There are a million books in the health and wellness aisle and new ones being added every day. I have been studying diet and nutrition for over 20 years and have read a good many of the millions on the market. This list includes some of my favorites that I go back to over and over again for recipes, advice, and inspiration.
Top Ten Health Books
In no particular order:
The Yoga of Eating by Charles Eisenstein
“But the body is wise, and the rewards for trusting great.” Charles Eisenstein
After 20 years of learning and digesting so much science and theory around healthy eating, this book really spoke to me. There is a lot of conflicting thoughts and theories out there and this book gives each of us back the power to choose for our self.
Instead of looking outwards to others to tell us what is best to eat, trusting and learning to listen to our own individual body will provide the most accurate information for what to eat. With a basic foundation in nutrition and what our body needs to survive and thrive, we can then trust in our self to make the best decision about how much, how often, and what variety of foods we need.
If you have ever felt overwhelmed or uncertain about what to eat because of all of the conflicting information in the news and media, this is the book for you. Take back the power; trust your own body and your own intuition.
Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz
Gut health and bacteria are popular buzz words in the media for the past few years and I take the subject very seriously. I believe that gut health is of great importance because without it, it is almost impossible to optimally absorb nutrients and the gut is one of the first lines of defense for your immune system.
Fermented foods can be distasteful to some, but with so many types and flavors of fermented foods, making one a part of your day should be no problem. Wild Fermentation breaks down the science and techniques of making fermented foods at home.
Fermented foods should be a part of your every day. Experiment with a variety and find the one that works for you. My personal favorites are kombucha, miso, and yogurt.
An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler
When so many health books are restricting and demonizing of whole groups of foods, An Everlasting Meal, is a welcome relief. Tamar Adler weaves together good nutrition, flavor, and economy, leaving the reader, no matter their skill-level in the kitchen or budget, ready to savor every bite.
She has really practical advice for those with little experience in the kitchen. She stresses the importance of fresh, whole foods for best flavor and nutrition. And she has great tips for every cook to reduce waste when cooking.
Tamar clearly has a passion for food and enjoys every aspect of the process, from garden to kitchen to table.
Don’t be afraid of the kitchen and cooking, you can do it, and your body will thank you.
The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen by Donna Klein
One of the most effective strategies I use on a daily basis is to ‘crowd-in’ in vegetables and ‘crowd-out’ higher calorie foods like starchy vegetables, white breads and large amounts of fatty meats. Vegetables are the base of my diet and dairy, meat, grains etc. are the condiments.
I use this cookbook all of the time because I love the flavors of the Mediterranean like garlic, olive oil, and capers. The recipes are unique, diverse and play well with other ingredients.
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
This is a classic health and nutrition book. It definitely challenges some mainstream ideas especially when it comes to animal fats, but as research has recently revealed, she may not have been so far off base as some once thought. This book is based on the research conducted by Dr. Weston Price in the 1930’s on native peoples from around the globe. The basic core premise is that whole foods, as close to the source as possible should be eaten most of the time. Processed foods should be restricted as much as possible. It is a simple and effective strategy for health and wellness. The book has a ton of great nutrition information as well as recipes to help you reduce processed foods in your diet.
Take what works for you and let the rest go.
Always in Season by Elise Richer
I am a huge advocate of buying local and in season to achieve maximum nutrition and to support the local economy. Elise Richer’s book Always in Season has great recipes categorized by month so you always have a great recipe for whatever you find at the Farmer’s Market or in the freezer from the previous summer. Elise explains how to use and prepare less common foods, taking all of the fear and discomfort out of trying new foods.
I love the beautiful illustrations by Teresa Lagrange. Often I won’t buy a cookbook without pictures but her illustrations are so vibrant and colorful, I don’t miss the photographs at all.
Every recipe I have ever tried from this cookbook has turned out perfectly, it is a mainstay in my kitchen.
Food that Works by Malia Dell
This is Malia Dell’s first book, and has done a fantastic job. Having experienced how hard it is to get good food into her body when working a 9 to 5 job she took the last four years to come up with a plan that will help you do just that. She has created menus, grocery lists and recipes that can fit into anyone’s schedule.
The number one way to maintain a healthy body is to eat whole (not processed) foods that you cook yourself so that you can control the amount of sugar, salt and fat. This cookbook could be the answer to your busy schedule prayers.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
I first fell in love with Barbara Kingsolver when I read her book Prodigal Summer. She has an amazing ability to communicate her passion and connection to nature without coming across as preachy.
In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle she points out the obvious that we as humans are what we eat, part of what we eat is the environment in which the food is raised and/or grown, and that mindfulness to what we put into our bodies and the environment in which it is grown is of utmost importance. She does this without being ‘preachy’ she does it with grace, humor and realistically.
If you have never had the pleasure of a home-garden or getting to know your local farmer, Kingsolver will take you there vicariously. You will appreciate your food and all of the steps that go into producing it and getting to you so much more after reading this book.
Kripalu Breakfast Savory and Sweet by Deb Morgan
I get into food ruts with every meal from time to time but especially with breakfast. When I find I’ve been eating the same thing for weeks on end, I pick up this cookbook and instantly get inspired. The recipes are great tasting without overuse of salt, sugar or fat. A couple of my favorites are Poached Eggs over Onions and Spinach and Quinoa with Dates and Almonds.
Words of wisdom are sprinkled throughout the book as well like “savor every bite” and “heed your hunger”. The Kripalu approach to health and wellness is IN-clusive not EX-clusive so no foods are excluded and variety is emphasized.
I have not tried their other cookbooks but I am sure they will be just as good as this one.
Metabolic Typing Diet by William Wollcott
This is the book that truly changed my life. Prior to this book, I believed that there must be one way to eat that will ensure health and wellness and all I had to do was find it. This book finally opened my eyes to the truth, that a ‘healthy diet’ is different depending on the individual’s metabolic type.
I had been trying to be vegetarian for years, and feeling sick and low-energy all of the time. Come to find out, my metabolic type needs more protein and fat than others. After following the diet recommended for my metabolic type, I lost the weight I had struggled with for years, my energy and mood stabilized and now I feel better than ever.
If you have tried a variety of diets and can’t find the one that you can stick to long-term and that makes you feel great, try this book.
Metabolic Typing Cookbooks by Nancy Dale: The Metabolic Typing book and these cookbooks by Nancy Dale go hand in hand. Nancy has created a cookbook for each of the metabolic types. Her recipes are easy to make, nutritious, and delicious. If you are just starting out on a metabolic typing diet and are feeling lost, her cookbooks will help you get on track.
Honorable Mention: Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Do you have a favorite cookbook or health book that inspires you on a daily basis? Tell me about it in the comments section.