These recommended healthy eating books differ in point of view. They disagree, for example, on the roles of meat, fat, dairy, and cooked food in a healthy diet. But, they all contain substantial information about nutrition, food preparation, and the philosophy behind a whole food diet.
Because each book is different, none can be all things for all people, and none are perfect.
They address different aspects of real food (or "whole food"), but it's easy to see what they have in common. These healthy eating books offer plenty of choices for finding the best diet for each individual.
Eating Clean For Dummies, 2nd ed., by Dr. Jonathan Wright, MD, and Linda Johnson Larsen (2016), 408 pp.
Here's a way to get started with real food. In clean eating, there's one goal: avoiding processed foods.
There's an introduction to nutrition, and there's seven chapters of tips for changing your diet.
From this book, you can get the motivation for changing your diet: to understand the nutrition is to "get it." You can get some idea of what's involved, and get lots of ideas on ways to proceed.
Read my full review of Eating Clean For Dummies.
The Color Code: A Revolutionary Eating Plan for Optimum Health by James A. Joseph (2003), 320 pp.
Blueberry researcher James A. Joseph presents more than 40 colorful fruits and veggies. He explains that the pigments--green, red, orange, yellow, purple, and blue--are actually antioxidants, and discusses the amazing things that the antioxidants do.
He teaches you how to break the color code and suggests a fun eating program based on colors.
Read my full review of The Color Code.
These books involve exciting programs and special cuisines that motivated me to try new foods! I think everyone needs Nourishing Traditions, but there's no substitute for looking at other theories and cuisines. It's as if there are so many kinds of real food that each adds something you can't get anywhere else.
Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon (2001), 674 pp.
This is both a cookbook and a summary of nutritional research! Its indispensable 78-page discussion of nutrition research (188 references) ranges from Weston Price's studies of traditional diets to the latest research on the unique benefits of animal fats.
(It's the defense of natural saturated fats that makes a cookbook so politically incorrect—and public health agencies are starting to catch up to this research.)
Traditional food includes healthy fats and traditionally cooked meats, fermented foods, organ meats, traditional whole grain foods, fruit, vegetables, and sauces.
There are more than 700 recipes, focused on traditional European cooking and artisanal food crafting, including making fermented foods such as traditionally made sauerkraut and kefir. The cookbook includes the why and how of: soaking whole grains before cooking; raw milk; the value of butter and other natural fats; and homemade foods of every kind. The recipes are complex.
Read my full review of Nourishing Traditions
American Wholefoods Cuisine: 1300 Meatless Wholesome Recipes from Short Order to Gourmet by Nikki and David Goldbeck (1983), 580 pp.
This cookbook has more than 1300 recipes and lots of food preparation instructions. The recipes, all vegetarian, feature grains, beans, vegetables, and fruit (with some milk, cheese, eggs, and tofu) and include many ethnic cuisines.
The large section, "Short-Order Cooking," contains recipes for simple, fast meals. These do use basic cooking techniques (the cookbook has information elsewhere on no-cook meals), but many of the results are incredibly sophisticated for the amount of time invested. The basic cooking techniques are described in detail at the beginner level in a terrific section, "On Cooking."
Other information is an explanation of whole foods (here called "wholefoods") and a whole food diet, how to plan meals, suggested menus, how to assemble a pantry, freezing, canning, making yogurt, and sprouting.
Fantastic all-around cookbook: the heavy, the light, the simple, the gourmet, the international, and the all-American!
Healing With Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition, 3rd ed. by Paul Pitchford (2002), 784 pp.
This book is based in part on the medicinal use of food in traditional Chinese medicine, as well as on up-to-date research on whole foods. In Chinese medicine there is only a small role for animal products (for the very deficient and weak). Pitchford emphasizes whole grains and green foods (such as wheatgrass juice, seaweed, and algae). Particularly valuable are what he calls regeneration diets, with instructions and rationales, for healing serious degenerative diseases.
There is a large section of food preparation and recipes, which range from the simple preparation of whole grains to one-pot meals to more complex homemade fermented foods. The Chinese medicine concepts are not necessarily for beginners, but many of the recipes are.
Aveline Kushi's Complete Guide to Macrobiotic Cooking For Health, Harmony, and Peace by Aveline Kushi (1985), 414 pp.
Macrobiotics is a philosophy of food and life based on Asian traditions. It is a whole food diet that emphasizes brown rice, beans, steamed and fermented vegetables, and Asian foods and techniques.
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan (2008), 256 pp.
All about "edible foodlike substances" that masquerade as real food, and how to tell the difference. Do you know the difference between junk food and real food? Are you sure?
Read my full review of In Defense of Food.
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price (1939), 528 pp.
Don't be put off by the title. It sounds boring or scary or both, but it isn't.
It's actually very readable, but what's amazing are the photographs. Weston Price documented his work with traditional people around the world, in part through photographs.
You'll never forget the photos of people along with the descriptions of their diets. After seeing them, you'll be able to see the effects of diet everywhere.
Read my full review of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.
Sugar Blues by William Dufty (1975), 256 pp.
The absolutely classic book to motivate yourself to get off sugar.
It's a pretty interesting personal account, plus the real story of the damage that the white powder has done to us for the last couple hundred years. It blew everybody's minds in 1975 and reads just as well now.
Read my full review of Sugar Blues.
Eat Fat Lose Fat by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon (2005), 304 pp.
Read my full review of Eat Fat Lose Fat.
Know Your Fats: A Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils, and Cholesterol by Mary Enig (2009), 358 pp.
Read my full review of Know Your Fats.
Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You by Uffe Ravnskov (2009), 244 pp.
Read my full review of Fat and Cholesterol are Good For You!
The Coconut Oil Miracle, 5th ed., by Bruce Fife (2013), 303 pp.
Read my full review of The Coconut Oil Miracle.
Coconut Cures by Bruce Fife (2005), 256 pp.
Read my full review of Coconut Cures.
Enzyme Nutrition: The Food Enzyme Concept by Edward Howell (1985), 175 pp.
This is a a short, succinct book written by enzyme researcher Edward Howell to summarize his lifetime findings. It's an overview of how enzymes work, how digestion requires enzymes, and how and why to get more enzymes in food.
Read my full review of Enzyme Nutrition.
The Complete Book of Enzyme Therapy by Anthony J. Cichoke (1999), 492 pp.
Learn how to use enzyme supplements and how to find high-enzyme foods. There's a 78-page introduction to enzymes and 150 medical conditions listed and discussed, each with suggested enzyme supplements and vitamin and mineral supplements.
Although most of the book is about supplements, this is the best source I've found about which foods are high-enzyme and how to use them.
Read my full review of The Complete Book of Enzyme Therapy.
Enzymes: The Fountain of Life by D. A. Lopez, R. Michael Williams, and Klaus Miehlke (1994), 330 pp.
I haven't found any other book about the use of enzymes in Europe and Japan for the treatment of medical conditions. There are individual chapters on the enzyme treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, herpes virus, AIDS, traumatic injury, inflammation, and aging.
It's also the only book I have seen that explains "circulating immune complexes" in detail. This book informs not only about enzymes but about the immune system and autoimmunity.
Read my full review of Enzymes: The Fountain of Life.
Conscious Eating by Gabriel Cousens (2000), 850 pp.
Raw food includes raw fruits and vegetables, sprouted grains and beans, nuts and seeds, fermented vegetables and dairy, dried foods, and other raw foods. Raw food is called "live food" as its enzymes and other natural properties survive untouched by cooking.
There is much nutrition information here by the founder/director of the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center, such as the excellent chapters "Deficient Diet" and "The Addictive Brain." There is also a primarily spiritual defense of a raw food (or "living food") diet and information on transitioning to vegetarian and raw diets. The raw food recipes (in a large section), with some principles of preparation, are as used at the Tree of Life Center.
The Untold Story of Milk: The History, Politics, and Science of Nature's Perfect Food: Raw Milk from Pasture-Fed Cows, 2nd ed., by Ron Schmid (2009), 491 pp.
See my full review of The Untold Story of Milk.
Wheatgrass: Nature's Finest Medicine: The Complete Guide to Using Grasses to Revitalize Your Health, revised ed., by Steve Meyerowitz (2006), 240 pp.
The Wheatgrass Book: How to Grow and Use Wheatgrass to Maximize Your Health and Vitality by Ann Wigmore (1985), 144 pp.