One of the values I’ve worked to re-introduce into my life over the past few years is reading. It cultivates attention, inspires creativity, and exposes me to new ways of thinking about and interpreting the world. I’ve also found that it’s one of the best pre-bed activities — it quiets my mind and leads to better sleep.
Many of you have asked what books I read related to health, wellness, and food. Instead of answering several emails a month on this topic, I decided to write a quick post listing my favorite reads. The links provided are via my Amazon Affiliate account. If you purchase an item using the Amazon Affiliate link, I receive a small commission off the sale. Amazon Affiliate links are currently the only form of “advertising” I do and I will only recommend a book I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed. Many of these books I’ve also recommended to clients who have reported finding them valuable.
Nutrition and Food:
This is a wide-ranging list, but I tried to provide a book or two that address areas I think are critical issues for many: confusion over what and how much to eat, brain and gut health, and how to feed families.
- Grain Brain — A groundbreaking book on the effects of grains and carbohydrates on the brain written by nutrition expert and neurologist, Dr. Perlmutter.
- What to Eat — Dr. Marion Nestle runs one of my favorite blogs called Food Politics. This book is a no-nonsense guide to help readers cut through the confusing and conflicting nutrition advice to make practical decisions on what to eat. She’s written a number of other excellent books including: Food Politics, and Soda Politics.
- Eat Fat Get Thin — Honestly, I think this book has a terrible title, but the content is outstanding. Dr. Mark Hyman discusses the latest research on the importance of fat for optimal health and weight management. He also has a great website and does a weekly “house call” video series.
- Mindless Eating — Dr. Brian Wansink the author is one of my favorite food and nutrition researchers. He conducts research and writes about how our food environment shapes behavior.
- Eat Dirt — If you are struggling with leaky-gut, Dr. Axe’s book is an excellent resource for healing and rebalancing your gut. It also includes recipes.
- The Gut Balance Revolution — Focused more on weight loss, this is a research-supported program for restoring gut health and optimizing weight.
- The End of Overeating — Dr. David Kessler dives into how our favorite foods alter our brain chemistry leading to cravings and obsessive thoughts.
- Intuitive Eating — The authors, both Registered Dietitians, share invaluable concepts to reshaping your relationship with food, weight, and your body.
- In Defense of Food — The classic Michael Pollan book and source of my favorite food edict: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.”
- Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family — The best and most down-to-earth, practical guide on how to help cultivate healthy eating habits in children. Great recipes included.
To be honest, I haven’t read or owned that many cookbooks. I had a few classics for a while in my twenties (Moosewood, The Joy of Cooking, The Best Recipe by Cook’s Illustrated) but I have transitioned to sourcing recipes online. That said, I do keep a few reference texts around and I try to familiarize myself with newer, health-focused cookbooks.
- The Science of Good Cooking — If you want to become a great cook, read this book. Period.
- The New Best Recipe — This is the other Cook’s Illustrated text I keep around. Their recipes can be a little nit-picky (they use a scientific method approach to cooking and recipe development), but when you need a recipe to that’s guaranteed to work, this is a failsafe resource.
- The Art of Fermentation — Fermented food consumption is critical for gut health. However, buying gallons of fermented foods gets expensive. The Art of Fermentation will walk you through how to ferment just about any fermentable food and get a safe, delicious result.
- The Deluxe Food Lover’s Companion — The ultimate food and ingredient reference book.
- The Grain Brain Cookbook — 150 gluten-free, low-carbohydrate recipes.
- The Eat Fat, Get Thin Cookbook — Lots of plant-centric (but not vegan) gluten-free, lower-carb/higher-fat recipes.
- The Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking — 101 simple and easy-to-prepare plant-based, mostly gluten-free recipes.
This is an enormous category, but I thought it would be interesting to provide a few of my favorite non-fiction books I’ve read and enjoyed over the past few years.
- The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living — Arguably the best book I’ve read on how to shift your thinking away from negative rumination and toward positive, productive thought.
- Sleep Smarter — If you have difficulties sleeping, this book is a must-read.
- Self-Reliance — This Emerson classic will always have a place on my shelf. I re-read it frequently.
- The Obstacle is the Way — A distillation of stoic philosophy that will help you reframe obstacles in your path into opportunities.
- Everything that Remains — What happens when you discover all that you thought you wanted, isn’t what you want?
- The Curated Closet — If you’re fashion phobic (like me) but still want to look stylish and put together, this is a great book to help you identify and refine your personal style with a minimalist approach.
- Deep Work — This book helped me reshape my work and life habits to enable higher quality and more rewarding work in less time.
- So Good They Can’t Ignore You — An essential read for anyone frustrated by “find your passion” advice.
- Anything You Want — As a brand-new entrepreneur, this book was invaluable.