I’ve always enjoyed reading. When I started on my family’s health journey many years ago, I poured through as many health books as I could get my hands on. Many were books recommended by podcast guests. Over the years I’ve read hundreds of books in the health and wellness space, some really good ones, some pretty boring, and others full of terrible advice.
Now my favorite TED talks, blogs, and podcasts are an important part of my health research library, so I’ll share some of those resources with you too!
Favorite Health Books
First, here are the five health books that launched my interest in wellness. All of these made a huge impact on my outlook and my family’s daily life.
1. Deep Nutrition
The book Deep Nutrition is a great resource that details how pre-conception and pregnancy diet can have a dramatic impact on a child’s future, and how to optimize these factors. Dr. Cate Shanahan delves into the subject of epigenetics and talks about the four core foods and how they impact health:
The book outlines the “Four Pillars of World Cuisine” that look for nutritional commonalities found in traditional and primitive cultures that have achieved better overall health than our modern society. While the specifics of their diets varied, they all consumed these four things: meat on the bone, organ meats, fermented/sprouted foods, and certain fresh raw fruits and vegetables.
2. Gut and Psychology Syndrome
The Gut and Psychology Syndrome is a nutritional protocol to optimize gut health. It focuses on soothing and healing the gut lining with foods like bone broth and beneficial fats. The book also goes in-depth on how to boost beneficial gut bacteria with probiotics and fermented foods.
It recommends starting with a stricter diet, then progressing to other stages as new foods are slowly reintroduced. The most difficult factor of the GAPS diet is that in order to be effective, especially in the beginning, one must be 100% compliant. This means a lot of preparing foods at home, as most pre-prepared foods include things that can aggravate the gut.
The website GapsDiet.com outlines some of the protocol, but the book is much more comprehensive.
3. Cure Tooth Decay
I’m fascinated with oral health, and the book Cure Tooth Decay is what started it all for me. In fact, it taught my husband and me how to successfully reverse our cavities. As I explained in a past post:
“Ramiel Nagel researched the information that later became the book Cure Tooth Decay when his daughter suffered from severe tooth decay at less than 2 years old. Much of the information he found was from the works of Dr. Price who studied the oral health of many people around the world.
Nagel found and tested the idea that tooth decay could be reversed and later shared this information in his book. It details a system of specific supplementation and nutrition focused on providing the body with a high concentration of minerals and nutrients that allow it to heal teeth.”
This book is especially helpful for me as a mom. It talks about how oral health for a child begins in the womb and how an expectant mother can use a specific dietary protocol to give her child’s oral health a boost in utero.
4. Practical Paleo
Practical Paleo is a great resource, especially for those new to paleo or those with autoimmune problems.
In addition to healthy recipes, this health book contains a wealth of information for conditions like:
- Digestive issues
- Thyroid problems
- Autoimmune problems
- Neurological health
- Blood sugar balance
- Heart health
- Cancer recovery
- Weight loss
The author Diane Sanfilippo did an amazing job of organizing all the information in a fun, easily understandable format.
5. How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor
How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor is not a new book — in fact, it’s from 1987! However, it’s still very relevant today. It’s written by a doctor and gives age-old advice for parents on how to raise a healthy child without sweating the small stuff.
Dr. Mendelsohn advises and encourages parents to handle most minor illnesses at home, and gives a helpful checklist at the end of each chapter to determine when an injury or illness requires medical help.
The book even touches on healthy birth (home vs. hospital), vaccination, and how most skin and respiratory problems (asthma, allergies) actually stem from food intolerances!
Want a more comprehensive to-read list? Check out my personal book recommendations on health, wellness, fitness, motherhood, and more. I included the Amazon link for each!
Other Favorite Health & Wellness Books
Lights Out by T.S. Wiley. Though I don’t agree with everything in this book, it cites some good studies about the importance of sleep and is good encouragement to start getting enough!
Perfect Health Diet by Paul Jaminet. I don’t agree with all of his ideas (like safe starches) but he makes some good points about healthy eating. Listen to this podcast episode to get a taste of his ideas!
Protein Power by The Drs. Eades. A great read by a great husband and wife team.
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Dr. Weston Price. A little dense at times, but highly recommended. He was one of the first to suggest many health ideas that are becoming mainstream today and this book is often referenced within the health community.
The Coconut Oil Miracle by Bruce Fife. If you need more reasons to eat coconut oil, check this book out!
The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk. This one was on the New York Times bestsellers list, and for good reason! It addresses the way trauma affects brain health, and how to rewire your mindset to start healing.
Paleo Diet and Lifestyle Books
Your Personal Paleo Code by Chris Kresser. A long but easy read that delves into the science of the Paleo diet, and helps readers figure out how to adapt it to their own individual needs. Full review here!
The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson. A practical, actionable guide to making a smooth transition into the Paleo diet. At over 60 years old, Mark (from Mark’s Daily Apple) is proof of how eating healthy can keep you looking young!
Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso. This is a great book full of great recipes and fun workouts. Sarah is an inspirational woman and I was also honored to guest post at Everyday Paleo, Sarah’s Blog. Check it out if you haven’t already!
Everyday Paleo Italian Cuisine by Sarah Fragoso. If you liked Everyday Paleo, you’ll love this Italian version. It’s part travel book (complete with beautiful photos and stories), part cookbook. We love the grain-free pizza and other authentic recipes!
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Paleo by Neely Quinn and Jason Glaspey. This is a comprehensive guide explaining why some modern foods are not healthy. Plus there are some great recipes in here, like salmon cakes with mango and cilantro salsa.
Other Diet Books
Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find Your Bath Back To Health by Dr. William Davis. A great guide on how to lose weight by ditching bread. The author is a great guy who even agreed to do an interview with me!
Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It by Gary Taubes. A well researched critique of conventional wisdom on diet and nutrition.
Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. A more in-depth version of “Why We Get Fat” that will indulge the inner scientist in you.
The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith. A great read, especially for anyone on the fence about vegetarianism.
The Cheat System Diet by Jackie Wicks. This book takes a new approach to dieting and encourages readers to indulge in the occasional cravings — but only after eating enough healthy nutrition for the day. You can read my full book review here.
Power to the People by Pavel Tsatsouline. A fitness book about kettlebells from the master himself.
The 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. I loved some of the strength protocols in this book. And the way this book was written is as fascinating as the content!
Food and Cookbooks
Paleo Comfort Foods by Julie and Charles Mayfield. Some fun and easy recipes.
Make It Paleo by Bill Stanley and Hayley Mason. More good recipes!
The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam. The definitive guide to almond flour baking! Not all are low-carb, and I wouldn’t suggest using agave, but some great recipes overall.
Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals by Mark Sisson. Some of his high quality recipes that you can throw together in a pinch.
Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz. An interesting read and some fun recipes and ideas for natural fermentation.
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. A highly comprehensive cookbook using traditional foods.
Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans by Michelle Tam. This is not your average cookbook! It’s hugely entertaining with lots of narration by comic characters, and best of all, my kids have loved every recipe.
The Wellness Mama Cookbook by… you know! All of the recipes in this book take 30 minutes or less and in most cases one or very few pans or dishes to make.
Motherhood & Mindset Books
A Mother’s Rule of Life by Holly Pierlot. I re-read this every few months. I occasionally get asked how I am able to keep up with my busy lifestyle, and this book is a large part of it. It is definitely geared toward at-home moms but is a great encouragement to keeping structure and order in your schedule and life.
The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. While motherhood can never be a four hour a week job (and who would want it to?), this book helped me keep business work in its proper place and keep deadlines from taking over family time!
Zone Cleaning for Kids by Jennie Von Eggers. Have your kids help out with chores around the house by getting them on a cleaning schedule that’s easy to follow and understand.
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. This book changed my understanding of what I can and can’t control, and made me a more peaceful person in work and in my family life. I now have the Four Agreements posted in my house for all to see.
The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk. A great story about a guy who made his name in the wine industry, and reminds us of the importance of giving back.
Something Bad Happened by Dawn Huebner. Pediatrician Dr. Elisa Song recommends all kids books written by child psychologist author Dawn Huebner, especially this book that helps kids navigate bad news.
The Tapping Solution by Nick Ortner. Recommended by several health experts that I respect, this book teaches readers how to engage in “tapping” to release negative emotions.
I’m always reading, so watch for this list to grow as I add new favorites, and let me know your votes in the comments!
What are your favorite health books? Share below!