Kitchen Clinician: Chef David Bouley's Mission to Boost Our Brains Through Food

Drew Ramsey, MD


August 10, 2017

The Best Meal for What Ails You

Dr Ramsey: If someone comes into your restaurant and says they're feeling down [or] anxious, or [they're] not sleeping well, what would you serve them?

Chef Bouley: For 30 years, I've put apples in the foyer of my restaurant for everyone to smell. Sometimes the smell stops people frozen. So we start from getting their attention at the level of central pleasure, trying to put the intellectual side and the distractions away for a few minutes and let the body take over.

Now that we have tried to alleviate their minds, we try to help their bodies. This entails working with a lot of chlorophyll-based foods, which as we know are very healthy: B vitamins, polyphenols, flavonoids, green vegetables. We begin to activate the palette, usually with vegetables in a more raw state. Many people believe that imbalances of our mouth bacteria have a huge effect on our health, including our emotional health, so we use those purer cooking elements.

Then we bring in healthy, low-glycemic foods. For example, we make pestos with different kinds of herbs, such as mint, tarragon, and oregano.

We certainly know that food can have an impact on people's metabolism and change their moods almost instantly. A perfect example is when people haven't eaten for a while, [and] they get a little grumpy when their sugar falls. Then you feed them something and find out they're the funniest guy around again.

"We need to learn more about these associations and start working together with science."

We need to learn more about these associations and start working together with science. The food industry is a very complicated, broad group of businesses. It has to work more closely with the health industry, which is also a very large, broad, complicated group of businesses. I think we can start to develop some healthy applications, based on working together. That's why I'm here.


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