Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to your health. Reading as much as possible about a variety of different diets, nutritional principles, and the way the body works is key to understanding how exactly to fuel that beautiful body of yours. Of course, some books are better than others. These are some of the very best nutrition books, IMO, that discuss a broad range of diets, holistic nutrition principles, and just how tricky it is to navigate our current food world.
These digestible (had to) nutrition books are page-turners and life changing reads. Grab your library card!
New York Times bestseller, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan, started a conversation (a full ten years ago) about what sort of food choices we should be making on a daily basis. Divided into three segments: industrial: corn, pastoral: grass, and personal: the forest, Pollan’s book argues the importance of sustainable food choices, learning about where food comes from, and how our food system is an incredibly complex, messy, and highly subsidized force.
“Imagine if we had a food system that actually produced wholesome food. Imagine if it produced that food in a way that restored the land” Pollan wrote. “Imagine if we could eat every meal knowing these few simple things: What it is we’re eating. Where it came from. How it found its way to our table. And what it really cost."
“If that was the reality, then every meal would have the potential to be a perfect meal,” noted Pollan. We wish it were that way, too.
Marion Nestle, NYU professor and writer, has a Ph.D. in molecular biology, a M.P.H. in public health nutrition from the University of California, Berkeley, and has held numerous prestigious professor positions in nutrition and sociology. Along with numerous awards, chair departments, and more, Nestle is an extraordinary author who has published a variety of nutrition-focused books.
“What To Eat” is by far my favorite and easiest to digest. Nestle walks the reader through the grocery store deciphering gimmicky labels (fat-free, Omega-3 enriched, natural, etc.), and breaks down the store section by section. Everything from organic to conventional meat, the vast amount of sugar in processed foods, portion sizes, food marketing, and kid’s meals are picked apart and discussed in a relatable, yet scientifically backed, way. “What To Eat” will seriously transform the way to grocery shop – and eat.
This holistic book, written by Traditional Chinese Medicine and nutrition expert, Paul Pitchford, is my go-to comprehensive guide for bridging the nutritional practices of Eastern and Western cultures. Pitchford not only discusses the principles of Chinese healing arts, but also takes on modern diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes by prescribing a plant-heavy, whole food diet. This is a book you’ll want to reference again and again, if not for the 300 vegetarian recipes, but for the principles of mind, body, and health lovingly tied together throughout.
Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Michael Moss, “Salt Sugar Fat” is an in-depth look at how the food industry has manipulated our taste buds and waistlines. Focusing on the three common additives of the food system – salt, sugar, and fat – Moss breaks down just why each ingredient is so prevalent – and addictive.
From the highly calculated “bliss point” and enhanced “mouth feel” of processed foods to highly strategic (and effective) marketing campaigns, Moss explains just how easy it is to become duped by processed foods and the big players (Coca-Cola, Kraft, General Mills, etc.) that control it.
I love the science-backed research, relatable tone, and investigative qualities of this book – it’s one of the best nutrition books discussing big-food’s control over food choices.
Demystified by the digestive system, the gut-brain axis, and microbiome? “Gut,” cheekily penned by Giulia Enders with cute drawings scattered throughout by her sister Jill, is the best nutrition book for you.
Not only does “Gut” dive into topics such as how to properly sit on the toilet, but it also breaks down the relationship between gut bacteria, diet, mood, obesity, chronic diseases, digestive issues, allergies and more - with science-backed research and a relatable and humorous approach to boot.
Published in 1981, this holistic nutrition book uses a seasonal approach to lifestyle practices, disease-prevention, astrology, nutrition, and food. Considered one of the fathers of Integrated Medicine, Elson Haas outlines seasonal practices in a simple and effective way: listen to your body and eat whole, unprocessed foods.
By bridging together Eastern and Western medicine practices and the importance of the mind/body connection, “Staying Healthy With the Seasons” is a reference to keep on hand all year long.
Mark Bittman, food journalist, author, and former columnist for the New York Times, gives so many reasons why food matters in this research-backed, no-nonsense book. "Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating" breaks down the impact of big food and government policy on our diets, health, and environment while providing a simple way of eating instead: vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains.
Along with 75 (delicious) recipes that are mainly vegetarian and vegan, "Food Matters" will transform your ideas about food, nutrition, and health. Prepare to bookmark a lot of pages.
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