11 Healthy Reads Not On Your Radar

Winter is just around the corner and it’s time to curl up and enjoy a good book in front of the fire. (After your workout, of course!) Below I’ve listed eleven wonderful books on diet, health, and well-being that may not be on your radar.

1. The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health by T. Colin Campbell

Well, the title says it all, doesn’t it? This book will blow your mind and make you re-think your approach to healthy eating. The data herein is incontrovertible and author T. Colin Campbell is nothing short of extraordinary. Get ready to be changed; it is an absolute must-read.

2. Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition by Paul Pitchford

Years ago I had the good fortune to actually meet Paul Pitchford and I told him what I’m about to tell you: this book rarely leaves my desk. It is a wonderful book to read as well as an incredible resource for anyone interested in wellness. Although some of the terminology may be new to individuals not familiar with Traditional Chinese Medicine, Pitchford does a great job of explaining the language for beginners. I’m particularly fond of his recipes, his nutritional suggestions for nourishing the blood,  improving hormonal responses, and cultivating balance. This too is not only a must-read; it is a must-own!

3. The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World by John Robbins

Just take a minute and read that title again. How can you not be inspired to save your life and your world? Robbins does a wonderful job of asking us to take ownership of our health and our surrounding environment. Stories in this book will move you to tears, thereby making change that much easier. The 10th anniversary edition would make a wonderful gift for you or someone you love.

4. The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh

This is a beautiful book that will help you to look inward and cultivate awareness that may currently be robbed by your constant attention to your iPhone, email, Facebook or Twitter accounts. Research has demonstrated that meditative practices can alter hormonal responses and, in some cases, halt weight gain. With the established and well-documented correlation between stress, cortisol and weight gain, it would serve us all well to take time to focus on our breath and be mindful in our daily activities.

5. Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by Dr. John Ratey

The dumb jock stereotype is long gone! Author Dr. John Ratey shares the importance of exercise in terms of brain development, health and intellectual capacity. Thankfully, many educators have read Spark and implemented ideas presented in this wonderful book. Unfortunately, we can’t leave it all up to the teachers. With the American epidemic of childhood obesity, it is a must-read for any parent. If you are neither a parent nor an educator, read the book anyway for tips and tricks on how to stave off Alzheimer’s or dementia.

6. When the Body Says No: Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection by Gabor Mate

I recently read an interview with this author and was compelled to buy the book. In this interview, he discussed (among other things) the overmedication of adolescents (nearly 50% in the U.S.) and what is really lacking in their lives. I mentioned stress earlier and this may be another wonderful book to share with health care providers or the many individuals currently experiencing PTSD in our country and overseas.

7. Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity and Disease by Dr. Robert Lustig

The book will be out in December of 2012, so pre-order now! Dr. Lustig is a pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF. His viral You Tube video lecture titled “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” was 90 minutes of amazing information. His recent video series, The Skinny on Obesity, is equally fascinating and accessible. I imagine his book will be the same.

8. Your Blood Never Lies: How to Read a Blood Test for a Longer Healthier Life by James LaValle

This is another pre-order item! I’ve been fortunate enough to experience two lectures by James LaValle. Similar to Dr. Lustig, LaValle reinforces the fact that it simply isn’t about calories; it is about biochemistry. I heard him speak on the many pharmaceuticals that leach minerals from the body and how those minerals affect everything from carb cravings to mood swings. His earlier book, Cracking the Metabolic Code, is outstanding and I expect the same from his upcoming work!

9. Run Like a Mother: How to Get Moving–and Not Lose Your Family, Job or Sanity by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea

You may recognize Dimity and Sarah are exceptional writers and tremendous athletes! Both are rowers, so that makes them family in my book. Enjoy this lovely book with tips, tricks and inspirational messages to keep you on the trail and not out of your mind. For more fun and excellent advice, see their blog at Another Mother Runner.

10. Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine by Candace Pert

Written by the woman who discovered the opiate receptor on the cell, Candace Pert discusses the import connection between the mind and body as well as how our thoughts and feelings affect us on a cellular level. After reading and enjoying this book, a friend recommended The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton and Evolve Your Brain by Joe Dispenza.

11. Road Swing by Steve Rushin

You likely weren’t expecting this, but laughter is the best medicine and this book is nothing short of hilarious. This is one you’ll share with all of your friends; even if they aren’t sports fans.

For those of you who prefer to watch movies, stay tuned for must-see documentaries. Happy reading and here’s to your health!

About The Author

Amy Scott

Amy Scott Erickson has a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. She is currently the dean of the Health Fitness Specialist degree at Globe University and is a certified Muscle Activation Techniques Specialist. Prior to her role as a dean, Amy was a rowing coach and recruiting coordinator for the University of Texas and the Head Strength & Conditioning coach for the University of Minnesota Women’s Athletic Department. A former Division I athlete, Amy now enjoys cycling, aerial yoga, strength training and is considering taking up rodeo as a new sport.