Eat complete

Book review: Eat Complete, by Dr. Drew Ramsey, M.D.

Dr. Drew Ramsey is a psychiatrist who has been attracting international attention for a rather unique philosophy – his practice of prescribing nutrition as part of effectively managing mood disorders.

In his new book, Eat Complete, Dr. Ramsey advocates a diet high in plant-based, nutrient-dense foods as a key to fueling better brain health. His approach centres on exploring scientific research that connects nutrition with mental health.

Eat Complete – the principles

The Eat Complete diet is not overly strict, and Dr. Ramsey promotes a variety of whole foods and ingredients. Specifically, he endorses those with the highest levels of 21 nutrients he identifies as essential for maximizing brain health; seven core nutrients serve as the diet’s foundation, while an additional 14 further enhance it. Furthermore, Eat Complete contains 100 recipes showcasing how those 21 nutrients can be integrated into wholesome meals, ranging from breakfasts to desserts.

Dr. Ramsey encourages readers to not only focus on the nutrients required to transform brain health, but to also learn how to recognize the body’s signals and eat more mindfully. Some readers may notice similarities to another popular eating plan, the Mediterranean diet, and this overlap is not coincidental. Dr. Ramsey actually bases his own eating plan upon the Mediterranean diet, which has been well-documented to support brain and cardiovascular health.

Strengths and weaknesses of this diet

Overall, the Mediterranean-based diet Dr. Ramsey promotes is both healthy and balanced. It’s high in fibre and in nutrient-dense, whole foods. It encourages eating lean meats and plant-based proteins, as well as other sources of healthy fats, while minimizing consumption of red meats, unhealthy fats and added sugars.

Although Dr. Ramsey shows how to incorporate the 21 nutrients in a variety of recipes, however, his book doesn’t fully explain how to put all the pieces together. While Dr. Ramsey does provide reference values for the ideal daily intake of each nutrient based on the well-studied Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), the average reader may find it difficult to translate those numbers into real-life quantities of foods.

My bottom-line assessment of Eat Complete

One of Dr. Ramsey’s greatest successes is how well he highlights the ways specific nutrients correlate with brain function. He also excels at examining how consuming too little, or too much, of a specific nutrient can be associated with certain mental health conditions. Although some of these associations remain controversial, Dr. Ramsey avoids making any outlandish claims – a refreshing departure from many other popular diet books on the shelves.

What’s my final verdict? Medical research on nutrition being used to help treat mental health conditions is still in its infancy. That said, following Dr. Ramsey’s recommended way of eating, which is based on what we do know, is likely a good place to start improving your overall health.

If you like what Dr. Ramsey has to say, you should read what the Copeman dietitians have to share. Check out their definitive guide to