I’ve been on a journey this summer 2014 to learn what’s wrong with my body. In general, it was to cure my acne. But I’ve learned so much more than that. I’ve learned I love paleo, I’m allergic to nuts & seeds, I have celiac disease, and I’ve got carb-digestion problems. I know, it’s a lot of self-diagnoses. But I also waited for 21 years for doctors to be able to tell me something, and they never did. So there. Self-diagnoses.
Here are the books I’ve read along the way, and I want to share them with you so that you can go down the fun path of learning how to take care of yourself. Hopefully, if you can take care of yourself now, there will be less clean-up later. And you can help your family, too!
THE PALEO SOLUTION – Robb Wolf
Robb Wolf is like the paleo-go-to-guy. If he’s written an introduction for a paleo book, it means it has his seal of approval, and that book will probably sell better. Why? Because he’s really smart, he’s confident in what he says, and he gives you all the tools you need to succeed. He even includes a 30-day meal plan for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (I didn’t love the recipes, but they’re great, quick, and easy if that’s what you’re looking for). He explains our ancestral history, what our dietary intake should look like, and most importantly, he explains why paleo is the best diet for you. His story is compelling, he’s a funny author, and this is the best book to get you started on paleo.
CELIAC DISEASE: A HIDDEN EPIDEMIC – Peter Green & Rory Jones
Reading this book was a life-saver for me. I had this inkling that I might have an autoimmune disease because of poor health my whole life. I read this after reading Wolf’s book and was able to match every symptom I’ve ever had with this disease. It was amazing. Even if you don’t think you have celiac disease, though, this book is a great starting point for understanding why gluten is dangerous and what autoimmune conditions do to your body. It’s not written at all like Robb Wolf’s book (it has more of a textbook feel), but it is well worth reading the chapters that apply to you. I found it in my local library.
THE ACNE PRESCRIPTION – Nicholas Perricone
Let me make this easy for you: I do not recommend this book. Why? Well, because I put his advice into practice a little bit. No I didn’t eat salmon at every meal for three days, but I increased my fish, ate more snacks “to keep my blood sugar up” and blah blah blah. Well, none of it worked. Actually, when I was trying to keep my blood sugar up and not just eating full meals every 5 hours, I felt cranky, hungry ALL THE TIME, and my acne got so much worse. SO MUCH WORSE. It was all of a sudden painful to the touch again when previously it was starting to heal and fade! So I had to re-learn paleo and Robb Wolf’s meal frequency suggestions. I started taking milk thistle supplements twice a day. And then I got all better again.
Now, I understand our bodies may be different. But this guy recommends whole grain oatmeal, yogurts, nuts, and fish all the time. No way am I going back to that lifestyle. That’s kinda why I have acne in the first place… If you’re looking for help with acne, I would try this chick. She’s pretty great. I’ve read her blogs and watched her videos over and over again. It was her testimony that made me stop washing my face – and with great results. She also has an e-book for sale! I’ve gotten so many good tips from her blog and her email subscription service that I haven’t bought the book… yet. But it shall come.
PRACTICAL PALEO – Diane Sanfilippo
I told my grandmother to do paleo with me. She was intrigued, and it turned out that one of her friends had this book. While I was over at her house this past weekend, I read through the pages. It has amazing guides in the back, a guide to what your poop should like, and 30-day meal plans for different conditions (autoimmune, blood sugar regulation, general health, neurological health, etc.)! I don’t mean just one 30-day set of meal plans for all these conditions; I mean 30 day meal plans for each condition. What, you think she doesn’t give you recipes, too?! No, no, she does that, too. She even has desserts. Oh my lord, the desserts look so good.
Needless to say, my mom and I each ordered one of these books over the weekend. Because it has everything. Scientific explanations for paleo in the beginning with evidence against the Standard American Diet (SAD). Meal plans. Recipes. Tear-out guides. It’s an expensive book. It feels like a textbook. But ordering it online from Barnes & Noble, we saved $30. The reason I chose this book over some others is because both my mom and I have a myriad of health issues and the meal plans will serve us well!
PRIMAL BODY, PRIMAL MIND – Nora Gedgaudas
I’ll be honest, I haven’t read the entire book. It’s on loan to me from the library, so I don’t have time to read the whole thing. However, the beginning of the book is absolutely fascinating. Her explanation of carbohydrates is spot on. She talks about celiac disease, gluten intolerance, soy, etc. She gives entire chapters to these things! It’s like Wolf’s book met Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic and they had a baby, and this is it.
I recommend this book for anyone who just wants one book that explains everything and doesn’t want to spend hours on each topic. Wolf goes into more detail on the biochemistry level. This lady goes into detail, but she tries to show you the big picture and how it affects you. Not only that, but she seems to know what she’s talking about because she’s had a lot of clients (but then again, I guess a lot of these people do?). I say, give it a go. To be honest, tucked in her paragraphs about carbohydrates was one of the most important paragraphs I’ve ever read about alcoholism. And I never expected to find it there.
THE PRE-DIABETES DIET PLAN – Hillary Wright
I didn’t read this whole book. I couldn’t. The beginning was compelling. It probably has the best explanations of insulin resistance for someone who doesn’t speak science that I could find. But her “diet plan” consists of a grains and fruits. Ugh. I don’t recommend this book, but I do recommend…
SUGAR NATION – Jeff O’Connell
The best pre-diabetes diet plan out there. And this guy isn’t a doctor! He’s a journalist and writer for men’s health magazines and he explains his own trials and tribulations with diabetes and pre-diabetes. He interviews experts across the country about diabetes. He explains the health care flaws. Just by talking about diabetes and how absurd doctors are, you learn how to treat your own diabetes. And to go to a nutritionist. I’m half-way through this book, and it reminds me of Peter Green’s Celiac Disease in that it is so elaborate, well-written, and just mind-blowingly spot on.
He blows apart notions we’ve held about diabetes and carbs. He talks about the absurdity of diabetic conventions sometimes. He’s an engaging writer. He’s not particularly ha-ha funny like Wolf, but he has one-liners that I have to think about and then smile at because his sarcasm is just so good.
O’Connell lets you know that this is your body, your life, and what you put into it is going to effect how it comes out. I highly recommend this book, whether you’re insulin resistant, pre-diabetic, diabetic, just want to learn more, or want to feed your kids one day. Speaking of journalists writing books…
THE HAPPINESS PROJECT – Gretchen Rubin
Remember that cute little post I did, Cater to Your Happy? If you’re trying to make your whole life better, why start and stop with food? Rubin goes through a year of different tactics to make herself happier. She does research, talks to people, and shares her success/failure. I got this book as a gift, and I highly recommend it because even if you only get one thing out of it, your life just got that much better. I didn’t get much out of it at first, but I came upon one chapter that hit me like a brick, and now I’m re-reading. If you go for this book, I recommend taking notes and writing in the margins.
I hope this short guide to books I’ve read this summer will give you a starting point for paleo and hidden conditions you might have! Does anyone else have any books that really changed their lives this summer? I’d love to hear, so leave a comment! 🙂