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

Drew Ramsey, MD


August 10, 2017

Chef Bouley's Personal Pantry

Dr Ramsey: Chef, you have served us some delicious green tea. What are some of the other foods you make sure to include that in your personal recipes? You said [that] your family history includes some dementia. What do you personally eat to take care of your brain health?

Chef Bouley: Well, I certainly work with a lot of antioxidants. Every day, I take a spoonful of coconut oil and also some curcumin that is used in curry. India has the lowest [rates of] Alzheimer disease on the planet, and they eat the most curry.

I have learned a lot about how we have to deal with challenges of plaque in our brains, and other neurologic issues. I'm trying to work with healthier fats and anti-inflammatory components, and thinking about how much sugar I'm serving.

Dr Ramsey: Can you tell us what are some of your favorite foods are then? What's a typical day in Chef Bouley's world?

Chef Bouley: I'll start with my omega-3 eggs on avocado. I will have a little bit of sheep yogurt, which I mix with Ceylon cinnamon and top with a bit of molasses.

In the daytime, I regularly eat things with seaweed for the minerals, because I am in a high-stress environment as a chef and because certain mineral deficiencies (eg, magnesium) have been associated with stress.

I don't eat a big meal at night, and I don't eat carbohydrates after 5 PM. I try to eat protein from different sources and on a regular basis. We have a lot of farmers who are growing for me, and I recently got 26 kinds of lentils from Canadian-Indian farmers who never use industrial farming. I'm using different sources of food and mixing it up.

I learned from my French side. Some of my French relatives eat more varieties of food in a week than Americans will eat in an entire lifespan. In one meal, there's so many small elements: highest quality, smallest portion. Rarely do they revisit a dish in the same month. When I look at what they eat, it's a 4- or 5-week cycle and always in season.

"Today, food is your best ally. It requires minimal investment to understand how your biochemistry is functioning and then experiment with food."

My doctor tells me [that] my cholesterol [level] is where he's trying to get his 30-year-old patients at. My blood pressure is usually 110/60 mm Hg, and I used to be on a couple of different kinds of blood pressure medication 10 years ago. I take an Individual Optimal Nutrition (ION) test, where I have as many as 10 to 15 tubes of blood to see exactly where I am at my age and where I should be. A lot of doctors will look at it and say such things as, "You don't have to go for a colon or prostate screening; you don't even have any markers. Your white blood cells are on vacation." Getting sick doesn't happen overnight, and healing and getting strong doesn't happen overnight either.

Today, food is your best ally. It requires minimal investment to understand how your biochemistry is functioning and then experiment with food. There are great benefits to taking your health into your own hands, turning into a hobby, and just experimenting. No one's going to know better than you what your body wants.


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