Happy Seventh Day Adventist Vegetarians? - Drew Ramsey MD

Image courtesy Flickr/Rick Ligthelm

A friend had me over for a yoga class at her home a few months ago. To the tune of some crystal bowls and a guitar, about 20 of us were led into a state of deep relaxation. Afterwards, we shared a meal. Many of them were vegetarians and my host told them with a slight grin that I was writing a book about brain nutrition and diet. I swallowed hard. For more than a decade, I was a vegetarian. I completed medical school without an ounce of meat – no beef, chicken, fish, and for a while in college, I tried to eat a very low-fat diet too. But I’ve changed my tune. Animals and their products are needed for healthy, happy brain.

There are a few nutrients that are essential for the brain that can only be found in meat or animal products. Unless you take a few key supplements, a vegetarian diet will actually cause the brain to deteriorate over time. Vitamin B12 only comes from animal products, meat, dairy, or eggs. Without it the special insulation of our brain cells called myelin deteriorates. Omega-3 fatty acids make babies smarter and keep the brain running smoothly as we age. Meat is also a top source of iron and zinc, essential for proper brain development. Unique fats found in ruminant animals fight cancer. Mother nature concentrates these nutrients in meat (properly raised) and we should treat it like the finest of elixirs for health.

A healthy relationship with meat is a step closer to better brain health for many patients I work with. And a healthy relationship with meat is a better relationship with meat. Understanding how to raise meat that is sustainable, humane, doesn’t cause antibiotic resistance in our hospitals, and gives us the brain nutrients it always has — that is the big food question of the coming decades. Given my opinion that meat – done right – is brainfood, the title of this study kept me up at night, “Vegetarian Diets are Associated with Healthy Mood States: a Cross-sectional Study.” To its credit, the methodology of the study is quite good. But the conclusions could be dangerous: implying that vegetarian diets lead to healthy moods could lead to a lot of brain rot.

Maybe I shouldn’t worry too much. First, it is cross-sectional and measures just one moment in time. We get some associations from this kind of data, but that’s about it. Second, this is a small sample of a specialized population: 138 Seventh Day Adventists, just 60 of whom are vegetarian. Seventh Day Adventists have many protective factors in their religious culture: they don’t drink or smoke, they exercise, and they have strong religious beliefs leading to a supportive community. And a vegetarian diet is encouraged, which I bet effects the psychology of non-vegetarians. The authors do acknowledge these limitations and review all of this nicely.

The conclusions? People who eat less of the most important fats for brain health (EPA and DHA), less of pro-inflammatory arachodonic acid, and more omega-3’s in ALA form and omega-6s as linoleic acid had better moods. Overall, no one in the study ate much fat, and oddly the vegetarians ate more fat at 44 grams/day compared to the omnivores who ate just 35 grams/day. For a person on a 2000 per day calorie diet, this is less than 20 percent of energy from fat, which is, unlike the average American who gets between 30-35 of their calories from fat.

The researchers didn’t publish any info about dietary supplements.

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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