Colleen O’Brien: Doctor says we ‘need meat’ for mental health to thrive

Mar 9, 2024, 9:00 AM | Updated: Mar 11, 2024, 11:50 am

Image: Smoked Turkey Leg: Hot off the smoker, the meat has a smokiness that permeates every bite. I...

Smoked Turkey Leg: Hot off the smoker, the meat has a smokiness that permeates every bite. It will be available before the Thanksgiving Day game on Nov. 23, 2023 at Seattle's Lumen Field. (Photo courtesy of the Seattle Seahawks)

(Photo courtesy of the Seattle Seahawks)

We talk a lot about how food choices, such as whether to eat meat, affect physical health, but what about mental health? Dr. Georgia Ede is a Harvard-trained nutritional and metabolic psychiatrist who has written a book called “Change Your Diet, Change Your Mind” and she means that literally.

“The brain needs meat,” she said.

We asked her to explain that on Seattle’s Morning News, which led to a promising conversation about one’s ability to better themselves through simple, common-sense means.

Why meat is vital for mental health

“We’re used to hearing that meat is dangerous for our total health, including our brain health, and plants are really the best way to nourish and protect our brains. But the truth of the matter is that it’s actually — that’s upside down and backward,” Ede chuckled. “It is the only food that contains every nutrient we need in its proper form and is also the safest food for our blood sugar and insulin levels.”

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There is a reason blood sugar levels are not just important to people who have diabetes, but also to everyone with a brain.

“It’s also about brain energy, maintaining your brain to — for the brain to create energy for the rest of your life and protect your memory as well as your mood,” Ede said.

And it’s not about protein, as is drilled into us from the start. Ede said it’s more about all the other nutrients that meat contains.

“Vitamins and minerals like B-12, Omega3 fatty acids, and zinc, and choline, and iron, and iodine. So many of the other essential nutrients are much more difficult if not in some cases impossible to obtain from plants,” Ede noted.

Many ‘studies’ are ‘worthless’

Ede goes further to say so many of the “studies” we hear about in popular media about drinking red wine in moderation is great for your health, then one day it’s the worst thing you can drink,
or how certain berries are going to give your immune system super-antioxidant protection. Well, she calls them “worthless.”

She explains most “studies” we hear in headlines that influence our nutritional decisions are more “wild guesses” than actual scientific experiments.

This is the backdrop to our conversation about an example in her book of a scientist and doctor who put his bipolar disorder into “full remission” years ago by eating a Ketogenic diet.

You can hear our full conversation with Dr. Georgia Ede on Seattle’s Morning News podcast.

I’m going to be the first to say that I love interviewing smart people about topics around mental health and wellness. I remain a total optimist when it comes to one’s ability to better themselves. I also recognize claims of being able to “cure” oneself of bipolar disorder sound too good to be true. Since I work in the sphere of seeking information and truth I want to be clear that I don’t endorse any particular diet, therapy, or doctor. I have found my own methods to better my mental health, and I wish everyone well on their own journey.

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Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5-9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Colleen O’Brien: Doctor says we ‘need meat’ for mental health to thrive