The best books on what to eat, what not to eat, and why

The Books I Picked & Why

In Defence of Food: The Myth of Nutrition and the Pleasures of Eating

By Michael Pollan

In Defence of Food: The Myth of Nutrition and the Pleasures of Eating

Why this book?

This book beautifully explains its fundamental, simple bit of advice of healthy eating known to naturopaths for centuries; eat food, mostly plants, not too much. It basically convinces you of the necessity to eat whole ‘food’ – not a bunch of processed, chemical-ridden, junk masquerading as food, but real honest ingredients. If you read the packet and don’t recognise every ingredient as being something that you might have in your cupboard, don’t eat it.

It summarises the findings of most research into healthy eating without giving hard and fast rules. Not ‘be a vegetarian’, but ‘eat mostly plants, and if you’re going to eat meat ‘eat animals that have themselves eaten well.’ – ‘Eat well-grown food from healthy soil.’ Finally, don’t over-eat – ‘Eat when you’re hungry, not when you’re bored.' Simple!


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Eat Right 4 Your Type: The Individualized Blood Type Diet Solution

By Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo, Catherine Whitney

Eat Right 4 Your Type: The Individualized Blood Type Diet Solution

Why this book?

This book is not the one-size-fits-all approach of many food books. Naturopath Dr Peter J. D’Adamo has carried on the work of his father to research the effect of various types of lectins, a type of protein found in our body, and found in many foods. One way our unique biology is expressed is in our blood type – O, A, B, or AB. Different types of lectins cause agglutination (the clumping of particles) in different blood types. ‘If you eat a food that contains lectins incompatible with your blood type, those lectins cling or bind themselves to membranes in the digestive tract causing damage such as inflammation.’


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Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health

By Gene Stone

Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health

Why this book?

Forks Over Knives describes how changing your diet (forks) can be used to good effect to improve health, therefore, avoid the need for surgery (knives). This is a book about the most important advice on healthy eating – guess what? eating a whole-food, plant-based diet. It is full of inspiring success stories of people who have taken charge of their diet and transformed their health, as well as useful recipes. The author advocates entirely plant-based, and although there is a healthy way to eat animal products, the foundational diet for everyone needs to be mostly plants, and most definitely whole foods, meaning not processed or industrially produced.


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Swallow This: Serving Up the Food Industry's Darkest Secrets

By Joanna Blythman

Swallow This: Serving Up the Food Industry's Darkest Secrets

Why this book?

Eating right involves two very important things- what you need to eat a lot of for health, and what you need to avoid eating because it will make you ill. A very sobering look inside the so-called ‘food industry’ and how it is operating in the modern world, Swallow This educates us as to what ‘food’ labels mean; ‘natural flavourings’, ‘modified starch’ and so on. Once you’ve read it, you will understand completely why I put ‘food’ in inverted commas, and will develop a proper aversion to processed ‘food’, which will save you from a raft of serious health outcomes.


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Your Body's Many Cries for Water: You're Not Sick; You're Thirsty: Don't Treat Thirst with Medications

By F. Batmanghelidj

Your Body's Many Cries for Water: You're Not Sick; You're Thirsty: Don't Treat Thirst with Medications

Why this book?

Not strictly speaking about food, but I decided it needs to be included here because good hydration is as foundational for health as a good diet - no matter how good your diet is, if you are chronically dehydrated, you won’t be well. Your Body’s Many Cries for Water describes why. The book’s subtitle sums it up: You're Not Sick; You're Thirsty: Don't Treat Thirst with Medications. Dr. Batmanghelidj’s fascinating exploration into the importance of proper hydration basically says that if people drank about 2.5 litres a day of clean water, we would be free of at least 50% of illnesses.


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