Nourishing Traditions- This is the first book I bought related to Real Food. I found it overwhelming at first; there are recipes, informational essays, and many quotes from other books and studies in the margins. I recently cleaned out my cook books and now am down to this one and Joy of Cooking. If you already know quite a bit about physiology and nutrition, this is a great book to start with, otherwise I would buy Eat Fat Lose Fat or The Maker’s Diet first as they are geared more as an introduction.
The Maker’s Diet takes a refreshing look at what food God designed and Jesus actually ate. Engaging to read, Jordan Rubin talks about how he personally was healed using the diet of real foods from the Bible. A great book to start with if you are currently eating low-fat or otherwise a typical American diet.
Do you love the idea of traditional foods, but are left wondering how this works? Will I raise my cholesterol level by eating traditional fats- coconut oil and butter? Nina Planck shares the science behind eating traditionally, as well as how wonderful you feel when eating this way. A great book for people just starting on their Real Foods journey, though I also enjoyed it and learned plenty when I read it earlier this year.
Also by Nina Planck, Real Food for Mother and Baby is an awesome guide to eating the essential nutrients in our childbearing years, as well as what’s needed for the baby’s first couple years. This book is so convincing and makes eating healthily so easy! It inspired me to make a few changes in how our family eats; mainly eating more fish. See my more in-depth review of Real Food for Mother and Baby here.
I just borrowed this book from the library recently. Another great starter book, especially if you’re one who has been counting calories or on and off the weight-loss bandwagon for most of your life. I talked a little more about it back here. I was one who was constantly tallying up calories and eating ‘low fat’ back in High School, only to be frustrated daily that my weight kept going up, not down, and I was always wanting to eat more (I weighed about 15-20 lbs more then, 10ish years ago, than I do now. I know that’s not much, but it was frustrating all the same. And I was swimming 3 or so hours a day). Once I started using real fats as much as I wanted, I easily lost weight. My weight problem wasn’t a self-control issue, it was my body screaming at me that I needed more good real fats. Since then I’ve gained 65 lbs for each pregnancy (which is kind of ridiculous, but my babies have been healthy, so I suppose that’s what I just do) and have easily lost it in a reasonable amount of time by following the principals in this book. I notice that if I’m eating too much refined food and not enough healthy fat, my weight will start to creep up again, but I can easily get it back down again without feeling deprived at all.
I’m talking quite a bit about this book, but it’s because I care and I don’t want others to have to suffer from the misinformation that a low fat diet is how you lose weight. A low fat diet makes you feel deprived and obsess on food. Or, at least it did for me.
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A Price. Absolutely fascinating. I’m only about 3/4 through it right now, but so far it has been amazing. Written by Weston A Price about his trip to native and newly-modernized cultures around the world. As a dentist, he was studying cultures to see why some had excellent teeth without decay and without the need of braces to straighten, and others had decaying crooked teeth. He recognized that cultures living on real food- whole grains, plenty of animal fats through meat or milk- had beautiful teeth. Narrow jaws and crooked teeth, what I have always heard is caused by genetics, was markedly absent when prenatal nutrition was correct. Tons of pictures to demonstrate this, most interesting to me were pictures where older children had beautiful teeth, and then younger children in the same family had teeth typical of our modern youth; the change occurred when the family became modernized and started eating refined foods. Though mostly about teeth, he notes that people on a real-food diet are much less susceptible to disease and other ‘deformities’ that we generally attribute to genetics. Convicting, and absolutely not politically correct.
Fascinating information about the important roll that gut flora (good bacteria in the intestines) play in digesting food, assimilating nutrients, keeping a person healthy, and mental health. If ‘gluten free’ or ‘gluten free and casein free’ have worked for you or your child, this might be the next step. After reading this, I wholeheartedly believe that most of us in Western cultures have been harmed by the routine medications that we have taken, especially antibiotics.
More on intestinal/psychological health, Breaking the Vicious Cycle is, again, using food to correct problems such as Crohn’s and other intestinal issues. Based on the specific carbohydrate diet (so is GAPS) it promotes a diet for healing rather than just avoiding symptoms.