- Brain Maker – The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain–for Life; neurologist David Perlmutter, MD. Astonishing new research is revealing that the health of your brain is, to an extraordinary degree, dictated by the state of your microbiome – the vast population of organisms that live in your body and outnumber your own cells ten to one. What’s taking place in your intestines today is determining your risk for any number of brain-related conditions.
- Defending Beef, Nicollette Hahn Niman – Hahn Niman, a former vegetarian, argues that cattle are not inherently bad for either the Earth or our own nutritional health. In fact, properly managed livestock play an essential role in maintaining grassland ecosystems by functioning as surrogates for herds of wild ruminants that once covered the globe. She methodically evaluates health claims made against beef, demonstrating that such claims have proven false. Find out why the vegan/plant based arguments don’t jive with sustainable agriculture.
- Grain Brain – Renowned neurologist David Perlmutter, MD, describes why carbs are destroying your brain. And not just unhealthy carbs, but even supposedly “healthy” ones like whole grains can cause dementia, ADHD, anxiety, chronic headaches, depression, and much more. Dr. Perlmutter explains why your brain thrives on fat and cholesterol, and how you can spur the growth of new brain cells at any age.
- New Diet Revolution, Robert C. Atkins, M.D. – This book takes you back to the low-carb movement’s earliest roots and essentially, is a ketogenic diet. Foundationally, it provides a solid base to depart from and the original book I used to restore my health. Just don’t buy into the nasty artificial sugar he recommends, like sucralose (Splenda). I really don’t know why he bought into it, but many doctors do, even Dr. Davis of Wheat Belly fame. Also, Dr. Atkins didn’t really understand the difference between good and bad fats. Aside from these two pitfalls, it really is a useful diet plan that will help you revamp your eating patterns for life. Plus, his book sure is a lot cheaper than the more trendy keto diet books popular now.
- Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, Weston A. Price, DDS – This book is a fascinating anthropological read, chronicling Dr. Price’s observations of remote societies still eating ancestral diets. Weston Price was an American dentist, who became increasingly alarmed with bad teeth, poorly formed palates, cavities, and deformations of the jaw. In 1929, he began traveling around the world, visiting 14 different countries to study cultures living in isolated villages and compare those against people of those same societies who had abandoned their traditional lifestyles. He takes us to remote villages in the Swiss Alps, Islands of the Outer Hebrides, the Canadian Arctic, Polynesia, Africa, Australia, Torres Strait, New Zealand, and the Peruvian Andes. The book contains hundreds of photos throughout and documents the shocking disparity between those who ate primitive native foods and those who consumed modernized, commercially processed foods.
- Pig Tales – An Omnivore’s Quest for Sustainable Meat by Barry Estabrook, author of the New York Times bestseller Tomatoland, explores the dark side of the American pork industry. Drawing on his personal experiences raising pigs as well as his sharp investigative instincts, Estabrook covers the range of the human-porcine experience. He embarks on nocturnal feral pig hunts in Texas. He visits farmers who raise animals in vast confinement barns for Smithfield and Tyson, two of the country’s biggest pork producers. And he describes the threat of infectious disease and the possible contamination of our food supply. Estabrook shows how these creatures are all too often subjected to lives of suffering in confinement and squalor, sustained on a drug-laced diet just long enough to reach slaughter weight, then killed on mechanized disassembly lines. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Pig Tales presents a lively portrait of those farmers who are taking an alternative approach, like one Danish producer that has a far more eco-friendly and humane system of pork production, and new, small family farms with free-range heritage pigs raised on antibiotic-free diets. It is possible to raise pigs responsibly and respectfully in a way that is good for producers, consumers, and some of the top chefs in America. Provocative, witty, and deeply informed.
- Primal Body, Primal Mind – Beyond the Paleo Diet, Nora T. Gedgaudas, CNS, CNT – This is my go-to bible for any questions related to nutrition – finally, someone who gets it! Nora Gedgaudas shows how our modern grain, carbohydrate heavy, and low-fat diets are a far cry from the high-fat, moderate-protein hunter-gatherer diets we are genetically programmed for. She demonstrates how a grain based diet leads not only to lifelong weight gain but also to cravings, mood disorders, cognitive problems, and “diseases of civilization”–such as cancer, osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance), heart disease, and mental illness.
- Bulletproof Diet, David Asprey. Asprey calls himself a “bio-hacker” and in his early 40’s began a quest to heal himself since doctors had so abysmally failed him. His story is of particular interest to me as it mirrored many of my struggles and conclusions, and he too suffers from a thyroid disorder. While I found this book long after I started low-carb diets, I read it mostly to find out what all the “Bulletproof” fuss was about. What — drink coffee? At the time, I drank several cups of decaffeinated coffee in the morning with about a teaspoon of raw coconut oil and one tablespoon raw, organic grass-fed cream in each cup and wouldn’t need to eat until 10 to 11:00 in the morning. I had introduced coconut oil into my coffee as a way to help out with regaining beneficial stomach flora. While my morning coffee wasn’t the Bulletproof Coffee containing his specially formulated Bulletproof MCT oil, his overall dietary recommendations made sense and many were things I was already doing. For coffee freaks or others who have tried to lose weight by other methods and failed, this diet may work better for you than other low-carb weight-loss plans. However, using MCT oil and caffeine might not prove sustainable for many, especially those with endocrine disorders and may even aggravate your condition. Also, caffeine causes the body to dump key nutrients like calcium, magnesium, potassium — so moderation is key here or go decaffeinated. I am also concerned about consuming MCT oil long term. MCT oil is fractionated coconut oil, meaning it has been highly refined to extract only the Caprylic Acid (C8). While Bulletproof describes its special triple distillation process as using only water, heat, and pressure to produce a final product free from harsh chemicals – it is not a whole food. This super refined oil fits more into the drug or supplement category in my eyes. As with any supplement, carefully dose and don’t use on a daily basis.
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, Michael Pollan – This well written, humorous, and easy to read expose reveals the dark side of the industrial food system, modern farming and food production practices. Perhaps the most illuminating portions of the book are where he describes the distressing industrialization of organic agriculture and the grim realities of concentrated animal feeding operations. While I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it, his ending left me somewhat puzzled. After dismantling the vegetarian argument which ultimately relies upon mono-crop megalithic industrialized food production, he dishes up the same timeworn advice to follow the anti-saturated animal fat, plant-based diet propaganda that reduced us to such a sorry state in the first place! The end of the book left me scratching my head – I don’t get it.
- The Paleo Diet, Loren Cordain, Ph.D. – The book focuses upon the evolutionary and anthropological basis for diet. Dr. Loren Cordain demonstrates how, by eating your fill of lean meats and fish, non-starchy vegetables and fresh fruits, you can lose weight and prevent and treat heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome, and many other illnesses. While the diet has not proved sustainable over the long term for my particular genetic profile, it does provide a fantastic detox diet to restart your metabolism in a healthier direction – it did mine!
- Wheat Belly, William Davis, MD – Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist and author of the book “Wheat Belly” explains how our bodies were not designed to digest grains, and the disastrous effects on the human body as a result of their consumption. If you think the “Grain Free” diet craze is just that, another fad, then his book might just change your mind. He writes with a flowing humorous style that keeps you entertained.
- The Paleo Cure : Eat Right for Your Genes, Body Type, and Personal Health Needs — Prevent and Reverse Disease, Lose Weight Effortlessl (Paperback); 2014 Edition and Your Personal Paleo Code. Kressner, Chris. Both of his books may better be classified in line with the ancestral diets promoted by Nora Gedgaudas or the Weston Price Foundation. Your Personal Paleo Code begins with the statement “This Book Can Save Your Life” and the concepts and diet he promotes, did save his and many of his patients. I like how he encourages us to look at factors beyond food that influence health, such as genetics, environment, and lifestyle. His interpretation of the Paleo diet is not inherently low-carb and notes extremely low carbohydrate diets do not work for everyone. Some of the recipes, for example, yucca root fries, I was like, what for? Unless you are sensitive to nightshade and there again, sweet potato is not a nightshade — why? Plus, I am not seeing a whole lot of organic yucca root in my grocery store at a reasonable price. Yucca root has approximately 78 grams carbs and 4 grams fiber, and depending on the type, potato contains on average 60 grams carbs and 5.4 grams fiber. If long-term adherence to the original paleo and extremely low-carb diets have failed you, his books are definitely worth a read.