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Nutrition is a topic that has become incredibly muddled in a world where we’re receiving competing information every day. It’s next to impossible to know what’s supposed to be good for you to eat and what’s not. One day dairy is the enemy, and the next, there’s a study touting the benefits of dairy. It’s for this reason that I’ve sought out sources of information that I believe deliver an unbiased and honest opinion on what a quality nutrition plan should look like.
Back in April, I shared my favorite books and podcasts for personal finance. Now I’m doing the same for nutrition and healthy eating. I hope you will find these resources helpful in cutting through the noise to gain clarity on nutrition concepts that withstand the day-to-day changes.
Like personal finance, there are core elements that come across in every nutrition book and podcast I’ve found:
Eat more real food
I talked about the importance of eating real food in a post on clean eating. Introducing more whole, plant-based foods, which probably means taking time to cook at home, is one of the fastest ways to see a change in your physical and mental state.
Limit intake of processed, sugary snacks
Along with adding the right foods, it’s essential to limit the daily intake of foods with little nutritional value. I do my best not to categorize foods as “good” or “bad,” as this can sometimes bring too much emotion to the party. Instead, I like to focus on foods that have high or low nutritional value, and processed snacks fall on the low end of that spectrum.
Especially with packaged foods, overconsumption is relatively common. When foods taste good to our palette, we want to continue to indulge, far past the point of satiety. It’s essential to get to know your hunger and fullness signals and listen to your body for signs that you’ve eaten enough.
Nutrition is only one piece of the puzzle
Focusing on eating the right foods is an excellent start, but it only comprises one part of a much larger puzzle. It’s essential to use proper nutrition practices as a building block towards an overall healthy lifestyle.
Motivational Nutrition Books
Given that I am a reading/writing learner, I rely heavily on books as sources of information. The following are all books that I’ve read at least once. Most are great as reference books to come back to again and again as questions arise.
I love the caliber of information Max Lugavere, a health and science journalist and author, brings to the table but also how he simplifies complex topics and makes them easy to digest. Genius Foods lays out the top ten foods that translate to better brain health. These foods include such rockstars as olive oil, avocados, broccoli, and wild salmon.
I have yet to read Max’s latest book, The Genius Life*, but plan to pick it up soon. This newest book is said to be an expansion of Genius Foods that travels outside nutrition to examine the other aspects of creating an overall healthy lifestyle, like exercise, sleep, detoxing, etc.
For those unfamiliar with Blue Zones, they are the places on earth where a large number of centenarians, people over 100 years of age, call home. Dan Buettner is an expert in longevity. He now uses his research on blue zones to encourage the transformation of cities to be more supportive of health in an aging population. This book focuses on core elements of living a long life, including purpose, diet, exercise, and community. This is an excellent read for anyone curious about the lifestyles of the world’s oldest-old and the foods we can eat to get there ourselves.
I decided to go gluten-free last year for personal health reasons. This book by Dr. David Perlmutter is one I read that solidified my decision. After removing gluten from my diet, I have been able to see the positive changes David talks about up close. This book is not a weight loss or diet plan but a lifestyle change that focuses on the physical and mental aspects of removing certain carbohydrates. Opting to go gluten-free is not going to look the same for everyone, but this book is an excellent introduction for anyone who considers it an option, whether short-term or long-term.
Dr. Daniel Amen is a genius in the field of neurology and all things brain health. He brings forth a wealth of knowledge related to brain aging and how to combat unnecessary aging using diet and exercise. I read and listened to this book. Both times I was amazed at the clinical references where he was able to help people with a history of brain damage virtually diminish the overall impact with a healthy lifestyle. This scope of this book goes far past nutrition alone and includes ways to help curb negative thinking, anger, and worrying too.
Engaging Nutrition Podcasts
Podcasts are treasure troves of information, especially for those who are primarily auditory learners. My favorite thing about the podcasts I’ve outlined below is how they deliver quality information in a friendly, conversational manner. The back and forth between interviewer and interviewee seems so natural like you’re having a dinner conversation with old friends.
Again, I have to mention Max Lugavere as a wonderful source of knowledge in the podcast world. He brings on entertaining and intelligent guests, and I thoroughly enjoy the way he interviews that mixes a balance of his thoughts intertwined with those of the interviewee. Max pretty heavily discusses nutrition, but that’s not the only type of guest he has on his show. He’s also spoken to Jim Kwik (who I feature in reading one book a week), Drew Ramsey (a psychiatrist who focuses on mental health), and Alissa Vitti (female biohacker and author of one of my favorite books In the FLO*.)
Episode to listen to: The 11 Factors That Sabotage Your Mind and Hurt Your Brain featuring Dr. Daniel Amen. This book is an excellent introduction to both Max and Dr. Amen and focuses on one of my favorite topics, foods that help your brain stay fit!
Shawn Stevenson, author (whose book about sleep I included in a post on sleep habits), alternates between interviewing engaging guests and doing a deep dive on various subjects. I love Shawn’s bubbly personality and the energy he brings to every podcast. I can’t help but smile when I listen, and I hope you’ll feel the same.
Episode to listen to: Beat Insecurities, Boost Self-Love & Tap Into Your Superpowers – This is one of Shawn’s compilation episodes where he deep dives into powerful tips from female guests about self-love, relationships, and more.
Dr. Mark Hyman is an outspoken proponent of the fight against junk food, especially in America’s youth. He focuses a lot on the importance of making changes in the food system as well as healthcare. His guests are sometimes experts in food policy and food politics. Like the other great podcasters I’ve listed above, he hosts an array of experts in various fields related to nutrition and overall health.
Episode to listen to: Treating Acne From the Inside Out. Dr. Elizabeth Boham discusses how the foods we eat impact skin health much more than any topical treatment.
Do you have favorite nutrition books and podcasts that I haven’t listed here? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!