It's Sugar Season: How to Cope - Drew Ramsey MD

Image courtesy Flickr/Troy Tolley

The holiday season is here and, inevitably, people are asking me about cookies again. “Will the sugar kill me?” is accompanied with an anxious laugh.

Yes, I know research says that sugar is evil, yadda yadda. But sugar is misunderstood. After all, your brain right now is running on a sugar: glucose. So in the spirit of the season, let’s celebrate sugar — in a smart way.

Keep what I call the ‘Golden Rule of Sugar’ in mind as you’re going from holiday party to holiday party: Only eat sugar — whether it comes in the form glucose, fructose or sucrose — with nutrients, namely, fiber, fats, minerals and phytonutrients from plants. This sugar-busting move helps increase the nutrient density of your holiday treats, while still satisfying your seasonal sweet tooth.

Can you slim down, boost brain function and eat the cookie? I think so. Here’s your sugar strategy.


Go nuts!

Nothing tells your body to gain weight like a quintessential holiday sugar cookie. That delicious mouthful of white carb and white sugar gets your pancreas squirting out insulin, the hormone that says “make fat cells bigger.” The first step towards a better cookie is adding nuts, or even making your treats primarily with nuts — like a pecan ball. This adds fats, protein, minerals and antioxidant phytonutrients. Even better would be to add extra plant-based ingredients (think unsweetened coconut, pumpkin puree, seeds and dark chocolate) and use a non-refined flour like almond or hazelnut meal.

Opt for hot cocoa

2014-12-15-SugarHotCocoa672.jpegMolecules in dark chocolate may reverse age-related memory loss according to a new study by Scott Small, M.D., at Columbia University. These medicinal molecules found in plants are called phytonutrients, and while we often refer to them as “antioxidants,” they are so much more than this. The key again is to maximize flavanol intake while minimizing white sugar. So make an easy hot cocoa. Over low heat, I start with grass-fed whole milk (or milk substitute if you are off dairy), add a dollop of honey and dump in cocoa powder. Mix vigorously.

Swap booze for kombucha

I’m all for a festive drink or two, but am wary of alcohol as a hidden source of sugar. Plus, being irritable, low energy or grumbly — in other words, hungover — during this time year isn’t an option if you’re a parent like me. Throwing a party? Serve a kombucha, a effervescent low-alcohol fermented tea, as an alternative to super-potent IPAs or sweet, strong cocktails.

Detox with a dozen oysters

Oysters are the perfect sugar-detox food. You get a great dose of minerals like chromium, which makes your body better at processing sugar. They also give you crucial nutrients your health is likely missing: vitamin D, long-chained omega-3 fats and zinc. For all you flexi-vegans, this is your B12!

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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