Cookbooks, Diet and Nutrition
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. The foundational cookbook and textbook to get you started on a traditional foods diet, including understanding the benefits of animal fats, broth making, soaking, and fermenting.
Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen: Recipes from the East for Health, Healing and Long Life by Warren Shier, Yuan Wang, and Mika Ono. I love this cookbook. It contains simple and delicious recipes to support your health based on your symptoms or Chinese medicine diagnosis.
Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. As the title suggests, this is a very practical “beginner” Paleo book. Half the book is a Paleo nutrition primer and half is recipes, including Paleo meal plans specifically targeting autoimmune conditions, thyroid health, athletic performance, weight loss, and more.
The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne. This is not a cookbook, but a detailed, reader-friendly biochemistry-based “why” of the Paleo diet. The corresponding cookbook (The Paleo Approach Cookbook) is great if you are serious about the Paleo diet and ready to incorporate more exotic ingredients like organ meats, cricket flour, etc.
Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Thict Nhat Hanh & Dr. Lilian Cheung. This is primarily a weight-loss book which incorporates some meditation principles, but the basic premise of focusing on how we eat, and not just what we eat is important for all of us.
The Fast Diet: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy and Live Longer with the Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting by Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer. I love this book because it is almost an “anti-nutrition” book. While I feel strongly that the quality of calories consumed generally matters much more than number of calories, this book presents compelling research on the multitude of benefits that come from intentionally occasionally restricting caloric intake.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. What Liz Gilbert calls “Creative Living” is really at the heart of living a full and fulfilling life: recognizing, celebrating, and authentically practicing the things that bring us joy.
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron. I recommend anything by Pema Chodron: her clear, bold, and compassionate insight into the depths of the human condition is incomparable. I first read this book when a close family member passed away at a young age and have returned to it many times since.
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead by Brene Brown. If the idea of talking about topics like vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame stir something in you and you aren’t familiar with Brene Brown’s work, now is the time to check her out. Start with her 20-minute TEDx talk on vulnerability if you need convincing.
The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael Singer. A book about transcending your limitations at the most basic and profound level.
Making Babies: A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility by Jill Blakeway and Sami David. Natural fertility support, based on Chinese medicine, including diet and lifestyle recommendations.
The Infertility Cure: The Ancient Chinese Wellness Program for Getting Pregnant and Having Healthy Babies by Randine Lewis. Another great resource, based on Chinese medicine principles, for anyone trying to conceive, especially those who have diagnosed with “unexplained infertility” or women over the age of 35.
Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement and Reproductive Health by Toni Weschler. This clear and comprehensive book outlines the Fertility Awareness Method (or “natural family planning”), and has helped countless women understand their bodies to both prevent unwanted pregnancy and maximize chances of conception when desired without the use of hormones or surgery.
Pregnancy, Childbirth, Infant Care, Breastfeeding
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin. Ina May Gaskin is possibly the world’s best known advocate for woman-centered, low-intervention, natural childbirth. While some might be turned off (and others, inspired) by the “hippie” tone of the birth stories in the book, the second half is an expert, practical reference containing invaluable information on the nitty-gritty of childbirth and possible interventions. Regardless of your birth plan, knowledge is power, and I consider this a must-read for every expecting family.
Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn by Penny Simkin and others. Another highly recommended, comprehensive guide to – well – pregnancy, childbirth and newborns.
Bestfeeding: How to Breastfeed Your Baby by Suzanne Arms and Chloe Fisher. While I highly recommend that first time moms who intend to breastfeed take a class before the birth of their child, this book is a wonderfully comprehensive guide, addressing almost every possible question and troubleshooting many scenarios that new moms face when breastfeeding.
The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child by Robert Sears. A well-balanced, fact-based book providing information on vaccine-preventable diseases, vaccine ingredients, potential side effects, and alternative vaccine schedules for those who want them.
Grief and Loss
Empty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby by Deborah Davis. Miscarriage and infant loss are more common than most people realize. This book sensitively helps comfort and guide grieving parents and also is an excellent resource for bereaved parents’ friends and family members.