It used to be that I’d read fiction books over summer vacation: trashy novels for the beach, science-fiction or fantasy for road trips or the latest mystery/thriller before bed. The problem for me though, is that once I pick up a novel, I want to read it to the very end – think Netflix, but with books. Now non-fiction books on the other hand, I’m able to pace myself better, and I’m looking forward to devouring some health & wellness and nutritional books this summer.
I’ve got a few books on my summer reading list, including some of the books mentioned below, but one that isn’t there is Death by Food Pyramid by Denise Minger, who discusses how government and the food industry have led us all astray by changing the eating habits of the developed world. For friends & clients, one of my favorite recommendations is a textbook from my Natural Nutrition studies, Allergies: Disease in Disguise by Carolee-Bateson Koch, who discusses how food sensitivities are the source of many of common symptoms. If you have kids, I highly recommend What’s Eating Your Child by Kelly Dorfman. This book has helped a lot of parent-friends ‘get’ why food choices for kids are so important.
I asked around to fellow nutritionists and other health & wellness bloggers to see which books they recommended, which books they read that really got them into eating better as a way of improving health, or which books they recommend most often to readers or clients. Here’s what they had to say:
Maranda of Propel Wellness: “I frequently recommend Meals That Heal Inflammation by Julie Daniluk. It has some great general information on the role nutrition plays in your health, with easy to understand steps you can take to reduce inflammation and improve your health. It also has recipes to get you started, which makes adopting new habits a lot more attainable. It’s a great all-in-one book for anyone dealing with chronic health issues.”
Lauren of Mindful Meals: “Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole guided me away from a calorie counting, rigid view of nutrition to one where I can listen to my body’s natural cues.”
Vanessa of True North AIP: “The Paleo Approach – Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD. This approach got me started on addressing my own health issues which eventually launched me into CSNN to become a holistic nutritionist, after learning just how powerful healing foods can be. It’s not about being ‘Paleo’ as much as it is figuring out how to eliminate foods that might be causing your problems and allowing your body to heal.”
Andrea of It Takes Time: “Why Isn’t My Brain Working? by Dr. Datis Kharrazian, encompasses the role of gut health and nutritional support to keep your brain healthy as well as recover loss of brain function. (I lost quite a bit of memory function.) He offers quite a bit of data regarding the impact of gluten on inflammation and overall health. I think many people feel “crazy” when they try to recover their health, follow a diet, etc and don’t get as far as they would like. Or they notice decreased brain function and chalk it up to getting older. This book is not a “fix all” rather a tribute to the uniqueness of each individual and the opportunity to make life a bit better. For the true beginner, I would vote for Deep Nutrition by Cate Shanahan. She explains in such an understandable way the impact food choice makes on health.”
Venus of Ravenous Venus: “Deep Nutrition by Cate and Luke Shanahan, and The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith. Deep Nutrition was the first book that opened me up to the importance of animal-derived nutrients and it gave examples of many cultures that thrive off diets that emphasize the importance of animal nutrients. Since I was a vegetarian at that time, that and The Vegetarian Myth totally tipped me over. The Vegetarian Myth is great because it discusses how vegetarianism/veganism isn’t morally, politically, or healthfully beneficial in any way- all from the perspective of a woman who used to be a vegan for 20 years! She covers every possible argument about the topic, there’s no way you could believe that our bodies were made for plant-based diets after reading her book. Truly fascinating.”
Sara of If Your Body Could Talk: “The Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates because it give a fabulous overview of how our gut health affects everything else and provides a very do-able plan to start healing the gut and optimizing digestion.”
Ashley of Prairie Holistics: “Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels. I read it a few times before deciding to become a Nutritionist, and it was somewhat of the catalyst actually. Lots of great info, and an action plan to start out.”
Lisa of Breathe Wellness: “Where to begin, there is a LOT of information out there, and it can be difficult to sort out the good from the bad. The Spectrum, by Dr. Dean Ornish, is one book that I would recommend. It’s full of great facts, and advice, tells it like it is and makes the reader want to implement changes for the better.”
Monica of My Fit Body Coach: “Most of my personal training clients know very little about even the basics of nutrition, so for these clients I like to use this resource. It’s perfect for newbies learning to navigate “clean eating” practices: Tosca Reno’s Just the Rules.”
Jaime of Gutsy By Nature: “Mine is an evolution. Despite having been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 19, I never put much thought into the connection between the food I ate and my health. The first book that got me to think about food in a new way was The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, but that was more about the environmental impact. Then I read Nina Planck’s Real Food and started thinking about the health implications of diet. It took me several more years before I got serious about it though and that was when I read Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall. That lead me to paleo and the book that really made it all click was actually Practical Paleo; Diane Sanfilippo just explained everything in such a way that made sense, her recipes were tasty and easy, and the meal plan for specific health conditions (for me the autoimmune protocol) was just the program I needed at that moment. That all said, if I was to suggest a single book to someone with Crohn’s disease or another autoimmune disease today it would be Sarah Ballantyne’s The Paleo Approach. If it is someone who wants to just improve their health or lose weight, I’d direct them to Practical Paleo, Chris Kresser’s Your Personal Paleo Code, the Hartwigs’ It Starts With Food, or the Jaminets’ Perfect Health Diet.”
Jessica from Delicious Obsessions: “Ummm, how can I pick just one? Since I have to, it was Nina Planck’s Real Food. It was well-written and easy to read. I grew up on a super healthy, real food diet, but when I moved out, I rebelled and ate everything junky that I could. Nina’s book was a good reminder why real food is best and inspired me to get back on track.”
Lydia of Divine Health from the Inside Out: “Primal Body, Primal Mind, The Fat Flush, Nourishing Traditions, Staying Healthy with Nutrition by Elson Haas – probably others. There is a lot in [the Haas book] that I don’t agree with now – I started reading it when I was 19, so a long time ago… but there is so much info. that is good too. Take the good, ditch the bad.” Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A Price – This book provides solid scientific evidence of the negative impact that the modern American diet can have and opened my eyes to a more ancestral way of eating. Focusing on traditionally raised meats and produce has since become a priority for me and I have seen amazing improvements in my health!
Erin from Pure & Simple Nourishment: “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A Price – This book provides solid scientific evidence of the negative impact that the modern American diet can have and opened my eyes to a more ancestral way of eating. Focusing on traditionally raised meats and produce has since become a priority for me and I have seen amazing improvements in my health!
Caroline from Colorful Eats: “Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis—It inspired me to radically change my diet removing all grains and refined sugars and eventually being able to get off insulin!”
Arsy from Rubies & Radishes: “Dr. Frank Lipman’s book, Revive. It was the first time I made a connection between my extremely low energy and my diet. I followed his protocol and felt so much better immediately. I now recommend Chris Kresser’s Your Personal Paleo Code to my blog readers. It takes the most comprehensive and easy to follow approach to improving your health.”
Nazanin from Cinnamon Eats: “I sort of did things backwards and began my journey into a paleo lifestyle by first doing a Whole30 and then finding paleo. The first book I read after doing the whole30 was The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf. Reading that book solidified for me that the path I had chosen was the one that would lead to health and I never want to go back to eating a Standard Diet again.”
Susan from Weight Loss Laboratory: “The Art & Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance by Phinney and Volek. After losing my Father to a stroke, I was looking to take my health and fitness to another level and was inspired by the the two authors to try a ketogenic approach. It’s highly science and research based, which is my thing, and proves you don’t need carbs to fuel physical activity. Rather, your body functions amazingly well on and prefers to run on fat.”
Now keep in mind that some of these reads are more involved than others! But one interesting thing is that no matter what the specific approach is in the book, they all have the underlying message of eating more real food!