Lessons from the Meat Masters - Drew Ramsey MD

Image courtesy Flickr/Jon Siegel

dickson_2 Knowing more about your meat is one of the most important steps in the quest to eat for a better brain. Pork is a top brain food (thiamine!), so I headed to my local butcher shop,

Dickson’s Farmstand on a recent Sunday for a 3-hour lesson on pork to investigate more about how better meat makes for a better brain.
Owner Jake Dickson knows more about meat—from grass feeding and nitrate preservatives to the overall role of meat in the human diet—than most of us will ever know. Far from a meat-crazed carnivore, I found him to be pragmatic and informed by years of selling the best quality meat he can find. In fact, if you want to go visit the farm and meet the farmer who raised the beef, pork, lamb, and chicken that Jake sells, everything is within an easy days drive from his Chelsea Market store (in NYC).

Jake eagerly answered our questions as we looked over a selection of cured meats all made in-house, perfect ham, rare roast beef, lamb and beef pastrami, chorizo, and corned beef. He gave us a tour of his meat counter answering the group’s increasingly rapid fire – Where is a tri-tip from? What are Country Ribs? What’s Bistec Norteno? Later on, Jake and one of his senior butchers, Aldo, made an impressive educational duo as they efficiently carved half a pig into several dozen chops, roasts, grind, and bacon. His skill was mesmerizing – a master at work. Afterwards, Jake gave us a tour of his facility, which produces everything he sells – the sausages, hot dogs, pate, cured meats – all made in a small but efficiently used industrial kitchen.

I had a great time and Jake accomplished his primary goal – educating his customers. The employees’ respect and cultivation of butchering are just one of many things that makes Dickson’s Farmstand one of the best butcher shops in the country. Dickson’s website is also a great resource and I especially enjoyed the section on the farms they work with. Thanks to Jake, Aldo, and Dickson’s Farmstand for setting a standard of how to do meat right.

• There are only 18 whole animal butcher shops in America.
• Grass-fed meats spoil faster and Jake made some strong points on the merits of using some grains in the growing of meat. There is a category of meat in between the industrially produced grain-fed feedlot meat and an entirely grass-fed cow.
• The spider steak is the sphincter muscle
• The concept of the “exceptional animal” – that if all things are constant – feed, environment, breed – there are still some animals that are just simply superior. Their meat has better marbling and superior flavor, they are “meatier”.
• Nitrate preservatives, which trigger migraines and are linked to several cancers, are in most “Nitrate Free” pre-packaged meats. The industry used a celery-based preservative in which the nitrates have been concentrated. Jake and his staff use minimal amounts nitrates in the tradition method “used for 3000 years” to cure meat (salt peter). It keeps the meat pink (people don’t buy pastrami). As he put it, these are special foods but not for everyday consumption.

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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