Each month I provide an update on my progress to bettering health and happiness. This may include a variety of activities like challenging my brain in scored games, expanding my knowledge through books, trying a new recipe, starting a new workout program, reviewing the latest research articles and watching creative, idea-worthy talks.

Brain Games

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to play many brain games within the past month. I only completed about five workouts and this inconsistency was shown within my apps. I saw my overall scores lower for two out of the three brain training apps. This reminds me how similar the brain is to a muscle. If you only lift weights five times within a month when you normally lift twenty times, you’ll notice drops in your physical fitness. This is the same thing I saw this month within my workouts. I was slower to react, remember, and problem solve this month compared to last month due to the lack of practice and training. But don’t worry, I’ll get back on the cognitive training band wagon in December.

Brain Workouts: 5 out of 30 days
Lumosity LPI: 1806 (+4 since October)
Elevate Average: 4438 (-3 since October)
Peak Brain Score: 811 (-1 since October)

Book of the Month

I read The Book on Rental Property Investing this month and it was quite detailed. This book seemed to cover everything there is within real estate investing from deciding whether or not to take this investment avenue, to choosing your rental strategy, to selecting and buying properties, all the way through maintaining current rental units and cashing out in the end. Without knowing much about real estate before, this book definitely brought me up to speed about everything involved with it.

In the end, after reading this book I don’t think real estate investing is in the cards for me right now. Although it’s possible to make more money in real estate than the stock market, it’s quite difficult, time intensive, and risky. With real estate, you need to spend a ton of time creating a team to help you manage your real estate portfolio. There’s constant work in selecting and investing in new properties, managing the team you created, and dealing with tenants. On top of that, if you’ve miscalculated a property’s actual worth, rental demand, or profit/analysis, it’s easy for that property to not produce a solid rate of return. In the end, I’ve decided that the extra time and effort needed to succeed in real estate and get a possible rate of return around 12%, isn’t worth it to me. I’d rather continue with my investment strategy that returns a fairly safe 10% over time and requires little to no effort on my part. But, if you’re interested in real estate investing, I’d definitely pick up and read this book as it’s a great introduction to the space.

Two Ingredient Dinner

This two ingredient meal is a quick and tasty option that I’ve had for lunches and dinners the past few weeks. The squash is pretty easy to cook and I found a good pasta sauce to add to it. The one I’ve been using is Dave’s Gourmet Organic Roasted Garlic & Sweet Basil pasta sauce. The sauce is pretty low in salt, at just over 200mg, compared to many other sauces. It’s also organic, made from lots of vegetables, and tasty. Try it out and let me know what you think!

Servings: 4


Preheat oven to 375 F. Poke a couple holes in the squash with a knife. Microwave for 5 minutes to soften squash. Cut squash lengthwise and scrape out seeds. Coat inside of squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper if desired. Bake for 45 – 55 minutes until soft, cut-side down. Scrape out squash with a fork onto plates. Add pasta sauce, top with fresh herbs if desired (I use basil), and serve.

Recent Health Studies

Lastly, I just wanted to cover any studies or articles that have been published within the past month to keep everyone up-to-date on news relating to health and happiness.

  • US Life Expectancy is Still on the Decline. Here’s why.
    US life expectancy has actually decreased most years since 2014. With healthcare costs rising higher than ever before, it’s surprising that our health is actually getting worse. In this study, they detail some of the lifestyle changes causing this statistic like increased alcohol use, drug use, suicides and obesity.
  • Nutritional Supplements Won’t Prevent Depression, Study Finds
    While most people think nutritional supplements are very beneficial, a majority aren’t easily absorbed by the body. This makes them quite useless. This study explains how nutritional supplements don’t help prevent depression but a healthy diet does. So, if you get those same nutrients through a healthy diet compared to supplements, you can actually help prevent depression among many other things.
  • Board Games May Stave Off Cognitive Decline
    This study talks about the benefits of gaming. Whether it’s brain training apps, video games or board games, gaming helps reduce cognitive decline no matter your age. I just played a number of board games with friends over the Thanksgiving break and I’m sure it was a good cognitive workout. We played Survive, Codenames and Ghost Blitz. All were super fun games.
  • Money Woes Imperil Mental, Physical Health
    This article details how money is the “chief stressor” for 40% of Americans. It talks about how poor personal finances cause stress, conflicts, and visits to the doctor. Many people then turn to meds or substances to help them cope. So, if you’re looking for a way to relieve this stress, please look at my personal finance articles to help put yourself in a better financial situation.

Final Thoughts

Another monthly health update complete. This month I covered my lack of progress in brain training, my new knowledge in real estate, a new recipe I’ve been making, and a number of newly published health studies and articles.

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Hey, I am Brandon Zerbe

Welcome to myHealthSciences! My goal has always been to increase quality-of-life with healthy habits that are sustainable, efficient and effective. I do this by covering topics like Cognitive Health, Fitness, Nutrition, Sleep, Financial Independence and Minimalism. You can read more about me here.

Disclosure: I frequently review or recommend products and services that I own and use. If you buy these products or services using the links on this site, I receive a small referral commission. This doesn’t impact my review or recommendation.