Drew Ramsey M.D.

The Farmacy

A Brain Food Prescription from The Farmacy: TEDx

A prescription that everyone needs: FOOD

Posted May 24, 2013

In March, I returned to Bloomington, Indiana to speak at TEDxBloomington, a curated day of talks on the theme “Jump In”. A TED talk forces you to hone your message and your passion, to step away from everything and look at the bigger picture. I was in need of this as I’ve been immersed in kale. What if we "Jumped In" to mental health by building the best brain possible with the best food choices?

With my “regular” talks I give on food and brain health you’ll hear a mix studies, clinical examples, a review of brain nutrients, and food recommendations. After reviewing my initial outline, the amazing organizer of TEDxBloomington Luci McKean told me to cut my science slides – gasp – and to focus on what I did with patients and why. She was intrigued with an exercise I do with my patients called The Brain Food Prescription and a few of my favorite stories on how our diets have changed and why this matters to your brain.

I practiced and practiced and then they day before the talk, everything changed. Last August, I had the honor to meet Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a Harvard neuroscientist who had suffered a stroke (the subject of her book My Stroke of Insight.) She is also a fellow Hoosier. She gave one of the most popular TED talks of all time and if you haven’t seen it click here. Her talk moves me every time (read I get misty-eyed.) You will to. Her stroke showed her how we are all connected and she is wise, wise woman. Dr. Jill emailed me the week prior to the TEDxBloomington and offered to give me some pointers. With 24 hours until showtime, I stopped by her house on the way to Bloomington.  After listening to my talk, she told me my end was my beginning - flip the talk. And ahe wanted to see the food I was prescribing. Change my talk?! It was great advice. Thank you Dr. Jill.

I had 12 minutes, no notes, and I brought a kale plant with me on stage for good luck. As much as I rehearsed, I was still nervous - I started talking a few seconds before my mic was on and then botched my thesis line – I meant to say “I want you to put your BRAIN at the center of your nutritional choices.” I finally get into the groove after several minutes.

I was the final talk before lunch. Could I influence what hundreds of people in the audience would eat? Can I influence what you will eat for lunch? Take a look and let me know…after all the science is getting pretty clear that with a Brain Food Presciption from The Farmacy you CAN eat to build a better brain. 

The end of the morning was focused on mental health and I was really honored to share the stage with Darryl Neher, a professor, politician, and man who is brave enough to talk about having clinical depression. Watch his talk  - Why We Need To Talk About Depression - and be inspired. 

Also discussing his long experience in the mental health field was Denny Morrison, who aimed to dispel several myths about mental health. You can tell he hit the nail on the head by the many anti-psychiatry comments that got posted.


There were many other great talks and I wanted to share a few that I was able to see. Check out TEDxBloomington on Youtube for the entire day.

 Ryan Germick leads the Google Doodle team which creates those fun drawings on the home page and doodles like the little guy you drag onto google maps to see street view. How did he get such a great job? Well, by wearing funny costumes and traveling to India! What a great Hoosier.

 The sexiest talk was by “My Sex Professor” Debby Herbenick whose goal it is to “Make Sex Normal”.  She is Research Scientist at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University, a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute and hosts events like the Sex Salon and begins by recalling as a young woman riding her bike 5 miles for….

Live a life of yes?! This is great talk about creating the life you want by an amazing woman Saya Hillman who says, “I am ridiculously happy because I chose to live a life of yes.”

 Bob Einterz, MD has likely done more to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa than just about anyone. When I was a senior at Indiana University School of Medicine, I participated in his program, which helped start the second medical school in Kenya and subsequently has helped treat thousands of patients and train thousands of new Kenyan doctors. Bob is humble, driven, and an exceptional physician and mentor. Part of their program founded farms and now they feed 30,000 people a day. If you care about HIV/AIDS and global health and want to know more about a program that helped transformed the surrounding communities, watch this video.