Reading for a New Way of Eating

The Kindle always is ready to distract me.

I got my Kindle late last year as part of the Black Friday hoopla. I love it and have read many books supporting our new eating regimen using it. While online sites are fantastic with free information, sometimes you want more recipes and more insight/validation that you are on the right path for your own health. So here are some summer reading options, beyond previously-mentioned ones.

These books listed are available from online booksellers (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, etc.) and you probably can find most of them at brick-and-mortar bookstores in the health or vegetarian cooking sections. I do my reading on a Kindle or iPad at this point. The books typically have recipes to help you build your new plan, and most of them are organized with one half of the book being the author’s story/reasons for doing this, with the other half consisting of recipes. You can basically spend a day or two with each one to read to completion — a perfect way to find fresh inspiration. 

“The Happy Herbivore,” “Happy Herbivore Everyday” I got into plant-based cooking through the McDougall program, and I found Lindsay Nixon’s books a godsend when it came to finding flavorful and EASY recipes as my taste buds adjusted from my previous salt-heavy world. I used her recipe for my first bean burger and was happy that it worked. She also has developed flavorful sauce additive recipes, such as no-beef broth, which you can use with other food. Use these books for a fun Saturday of cooking adventures. Seriously, you will not believe how good your creations are until you try. There also are other books in her Happy Herbivore series; take the time to read more about her online.

“Unprocessed” Written by Chef AJ. She offers a compelling story and really tasty, creative recipes.

“The Starch Solution,” This was my introduction to creating a whole-foods, plant-based lifestyle. Dr. John McDougall makes a compelling case why rice, potatoes and beans can work as main staples of healthful living. His plan is surprisingly simple and can yield dramatic effects, depending on how bad your diet is now (my blood work showed inflammation greatly reduced in just one month). The recipes in this book and on his iPad app convinced me that I could do this and stick with it using ingredients that were not intimidating and actually were things I’d always gravitated toward naturally in meals. His plan, combined with Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s work and Dr. Neal Barnard’s writings about using nutrition and exercise to fight pain, completely changed my attitudes about how to live and eat, and my resulting blood tests were proof positive that the three of them are right.

“Eat to Live” Dr. Joel Fuhrman will give you the low-down on why eating this way works on multiple levels. This book will have you rethinking every favorite food from a science-based perspective and why everyone you know, including yourself, is a food addict on some level, thanks to oil, sugar, fat and salt. This book is motivational with inspiring patient stories in each chapter, and how each patient dealt with all kinds of health problems.

Another book that I’d say changed my perspective on food forever was “The Pleasure Trap” by Dr. Doug Lisle and Dr. Alan Goldhamer, which explains why we cling to the foods that are killing us with dopamine overload and the resulting cravings/addictions. Here’s the condensed TEDx version of the book:

And here’s Goldhamer’s take on this, too. Longer, but very powerful particularly to those who cannot imagine ever giving up certain foods in their lifetime.

“Power Foods for the Brain” This is Dr. Neal Barnard’s latest book. He’s been plant-based for years, and we used to have a hard-cover version of his “Food for Life,” which encouraged us to go vegetarian in the 1990s. I also have his “Foods that Fight Pain,” which, for me, was a game-changer in getting off Tylenol and ibuprofen. His new book can help you eat for maximum brain health and avoid things that might lead to toxic mineral buildup, which he argues can cause long-term damage to your brain. You will quickly find yourself ridding your home of certain items after reading this.

“Engine 2 Diet” Probably the most enjoyable read of all on the plant-based eating topic. This is an inspiring story and it was Rip Esselstyn’s written journey before “My Beef with Meat,” which is a current bestseller. ALSO, Rip is currently on a book tour for “My Beef with Meat,” so if you live near a Whole Foods, chances are he’s coming to your city. Check the Engine 2 website for more information.

“Forks Over Knives” This has recipes AND there also is a separate cookbook by the same name that you could purchase for even more cooking ideas. These recipes will keep you on a heart-healthy path.

“Main Street Vegan” Plant-based, unprocessed lifestyles are different than veganism, (Think of plant-based as vegan without processed foods or added oils) but both have many shared purposes. To clarify the distinction, Victoria and Adair Moran thoroughly cover the vegan life, discussing food, cosmetics, clothing, beauty products, alcohol, ethical treatment of animals, the whole picture. As passionate as Jeff Novick is about reading food labels, Victoria is passionate about checking the labels of everything else you’d find in a store, which is particularly helpful if you want to know whether your brand of shampoo is cruelty-free. Each chapter ends with a related recipe tied to the chapter’s theme. I think of Victoria as the Alexandra Stoddard of explaining how to live a beautiful vegan life. Victoria also has a weekly podcast that I subscribe to on iTunes by the same name. It’s good to listen to for more book recommendations through the authors or vegan experts she introduces as podcast guests.

“The China Study” This is the science-based touchstone from T. Colin Campbell for a plant-based life. Read if you want to know everything about plant-based eating in other cultures, or take comfort in that this book will be mentioned in most of your other reading on the subject.

Hope there’s something here you’d want to read. If anyone has other recommendations, please add them in the comments section!

7 thoughts on “Reading for a New Way of Eating

  1. Thank you for all these resources! Will definitely be watching the videos and probably will look into at least one or two of the books. I need to spend a day going through all my recipes and organizing them. Most aren’t digital; I seem to do better in the kitchen with paper (no drained batteries!).


  2. I’ve read most of these, and was especially moved by “Eat to Live.” I don’t have a Kindle, however. I’ve been thinking about getting one. Sounds like you’re happy with yours. Do you recommend one? Celeste 🙂


    1. I found “Eat to Live” to be surprising in its depth of detail. I have a Kindle Fire which was discounted last year on Black Friday. I really like it both for reading and of course it makes shopping on Amazon a little too easy! It’s nice that it gives you a fair sampling of a book for you to decide whether to purchase or not. I do find that I am reading more books than ever since I got it.


      1. Thanks for your thoughts about Kindle – I appreciate it.

        I haven’t read McDougall’s “The Starch Solution”. From the title and what you say about the book, it sounds like McDougall is promoting a diet high in complex carbs. Since I’ve read “Eat to Live”, I know Fuhrman promotes limiting carbs. What are your thoughts on this? I go back and forth about the whole carb issue because there are different views by different experts. Celeste 🙂


      2. McDougall kind of stands alone on his starch theories, but I’ve relied on his dietary plans throughout my process and have suffered no ill effects from it. In fact, his plan made it very easy for me to go vegan because I love potatoes and whole wheat pasta to help base meals on. I’ve ramped up the greens and beans I consume after reading Fuhrman, but I pretty much do a combo of the two plans with at least one potato every day, usually as part of my lunch. The starches really do help you maintain your energy level.


      3. Thanks for your thoughts! I love carbs too. I was so bummed when I read that Fuhrman suggested limiting them (my husband wasn’t happy either). I’ve tried to cut back on carbs some, but it’s a challenge. Maybe I should read McDougall’s “The Starch Solution” to get his perspective on carbs. Celeste 🙂


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