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Health, Home, and Happiness: Recommended Reading

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Recommended Reading

Recommended Reading, as talked about back in this post, I prefer getting solid information from books, rather than just reading blog posts.

Nourishing Traditions- This is the first book I bought related to Real Food. I found it overwhelming at first; there are recipes, informational essays, and many quotes from other books and studies in the margins. I recently cleaned out my cook books and now am down to this one and Joy of Cooking. If you already know quite a bit about physiology and nutrition, this is a great book to start with, otherwise I would buy Eat Fat Lose Fat or The Maker's Diet first as they are geared more as an introduction.

The Maker's Diet takes a refreshing look at what food God designed and Jesus actually ate. Engaging to read, Jordan Rubin talks about how he personally was healed using the diet of real foods from the Bible. A great book to start with if you are currently eating low-fat or otherwise a typical American diet.

Do you love the idea of traditional foods, but are left wondering how this works? Will I raise my cholesterol level by eating traditional fats- coconut oil and butter? Nina Planck shares the science behind eating traditionally, as well as how wonderful you feel when eating this way.  A great book for people just starting on  their Real Foods journey, though I also enjoyed it and learned plenty when I read it earlier this year.

Also by Nina Planck, Real Food for Mother and Baby is an awesome guide to eating the essential nutrients in our childbearing years, as well as what's needed for the baby's first couple years.  This book is so convincing and makes eating healthily so easy!  It inspired me to make a few changes in how our family eats; mainly eating more fish.  See my more in-depth review of Real Food for Mother and Baby here.

I just borrowed this book from the library recently. Another great starter book, especially if you're one who has been counting calories or on and off the weight-loss bandwagon for most of your life. I talked a little more about it back here. I was one who was constantly tallying up calories and eating 'low fat' back in High School, only to be frustrated daily that my weight kept going up, not down, and I was always wanting to eat more (I weighed about 15-20 lbs more then, 10ish years ago, than I do now. I know that's not much, but it was frustrating all the same. And I was swimming 3 or so hours a day). Once I started using real fats as much as I wanted, I easily lost weight. My weight problem wasn't a self-control issue, it was my body screaming at me that I needed more good real fats. Since then I've gained 65 lbs for each pregnancy (which is kind of ridiculous, but my babies have been healthy, so I suppose that's what I just do) and have easily lost it in a reasonable amount of time by following the principals in this book. I notice that if I'm eating too much refined food and not enough healthy fat, my weight will start to creep up again, but I can easily get it back down again without feeling deprived at all.

I'm talking quite a bit about this book, but it's because I care and I don't want others to have to suffer from the misinformation that a low fat diet is how you lose weight. A low fat diet makes you feel deprived and obsess on food. Or, at least it did for me.

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A Price. Absolutely fascinating. I'm only about 3/4 through it right now, but so far it has been amazing. Written by Weston A Price about his trip to native and newly-modernized cultures around the world. As a dentist, he was studying cultures to see why some had excellent teeth without decay and without the need of braces to straighten, and others had decaying crooked teeth. He recognized that cultures living on real food- whole grains, plenty of animal fats through meat or milk- had beautiful teeth. Narrow jaws and crooked teeth, what I have always heard is caused by genetics, was markedly absent when prenatal nutrition was correct. Tons of pictures to demonstrate this, most interesting to me were pictures where older children had beautiful teeth, and then younger children in the same family had teeth typical of our modern youth; the change occurred when the family became modernized and started eating refined foods. Though mostly about teeth, he notes that people on a real-food diet are much less susceptible to disease and other 'deformities' that we generally attribute to genetics. Convicting, and absolutely not politically correct.

Fascinating information about the important roll that gut flora (good bacteria in the intestines) play in digesting food, assimilating nutrients, keeping a person healthy, and mental health. If 'gluten free' or 'gluten free and casein free' have worked for you or your child, this might be the next step. After reading this, I wholeheartedly believe that most of us in Western cultures have been harmed by the routine medications that we have taken, especially antibiotics.

More on intestinal/psychological health, Breaking the Vicious Cycle is, again, using food to correct problems such as Crohn's and other intestinal issues. Based on the specific carbohydrate diet (so is GAPS) it promotes a diet for healing rather than just avoiding symptoms.

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Blogger stacey said...

good thoughts! i need to hit the library soon and start making an amazon list for my birthday! since i have an obsession with yellow highlighters, i probably need to buy them! :)

October 20, 2009 at 5:09 PM  
Blogger Cara said...

Yep, you better! Books are great gifts! :)

October 20, 2009 at 5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For some reason your posts haven't been coming through on my reader, so I've missed a bunch. Catching up now though...
Thanks for this great list. I know there are one or two I'm going to put on my reserve list at the library right away!
Of course I need to add that your little guy is looking as sweet as ever.

October 22, 2009 at 3:25 PM  

I was amazed by Weston Price's book, too, and I can't stop recommending it to my friends and family. It's just so life changing. I also developed an uncontrollable curiosity to ask people from other countries what they used to eat growing up. It's made for some very amusing conversations, and the other Americans in the group are always so surprised that it's not uncommon to drink soured milk or raw meats. The world is such a fascinating place!

October 25, 2009 at 4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Appreciate the list - it's my second signal to learn about the GAPS diet this morning - think I'll head over to the library site and see if I can request it!

November 23, 2009 at 6:51 AM  
Blogger Cara said...

I highly recommend the GAPS book to anyone who wants a greater understanding of how the body works. It's fascinating how complex everything is.

November 23, 2009 at 7:12 AM  
Anonymous Nicole said...

Weston A Price's book is online available to read free at

January 14, 2010 at 6:19 PM  
Blogger Cara said...

Thanks for the link! It's valuable information in that book.

January 14, 2010 at 7:15 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Oh, I've read most of those books and love them! So much to learn, so little time. I agree with thecelluliteanalyst, I want to ask everyone from other countries what they ate growing up. Actually, I often do and am fascinated by what I hear-almost always in-line with Weston Price's work.

January 23, 2010 at 11:16 AM  
Blogger Dana Seilhan said...

I would agree that Dr. Price's book is not PC in terms of the language he uses, but you could say it is PC in another way--it completely discredits the notion that "mixing races" causes degeneration in the resulting offspring, or that genes cause degeneration in the first place.

After hearing about his work I learned about the pellagra epidemic in the South at the beginning of the twentieth century. After doing a little digging to find out what pellagra does, I suddenly understood why hateful people so often joke about Southerners marrying their sisters and about "crackers" being "inbred."

It wasn't genetics. It wasn't "inbreeding." They were starved, with effects far-reaching into the next two or three generations.

If more people had listened to Dr. Price, maybe we would have matured more in terms of racial relations (and maybe class relations as well) in the United States by now. Sad to think about.

January 26, 2010 at 5:21 PM  
Blogger Cara said...

I agree! I didn't mean that his language was politically incorrect (though it may be, I don't really keep up with that) but more that the idea that our dental problems are nutritional isn't a politically correct idea.

January 26, 2010 at 5:32 PM  
Blogger whopper said...

I've just recently found your blog and have been really enjoying it. Based on the other books you're recommending, I think you may also really enjoy reading Independence Days: a guide to sustainable food storage by Sharon Astyk. I've done a lot of reading about the food concepts but have been slower to implement them than I'd like. We're taking the plunge to full time local/sustainable now and I'm excited to see how it changes our health. Thanks for your menu plans and insights!

April 12, 2010 at 11:27 PM  

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