Have you noticed how the wellness world is dominated by incredible women? On one hand, we totally love it—what other industry has so many girl bosses rocking it across mediums, helping to change perspectives on health? On the other hand, men need wellness role models too! So, we sought out a few men who are killing it in the health realm, and asked them to share how they got their start, and what men might be missing about wellness. We’re calling it our Men In Wellness series.
First up? Dr. Drew Ramsey. Drew broke onto the healthcare and wellness scene with with his first book The Happiness Diet, and then solidified his place as an expert with his second book, 50 Shades of Kale, and his third book Eat Complete. The psychiatrist is a leading proponent of using dietary change to help balance moods, sharpen brain function and improve mental health. During his “day job,” Dr. Drew is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and in active clinical practice in New York City where his work focuses on the clinical treatment of depression and anxiety. Using the latest brain science and nutritional research, modern treatments and an array of delicious food, he aims to help people live to their happiest, healthiest lives. Here’s what he had to say about Men In Wellness.
How did you get started in the wellness industry? Why the interest in it?
It’s been really exciting seeing the world of wellness embrace mental health. I got started in wellness as I started publishing books and saw the potential to really spread a life-changing message about food and brain health. Coming from academic medicine, we don’t spend enough time translating our knowledge and breakthroughs into actions—”this is how you can be healthier.” The wellness world inspires me this way, and really pushed me to be a better communicator. And now, about a decade into this work, I love seeing brands that I share values, like the W.E.L.L. Summit, Well and Good, and Sakara Life taking their messages to the national stage.
Why should men care about their wellness?
Let’s see, first, wellness events are packed with the smartest, strongest, healthiest women on the planet. In all seriousness, men should care for the same reason women do—your wellness is really about your happiness and self-care. Traditionally, men’s health doesn’t get the same attention as women’s health—how many Men’s Health centers are there? Not many. We all should care about men’s wellness and move beyond the stigma that men are dudes who eat poorly, drink too much and don’t really exercise. After all these are the boyfriends, husbands, fathers, brothers, sons that make up half the planet.
What do men often miss about their wellness?
The mental part. Men tend to withdraw during times of stress. They drop their healthy routines and often a mix of pride and shame prevent them from getting help. I also think men miss out on a lot of the innovation—we tend not to mix up our work-outs.
What unique perspective do you bring to wellness from a clinical psychology background?
Real world clinical experience. I’ve been a practicing physician for more than 15 years and very focused on clinical work. In the midst of the fun of health and wellness, I also talk about depression, suicide and addiction every day. It makes one very humble. I guess another thing that is a bit different is my farmer life. I try to grow a lot of food I recommend. This gives me a lot of respect for our farmers and our food. We have a young family and so I feel very grounded in the reality of feeding our kids and keeping our relationship vibrant.
We have found that a lot of wellness is focused on women: women’s health, women leaders, women bloggers, women founders, women advocates, etc. Why do you think that is?
Wellness isn’t something that society inherently values in men. Single guys I see in my office are very focused on the professions—this is the way they feel measured. Nobody cares if you are super unhealthy CEO and getting into competitive and powerful roles often demands a sacrifice of wellness. There is a bias that “wellness” is about outfits and funky brands, not promoting resilience and strength. But the happiest, most successful men I know have a get sense of personal wellness and self-care.
Want more wellness tips? Get inspiration from wellness experts on what you can do to improve your health today.