Annual Book Review: 2016

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This is the final week of gift buying before the end of year holidays arrive. In case you are looking for a last minute gift or looking for something to read for yourself, here are the things I read this year that I whole-heartedly recommend.

Nutrition-related Advice

Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal (Anthony  William)

Anthony William is not a doctor. Rather, he’s a healer who says that the Spirit of God speaks directly to him to identify what is wrong in a person’s body and how to heal it. He wrote Medical Medium because he believes conventional medicine is failing to make us better and he wants to share the information that Spirit (William’s word) has passed on to him.

As someone who believes in something greater than myself, I believe that what he describes about himself and his interaction with Spirit is plausible. I also agree with him that conventional medicine isn’t working to reduce chronic disease and that women, especially, seem to be suffering more than ever as a result. Plus, I found out about this book first from a friend and then from two healthcare practitioners that I respect who were patients of William and say that William helped them finally heal.

Despite those great referrals, it is tough for me to accept everything in the book because it goes against what we know from science today, and I do take pride in my ability to apply science and experiential evidence. (William says that research won’t catch up with the truths he presents for another two or three decades.) And he doesn’t define exactly what people should do to heal from the 21+ diseases presented. As a result, I’m not sure how useful the information is to people since we don’t know exactly what to do. With that being said, I have started incorporating some of his suggestions in my work with my clients and believe that we will find out in time that much of what he is telling us is true.

This book isn’t for everybody given it’s spiritual premise. At the same time, if you have been struggling with a chronic or mystery illness (such as ADD, chronic fatigue syndrome and Lyme disease) and you’re looking for a resource that confirms, “It’s not all in your head and here are some possible root causes”, this is a book worth reading. If nothing else, it will give you hope that you don’t have to keep feeling less than 100%; you just have to have to keep moving forward to figure out what’s really going wrong and how to fix it.

 

Yes, You Can Get Pregnant: Natural Ways to Improve Your Fertility Now and into Your 40s (Aimee Raupp)

After years of treating women, Aimee Raupp, MS, LAc, realized that many of the imbalances preventing women from conceiving are preventable. From nutrient deficiencies to nutrition and lifestyle-related conditions to emotional blocks, Raupp found herself guiding her clients to address these issues, while also giving them support through acupuncture.

I have heard way too many stories about how difficult it is for women to have their own children. And when a woman wants to become a mom and can’t, my heart breaks. So, I want every woman who wants to become a mom (now or in the future) to know that nutrition plays a huge roll in conception, either directly by ensuring the woman’s body has the resources it needs to grow a new life or indirectly by helping to control conditions like autoimmunity… a huge cause of infertility.

If you are hoping to be a mom and are struggling with fertility, I encourage you to read Raupp’s book. She explains a woman’s body physiologically and energetically according to Traditional Oriental Medicine, and lays out very clear guidelines about how to ensure you are creating a healthy and welcoming environment for your future child. Plus I love that she includes a holistic approach that includes food, supplements, exercise, affirmations and meditation that can help any woman be healthier regardless of the outcome related to child bearing.

 

The Swift Diet: 4 Weeks to Mend the Belly, Lose the Weight, and Get Rid of the Bloat (Kathie Swift)

I read a lot of nutrition books (as you can imagine), and I thought this book would be another take on the nutrition principles that I have come to know and love. It turned out to be that… only better!

Kathie Swift, MS, RDN, has been practicing and teaching integrative nutrition for decades. Not only was she the nutritionist that Mark Hyman, MD, called on to help him open the UltraWellness Center, but she has taught workshops around the country at some of the top wellness retreat centers and recently co-founded the Integrative and Functional Nutrition Academy, whose certification program I have just finished.

She is incredibly knowledgeable, unwaveringly compassionate, truly integrative and wonderfully practical in her approach to using food to heal the body. I have witnessed this in class and was thrilled to “see” her shine through in her book. In fact, her expertise comes through in such a clear way that I found myself highlighting way more passages than I thought I would. 🙂

If you’re looking for a whole lifestyle approach (including food, mindfulness, stress relief and exercise) to healing your gut and improving your health, this book is definitely one you want to check out!

 

Whole Detox: A 21-Day Personalized Program to Break Through Barriers in Every Area of Your Life (Deanna Minich)

I have been following Dr. Deanna Minich’s work for quite a few years now. She is the first health care practitioner who I found that incorporated food into the process of balancing the chakras, which leads to total health according to Hindu philosophy and the Indian culture. I have also found her to exude sincerity, compassion and kindness, which is lovely when someone is telling us how to heal our bodies through changes that may not be “fun”.

During her decades of work with patients, she found that making food and lifestyle changes wasn’t enough for many people to sustain physical improvements such as weight loss, and she realized there was more to the health story. The outcome is her latest book Whole Detox, which is an incredibly thorough explanation about and plan for detoxing our bodies physically, mentally and emotionally. By removing toxic thoughts and toxic food at the same time, we give our bodies a chance to function in a truly healthy way because emotions and thoughts change how our bodies behave biochemically.

Her book includes a detailed 21 day detox plan that includes:

  • Meal plans for omnivores and vegans with associated shopping lists,
  • A variety of physical activity suggestions so you get to try new movements each day and see which ones really work for you,
  • Meditation, journaling exercises and affirmations to help with the mental and emotional detox, and
  • Trackers for food, symptoms and emotions to bring awareness to your life.

Her love of the topic and of people really comes through in her writing, and I really enjoyed all the different smoothie recipes that she includes.

Food-related

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (Barbara Kingsolver)

I have always loved Barbara Kingsolver’s work beginning with one of my favorite books of all time, The Poisonwood Bible. Now, in this memoir / journalistic investigation called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Kingsolver takes us on a year-long journey with her family in which they vowed to eat only food they had grown themselves or could purchase from other farmers in the immediate vicinity.

Clearly, I am not able to follow in her footsteps and eat only home grown food. And it’s not just that I live in Manhattan, but rather that I can’t keep a plant alive to save my life! That being said, this book educated me and made me think.

In addition to describing the life cycle of plants and what eating in season is all about, Kingsolver explains where synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides come from (oil and natural gas), how bizarre our food chain is (we export 1.1 million tons of potatoes and import 1.4 million tons… of potatoes!), and why health care costs so much ($1 of every $3 spent on health care is paying for the damage caused by our bad eating habits). And she does all of this in her easy reading style, so you don’t feel totally weighed down by the reality of or technical details in the material.

Plus, it’s a fun read and you’ll find yourself cheering for them to make it to the end. And, hopefully, like me, you’ll find yourself wanting to further develop a meaningful relationship with your food that feeds your body and your conscience.

Other

Turning Inspiration into Action: How to connect to the powers you need to conquer negativity, act on the best opportunities, and live the life of your dreams (Matt Gersper)

My friend Matt Gersper of Happy Living has written this fabulous book about how to take the inspiration you receive from the world around you (no matter the source) and take an action related to it such that the dream doesn’t fizzle. He walks us through the various phases of his life, sharing intimate details such as exactly what he did to succeed and what he did when something didn’t quite go as planned (gotta love the honesty!). He shares life lessons, key insights and practical suggestions about how you can benefit from what he has learned and experienced during his journey.

I especially love that he outlines the need for and how to engage the Power of Priority, the Power of Heart, and the Power of the Universe to take action to make Your Changes and build the life of your dreams. It’s so true!! When we identify our priorities, ensure they are aligned with the core of our being, and decide to make even the smallest change, the Universe will immediately begin moving to help us manifest our very best life… one better than we may even think possible right now!

 

Wood Becomes Water: Chinese Medicine in Everyday Life (Gail Reichstein)

I first picked up this book when I was starting acupuncture and wanted to learn more about what I could do to help keep my energies in balance between acupuncture treatments. Reichstein’s book provides a lovely overview of the philosophy behind Traditional Chinese Medicine and shows how everything is intertwined… within us and around us. She explains the five elements and goes into detail about the season, direction, color, climate, sound, emotion, taste, organs and orifice associated with each. Each chapter gives suggestions on food choices and qi gong movements that can be used to restore balance, if you feel like you have symptoms associated with an imbalance in that element.

Although I am clear that reading this book doesn’t make me a Chinese medicine practitioner, I feel like Reichstein’s writing gives me some practical things I can do when I’m feeling a little out of whack. And the good news is that I’m not going to hurt myself by trying her suggestions as they are all holistic, natural and healthy.

If you’re getting into Chinese medicine or just want to understand how the Chinese ancient healers viewed the system that is our world, it’s a great read and reference book to keep on hand.

 

The Goldfinch: A Novel (Donna Tartt)

This is my one fiction recommendation this year because I really, really enjoyed this novel! Tartt created a fantastic story that is both believable and surprising in its progress. I honestly didn’t see some of the twists and turns, and yet could visualize the whole thing in my mind. I liked this book so much that I spent like 10 minutes talking about it during a girls’ weekend earlier this year! 🙂 If you’re looking for a good fiction read, I highly recommend this one.

By the way, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara were also incredibly well written, but totally jacked with my mind… each of them in different way. So since they made me a bit crazy, I’m not recommending them. But if you like well-written novels and don’t get emotionally involved in characters’ neuroses, they are worth your time. 😉

 

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click and then purchase, I will receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for reading and supporting Nutrition. QED.

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