From Farm to Pharma - Drew Ramsey MD

Image courtesy Flickr/NVinacco

Hey there, welcome to my blog — The Recipe for Happiness.

Behind the sensational headlines about psychiatry, medications and mental health, there is actually a lot of good news–and more importantly, helpful news. We understand more about the brain and mental disorders than ever before. While valid criticisms of psychiatry and individual psychiatrists exist, not enough of this good news is getting airtime.

How do I know about this good news? I see people get better. I’m a practicing clinical psychiatrist, meaning I’ve dedicated my professional work to seeing patients and trying to help them. For more than a decade since, I’ve seen patients for 20-50 hours a week. I take the notion of “practicing medicine” to heart and I’ll keep practicing until I get it right. I liked psychiatry in medical school because I actually got the time to talk with patients; I can build a thorough history and better decipher the roots of an illness, and thus, the way forward.

I grew up on an organic farm in rural Indiana and now I live and practice medicine as a psychiatrist in New York City. Each step along the way, I’ve had my eye on helping people feel healthier and happier – all the way from Farm to “Pharma.”

My roots in the farm, and the extensive research conducted for my book, The Happiness Diet, have shown me the power of food in brain health. I believe that the basic ingredients for happiness all start in food. Miss out on essential brain nutrients like omega-3 fats, vitamin B12, folate, vitamin D, or fascinating forms of vitamin E (tocotrienols), not to mention powerful medicinal molecules found in plants called phytonutrients, and your brain changes for the worse. Making the right choices at meal times will maximize your chances of staying both healthy and happy. I want you to understand the basics of what the brain needs to function and where to find it in real food – because it is all there if you know where to look. Much of that info is in my (ahem) Farmacy.

Along with my passion for great, healthy, locally farmed food, I believe in the power of psychotherapy and self-exploration as a means to being a healthier, more fulfilled person. Psychodynamics is a way of thinking about the mind as having unconscious motivations — why you are late to meetings with your boss or why your dating relationships have a pattern. Over and over, as a therapist I’ve seen this phenomenon. This ideology can be traced all the way back to Freud, and while the practice of psychotherapy has changed a lot since his time, anybody who listens for a living should tip their hats to the man with the cigar.

Honestly, I’m not sure how to blog about psychotherapy itself as it is a very private, personal, and intimate encounter. That’s one reason it works. Therapists want to hear about the things that no one else knows about you, that secret you’ve never told anyone. But what I’d like to cover are general psychodynamic tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years: advice about relationships, how to be honest with yourself, how to find the right kind of help. Please ask questions if you have them. If I mention patients, they are disguised and most likely amalgams of people I’ve seen over the years.

While I love to heal folks with brain food and talking, I also prescribe medications. For a time, I ran an intensive program for patients with severe mental illnesses – schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and psychotic depression. Nearly everyone took several medications. We can’t judge a medication for each individual, but must evaluate how each unique brain is influenced by a medication. When I started training, I didn’t want to use medications…and then I saw them work. When you help a patient go from sobbing, suicidal, hopeless and sleepless to calm, collected, and happy on the medication you prescribed, it is a powerful experience as a physician.

I want to write about medications and some other alternative antidepressant supplements as there are many misinformed, polarizing opinions out there. Some people are “pro-meds” or “anti-meds,” but I‘m simply pro-getting-people-better. That is really my only agenda. To that end I’ve prescribed everything from Prozac to Puppies, Seroquel to Snowboarding…and a whole lot of fish and leafy greens. Every psychiatric medicine or supplement has risks and benefits and what I offer is simply my opinion. But it is an opinion that is formed on the frontlines of the mental health epidemic.. I’ll be writing about issues in the news with the hope of helping you sift though the noise. Just to note, I take no money from pharmaceutical companies, though a do get free samples for a few patients who can’t afford their meds. No drug company has ever flown me to Aruba.

It’s long by way of an introduction, but I hope you’ll come back after reading this. If there is something you want to hear more about, or specific questions you might have, please feel free to contact me. I’ll do my best to respond. As my disclaimer states, don’t think of this as treatment, just as my musings that I hope give you needed information and help you on your path.
Welcome again, and thanks,

Dr. Ramsey
P.S. I’ll be v-blogging over at YouTube, too. So you can subscribe there, or here (for more).
Here’s one of those videoblogs:

Eat Complete

Winner of a 2017 IACP Cookbook Award  •  Finalist for a Books for a Better Life Award

Named one of the top health and wellness books for 2016 by Well + Good and MindBodyGreen


From leading psychiatrist and author of Fifty Shades of Kale comes a collection of 100 simple, delicious, and affordable recipes to help you get the core nutrients your brain and body need to stay happy and healthy.

What does food have to do with brain health? Everything.

Your brain burns more of the food you eat than any other organ. It determines if you gain or lose weight, if you’re feeling energetic or fatigued, if you’re upbeat or depressed. In this essential guide and cookbook, Drew Ramsey, MD, explores the role the human brain plays in every part of your life, including mood, health, focus, memory, and appetite, and reveals what foods you need to eat to keep your brain—and by extension your body—properly fueled.

Drawing upon cutting-edge scientific research, Dr. Ramsey identifies the twenty-one nutrients most important to brain health and overall well-being—the very nutrients that are often lacking in most people’s diets. Without these nutrients, he emphasizes, our brains and bodies don’t run the way they should.

Eat Complete includes 100 appetizing, easy, gluten-free recipes engineered for optimal nourishment. It also teaches readers how to use food to correct the nutrient deficiencies causing brain drain and poor health for millions. For example:

• Start the day with an Orange Pecan Waffle or a Turmeric Raspberry Almond Smoothie, and the Vitamin E found in the nuts will work to protect vulnerable brain fat (plus the fiber keeps you satisfied until lunch).

• Enjoy Garlic Butter Shrimp over Zucchini Noodles and Mussels with Garlicky Kale Ribbons and Artichokes, and the zinc and magnesium from the seafood will help stimulate the growth of new brain cells.

• Want to slow down your brain’s aging process? Indulge with a cup of Turmeric Cinnamon Hot Chocolate, and the flavanols found in chocolate both increase blood flow to the brain and help fight age-related memory decline.

Featuring fifty stunning, full-color photographs, Eat Complete helps you pinpoint the nutrients missing from your diet and gives you tasty recipes to transform your health—and ultimately your life.


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The Happiness Diet

For the first time in history, too much food is making us sick. It's all too apparent that the Modern American Diet (MAD) is expanding our waistlines; what's less obvious is that it's starving and shrinking our brains. Rates of obesity and depression have recently doubled, and while these epidemics are closely linked, few experts are connecting the dots for the average American.

Using the latest data from the rapidly changing fields of neuroscience and nutrition, The Happiness Dietshows that over the past several generations small, seemingly insignificant changes to our diet have stripped it of nutrients--like magnesium, vitamin B12, iron, and vitamin D, as well as some very special fats--that are essential for happy, well-balanced brains. These shifts also explain the overabundance of mood-destroying foods in the average American's diet and why they predispose most of us to excessive weight gain.

After a clear explanation of how we've all been led so far astray, The Happiness Diet empowers the reader with simple, straightforward solutions. Graham and Ramsey show you how to steer clear of this MAD way of life with foods to swear off, shopping tips, brain-building recipes, and other practical advice, and then remake your diet by doubling down on feel-good foods--even the all-American burger.


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Fifty Shades of Kale

Kale gets sexy in Fifty Shades of Kale by Drew Ramsey, M.D., and Jennifer Iserloh, with 50 recipes that are mouth-wateringly delicious and do a body good.
Release yourself from the bondage of guilt and start cooking meals with the ingredients you love: meat, cheese, and yes—even butter. Nutrient-rich kale provides essential vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy, happy, and lean—so you can indulge in your most delicious desires. Whether you’re a cooking novice or a real kale submissive, you will undoubtedly succumb to Kale’s charms.

From Mushroom and Kale Risotto to Kale Kiwi Gazpacho, Fifty Shade of Kale offers simple ways to have your kale and eat it, too, as well as nutritional information, cooking tips, and a tutorial on kale in all her glorious shades.
Indulge your culinary passions with Fifty Shades of Kale: 50 Fresh and Satisfying Recipes That Are Bound to Please.


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