Simple Swap Challenge - Drew Ramsey MD

What an exciting week it’s been! Over the past several days, I encouraged folks to take on a personal challenge in their homes, their kitchens and their offices.

After all, It’s easy to get excited about changing your diet to improve your mood. It’s a little harder to change your diet.

But that doesn’t mean it has to be hard.

As we know from the recent HELFIMED study, people are really good at changing how they eat, it just takes some thoughtful work. And the best way to do that is by building good habits so that healthy eating is automatic. 

A Simple Swap is when you trade a not-so-brain-health-friendly food for a brain health friendly one. They are super easy, fast, and provide you with a straightforward way for building the habit of healthy eating.

Here are 3 of our favorite Simple Swaps:

  1. Dark chocolate and dried fruit instead of candy (my personal favorite? dark chocolate covered almonds)
  2. Flavored seltzer, herbal tea, or kombucha instead of soda
  3. Veggie, nut + fruit smoothies instead of all-fruit smoothies

Simple, right?

While you may have missed the Challenge, you can always start today – we always love to hear your comments and see your photos. Here are some of our favorites from the Simple Swap Challenge.

Breakfast swaps?

Swapping eggs and toast for…

A spinach and artichoke frittata.

We also had a fun veg and fish medley from a reader: “And so the new me who cooks has prepared another easy dish for breakfast; Three organic free range eggs scrambled with sauteed garlic and purple onion. Wild caught smoked salmon and steamed broccoli thrown on top. At the very least I do ‘feel better’ about my own food choices.”

Swapping snacks was also a big hit.

Who needs afternoon vending machine snacks when you have…

Apples with almond butter and grapes. Or…

Veggies and hummus (great snack for school!)


a fruit bowl to replace that candy bowl at work.

One reader submitted the following message which made me smile from ear to ear: “I suffered from depression for years. I tried antidepressants, which may or may not have helped, and CBT, which I think did help. But it wasn’t until I changed my way of eating and started exercising regularly that I quit experiencing those feelings of hopelessness and sadness. I just wanted to thank you, and say, ‘Keep up the good work!'”

And while I loved every single message I received, one in particular stood out to me. One reader is not only changing her diet, but she’s getting her children in on it too (improving a child’s diet can have a lifelong positive impact on them).

“My littles eating veggies and guacamole, instead of chips and queso!”






Thank you to everyone else who took part in the challenge! Creating healthy habits are the key to eating better for your brain, and few habits are easier to build than Simple Swaps. Keep them up and please do share!

To your health,

Dr. Ramsey

Simple Swaps is just one of many brain boosting concepts I teach in my program Eat To Beat Depression. Keep an eye out for more news about this program in upcoming emails!

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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