Hey friends! It’s me, Casey. Instead of another holiday eating post (been there, done that – check the archives on the home page!), today I am going to share with you some reviews of books I’ve read this year.
But first, I have to address the newest fly-by-night, sensationalized, not-quality-research-based documentary (there’s one EVERY year that shocks the nation). Another dietitian already summarized my thoughts on the matter. It is worth noting this dietitian is a vegan; here is her review: https://kellyjonesnutrition.com/2019/11/06/the-game-changers-review/
I intentionally make New Year’s Resolutions which don’t involve food, since I have spent most of my career trying to steer people away from “diets” in the most modern sense of that word. This year, I vowed to read one book a month. While I didn’t always succeed in finishing exactly one book a month, I sometimes read more than one in a month…so it all came out in the wash, and I reached my goal (yay).
Nutrition is kind of like that – we don’t have to eat perfectly to help our bodies to WIN. Sometimes we eat better than other days; and usually, (if we are really intentional with our efforts) we get most of the nutrients we need in the end.
I will spare you from a review of ALL the books I’ve read this year, as I can’t find a way to relate nutrition to the writings of my beloved Stephen King nor John Grisham. Therefore, I have selected those that are most relevant. They are listed in no particular order of relevance, as I found them each to be fantastic jackpots of information.
Nourishing Diets by Sally Fallon Morell
BLUF: This book reviews why saturated fats and whole, unprocessed, animal-based foods are nutrient-rich and beneficial to our lives.
Here is an example of the truth in a sea of society’s “opinions” versus reality. Sally meticulously describes the nutritional habits across countless cultures and time periods, and explains what a true “ancestral” diet really was.
She also discusses the fallacies brought into US nutrition policy by Ancel Keys, and why his poorly-designed study reports were…inaccurate at best…flat-out wrong at worst.
This book explains what a REAL Mediterranean diet is—as in, what the healthy inhabitants of the Mediterranean region ACTUALLY are/were eating.
Finally, she myth-busts one of the most popular books on the “blue zones,” the areas of the world where live the highest percentages of people who reach 100 years old or beyond. She points out the fact that the author of that book used methodology with inherent flaws. In fact, he seems to have completely ignored the massive amount of animal foods the centenarians actually ate, and inaccurately portrayed them to eat processed vegetable seed oils and mostly only plants (not true).
Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins
BLUF: This book challenges you to pull your head out of excuses and get after what you want in life. It is not for the faint of heart, and there are many profanities used. But it. is. awesome. In fact, I read it twice, back-to-back. I have never done that with any book before in my life.
David tells the story of how he was faced with barrier after barrier in his life, but persevered by mastering his mind. Despite an incredibly tragic upbringing as a child, he overcame abuse and poverty to become a prestigious Navy Seal.
He didn’t become a Navy Seal on his first…or second…or even third try. This guy has more heart and more gumption than anyone I’ve ever heard of or known, and he depicts it in such a way as to help you and I get over ourselves.
Although I am not likely to get as extreme as David did with all his ultra-marathons, he still inspired the crap out of me to get past my mental blocks to achieve anything I want to achieve in this one life.
I bought this book before our trip to Europe this past summer. While I had planned to sleep during our 10-ish hour flight….I actually read this book cover to cover instead. It was superb.
Intuitive Eating by Lynn Rossy
BLUF: If you struggle to manage your health, your weight, or indulgent food cravings, intuitive eating is a skill you will want to master.
Although I’ve read about (and taught) intuitive eating to my patients for more than a decade, this book was a more clear, concise version than most I’ve read.
Lynn teaches you how to really be intentional about what you are eating. She may even help you to realize you don’t even actually love those foods you keep binging on. Most importantly, she will help you to discover how you feel when you eat a certain way. You might even come to the realization you love how you feel when you are truly listening to your body.
Diets do not work, yet they seem to continue to be a dime a dozen. In December, January, and February, you will be inundated with ads for the latest diet. Now is the time to buck the trend, and truly get healthy.
Real Food for Pregnancy by Lily Nichols
BLUF: Every single woman of child-bearing age, especially those who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant MUST read this. I think it should be required reading with an exam that follows!
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know I have a professional nutrition philosophy which requires a focus on NUTRIENTS first and foremost; that is exactly what Lily embodies, especially in this book.
Lily discusses the significant role of specific nutrients in building a baby. Her advice is not only for the health of the baby, but also for the health of the mother. Even for women who are not pregnant (or even considering it), I guarantee you will come away from this book learning some valuable nuggets of wisdom surrounding why we have to be concerned about NUTRIENTS, not just calories, in our eating styles.
She unpacks the ancestral practices of many cultures for pregnancy and post-partum care, many of which are still practiced in these countries today.
Lily also addresses the influence of environmental toxins on our bodies’ functioning, and many, many other super important aspects of healthy living.
Roar by Stacy Sims
BLUF: This book is geared toward women who are extremely physically active. However, even women who are aspiring to perform better in their leisure exercise or races will benefit from the information presented in this book.
Unlike the countless other performance-boosting-nutrition books on the market, this one is actually science-based, not opinion or internet-sensation-based.
Dr. Sims dissects the differences in male and female performance regarding nutrition, race fueling, hydration, and more. She breaks down the different aspects of fueling in relation to a woman’s hormonal cycle, and why/how performance changes when a woman is in different phases of the cycle.
This book helps women dial-in their heart rates, fueling strategies, and overall health with actual research-based advice. I will read this again, just to try to soak all the advice in (it’s so jam-packed with info!).
I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shameless plug for my very own book, lettucetalk. Some of you amazing friends have bought and read this, and I am forever grateful. If you have read this, please leave an amazon review to spread the word! Thanks x 1000000000.
I shall digress for now. You must’ve made it through this long post if you’re reading this…so, thanks!
Knowledge is power. But be cautious about the information you seek. In this beautiful country, we all have the 1st Amendment entitling us to freedom of speech. With that, we are surrounded by millions of internet websites and books that contain absolutely terrible nutrition advice, some of which is founded on no evidence whatsoever.
Be careful. If you are unsure if your source is an accurate portrayal of the current science surrounding nutrition, meet with a registered dietitian nutritionist.
Cheers to another upcoming year for all my fellow bookworms! Go forth, and read!
Oh – and Happy Thanksgiving! I can’t express enough how grateful I am for you all who have been loyal followers for so long. Thank you from the bottom of my heart ❤