Jul 26, 2021
Years ago, psychiatrist, Dr. Drew Ramsey saw first-hand the impact of the second-generation of antipsychotic drugs on his patients.
While the drugs may have alleviated the symptoms of psychiatric illnesses, they were hard on the body and mind. Patients gained excessive weight and developed problems with the lipid balances in their blood.
It didn’t take long for a book idea to formulate. Drew tells Published Author Podcast host Josh Steimle: “Nobody in mental health was talking about food. No one taught us how to talk about food. There was not a single lecture.
“It really hit me as a young physician. I remember thinking: ‘Wow, fats come from fish.’, recalls Drew. “We always talk about supplements and molecules in isolation. We studied B12, we didn’t study clams, but if you want to really up your intake of B12, just eat clams for months.”
Drew is an author, farmer, and founder of the Brain Food Clinic in New York City, offering treatment and consultation for depression, anxiety, and emotional wellness concerns. He is the author of three books, including the award-winning cookbook Eat Complete: The 21 Nutrients that Fuel Brain Power, Boost Weight Loss and Transform Your Health and his latest book, Eat to Beat Depression and Anxiety: Nourish Your Way to Better Mental Health in Six Weeks.
A Co-author Improved First Book’s Readability
Drew quickly moved from writing down his ideas on scraps of paper to finding a co-author, Tyler Graham, to work on his first book, The Happiness Diet: A Nutritional Prescription for a Sharp Brain, Balanced Mood, and Lean, Energized Body.
Tyler is a journalist and had a lot of experience writing for the public. Says Drew: “That first book was really my education.
“Writing about science is boring! You gotta make it interesting and relevant and compelling,” he explains. “People want to hear your opinion of what they should eat and you can back that up with all kinds of evidence, but it comes down to your opinion.
“So working with a co-author has been huge, especially when I think about how my processes evolved to the team that I now work with.”
The Importance Of Deadlines In Writing
Drew says that many writers miss the importance of deadlines in writing. If you want to get the work done, a deadline is crucial. He learned this lesson working with Tyler. The two men held regular meetings three mornings a week for two-hour sessions. Each had their own work to complete for the morning sessions.
The Happiness Diet required a ton of research because Drew and Tyler had to learn so much about food, including agriculture and the food production and distribution process. However, the hard work laid the foundation for Drew’s next books. He gave himself an education and could build on that knowledge with his next books.
Drew and Tyler were in fact two of the early key figures in what is today called mental fitness. “Mental fitness really begins with nutritional psychiatry, this idea that there are things in your life . . . the everyday choices you make . . . they influence your brain health and your brain is the keeper of your mental health,” explains Drew.
Today, there is now a tremendous amount of support for Drew’s research and writing. He notes: “There are multiple randomized trials showing if you improve dietary quality and move people towards a more traditional diet, you can significantly decrease the burden of depression and anxiety.”
Writing Books Just One Small Part Of Sharing Message
Drew says that writing a book is just one part of his work to evangelize about healthy eating and mental fitness. A lot of the work is around content creating and delivering his message so that people get excited about the possibilities of food and mental health.
“Whatever you're doing, whether it’s improving your relationship or dealing with mood or anxiety, it’s all about brain phenomena,” he says. “It’s been a really exciting evolution in terms of what it’s done for me.”
His key messages for authors include:
Focus On The Long-Haul
Drew believes that each promotional opportunity is part of a big picture around a book. He focuses on the long-haul with each book, and as each opportunity arises he looks for its place in the creation of his platform.
The Secret To a Successful TEDx Talk
Drew has delivered TEDx talks and some of them have been based on his books’ content. He finds them “terrifying and challenging” at the same time. His big learning over the years is that a successful TEDx presentation comes from balance: a combination of a state of flow and following the arc of your key points.
“Just channeling your truth and keeping it simple is really important,” notes Drew.
It Takes a Team To Make a Successful Author
Drew is deliberate in his approach to progressing his work, saying he works on his career as an author with the same discipline he applies to his diet and mental health. He recognizes too that a strong team is important, and this includes his agent along with the people who help him translate his ideas and vision, design his books, all the way through to co-authors and other business partnerships.
“You’ve got to dedicate yourself to the process and have deadlines. Really enjoying that process is important, too,” says Drew, adding that it’s essential that authors create a team with people who care about them and support their work.
“It's one of the ways that I really think about mental health and what our brains are here for, that our brains do best when we are connected. We have our own internal process, but I would say almost spiritually that we're here doing what we're meant to be doing, and we're doing it with other people that we care about.”
Share On The Platforms That Work For You
Social media wasn’t an easy leap for Drew. As a doctor and psychiatrist, he had to take into consideration privacy considerations and how to handle patients contacting him online. Eventually, he found his place on Instagram, which he feels really comfortable with.
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ABOUT THE HOST
The Published Author Podcast is hosted by Josh Steimle, founder of Published Author. Josh is a book author himself and his article writing has been featured in over two dozen publications including Time, Forbes, Fortune, Mashable, and TechCrunch. He's a TEDx speaker, the founder of the global marketing agency MWI, a skater, father, and husband, and lives on a horse farm in Boston. Learn more at JoshSteimle.com.