Did you realize that human beings are the only species on the planet who actually don’t know what to eat? We need specialized books and articles to tell us what to eat, what’s going to “kill”us, what diet to start this year and what “healthy”means. Obviously, the amount of information circulating out there is clearly overwhelming and conflicting leading to a “throw your hands up and give up”mentality. I understand. I did that too. Then I realized that what other people are eating (or not eating) really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what herbs someone else is taking or what fitness program someone else started. All that matters is that I feel good. Period. When I don’t feel good, having the awareness to figure out what is causing that and eliminating it is my best tool. But that didn’t just happen. I had some literary companions to help me out, and here are some of my favorite recommendations to get you started feeling educated, inspired and ready to take on your own awareness:
- The Green Pharmacy by Dr. James Duke, Ph.D. This is a VERY easy to read herbal compendium of common western medicinal herbs by one of my favorite teachers, Jim Duke. He lays this book out by imbalance/disease so it’s easy to look up information in a pinch. It includes his personal favorite herbs from years of experience as well research studies to back up his opinions. He also has a free database that that he created for the USDA on ethnobotanical and phytochemical information for hundreds of medicinal herbs! http://www.ars-grin.gov/duke/
- Simply In Season by Mary Beth Lind & Cathleen Hockman-Wert. This was my first introduction to seasonal eating. It has delicious, healthy recipes designated by each season and what is available at that time. It’s a fantastic resource to take with you to the local produce department to figure out what you can eat with what’s available at your farmers market or small grocery.
- Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Dr. Christine Northrup, MD. I love all of Dr. Northrups books and this is one of my favorites. It’s a super comprehensive resource covering ALL areas of women’s health from birth through menopause and also all the emotional balance practices in between. This is an excellent, easy to read and understand resource for any young woman to read through. We often gloss over or under emphasize the importance of every woman thoroughly understanding her own body, power and emotional wellbeing and physiology. This book lays it out beautifully!
- The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies by Vasant Lad. Ayurveda is a medical discipline that I utilize often in my own practice and studied as part of my clinical herbal training in graduate school. Ayurvedic practice is often really difficult to dive into, as it is so very different from western medicine. This book is a perfect introduction to the discipline before moving on to more advanced material. It covers basic principles of tongue and pulse, energetic assessment and FOODS that balance each dosha. I keep this book handy at all times in my office.
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Pick up any one of Michael Pollan’s books and you wont be disappointed. This was the first of his that I ever read several years ago that really set the stage for the major questions of, “Is that really food?”and “Where did my food come from!?”. If you’ve ever wondered about the journey your food has taken from the farm to your plate, this books if for you. It’ll have you questioning the direction of our food supply, and what you can do to improve it. Take a look at this other amazing books too (GREAT for summer reading!) http://michaelpollan.com/books/.
- Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I read this book over the summer 8 years ago while living out of my tent working in an organic garden for 3 months. If any book can inspire you to get GROUNDED in your food principles and set intention for your nutritional, emotional and environmental lifestyle, this is a good one. It follows Barbara’s journey through a year of intentional living on her farm growing ALL of the family food on their homestead in southwestern Virginia. It also takes on the perspectives of her young children, too, which was so inspirational ad unique for a topic like this!
You know, summer is coming up…no better time to pick up a good book and dive into another world of possibilities, new practices and inspirational journeys!
Lindsay Kluge M.Sc, CNS, LDN HealthCoach@EllwoodThompsons.com