W.E.L.L. Summit 2016: Join Us for a Mindful Gathering - Drew Ramsey MD


As I speak with more groups, I find myself talking about more and more about connection as a brain function. After all, we say in biology that structure equals function. Meaning that if you look at a cell, its shape/structure tells you about what it does. Your brain is an organ of connection, trillions of them, and this of course is its most important function for us. When our brains and minds are healthy, we lead connected lives. That is my most clear measure of mental health in myself and in our patients.

This week, I am excited to connect with two great groups. On Thursday, Oct 20, I will be in Chicago speaking with some of the nation’s top researchers on disability at the University of Illinois College of Applied Health Sciences. I get to break out all my nerdy powerpoint data slides and talk about how food can help us fight the top driver of disability worldwide: mental illness. Friday, I am back in New York City and speaking at the W.E.L.L Summit along an incredible line-up of people: yogis, chefs, healers, digital gurus, and business innovators.

This summit is going to be a blast and the schedule of events and speakers represent the breadth of the wellness community. Check out the link below for more details. The good folks at W.E.L.L. asked me to explain more about my work and brain health, and I found myself talking about the love of our farm, my disdain of food fears (and fear mongering) and the power of connecting with your food.  I wanted to share the interview with you, and more importantly, invite you to join us!

Get Tickets to W.E.L.L. Oct. 21 

I hope to see you at the summit. May your day be filled with health and happiness….and connection!


Inside the W.E.L.L. Summit: An Interview With Dr. Drew Ramsey

Dr. Drew Ramsey broke onto the healthcare and wellness scene with with his first book The Happiness Diet, and then solidified his place as an expert with his second book, 50 Shades of Kale. The psychiatrist is a leading proponent of using dietary change to help balance moods, sharpen brain function and improve mental health. During his “day job,” Dr. Drew is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and in active clinical practice in New York City where his work focuses on the clinical treatment of depression and anxiety. Using the latest brain science and nutritional research, modern treatments and an array of delicious food he aims to help people live to their happiest, healthiest lives—and he’s one of our W.E.L.L. Summit keynote speakers on Friday evening! To give you a glimpse into his work and what he hopes to share at the W.E.L.L. Summit, we chatted with Dr. Drew about everything from milking goats to why the American diet may be responsible for a global health crisis. Read on for the inside scoop!

How would you introduce yourself to the W.E.L.L. Summit tribe?  

I’m an Indiana farm boy turned NYC psychiatrist. But most importantly, I’m a husband and father.

My main professional identity is a physician and I’m ultimately here to serve. My life revolves around the brain and mental health, and I want to help us get into a conversation about mental wellness and how our everyday decisions impact brain health and happiness.

I grew up in poor, rural Indiana on a small farm with my parents. They were part of the homesteaders movement in the 1970s, and we moved to Indiana to connect with nature, each other and to foster self-sufficiency. I’m weaving all of that into my psychiatry background (where I’ve been practicing for 15 years), and hoping to change how we think about mental health and food. I’m coming from the perspective of your brain, taking the latest science on the brain and using it to guide us to a different set of food. I’m cutting through the diet fads and the controversy around food to narrow down what we should eat for optimal brain health and happiness.


BG Kale Belly Pic

How would you describe the connection between food and mental health?

Food is fundamental to mental health. The structure of your brain is literally determined by what you eat. Making a set of choices about food is the same as making a set of choices about mental wellness.

It’s partially about helping people move away from the damaging messages of fear around food, and replacing that with a state of fun and joy with food. I want to fill your plate with the rainbow, literally, with more colorful plants, for better brain health. But we also need to discuss the importance of controversial foods like meat and seafood—they have a place in our overall diet.

Brain health is about personalized nutrition; my job is to serve you where your diet is at in a non-judgmental way, and to tailor your food plan to YOU. I always tell people that there’s only one food plan on the planet, and it’s YOUR food plan. That’s the most fulfilling part of my career, working with individuals to see how we can positively impact their mental health by adjusting their food plan to fit them best.

Now, we can get into lots of “battles” about food choices, vegan vs. paleo, and the like, but my concern is more with how, as a country, we’re still eating excessive amounts of cheap meat and processed foods that are causing damage to our selves, our society and our planet.

I feel certain that the healthcare crisis our country is facing has been caused by diet—and the average American diet is responsible for our global epidemic of depression, heart disease and obesity. Food is the root cause because our healthcare system never asks about food or diet when patients come in. Our healthcare system and its practitioners don’t see how it has a role in embracing dietary changes to sustain health. I’m trying to change that.

I work with physicians around the country to incorporate food into their treatment plans, and between teaching brain nutrition at the annual American Psychiatric Association’s meeting for the last four years and my work with groups of physicians, I feel that we’re seeing a sea change. Ten years ago, my position was seen as risky, and I thought pushing nutrition might get me fired from my teaching position at Columbia University. But what we’re scared of is often the door we must walk through, and Columbia, as well as the APA, have embraced my work and helped to further the message.

I used to think of my background as a farm boy as separate from my work as a psychiatrist, but I was wrong. When those worlds come together, I find joy and contentment and gratitude. Who knew a kale plant could have so much power?

What can the W.E.L.L. Summit tribe do today to promote a healthy, happy brain?

The first step to finding contentment with food is to increase mindfulness. Sit in front of your meal for a few minutes and find curiosity and gratitude about it. Be present with the flavors and smells; ask, where did this come from? That gratitude, not a mindless, rushed consumption can create a foundation for health and wellness. On-the-go food = an out of balance life. Instead, try to be in deliberate, mindful communion with your meals.

Read the complete interview


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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