There is a whole lot of information out there about health, beauty, and food, some of it a little more contradictory that we would like. Some advocate local over organic produce, some the other way around; some say there is no way to be healthy and keep meat in your diet, others say the only an omnivore can be truly healthy; some push a hard line DIY lifestyle as the only way to keep your body and home safe and toxin free, others say everything in moderation. So how do we figure out which advice to follow?
My philosophy has always been to soak up as much knowledge as possible, and use common sense and a knowledge of one’s self and one’s own habits to figure out what works best. There is no universal cure-all or answer that will work for everyone. That said, there have definitely been some books that have been instrumental in my figuring out where to be strict and where to let things slide, as well as helping to create a general knowledge base that informs my decisions of what to put in, on, and around my body. Check out a few of these titles, or go the distance and read ’em all to make yourself a fabulously educated Organic Beauty!
Food and Farming:
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver provides a really interesting look into a family’s decision to try to live as total locavores, growing much of their food on their own fledgling farm and purchasing the rest from nearby farmers. Now, I’m not one to glorify the Green Acres life — farm living is not the life for me — but this book provided a really insightful look into a whole slew of topics, ranging from locavorism to environmentalism, vegetarianism to the benefit of the small family farm. It is a super well written narrative that will forever change how you view your local Greenmarket.
In his followup to the vital read, The Omnivores Dilemma, Michael Pollan came out with two more absolutely essential books, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, and its companion text Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual. Together, these books really outline what we should and should not be eating, and more importantly, WHY. Pollan goes a step further than The Omnivores Dilemma by taking us out of the realm of industrial agriculture, and into the grocery store, an area which is much more familiar. Here, he debunks quick food fixes that are being touted as easy alternatives to the preparation of more time consuming whole foods, and really gets to the bottom of what it means to eat healthy. While In Defense of Food can get really technical, and goes into a lot of detail about what we should and should not be eating, Food Rules offers a simple pocket guide that, in my opinion, should be a veritable bible for grocery shopping Americans. The book advocates a mostly plant-based, whole foods diet, and is full of quippy little mantras (“the whiter the bread, the quicker you’ll be dead”) that really healthy eating a no-brainer. Truly, these are both must-reads.
Diet and Health:
The Life Force Diet, by Michelle Schoffro Cook, completely changed my life when it came to dieting and health. After many years of struggling with stomach problems, food sensitivities, and other health problems, this book really shed light on how I was shooting myself in the foot with what I was eating and set me on an amazing path to total wellness. Cook does everything from explaining how and why certain foods make us feel the way we do, to completely outlining a new way to think about food. This is less of a diet and more of a total overhaul of how you eat that will last you for the rest of your life. By eating the enzyme-rich foods she outlines, and taking the right supplements, I starting looking and feeling the best I ever have in my life! The foods she advocates bring on mental clarity, radiant beauty, energy, and a forever slim physique. The ULTIMATE guide to being an Organic Beauty!