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

Who am I?

I am a naturopathic therapist, teacher, and writer working mainly with plant medicine since 1989. For decades, I’ve been teaching many aspects of natural healing and have written 5 books, published in 6 languages, on various aspects of my work. One of my favourite books is DEEPLY HOLISTIC, a Guide to Intuitive Self-Care, a synthesis of much of the advice I’ve given clients over my 30 years of practice.


I wrote...

Deeply Holistic: A Guide to Intuitive Self-Care--Know Your Body, Live Consciously, and Nurture Your Spirit

By Pip Waller,

Book cover of Deeply Holistic: A Guide to Intuitive Self-Care--Know Your Body, Live Consciously, and Nurture Your Spirit

What is my book about?

Natural medicine outcomes depend partly on helping people create a lifestyle which acts as the foundation for good health. Deeply Holistic is a smorgasbord of suggestions that you can help yourself to, to help yourself move more towards your optimum possible level of health, presented in the format of relevance to the various body systems.

Good eating is an essential foundational building block to feeling well. But what to eat, in the modern climate of often conflicting and contradictory advice? As I discuss in Deeply Holistic, there is no real one size fits all approach to diet, hence the emphasis on ‘intuitive’ self-care – increasing your ability to tune in and listen to what your body is asking for.k

The books I picked & why

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In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto

By Michael Pollan,

Book cover of In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto

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!

In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto

By Michael Pollan,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked In Defense of Food as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times Bestseller from the author of This is Your Mind on Plants, How to Change Your Mind, The Omnivore's Dilemma, and Food Rules

Food. There's plenty of it around, and we all love to eat it. So why should anyone need to defend it?

Because in the so-called Western diet, food has been replaced by nutrients, and common sense by confusion--most of what we’re consuming today is longer the product of nature but of food science. The result is what Michael Pollan calls the American Paradox: The more we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we see…


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

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

Book cover of 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.’

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

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

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Eat Right 4 Your Type as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Eat Right 4 Your Type harnesses the power of our own amazing bio-chemistry to help you to cast aside the fad diets for good!

Dr Peter D'Adamo and Catherine Whitney are back with a fully updated and revised edition of their sensational book to demonstrate how working with your blood type plays a key role in losing weight, avoiding disease and promoting fitness and longevity.

After selling over a 7 million copies worldwide, this revised edition of the global phenomenon blood-type diet is packed with even more material - including a 10-Day Jump-Start Plan - to help you tailor your…


Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health

By Gene Stone,

Book cover of 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.

Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health

By Gene Stone,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The #1 New York Times bestseller answers: What if one simple change could save you from heart disease, diabetes, and cancer?

For decades, that question has fascinated a small circle of impassioned doctors and researchers—and now, their life-changing research is making headlines in the hit documentary Forks Over Knives. Their answer? Eat a whole-foods, plant-based diet—it could save your life.

It may overturn most of the diet advice you’ve heard—but the experts behind Forks Over Knives aren’t afraid to make waves. In his book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn explained that eating meat, dairy, and oils injures…


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

By Joanna Blythman,

Book cover of 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.

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

By Joanna Blythman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the author of What to Eat and Shopped, a revelatory investigation into what really goes into the food we eat.

Even with 25 years experience as a journalist and investigator of the food chain, Joanna Blythman still felt she had unanswered questions about the food we consume every day. How 'natural' is the process for making a 'natural' flavouring? What, exactly, is modified starch, and why is it an ingredient in so many foods? What is done to pitta bread to make it stay 'fresh' for six months? And why, when you eat a supermarket salad, does the taste…


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

By F. Batmanghelidj,

Book cover of 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.

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

By F. Batmanghelidj,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Your Body's Many Cries for Water as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New Edition! This is the third edition of Dr. F. Batmanghelidj' classic water book! THis book, based on a pioneering physician's twenty years of clinical and scientific research into the role of water in the body, explains a breakthrough discovery that Unintentional Chronic Dehydration(UCD) produces stress, chronic pains and many painful degenerational diseases. Dry mouth is not the only sign of dehydration; waiting to get thirsty is wrong. You will learn the different signals of thirst when your body is calling for water. Simply adjusting your water intake - yes, water! Natural, pure water!- can help you to live a…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in health, food industry, and vegetarian cuisine?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about health, food industry, and vegetarian cuisine.

Health Explore 75 books about health
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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like By Any Greens Necessary, Manifest Your Destiny, and Yesterday I Cried if you like this list.