Recommended Reading, as talked about back in this post, I prefer getting solid information from books, rather than just reading blog posts.
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.
Some generous family members gave me money for the holidays. That means books (and knitting needles) to me. Here’s a peek into my future Amazon boxes ;)
The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
Health and Nutrition Secrets
Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage)
The Gerson Therapy: The Proven Nutritional Program for Cancer and Other Illnesses
Real Food for Mother and Baby: The Fertility Diet, Eating for Two, and Baby’s First Foods
and finally I got around to getting the shower filter, so that’ll be in the box too
Look interesting? I love fiction too, but I force myself not to read it often since I get sucked in, my dishes and laundry pile up, and I remain in my PJs way too long.
More: Recommended Real Food Reading
A friend told me that if you request books that the library ‘needs’ through their website, they actually usually get them. So as I see books come up related to real food or other things I’m interested in, I request them. So that’s what I’ve been doing lately, reading real books rather than blogs. If they’re really good and I know I’ll want to either re-read for inspiration or reference later on, I buy and add them to my book shelf (you can see a growing list of some of these on my sidebar).
Some recent reads:
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration
I went ahead and bought this, since I was pretty sure it was worth it. And it is. I really wish I had read it before I got pregnant with Hannah, but I can’t change that now. Weston Price (a dentist) went around the world studying native cultures in the 30s and 40s to see how native diets contributed not only to health, but to bone structure and tooth health. He has pictures contrasting siblings born and raised on native (real) foods vs ones raised on modern processed foods and shows how the bone structure of the face changes, dental cavities are rampant, and other health issues. He presents a convincing argument that the need for braces to straighten teeth is due to a nutritional deficiency that lead to a facial deformity. Politically incorrect, I know, but he has lots of convincing pictures and data from studying thousands in native and newly modernized populations.
Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats
The library got this, I’m going to buy it some time though. Lots of information about coconut oil. Sally Fallon also talks about what I found accidentally when I started using coconut milk as creamer in my coffee while eliminating cow’s milk from my diet- eating a hefty amount of fat, particularly fat from coconut, keeps me (and apparently others) from craving refined foods or junk foods.
She has some more detailed information on losing weight with a real foods diet, which most likely will be good for me as I get older. Right now (I’m 26) I find that if I just cut out refined foods I get back down to my goal weight (140-145 at 5 foot 8) easily. I can maintain that even if I’m eating about one serving of refined (sugar, white bread products, etc) something a day, but it does creep up if we end up eating the typical American diet for any length of time. I’ve also gained 65 lbs with each pregnancy, eating more real foods with my second, and eating pretty typical American with my first. As I get better with nutrition I’m curious if this will change or stay the same.
A post about more reading; Special Needs Diets and Real Education
I was so excited to hear about Kristin’s Traditional Food Textbook when it first came out, what a great idea! Well, I’ve now read it (all 203 pages) and it’s fantastic! I learned tons of new things, especially about enzymes, liver health, and the whole A1 A2 cow’s milk issue.
The focus of the book is to show that eating real whole traditionally prepared foods should be our focus, rather than the ‘nutritionism’ which is popular today. “Nutritionism” is what we see all over mainstream media- quick little quips like, “Fiber prevents cancer” or “Vitamin D prevents heart attacks”. Fiber isn’t a food. Fiber is in food, and is found in foods that have many other healthful properties. We can’t expect to isolate fiber from it’s source and have it provide the same benefits as fiber found in conjunction with all the other goodies in fruits, whole grains, veggies, etc.
The individual chapters go into the ‘why’ this works the way it does, dispelling nutrition myths along the way.
Chapter 1 – Food, Not Nutrients
An introduction to whole foods & nutritionism
Chapter 2 – What Traditional Food Cultures Can Teach Us
An introduction to traditional food cultures and the work of Dr. Weston A. Price
Chapter 3 – Healthy Fats & Oils
Discussing fats, essential fatty acids, saturated fat myths & healthy choices.
Chapter 4 – Healthy Meat, Seafood, & Dairy
Discussing protein, essential amino acids, the effects of industrialized food production on the healthfulness of meats, seafood, & dairy & how to make healthy food choices.
Chapter 5 – Healthy Vegetables & Fruits
Discussing carbohydrates, dietary fiber, what affects the nutrient-density of plants, & how to make healthy choices.
Chapter 6 – Living Foods & Superfood
Discussing vitamins, minerals, enzymes & health.
Chapter 7 – Grains & Legumes
Discussing whole vs. refined grains, & traditional grain and legume preparation methods.
Chapter8 – Bone Broths
The benefits of bone broths & how to prepare them.
Chapter 9 – Sweeteners
Discussing natural sweeteners.
Chapter 10 – The Keys To Health
Discussing what “health” is, examining key organs to health, including the liver, gut, adrenals, and thyroid.
Chapter 11 – Real Food For Real Life
The virtue of Real Food, how to transition to eating Real Food, eating Real Food on a budget.
A great way to make sure you’ve covered all the real nutrition basics both for yourself and for your children, homeschooled or not! I know I talk to my kids all the time about food, health, and nutrition, but a good comprehensive book is always welcome to fill in any gaps that I might have missed. And I love that it’s in real book format. Ebooks are fun (and there is a less expensive e-book version), but there’s just something about holding a real book in your hands to make it feel valuable You can order online here.
Ordering through me helps support this site! Thanks!