Five food books worth reading to get healthy

Eating on the Wild SideI read about nutrition a lot. Almost obsessively. But there’s a good reason — the information in printed (and electronic) pages is how I learned to keep weight off and my health optimal, despite my daily food and wine gluttony. With the constant misinformation floating around our culture, it’s been helpful to read a myriad of opinions, test out theories and figure out what’s best for my bod. It has worked, so I’m sharing my recommended reading list of books which most dramatically influenced me in my quest to stay thin while eating and drinking for a living. Of course, I also gather helpful, healthful tidbits everywhere (including the Tufts University nutrition newsletter) but these books are the mainstays.

1. The South Beach Diet. This was the original influencer book, consumed back in 2007. I needed a lifestyle change since my butt was filling out my jeans a ‘lil too much. It’s pretty well known, but SBD teaches about carbs and how they react with blood sugar. Diabetes runs in my family, so I’m hyperaware of the white stuff. It’s freakin’ everywhere folks. Best takeaway: There are good carbs and bad carbs.

2. The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Artfully written by the famed writer Michael Pollan, a man who is so educated about food, the Obama family consults with him. Every foodie should consume the pages of this book, to learn where your groceries actually come from as well as what counts as food (hint: it doesn’t come in a box).

3. Good Calories, Bad Calories. A no-nonsense, frank work written by Gary Taubes. The first time I read this, it was revolutionary. Taubes breaks down the reasons why Americans are more obese than ever in history, despite the fact that we’re eating less fat and exercising more. Simplifying the science, he will convince you that fat is decidedly not the enemy. Read it and find out what is. Best takeaway: Calories don’t count as much as we think.

4. Eating on the Wild Side. My copy of this fast read is so dog-eared, I’m not sure why I bothered to mark pages in the first place. Author Jo Robinson overturns many of the myths we have about nutrition in certain foods and why, over the past 50 years, the good stuff has been bred out of our fruits and vegetables. Best takeaway: With a few exceptions, the darker the color of a fruit or vegetable, the more nutrition it contains.

5. Foodist. San Francisco based neuroscience PhD Darya Pino Rose has a way with words. Funny and approachable, she offers tips for real food lovers on how you can eat pretty much whatever you want, as long as you follow a few rules. Very enlightening. Best takeaway: Never go on a diet.

A couple of other books worth mentioning are:

Powerful Paleo Superfoods by Heather Connell. Tasty, inventive recipes for vegetables, along with nutritional advice.

The Blood Sugar Solution by Mark Hyman. If you don’t swear off of processed sugar after reading this, you’re a tough (chocolate chip) cookie.

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  1. Great to hear we’re on the same page Alissa! When you drink for a living, something’s gotta give.

  2. Thanks, Taylor! I’ve read and follow a couple if these but not all. Need to read that sugar book. I buy evaporated cane, brown rice syrup, maple syrup. make what I eat 90% of the time but don’t always say no to sweets. A challenge for sure!


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