take Charge of Parkinson’s Disease is a personal reminiscence of many years of successfully living with Parkinson’s disease. The book emphasizes fitness and health, and offers recipes that contain anti-oxidant, nutrient-rich ingredients, herbs, and spices that favorably impact the brain and have the potential to reduce the effects of Parkinson’s disease.

The healthy lifestyle recommendations are interspersed with a memoir of the educational and spiritual journey of the author and her husband, a cook and an artist, as they discover how to live well with Parkinson’s disease. Their almost 30-year story describes the chances they took and the habitats they chose in their pursuit and accomplishment of a lifestyle of exercise, art, and good food.

Take Charge of Parkinson’s Disease continues the focus of the DiaMedica Guides to Optimal Wellness series on what can be done to maximize health in the presence of chronic medical conditions.


Introduction: What is Parkinson’s Disease?

PART I: Passion, Risk, Reward: Our Story
The Artist and the Chef
Healthy Coping Strategies
Exercise and Parkinson’s Disease
Leaving Minnesota
Stress and Parkinson’s Disease
Loss and Parkinson’s Disease
The Food and Magic of Kino
Healing in Bellingham
Neuroprotection: Exercise to Protect Dopamine-Producing Nerve Cells
Seeds of Nurturing
From the Other Side of the Window
One Thing at a Time
Inside the Parkinson’s Community
Art as a Lifeline
When a Spouse Becomes a Caregiver: by Nanette J. Davis, Ph.D.
Changing the Culinary Repertoire

PART II: Food and Optimal Wellness with Parkinson’s Disease
What are Free Radicals and Antioxidants?
It’s All About Lifestyle
Exploring the Brain-Healthy Pantry
Getting Started
Why Salmon?
Salmon Recipes
Winter Nights: Soups and More
Beneficial Grains
Bahia deKino Recipes
Breakfast Ideas
Treats and Snacks


Anne Mikkelsen and her husband Mike have been living with his Parkinson’s disease for over 20 years. Anne studied traditional French cooking with Simone (Simca) Beck. She brought this expertise to hosting a cooking show, and has owned two restaurants, a catering business, and a B&B. Today, motivated by Mike’s PD and an irresistible palette of antioxidant ingredients, Anne’s cooking style blends her French training and love of plants with emerging science on the importance of brain-healthy fruits, vegetables, spices and herbs. Mike, an award-winning potter and sculptor, has skillfully adapted his art to accommodate the advancing stages of PD. Together, they have overcome the obstacles of living with Parkinson’s disease in a fashion that will be an inspiration to readers. You can learn more about the author from her blog.

Carolyn Stinson is a writer and publicist. The results of her research, writing and editing have been published in diverse media and educational literature for health care consumers, on a wide range of health care topics.

Praise for Take Charge of Parkinson’s Disease…

…this is a journey based on looking at life with PD from a fresh perspective and combining expert culinary skills and nutritional information with determination and a positive attitude for living a good, balanced, and healthy lifestyle, even in the face of a degenerative progressive disorder. Mikkelsen’s passion for her art and caring for her husband’s disease is obvious in every chapter that integrates nutritional information, mouthwatering recipes, and great perspective to make the most of the challenges that life offers to those with PD.” — Archives of Neurology

My husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 6 years ago. We found the book to be very well written and found it interesting how many of their experiences mirrored many of our own experiences. It was good to read about how they’ve dealt with this disease, which has helped us/me better understand and cope with it ourselves. A must read for not only people who have PD, but their family members. — Amazon *****

This book will help empower people affected by Parkinson’s—both the patients themselves and their families and caregivers—to take greater control of their lives by providing incredible insight, experience, and information to inspire them to live each day to the fullest of their abilities. Thank you, Anne & Mike, for sharing your story so that others may know they are not alone!” — The Brian Grant Foundation

Take Charge of Parkinson’s Disease is a highly useful and highly recommended pick for any battling Parkinson’s or have family who are doing so.” — Midwest Book Reviews

This book tells a story of a special and even loveable couple who are thrust into living anew by the husband’s Parkinson’s Disease (PD) diagnosis. While there’s considerable medical information in the book, it’s all seamlessly folded into the story of the couple, told by the wife Anne, as the couple meanders through the new ingredients of their life with PD. Anne is masterful at capturing and expressing her inner thoughts, her musings, reverie, and spiritual moments, all of which give the book its attractive and engaging personal flavor. While Anne is clearly her husband’s champion, she never forfeits her uniqueness (which is ever-apparent) to the PD. Paradoxically Anne embraces the PD; the story of her unique embrace seems to magically transform PD into a life accelerator and animator rather than the opposite. Anne’s perception is compelling; I was so captured by it that I developed the impression that the PD was not simply her husband’s; it belonged to them both. We experience the presence and the effects of PD through Anne’s eyes as an artist, her mind as an insightful wisdom figure, her heart as a faithful lover, and her hands as an accomplished chef.

The book is sprinkled with little snapshots of meaningful incidents that each sparkle as a new facet of self-discovery. Food gives energy to the book as Anne garnishes each new insight with a recipe, as though the new thought and the recipe somehow belong together and support each other. Recipes are not plopped into the text; rather each is delicately placed in interpersonal settings, each portraying slight shifts in the couple’s ever-evolving relationship, all with PD as the backdrop, but never the story driver.

I loved the journey this book brought me on; I delighted in its intimacy, I learned a lot about mind-healthy foods, about shifting life priorities, about the healing power of good food well fashioned and presented, about life lived simply, and about the sustaining might of love, swirling together in the vortex of PD. The book changed me, certainly it changed my perception of PD, but more than that it inspired me. The inner fruits of Anne’s labors of love are the food that this book offers to the reader. By the book’s end Anne’s husband is still greeting life with vitality even 20 years beyond the original diagnosis of PD. His triumph is Anne’s success, an internal testimony to her tenacity, courage, wisdom, simplicity, spirit, and tenderness.

This book is a gentle teacher. It certainly teaches the person with PD a new emotional and attitudinal posture with his/her caregivers and loved ones. But even more, this book teaches those same caregivers and loved ones that PD is not an end-game, but a start-game for living a new creatively loving life for its own sake, accenting being over doing, for looking closer at the “who” of me, and not simply the “what of me.” Everyone touched by PD, however direct or oblique, will find this book a treasure they will read and reread many times.” — Richard P. Johnson, Ph.D., Clinical Director, Spiritual Strengths Cancer Care Center, in Well, Wise & Whole Monthly.

The engaging book is for everyone affected by PD—those with the disease, families, and caregivers…Within its pages, Take Charge of Parkinson’s Disease reveals healthy lifestyle recommendations and an extensive recipe section, interspersed with Mikkelsen’s memoir of her journey with her husband as they discover how to live with Parkinson’s disease.” — The Hunt Magazine

This is a gentle book, written by a cook whose husband happens to have Parkinson’s disease. The lifestyle changes are shown by their example and not shoved at us. It’s more of a quiet challenge that suggests that we create changes in our lives. I especially appreciate the recipes and the information about antioxidants and what they do, and the section on spices….For the recipes and gentle stories alone, this book is worth reading and keeping on hand as a cookbook.” — Parkinson’s and Dystonia Journal, Studio Foxhoven

It not only takes you on the journey of their life together, learning about coping with the disease, but gives important health facts throughout the book. Most of the healthy living tips are not new to those of us in the anti-aging field—we’ve been preaching them for years. However, when you are reading them with the idea of making just one person with this disease more comfortable, the healthy living lifestyle becomes critical.”— Anti-Aging Nutrition News

Thank you, Anne, for sharing your journey. Your candid saga of the delicious lifestyle that you and Mike created in spite of PD will inspire others who find themselves traversing a similar life path with chronic disease.  Your brain healthy recipes are a welcome addition to the PD armamentarium.” — Becky Dunlop, RN, BSN, Nurse Coordinator, The Johns Hopkins Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center, Baltimore, MD

Warmly and clearly written, Take Charge of Parkinson’s Disease offers many healing, hopeful messages and invites readers to consider how meal times can become an essential part of the support system for persons with Parkinson’s disease and their families.  Nutritious, appealing, and comforting food is important for good mental health, emotional well-being, and better relationships in the face of chronic illness. The book applies evidence-based research to the role of nutrition, skillfully expressed through Anne’s irresistible recipes and guidance for selecting “brain healthy” ingredients. Through Anne’s powerful storytelling and practical information about stress management, exercise, and caregiving, we are inspired to consider the things we can control: our outlook, what we eat, and the power of sharing our story with others.  Simply reading this book is a healing experience for anyone touched by PD.” — Susan E. Ouellette, CRNP, CSP, APRN-PMH, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and Patient Advocate

The meaning of life is not where-you-get-to-in-the-end, but rather, the journey you take along the way. Anne Mikkelsen’s book describes the bitter, sweet, complicated, funny, and very human path that she and her husband have followed for almost 30 years with Parkinson’s disease. For any couple whose journey has screeched to a halt because of a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, this book should be inspirational; it gives you permission—and some specific ideas about how—to regain control of your lives. And there are some great recipes for healthy foods included!” — Martha A. Nance, MD, Medical Director, Struthers Parkinson’s Center, Minneapolis, MN

… an honest and inspiring story of one couple’s journey with Parkinson’s disease, filled with the power of hope and taking control of your life in a very practical way. The resilient attitude of Anne and Mike as they make changes to face day-to-day challenges provides a road map for others in similar situations. The advice is very down to earth and doable, with clear suggestions about how to take charge of your diet, beginning with the introduction of ‘the brain healthy pantry.’ Numerous healthy, interesting, easy and mouthwatering recipes entice you to run to the kitchen and start cooking.” — Margaret Anne Coles, OTR/L, BSR, MQI, Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, AZ

Take Charge of Parkinson’s Disease is an inspiring, must-read book for those caring for a loved one with the illness and for anyone interested in cognitive fitness and healthy aging. The authors clearly explain Parkinson’s pathology—enabling caregivers to become more patient and supportive—then introducing readers to the ‘brain-healthy pantry’ and recipes that benefit brain health. Mikkelsen’s simple, wholesome recipes are accessible to everyone; no special culinary skills are required, and her touching and sometimes humorous personal stories will surely add motivation and hope to the lives of millions challenged with the disease.” — Tina Ruggiero, MS, RD, LD, Author of The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet

Concise, well-rounded, and up-to-date, with practical advice on living well with Parkinson’s disease. I wish I’d had this book when I was diagnosed.” — Peter Dunlap-Shohl, Parkinson’s Support Group Leader and Blogger, Off and On: The Alaska Parkinson’s Rag

I couldn’t put it down. This book makes people proactive and stresses early detection. The information is clear, short, to the point … and uplifting. And, the recipes are great!  It’s a book that especially people still “in denial” should read.” — Barbe Awalt, whose father’s struggle with Parkinson’s disease was chronicled in The Stranger Comes At Sundown: Living & Dying With Parkinson’s Disease.