Building a real food and health library

This photo is part of The Commons, an awesome public domain collection of photography.

I love books. I suppose that makes sense. Whenever I have a few minutes of free time to fill, I’m usually reading. I work in a library. I’m almost done with my master’s degree in information and library science. And I also love buying books. While I may not always buy books when I go in to a bookstore, it’s nearly guaranteed I will find something I want on the shelves. So when I started shifting into a traditional food diet in 2009, I started looking for reading material in addition to Real food: what to eat and why and Nourishing Traditions. In the interim I have collected a lot of titles related to food, along with more books about healing and tending to the home. This collection is certain to grow too. As a matter of fact I have a copy of Renewing America’s Food Traditions en route.

Not all titles will include commentary from me, so any words you might want to share about these titles would be awesome.

Traditional food-specific books
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon Morrell–if there is a bible of traditional food, this is certainly it. Not just a collection of recipes but also a good course in real nutrition.
Politically Incorrect Nutrition by Michael Barbee–I’m hoping to read this soon.
The Real Food Revival by Sherri Brooks Vinton and Ann Clark Espuelos
The Schwarzbein Principle by Diana Schwarzbein and Nancy Deville
Traditional Foods are your Best Medicine by Ronald F. Schmid (maybe this should be in health?)
Full Moon Feast by Jessica Prentice
Frugavore by Arabella Forge–I promise to review this before summer!
The Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates–there will be a post on this soon as I am transitioning into the diet.
Death by supermarket by Nancy Deville
The Whole Soy Story by Kaayla Daniel
Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan and Luke Shanahan
The Lost Art of Real Cooking by Ken Albala and Rosanna Nafziger–This appeared as a suggestion on Amazon, and for such a cheap price I had to snatch it up right away. Can’t wait to dig in to this one!
The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith–Reading this, but I think I may start from the beginning again. Yes it’s that good. She’s fleshed out a lot more of the reasons I have for not distinguishing between eating plants and animals.
Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon Morrell
Real Food: what to eat and why by Nina Planck–the reason why I started this path in the first place.

The Joy of Cooking (All new, all purpose edition) by Irma Rombauer–I want the 75th anniversary edition. My mother has an earlier edition, which includes a to DIE for pumpkin chiffon pie as well as recipes for PIGEON!
How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman–Between this, Joy of Cooking, and Nourishing Traditions, I can find a recipe for cooking almost any food item I find.
Cooking for Dummies by Bryan Miller and Marie Rama–One of these days I should read this. My personality is more of a baker type. I can’t just pick out ingredients and whip up something. I like detailed instructions.
The Garden of Eating by Rachel Albert-Matesz and Don Matesz–Heard about this from Our Natural Life podcast and had to grab it. Probably should be up in the traditional food section, since a lot of her material in here is based on Weston A. Price-related research.
Tender Grassfed Meat by Stanley Fishman–Another one for the TF section. If you’re making the move into grass-fed and pastured meat but can’t seem to cook it well, you NEED this book. Stanley’s blog of the same name is a great read too.
Solo Suppers by Joyce Goldstein–A lot of pasta but still some great ideas. Along with chicken livers!
Simply in Season by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert
Fast Food My Way by Jacques Pepin
More Fast Food My Way by Jacques Pepin–Ever need a quick food idea? Both of these books should be in your kitchen.
The Food Substitutions Bible by David Joachim–A Yule gift from this past season. Already has made its worth known by presenting me with a cream substitute on New Year’s. (Incidentally, that would be 3/4 cup whole milk and 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter.)

General Food Writing
The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten–Want to be a good food writer? Read this book. Yeah, he praised oleo in the 90s. But Salad the Silent Killer should be assigned to anyone and everyone who thinks a plant based diet is automatically better for you.
The Food of a Younger Land by Mark Kurlansky
The United States of Arugula by David Kamp
Food Security for the Faint of Heart by Robin Wheeler
The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan–The potato section was quite an eye-opener.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan–How many of you got started on this journey because of this book?
In Defense of Food: an Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan
Diet for a Hot Planet by Anna Lappe

Health and Healing books
The Herb Book by John Lust–I can’t wait to have time to study herbalism
Take Care of Yourself by Donald Vickery and James Fries
Our Bodies, Ourselves by the Boston Women’s Health Collective
The Fourfold Path to Healing by Thomas Cowan–the companion to Nourishing Traditions, and if I move to the San Francisco area I intend to become a patient of Dr. Cowan. I know how to get to his office already, thanks to a good fluke.
New Choices in Natural Healing from Prevention Magazine–THIS is my go-to book when I am not feeling well.
American Folk Medicine by Clarence Meyer
Prescriptions for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis Balch
A Woman’s Own Remedy Box by Amy Conway

Home economics
I am a domestic goddess at heart.
Make your place by Rayleigh Briggs
Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson
Country Wisdom Almanac by Storey
Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes–I read this in December. No, let me rephrase: I DEVOURED this book in December. In an ideal world I will someday be among the ranks.

The Virtual Library
Hokti’s Recipe Book of Creek Indian Foods–Traditional foodies will likely squeal at this one. The first recipe is for a corn drink which starts with the corn being soaked in ash water. For those who don’t know, this process breaks down antinutrients in the corn and makes it much more nutritious.
Feeding America, a collection of historical cookbooks. I think I want to start collecting these. If anyone knows where I might find them for a reasonable price, please share.

What books are on your real food and healing shelves? Is there anything here you love? Or loathe? Any titles you think EVERYONE needs to know about?

I’m sharing this post over at Real Food Wednesday, Fight Back Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, and Monday Mania.

7 responses to “Building a real food and health library

  1. My Favourites are:

    Fat: An appreciation of a misunderstood ingredient, with Recipes. By Jennifer McLagan

    Bones: Recipes, History, & Lore. By Jennifer McLagan

    The River Cottage MEAT Book. By Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

    The Great Cholesterol Con: The truth about what really causes heart disease and how to avoid it. By Dr Malcom Kendrick.

    Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health. By Gary Taubes.

    The Paleo Diet. By Loren Cordain, Ph.D.

    NeanderThin: Eat like a caveman to acheive a lean, strong, healthy body. By Ray Audette with Troy Gilchrist.

    • Hello my paleo sister! Fat and Bones are on my wish list. The author was on a local NPR food show some time ago and I knew as soon as she started talking that I needed those books.

  2. Barb @ A Life in Balance

    Wow! What an incredible list! I’m going to flag it for my readers on Facebook and Tumblr. I know what I’m going to be reading this summer!

    I’d add Robyn O’Brien’s book The UnHealthy Truth, but I haven’t read it yet myself.

    • To be fair, Barb, I have yet to read a lot of what’s on here, but I am making my way through. Robyn’s book has been on my wish list for a while, and yesterday I listened to her TED talk. Amazing woman. And thanks for the share!

      • Barb @ A Life in Balance

        I got to see her in person in Philly today. Such a real mom with a passion for helping other moms learn the truth about our food supply!

  3. Interesting list. Though the books aren’t necessarily real-food focused (I’m still fairly new to all of this), I really like the Three Guys From Miami cookbooks. They’re focused on Cuban food, and I’ve never made any recipe from the books that turned out poorly…plus they like using pork fat and that sort of thing. 😉

  4. Pingback: While I recover, here are some other people to read | I Believe In Butter

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