I have read a lot of health books over the years. In doing my research I haven't found one source that has all the answers but many contain important information. I believe you have to take the information you glean and fit the pieces together like one big puzzle. And the puzzle isn't the same for everyone. We all have different situations and dietary needs and have to figure out what is right for us.
The following is a list of my favorites health books.
Real Food: What to eat and why by Nina Planck
This is the book that started it all for me. Years ago I remember when I heard about high fructose corn syrup for the first time. You mean that stuff was in my yogurt? In things I thought were healthy for me? Next it was hydrogenated oils, then MSG and artificial food dyes. I started eliminating these things from my diet as soon as I learned about them, but what was going to be next? Nina Planck has the answer. Eliminate processed foods from your diet and eat whole foods. Now it seems like such simple solution, but at the time I didn't realize how bad processed foods are for us. Nina's book is a quick and interesting read. It's one I highly recommend.
The China Study: Startling implications for diet, weight loss and long-term health by T. Colin Campbell, PhD
This is a long but good one. Dr. Campbell's research is very well done and quite fascinating. He teaches that the quality of our diet is more important to avoiding cancer than carcinogen exposure. After reading this book you'll seriously consider being a vegan. I don't completely agree with Dr. Campbell on this one however but it did make me seriously think about what is meant in the Word of Wisdom when it says to eat meat sparingly. If we choose to eat meat I think it is wise to consider where our meat comes from, a CFAO (concentrated animal feeding operation) or green pastures with fresh air and wholesome food. A healthy animal makes healthy food.
The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O'Brien
Have you ever wondered why so many kids these days have food allergies? Robyn O'Brien has uncovered some shocking information about the hidden toxins in our food and how these have lead to the alarming increase in allergies, ADHD, asthma, and cancer in our children. It's hard to believe that something like this has happened in our country but it has. Now we have to make a choice. We can ignore the fact that the unthinkable has happened and do nothing or we can change the food industry by voting with our dollars and buying foods free of preservatives, GMO's, and artificial dyes.
Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss
I enjoyed this book for many reasons. I found the history fascinating. I loved learning about men like James Lewis Kraft, C. W. Post, Oscar Mayer, and John Harvey Kellogg and his brother Will and how their legendary companies came to be. I also enjoyed learning about the origins of products like cold breakfast cereal, lunchables, instant jell-o pudding, coke, cheez wiz, and 100 calorie packs. But the real reason I couldn't put this down was the shocking truths that were revealed (like how Phillip Morris, the largest tobacco company, owns Kraft and supplied them with their own marketing apparatus and strategies that have been so successful in selling cigarettes, and how executives from the processed food companies go out of their way to avoid the food they produce). I find it sad how little the processed food industry cares about the health of Americans. They are simply greedy companies who are focused on profits and it is unbelievable the lengths they're willing to go to to capture the "stomach share" of consumers. From the extraordinary science to get people hooked on their foods, to the advertising and marketing ploys, and even the lies they tell us. The government plays a roll in all of this too (like how they got Americans eating triple the amount of cheese they ate in the 1970's). This book is really worth reading to better understand the processed foods Americans are hooked on and why you just might want to pass it up and grab an apple instead.
Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills by Russell L. Baylock, MD
Have you ever looked at a food label and seen a bunch of funky names you don't recognize? What is all that stuff in our food anyway? They're excitotoxins, substances added to our food that literally stimulates our brain neurons to death! Monosodium glutamate (MSG), aspartame, hydrolyzed protein, cysteine, and aspartic acid are a few. Most people consume these things harmful ingredients everyday. They're in Doritos, Campbell's soups, Bouillon, frozen pizza, chewing gum and thousands of other products. This book provided vital information to protect your health and the health of your family. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to READ LABELS! Leave the processed food on the shelf and feed your family real food.
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
Nourishing Traditions is a great resource book. It's full of healthy traditional recipes and is a great guide for figuring out a traditional whole food diet. Sally Fallon is the founder of the Weston Price Foundation. Don't know who Weston Price is? Do a google search. He's a man worth learning about.
Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell McBride M.D.
This book is flat out fascinating. It's one of those that helped the puzzle really come together for me. Not only is the modern American diet (MAD) horrible for our health but combined harmful medications we're causing a lot of problems and they're starting to show up in our children. Not only is healthy eating important but it is so essential that we maintain a healthy gut. How do we do that? The short, simple answer is to avoid antibiotics and eat cultured foods that fill our gut full of good bacteria. There's so much more to it than that though. A must read.
The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
This book will open your eyes to the food process. What are we eating? Where did it come from? Why should we care? I think you'll be surprised at what you find.
Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman M.D.
I think too many people who develop heart disease, diabetes, and obesity think it's something they have to accept and live with for the rest of their lives. It's so important for people to understand that you don't! Food is powerful and changing your lifestyle and diet can change your health. This book is full of amazing real life stories of people who did just that.
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
This one isn't a health book, but it does have to do with natural things :) I just had to throw it in here because it's one of my favorite books. Yes, you may think I'm strange categorizing a childbirth book as one of my favorites, but I would seriously list it among one of my top 5 favorite books of all time. It is that good. I highly recommend it to anyone who is going to have a baby. You'll be glad you took the time to read it.