Beef Lovers’ Recipe for the Brain and Message from Dr. Melanie

My heartfelt support and prayers go out to the victims of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, those also affected by all the other recent natural disasters, all first responders, emergency crews and volunteers for your safety and recovery. I have chosen to support worldwide disaster relief charity, “All Hands Volunteers”.  They help families rebuild homes, schools, day care facilities- all the essential support systems needed to re-create the hub of a community. They also support and help implement long term preparedness plans. From now until November 30th, I will donate 20% of all new patient visits to this charity for their Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey Relief efforts. Please contact me for more information or to schedule your new patient appointment in my office or over the phone (if you are outside Phoenix)  480.447.9205. Or email me at You can also learn more about their relief efforts by visiting. Fueling the Body and Brain with Beef. I’ve been getting several requests lately to update the Recipe Page on my website and share some new dishes. Now that I am settled in my new Phoenix office, I can revisit this blog to continue sharing. This easy dish at the bottom of this article was a spontaneous creation last week using one of my favorite protein sources.  I am a meat eater (surprising to some people, I crave it.) That could be due to a combo of my blood type or my dosha constitution according to Ayurvedic principles, or both! Most of my diet consists of healthy fats and vegetables, however red meat helps fuel my energy tank and maintains my body mass. For ten years, I avoided beef because it dragged me down, made me feel sluggish. It wasn’t until I was put on an Ayurvedic cleanse for a completely different reason, my digestive health improved dramatically. I suffered from stress induced irritable bowel syndrome. A risky dinner experience in 2004 turned out to be surprisingly satisfying and since then I can’t go more than a few days without eating it. If you can’t digest beef well, first look at the source of beef you are eating. If you have been consuming commercial grain fed beef, the antibiotics, hormones and pesticides in those cows may be one very big issue (not to mention they are carcinogenic). Also, rule out any stomach acidity and gut health issues. These are some os many areas I address when I see patients with digestive complaints and suspected food sensitivities.
Eat Pasture Raised, NOT Feedlot Raised.
Grass fed beef is far superior in health benefits and safety over grain fed beef.  It is a richer source of essential fatty acids (omega 3’s), amino acids, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and iron. It also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which plays a role in reducing body fat, preserving muscle tissue, reducing inflammation and more.) Dr. Mercola explains this in detail. He shares a compelling description of these benefits and why you should avoid commercial grain fed beef.
Why is Beef Good for the Brain?
Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid (meaning our bodies do not produce it on its own). Among other foods it is found in beef, poultry which contain over 1g per 3oz serving. In our bodies it is converted to tyrosine which is another amino acid, then further converted into L-Dopa, epinephrine, norepinephrine and thyroid hormones. The L-Dopa is converted to dopamine, the neurotransmitter responsible for movement, our emotional responses to situations and sensations of pleasure and pain. In my October 31, 2016 article Part 3 of the Brain Gut Series “Depression and the Brain-Gut Axis”, I described the neurotransmitters involved with mood regulation and their relationship to the health of your gut. Dopamine and serotonin are big players. Here’s a favorite quick prep beef recipe with some special ingredients to fight tumors and inflammation:

Recipe: Beef Lover’s Skillet for Better Health.

Grass Fed Ground Beef Skillet.
Note: I personally do not measure ingredients. It may be a habit I inherited from my grandmother who grew up in India with Ayurvedic principles.  She used her senses and intuition and continually watched and tasted as she went! So have fun experimenting. Add the ingredients slowly to make sure you are not overloading with spice or volume. In this recipe I used about a cup or two of each green leafy veggie. Pre-chop all your vegetables before turning on the stove! 1 lb. grass fed ground beef Olive Oil – healthy saturated fat Organic Grass Fed Ghee (clarified Butter) – healthy saturated fat Fennel seeds, about 1tbsp –digestive herb; great for nausea, indigestion, gas, cramping Fresh or dried sage leaves – great for immune system, muscle spasms, releasing congestion. Unrefined sea salt: Himalayan is good Black pepper Your favorite fresh chilies (I used one whole serrano chili, great source of Vit C) Fresh organic garlic –immune system booster Fresh organic ginger – powerful digestive and anti-nausea remedy Organic onions Organic kale – cruciferous vegetable- powerful anticancer Organic spinach – Vitamin K, Vitamin A, folate, magnesium (I can go on..) Organic dandelion greens – powerful prebiotic food for your gut flora Organic mushrooms – Ok, it may be a fungi but: high in antioxidant, can reduce cancer cell activity, and fight inflammation) Organic cooked from frozen peas – high levels of antioxidants Turmeric (organic if possible, it’s a pricier herb) – 1-2 tbsp.- the most powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor root herb. Vegetable or beef broth – just in case In a cast iron skillet, simmer fennel seeds in olive oil until they start to look toasty and the aroma is released. Toss in the chopped onion, ginger, chilies and garlic and cook until the onions start to caramelize. Add the ghee and once it melts, add the beef and cook until it starts to brown.  Now, sprinkle 1 tbsp. of the turmeric and stir. Layer in the chopped kale, mushrooms, greens and whatever leafy veggies you wish. Sprinkle the salt and pepper. If you want more spice and color, add the second tbsp. of turmeric and keep stirring over medium heat.  If this dish starts drying out in your skillet, you can add some vegetable or beef broth.  Once everything the beef is cooked and vegetables still have a slight fresh green color, turn the stove down and allow it to simmer. Depending on your preference for fully cooked veggies vs lightly cooked you decide when it’s ready to serve! Don’t Eat Meat? Or Beef? Vegetarians, your recipe will be posted next month! Enjoy! If you are wondering which foods may or may not be suitable for your unique constitution or how you can customize this and other recipes to boost your health, visit my website and download the Ayurvedic dosha list questionnaire and find out what exactly Ayurvedic Medicine is!  Click here.  A free 15min consultation with me is available to help you determine the best course of action to reach your goals. Just call 480.447.9205. Please remember, I will donate 20% of all new patient visits through November 30th to disaster relief charity “All Hands Volunteers” which helps victims worldwide recover and rebuild from natural disasters.  (Donations will be equally submitted to their Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma projects). You can visit their website for more information: With love, prayers and good health, Dr. Melanie  

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