Speaker Series Begins with Brain Health & The Smart Food Approach

Forward Chicago is thrilled to launch a Speaker Series as a follow-up to last summer’s Aging 2.0 conference. From May through July, seminars covering a range of topics will be held twice a month (first and third Mondays) at Sulzer Public Library from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Here’s the schedule:

  • May 2 Brain Health: The Smart Food Approach – Randi Kant, MS, MPH, CHES
  • May 16 Chicago: The City that Works – Jim Poole, Chief of Staff, 47th Ward
  • June 6 Pets: How they Help Us All
  • June 20 Mental Health & Aging – Kate Krajci, LCSW
  • July 18 Mindfulness & Meditation

You can download and print the schedule here.

Please join us as we launch this series with a presentation by Randi Kant about Brain Health and the Smart Food Approach!


The MIND Diet, developed by a nutritional epidemiologist right here at Rush University Medical Center, is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets. Recent studies have shown that it lowered the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) by as much as 53 percent in participants who adhered to the diet rigorously, and by about 35 percent in those who followed it moderately well. This means that you don’t have to stick to it perfectly to realize benefits, and you are more likely to adhere to it over the long haul.

The MIND diet specifically includes foods and nutrients that medical literature and data show to be good for our brain. It also takes a multi-pronged approach, consisting of:

  • plant based whole foods
  • olive oil as primary oil
  • limiting saturated fat and animal products
  • promoting 1 fish meal/week.

On Monday, May 2, we’ll learn about the 15 dietary components of the MIND Diet, including 10 “brain-healthy food groups.” We’ll also discuss and share ways to fit them seamlessly, and deliciously, into your diet. Looking forward to a lively discussion!

About Randi

Randi has developed, led and advanced health education and health promotion programs for extremely diverse populations in a wide variety of settings for over 25 years. She holds a master’s degree in Exercise Science, a master’s degree in Public Health, and is a Certified Health Education Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Intrinsic Coach®.

The majority of her work has focused on older adult wellness, in particular active aging. In this capacity, she develops and implements whole person wellness programming for older adults that fosters an active lifestyle and a proactive approach to health. Most recently with Mather LifeWays, she served leadership roles in both a community-based setting and a senior living community, where she succeeded in bringing creative and engaging programming that created unique and personal experiences around a comprehensive and holistic approach to health.

In 2007, Mather’s – More Than a Café on 83rd was awarded the NuStep Pinnacle Award and Randi subsequently became a founding member of the NuStep, Inc. Pinnacle Award Advisory Board.

Prior to coming to Mather LifeWays, Randi was the Director of Senior Fitness for the ChicagoDepartment on Aging, overseeing the city-wide fitness and wellness program for Chicago’s older adults.

Now, Randi is enjoying a cornucopia career of sorts, her work encompassing personal training, health education, community health, and of course, active aging. She currently sits on the Senior Council of the 47th Ward in Chicago, developing projects, events, and resources that serve the older adults in her community. She is a fitness consultant at Oak Street Health, which provides high-quality health care tailored to the needs of older adults on Medicare as well as supports patients in developing healthy lifestyle behaviors to maximize health and quality of life. She continues to work with Mather Lifeways, providing a variety of in-person and telephonic wellness presentations for the older adults they serve. And she is proud to count four 80-somethings among her personal training clients!

About Karen K.F.

Karen has lived in this area for 5 years. She loves to quilt, roam around her neighborhood, and enjoy her Forward Chicago family and neighbors.

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