I’m often asked if I follow a certain diet or eating plan. The truth is, I don’t.
I do prefer to focus on eating whole foods and properly combined meals, but I no longer stick to any hard and fast rules. (This hasn’t always been the case, but I’ve found I’m a much happier person when I’m less regimented!)
Naturally, it took me a while to get to this point, and quite a few books influenced my thinking– and eating– along the way.
Today, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites.
1. UltraMetabolism, by Dr. Mark Hyman.
I bought this book while I was still in college, and it was the first program that ever made me question the “standard American diet.” Written by a practicing medical doctor, who published this book after successfully treating and healing his own patients through dietary and lifestyle advice, this seemed like a good place to start.
After reading UltraMetabolism, I attempted my first elimination diet– cutting out wheat, dairy and processed foods for a period of time, to see how I felt without them. Not only did I feel better, but I drastically reduced my consumption of cow’s dairy and wheat products from that point forward. There are a variety of scientific tidbits scattered throughout this book, so it’s still one that I’ll reference often.
2. The Raw Food Detox Diet, by Natalia Rose.
This book has arguably had the most impact on my way of eating thus far.
Natalia Rose introduced me to food combining, green juice, goat cheese, and dark chocolate–> things I still very much love today. While I’ve read all of her subsequent books, including Detox 4 Women, this particular book is the one I always recommend as a good starting point for people interested in learning more about detox and clean eating.
3. Breaking the Vicious Cycle, by Elaine Gottschall.
This book is a gold-mine of information about the human digestive system, written by a biochemist and cell biologist. I was most influenced by the explanation of how we digests sugars–> particularly the difference between monosaccharides and disaccharides. If you’ve ever wondered why I prefer using honey in my recipes, over other natural sweeteners, this book explains it!
It was also the catalyst behind us making the decision to go grain-free earlier this year, and is a great resource for anyone suffering from chronic digestive issues.
4. Primal Body, Primal Mind, by Nora T. Gedgaudas.
When embarking on our little grain-free experiment, it seemed natural to read a few books on the Paleo Diet. While this wasn’t the only one I read on the subject, it was definitely my favorite. Nora Gedgaudas discusses, in depth, the diet of our ancestors and makes a strong argument for eating whole, unprocessed foods– with much less of an emphasis on protein consumption, when compared to other Paleo plans.
In fact, I find a lot of similarities between the concepts in this book and the other books listed above!
5. Brain Over Binge, by Kathryn Hansen.
If you’ve ever dieted before, there’s probably a good chance you’ve also binged.
I was a chronic yo-yo dieter for years, and this was the first book that ever resonated with me on the matter of binge-eating. If you find yourself struggling with urges to binge, this book provides a refreshing perspective on how to put a stop to it for good. Definitely a life-changer!
Reader Feedback: Have any books influenced your eating and lifestyle habits? I’d love to hear about your favorites!
Questions and Reviews
I love this list! I am always looking for new nutrition related books to check out and these all sound right up my alley! I can’t wait to read some of these!
Great list. I was aware of all but the last one. I’ll have to check that out!
I love the Raw Food Detox Diet, too! The Beauty Detox Solution by Kimberly Snyder was life-changing for me. She also has a great blog! I highly recommend you check her out….I know you’d love her, Megan.
P.S. I made your chocolate coconut milk ice cream last night! Can’t wait to try it. 🙂
I’ve enjoyed all of Natalia’s books, Kris Carr’s & Kimberley Snyders, but I think what has had the overall impact on me is reading books which put our whole way of living in perspective. Derrick Jensen’s The Culture of Make Believe was probably my tipping point in just living a much more natural life over all.
Hi Megan! The Raw Food Detox book has changed my life. After my nutrition counseling session with you last year I have really made some serious, long-term changes. I look back now at the food log I sent you and I can’t believe how far I’ve come even though I was doing well relative to the SAD.
I have found that we clean up our diet in phases which helps facilitate real, long-term changes. For me, the 1st step was changing to all organics over a decade ago. The 2nd step was cutting out dairy and gluten about 5 years ago. The 3rd step was eliminating pre-packaged foods (even though they were organic) and making fruits, vegetables (especially leafy greens), clean protein and good fats my primary source of food. I’m not quite sure what my next phase will be, if any. I am pretty content right now and am having so much fun playing in the kitchen! Thanks for guiding me along the path!
Thank you. I’d like to check out a couple of those books! My favorites, so far, are The Body Ecology Diet, Eat Right for You Blood Type, The Power of Infinite Love and Gratitude, Patient Heal Thyself, Controlling Crohn’s Disease the Natural Way, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, and Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Syndrome.
The book which by far has changed my way of eating the most is The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. He follows four meals back to their origin, and you see how hard that is to do in the American food system. I learned about how things on our plate ended up there, and the importance of eating pastured meats, not only for the nutritional benefits they offer, but for ethical reasons. I also watched the movie that goes along with the book, Food, Inc. and after both the book and the movie, I was left in a heap of tears over how long I’ve kept my eyes closed to the reality of the situation (the cruelty of factory farming to chickens, cows, pigs, etc.) but I am SO thankful that I know the facts now and that I can make responsible choices from here on out. This book has no doubt changed my life and I highly recommend it.
Great list! Looking forward to reading them! I recommend CLEAN by Dr. Alejandro Junger, definitely changed my life.
Thanks for the reading list. As a women’s health practitioner I am always looking for great reads not only for me but for my clients. Blessings Michele
Thank you SO MUCH for this list! I am going to read these for sure. The book that completely opened my eyes and changed my way of eating/life was The Solution to the Dangers of Modern Nutrition – Maximized Living Nutrition Plan book by B. Lerner, BJ Hardick and K. Roberto. I’ve also read several paleo books and right now I’m starting Perfect Weight by Jordan Rubin.
Wheat Belly by William Davis & Why we get fat and what you can do about it by Gary Taubes are 2 more incredible books to include. These are especially good for friends and family members just getting started on eating well.
I think EVERYONE should read “The Diet Cure’ by Julia Ross. Seriously.
I haven’t read that one yet! Thanks for the recommendation.
Definitely The Self-Healing Cookbook by Kristina Turner. But thanks to this list I’m now dipping into learning about raw and Paleo.
Hi Megan! Thank you so much for posting this list. After reading your post, I ordered Brain Over Binge on my Kindle and all I can say is WOW!! I’m half way through it and it resonates with me so, so much. It just makes complete sense to me. Thank you so much f
I love changing habits changing lives by cyndi o’meara and like chocolate for women bt kim morrison and fleur welligan