Recommended Reading for Improved Health
Let’s face it. Both Dave and I are knowledge-driven people. We didn’t just choose one day that the grass-fed, clean eating lifestyle was trendy and decide we wanted to be on board. We read a ton of material that convinced us of the benefits of our lifestyle, and the undeniable facts continue to impact the food decisions we make.
We don’t expect our customers to follow us blindly. We’ve read a lot of books and wanted to share with you a few of our favorites to help in your quest for optimal health through the diet that best serves your body.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
This book breaks down one of the biggest questions that health-conscious people can ask – what should we consume? Since we can eat most everything, we have to take the time to understand the foods we’re using to fuel our bodies. This book doesn’t teach a specific diet, but it does tell you, simply, how to eat better. Pollan explores the industrial, organic, and hunter-gatherer food chains, uncovering unsavory truths about big food production. He comes up with three ultimate lessons to consider.
- Corn is the root of the problem. It’s highly adaptable and is grown in massive quantities every year. It’s overproduced, and therefore overused. Corn is fed to animals who aren’t natural corn eaters, like cows and even fish. Corn is used in the production and processing of nearly a quarter of foods found in grocery stores. From corn oil to mayonnaise, even toothpaste, the wide use of corn makes it ever present in our diet – and that’s not necessarily a good thing.
- Organic doesn’t always mean what you think it does. While evocative of the 60’s back-to-the-land movement, the organic food trend has been industrialized in a way to keep up with the demand of our society. Some highly-processed foods bare the “organic” label, and organic farming and production standards continue to be lowered so that demand can be met. Before you blindly buy organic, be sure you truly understand that farmer’s production processes.
- Buy local to win on every level. Getting your food from small local farms means everyone wins. Your food doesn’t travel as far, so there are fewer resources used for transportation. You put money into the hands of small business, and your food quality is truly increased because it’s grown in-season. Your farmer and butcher are committed to living up to the claims they make, so you can trust that your food is truly clean. Know your farmer, know your food. Want to read more about this book and author? Check out his web site.
The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz
An investigative journalist, Nina Teicholz spent nine years uncovering the truth related to the low-fat diet trend and found that – instead of making us all healthier and skinnier – it could potentially be the reason for increased obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
She starts by exploring how fat became the enemy. The scientific misunderstanding got its roots in 1950’s America and grew in popularity on the flawed premise that fat makes you fat. She then explores how the food industry has made the claim worse through the process of partial hydrogenation, the mix of big business with limited research, the production of inexpensive food for profit – not for optimal nutrition content.
Moving forward, she looks at trans fat byproducts and how vegetable oils impact the foods we eat. She uncovers the holes in the fat-is-bad theory with real research, defines the difference between HDL and LDL cholesterol, and guides readers to the conclusion that they shouldn’t fear fat. They should simply pay attention to good fats vs. bad fats in their diet, and work to reduce the consumption of refined carbohydrates and highly processed vegetable oils made from corn, soy, canola, and cottonseed (aka high omega 6 oils).
It’s a book that makes nutrition research totally accessible, interesting, and engaging. Teicholz uncovers the difference between good and bad fats, explores the connection between cholesterol, heart disease, and saturated fats, and helps readers understand the diet-heart hypothesis. For more on The Big Fat Surprise dive into her website.
Defending Beef: The Case for Sustainable Meat Production by Nicolette Hahn Niman
An RHR staple read, Niman’s book comes to the defense of beef farmers everywhere. A long-time vegetarian, Niman dispels popular myths about how eating beef is bad for our bodies, evaluates the health claims made against beef, and tackles the oversimplification of the anti-beef movement. The data-driven read references hundreds of respected sources and gives scientific examples of how beef production can help build up soil, enhance biodiversity, prevent desertification, and provide valuable nutrition.
Niman talks about a revolutionized food system that requires cows and builds on the themes of her first book, “Righteous Porkchop.” Her goal with her book is to debunk anti-meat orthodoxy and to provide data to prove that the production and consumption of beef isn’t just a healthy choice, but also a critical cash source for nearly 1 billion people worldwide. She piggybacks on the same concepts we read in “Big Fat Surprise” and proves that the damage caused by overgrazing was more a fault of poor management and big agriculture than of the cattle themselves.
A lawyer by trade, Niman leaves little room for argument in her research-packed manifesto. And it’s not just to change opinions – it’s aimed at creating a more sustainable world. Pick up your copy here.
Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis
Cardiologist William Davis, MD pens an intriguing and personally-connected evaluation of the impacts wheat-heavy diets have on our bodies and their function. After noticing his own sluggishness after a breakfast of waffles or bagels along with his diagnosis of high cholesterol and diabetic blood sugar levels, Dr. Davis began experimenting with removing wheat from his diet and noticed near-immediate positive change.
Fueled by research from his own patient list, he proves that minimizing wheat in the diet results in weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, improved energy, better focus, deeper sleep, and improved physiological functions. While not a formal experiment, the proof he witnessed in his patients isn’t something to be discredited.
He digs even deeper into effects of wheat, linking it to medical conditions like schizophrenia, dry eyes, seizure disorders, autoimmune conditions and more. While we should be careful with the elimination of all carbs from our diet, Dr. Davis’ clinical experiences can help us make a more educated decision about the foods we do include and teach us how to make the most of the way we fuel our body. For more on Wheat Belly and Dr. William Davis visit his web site.
Brodo: A Bone Broth Cookbook by Chef Marco Canora
One of our all-time favorite cookbooks, Brodo isn’t just about bones. The recipes included in this stock Bible include mushroom, vegetable, and even clam-based broth recipes. Obviously a key ingredient in stews and soups, bone broth is also widely used in sauces and casseroles, and knowing how to make your own saves you from having to stock up on cardboard-cartoned, processed grocery store stock.
We know that a good cup of homemade chicken soup makes us feel better when we’re sick, and Chef Canora took that concept even deeper, adding more nutrition to his own diet via flavorful broths and eventually opening a restaurant to share his delicious recipes with others.
Brodo is more than a cookbook. It details Marco’s story to better health through broth and defines ways to adjust and improve your cooking skills to make better stock. The easy-to-follow format walks even the most novice chefs through the process of hearty stock creation, and you can tackle everything from basic chicken stock to complex and flavor-dense recipes that could serve as a meal in themselves.
Want to know about Chef Marco Canora and one of our other favorite authors and podcasters? Sit back with your cup of broth and watch this interview with Dr. Mark Hyman and chef Marco.
So, there you have it! A few of our favorite reads to get you started on your journey to better health.
We would love to know what you are reading in the health and nutrition genre! Let us know what your favorites are. Who better to ask for suggestions than our well informed and educated customers?