One thing that we all do every day, several times a day, is eat. What we put in our mouths–and ultimately in our bodies–is important. There are many “diet” books on the market that tell us what to eat and what not to eat, many of which directly contradict each other. To make truly nutritious food choices, choices that will nourish the body and improve health rather than lock you in an endless cycle of yo-yo dieting, you need to break free from fads and learn to understand food as a whole. These books are great places to start:
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
When did eating real food become a foreign concept? That is what Pollan addresses in this eye-opening book. Whether or not you’ve ever wondered about the effects that high fructose corn syrup and other largely “fake” foods have on American society, the information that Pollan presents is relevant and important. He puts the implications of society’s desire for cheap, tasty food into perspective and examines the influence of big food industries on what we’re told is good for us to eat. Pollan’s ultimate suggestion is that readers seek to eat real, whole foods, rather than the highly-processed fare that society presents us with on a daily basis.
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
Want to know what’s in that burger? How about the environmental and socioeconomic impact of those French fries? Even if you don’t want to know, you should, and Eric Schlosser’s unsettling exposé will tell you all about it. From the birth of drive-in burger joints and the advent of “assembly line” restaurants to the modern drive for more, more, more, Schlosser looks inside the fast food industry and exposes the devastating, sweeping changes it has made to America. What the big corporations don’t want you to know can hurt you, and Schlosser takes aim at all of it. So before you bite into that triple-decker cheeseburger and giant order of fries, take the time to read this book.
The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone
Despite being a little spacey and philosophical at times, this is a very good book for those looking to improve their health. Alicia Silverstone presents tips and information based on her own experiences, friends’ experiences, and research, presenting the vegan diet in an unassuming, non-threatening manner. She refrains from being preachy or judgmental, understanding that the switch from omnivore to vegan can be tough. Instead of insisting that going 100% vegan from the get-go is the only way to change, Silverstone offers three suggested diet plans for the aspiring vegan. Those looking to make a gradual change, jump right in, or go hard-core “superhero” vegan will find a wealth of information here, including important nutritional considerations.
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
Not for the faint of heart or the queasy of stomach, Foer’s Eating Animals takes a brutally honest look at what the modern world calls “meat”. From the ethical issues to the environmental impact, the book examines what it means to eat animals. You’re probably not looking for another reason to feel guilty about abusing the planet, but Foer makes no secret of the fact that, every time you eat fried chicken or grill a burger, you affect more than just yourself. The implications and consequences of meat and dairy, and the production thereof, are laid bare for the readers who can bear to digest the information.
Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis
If and when you’re ready to go vegan, read this book. Some of the information regarding the availability of vegan foods is outdated, but the rest of the book remains pertinent. Davis gives solid nutritional information, dietary suggestions, and detailed overviews of important nutrients. Anyone curious about where vegans get their protein, vitamins, and minerals will find all the answers here, and then some. Davis’s book is well-researched, informative, and useful for any person considering making the switch to veganism. Not only does it include a section on losing weight, there are also sections for those who are underweight or extremely athletic. All sections offer suggestions on how to maintain optimum health while following a plant-based diet.
Remember that what you eat has an enormous impact on your health. Learning to make the best, most nutritious choices possible is the best way to take care of yourself and begin feeling your best. It isn’t difficult, and you’ll find that there are a lot of amazing, delicious foods out there just waiting to be discovered and incorporated into your daily diet.