The best vegan health books

Why am I passionate about this?

I first adopted a vegan diet for the animals and then shifted to a plant-based vegan "for my health" in my mid-20s. I felt fabulous for the next 10-15 years. Then, in my mid-30s, I suddenly developed severe and chronic GI symptoms. I was severely bloated, nauseous, and constipated, which didn't make sense given how much fiber I was eating. After diagnosis and treatment for H Pylori (a bacterial infection), I was left with a "broken belly" (severe dysbiosis). I've spent the last few years reading every book on gut health and hormones to learn how to heal myself since traditional medicine has failed me.

I wrote...

Everyday Happy Herbivore: Over 175 Quick-And-Easy Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes

By Lindsay S. Nixon,

Book cover of Everyday Happy Herbivore: Over 175 Quick-And-Easy Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes

What is my book about?

After vegan chef Lindsay S. Nixon wrapped up her popular cookbook The Happy Herbivore Cookbook last year, she went back to her kitchen in her new home of St. Maarten. Island living encouraged Nixon to come up with simpler fare, which led to a follow-up cookbook focusing on recipes that bring tasty back to quick-and-easy. Now, in Nixon's much-anticipated follow-up cookbook, Everyday Happy Herbivore, readers will see, once again, that just because plant-based eating is optimal for health, it doesn't have to also be expensive or time-consuming.

Everyday Happy Herbivore includes more than 175 doable recipes--recipes that are so quick and easy, you could cook three healthy meals from scratch every day like Nixon does.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-Term Health

Lindsay S. Nixon Why did I love this book?

Best, most succinct, and comprehensive book I’ve read on the topic of gut health by far. It's also written in a friendly, conversational tone (not overly dry or academic). Things I like: The authors provide a specific daily fiber recommendation (29-35g minimum) for gut health; they discuss how antibiotics and antibiotic soap/cleaner affects microbes, the impacts of glycemic load and industrial flour, and most importantly: they provide evidence so the reader can draw their own conclusions as to what’s best for them diet-wise instead of using fear-mongering.

Note: This book is not "pure vegan" (the authors suggest dairy in some situations).

By Justin Sonnenburg, Erica Sonnenburg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Good Gut as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The groundbreaking science behind the surprising source of good health

Stanford University's Justin and Erica Sonnenburg are pioneers in the most exciting and potentially transformative field of human health and wellness, the study of the relationship between our bodies and the trillions of organisms representing thousands of species to which our bodies play host, the microbes we call the microbiota. The Sonnenburgs argue that the microbiota determines in no small part whether we're sick or healthy, fit or obese, sunny or moody-and that the microbiota has always been with us, coevolving with humans and entwining its functions with ours. They…

Book cover of Your Body in Balance: The New Science of Food, Hormones, and Health

Lindsay S. Nixon Why did I love this book?

Until I read this book, I was unaware what a critical role hormones play in everything *and* how greatly food affects your hormones. Best of all, Dr. Barnard provides realistic guidelines for how to get started and is never "preachy" about anything. 

He also manages to cover a broad spectrum of hormone-related issues that both men and women face in this easy-to-read book. If you struggle with infertility, mood disorders, PCOS, PMS symptoms, ED (men), hot flashes, risk of cancer/have cancer, depression, diabetes, thyroid issues, weight troubles, etc. I encourage you to read the chapter dedicated to your issue in the book and eat the foods he recommends. At the very least, be informed about exactly how all the foods you eat affect your hormones and medical issues. 

By Neal D. Barnard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Your Body in Balance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This nationally bestselling book explains the shocking new science of how hormones are wreaking havoc on the body, and the delicious solution that improves health, reduces pain, and even helps to shed weight.

Hidden in everyday foods are the causes of a surprising range of health problems: infertility, menstrual cramps, weight gain, hair loss, breast and prostate cancer, hot flushes, and much more. All of these conditions have one thing in common: they are fuelled by hormones that are hiding in foods or are influenced by the foods we eat.

Your Body in Balance provides step-by-step guidance for understanding what's…

Book cover of Fiber Fueled: The Plant-Based Gut Health Program for Losing Weight, Restoring Your Health, and Optimizing Your Microbiome

Lindsay S. Nixon Why did I love this book?

This book is very concise and a terrific summary of information regarding plant-based eating *and* gut health/gut bugs. Bulsiewicz also manages to be charming, entertaining, friendly, and not being too serious (other books on gut health/fiber/plant-based diets are often boring and dry, if not tedious to read. This book is engaging and fun to read!) If someone was interested in switching to a plant-based or plant-centered diet as well or wanted something a bit more youthful and upbeat with a food plan at the end, then I would suggest this as a first book.

By Will Bulsiewicz,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Fiber Fueled as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fix your health with fibre not fads - the instant New York Times bestseller

The benefits of restrictive diets like paleo and keto have been touted for more than a decade, but as award-winning gastroenterologist Dr Will Bulsiewicz, or 'Dr B', illuminates in this groundbreaking book, the explosion of studies on the microbiome show that elimination diets are in fact hazardous to our health. What research clearly indicates is that gut health is the key to boosting our metabolism, balancing our hormones and taming the inflammation that causes a host of diseases. And the scientifically proven way to fuel our…

Book cover of Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human

Lindsay S. Nixon Why did I love this book?

Wrangham upended everything I thought I knew about nutrition and calories. In his provocative book, he discusses the actual differences in nutritional values of cooked versus raw food and how we must also take into account the thermic effect of eating (the amount of work our bodies have to do in order to digest various macromolecules such as protein, fat, and carbohydrates) and oxidative priority. 

Overall, this book will have you looking at processed foods--all kinds, even hummus or rice cakes, in a different way. You may also, like me, welcome the pivot from nutrition centric thinking to historical and evolutionary understanding as it relates to food (and our relationship to food). 

By Richard Wrangham,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Catching Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this stunningly original book, Richard Wrangham argues that it was cooking that caused the extraordinary transformation of our ancestors from apelike beings to Homo erectus. At the heart of Catching Fire lies an explosive new idea: The habit of eating cooked rather than raw food permitted the digestive tract to shrink and the human brain to grow, helped structure human society, and created the male-female division of labour. As our ancestors adapted to using fire, humans emerged as "the cooking apes".

Covering everything from food-labelling and overweight pets to raw-food faddists, Catching Fire offers a startlingly original argument about…

Book cover of Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition

Lindsay S. Nixon Why did I love this book?

This book stands as a glaring reminder of how we have to advocate for ourselves and our health. This book painfully illustrates the corruption of our health"care" system. Summary: an intriguing look at how influence and reductionism play into modern science, including insight into the vitamin supplement industry and how medical science is caught up in a reductionist paradigm.

By T. Colin Campbell, Howard Jacobson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Whole as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times Bestseller What happens when you eat an apple? The answer is vastly more complex than you imagine. Every apple contains thousands of antioxidants whose names, beyond a few like vitamin C, are unfamiliar to us, and each of these powerful chemicals has the potential to play an important role in supporting our health. They impact thousands upon thousands of metabolic reactions inside the human body. But calculating the specific influence of each of these chemicals isn't nearly sufficient to explain the effect of the apple as a whole. Because almost every chemical can affect every other chemical,…

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Native Nations: A Millennium in North America

By Kathleen DuVal,

Book cover of Native Nations: A Millennium in North America

Kathleen DuVal Author Of Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professional historian and life-long lover of early American history. My fascination with the American Revolution began during the bicentennial in 1976, when my family traveled across the country for celebrations in Williamsburg and Philadelphia. That history, though, seemed disconnected to the place I grew up—Arkansas—so when I went to graduate school in history, I researched in French and Spanish archives to learn about their eighteenth-century interactions with Arkansas’s Native nations, the Osages and Quapaws. Now I teach early American history and Native American history at UNC-Chapel Hill and have written several books on how Native American, European, and African people interacted across North America.

Kathleen's book list on the American Revolution beyond the Founding Fathers

What is my book about?

A magisterial history of Indigenous North America that places the power of Native nations at its center, telling their story from the rise of ancient cities more than a thousand years ago to fights for sovereignty that continue today

Native Nations: A Millennium in North America

By Kathleen DuVal,

What is this book about?

Long before the colonization of North America, Indigenous Americans built diverse civilizations and adapted to a changing world in ways that reverberated globally. And, as award-winning historian Kathleen DuVal vividly recounts, when Europeans did arrive, no civilization came to a halt because of a few wandering explorers, even when the strangers came well armed.

A millennium ago, North American cities rivaled urban centers around the world in size. Then, following a period of climate change and instability, numerous smaller nations emerged, moving away from rather than toward urbanization. From this urban past, egalitarian government structures, diplomacy, and complex economies spread…

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