I’m often asked: “How do I start eating healthy?”. My response is always the same – start by educating yourself about food. You would be surprised how little we know about food production and distribution and how they impact our health and the planet. Below is a list of healthy eating books that will change your life forever. They changed mine.
I started my journey to optimal health out of necessity; I was extremely sick. When the pills stopped working and the pain was too unbearable, I realized something needed to change. I couldn’t live like that anymore. My gut was telling me I had to change my diet. But where do you start?
I spent months reading nutrition books and watching food documentaries. Based on the information that I learned, I designed an optimal diet for myself that not only cured my sickness, but also allowed me to become a better, happier version of myself. That girl was always inside of me. She just needed a little push to come out.
Knowledge is power, my friends! Fooducate yourself!
Disclaimer: Please note that some links on this page are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I’ve personally read all the books listed below and can tell you with certainty that they’ve changed my life. Let me know if you have any further questions!
1. Wheat Belly
Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find Your Path Back to Health – Going gluten and wheat free is an emerging trend, but why is wheat bad for us? Shouldn’t only people who are gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive stay away from wheat? What about my morning bagel? Wheat Belly goes into details about damaging effects wheat has on anyone’s health, ranging from being bloated and overweight to high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis. After reading it, I made a commitment to go gluten-free for a month. Boy, was that hard for me. Coming from a Russian family, I used to eat bread with every meal, for a grand total of 6-7 slices a day! However only after two weeks of being 100% gluten-free, I noticed a drastic change in the way I felt. I was no longer feeling bloated after every meal, lost a few pounds and started to sleep better. Getting up early in the morning did not feel like torture anymore! Since then, I’ve enjoyed coming up with yummy gluten-free recipes and even though I’m not 100% wheat-free right now (I do cheat once in a while and let myself have a slice of rye bread), I can tell you with certainty that reducing my gluten intake had a tremendous positive impact on my health.
2. The China Study
The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health – Every time I searched for top nutrition books, this book kept popping up. After reading numerous reviews and testimonials, I finally ordered it. I was tired of reading countless online articles that said “Eat XYZ; it’s good for your health”. I needed to know WHY it’s good for me. I needed to see some scientific proof. This book was exactly was I looking for. The China Study describes a massive study undertaken by Dr. Colin Campbell about the correlation between diet and diseases in over 100 villages all over China. The book also depicts the food industry in its core and provides insights about health consequences of following a “standard american diet”. The China Study was the reason I became vegan 2 years ago and why I follow a mostly plant-based diet now. I absolutely love experimenting in the kitchen and coming up with new vegan recipes now. The China Study is known as “one of the most important books about nutrition ever written” and I can’t recommend it enough. This book is the reason I’m healthy today. It truly saved my life.
3. Fast Food Nation
Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal – Prior to becoming sick, I was an occasional fast food eater. I always knew fast food was bad for me, but it tasted soo good! Plus, it was incredibly convenient. Did you know that for every 22,174 American citizens there is a McDonald’s waiting to serve? That might surprise you given that for every hospital in America there are twice as many people waiting in line. Canada is not far behind, with only 24,616 Canadians per one McDonald’s restaurant. In addition to explaining why fast food is a poor choice based on its nutritional value, Fast Food Nation shows how the fast food industry affects the lives of people on both sides of the coin, the producers and consumers. I found this book eye-opening and provoking due to its emphasis on personal stories of those whose lives were forever changed by this 250 billion dollar industry.
4. Grain Brain
Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar — Your Brain’s Silent Killers – The main message of this book is to stay away from processed foods if you want to keep your body and your brain healthy. Dr. Perlmutter, the author of Grain Brain, states that number one cause of brain diseases (that includes depression, insomnia, ADD, and memory problems) is inflammation which mainly comes from overconsumption of processed foods and gluten. This book was easy to read and provided a great amount of information about the impact grains and different types of carbs have on our brain and our body. After reading Grain Brain and Wheat Belly, I drastically decreased my consumption of gluten and now spoil my family with gluten free desserts.
5. It Starts with Food
It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways – After reading several books about the benefits of a plant-based diet, I wanted to make sure that my research wasn’t limited. So I picked up It Starts with Food to learn more about the Paleo lifestyle. I enjoyed reading this book (especially the information about the science behind food cravings) and even attempted following the Whole30 program. It further confirmed my belief that processed foods and dairy shouldn’t be a part of a healthy diet. The large amount of meat products that you’re required to consume on this diet, unfortunately, caused my problem with acid reflux to come back. So I went back to eating mostly plant-based food. However, I would definitely recommend reading this book as a part of your fooducating process. It presents the information in a very easy to understand way and provides great tips on following a Paleo diet.
I hope this list inspires you to start learning about healthy eating. I’d highly recommend reading all of these books to ensure that your information isn’t coming from just one source. My approach was to read as many healthy eating books as I could and watch food documentaries to determine what makes the most sense to me and to experiment with various diets. As a result, I was able to design a customized diet that makes me feel healthy and happy.
I am a firm believer that there is no universal diet that will work for everyone. After all, everyone is unique. What might work for me, might not work for you. Thus, I encourage you to educate yourself about nutrition and to experiment with food. Real food is meant to make us feel amazing; we just need to let it do its job.