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Seven best-selling books everyone should have. At the time of this printing, listed more than 38,000 books on food and nutrition.

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Seven best-selling books everyone should have

At the time of this printing, listed more than 38,000 books on food and nutrition, with topics ranging from fasting and food sensitivities to vegan versus Paleo. What’s a healthy eater to do with all those choices? To make it easier, we’ve selected seven best-sellers covering a variety of subjects and approaches. Our favorites:

{1} 21-day Weight Loss Kickstart By Neal Barnard, MD

In the vast sea of weight loss books, this one’s a lifeboat. The latest by Barnard—best-selling author and founder and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)—it presents a simple, three-week, plant-based diet that focuses on the short term. Once they’ve made short-term changes with a kickstart program, Barnard says, people tend to change their long-term habits. “When you kickstart a motorcycle, it takes just a second or two for the engine to roar into action, then off you go,” he says. “It’s the same when you kickstart a change in your life.” The book explains how to transition to a plant-based diet to lose weight, with the added benefits of lowering cholesterol, reducing blood pressure and controlling blood sugar, without counting calories or eliminating carbs (you can eat pasta and potatoes on his plan). A good portion of the book is devoted to recipes, ingredients, cooking tips and techniques, so it’s especially appealing to foodies. It’s a must for anyone who’s tired of counting calories, struggling with high cholesterol, or sick of fearing potatoes.

{2} Wheat Belly By William Davis, MD

“From man boobs to dementia, wheat’s been there, done that,” says Davis, a cardiologist and founder of the Track Your Plaque program for heart disease prevention. In this book, Davis explains why wheat is harmful, and how the “eat more whole grains” advice of the medical establishment is leading to skyrocketing rates of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The premise is that, through years of cross-breeding and gene splicing, the wheat we eat today is a dramatically different product from the original strains of wild grass harvested by early humans. As a result, the product we know now as wheat isn’t fit for human consumption, and causes a wide variety of damage to body and brain, from celiac disease to neurological disorders and schizophrenia. Often humorous, sometimes scary and always fascinating, it’s essential reading for anyone who struggles with digestive problems, weight gain, headaches, neurological disorders, or any other unexplained health woes.

{3} The Blood Sugar Solution By Mark Hyman, MD

“From 2008 to 2011, we added another 110 million diabetics to our global population,” says Hyman, a practicing physician and founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Mass. “Shouldn’t we be asking ‘Why is this happening?’ instead of ‘What new drug can we find to treat it?’” This easy-to-read book goes on to answer that question, along with solutions for the problem of “diabesity”—the combination of insulin resistance, overweight, obesity, and/or Type 2 diabetes that plagues modern society. In the book, you’ll find a clear and simple outline of seven steps for treating diabesity—including regulating hormones, detoxifying the body, calming inflammation, and soothing the mind—that are also key in wellness for anyone. Hyman includes a strong emphasis on exercise, stress reduction, unprocessed organic foods, and grass-fed and pastured animal products, with a welcome outcry against pharmaceuticals and agribusiness. The book ends with a six-week meal plan, recipes, and shopping lists, so you can easily put the principles into action. Peppered with anecdotes and studies, well-researched and cleverly written, it’s a comprehensive approach to wellness for everyone—not just diabetics.

{4} Eat to Live By Joel Fuhrman, MD

“It is my mission and my hope to give everyone the tools to achieve lifelong slimness and radiant health,” says Fuhrman. In this book, Fuhrman—a board-certified family physician, nutritional researcher, and best-selling author—goes on to explain how the equation of H = N/C (health = nutrition divided by calories) is the simplest approach to long-term health. The book focuses on nutrient-dense plant foods, with an emphasis on phytochemicals and fiber, and makes the refreshing point that a vegan diet that’s high in refined carbs and based on processed foods isn’t healthy simply because it avoids animal products. A section entitled “Eat To Live Takes on Disease” details specific facts and statistics about the success of what Fuhrman calls a “beans and greens” eating approach in preventing heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and other conditions and diseases. You’ll also find information on food addictions and how eating low-nutrient, high-density food leads to “toxic hunger,” as well as colorful recipes and menu plans. Vegans and non-vegans alike will benefit from this whole-foods, high-nutrient, no-nonsense approach to health.

{5} The Paleo Diet By Loren Cordain, PhD

Cordain, a researcher, professor, and expert on the evolutionary basis for diet and health in modern
humans, starts the book with a chapter to assure readers that this is not just another low-carb diet—a good idea, since the Paleo diet is perhaps the most misunderstood eating regimens yet. Based on what is thought to be the diet of the hunter-gatherer human, Cordain promotes a whole-foods diet made up of wild or pastured meat, high quantities of fruits and vegetables, and no grains or legumes; he also points out that hunter-gatherer humans didn’t salt their food, use any refined sweeteners, or eat dairy. (As he points out, “Imagine how difficult it would be to milk a wild animal if you could somehow manage to catch one.”) You’ll find ample research showing the benefits of lean meat on weight loss and cardiovascular health, as well as other chronic diseases. The book also includes recipes, meal plans, exercise tips, and a section on living the Paleo diet. It’s a great read for anyone who wants to know more about the hunter-gatherer diet, minus the hype.

{6} It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig

Written by husband-and-wife team Dallas and Melissa Hartwig—developers of the Whole9 and Whole30 lifestyle intervention programs to change the way you eat—this book is a modernized, whole-foods-only take on the Paleo diet. It’s based on their premise that the food you eat either makes you more healthy or less healthy, and food selections are chosen by four standards: how they impact your brain, whether they promote healthy hormonal balance, how well they support gut function, and whether they reduce or encourage inflammation. You’ll also find information on reducing food cravings and how food impacts your brain. The book includes meal plans and recipes, as well as details on how to eliminate foods during the Whole30 phase. If you’re interested in a whole-foods, low-carb eating plan, but unattached to the hunter-gatherer
approach to Paleo, this book is a refreshing read.

{7} The Omnivore’s Dilemma By Michael Pollan

With his observation that humans should “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants,” Pollan—a long-time contributor to The New York Times magazine and journalism professor at University of California, Berkeley—summed up decades of research on low-calorie, plant-based, whole-foods diets. This classic and his other best-sellers, including In Defense of Food and Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, ushered in a new approach to food, and introduced an until-then relatively unknown concept: the ecology of eating. Pollan asks the question, “What should we have for dinner?” in his introduction (entitled “Our National Eating Disorder”), then answers that question by tracing the path of food through various growing, processing, and gathering mechanisms. The book includes commentary on large-scale farming, the philosophy of engineered foods, the role of petrochemicals in modern agriculture, and numerous personal accounts of Pollan’s adventures during his research (including a vivid but tasteful description of his first experience slaughtering chickens). Diligently researched, beautifully written, thoughtful and compelling, this is must-read selection for anyone who eats.